I just bought and listened to Quatermass an album by the band Quatermass.

Quatermass (album)

Quatermass (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was a bit of a random purchase.  I had not heard of the band before, they did an album in 1970 and they are not on a mainstream label. Well – that’s three good reasons to buy then!

Quatermass formed in England during September, 1969 as an outgrowth of a six-piece experimental group. The group includes John Gustafson (bass guitar, vocals), Pete Robinson (keyboards) and Mick Underwood (drums). There is a lot of good information on Wikipedia and also Carol Hynson’s site.

It all started during on evening where I re-acquainted myself with the progressive rock collection I built up at university.  I was listening to the album Ritchie Blackmore Rainbow. The track “Back Sheep of the Family” has to be one of my favourites and I found it was originally written and performed by Quatermass.

The band takes it’s name from the Quatermass films. I remember watching these Hammer Productions science fiction films when I was growing up. I listened to a few samples on Amazon and decided to make a purchase to explore the band and music a bit more.

When the CD arrived, I was surprised to find the jiffy bag package was quite thin. When I got the CD out, I found that it packaged in cardboard rather than the standard plastic CD jewel case. The cardboard cover is a replica of the original gate-fold album cover. The package contains the CD (also in a vinyl like protective cover) and a folded set of lyrics and notes on the history of the band and its members.

Entropy

The first track is called Entropy. It’s a short instrumental piece that acoustically could reflect either Shannon’s Law or Second Law of Thermodynamics depending on your mood. It has a random feel at times, but gives the feeling of a flowing along on a journey or radiating out through a complex jumble of matter. Of course, it may be that the track got its name because “Entropy” sounded cool.

Black Sheep of the Family

The beginning of this track follows on from the feel of Entropy, but becomes a standard rock blues riff. It’s a bouncing positive track that possibly contradicts its subject matter.Its a firm favourite of mine and very similar to the cover performed by Rainbow.

Post War Saturday Echo

This one opens with another short instrumental passage in the form of a Hammond Organ style fanfare style.  This gives way to a very bluesy track with a heavy base line. The lyrics are sung in a powerful blues style. Far from being a post war time related track, the lyrics are timeless. You can imagine this as treatment of a modern city centre like London’s west end, New York’s Time Square or just in your own home watching TV punctuated with commercials. Despite the bright lights and advertisements, you still have to work,  to earn, to spend – a spiral without end…

Good Lord Knows

This track is flamboyant with harpsichord and orchestral sounds. It’s quite uplifting in the manner of a church hymn. The lyrics appear to form a musical prayer to preserve our families from the ravages of war.

Up on the Ground

Another powerful guitar track and vocals. I can only guess the meanings…

Gemini

Another up beat track, with a rock ‘n’ roll influenced rhythm interspersed with slow Hammond like passages.

Quatermass-One Blind Mice-1970

Quatermass-One Blind Mice-1970 (Photo credit: Affendaddy)

Make up your mind

Another track dealing with the future over the past and the benefits of letting go of past memories and experience. Again an uplifting feeling which gives way to the entropy like randomness of matter in the final ending. This blends into the next track – an instrumental called Laughing Tackle and finally a reprise version of Entropy.

Bonus Tracks

The original album didn’t have these tracks. They released as a single. The A side – “One Blind Mice” is a commercial sounding rock blues song, while the B side – “Punting” is a funky sounding instrumental.

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