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Carnegie: Rock and Roll Symphony

Here’s an archival release from the folks at Shroom Productions that has been long in the making, the only surviving recordings of the band Carnegie. Led by the twin brothers Mark and Clark Seymour, who both played Baldwin grand pianos and sang lead vocals, Carnegie actually had a major label deal with CBS back in the late 70’s. However, the record company had different ideas of what they wanted the band to sound like, so the bands progressive roots were kept in check for more pop flavored material. Now, many years later, those CBS recordings have basically disappeared from existence, and the only audio material are these bootleg-like live recordings featuring the band playing the way they wanted.

This band actually had a very pleasing sound that combined a number of influences quite successfully. At the forefront are the majestic piano textures of the Seymour brothers, who add a classical twist to each of the songs, much like some of the best moments from the band Renaissance. It’s no surprise to hear that the brothers were originally a nightclub duo, as their voices and piano playing are extremely charismatic. They add a certain amount of pomp and grandeur to the music that recalls the glory days of Queen, but the music at times reaches a complexity level that brings to mind Yes or Gentle Giant. The remainder of the band does a marvelous job as well here, especially guitarist Craig White, whose explosive solos rip with a vengeance, and third keyboard player and younger Seymour, Scot. Scot adds layers of Mellotron as well as some interesting synthesizer lines that complement the lead piano work of his older brothers. Bassist Jack Storts and drummer John Bebbs also contribute solid performances, and the band even has some female backing vocals that add a nice touch. Vocally this band is red hot, and the balance between the lead and backing vocals, even here in a live setting is very powerful and impressive, and on par with what Queen and Styx were doing at the time. Songs like “Storybook Girl” and “Never Give Up” combines majestic and epic progressive rock with a commercial flair, and it’s sad to think that this band never made it big. The closing track “Rock and Roll Symphony”, with it’s driving rhythm and catchy chorus, really could have been a rock anthem in the late 70’s given the right exposure.

As always, Shroom is able to find groundbreaking lost treasures that we can enjoy in the present time, yet wonder why more couldn’t appreciate these gems back in their days of infancy. Despite the sound limitations, this CD is a winner all around.

Added: January 23rd 2002
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Shroom Productions
Hits: 4810
Language: english

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