MURPHY BLEND- First Loss

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Sole album and one of the best from the country at the time, this typical prog quartet showed amazing maturity for their first album. Recorded in Munich in late 70 and released on the legendary Kuckuk label (Munich-based as were label-mate Ihre Kinder and especially Out Of Focus and other label monster Amon Duul II), this album is a gem in the heavy progressive vein, mixing some classical influences with their hard rock, mostly through their organ-player Uhlig - the prime composer of the group. A very naïve but poetic drawing on the cover is intriguing us right off the bat, and the music inside is definitely at the height of the hopes raised.

From the opener At First (an excellent intro but careful not to reveal too much of what is to come) to the slow starter Speed Is Coming Back (guitar-drenched but the organs are what gives it flavour) to the monster track (only 7 min+, but awesome in its bluesy organ- drenched dramatic scheme) Past Has Gone draws a few chills and would be close to a masterpiece if the vocals were not a bit under-mixed. A good organ solo dividers the track and the way the groups rebuilds quickly is quite impressive.

Opening the second side of this wax slice is the track that shows most of their classical influences, but they do much more than that, as the track is in constant evolution. Comes in the wild title track (under 8 min) which is the other highlight of the album, is a powerful work-out giving a chance for everyone to shine. Somehow, some Vanilla Fudge references are also a bit evident here at times. Closing track (not exactly but almost) is a call to fun as the Bach tribute/fugue and the short finale is a laugh.

As superb this album was, they broke-up soon after and aside from a few short lived groups just after, these guys will not be having a career that this album hints at. Truly one of those lost prog gems, even if the self-indulgent spirit of those years is stopping it from the upper star.

(Review by Sean Trane on progarchives)

Mint unplayed on Missing vinyl records