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Articles Home » 1974 Articles » Ross - 1974 The Pit And The Pendulum
Ross - 1974 The Pit And The Pendulum

ALBUM: The Pit And The Pendulum
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: 2009, Airmail Recordings (Japan), AIRAC-1552


LINEUP: Alan Ross - lead vocals, guitar * Bob Jackson - keyboards, ARP synthesizer, lead & background vocals * Steve Emery - bass, background vocals * Tony Fernandez - drums * Ruben White - percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Swallow Your Dreams * 02 Gotta Get It Back * 03 Madness In Memories * 04 Standing Alone * 05 Discovery * 06 Now I See * 07 So Slow * 08 The Edge * 09 Nearer And Nearer * 10 Free * 11 I've Been Waiting * 12 Oh, I'm Happy Now

Out of the ashes of the short-lived Rigor Mortis, the touring band formed by The Who bassist John Entwistle in 1972; guitarist Alan Ross and keyboard player Bob Jackson pooled their indisputable talents together and released their first album as Ross in 1973. I'd be lying if I said that album; despite its phantastic cover art was a prog rock classic. Just a little too funky, a little too sporadic and uninspiring if you ask me, but their second LP based on Edgar Allen Poe's lovely tale of torture during the Spanish Inquisition is an unheralded classic of commercial progressive rock.

The Songs
While Poe's 'The Pit and the Pendulum' was an exercise in fear, there is nothing scary about this album except perhaps the back cover photo of the boys dressed as satanic and rather bored looking monks. Yes, there are still R&B elements with touches of UK proggy funksters Paladin and Rare Earth's white boy groove scattered throughout on tunes like 'Gotta Get Back' but this is a far more cohesive work anchored by Bob Jackson's always tasteful key-wizardry, particularly on the haunting 'Standing Alone' and moments of nicely executed hard prog brilliance on side two's stunner 'Discovery' which features Jackson on lead vocals. The grand funky and guitar-laced 'So Slow' boogies its way into the heavy Wooden Nickel Styx meets Strongbow territory of 'The Edge' which is spot on the best thing Ross ever committed to tape and leaving a lasting impression Ross hypothetically could have come up with killer third album, but it was not to be.

In Summary
With big promotion in the States, a coveted appearance on 'Don Kirchner's Rock Concert' and a high-profile tour with Eric Clapton; it looked as if Ross stood a chance although Bob Jackson would have none of it, leaving mid-tour and bringing an untimely end to Ross. A brief stop-gap and Alan Ross released two incredibly bland albums as the Alan Ross Band while Jackson moved on to Badfinger and although Ross have never been given deserved kudos from critics or the prog community at large, both albums have been reissued in Japan on the pricey Air Mail imprint.

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#1 | super80boy on February 16 2014 20:19:31
This doesn't seem to be much in the vein of prog or funk for that matter with exception of maybe 2 songs. To my ears, it was surprisingly more mainstream and commercial oriented, but in a good way - a pleasant surprise. The melodic rock funk of 'Gotta Get It Right Back' is great stuff. 'Nearer and Nearer' was probably one of the most overtly commercial tracks on the album and one of the best, it really rocks with big guitar riffs by Mr. Ross. 'Discovery' was another top tune penned by the other half, keyboardist Bob Jackson. The back cover with the band in hoods is an interesting picture, kind of eerie looking, although 3 of them are cracking half smiles.
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