Friday, 13 January 2012

Room at Royal Albert Hall

Richard Morton Jack has kindly supplied this cutting from Melody Maker 17 January 1971:

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Wild woman, eh!

Highly regarded 1970 LP by Room entitled "Pre-Flight" originally issued on Deram (and rare as hen's teeth). The LP is musically similar to other UK little-knowns like Fusion Orchestra or Catapilla with a wild woman singer (Jane Kevern). More British proto-prog for the connoisseur!


Did anyone buy this...

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).


More comments this time from

Reportedly the rarest UK Deram release, this is consistently very good, female vocaled, jazz flavored prog, with some use of horns, reeds and flute. Grades - 2 B+'s, 4 B's, and a B-.

Room are yet another band from the 1970 era with female vocals, and a jazzy/bluesy/psych sound that was all the rage at the time (Affinity, Goliath, Catapilla, Frumpy, etc...). And I love every one of them. Room is no different, though they added a little mini-orchestra to spruce things up. Great stuff.

An interesting and diverting album. It delves into lots of styles including hard rock, blues, jazz and prog, with orchestral backing here and there too.

In some ways this comes over as a mellower counterpart to early Black Sabbath albums. The flashes of jazz are there, along with a fair number of doomy riffs. Save for the swaggering blues rocker "Where Did I Go Wrong", there is a prevailing feeling of doom to the tracks which is conveyed not only by the instrumentation but by the charismatic vocals of Jane Kevern, especially on the track 'War' which has a more-than-passing resemblance to Sabbath's War Pigs in form and subject. What I'd like to know is which was recorded first?

In it's diversity it includes some aspects that I don't often go for; brass/wind instruments and female vocals, the proficient musicianship and thoughtful song structuring ensures they all gel and work well. The singer has a great expressive low-register voice, reminding me of Linda Hoyle from the Vertigo-signed band 'Affinity'. I guess another good comparison would be the similarly diverse proto-prog of T2's album "It'll All Work Out In Boomland".

Highly recommended.

Only album recorded by the obscure British band Room, which presents highly original material and superb performances combining Folk, Blues, Prog and a strong Jazz influence into a unique amalgam. The band consisted of female singer Jane Kevern, guitarists Steve Edge and Chris Williams (who wrote most of the group's material), bassist Roy Putt and drummer Bob Jenkins. The album also features great string and brass arrangements. Altogether this is definitely a little gem, which sadly got lost in the tides of time and this reissue brings it back for all of us to enjoy. Definitely worth investigating!

This album grew on me the more i listened to it. Room's one off album is a mixture of straight rock, blues rock and prog rock with a horn section here and there. The female singer has a good voice and the rest of the band is pretty good. Overall a decent album a few weak moments but hey is their such a thing as perfection.

Another band that took off towards the all sorts of UFO’s overcrowded skies, exactly at the midpoint of the glorious 65-75 decade, Room opened its wings when the bar for the levels of excellence was set so high it hardly provoked any turbulence at all, and this “Pre-Flight” that at any other time could have been the beginning of a triumphant journey was fated to be the highest they’d fly.

In the inevitable and inescapable cerebral process of trying to find similarities with other bands, I, like many other Room arrivers, immediately draw parallels with Affinity; However, repeated listening woke up other memories, and if the initial impression remains well-grounded, namely on some shorter tracks – although singer Jane Kavern cannot really compete with Linda Hoyle and still less to Julie Driscoll, same as the band members are no match for the Affinity crew -,but on the opening and final pieces, on the way the Classical elements and even some vocal parts are worked I find they are closer to the spirit of Gracious or Gravy Train; that said, and in spite of additional influences that may be spotted, the truth is that this group’s music is one-of-a-kind and regardless of the technical limitations it conveys a consistency and vision, that other bands namely Affinity seem to lack, that at the end of the day will certainly weights on any given rating.

So, the album is bookended by two ambitious and intricate pieces of Epic scope and density, with majestic if not outstandingly imaginative strings and horns arrangements, sections of quasi-pure 19th Century Symphonic Classicism or bouncy Rock/Classic Fusion with delicate trumpet ornaments on “Cemetery Junctions” or a-capella vocal sections on title track, that reminisce Gnidrolog’s, as do their Rock-Blues roots that inevitably ,thankfully and with studied elegance pop-up, and which coupled with their searing double guitar attacks carry a fittingly Rocking and rough appeal.

The affinities with Affinity are at their best manifested on the contrasts of “No Warmth in My Life”, a seamless mix of ProgBlues with floating and trumpets embellished Psych acoustic parts and a swinging instrumental section, the whole tempered by sound spectrum widening horn accents, but also on the expansive “Andromeda”, a complex number with daring string & horns arrangements, one of the best and more moving vocal renditions available and a fine instrumental section with embroidered twin guitar solos, and on the alternating of a menacing theme ala “Mr. Joy” with a raging Rocker in “War”.

Depicting yet other interests are “Where did I Go Wrong’” a Cream and early Fleetwood Mac influenced Blues Rock with the lead guitar trying to work out a Clapton like vocabulary and the double guitar attack, overdubs and energetic rhythm section fiercely recreating British Blues templates and the instrumental “Big John Blues” a straight ahead Hard Blues Rock with horn accents, Female vocalization in unison with the guitar theme and a double guitar attack and parallel soloing, a robust number in the best Mick Abrahams or Edgar Broughton tradition.

I end up wishing these guys and gal could have taken advantage of this 1st experience, and with more confidence and the acquired studio knowledge have transformed the Pre into a transatlantic flight.

Quite catchy proto prog. Not very original, though.

It does sound like the band are trying too hard in some places
The musicians are better than average.

But that being said theres only a couple of realy good tracks and one of them would be Cemetery Junction Part I & II

if you can cope hearing it all the way to the end
I normaly skip a couple of songs