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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Starcastle - 1977 Citadel
Starcastle - 1977 Citadel

ARTIST: Starcastle
ALBUM: Citadel
SERIAL: PE 34935
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2009, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY051
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Terry Luttrell - vocals * Stephen Hagler - guitars * Matthew Stewart - guitars * Herb Schildt - keyboards * Gary Strater - bass * Stephen Tassler - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shine On Brightly * 02 Shadows Of Song * 03 Can't Think Twice * 04 Wings Of White * 05 Evening Wind * 06 Change In Time * 07 Could This Be Love * 08 Why Have They Gone


Illinois outfit from Champaign who were a commercial flavoured US version of Yes. Formed in the early seventies, Starcastle pretty much did the normal thing by touring and playing the clubs/hits, but some tragic circumstances (ie: a road accident) changed the band's direction, putting them on a path of progressive rock, ironically their original and intended direction. Signed to Epic Records, Starcastle's debut from 1976 was an indicator of things to come, lightweight ethereal prog rock with intricate musicianship and multi-part vocals. Following this a year later was 'Fountains Of Light' similar in approach and high on melody. The same year they released 'Citadel', a perfect foil and slight change in direction, this time taking a more commercial approach. Not a complete sell-out, but enough to convert their style of prog into radio oriented songs.

The Songs
Helping the cause was producer Roy Thomas Baker, who followed this effort up with Journey's classic 'Infinity' as well as The Cars debut. Side One kicks off with 'Shine On Brightly', where keyboards, fantastic drumming and harmony vocals abound. The chorus emphasizes the latter. The melodies continue to flow on 'Can't Think Twice' while 'Wings Of White' harks back to their Yes influences. 'Evening Wind' and 'Change In Time' are great keyboard dominated tracks, as is the superb 'Why Have They Gone'. Another commercial effort is 'Could This Be Love', and really makes one wonder what would have happened if Starcastle continued in this fabulous commercial vein. This for me is the highlight of the album, one of the best records of 1977.

In Summary
Unfortunately, their fourth and final album 'Real To Reel' did not live up to the promise and was poor in comparison. Starcastle broke up not long after. The band members went off in their separate directions, with Herb Schildt becoming a well known Computer Author and Guru in the C C+ computer language with several books published. Good news arrived in 2000 when the band decided to reform, and a new album was reputedly in the wings, but it never eventuated. During the 2000-2004 years, the various band members were associated with other projects while the band were still trying hard to instigate a comeback. This was offset though by the untimely passing of Gary Strater in Sept 2004, from which the band finally decided to call it day.. permanently. As a fitting tribute, During April 2009, 'Citadel' received a deserved re-release with all the bells and whistles afforded UK reissue specialists Rock Candy Records. It comes complete with remastering and an extensive essay/interview with Steve Hagler, this album NEEDS to be in your collection!

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#1 | Eric on June 30 2008 22:17:30
The group were living large here, lot's of headlining gigs in the Midwest and East coast at both colleges and small halls plus support dates with Kansas, ELO, Gary Wright, Styx and a miserable slot in the Midwest and Northeast with Todd Rundgren and Utopia (worst SC tour ever according to those who were there). Throw in mucho FM airplay and plenty of promotion and you have an album that should have done better, but didn't. The guys never met the Hildebrandt brothers unfortunately and at this point- cracks in SC started showing..
#2 | rostoned on August 09 2008 16:35:02
Their best. Peaked at #156 in the US album chart during a 3 week run. Their last album to chart.
#3 | Eric on August 10 2008 17:32:44
Not making excuses for the guys, but they were pushed to move in this direction by the label and when your bills are paid by the powers that be- you do what you have to. It's funny when I read commentary on Starcastle on Prog Forums you would think these guys were the prog equal to The Monkees and that's just not the case.

Recording in the UK with Baker was a big plus and I think no matter what Epic wanted, Baker knew how to mix prog and pop to great effect- just what SC needed and enough to satisfy CBS.
#4 | rostoned on December 29 2008 01:06:12
This was released as a (promo only?) picture disc in the US. A couple of copies are on sale on ebay for...$ 100 and 279! Nice item indeed but at that price it is untouchable. Take a look http://cgi.ebay.c....m20.l1116
#5 | Eric on December 29 2008 13:10:21
No, it was available for sale. I remember seeing it on the shelves several times back in the day. Those prices are nuts. thumbs down
#6 | Eric on April 14 2009 00:01:04
Just rec'd the Rock Candy reissue this afternoon. Playing it as I write and it sounds terrific. Kudos to Derek and everyone at Rock Candy for a superb job and finally including the band in a reissue the way it's supposed to be done. Steve Hagler's comments are dead on and thoughtful (as always) and I know Gary would be proud.

The definitive Starcastle reissue everyone needs to own.
#7 | Carl Noonan on April 14 2009 01:48:48
Starcastle regrouped several times over the following decades, and gained several new members, notably Bruce Botts on guitar and Al Lewis on vocals. No new albums were produced, however, until 2007, when Song of Times was released by ProgRock Records. The album features members from all incarnations of the band, along with one track, 'All for the Thunder', by the original band itself with cover art by Ed Unitsky The album was received with generally good reviews.

The band's bassist and founding member, Gary Strater, died of pancreatic cancer in 2004. His work can still be heard on Song of Times, the band's newest album, which was released posthumously.

Retrieved from ''
#8 | Eric on April 14 2009 02:35:38
Hmmm... not really. 1993-94 the original band came together for 'All for the Thunder'- a one time only deal. After that nothing. 'Song Of Times' the album wasn't constructed in the best of times. The original tracks were lost, only to be re-recorded....
#9 | reyno-roxx on April 14 2009 06:45:35
Told ya it was good, Eric! Derek's really pulled out all the stops on this one!
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