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Jack Lancaster & Robin Lumley: Peter and the Wolf

Do you remember the children’s classic story Peter and the Wolf? The Russian classical composer Sergei Prokofiev wrote the piece in 1936 after being commissioned by Natalya Sats, the director of the Central Children’s Theatre in Moscow. Over the years there have been many adaptations of this famous story but probably none will have as much interest for progressive music fans as Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley’s rearrangement written in 1975. You may remember Lancaster as the founder of Blodwyn Pig, along with Mick Abrahams in 1968. Lumley is most well known as keyboardist for the ‘70s jazz fusion band Brand X.

Originally, the project was to encompass a movie and musical score but the movie was scrapped and what we were left with was a piece of music that married classical composition with progressive rock, which at the time was not unusual in and of itself. What really makes this special are all the great players found throughout the album including Phil Collins, Garry Moore, Percy Jones, Cozy Powell. Brian Eno, Bill Bruford, Alvin Lee, Manfred Mann, Gary Brooker, and, well, you get the idea. The talent on this album is absolutely enormous. Narrating the album is Viv Stanshall, whom you might remember did a great job on Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.

There are twenty-one tracks, with most running between one and three minutes, the longest being just over five. Narration is used effectively , mostly as a segue way between tracks, setting up the story nicely. Stanshall did an excellent job in this role with his rich and warm voice, quite comforting to the ears. Because the nature of the tunes, short and running together, this is an album that needs to be listened on headphones in one sitting, letting the tracks progress in their proper sequence. A few highlights include the sharp, bluesy tone of Moore’s guitar, Mann’s short but excellent synth solo, the wonderful drumming from Powell and Collins, and Lancaster’s creative violin, often letting it rip on some choice solos.

I think anyone who gravitates towards the heavy rock of the ‘70s, as well as an appreciation for the classic prog at the time, will find Peter and the Wolf highly enjoyable. And special mention must be given to Cherry Red Records for digging this one out of the vaults and giving this timeless music the love and attention it deserves. Recommended!

Track Listing:
1. Introduction
2. Peter’s Theme
3. Bird and Peter
4. Duck Theme
5. Pond
6. Duck and Bird
7. Cat Dance
8. Cat and Duck
9. Grandfather
10. Cat
11. Wolf
12. Wolf and Duck
13. Threnody for a Duck
14. Wolf Stalks
15. Cat in Tree
16. Peter’s Chase
17. Capture of Wolf
18. Hunters
19. Rock and Roll Celebration
20. Duck Escape
21. Final Theme

Added: March 9th 2023
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 122
Language: english

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