Album review: DAVE GREENSLADE – Cactus Choir


Angel Air [Release date: 18.05.18]

While it’s done the rounds before, this is a timely reissue for ‘what Dave did next’ post-the winding up of his eponymous progressive rock ensemble.

The ex-Colosseum keyboards whizz  had recorded a quartet of acclaimed albums for Warner Bros. between 1972 and ’75, which along with other notables in the label’s somewhat neglected back catalogue are scheduled for reissue this year by Esoteric Recordings.

Free of hassling management, Dave pulled together unrecorded Greenslade material and set-to the following year assisted by contributing famous friends including bassist colleague Tony Reeves, Procul Harum’s guitarist Mick Grabham and Rare Bird vocalist Steve Gould.

The longer pieces summon something of the spirit of the likes of ‘Beside Manners Are Extra’. Notables are ‘Swings And Roundabouts’ which segues nicely into ‘Time Takes My Time’ and closer ‘Finale’, a crescendo piece with a satisfying build courtesy of Martyn Ford’s Orchestra, arranged here by Simon Jeffes.

Conversely, shorter items like ‘Pedro’s Party’ and jaunty ‘Country Dance’ are relatively lightweight, seemingly crying out “someone synch me to some telly, and make it fast!”

As if in response, bonus track TV theme ‘Gangsters’, with a characteristically overblown vocal from former Colosseum band mate, Chris Farlowe, marks the start of Dave’s successful 20-year run writing and recording music for the screen.

While it has its moments, the depth and heft of his band’s former glories are rather less evident on this solo effort, its makers staring down the barrel of punk as they recorded it.
Review by Peter Muir

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