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Gravy Train

Gravy Train Vinyl
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 18.90
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Frequently Bought Together

Gravy Train + (A Ballad of) A Peaceful Man + Staircase To The Day
Price For All Three: 40.54

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Product details

  • Vinyl
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Akarma
  • ASIN: B006UTV64E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 747,852 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut by underrated band 29 Aug 2013
By Michael
Format:Audio CD
I'm surprised this album has not been reviewed here, as it's a great debut from a band whose finest work is supposed to be A Ballad of a Peaceful Man. If you imagine a band with a bit of a Jethro Tull sound (although admittedly without a virtuoso on flute) but with a much heavier guitar sound, and more melodic vocals, then you have some idea of how the album sounds. What I really like is the strong guitar tone used on the lead guitar, with it's long sustain, which allows for some great slide guitar playing. This is progressive rock not in the arty, esoteric or mellotronic sense, but with an emphasis on the rockier side, and which if anything owes more to folk and rock than the classics.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Garage prog; worth a look 19 Oct 2007
By Elliot Knapp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
In his review for this album, Allmusic.com reviewer Dave Thompson declares, "Jethro Tull and Comus had a baby, and they named it Gravy Train." This statement offers a couple valid reference points, but really doesn't effectively capture Gravy Train's sound at all. Insofar as they feature a heavy, bluesy, guitar sound and have a flautist, Gravy Train are similar to Jethro Tull. However, they lack the pastoral qualities and composition in the folk idiom that typify Jethro Tull. As far as the Comus reference, guitarist/singer Norman Barratt does sound quite a bit like Comus' Roger Wooton, with an occasionally tortured, rough wail, albeit with somewhat less of a wild creative range. Comus has flute too, and they're weird, but that's as close to Comus' crazy, fantastical, dark and unique heights as they get. I think the best summation of Gravy Train's debut sound is garage prog--they have a hard, rough sound, play around with songwriting form quite a bit, don't mind some strange sounds, but their instrumental prowess and compositional complexity falls far short of what other progressive rock acts like Gentle Giant and the more popular Yes were doing at the same time. Gravy Train is a reasonable representation of what the adventurous Vertigo label was putting out in the early-70's, and if garage prog sounds promising to you, you just might want to check them out.

When Gravy Train's debut is good, it's really good. The opener, "The New One," is one of the strongest tracks on the whole effort, with a jazzy flute opening that gives way to much harder sounds. A heavy guitar riff, backed by pounding drums and high-pitched backing vocals break the jazzy spell and rock pretty impressively. The song has a couple surprising changes and makes for a solid opener. The second song, "Dedication to Sid," (an incorrectly-spelled tribute to Syd Barrett), is also a pretty strong rocker with some iffy (artificially high-pitched) vocal effects. "Coast Road" is a driving blues number which reveals how committed Gravy Train were at breaking musical boundaries--Barratt's lead guitar sounds a lot more confident busting out some blues licks than it did on the exploratory first couple of numbers. Although "Coast Road" isn't too adventurous, it's pretty dang heavy, so Gravy Train chalks up more points for rocking hard. "Enterprise" is another great track, with varied parts, tempos, and some heavy, hard rock. Norman Barratt's vocals sound great, but I guess they're probably considered unusual and might not be to everyone's taste. The closing track, "Earl of Pocket Nook," is 16 minutes long, featuring some extended jamming, some inspired riffing, and some drawn out tension-building. Overall, it probably could have been about 4 minutes shorter and just as effective.

My two biggest criticisms of Gravy Train's debut are the flute/saxophone player and the lyrics. Throughout, the flute playing serves its purpose but not outstanding, sounding good playing parts but not great improvising, but it really doesn't merit comparison to the outstanding flute playing in Jethro Tull and Comus. The saxophone playing is honestly sub-par--it's obvious that sax is not J.D. Hughes' primary instrument, and his playing during the jam-oriented songs is boring (lots of the same note, over and over again) and sometimes a bit irritating to listen to. In other places, Gravy Train's hard-rocking outshines their instrumental shortcomings ("Think of Life"'s uptempo chorus, for example), but it's hard to overlook the sax playing. The lyrics are really a matter of personal taste, but Barratt's lyrics aren't really a selling point for Gravy Train--it doesn't sound like he really cares too much on some of them (honestly, what do the lyrics in "Dedication to Sid" really have to do with Syd Barrett?), and sometimes the ideas don't cohere very well.

On the whole, if you like hard rock, some jamming, and progressive song structure, Gravy Train is definitely worth a listen. A lot of people really get behind this album--it's got some fantastic parts and features some really energetic rock. I've enjoyed listening to it enough times to want to check out their second album, Ballad of a Peaceful Man, so if garage prog sounds appealing to you, you might be one of the converted to this rare treasure.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gravy Train- Gravy Train 4 Sep 2010
By Visa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It's out there . . . Love it. Let the good times roll. It's about time. bring me more of the same.
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent 3 Sep 2010
By Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
One reason early 1970s Vertigo releases hold up so well is they were progressive but not explicitly arty.

This Gravy Train album is a fantastic example. Basically this is blues derived rock. But as many of the best progressive bands, Gravy Train did not try to reinvent the wheel, or make the wheel a symphony. A fresh turnaround here, an expansion of a bridge there, and the form was new with only subtle modifications.

With the flute giving this music a sharp and welcome twist and roots deep in both jazz and blues, Gravy Train has not dated a bit.

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