Ross - The Pit And The Pendulum

Ross – The Pit And The Pendulum


The second LP by UK band Ross is based on Edgar Allen Poe’s lovely tale of torture during the Spanish Inquisition is an unheralded classic of commercial progressive rock.

Written by: Eric

ALBUM: The Pit And The Pendulum
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Alan Ross – lead vocals, guitar * Bob Jackson – keyboards, ARP synthesizer, lead & backing vocals * Steve Emery – bass, backing vocals * Tony Fernandez – drums * Ruben White – percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Swallow Your Dreams * 02 Gotta Get It Back * 03 Madness In Memories * 04 Standing Alone * 05 Discovery * 06 Now I See * 07 So Slow * 08 The Edge * 09 Nearer And Nearer * 10 Free * 11 I’ve Been Waiting * 12 Oh, I’m Happy Now


Out of the ashes of the short-lived Rigor Mortis, the touring band formed by The Who bassist John Entwistle in 1972, guitarist Alan Ross and keyboard player Bob Jackson (ex Indian Summer) pooled their indisputable talents together and released their first album as Ross in 1973.

I’d be lying if I said that album, despite its phantastic cover art was a prog rock classic. Just a little too funky, a little too sporadic and uninspiring if you ask me, but their second LP based on Edgar Allen Poe’s lovely tale of torture during the Spanish Inquisition is an unheralded classic of commercial progressive rock.

The Songs

While Poe’s ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ was an exercise in fear, there is nothing scary about this album except perhaps the back cover photo of the boys dressed as satanic and rather bored looking monks.

Yes, there are still R&B elements with touches of UK proggy funksters Paladin and Rare Earth‘s white boy groove scattered throughout on tunes like ‘Gotta Get Back’ but this is a far more cohesive work anchored by Bob Jackson’s always tasteful key-wizardry. Particularly on the haunting ‘Standing Alone’ and moments of nicely executed hard prog brilliance on side two’s stunner ‘Discovery’ which features Jackson on lead vocals.

The grand funky and guitar-laced ‘So Slow’ boogies its way into the heavy Wooden Nickel Styx meets Strongbow territory of ‘The Edge’ which is spot on the best thing Ross ever committed to tape and leaving a lasting impression Ross hypothetically could have come up with killer third album, but it was not to be.

In Summary

With big promotion in the States, a coveted appearance on ‘Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert’ and a high-profile tour with Eric Clapton, it looked as if Ross stood a chance although Bob Jackson would have none of it, leaving mid-tour and bringing an untimely end to Ross.

A brief stop-gap and Alan Ross released two incredibly bland albums as the Alan Ross Band while Jackson moved on to Badfinger and The Dodgers. Although Ross have never been given deserved kudos from critics or the prog community at large, both albums have been reissued in Japan on the pricey Air Mail imprint.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Playlist: Ross | The Pit & The Pendulum
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