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Strange Days - 1975 9 Parts To The Wind

ARTIST: Strange Days
ALBUM: 9 Parts To The Wind
LABEL: Retreat Records
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE: 2011, Flawed Gems, GEM 52


LINEUP: Graham Ward - lead guitar, vocals * Phil Walman - bass, vocals * Eddie Spence - keyboards * Eddie McNiel - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 9 Parts To The Wind * 02 Be Nice To Joe Soap * 03 The Journey * 04 Monday Morning * 05 A Unanimous Decision * 06 18 Tons

Here's a lesser known UK prog band that's notable for two reasons. The first, one of the early Sex Pistols gigs were opening for Strange Days at the legendary 100 club in London. That had to be fun, yikes. I wonder if Johnny Rotten wore his notorious 'I hate Pink Floyd' t-shirt? Hypocritical since he was and still is a prog fan and particularly fond of Van Der Graaf Generator, but I digress. The second bullet point is after Strange Days only album '9 Parts To The Wind' efficiently tanked commercially, they morphed into prog guitarist Gordon Giltrap's band for his 1976 tour. By several accounts this was the best backing band Giltrap ever had.

The Songs
Co-produced by Derek Lawrence (Flash, Wishbone Ash) and the mighty Big Jim Sullivan; Strange Days were clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time and the dubious gig with the Pistols speaks volumes. That said this is a good album of fetching progressive pop with similarities to Strawbs, Stackridge, Irish proggers Fruupp and early Split Enz. The title track and 'Be Nice To Joe Soap' are both quite clever lyrically and the most Enz-ish and while Strange Days dabbled in both folk and pop styles on each track, surprisingly it worked. These guys could play too, including keyboardist Eddie Spence who sounds like he could go head to head against second tier keyboardists Dave Greenslade and Triumvirat's Hans-Jurgen Fritz with nary a blink.

In Summary
Not essential, but if you like the quirkier side of British prog, '9 Parts To The Wind' is an album to keep an eye out for and bonus - it's now on CD from the questionable Swedish Flawed Gems label. Apparently it was remastered from the original tapes and it sounds pretty decent, but who knows? It's certainly cheaper than trying to track down a copy of the original.

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