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Refugee - Refugee (LP)

Refugee - Refugee (LP)

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Genre: progressive
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Refugee
Company: Charisma
Catalog: FC 6066
Year: 1974
Country/State: UK / Switzerland
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: small cut out hole top right corner; original inner sleeve with lyrics
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 115
Price: $10.00

At least on paper a lineup of showcasing the talents of ex-The Nice drummer Brian Davidson and bassist Lee Jackson, and former Mainhorse keyboardist Patrick Moraz should have generate quite a few sparks.

So anyone expecting to hear a continuation of Jackson Heights rock moves was probably going to be very disappointed by1974's cleverly-titled "Refugee". On the other hand, if The Nice's excesses struck your fancy, then this collection might well be up your aural alley. Co-produced by John Burns and the band these six tracks may have been technically awe-inspiring, but from an enjoyment perspective too often tracks like the instrumental 'Papillion' and 'Credo' wandered off into progressive doodling. At least some of the underlying problem seems to have come from the fact Moraz was given way too much creative freedom. He was credited with writing, or co-writing all six extended tracks. Without someone to restrain Moraz's excesses, on tracks like the seemingly endless 'Grand Canyon Suite' the set frequently went over the deep end. Progressive fans probably love the set, but I'll admit to finding most of pretty ponderous and dull.

- Penned by Moraz and showcasing his arsenal of keyboards, 'Papillion' was an extended instrumental seemingly intent on showcasing the fact he was heavily influenced by classical music. As mentioned above, technically it was quite impressive, but that didn't make it particularly catchy or enjoyable. rating: ** stars
- I've always liked Jackson's voice, but on 'Someday' he sounded like he was singing with a nasty sinus infection. Actually, the best description I've seen draws a comparison to Peer Gabriel. To my ears this relatively straightforward number did sound like mid-career Genesis. Plenty of squealing Moraz synthesizers for anyone who cared. rating; ** stars
- Fans point to 'Grand Canyon Suite' as one of Moraz's creative highlights. It was certainly long (almost 17 minutes), complicated, and heavily orchestrated. There were some parts with a lovely melody, but to my ears lots of it sounded like Keih Emerson at his most experimental (not a good thing), or incidental music to some foreign Palme d'Or winner that no American will ever see. This might have been the track that convinced Yes to hire him as Rick Wakeman's replacement ... rating; ** stars
- 'Gatecrasher' started out with some interested synthesizer effects (a very flat metallic sound), before sequing into the instrumental 'Ritt Mickle' which sounded like a hybrid of Baroque and bouncy, almost funky moves. Once again the focus was clearly on Moraz with Davidson and Lee largely relegated to the back seat. This ne's always reminded me a bit of Jan Akkerman and Focus. rating: *** stars
- Clocking in at over 18 minutes, 'Credo' was another Moraz spotlight piece. The early parts focused on his piano and then Jackson's vocal section kicked in giving the song another early Genesis vibe. From there on the song bounced all over the spectrum including a church organ segment, a jazzy segment with some scat vocals from Jackson (seriously !), etc., etc. To be honest, the song rolled by quickly so I'll give it an extra star. rating: *** stars

"Refugee" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Papillion (instrumental) (Patrick Moraz) - 5:10
2.) Someday (Patrick Moraz - Lee Jackson) - 5:02
3.) Grand Canyon Suite (Patrick Moraz - Lee Jackson) - 16:46

(side 2)
1.) Gatecrasher (Patrick Moraz) - 1:02
2.) Ritt Mickley (instrumental) (Patrick Moraz) - 4:52
3.) Credo (Patrick Moraz - Lee Jackson) - 18:04

Commercially the album did little and before a follow-on could be recorded Moraz left to take rRck Wakeman's place in Yes.
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