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Walrus

WALRUS were formed in London, England, 1969, the brainchild of main songwriter and bassist Steve Hawthorn, who’d been inspired by the commercial growth of American rock-meets-jazz counterparts CHICAGO and BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS. Signed to Deram Records (an offshoot of Decca), their debut single `Who Can I Trust’ (featuring original drummer Roger Harrison), kicked off their one and only WALRUS (1970) {*7} long-player.
A heavy, ATOMIC ROOSTER/EDGAR BROUGHTON-like number, it showcased the raspy vox of Noel Greenaway and the understated lead guitar work of John Scates. Track 2 (with replacement drummer, Nick Gabb and keyboardist Barry Parfitt) was a segued, three-pronged attack led by an old blues gem, `Rags And Old Iron’, while the equally impressive `Blind Man’ and `Roadside’, sat nicely; one had to check out the interplay of Don Richards (trumpet), Bill Hoad (flute) band Roy Voce (tenor sax). An awesome start. Folky prog-psychedelia reared its ugly head by way of track 3, `Why’ (think IAN ANDERSON jamming with The INCREDIBLE STRING BAND or KING CRIMSON), although follow-on cue `Turning’ – `Woman’ – `Turning’, spluttered defiantly in every direction (think BLACK SABBATH or ARTHUR BROWN). With prog-rock on the ascendancy and, with their masterful reworking of TRAFFIC’s `Coloured Rain’, WALRUS could safely be labelled as nearly men. The appropriately-titled `Tomorrow Never Comes’, ended the LP side of things with 60s-like panache.
After another flop single, `Never Let My Body Touch The Ground’, put paid to any further recording activity, the band did tour until late 1971, when veteran drummer-to-be Ian Mosley (future DARRYL WAY’s Wolf, and MARILLION, respectively) had a brief stint. The eponymous set was subsequently re-issued on CD by retro prog-rock imprint, Esoteric Recordings; the aforementioned, hard-to-get 45 being the bonus feature.
© MC Strong/MCS 1997/GPD // rev-up MCS Dec2016

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