Monday, 25 February 2008


Recorded at the Decca studios in the summer of 1970, Room's "Pre Flight" was an ambitious blend of rock, blues, jazz and classical influences. The album was critically well received but unfortunately like many strong releases of this genre at the time on the classic DERAM label, did not achieve the hoped for breakthrough to greater commercial success. Room's only recorded work, the album has been remastered from the original analogue tapes and is now presented in this definitive edition from ESOTERIC RECORDINGS.

Due for release on 1 April 2008...

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Pictures by Dezo Hoffman...

[l-r] Bob Jenkins, Chris Williams, Jane Kevern, Roy Putt, Steve Edge

[l-r] Chris Williams, Jane Kevern, Roy Putt, Steve Edge, Bob Jenkins

[l-r] Steve Edge, Jane Kevern, Bob Jenkins, Roy Putt, Chris Williams

Preflight - the album

The album was called "PRE-FLIGHT" after the first track (The song as written had no hyphen according to the composer).

The recording was made at the Decca studios in West Hampstead in the summer of 1970.

Mickey Clarke (enjoying a rave success at the time with "Two Little Boys" by Rolf Harris) was the producer, and engineered by Peter Rynston and Simaen Skolfield.
The strings and brass arrangements were by Richard Harvey.
The sleeve cover was designed by Roy and featured yet another of his Rotring plane drawings!

The Tracks
Side One
1 Preflight (Edge)
2 Where Did I Go Wrong (Room)
3 No Warmth In My Life (Williams)
4 Big John Blues (Williams)
Side Two
1 Andromeda (Williams, Putt, Kevern)
2 War (Williams)
3 Cemetery Junction (Williams, Putt, Jenkins)

The Sleeve Notes
The sleeve notes were written by Mickey Clarke...

Steve Edge: Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Outwardly a happy placid guy and always willing to learn. Inwardly a mystery. The musical brain. (In the room)
Chris Williams: Lead Guitars
Should have been a jazz violinist the way he plays his guitar. A really fine writer and musician. (In the room)
Bob Jenkins: Drums, Congas and Percussion
Must be a descendant of D'Artagnan the musketeer. (He looks like one). Sword fencing on the cymbals, he moves his sticks as though fighting all the king's men. He hits his bass drum like a cannon-ball being fired and his snare drum cuts through like a knife. A really great drummer. (In the room)
Jane Kevern: Vocals and Tambourine
The sort of girl you like as soon as you meet her. Her friendly and understanding eyes put you at ease, like her sad voice when she sings blues (In the room)
Roy Putt: Bass and Artistic Design
Like his bass, a very deep and cool sort of guy. Everything he writes and plays is like poetry to music (In the room)


Known gigs are listed below - if you might have been there, send an Email with any memories!

1 November Ringwood Youth Club
2 November Hazelbury Bryan Village Hall
15 November Wimborne Youth Club
16 November Tarrant Rawston Village Hall
22 November Stourpaine Village Hall
25 November Oakdale Youth Club, Poole
5 December Royal Ballrooms, Boscombe [with Pink Floyd, Status Quo]
6 December Ferndown Youth Club
13 December Wimborne Youth Club
18 December Wimborne Secondary Modern School
28 December Chard Guildhall [with Cavaliers]

3 January Ferndown Youth Club
4 January Sidmouth Pavilion [with Rainbow Folly]
10 January Ringwood Cinema
16 January Bovington Army Camp
18 January Verwood Village Hall
25 January Weymouth Pavilion support Noel and the Fireballs
30 January Bournemouth College Biafran Appeal Concert
31 January Dorchester Wheel
1 March Chard
8 March Wimborne Legion

15 March Wool
28 March Verwood
5 April Blandford Railway Hotel
12 April Wimborne Legion
16 April Weymouth Beat Contest
20 April Audition Globetrotters Poole

20 April The Hole Blues Club
25 April The Ritz, Bournemouth
30 April Weymouth Beat Contest Final
2 May The Ritz
11 May The Hole, Crown Hotel
16 May Wimborne Grammar School
25 May Magnet Bowl, Poole
30 May The Ritz (with Howlin' Wolf & John Dummer Band)
1 June The Hole, Crown Hotel
8 June The Hole, Crown Hotel
23 June Bournemouth Pier
24 June The Ritz
25 June The Ritz
2 July Swingin' Clink, Boscombe
5 July The Showboat
(from Poole Quay)
20 July Swingin' Clink, Boscombe
23 July Bournemouth Pier
2 August The Showboat (from Poole Quay)
19 August The Pavilion, Bournemouth
22 August Pavilion, Weymouth
23 August The Showboat
(from Poole Quay)
1 September Keeside Disco, Weymouth
2 September Bournemouth Pavilion
5 September The Ritz (with Liverpool Scene)
6 September The Showboat
(from Poole Quay)
7 September Bournemouth Pavilion
12 September The Ritz (with Clouds)
19 September The Ritz (with Hard Meat)
26 September The Ritz (with Village)
3 October The Ritz (with Third Ear Band)
10 October The Ritz (with Pete Brown and Piblokto)
17 October The Ritz (with Gypsy)
25 October Railway Tavern Blandford
31 October The Ritz (with Juniors Eyes)
1 November Weymouth Pavilion
7 November The Ritz (with Strawbs)
13 November The Ritz (with Image)
14 November The Ritz (with Julians Treatment)
15 November The Ritz
15 November Top Rank
16 November Bournemouth Pavilion (with Slade)
21 November The Ritz (with Edgar Broughton Band)
22 November Westward Ho! Sandpiper Club

1970 If you can recall the dates of the missing gigs, please Email me!
13 January Klooks Kleek supporting Roy Harper
30 January The Ritz (with Estas Tom Cat)
27 February North-West Kent Colledge of Technology, Dartford (support band: Puckles Blend)
28 February Staines Town Hall (with Spirit of John Morgan)
8 March Lyceum, Strand (with Caparius, Spencer Davis, Sam Apple Pie)
24 April East Berks College, Windsor
9 July Cat and Fiddle, New Forest

Roy recalls some 1970 gigs but no dates:
- The Marquee,
- The Revolution,
- The Temple under Ronnie Scotts,
- The Lyceum Melody Makercontest.
- Coventry supporting FleetwoodMac,
- Darlington,
- Bournemouth support Status Quo and Pink Floyd
- In May we played at a festival near Lille in France.
- In October we went to Switzerland.The Atlantis Club in Basle and also St. Gallen

1 January Blandford Railway

6 January Royal Albert Hall (with Pentangle)
9 January Yeovil Supported by Hogwart Leech

19 January Switzerland St. Gallen and Berne Ba Ba Lu Club
12 February Blandford School
13 February Sidmouth
19 February Bridport
20 February Coombe Martin
5 March Weymouth Wheel
6 March Blandford School
13 March Weymouth Wheel
30 March Devon College
10 April Temple Support Patto
11 April Maggies Club Yeovil
?? April Ferndown Youth Club
17 April Ferndown Youth Club (Juniors)
29 April Radio Solent
20 May Bryanston School
21 May Gosport
28 May Southampton Tech
29 May Swanage Youth Club
30 May Lymington Social Club
25 June Gillingham
28 June Chelsea Village Bournemouth
29 June Chelsea Village Bournemouth
30 June Chelsea Village Bournemouth
2 July Southampton
21 July Weymouth Grammar School

What others say...


This is the first European CD release for this 1970 album originally released on Decca's Deram label. With superb vocals by Jane Kevern, blues workouts, jazz and classical interludes, and lots of prog guitar, it defines the word eclectic. Tracks like the epics Pre-Flight Parts 1 & 2 and Cemetery Junction Parts 1 & 2 are bona fide classics, and now is the perfect time to rediscover this prog masterpiece.

From Albums of the Years Music

Room are a wonderful twin-guitar band that produced a catchy, proggy and generally awesome album in 1970 and with a female vocalist more metal than man it’s a huge wonder they never made it big. The title track features several forays into jazz and prog with some lush densly layered segments, this is an incredibly satisfying and powerful song. The guitar solos are very appropriate and jazzy at times however they never lose sight of the song, and can seem very controlled at times. Room are very good at building mood and setting a strong thick atmosphere utilising every instrument to its full potential. Despite being nearly 9 minutes long the title track will leave you wanting more after a very quaint ending. Where Did I Go Wrong delivers this and more, starting off with a lovely guitar solo and soft yet agressive drumming. The vocals might remind you of early Black Sabbath only female instead of whatever Ozzy Osbourne is.

The guitars are what you’ll be listening for here on the second track, which generally reflects the whole theme of the album, it features some incredibly wonderful solo work and memorable riffs and licks. The drumming is also a high point of the album sounding very clear and appropriate. Where Did I Go Wrong can seem quite bluesy at times, something which is built on as the album progresses. No Warmth in My Life builds on this blues theme however also remaining quite jazzy at times. The guitars again don’t fail to impress with some powerfull riffs, however proto-metal fans will be left feeling a bit dissapointed wanting something a bit more heavy to complement the vocals. My personal feeling however is that the album never needed to rely on heavy riffs to make it great and the band must have felt the same way.

The guitar solos remind me a lot of Capability Brown at times, a band I’m reviewing in the very near future. Big John Blues continues the blue feeling with a track very similar to Wishbone Ash’s Vas Dis with the vocalist scat singing the notes of the guitar. Lovely guitar solos run throught the whole song cementing it as a truly great guitar album, just the way I like it. At times the vocalist may seem quite awkward like at the start of Andromeda, however this is wholly redeemed immediately after, the quirky yet incredibly catchy song features some of the best vocals of the album. Not exactly lyrically however and this counts a bit against it, musically it’s one of the albums most intense songs because of the bassline. It feels almost depressive with each beat feeling like a drain on your mind.

Musically proficient solos complement most of the songs very well however it most certainly wouldn’t be a stretch to say Andromeda’s guitar solo does it perfectly, all different sections of the song complement each other very well and it’s hard to find songs that sound so tight while still seeming very free. Andromeda is certainly one of the big highlights of the albums and it’s heartwrenching to think how unnapreciated this album truly is. War follows on the high set by Andromeda and is the true highlight, the vocals alone make this the heaviest song on the album, and the opening riff is very reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s debut album with less distortion. The whole song is very reminiscent of Sabbath’s early albums without being truly metal. This is certainly not a downside but if you are wanting something heavy it would be better to listen to something else.

While being in some ways similar to the early metal movement the sound is far more deeply rooted in the early 70’s prog movement, however without the spacey self importance of some of the bigger groups. The album is incredibly earnest and lacking in almost any pretentia, sure they have the guts to make 8 minute songs but they’re not doing it for the sake of long songs. As we come to the last song I can certainly say that this is a true obscure prog gem. And the final track makes the album oh so much more deserving of such a title. The instrumental Cemetery Junction showcases the true talents of the brilliant musicians involved in the pre-flight project. Lush synths, brilliant bass lines and cutting guitars are scattered throughout being very well supported throughout with brilliant tight drumming. Also present are some wind and string instruments that complete the package.

Being the proggiest work on the album it’s definitely appropriate as an album finisher as it will definitely leave you pumped up and thirsting for more, it would certainly not be unexpected to immediately want to spin the album once more immediately afterwards. As a whole the album is immensely satisfying and there are very few drawbacks, I may not enjoy this as much as Leaf Hound however it is fundamentally bettern and my score will have to reflect this. The lush atmospheres here feature some inspirational and beautiful string and wind sections that will either lift your spirit or break your heart. It’s a truly epic feeling, and it leaves you with an empty heart once it’s abruptly cut out by a catchy bassline. The final song is truly a journey of emotions, worthy of the name Cemetery Junction.

Not to get too caught up with the atmosphere of it all it’s score time, as I said this is better than Growers of Mushroom, it might not be as catchy or heavy but there’s just something about it which makes it just in a totally different league and, well I’ll just let my score do the talking.


On offer here is an ULTRA RARE album by a PROGRESSIVE ROCK group from Dorset (England) and features the SUPERB dual guitar work of STEVE EDGE and CHRIS WILLIAMS. This LP is rather unusual in that it features a FEMALE lead vocalist, JANE KEVERN. There is an extraordinary addition to this album. Obviously this copy once belonged to a close friend of the group, because there are also three ORIGINAL black and white photos (two of Steve Edge & one of Chris Williams).


I Room, neanche a dirlo, sono una di queste formazioni pionieristiche che, armata di muta da palombaro, si inabissò nei più profondi e sconosciuti fondali del prog, dove le correnti intrecciano il rock, il blues, lo psych, il folk e la classica, riemergendo, dopo un'accurata esplorazione, con Pre-Flight, disco datato 1970, in cui sono documentate le pazzesche ricerche musicali del quintetto di Dorset. È appunto in questa contea inglese che i nostri eroi erano soliti esibirsi, perlomeno fin quando, nel '69, un secondo posto in un concorso di Melody Maker riservato ai nuovi talenti, non garantì ai chitarristi Steve Edge e Chris Williams, alla cantante Jane Kevern, al bassista Roy Putt e al batterista Bob Jenkins un contratto per la registrazione di un LP con la Deram.

L'apertura e la chiusura dell'opera sono affidate a due suite, rispettivamente "Pre-Flight Part I & II", in cui si fà immediatamente notare la fitta schiera di guests che ceselleranno, durante il corso dell'album, il suono prodotto dal gruppo grazie a quattro violini, due viole, due violoncelli, un secondo basso, tre trombe, un corno e un trombone, e "Cemetery Junction Part I & II", dove i sopraelencati archi e fiati, in un crescendo irresistibile, si spingono a confezionare un gioiello strumentale dai toni austeri e maestosi, resi possibili anche e soprattutto grazie a Bob e al suo estro batteristico.

L'anima blues della band, oltre che con la breve e frizzante "Big John Blues", si materializza nello stile caratteristico delle chitarre e nella voce grave e lamentosa di "Where Did I Go Wrong", contrapposta alla successiva e notevolmente più incisiva "No Warmth In My Life", in cui spunti jazz prodotti dalle trombe ricamano atmosfere evocative intorno agli strumenti, questa volta decisamente imprevedibili, di Steve e Chris e alla voce sempre più espressiva di Jane. Il suono netto e profondo del basso di Roy, circondato dalle chitarre e dai violini, disegna le correnti impetuose di "Andromeda", mentre "War" si snoda attraverso fugaci scatti generali e repentini cambi di tempo, alternando arie delicate ed evanescenti, ad altre minacciose ed aggressive.

Forse non staremo parlando di una pietra miliare o di un capolavoro irraggiungibile, ma quel che è certo è che ci troviamo di fronte ad un disco dall'indubbia originalità che, come il pittoresco aeroplano raffigurato in copertina, meriterebbe di tornare a volare, solcando, se non il blu del cielo, perlomeno i timpani di qualche nuovo e motivato ascoltatore.

From ClemofNazareth on

This is a moderately decent album from the short-lived Room (aka The Room aka The Way), released during those pivotal days after the Summer of Love and Woodstock but before rock music had become completely dominated by slick, commercially-minded types. The band was from some rural area of Britain (Blandford Forum) and the music was mostly blues-based with the occasional foray just inside the lines of heavy progressive rock and even a little modern jazz.

The band Affinity comes to mind immediately when listening to these guys, and maybe Babe Ruth a little as well. All three groups had female lead singers, although Room’s Jane Kevern’s rather sharp alto is much closer to Babe Ruth’s Juanita Hahn than Affinity’s Linda Hoyle. The song arrangements fit her singing style quite well, but I can’t imagine she had the range or depth to have been very successful outside this group like Hoyle was, not does she dominate the music in quite the way Hahn did with Babe Ruth.

Several tracks here (“Pre-Flight”, “No Warmth in my Life”) have that same sort of slightly jazzy groove that made Affinity so appealing, but without the keyboards and with a very heavy reliance on twin guitars (one bluesy lead and the other a sort of tame rock rhythm). Throw in some catchy but mostly unimpressive bass and drums and you’ve got the whole package. The rest are mostly straightforward blues rock, including “Where Did I Go Wrong”, “Big John Blues” and the funky, hard-driving “War”.

I suspect the only thing that earned these guys a ‘prog rock’ label are the slightly psych and shifting “Andromeda”, and the ambitious two-part mini-epic “Cemetery Junction” with its violin-inspired guitar work and various sound effects including brass, strings and some sort of heavy bells. In the end though this one also falls back on traditional blues rock patterns, albeit pretty heavy ones at times.

I’m not overly impressed with this album. I read several reviews that seemed to suggest this was a lost classic ‘finally reissued’ on CD for all to rediscover and enjoy. We progressive rock fans live for albums like that. this isn’t one of them, but it is decent and holds up over time a little better than many of the other one-shot and forgot bands of the same era. Three stars mostly for “Andromeda” and the opening track, and only mildly recommended.


Described as an ambitious blend of rock, blues, jazz and classical influences these all come together well on the 9 minute opener “Pre-Flight Parts I and II” where Room are backed by their very own 14 strong ‘orchestra’ of brass and strings.

The trouble is that on “Where Did I Go Wrong?” Room sound like hundreds of other blues rock bands around in 1970 albeit well played with a female singer Jane Kevern. I thought Kevern’s voice was more suited to the jazz-rock of “No Warmth in my Life”. Following the guitar notes in ‘scat’ style of course is also a fairly standard ploy and like the second track ‘Big John Blues’ does not for me fit into the overall concept of the album even though once again it is well played.

“Andromeda” is musically much more interesting with Kevern sounding uncannily like Sonja Kristina at times. “War” has a catchy melody but doesn’t really add much to “Andromeda” and the lyrics could have done with some work!

The album ends as it began with another ambitious piece, instrumental this time with the ‘orchestra’ restored in full (“Cemetery Junction Parts One and Two”). The music has great energy largely due to a propulsive drummer Bob Jenkins and Roy Putt’s adept bass playing.

Room are well worth checking out as a lost progressive ‘gem’, one of those bands you would have expected to be on Vertigo perhaps and ripe for sampling by Andy Votel! Guitarist Steve Edge tells the story in the liner notes. (There are actually two lead guitarists, Chris Williams being the other and they could be pretty heavy at times!)
(ECLEC 2043)

Amazon quotes:

Taiaha says "[Preflight]....has resurfaced!! I bought this album when it was first released, but lost it more years ago than I care to remember. I went to school with Steve Edge in Wimborne, and still have very clear recollections of him playing his acoustic guitar in the playground at age 14 or so. I seem to remember he had a strange scar on his cheek, but was always too shy to ask him about it.

Jane Kevern was a strong singer, and the band were incredibly inventive. They made 'Room' music, quite distinct from any fixed genre, in much the same way as another great band of the time, Family. Both defy any particular genre.

Nice that the years can reach back and fine me again - on the other side of the world now"

Alan Burridge says: "Largely from the rural town of Blandford in Dorset, Room played their unique brand of music around just about every venue in Poole, Bournemouth, and the neighbouring towns. Their music has now been described and pigeon-holed as early prog-rock for want of an apt genre, but it was sharp, well-rehearsed, and was slick with crucial timing required between the instruments and the female voice.
Entering for the Bournemouth area heats for Melody Maker's 'Battle of the Bands' contest in 1969, which they won; they were then declared close runner's-up in the London finals. The band's disappointment became quelled somewhat when they were awarded a recording contract with Deram records, of which the result was this superb album.
Quite why we need pigeon-holes anyway I'm not really sure, just to guide the wayward record buyer in the right direction, I suppose? But this is it, this is Room; their sound is rock, classical, jazz along with Jane Kevern's voice which suited the music perfectly.
History declares their lack of an adequate pigeon-hole led to their demise, but they were well received in their support band role wherever they played, and with whomever the bill-topper happemed to be.
If you're a rock fan then you'll definitely enjoy this album; it's different, and that's was the main point behind what Room were all about; they were highly original and defied categorisation.

Greville Rob says "Priming Room's 1970 debut on Deram as a showcase of a musical eclecticsm spanning rock, blues, prog, jazz and even classical proved too rich a mixture for the buying public, sealing the fate of of this obscure British progressive rock act. Despite the competency of playing, Jane Kavern's strident lead vocal, some imaginative brass and string arrangements, the album defies genre; there was simply too much in this Room. Aptly-named, 'Pre-Flight' is a series of take-off checks. However, being with few peers, it should be investigated for its audacity and occasional sparks of innovation. Of course, it's a must-have for collectors of lost Brit prog."

Formed by friends in 1968, ROOM was a very good quintet from Blandford Forum, Dorset that made one album for Decca after winning second prize at a Melody Maker talent contest in '69. The unit was led by guitarist Steve EDGE [Note: Steve was not the leader] and featured the unique voice of Jane KEVERN, Roy PUTT's bass, Bob JENKINS's percussion and the lead guitar of Chris WILLIAMS. The five achieved a large, booming sound by merging heavy psychedelic rock, progressive jazz and full orchestration.
'Pre-Flight' was released in 1970 sporting an antique triplane on the cover and though mostly ignored, proved to be a more than worthy contribution to the growing progressive art scene, the group taking inspiration from artists as AFFINITY [Note: I don't think we'd ever heard of Affinity], Julie DRISCOLL, John MAYALL, Mick ABRAHAMS, and FAIRPORT CONVENTION. The strings and brass were arranged at 'Tin Pan Alley' by Steve EDGE and the album was recorded at Decca's West Hampstead studios in one or two days. Keyboardist John HUTCHISON who'd been in GINGER MAN with drummer JENKINS joined later.
Adventurous and rather accomplished for their time, ROOM were a cut above the average band taking advantage of rock's new voice, and 'Pre-Flight' is a little treasure now re-released in 2008 by Esoteric/Cherry Red. Worth a listen. (

This record was the result of a second prize - a recording contract with Deram - at a Melody Maker talent contest in '69. It was released a year later and sadly mostly ignored. With it's complex work featuring heavy riffs, tight drumming, frenzied guitar solos, brass and strings and the powerful, distinctive voice of Jane Kevern it was ahead of it's time. 'Pre-Flight' is a little treasure and it is well worth checking out. (Record Collector)

Largely from the rural town of Blandford in Dorset, Room played their unique brand of music around just about every venue in Poole, Bournemouth, and the neighbouring towns. Their music has now been described and pigeon-holed as early prog-rock for want of an apt genre, but it was sharp, well-rehearsed, and was slick with crucial timing required between the instruments and the female voice.
Entering for the Bournemouth area heats for Melody Maker's 'Battle of the Bands' contest in 1969, which they won; they were then declared close runner's-up in the London finals. The band's disappointment became quelled somewhat when they were awarded a recording contract with Deram records, of which the result was this superb album.
Quite why we need pigeon-holes anyway I'm not really sure, just to guide the wayward record buyer in the right direction, I suppose? But this is it, this is Room; their sound is rock, classical, jazz along with Jane Kevern's voice which suited the music perfectly.
History declares their lack of an adequate pigeon-hole led to their demise, but they were well received in their support band role wherever they played, and with whomever the bill-topper happemed to be.
If you're a rock fan then you'll definitely enjoy this album; it's different, and that's was the main point behind what Room were all about; they were highly original and defied categorisation. (Alan Burridge)

Priming Room's 1970 debut on Deram as a showcase of a musical eclecticsm spanning rock, blues, prog, jazz and even classical proved too rich a mixture for the buying public, sealing the fate of of this obscure British progressive rock act. Despite the competency of playing, Jane Kavern's strident lead vocal, some imaginative brass and string arrangements, the album defies genre; there was simply too much in this Room. Aptly-named, 'Pre-Flight' is a series of take-off checks. However, being with few peers, it should be investigated for its audacity and occasional sparks of innovation. Of course, it's a must-have for collectors of lost Brit prog. (Greville Rob)

A very worthy ensemble from Dorset, England, Room slipped under the radar in 1970 but made full use of the new possibilities in rock on their only album, utilizing the brass and strings of an orchestra to enhance their already big and booming psycho-symphonic sound. Jane Kevern's unique voice is supported by leader Steve Edge on guitars, Roy Putt's bass, percussionist Bob Jenkins and guitarist Chris Williams. The two-part title cut is unusually sophisticated for a lesser art band in 1970 and is entirely progressive with rock, jazz, symphonic and folk fully integrated and quite compelling, a sound echoing Affinity and perhaps Julie Driscoll. Decent if monotonous slow blues is 'Where Did I Go Wrong?' and at over 5 minutes could've been bumped back a few, but 'No Warmth in My Life' is humid and seductive, highlighting Jane Kevern's airy mezzo-soprano and the well-crafted arrangements of horns, acoustic & electric guitars and voices. 'Big John Blues' is practically an R'nB festival tune and is more a dancer than listener but it passes quickly and we get 'Andromeda', an astral journey of blues, orchestra, acid trance and Kevern's soulful lead. 'War' continues in this vein but gets heavy with notable dual guitar work from Williams & Edge and transitions into 'Cemetery Junction pt. 1&2', a melting pot of epic strings and hot rock-fusion rhythms, and a highpoint of the album.

Perhaps not everyone's cuppa, but a rare antique find lovingly dug-up and reissued by the prog treasure seekers at Cherry Red. Worth looking into.

Winners of the Melody Maker battle of the bands competition in 1969, Room were awarded a recording contract with Deram and dutifully delivered Pre-Flight on a one day recording session. The mood is downbeat blues rock with a jazz tinge, spiced with some phenomenal outbreaks of guitar. An ambitious album, Pre-Flight did little on its release and faded into obscurity becoming, along the years a sought after item of primal prog rock.

Room were one of the numerous late 1960s bands who recorded a single album and then seemingly disappearing off the face of the planet. Hailing from Dorset, the group gigged a lot locally but only really came to prominence following their second place positioning in the 1969 Melody Maker new band contest. Despite being disappointed at not winning, the group were rewarded when Decca records offered then a recording contract. A five-piece, the group were unusual in not having a keyboard player and also having a female lead singer, Jane Kevern. With Steve Edge and Chris Williams on guitars, Bob Jenkins on drums and Roy Putt on bass the group entered West Hampstead studios in the summer of 1970 and reputedly recorded the music for the whole album, plus several other unreleased tracks, in one day! Vocals and backing vocals were added at a second session as were a whole host of other instruments (violins, violas, cellos, trumpets, flugelhorn and trombone) by a selection of top session musicians.
As was common at that time, the group displayed a wide range of musical influences, from blues and jazz to the up and coming genre of progressive rock. This is clearly demonstrated on opening number, the title track Pre-Flight, particularly on the instrumental second part where dual guitars merge well with the insistent horn stabs. The heavy blues of Where Did I Go Wrong? features some fine guitar work by Williams and apart from the vocals could almost be a Cream number. Again the dual lead guitars provide taut solos that smacks of constrained jamming. Given the speed of the recording it is obvious that the tracks must have been taken from the first or second takes which gives the solos a fresh and spontaneous feel. Indeed, it is possible that this number, along with Big John Blues, were largely improvised in the studio. No Warmth In My Life flirts with jazz and is perhaps the most unsuccessful number on the album, relying too much on the brass.
However, it is the original second side of the album that makes one sit up and take notice. Starting with Andromeda, the listener is presented with a more ominous sounding number where the brass provides the somewhat sinister backdrop to the vocals and the soaring strings takes one out into the solar system. Kevern's vocals are a plus on this track and it is obvious that she possesses a fine set of tubes, something that doesn't always come across in the recordings as they sometimes sound somewhat flat (as in lacking dynamic range rather than being out of tune!). War successfully manages to merge jazz inflections with the more overt rock elements of the band, the guitar following and repeating the vocal melody line is a nice touch and would have made this an excellent live number. Final track Cemetery Junction is an instrumental piece that like the opening number, really demonstrates the progressive edge of the band. The brass and string accompaniments once again are superbly arranged to fit in with the rock group who play at the top of their game, drummer Jenkins is superb and Williams and Edge deliver their best. On the intro to part two the 'orchestra' takes over delivering an almost funereal dirge before being overtaken by the electric instruments. The ending is somewhat mysterious with the guitars winding down and the sound of a chiming Big Ben introducing a guitar riff that wouldn't have been out of place on an early Black Sabbath album.
Unfortunately the album failed to sell and even a high profile support slot to Pentangle at the Royal Albert Hall in January of 1971 failed to increase the fortunes of the band who split shortly afterwards. Naturally, the original album is now highly prized and even the initial CD re-release of the album is fetching decent prices. This Esoteric Recordings release has been remastered from the original analogue tapes and presents the album in a hitherto unheard quality. A fine album and of interest to anyone interested in the origins of progressive rock. Let's hope that some of the other material recorded during that summer day in 1970 still exists and will eventually gain a release.
Conclusion: 7 out of 10

Room's 1970 Preflight is a near-masterpiece of blues-influenced prog-rock with forays into jazz territories. [Several websites]

One of the most enigmatic albums we've heard from this heady time in British music -- a set that's certainly got some of the more sophisticated flourishes of the jazz rock generation, but which also has a fair bit of rootsy, straightforward sounds as well! The core group is augmented by larger strings and horns on most numbers -- in a way that makes their bluesy, bassy groove sound somewhat more majestic -- and which shades it in with some great jazzy colors and tones. Vocals are by Jane Kevern, who often sounds a bit processed and flanged out -- giving her voice a cool style that's almost spacey, but which still packs plenty of force next to the heavy drums on the bottom. It's quite hard to peg the actual sound of this set -- because at some moments, there's a fierce, full quality that's like the CCS records of the period -- but other times are somewhat grittier and more stripped down -- a balance that always keeps things interesting, and which is about as far from rock cliches of 1970 as you could imagine! Titles include "Pre-Flight (parts 1 & 2)", "No Warmth In My Life", "Where Did I Go Wrong", "Cemetery Junction (parts 1 & 2)", and "War".[]

Legend Of A Mind: A great box set, taking in the acts of the Decca prog subsidary Deram...there are bands here like Room (whose album 'Pre Flight' is very good)...who would allude even the most avid trivia buff's memory banks.
Reissue of an ultra-rare 1970 UK album on Deram. Room were an interesting mixture of rock with jazz and classical influences, the inclusion of strings and brass making for an eclectic mix. Nice guitars and female vocals also go to make this a fine piece of early progressive rock. [ ]

By way of contrast here is another view. With a moniker like that, it's hard not to be cruel - Room for improvement springs immediately to mind, or how about this Room is in need of remodeling. But to be kind, Room weren't around long enough for the fixers to move in, releasing one ultra-rare record on the Deram label before fading back into the woodwork.They were very much the sum of their influences, unfortunately those influences were such a mixed bag that the quintet ofttimes sounded like they're pulling in a minimum of three directions at once. "No Warmth in My Life" epitomizes this problem, which features wonderful jazzy brass solos, hard rock guitar riffs, acoustic guitar passages, and warbling female vocals, and absolutely nothing to tie it all together."Big John Blues" suggests they want to be the Keith Tippett Group, and the guest brass are certainly up the challenge, but Steve Edge, the band's overly flashy lead guitarist, keeps getting in the way, muscling in like a toddler desperate to get your attention. The title track is even more muddled, a drum tattoo and tedious a capella vocals open the number, a searing guitar kicks in, the piece slides briefly into jazz, before the group settle into something remotely folky.But that's nothing compared to the extravaganzas on the record's flipside, where the band give full flight to their fancies. They almost pull it off on "Andromeda", helped by a string section, a tight arrangement, and a musical theme.Unfortunately, they just don't have the skills of King Crimson, who they're so obviously aping. "War" is meant to be meaningful, but is just laughable, marching into discordance and showcasing the musician's modest talents at their worst.Which makes "Cemetery Junction" sound respectable, helped again by sweeping strings, brass, and a well conceived arrangement. Sign the guests, dump the band, and bring in the wrecking ball. ~ Jo-Ann Greene, All Music Guide

Article by Richard Morton Jack in October 2004 issue of Record Collector
Room had been gigging around their native Dorset for years before opportunity knocked at the end of 1969. "We came second in Melody Maker's talent contest". remembers guitarist Steve Edge, "and our prize was a recording contract with Deram".
Somewhat staggeringly, Pre-flight - a complex work featuring heavy riffs, tight drumming, frenzied guitar solos and the powerful, distinctive voice of Jane Kevern - was recorded in a single day the following summer. In the producer's chair was Mickey Clarke, red-hot from overseeing Rolf Harris's syrupy Two Little Boys, giving some indication of the bizarrely incongruous nature of the industry at the time. True to the progressive rulebook, the songs are orchestrated and split into sections, but self-indulgence is largely avoided in favour of taut jamming. despite its appeal to modern prog connoisseurs, the group wasn't overjoyed with the finished product.
"I was disappointed with the selection of tracks", Edge admits. "Most of the LP was quite depressing, whereas we'd cut some brighter tunes." True, the album has a frequently despondent tone, reaching its apogee on the epic closer Cemetery Junction - but it also showcases some of the most exciting musicianship in the progressive field, especially on the biting Andromeda and the sinister War.
Housed in a memorable cartoon sleeve designed by their bassist, Roy Putt, Pre-Flight sold very poorly on release and is barely ever offered for sale today. Though it's as ambitious as anything in the genre, when it failed to take off the already-jaded Room regrettably fell apart. Record Collector - October 2004

ROOM - Pre-Flight Unico album de esta banda inglesa y uno de los discos mas dificiles de conseguir en el sello Decca/Deram ingles. Esta banda al igual que muchas bandas precursoras del rockprogresivo mezclan el hard rock con blues y elementos de jazz y hasta orquesta de musicos sinfonicos son incorporados a su musica. Realmente este album esta muy cargado de blues en su piezas y la voz de Jane es mas a ese estilo. Las piezas mas interesantes son los instrumentales Pre-Flight y Cemetry Junction que ademas son las mas largas del album. Buena mezcla de la orquesta sinfonica con elementos de hard rock progresivo y contrapunteo entro los dos guitarras del grupo con elementos de la musica del siglo 19. Recomendable el escuchar este album particularmente por su ultima pieza que es excellente. [ ]

ROOM - Pre-Flight (Deram-Japan) 1970 / Great UK progressive rock. Very versatile sound with lots of cooking, stinging leads, female folkie /bluesy vocals, complex rhythm changes. (Code H) []

ROOM-Pre-Flight-Deram(U.K., '70)-One of the rarest British major label items, this is top-notch progressive/psych with blistering guitars and haunting female vocals. (M-/M-) $800 or (EX/EX,STNC) $600. (SOLD)

ROOM "Pre-Flight" ROOM 778-1 LP $12.25 A re-issue of a mega-rare British progressive album, originally out in 1970 on Deram, running the gamut from space-prog to orchestral to straight up Chicago style blues. Heavy 220 gram vinyl, original artwork, Euro import. (MISC. LABELS)
Room - Preflight (Deram, UK, 70) This is one of the most collectable ones on the fine Deram label, definatly not usual, in fact more seldom for sale than Mellow Candle. Musically it is top league complex progressive with female vocals, 5cm split at back edge of cover ex/m- []

ROOM - PRE-FLIGHT - KOR - £ 12.95 SRMC0043 Siwan CD f**king rare (150 quid plus) 1970 only lp of good prog with blues flavour, good female vox, strong guitar, strings, brass...
Room - "Pre-Flight" (1970) Room was an obscure British group who released a promising debut-album, and then disappeared into oblivion. They played a quite rough, unpolished and guitar-dominated style of early 70's progressive rock mainly influenced by jazz and blues, but they also gave the music a symphonic side by using lots of strings and brass. They were fronted by a female-singer, and her voice fitted well into their often melo-dramatic and complex songs. The title-track and the instrumental "Cemetery Junction" are both solid progressive rock tracks in several sections, and reveals a tight and technical very competent band. "Andromeda" shows the band from their most dramatic and grandiose side, while the more blues-inflected tracks "Where Did I Go Wrong" and "Big John Blues" are more modest and basic. The quiet parts of "No Warmth in My Life" tend to remind me of Affinity, and that's not a bad thing at all. "Pre-Flight" is an album with lots of qualities, and should be well worth checking out.

Room - No Warmth in my Life, from ''Pre-Flight", their first and only album, released in 1970. Next to Leaf Hound's "Growers of Mushroom" and Mellow Candle's "Swaddling Songs", Room's album is one of the r arest on the Deram label and is worth quite a bit on the collector's market. A UK quintet, the band was made up of vocalist Jane Kevern, bassist Roy Putt, guitarists Chris Williams and Steve Edge and drummer Bob Jenkins. Their music is basically p rogressive rock with strong bluesy overtones, with the odd excursion into jazzy territory. There's even a tasteful mix of brass and strings, with some interesting vocal tones from Jane Kevern. The musicianship is above average, but that didn't prevent the band from fading into obscurity. A Chris Williams later appeared with German progressive outfit, Abacus, but we're not sure if it's the same Chris Williams. Bob Jenkins later appeared with Kiki Dee, Sally Oldfield, Alphaville and Lionsheart.


Responsible for another extremely rare one-off album on Deram, Room offers progressive rock with strong bluesy overtones and even some excursions into jazzy territory, without ever leaving their rock foundations. A host of instruments, both strings and brass enliven the music, though at times it tends to get a bit too brassy. Jane Kevern sings well, but without much ability for different moods. Luckily the guitar parts are good too, so although more diversity in atmosphere would have made the record excellent, it is now not more than plain good. The arrangement of the final track Cemetery Junction with its unexpected foray into late 19th century symphonical, lifts this cut above the rest. This in fact refers to the major traffic crossroads in central Bournemouth (where the band were resident at the time). A Blandford Forum band, they won an NME 'Beat Contest'. Shortly after Pre-Flight was released John Hutcheson, who'd been in Ginger Man with drummer Bob Jenkins, joined the band on organ.[]

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

1970 and all change again...

The Melody Maker contest at the Lyceum was a bit of a laugh, tho it proved quite a learning experience.

The day started early with a trip to Orange Recording Studios - a grandiose title for a couple of small rooms - with a couple of numbers cut for a demo for EMI. This was the first visit to a recording studio.

Later, the group moved on to the Lyceum. Having played at similar sized venues, the place did not intimidate the gang.

My, there were some serious people there. Bands with noses stuck up in the air, other quite happy to chat and discuss guitars and amps, and bossy organisers trying to muster the hairy mob into some kind of order.

Most bands were actually very very good, and the group felt somewhat inadequate in the "image" department. Poor we were with no cash for glitzy stage gear, so we appeared in our old bluesy stuff instead.

I cannot recall all the numbers we played but we did end with "Vehicle", an Edge song in fast 3/4 time written in October 1969 (not the CTA song of the same name that appeared about time of the contest).

Above: Steve with his trusty Telecaster...

Our "Vehicle" had a heavy drone on D, which allowed some searing guitar harmonics to be placed alongside. The harmonies were once unkindly likened to Pearl and Teddy Carr (if you can remember them you are old), and the song had some sweet quiet bits which then erupted into v-e-r-y loud swooshing, and an almost classical ending. Went down quite well that one, even if I say so myself!

We came second. and were offered a contract with Decca. Heard "Vehicle" on the Orange tape much later - volume way up, loads of bass

Gigs on the college circuit began to roll in. In Coventry, the band supported Fleetwood Mac, who still had Peter Green (still rated as my favourite blues guitarist), and who were probably the friendliest group the band met.

Before the recording session, I went to "Tin Pan Alley" to work out the strings and brass arrangements with Richard Hartley, the musical director destined for our album. I had mixed feelings cos I felt good in such exalted surroundings, yet it seemed a bit "cosy" and weird to a country boy.

The recording session for "Preflight" took just one day (some now say it was a two day job) in the old Decca studios in West Hampstead. I recall restringing my trusty Telecaster before the session. And it did sound good.

Most songs went down first or second time. Double tracking on some harmonies and extra guitars also. The studio guys were most patient.

There were some songs recorded that didn't see the light of day...what happened to those tapes?

Above: Photo shoot with Dezo Hoffman

1969 and more changes...

The year turned with Jethro Tull's influence creeping in, but with a noticeable leaning towards Peter Green and John Mayall.

Maybe the band found it suited their abilities and talents, and it was still unusual for female vocals especially on the blues numbers.

Chris and Roy wrote songs together - these were bluesy and what was becoming known as "progressive rock", and Steve chipped in with a few ditties, some folky-bluesy and others perhaps a bit Byrd-y.

A momentous spring night in Weymouth saw the band reach third place in the annual "Beat Contest" (yep, up-to-date or what!). The set included four titles of very different styles - "Ethel" a complicated but tuneful number, co-written with a chum from Art College called Mike Horseman, and which featured Jane on harmonium (caused a stir that did!). Next came "Rosebud May", an Edge song in Sebastian-style, but loosely based on a Ray Davies song (!). This was followed by a song I can't remember but I'm sure someone will let me know, and the band turned up the volume to close with an up-beat version of the Cream's "Cat's Squirrel".

The official details "concerning Groups competing in Heat No. 3 on Wednesday 16 April 1969" rather formally described Room as:
C. K. Williams - Lead Guitar
R. Putt - Bass Guitar

S. Edge - Lead Guitar
P. Redfern - Drums
Miss J. Kevern - Vocalist
The Leader of the Group was named as Miss J. Kevern
And the "Details of Career - as supplied by Group" went as follows:
"98% of our work is our own. We spend three nights a week arranging and sort our work to practise at local dances. Our work is based on originality and quality of sound. Anything new is always of interest. We arrange on the grounds of 'progressive blues' and 'life music'. Having a girl singer induces more into blues numbers."

The band continued to play locally at a wide variety of venues - pubs, clubs, village halls, and larger venues such as the Pavilion at Bournemouth, where they supported groups like Slade (who were skinheads then) - and began to sense that they had the makings of bigger things...

A lucky break got a supporting role at the Ritz in Bournemouth which was the place to be if you were seriously into music, man. All but the biggest bands played the Ritz.

The Room, now simply "Room", settled into a regular Friday night gig at the Ritz and the musical weaving continued. Bands such as Nice, Junior's Eyes, Van der Graf Generator, had an influence, and one night, the dressing room was blessed with the presence of the great bluesman Howlin' Wolf, who jammed with the band.

Now the time had come to go pro...Pete decided not to, and left to manage a record shop in Bournemouth, and was replaced by Bob Jenkins, a drummer from Bournemouth, who had a penchant for short snappy drum breaks, unlike Pete who just made one hell of a noise (and very good he was too!).

A manager was recruited, one Harry Goldblatt of Bournemouth. Harry was one of the old breed in the music business, almost harking back to the big band days, but he did have contacts. Also, a Transit was acquired - yes, at last, the status symbol had arrived!

On the road again, all over the country, gaining experience, and writing more and more songs and tunes. The band's musical abilities also developed, but the range of musical styles gradually diminished as a more unique sound began to emerge.

The chance to take part in the annual Melody Maker Contest (with a possible record deal for the winner) could not be missed, and the band duly got a place in the final at the Lyceum in the new year.

Above: Steve in 1969

1968 and all that...

The band came together in August 1968 when two Blandford lads, Chris Williams and Roy Putt, thought it a good idea to have some fun playing their kind of music. Chris was already an accomplished guitarist and had recently moved to Dorset from up North, and Roy took up the bass guitar. The drummer was another local chap called Pete Redfearn. In the early days, a lad called Roger took lead vocals and odd dancing during Chris's longish guitar solos.

They took the name "The Room" after a poem by somebody. Previously they were "One Way"...

Roy was an art student (yep, unusual eh?) studying graphic design at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and quickly turned his considerable artistic talent to publicity material. One very early small handbill might be recalled even today as it depicted a gruesome head with the upper part hollowed out and filled with the slogan "Room to Let". It is a sign of the times that anyone wishing to contact the band had to telephone a Mr Williams during the day (who would have been at his work as a civil servant) - no calling people by their first name in those days!

Pete worked at a record shop in Poole and had easy access to all the best material of the day.

The band did all the usual commercial stuff like "Midnight Hour" (people at the dances insisted) but also did a lot of their own songs.

An aspiring guitarist, called Scott, from Bournemouth-way joined and added depth to the sound. Also, Chris's girl friend, Jane Kevern, was also known to have joined in the odd chorus.

The band were now making quite an impact locally especially with the head-bangers that were starting to appear. The lad from Bournemouth left and was replaced on October 27 1968 by Steve Edge, a local guitarist, and also studying graphics at Bournemouth.

Gigs became more frequent and widespread. One was at the Royal Ballrooms also had Pink Floyd and Status Quo on the bill...

The music was influenced by the changes in line-up. Roger the vocalist left to be replaced permanently by Jane. Believe it or not, a girl vocalist was unusual in the late sixties especially in a local band.

Still playing all the standards, but deeply into West Coast type music, the band's music changed subtly with leanings towards folk-rock and especially blues. The band also tried their hand at classical tunes a la Dave Edmonds ("In the Hall of the Mountain King" seems to stick in the mind)

The "musical direction" was, in truth, in turmoil, but it all added to the moulding of the later, more unique sound of Room.

Above: (l-r) Jane, Steve and Chris at Wimborne in 1968

Above: (l-r) Pete and Roy at Wimborne in 1968

Above: Steve at Wimborne in 1968
Above: Roger at Wimborne in 1968

Making the leap...

...from a bog standard website to a blog might make the content more visible to the web community. So here we go with moving stuff across. It'll take a while...