|the band||the album||the singles||live||related bands||timeline||memorabilia||messages|
|— the album, on vinyl|
|The one and only self-titled album by Quatermass was originally released in 1970.
In France the album was issued by Pathe Marconi (with the same catalogue number as the UK release).
A Japanese version reportedly exists on red vinyl.
The album was reissued with a different (single sleeve) cover in 1977 as a part of the Harvest Heritage series. The pressing quality is excellent.
|The album has been reissued on vinyl at least twice, in its full gatefold glory, as originally designed. A superb reissue was made by the German Repertoire label in the early 90s. This reissue is remarkable for the fine group photos included on the paper inner sleeve. Additionally, the Italian Akarma label pressed the album in a 2LP format, featuring the rare single A- and B-sides as bonus tracks.|
|Original issue: outer gatefold sleeve||Original issue: inner sleeve|
|1977 reissue, front||1977 reissue, back||1977 reissue, inner bag|
|Here are four known variations on the vinyl album. N.B. The differences in label colours are authentic!|
|original UK pressing
Harvest SHVL 775
|original Canadian pressing
|original USA pressing
|German mid-70's pressing
Harvest 1C 062-91 248
|Reissued UK pressing
Harvest SHSM 2002
Engineers: Jeff Jarratt, Andy Stevens
Produced by Anders Henriksson (at right)
Recorded at EMI Studios, Abbey Road
An A.I.R. (London) Production.
Published 1970 A.I.R. Record Productions, (London) Ltd.
Original cover design and Photographs by HIPGNOSIS
Reissue sleeve design and illustration by Steve Newport
Entropy and Laughing Tackle published by Quatermass Music (and Alan Keen Music)
Gemini published by Jamarnie Music
Black Sheep Of The Family, Post War Saturday Echo, Good Lord Knows, Up On The Ground, Make Up Your Mind - all published by R.U.G. Music (and Alan Keen Music)
One Blind Mice, Punting — publisher unknown
Anders Henriksson, producer
Tony Gilbert (leader)
Paul Buckmaster (leader)
|(Song by song critique by Bas Möllenkramer)|
1. Entropy (Peter Robinson) 1:10
The album kicks off with a quiet, mysterious keyboard-based melody, vaguely cyclic in nature, and almost classical in execution. On the vinyl edition of the album this opening tune is so quiet it almost gets lost in the groove noise, even on near-mint copies, but on the remastered CD the tracks blossoms to its full glory, revealing a rich deep organ-pedal bass underpinning the melody. In the final seconds a frantic discordant synth-loop pattern fights for control and wins, to lead into the album's real opening rocker.
2. Black Sheep Of The Family (Steve Hammond) 3:36
Starting off with a series of crashing chords, interspersed with some powerful drum breaks, this is the album's real first song. It's a great rock tune with a rich variety of keyboard styles, ranging from a low throb in the verses to broad dramatic styles in the bridge. The backing tracks are a layered mix of organ and piano, skillfully arranged to make a guitar unnecessary. Great vocals too. The song featured on the B-side of the Italian Gemini single and on the A-side of a German single.
3. Post War Saturday Echo (Peter Robinson/John Gustafson/Graham Ross) 9:42
This is one of the album's certified masterpieces. It is a huge electric slow blues with a difference. Kicking off briefly with an urgent, fast merry-go-round rock riff pattern which leaves you wanting more, it transforms imperceptibly into a slow blues extravaganza. The verses in this slow blues were recorded so quietly that both tape hiss and groove noise were real risks to vinyl owners. Thankfully the remastered CD has successfully addressed both these issues. An otherwordly quality is achieved by delayed and double-tracked vocals in stereo, which makes bass player and lead singer John Gustafson sound like he is bemoaning the condition of the world from underground. Peter Robinson shows his keyboard mastery in the bridge which has a classical feel despite the intense frenzy shining through it's multi-layered synth magic. A return to a slow final verse leads the song into it's surprisingly abrupt crashing finale. Post War Saturday Echo leaves a devastating impact on the listener through its dark lyrics "A million lonely people in a hurry, sharing nothing but a burden of worry".
4. Good Lord Knows (John Gustafson) 2:54
A personal prayer by John Gustafson, backed by harpsichord and strings. A haunting melody, sung with compelling conviction, about becoming a man and about soldiers not coming home. The production is divine and the orchestra introduces major goosebumps at precisely the right moment. The string arrangements were done by Peter Robinson.
5. Up On The Ground (John Gustafson) 7:08
A powerful hard rock song with virtuoso bass riffing and rock organ solos. A high-octane mover.
6. Gemini (Steve Hammond) 5:54
This song, which opened side two on the original vinyl edition, showed up at least once before this album. Eric Burdon recorded the song with his new Animals on one of the many albums he recorded in the USA between 1967 and 1969. Although Burdon certainly does the song justice, Quatermass definitely laid down the best version. Peter Robinson shows his deft arranging skills in the way piano and organ form a texture which leaves no room for a guitarist. Quatermass is one of the most artistically successful of all bands to attempt survival without the otherwise ubiquitous lead guitar. This song was the A-side of an Italian single.
7. Make Up Your Mind (Steve Hammond) 8:44
The brief vocal opening and ending of Make Up Your Mind are a vehicle for Quatermass to show off their confident mastery of start-stop instrumental magic. A wide range of playing styles is explored. featuring blistering synth riffs in odd time signatures, to a rousing build-up organ solo.
8. Laughing Tackle (Peter Robinson) 10:35
This is the album's other masterpiece, a wonderful, extended, throbbing exploration by keyboard wizard Peter Robinson, and featuring a full orchestra too. Starting off with a pulsating, driving bass guitar pattern and nimble cymbals, the organ solo slowly builds to a wonderful descending chord break which signals the arrival of still more magic to come. The drum solo is superb and shows why Mick Underwood was tempted away to other rock bands after Quatermass' demise. Here too the string arrangements were written by Peter Robinson.
9. Entropy (Reprise) (Peter Robinson) 0:40
The original vinyl album gently closes with this mystical repeat of the opening instrumental. One imagines oneself saying goodbye to a circle of druids greeting the dawn.
One Blind Mice (John Gustafson) 3:15 — not on the original album
Quatermass' best known single is a killer and was not included on the original album. So far only a German pressing has been identified. No list of English Harvest singles with the famous HAR prefix has ever mentioned the record. The Swedish TV appearance mentions the single so it may have been pressed there, or, more likely, German copies were sent to Sweden to test the water. Either way it is a heavy metal masterpiece, with a stunning opening riff and a weird descending chord progression. A powerful organ solo releases into a swirling phasing wash and onto the final verse and chorus. No fade out here, the song ends with a bang.
Punting (John Gustafson) 7:09 — not on the original album
Obviously a filler for the single's B-side, this rambling jam shows Quatermass off-duty and having big fun. Bass and drums lay down a solid pre-funk groove while Peter Robinson explores the outer limits of his new war-toy the ring-modulator. The word Punting, for non-native English speakers, means gently rowing a flat boat up and down the Thames river, while wearing coloured blazers and straw hats. Precisely!
|— on CD|
24-bit remastered version
Notes: This Japanese CD is superbly packaged and the mini gatefold LP-type sleeve (digipak) is a faithful reproduction of the original UK LP sleeve. The CD label even retains the "SIDE 1" text from the original LP! Although some noise reduction was used for the mastering of this CD, it is much less noticeable than on the 1996-2001 versions from Repertoire and Akarma. The resulting sound is the best I have heard so far for a CD. If you are a first-time buyer of the Quatermass album on CD, then I advise this one without hesitation. (friendly advice from Bas M.!)
|Repertoire REP 4620-WY
Digitally remastered version
Notes: Repertoire, the much loved German reissue specialists, have released this album on CD twice. Here is the later version from 1996 with newly expanded artwork by the original Hipgnosis sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson. This version has slightly deeper bass in some places and also features digital noise reduction to reduce analog tape hiss. While this may seem a good thing, it has a down side. The sound of e.g. cymbals dies down more quickly, resulting in a loss of ambience. (Bas M.)
|Repertoire REP 4044-C
First CD version
This is the first CD release on Repertoire, and features a sound closer to the original vinyl. No digital noise reduction has been used so the original analog tape hiss can be heard in places. Some prefer the sound of this CD. (Bas M.)
|Akarma AK 175
20-Bit Remastered version*
This release contains the same bonus tracks as on both Repertoire releases. It is also available on a double LP 180-gram vinyl set numbered AK175/2. These reissues are well made and feature fine artwork.
* The audio content of this CD is byte-for-byte identical in every respect to the later Repertoire release. This can be proven by analysing the audio files in a computer. We leave the reader to infer their own conclusions from this remarkable fact. (Bas M.)
|Pictured at left is Pteranodon in Paradise which contains the Swedish TV broadcast, plus tracks by post-Quatermass bands Sun Treader (Robinson), Strapps (Underwood) and Hard Stuff (Gustafson).
At right is A Phantom Pteranodon which contains the Berlin 4th March 1971 show.
|This website was originally compiled and researched by: Bas Möllenkramer, Soesterberg, the Netherlands ♠ Redesign by Carol Hynson © 2009-13|