Top positive review
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First class re-issue of great long lost classic
on 2 June 2008
This album is one of those long lost treasures that you come across now and then. The name T2 is only familiar to me as Swedish prog band Landberk covered their "No More White Horse" back in the 90's. That and "J.L.T." have also popped up in Mark Powell's recent box sets of early prog from the Decca label. But now I have the chance to actually hear the album, thanks to this recent re-issue by Acme, a label which I believe has connections with T2 drummer/singer Peter Dunton through his association with Sun Dial.
This album, the only fully fledged studio album by T2 is incredible. Though steeped in the early proto-prog/psychedelic sounds of the era, this was 1970 by the way and obviously influenced by other power trios of the times like Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, this debut showed a band poised for greatness. Partly this was Peter Duntons deft drumming and beautiful songwriting, but its guitarist Keith Cross who is nothing short of staggering. I believe Cross was only a teenager when he recorded this which is unbelievable, as the complexity, intuition and technical virtuosity so belies his young years. Listen to the opening "In Circles", with incredible incendiary guitar running throughout this piece. This is so far way from what Clapton and Hendrix were doing. Not so much the blues, but there is jazz and off-centre time signatures, which would characterise so much of prog rock throughout the 70's. He was treading on new ground. The opening of this so reminds me of what bands like Landberk and Anekdoten would do twenty years later. To go from the intensity of this opening song to the elegiac "J.L.T." where Cross now plays thoughtful and restrained piano and mellotron shows the dexterity and ability of the man. "No More White Horses" is a classic rock song without a doubt. With Cross building up the piece on simply electrifying guitar runs, with the whole thing topped off with wonderfully arranged horns. The final piece "Morning" clocks in at over 21 minutes and may not reach the heights of the previous tracks, but still contains some fantastic playing by all concerned, not forgetting the solid bass work of Bernard Jinks.
The other tracks on the CD are from a BBC session and may not be as sonically impressive as the main album, but the performances more than make up for that. I am not sure if this re-issue has been remastered, as there are no details in the accompanying booklet, but the sound is first class throughout. The layout of this re-issue is pretty good and includes a 28 page booklet which reproduces composer Andrew Keelings remarkably detailed and insightful musical analysis of the album. This is a great re-issue of one of the truly remarkably ignored albums from the early 70's. The band seemed to have disintegrated before a second album could be completed. Though those sessions have also been re-released by Acme. That is such a shame as on the evidence of this debut, T2 should have become one of the major rock bands of the 70's. I am not sure what happened to Keith Cross, but he himself should have become one of the top rock guitarists alongside such names as Jimmy Page, Steve Howe, Robert Fripp etc. T2 seem to be a classic example of what might have been. But at least now we have the opportunity to hear this gem of an album.