Released as ‘Beyond The Beyond’ in 1992, Fantasy’s first edition with inferior artwork sound sold out quickly, it was reissued in 1999 with better results.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: Beyond The Beyond Plus..
LABEL: Audio Archives
SERIAL: AACD 034
CD INFO: Discogs Info
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Paul Lawrence – 12 string guitar, vocals * David Read – bass, double bass, vocals * David Metcalfe – keyboards, clarinet, vocals * Peter James – lead guitar, vocals Jon Webster – drums, vocals * Geoff Whitehorn – lead guitar * Paul Petley – lead vocals * Brian Chattam – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Introduction * 02 Beyond The Beyond * 03 Reality * 04 Alanderie * 05 Afterthought * 06 Worried Man * 07 Just A Dream * 08 Winter Rose * 09 Church Clock * 10 Fire Fire (bonus) * 11 Vacuum (bonus) * 12 Alone (bonus) * 13 Afterthought (bonus, original) * 14 Church Clock (bonus, original)
As the legend goes, this band when they signed their five album deal with Polydor went by the very cool moniker of Firequeen.
And yet a tell tale first sign that luck was not on their side, the execs at Polydor, well aware of London upstarts Queen requested a name change to avoid any confusion and Fantasy was chosen with the label excuse – to better fit the lyrics.
How much stock you wish to put in this well worn tale is up to you, but like the Queen debut, Fantasy’s first and only album ‘Paint A Picture’ released in 1973 remains a masterpiece of British rock.
Melodic and progressive in a very commercial setting, the album should have been huge, but the label after all their meddling failed to capitalize on the band, releasing a lowly single and dropped the promotional ball.
And this is despite Fantasy’s extensive roadwork supporting Genesis, Uriah Heep, Supertramp, Greenslade, Robin Trower and Argent.
Undeterred, Fantasy recorded a second album which was rejected immediately by Polydor for unspecified reasons. My guess is 1974 at the absolute height of Glam rock in the UK, the new recordings sounded like yesterday’s news which was extremely unfortunate with the tapes languishing in a vault until 1990.
Released as ‘Beyond The Beyond’ in 1992 by the Audio Archives label, the first edition with inferior artwork sound sold out quickly. It was reissued in 1999 with better art, cleaner audio and bonus tracks as ‘Beyond The Beyond Plus..’, it’s still difficult to understand how any label could have turned their back on such a creative and confident set of songs.
The first album is too often negatively compared to Cressida, Spring and The Moody Blues.
Despite that, Fantasy show a maturity here which could have put them on an level footing with Genesis and Yes. Guitar is far more prominent anchored by plenty of keyboards and the much loved Mellotron. ‘Alanderie’ and especially the complex and gorgeous ‘Afterthought’ show a band that understood what it meant to be ‘progressive’ in the early 70’s.
The bonus tracks ‘Fire-Fire’, ‘Vacuum’ and ‘Alone’ show a heavier and darker side of Fantasy more akin to Uriah Heep or Czar while the original versions of ‘Afterthought’ and ‘Church Clock’ are superb and in no way redundant.
Truly an excellent release and a must have for any fan of English progressive rock, Audio Archives unleashed another Fantasy CD ‘Vivariatum’ in 1994 which includes the bonus tracks from ‘Beyond The Beyond plus..’, early material from 1970 and apparently a cut or two from a badly timed 1976 reunion.
It’s now long out of print but ‘Paint A Picture’ has been reissued on numerous occasions and ‘Beyond The Beyond Plus..’ is still easy to find from all good progressive rock vendors.
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