Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts
Label: Buddah Records
Format: Vinyl, LP
Record is VG+ - VG++ has the lightest of scuffs
Cover has a ring wear on the back; corners are slightly dented; the top of the gatefold cover has a split
Country: Canada Issue
Style: Art Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Prog Rock
Credits: Drums, Tympani, Percussion, Piano - Guy Evans
Guitar [Electric] - Robert Fripp
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar [Slide], Electric Piano, Piano - Peter Hammill
Organ [Hammond E & C, Farfisa Professional Organs], Piano, Keyboards [Mellotron], Synthesizer [Arp], , Bass, Featuring [Bass Pedals, Psychedelic Razor], Vocals - Hugh Banton
Producer - John Anthony
Saxophone [Tenor, Alto, Soprano], Featuring [Devices], Flute, Vocals - David Jackson
Notes: Recorded at Trident Studios, London W.1.
July through September 1971
all titles published by : Stratsong/Catlin Phillips
"A Charisma Recording"
A1 Lemmings (11:36)
A2 Theme One (2:55)
A3 Man Erg (10:20)
B Plague Of A Lighthouse Keeper (23:05)
II Pictures / Lighthouse.
V Presence Of The Night.
VI Kosmos Tours.
VII (Custards) Last Stand.
VIII The Clot Thickens.
IX Land's End (Sineline).
X We Go Now
VDGG offered up a unique blend of "regular" symphonic prog, like labelmates Genesis, and a much harder, almost metallic-edged version of prog more akin to King Crimson. One minute the acoustic guitar, piano and Peter Hammill's dramatic vocals are lulling you into bliss and the next minute Hugh Banton's ferocious Hammond and Dave Jackson's skronking multi-tracked (and sometimes multi-played!) saxes are blasting you out of your seat.
Pawn Hearts was their first full album without a full-time bass player, which goes virtually unnoticed given Banton's fluency with the bass pedals of his Hammond, and the skill of drummer Guy Evans in filling in the rhythms. Often cited as VDGG's best record, Pawn Hearts does not in any way disappoint. Several years before Yes did Close to the Edge, VDGG set the template here with two long songs and one huge, glorious side-long epic, "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers," one of the must-have prog epics. This re-issue has 20 minutes of bonus material, including alternate takes of the "Theme One"/"W" single. The wonderfully concise "Theme One", written by Beatles producer George Martin, is a real keeper.
VDGG could be very harsh and aggressive and just plain loud, and some people find Hammill's vocals overly melodramatic (those people would be wrong) but to me, this band epitomized prog at it's best. Their musicianship, awesome sense of dynamics and headstrong experimentalism put them at the top of the prog heap. Then there was the band's "signature," when Hammill would phrase along directly with the band. They did this often and those are my favourite moments on their albums. Listen for it here, on "Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" during the "Presence of the Night" section! While this band's entire discography is recommended, this one may just live up to the hype as their very best (just don't ask me when I'm listening to H to He!)
Van Der Graaf Generator - Theme one
A fine piece of music, with a tip of the hat to Zappa's Hot Rats
Van der Graaf Generator - "Lemmings" @ the Regent Theater