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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Memo - 1977 Captain Thunder
Memo - 1977 Captain Thunder

ALBUM: Captain Thunder
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 2417 119
YEAR: 1977


LINEUP: Kurt Memo - lead & background vocals, drums, percussion, bass, acoustic & electric guitars, piano, clavinet, moog, mellotron, organ

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cosmic Lady * 02 Rhonda * 03 Window Games * 04 Gone To Another * 05 Wake Up Son * 06 Captain Thunder * 07 Tell Me You Love Me * 08 Happy Song * 09 Blind Man * 10 The Latest Star

Memo is German musician Kurt Memo; one of those jack-of-all-trade types who can do it all when left alone in a studio including vocal chores and quite well I might add. With co-production credit 'Captain Thunder' was his first album released in West Germany on Polydor and in Canada on the Quality imprint and although copies of the latter issue are easier to locate, they've become noticeably expensive as of late. Sadly there's frustratingly little information available on Memo and god knows I've tried in vain for several years to track him down. With minimal liner notes, the only detail worth knowing is Lake's James Hopkins-Harrison providing lyrics to five of the albums seven songs but just how that relationship came to fruition is just as much a mystery as Memo himself.

The Songs
Combining the artiness of 10cc and 'Major Tom' era David Bowie with the pop smarts of The Korgis; 'Captain Thunder' is a record that at the time never received its proper due and is still relatively unknown. Far too melodic to fit within the stringent Krautrock template and way more progressive than most pop fans were willing to grapple with; 'Captain Thunder' never found its audience. Layered vocals and heavy use of keyboards including Mellotron; this is one seriously majestic rock album, in particular on the first two tracks 'Cosmic Lady' and the lushly orchestral and Beatlesque 'Rhonda' which gradually builds into an astral epic of near 'Let It Be' proportions. The David Bowie comparison is strongest on the 'Space Oddity' styled 'Gone To Another' with Memo's phrasing almost a dead-ringer for the Thin White Duke. Closing out the first side 'Wake Up My Son' is uncannily similar to The Korgis as is the flip's title track and the remaining cuts are equally stunning including some tasty organ noodling on the slow-moving charmer 'Tell Me You Love Me' as well as the wonderfully poignant 'Blind Man' - all culminating with the moogy galactic funk of 'The Latest Star' which brings back memories of Robert Mason's Stardrive albums.

In Summary
Following a five year silence Memo released a couplet of albums - 1982's 'The Reason Is You' and 1984's 'Sun In My Eyes'. While both contain superb synth-driven pop rock, 'Captain Thunder' is the one to get. Considering how saturated the German prog reissue market has been in the last twenty years it's a shame a re-release of Memo's finest work is not in the cards anytime soon.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 14 2011 20:26:29
Nice cover. Is this guy the German 'Aldo Nova'? lol!
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