Simply put, Wally’s debut is one of the more beautiful and sublime prog rock albums I have come across.
Written by: Eric
SERIAL: K50051 (UK), SD 18115 (USA)
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Roy Webber – lead vocals, acoustic guitar * Pete Cosker – electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, bass * Paul Gerrett – fender rhodes, harmonium, grand piano, harpsichord, mellotron, hammond organ, vocals * Paul Middleton – steel guitar, bass * Roger Narraway – percussion * Pete Sage – electric violin, bass, mandolin
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Martyr * 02 I Just Wanna Be A Cowboy * 03 What To Do * 04 Sunday Walking Lady * 05 To The Urban Man * 06 Your Own Way
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Funny how some progressive rock web sites act as if they are the encyclopedic beginning and end of the genre don’t even bother listing Wally in their databases and is just another example of a scene that by its very nature is miles away from reality, too wrapped up in what’s ‘progressive’, what isn’t etc.
It’s enough to make this long time fan throw away his Genesis t-shirt and never look back, but then again it’s albums like the Wally debut that brought me to the scene in the first place, so.. Wally hailed from the northern England town of Harrogate, playing the bars and clubs.
Upon entering a ‘Melody Maker’ competition in London where they ended up losing to Druid, a band closer to Yes in style than Starcastle could ever hope to. But all was not lost and coming to the attention of legendary DJ Bob Harris, Wally landed a contract with Atlantic followed by several tours in the UK, Europe and even the U.S., but split in 1976 after a second album ‘Valley Gardens’ failed to chart.
Simply put, this is one of the more beautiful and sublime prog rock albums I have come across. Produced by both Harris and the venerable Rick Wakeman, the music of Wally is never bombastic.
Like Starcastle, Wally borrowed from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for an interesting mixture of both English and American styles and with the use of electric violin, Kansas comparisons are valid as well, minus their heavy rock and blues tendencies.
My favourite track on here is the thirteen minute plus ‘To The Urban Man’ featuring gorgeous mellotron and violin interplay. But each track here has something to offer including the closing track ‘Your Own Way’ which is a stunning combination of Poco and Derek & The Dominos and all the more reason to own a copy of this unheralded gem.
Following the break-up of Wally, no one in the band really went onto other projects of mention although the keyboard player on their second album Nick Glennie Smith spent some time with Roger Waters.
Again, Wally’s debut is a must have for anyone into melodic progressive rock and while I am not sure if it’s ever been officially released on CD (yes, see above.. Ed), an LP copy or download shouldn’t be too difficult to locate.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)