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Articles Home » 1974 Articles » Wally - 1974 Wally
Wally - 1974 Wally

ALBUM: Wally
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: K50051 (UK), SD 18115 (USA)
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: 2008, Wounded Bird (USA), WOU-8115


LINEUP: Pete Cosker - electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, bass * Paul Gerrett - fender rhodes, harmonium, grand piano, harpsichord, mellotron, hammond organ, vocals * Paul Middleton - steel guitar, bass * Roger Narraway - percussion * Pete Sage - electric violin, bass, mandolin * Roy Webber - lead vocals, acoustic guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Martyr * 02 I Just Wanna Be A Cowboy * 03 What To Do * 04 Sunday Walking Lady * 05 To The Urban Man * 06 Your Own Way

Funny how some progressive rock web sites act as if they are the encyclopedic beginning and end of the genre don't even bother listing Wally in their databases and is just another example of a scene that by its very nature is miles away from reality, too wrapped up in what's 'progressive', what isn't etc. It's enough to make this long time fan throw away his Genesis t-shirt and never look back, but then again it's albums like the Wally debut that brought me to the scene in the first place, so.. Wally hailed from the northern England town of Harrogate, playing the bars and clubs and entering a 'Melody Maker' competition in London where they ended up losing to Druid, a band closer to Yes in style than Starcastle could ever hope to for, but all was not lost and coming to the attention of legendary DJ Bob Harris, Wally landed a contract with Atlantic followed by several tours in the UK, Europe and even the U.S., but split in 1976 after a second album 'Valley Gardens' failed to chart.

The Songs
Simply put, this is one of the more beautiful and sublime prog rock albums I have come across. Produced by both Harris and the venerable Rick Wakeman, the music of Wally is never bombastic. Like Starcastle, Wally borrowed from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for an interesting mixture of both English and American styles and with the use of electric violin, Kansas comparisons are valid as well, minus their heavy rock and blues tendencies. My favourite track on here is the thirteen minute plus 'To The Urban Man' featuring gorgeous mellotron and violin interplay, but each track here has something to offer including the closing track 'Your Own Way' which is a stunning combination of Poco and Derek & The Dominos and all the more reason to own a copy of this unheralded gem.

In Summary
Following the break-up of Wally, no one in the band really went onto other projects of mention although the keyboard player on their second album Nick Glennie Smith spent some time with Roger Waters. Again, Wally's debut is a must have for anyone into melodic progressive rock and while I am not sure if it's ever been officially released on CD (yes, see above.. Ed), an LP copy or download shouldn't be too difficult to locate.

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#1 | Nick C on July 03 2010 01:02:55
A little point of interest - I've just kinda got into this band and it seems they have reformed somewhat over the last couple of years and have since released a further couple of albums and a DVD.
They can be found at

Also if you search the site there's mention of a potential new live album from an April 2010 performance.
#2 | swazi on April 12 2012 22:01:09
I found a CD released in 2008 by Retro Disc International. Does anyone know this label ? Is it legit ??

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#3 | Eric on April 13 2012 12:43:56
Yes, its the same label that put the Hudson-Ford catalog on CD which were very well done, but as you surmised - not legit.
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