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Pell Mell - 1972 Marburg
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on March 09 2009, In 1972 Articles , 2 Comments , 1838 Reads , Print

ARTIST: Pell Mell
ALBUM: Marburg
LABEL: Bacillus Records
YEAR: 1972
CD REISSUE: 1991 Bacillus Records, 287-09-004


LINEUP: Thomas Schmitt - violin, guitars, vocals * Otto Pusch - organ, piano * Rudolf Schon - vocals, recorder, guitar * Jorg Gotzfried - bass * Mitch Kniesmeijer - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Clown And The Queen * 02 Moldau * 03 Friend * 04 City Monster * 05 Alone

I've never been a big fan of the 'Krautrock' movement. Too many drugged-out jams and meandering nonsensical vocals for my sensitive tastes, but within the psychedelic haze that was early '70s West Germany sprouted some decent bands familiar to Glory Daze readers including The Scorpions, Eloy and Lucifer's Friend. Pell Mell hailing from the historic city of Marburg, never found the same commercial success, but among progressive aficionados, the group's early albums are considered to be the Creme de la Creme when it comes to German symphonic music.

The Songs
Musically the Pell Mell sound skirts Procol Harum and The Nice although let me be clear, the group does not share the same virtuosity. In fact, Pell Mell comes off a little rough almost as if 'Marburg' was recorded in a very short period of time, maybe in one take. Still, there's plenty here for symphonic fans to latch onto. Keyboardist Otto Pusch is the star of the show offering up a dazzling array of classically influenced motifs and all the more surprising he was replaced midway through the group's second album 'From the New World'. Pell Mell put their best foot forward with a brief interpretation of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana's 'Moldau' which is very tranquil and folksy. Try to imagine Fairport Convention in a prog mood and like Pusch's keys, the violin work of Thomas Schmitt gives this song and the album a distinct classical flavour although choosing a better vocalist should have been considered. The singing in English is not bad, just not great and symptomatic of so much German rock of the era.

In Summary
As the decade wore on, Pell Mell adopted a more commercial approach on albums like 1978's 'Only A Star', but this really wasn't their forte and the group disbanded in the early '80s. 'Marburg' was reissued on CD several years ago and could very well be out of print although it's still relatively easy to find.

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#1 | jefflynnefan on March 10 2009 12:28:56
Looking at the instrumentation (violin, organ, etc..), number of songs, similarity and all- how far away is this sound from Kansas' 1974 debut?
#2 | Eric on March 10 2009 12:38:47
Hmmm.... more of a European flavor here.
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