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Morgan - 1972 Nova Solis




ARTIST: Morgan
ALBUM: Nova Solis
LABEL: RCA
SERIAL: SF 8321
YEAR: 1972
CD REISSUE: 2000, Angel Air (UK), SJPCD067

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Morgan Fisher - keyboards, synthesizers * Tim Staffell - lead vocals, acoustic guitar * Bob Sapsed - bass * Maurice Bacon - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Samarkhand The Golden * 02 Alone * 03 War Games * 04 Nova Solis (A Suite)


Background
Recognize any of these guys? Wouldn't blame you if you didn't since none of them were ever household names, but they all played in some very important bands worthy of note. Let's start with Bob Sapsed, Maurice Bacon and keyboardist Morgan Fisher all of which came from Love Affair a band who scored big in 1967 with the single 'Everlasting Love'. Fisher would go on to join Mott The Hoople and later, Queen as their keyboard player on the 'Hot Space' tour which brings us to vocalist Tim Staffell. With Brian May and Roger Taylor, Staffell formed Smile, the group that eventually was joined by Tim's friend Freddie Mercury who of course changed their name to Queen following Staffell's departure. I wonder how many times he's kicked himself for that decision.


The Songs
The odd thing is Staffell's vocal style is strikingly similar to Mercury's. It's uncanny really leaving me to believe Staffell had a bigger influence than we think on the early Queen sound, but that's for another review. Here we have Morgan's first album with Staffell behind the mike, recorded and released in Italy only. A major collectible for obvious reasons, but also because it was damn hard to find for so many years. The sound here is progressive rock in the style of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Greenslade and to be frank it's not all that special. Fisher's keyboard work is stellar and Staffell's vocals are as expected quite good, something that can't be said for a lot of prog singers and it's Staffell's self penned 'Alone' that's the highlight of the record. A nice slowly building ballad very reminiscent of Smile, I wish the group had continued with this direction since the remaining material does nothing for me and it all feels a bit bland.


In Summary
While most 'progheads' drool over stuff like this, I have only kept my copy due to the Smile/Queen connection although I rarely play it. The UK label Angel Air reissued the album on CD a few years ago with a dramatically altered cover and informative liner notes with rare photos.


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Comments

#1 | tonissive on June 18 2008 10:48:27
this album was reissued by the italian label black widow long time ago but, maybe still is available, i have the vinyl and is a masterpiece of the progressive rock.

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