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Gracious !

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Album Review

Hard on the heels of King Crimson, the debut of Gracious! begins with the blandly but accurately titled "Introduction." One of the album's strongest tracks, it's a Nice-like combination of menacing Moog breaks and shimmering harpsichords, and it foreshadows the band's use of both heavy prog music and ghostly lyrics tinged with Catholic dread. "Heaven" is a gorgeous minor-key ballad of stately Mellotron and chiming guitar tones, with harmonies reminiscent of late-model Zombies. "Hell," not surprisingly, is another thing altogether: a descent into drunken declamations, clinking bottles, rowdy bar sounds, loopy piano riffs, and creepy phasing effects. From here, the album settles down a bit: "Fugue in D Minor" is a straightforward chamber orchestra piece, and the "Dream" ends the album with meandering jamming and overblown monologues. Still, it's a fine debut, and it presaged the superb second effort that was to follow.

Biography

Formed: 1964

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s

Gracious began as a schoolboy lark in 1964, when guitarist Alan Cowderoy and vocalist/drummer Paul Davis banded together to cover pop songs at school concerts. To arouse maximum ire at their Catholic school, the adopted the band name "Satan's Disciples." Over the next several years the recording lineup of the band coalesced with Cowderoy and Davis (who now only sang), former road manager Tim Wheatley on bass, Martin Kitcat on keyboards, and drummer Robert Lipson. Renamed Gracious (or Gracious!),...
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Gracious !, Gracious
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