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"...Sanctuary..." – Battle Hymn by WILD TURKEY (2013 Esoteric Recordings CD Remaster)
on 31 March 2015
Formed by Glen Cornick, Jethro Tull’s Bassist for their first three albums (“This Was”, “Stand Up” and “Benefit”) along with talented newcomer Guitarist Jon Blackmore – WILD TURKEY promptly pumped out two albums in the early Seventies on Terry Ellis’ Chrysalis Records to favourable press but commercial indifference.
The rest of the band featured Jeff Jones the former Drummer with Man, Lead Vocalist Gary Pickford-Hopkins from Eyes of Blue (to whose memory the reissue is dedicated) and new Lead Guitarist Alan “Tweke” Lewis.
Produced by Roger Bain of Budgie and Black Sabbath fame – their debut album ‘Battle Hymn” actually dented the top 200 in the USA in early May 1972 (they were touring with Sabbath as the opening act) and that’s where this straightforward CD remaster comes in.
UK released 30 September 2013 – “Battle Hymn” by WILD TURKEY on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 2413 (Barcode 5013929451346) is a straightforward CD Remaster of their 1972 album and pans out as follows (43:23 minutes):
2. Twelve Streets Of Cobbled Black
3. Dulwich Fox
4. Easter Psalm
5. To The Stars
6. Sanctuary [Side 2]
7. One Sole Survivor
8. Battle Hymn
9. Gentle Rain
Tracks 1 to 10 are their debut album “Battle Hymn” – released April 1972 in the UK on Chrysalis CHR 1002 and in the USA on Reprise MS 2070
The 16-page booklet repro’s front and rear artwork, the inner gatefold and new liner notes from MALCOLM DOME that features an interview with Glenn Cornick on the formation of the band from out of British pubs and the difficulty of recording the album with an indifferent producer. The BEN WISEMAN remaster is typically excellent – great audio – remastered from original tapes.
As much as I want to like this band and this album – it’s not Budgie by any means. I say this because unlike Budgie – Wild Turkey neither rocked nor rolled and didn’t really have any great tunes of worth. Stuff like “One Sole Survivor” had some swagger for sure while the ballads “Dulwich Fox” and “Gentle Rain” feature pretty acoustic guitars accompanied on the latter by Cornick on Harpsichord. But tracks like “Butterfly” and “Battle Hymn” sound laboured musically and vocally. Better is the Side One finisher “To The Stars”.
If you’re a fan – don’t think twice – the presentation and audio is top notch...others I would advise a listen first...