Pa-Pb

 

Paatos (Sweden): Timeloss (Stockholm 066 147-2, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2002)
Progressive
Petronella Netterrmalm (lead vocals, cello)
Both unashamedly modern and unmistakably Scandinavian, this atmospheric album weds arrangements similar to Anekdoten or to a lesser extent White Willow to elements of trip-hop, free jazz and a sort of noir songwriting style. The result is a record of chilly beauty, with some powerful instrumental textures and some excellent use of Mellotron, even if it feels a little inorganic. As a footnote, ‘Téa’ (also used as the B-side of their non-album single ‘Perception’ from the previous year) is a musical setting of a poem by Turid Lundqvist. GRADE: B–.
Paatos (Sweden): Kallocain (InsideOut 6 93723 01002 1, CD plus DVD, with digipak and booklet, Germany, 2004)
Progressive
Petronella Nettermalm (lead vocals, cello)
On the first track, they sound closer than ever to Anekdoten, but elsewhere this is more conventional than their first album whilst pursuing the same distinct style. Blending influences from alternative rock and trip-hop of the Portishead school, this, like its predecessor, is an interesting and creative album, if not always an engaging one. The initial run came with a bonus DVD featuring four excellent live tracks, plus unusual packaging including a tracing-paper lyric booklet. GRADE: B–.
Paatos (Sweden): Silence Of Another Kind (InsideOut SPV 48962 CD, CD, with digipak and booklet, Germany, 2006)
Progressive
Petronella Nettermalm (lead vocals, cello)
Although ‘Your Misery’ is once again very similar to Portishead, their third album largely drops trip-hop influences for a more rock-based sound. In parts, this is virtually a pastiche of Anekdoten, notwithstanding Petronella Nettermalm’s radically different vocal style; that said, this is their best album to date. GRADE: B–.
Paatos (Sweden): Sensors (Arcàngelo ARC-3018, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, inner, poster booklet and obi, Japan, 2007)
Progressive
Petronella Nettermalm (lead vocals)
Like the DVD accompanying Kallocain, this live album demonstrates that the band’s material works very well on stage. Sensors was also released in Europe, but the lavishly packaged Japanese version should be considered the definitive issue, with two additional tracks totalling more than thirteen minutes. GRADE: B–.
Paatos (Sweden): Breathing (GlassVille, CD, with digipak and booklet, Holland, 2011)
Progressive
Petronella Nettermalm (lead vocals, cello)
Like Silence Of Another Kind, this is very rock-oriented and very Anekdoten-esque, without the trip-hop and free jazz leanings of their earliest work. Overall, this is their best release, with some fine songwriting and well-judged musicianship, although anyone who’s heard Anekdoten’s recent music (or any previous Paatos) should not expect any surprises here. GRADE: B–.
Paatos (Sweden): V (GlassVille GVR009, CD, with digipak and booklet, Czech Republic, 2012)
Progressive
Petronella Nettermalm
Their modus operandi is a little odd this time around: four new songs in their familiar style (though hinting at a growing interest in hard rock and metal), two re-recordings of older songs in an acoustic folk style, and two remixes in an electronica vein. That it all sounds like Paatos – and all sounds excellent – is testament to their talent. What’s more, they don’t resemble Anekdoten much, for a change.

GRADE: B–.

Pacific Eardrum (UK/New Zealand/USA): Pacific Eardrum (Charisma CAS 1133, UK, 1977)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Joy Yates (principal vocals)
Incorporating both Esperanto vocalist Joy Yates and Mormos and Spoils Of War leader James Cuomo, Pacific Eardrum offered pleasant and virtuosic, if not particularly original, jazz-fusion. More than anything, this reminds me of efforts by German contemporaries like Embryo, Release Music Orchestra and Real Ax Band. GRADE: C+.
Pacific Eardrum (UK/New Zealand): Beyond Panic (Charisma CAS 1136, UK, 1978)
Pop/Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Joy Yates (principal vocals)
Their second largely drops the progressive edges for a more commercial blend of pop, rock, jazz, funk, soul and borderline disco influences. It’s all a bit slick and bland, with an over-reliance on mid-paced numbers with catchy choruses on side one; thankfully side two is better, with a few progressive touches creeping back in. GRADE: C.
Pacific Eardrum (New Zealand): Pacific Eardrum (CBS SBP 237519, 1980)
Pop/Jazz/Funk
Joy Yates (lead vocals)
Returning to their native New Zealand, singer Joy Yates and keyboardist Dave MacRae formed a new line-up to cut a third and final album. This drops all their progressive influences for straightforward and highly commercial pop with jazz and funk edges: catchy and well-crafted but utterly vapid. The best cut by far is ‘Listen’, which unites the band with a troupe of Maori singers. GRADE: C–.
See also Esperanto, Jubilation With Joy Yates & The Dave MacRae Beat

Bernard Paganotti (Algeria): Paga (Cream 120, 1985)
Progressive/Jazz/Funk
Maria Popkiewicz (occasional vocals), Carol Rowley (occasional vocals), Kokyu Okumara (occasional vocals), Chizuru Hosoya (occasional vocals), Naoko Paganotti (occasional vocals)
The first solo album by the former Magma (and later Etna) bassist is a mixed bag. A couple of cuts are mediocre pop and jazz/funk distinguished only by his distinctive bass playing, but others are good, if comparatively commercial, zeuhl. Paganotti handles some of the vocals himself, but a number of female singers (including fellow Magma alumnus Maria Popkiewicz) participate as well. GRADE: C+.
See also Pascal Duffard, Etna, Magma, Various ‘Hommage À La Musique De Christian Vander’, ZOU

Pageant (UK): Pageant (Real RR2002, 1975)
Folk
Pat Irving (occasional vocals)
Anyone familisr with engineer Alan Green’s interconnected Folk Heritage, Midas, Westwood and Real labels will know exactly what to expect here. This is nice contemporary folk from a five-piece band accompanying themselves on acoustic guitars, acoustic and electric bass and banjo on versions of songs like ‘Streets Of London’, ‘Turn A Deaf Ear’, ‘New York Gals’ and ‘Dirty Old Town’. It’s all very enjoyable, being well sung, played and recorded, but it’s also pretty generic. GRADE: C+.

Pageant (Japan): La Mosaïque De La Rêverie (Made In Japan MIJ-1005, with insert and obi, 1986)
Progressive
Hiroko Nagai (principal vocals, keyboards)
Closely connected with Mr Sirius (Hiroko Nagai and flautist and second guitarist Kazuhiro Miyatake were members of both bands at this stage), Pageant largely offered typically sumptuous eighties Japanese sympho-prog. On the plus side, they’re a little heavier than most bands in the genre, with a knack for a catchy hook and some nice chunky guitar riffs, peaking on the excellent ‘Echo’. GRADE: C+.
Pageant (Japan): Abysmal Masquerade (Made In Japan MIJ-1015, with insert and obi, 1987)
Progressive/Rock/Metal
Hiroko Nagai (lead vocals, keyboards)
Oddly, their second album consisted largely of reworkings (both live and studio) of material from their first. The sound is a little different, moving them away from sympho-prog towards a chunky, riff-driven hard rock sound. It’s a little cheesy in parts, but it’s superbly done, peaking on an excellent live version of ‘Echo’, interpolated with a segment of Kate Bush’s ‘James And The Cold Gun’. (Nagai clearly liked Bush’s work, as she also covered ‘Babooshka’ with Mr Sirius.) Overall, this is their best LP. GRADE: B–.
Pageant (Japan): The Pay For Dreamer’s Sin (King/Crime 292E 2008, CD, 1989)
Progressive
Hiroko Nagai (lead vocals, keyboards)
Their final album marks a return to a more symphonic sound, with lots of keyboards and some well-judged flute. It’s a charming and very mellifluous set, although also rather derivative and anonymous. GRADE: C+.
Pageant (Japan): Kamen No Egao (Made In Japan ALT-14, CD, with minisleeve, inserts and obi, 2005?, recorded 1986-1988)
Progressive
Hiroko Nagai (lead vocals, keyboards)
Kamen No Egai was originally released as a three-track 12" single (Vice 18EC-5, with insert and obi) featuring an alternate version of an Abysmal Masquerade track plus two exclusive cuts. This reissue adds four rare bonus tracks (one from a multi-artist set and three from promotional flexidiscs) to create a useful compilation. In contrast to their other albums, this disc largely focuses on ballads and material with a folky slant. As a footnote, all three tracks from the original EP were included on the reissue of Abysmal Masquerade (Made In Japan MJC-1008, CD, 1994). GRADE: C+.
See also Final Fantasy, Mr Sirius

Pageant Theatre Company (Australia): Here We Go Round The Prickly Pear (Troubadour Custom Recording TCM-73064, 1972?)
Rock
Ros Spiers (joint lead vocals), Isobelle Gidley (joint lead vocals, piano)
Rather like the Anglo-Manx Barrow Poets, Pageant Theatre Company set poetry (from sources as diverse as TS Eliot, WH Auden, Edgar Allan Poe and Roger McGough) to original music. Like Barrow Poets, they are often overly whimsical, but unlike Barrow Poets the music is firmly rooted in rock, alternating atmospheric piano-based ballads and light guitar-based rockers. Sadly, the cover photograph of a deranged-looking guitarist thrashing his instrument does not reflect the album’s contents, though several cuts are effectively trippy. GRADE: C+.

Pago Pago (West Germany): Downtown Holiday (Vibratone VIB 2003, 1981)
Pop/Funk
Ellen Meier (lead vocals)
This starts off as cheesy pop but with a certain rock strength and charm that makes me like it. Things quickly get worse with the reggae-flavoured ‘Madelaine’ and the bouncy rock and roller ‘Midnite Ska’. Side two continues in the same commercial, schizophrenic vein, with much of the album being as naff as the band logo and cover suggest. GRADE: C–.
See also Alto, Tomorrow’s Gift, Various ‘Love And Peace’

Paidarion (Finland): Hauras Silta (Seacrest SCR - 1003, CD, 2009)
Progressive/Jazz/Rock
Kristina Johnson (joint lead vocals)
Alternating between soft, folky symphonic rock (somewhat recalling eighties Renaissance) and jazzier progressive (with some funk touches as well), this is a good but patchy, sometimes excellent but occasionally frustrating album. The cuts fronted by Kristina Johnson are beautiful if derivative, but some of the male vocal numbers cross the boundary between being melodic and simply cheesy (especially with occasional contributions from a children’s choir). GRADE: C+.
Paidarion (Finland): Behind The Curtains (Seacrest SCR - 1005, CD, 2011)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Elina Hautakoski (principal vocals)
Lacking both the highpoints and lowpoints of its predecessor, this is basically a conventional jazz-fusion album interspersed with a few more symphonic instrumentals. Whilst anyone enjoying the style should find it a pleasant listen, there’s nothing here that you won’t have heard a hundred times before. GRADE: C+.

Paidarion Finlandia Project (Finland/UK/Romania): Two Worlds Encounter (Seacrest SCR - 1014, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, Finland, 2016)
Progressive
Jenny Darren (principal vocals)
My first concern was that this supergroup project – featuring the nucleus of Paidarion joined by Yesterdays mainman Ákos Bogáti-Bokor and British rock veterans Jenny Darren, Kev Moore and Robert Webb – might be unbearably bombastic, as such ventures tend to be. I needn’t have worried: this is pleasant soft rock and light prog that’s melodic, well-played, beautifully sung and completely inconsequential – not to mention entirely different to their last album. GRADE: C+.

Paladyn (West Germany): Die Zeiten Sind Vorbei!? (Crossover Productions CP 0010, with insert, 1979)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Jo Vanderdamm (lead vocals, percussion)
This obscure German band’s sole album offers enjoyable jazzy rock and light prog, with some knotty riffing and tempo changes but also a foot in mainstream rock and new wave. Blues, hard rock and pop influences show up here and there, and at various times this hints at everyone from late Cos to early Shakatak. There’s also a slight theatrical edge to the songs, confirmed by Jo Vanderdamm’s credit for providing ‘pantomime’ onstage. GRADE: C+.

Paley’s Watch (UK/Hungary): November (Plankton PCDN 144, CD, UK, 1994)
Progressive
Marianne Velvárt (principal vocals, guitar)
This concept album is ‘set in the Northern mill town of Bury during the early 1980s, telling the story of the lives of six characters during the month of November’. Unlike most such ventures, this one has genuinely poetic lyrics that deliver real insight into the characters’ lives and motivations, and the results are frequently very poignant. On the downside, the music often feels rather secondary to the lyrics, with a thin, lo-fi sound, although it steadily improves as the album progresses: the overall feel is of a low budget late seventies Pink Floyd, though there are also some classical references and a fondness for reggae rhythms. The other problem is Marianne Velvárt’s strong Hungarian accent, which sits oddly with the subject matter. GRADE: C+.
See also Various ‘Guat-A-Gig Live!’

Palmer Band (West Germany): What’s In Front Of You (Prisma 1C 064-46 044, with inner, 1980)
Rock
Jane Palmer (lead vocals)
From the cover, I expected this to be dumb AOR and hard rock. To a large extent it is, but most of the songs have new wave-ish edges, odd arrangement touches and unusual instrumental breaks that raise this slightly above the norm. I don’t particularly like Palmer’s throaty, very American style of singing, but they’re competent songwriters and even manage to pull off a cod-reggae number with aplomb. GRADE: C+.

Palmer•Coulson (UK): Home (Milk Toes MILKTOES 001, CD, with digipak, 2007)
Folk/Jazz
Hilary Palmer (lead vocals)
Hilary Palmer’s lovely, smoky voice and Tim Coulson’s simple but elegant acoustic guitar work combine with understated bass and percussion to create a lovely late night mood betwixt singer/songwriter, folk and jazz. As a bonus, all the material is self-penned, creating a charming and unassuming set that effectively showcases the duo’s talents. GRADE: C+.
See also Francis Lickerish, Secret Green

Pan (UK): Ology (Big Cat ABB 49 CD, CD, 1993)
Pop/Dance/Psychedelic
Hanna Burchill
I bought this years ago after it was mentioned in a book about modern psychedelic music; however the basic style here is nineties pop/dance, fringing acid-jazz. That said, there are added psychedelic touches aplenty, including snippets of sound effects, floating flute solos and lots of spacy synthesisers and languid grooves, hinting at a far more commercial sidestep from You-era Gong. With dub reggae moments and countercultural lyrics, it’s very much of its time, but it’s notable that they were good songwriters and excellent musicians, so from a musical standpoint I find this thoroughly enjoyable. The same cannot be said for the vocals: Hanna Burchill’s breathy, jazzy and soulful style does nothing for me and has dated just about as badly as the semi-spoken male vocals. The band also issued two cassettes, which I have not encountered, though I suspect this album compiles the bulk of them. GRADE: C+.

Panal (Chile): Panal (IRT ILS-144, 1973)
Latin/Rock/Psychedelic
Denise Corales (joint lead vocals)
Formed by Carlos and Denise Corales, formerly of Aguaturbia and Flaco (which issued one split EP), Panal was a very different beast. The music here is essentially tropicália, offering jazzy Latin versions of traditional folk tunes drenched in fuzz guitar and trippy effects. A fine example of its style, the disc is well worth hearing by anyone who likes early Gal Costa, Mutantes et al. The band broke up shortly after the LP’s release due to General Pinochet’s rise to power, and Carlos and Denise Corales fled to the States. She eventually cut a couple of solo albums, which I have not heard in their entirety (although extracts suggest that they are rather dull commercial blues/rock). GRADE: B–.
See also Aguaturbia

Panama Limited Jug Band (UK): Panama Limited Jug Band (Harvest SHVL 753, 1969)
Jugband
Liz Hanns
The rather psychedelic Hipgnosis cover – depicting the band posing with a banjo and an old-style American railroad car – captures the feel of the music perfectly, as this is quaint country blues and jugband music with a slightly surreal, stoned feel. It’s all well done, with decent singing and musicianship, but how it got a release on the nominally progressive Harvest label is beyond me. GRADE: C.
Panama Limited (UK): Indian Summer (Harvest SHVL 770, 1970)
Folk/Blues
Anne Matthews (joint lead vocals, harpsichord, percussion)
The change of name is revealing – their far superior and second final album drops all the jugband leanings. Instead, it offers swampy country blues and rural folk with a definite Captain Beefheart influence and beautifully judged, mainly acoustic instrumentation, creating a rather sinister, swampy feel. GRADE: C+.

Pancake (West Germany): No Illusions (Blubber Lips BL 809, 1979)
Progressive
Biggi Zmierczak (lead vocals)
This late progressive album isn’t original or distinctive in any way (particularly recalling the big names of German prog like Birth Control and Jane) but it’s consistently excellent from start to finish, with some great guitar work and strong melodies. The CD reissue (Garden Of Delights CD 197, 2012) adds three rough demos from 1980 (from sessions for the band’s aborted fourth LP) and three songs from a 2002 live reunion CDR that I have never managed to track down. Unfortunately there are some severe problems with the sound of the album proper, most notably at the end of track three and on track five, so this version really cannot be recommended. GRADE: B–.

Pandora Snail (Russian Federation): War And Peace (Art Beat AB-CD-12-2014-085, CD, with digibook, slipcase and obi, 2015)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Ulyana Gor (occasional vocals, keyboards)
Limited to 200 numbered copies, this beautifully packaged CD offers accomplished violin-led jazz/rock with a few funky edges and deft, though never ostentatious, playing. The result is a pleasant, unassuming album that should please anyone enjoying the lighter but more rocking end of jazz-fusion. GRADE: C+.

Pandora Snail (Russian Federation): Metamorphosis EP (No label, download, 2016)
Progressive/Dance
Ulyana Gor (keyboards)
If you ever wanted to hear borderline dance remixes – you know, that drifting modern quasi-trip hop style – of several tracks from the War And Peace album, here’s your chance. But whilst this is pleasant enough, with lots of spacy violin, I suspect you didn’t – and neither did I. GRADE: C+.
Pandora Snail (Russian Federation): Live At Babooinumfest (No label, download, 2017)
Jazz/Rock
Ulyana Gor (lead vocals, keyboards)
This live album, comprising entirely new material, marks a return to business as usual for Pandora Snail. Its violin-led instrumental jazz/rock is elegant, virtuosic and sometimes incendiary, but – not uncommonly for the genre – is perhaps a touch lacking in soul, which prevents me from grading it higher despite its exemplary musical quality. GRADE: C+.

Panic Room (UK): Visionary Position (Firefly Music FMCD001, CD, 2008)
Rock/Progressive
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, flute)
This is basically Karnataka under another name, but there’s little musical resemblance (probably because songwriters Ian and Rachel Jones are not present). Much more varied than their former incarnation, this is quite Eastern and psychedelic in parts and folky in others (with Liz Prendergast of Bluehorses adding some violin flourishes here and there). The downside is that at heart they have strong AOR leanings, expressed both through some formulaic power ballads and a fair bit of clichéd, portentous guitar work. It’s a shame, because when they’re not sounding so commercial or so American, this is often a pretty good album and occasionally an excellent one. GRADE: C+.
Panic Room (UK): Satellite (Firefly Music FMCD002-S, double CD, 2010)
Rock/Progressive
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards)
The really striking thing about Panic Room’s second album (and the limited edition EP that came with the first run) is the gulf between their level of craft (excellent) and their level of inspiration (zero). This collection of hard and soft rock songs, which often recalls Helder’s other band Mostly Autumn, is beautifully put together, with some great melodies and riffs, but it’s all so utterly vapid and clichéd: even the tunes sound borrowed. GRADE: C–.
Panic Room (UK): Skin (Cherry Red EANTCD 1006, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2012)
Rock
Annie-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar)
The band’s third album again offers very professional soft and hard rock, with lush arrangements and well-crafted hooks. But once again, it’s all very homogenous and unadventurous, and ultimately rather dull. GRADE: C.
Panic Room (UK): Incarnate (Firefly Music FFMCD006, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2014)
Rock
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica)
Once again, Panic Room offer accomplished melodic rock that’s high on polish but rather low on excitement. Nonetheless there are some decent moments here. In particular, the closing ‘Dust’ is wonderfully intense, hinting at considerable untapped potential. GRADE: C+.

Panic Room (UK): Essence (Firefly Music FFMCD008, CD, 2015)
Folk/Rock
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, flute)
Mostly consisting of re-recordings of older songs in a semi-unplugged style, Essence is a pleasant enough set. The songs are beautifully (re)arranged, electric guitars are used to good effect here and there, and forays into blues and even reggae provide some variety, but the compositions themselves remain solid rather than great. Early copies ordered from the band came with a bonus EP Altitude (Firefly Music FMCD003-EP, with minisleeve). This includes the lengthy ‘I Wonder What’s Keeping My True Love Tonight?’, which is far better than anything on the album proper. GRADE: C+.

Panic Room (UK): Live At The Fleece – Official Bootleg – Set 1 (Firefly Music, download, 2016)
Rock/Progressive
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, percussion, flute)
As on their studio albums, Panic Room live are polished, melodic and pleasant. Unfortunately, just like their studio albums, the music here isn’t particularly exciting, adventurous or progressive. GRADE: C.
Panic Room (UK): Live At The Fleece – Official Bootleg – Set 2 (Firefly Music, download, 2016)
Rock/Progressive
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, percussion, flute)
The short break seems to have revived the band, as this is vastly livelier and more memorable than the first set – in fact, this is the best I’ve ever heard them. Why they chose to release the show in two halves, I’m not certain – my inner cynic says that it’s because they could charge separately for each, but being more charitable maybe it’s so you can buy this one and skip the lukewarm first instalment. GRADE: C+.

Panic Room (UK): Screens – Live In London (Firefly Music FFMDVD001-DL, double DVD, with digipak, 2017)
Rock
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, percussion, flute)
This well-filmed concert represents a decent live document of the band’s work: the first disc also includes an interview and a photo gallery, whilst the second (available only as a very expensive limited edition) features three additional songs, a soundcheck, a lengthy rehearsal and some backstage footage. As for the music: like the interconnected Mostly Autumn at their straightest, Panic Room occasionally do something heavy or proggy that hints at real potential then return to their usual diet of well-crafted, tuneful, mellow and rather unexciting melodic rock. GRADE: C+.

Panic Room (UK): Screens – Live In London (Firefly Music FFMCD009-DL, double CD, with digipak, booklet and slipcase, 2017)
Rock
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, percussion, flute)
Listening to the CD version of the London gig a couple of weeks after watching the DVD, I’m inclined to think I’ve been harsh on Panic Room: their material is more catchy and better crafted than I remembered. However, it isn’t any more exciting, though people with fairly straight tastes in classic melodic rock could certainly do worse. GRADE: C+.

Panic Room (UK): Satellite – The Instrumental Album (Firefly Music, download, 2017, recorded 2010)
Rock/Progressive
Anne-Marie Helder (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals)
The wrinkle of releasing instrumental mixes of albums as paid downloads seems to have become fashionable among a certain type of neoprogressive band – Magenta have tried it too. Whilst their Bandcamp pages notes that ‘the Instrumental Album series gives a fresh insight into the recording proess and the complexities of the Panic Room sound’ and that you can ‘hear guitar lines and keyboard melodies that you may have previously missed sparkle through and gain a new appreciation for the arrangements’, the suspicion remains that this is a good old-fashioned cash grab. On the plus side, I like this a lot more than the vocal version of the album – in fact, it’s very pleasant background music. Whether or not that’s a compliment is, of course, moot. GRADE: C+.
Panic Room (UK): Skin – The Instrumental Album (Firefly Music, download, 2017, recorded 2012)
Rock/Progressive
Anne-Marie Helder (guitar, backing vocals)
Once again, they’re including some bonus material to add value ­– whereas the instrumental version of Satellite added the numbers from Little Satellite, this includes a demo and an alternate mix. And once again, I much prefer the instrumental version of the album. Perhaps they could do me a favour and go instrumental permanently? It would save me some cash and save them from some lukewarm reviews. GRADE: C+.
Panic Room (UK): Incarnate – The Instrumental Album (Firefly Music, download, 2017, recorded 2014)
Rock/Progressive
Anne-Marie Helder (guitar, keyboards, harmonica, backing vocals)
The improvement here over the vocal version is less pronounced – if it exists at all – since the original release was somewhat better than Satellite or Skin. As such, my overriding impression remains: the doomy ‘Dust’ is possibly the best and most atmospheric piece the band have recorded. GRADE: C+.
See also Anne-Marie Helder, Karnataka, Luna Rossa, Mostly Autumn, Parade

Panopticum (Belgium): Reflection (No label, CD, 2004)
Rock/Metal/Progressive
Shari Platteeuw (lead vocals)
The album is certainly well executed, with a good balance of heavy rock and progressive elements, but none of it really sticks in the mind. GRADE: C+.

Panta Rhei (East Germany): Panta Rhei (Amiga 8 55 318, 1973)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Veronika Fischer (joint lead vocals)
Opener ‘Alles Fliesst’ is superb, blending a base of snotty fuzz guitar and bass with manic unrestrained horns; the album never recaptures the same energy or intensity, but this is excellent jazzy prog throughout, with a good range of moods and textures. The CD reissue adds three bonus tracks (annoyingly, mixed in with the album proper rather than being separated out at the beginning or end), all of which also appear on the Die Frühen Jahre LP. GRADE: B–.
Panta Rhei (East Germany): Die Frühen Jahre (Amiga 8 55 820, 1981, originally released 1971-1974)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Veronika Fischer (joint lead vocals)
This compilation of rare tracks features three cuts from the Panta Rhei LP, three non-LP singles or B-sides, two tracks from compilations and the previously unreleased ‘Gib Dir Selber Eine Chance’. This is another fine album, peaking on two cuts fronted by Fischer: the heavy ‘Hier Wie Nebanen’ and the delicate ‘Nachts’ (basically a rewrite of ‘If I Were A Carpenter’, although it’s credited as an original tune). GRADE: B–.
See also Veronika Fischer

Pantokrator (Estonia): Pantokrator 1 (RiTonis C60 31341 006, 1991)
Progressive
Anne Türnpu (joint lead vocals)
This unusual progressive album blends ethnic and high-tech elements, with the instrumentation centred around drums, percussion and throat-style singing. It’s not always brilliant but it’s certainly interesting and from time to time achieves a considerable level of intensity. GRADE: C+.
Pantokraator (Estonia): Tormidesööjad (Pantokrator PKCD 003, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2009)
Rock/Progressive
Triini Taul (backing vocals)
Much straighter than their debut, this mostly consists of delicate ballads and somewhat symphonic rockers, occasionally spiced up by the ethnic and percussive touches that marked their first album. With some decent melodies and some nicely uplifting moods, it’s an enjoyable album if almost completely lacking in ambition. GRADE: C+.

Parade (UK): The Fabric (Nautical NAUTCD004, CD, 2009)
Rock/Progressive/Psychedelic
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Basically two members of Panic Room hooking up with a multi-instrumentalist, with three members of Mostly Autumn guesting here and there. You’d expect it to sound like a cross between those two bands, but because the multi-instrumentalist writes everything, it doesn’t. In fact, although this has far fewer conventional prog elements than either band, it’s ironically more genuinely progressive, with a very varied palate of material, a few folk, new wave and trip-hop elements, and some surprising moments. Particular highpoints of a very solid record include the gorgeous, rather psychedelic ‘High Life’ with its Eastern percussion, the heavier jamming rock of ‘The Dogs’, and the gentle, beautiful closer ‘Ending’. GRADE: C+.
See also Anne-Marie Helder, Karnataka, Luna Rossa, Mostly Autumn, Panic Room

Paradise (West Germany): Paradise (Cain CL 5818, 1981)
Pop/Rock
Maria Osterwiek (joint lead vocals), Veronika Schultz (joint lead vocals)
The first couple of tracks have heavy guitar riffs and sound like a slicker twist on Cannock’s Waiting For The Night. Things quickly get worse, with the album veering from pseudo-funk to sub-Shakatak to mock-Elton John styles, all with naggingly catchy hooklines and the same ultra-polished production. GRADE: D+.

Paradise Square (UK): Never Thought I’d See The Day (No label DER 1078, with inserts, 1974)
Folk
Philippa Johns (occasional vocals), Rashida Qureshi (violin)
More a loose collective than a band, Paradise Square issued their album only as a demo, allegedly in a run of 50 copies. Oddly, the disc blends secular and Christian material, and musically offers downbeat, loner hippie folk in the style of many of the releases on the Holyground label (although some of the Christian tracks are more upbeat, and less effective). The two cuts fronted by female singer Philippa Johns (‘Bird In A Cage’ and ‘Spaces’) are far and away the best, and a whole album with her vocals could have been delightful. The band resurfaced two years later as Cair Paravel, under which guise they released an equally rare and valuable private LP. GRADE: C.

Paragon (Holland): Looking For You (Delta Music Corporation 283092, 1982)
Rock/Progressive
Esther van der Hoorn (joint lead vocals), Judith Mudde (joint lead vocals, percussion)
This pleasant, unassuming album offers melodic hard rock with symphonic and progressive edges. Whilst it’s never outstanding, there are some good riffs and melodies here and few obvious low points (maybe the barroom-flavoured ‘She’s Looking For You’ and the slightly vaudevillian ‘For My Love’). GRADE: C+.
See also Tamalone

Parallel Or 90 Degrees (UK): The Corner Of My Room (Cyclops CYCLUB 004, CD, 1998, recorded 1996)

Progressive
Sam Baine (guitar, keyboards)
Parallel Or 90 Degrees’ first album – recorded before Afterlifecycle but released shortly afterwards in a numbered edition of 501 copies – was recorded by the core duo of Andy Tillison and Sam Baine. The former dominates the proceedings: singing, writing, arranging and producing everything, and he does a decent enough job – this is pleasant if unexceptional song-based neoprogressive with high-tech arrangements. However, the most interesting cut is the 17-minute bonus track ‘A Gap In The Night’, recorded by an embryonic line-up of Tillison, Guy Manning and Hugh Banton. GRADE: C+.
Parallel Or 90 Degrees (UK): Afterlifecycle (Cyclops CYCL 060, CD, 1997)
Progressive
Sam Baine (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals)
Album number two sees them operating as a full band and is a much more mature record, with the material mainly arranged into two long suites. Their sound is muscular, dominated by chunky guitars and soaring Hammond organ, with the whole thing resembling a harder rocking twist on late seventies Pink Floyd. As that description implies, this is not a particularly original or surprising record, and it’s not hugely varied either, but it’s solid and listenable stuff. GRADE: C+.
Parallel Or 90 Degrees (UK): The Time Capsule (Cyclops CYCL 074, CD, 1999)
Progressive
Sam Baine (guitar, keyboards)
The centrepiece here is the 22-minute title suite, which once again is very Pink Floyd-like. Elsewhere the material is slightly different, with more of a singer/songwriter edge, and with most numbers alternating ballad-like verses with soaring electric choruses; the results are melodic and satisfying if understated and slightly anonymous. GRADE: C+.
Parallel Or 90 Degrees (UK): Unbranded (Cyclops CYCL 092, CD, 2000)
Progressive
Sam Baine (keyboards)
With four long songs followed by a 25-minute suite, Unbranded sees the band returning to its original Pink Floyd-cum-hard rock style. There are some nice spacy moments and some pleasant flute passages from guest Martin Orford, with the added bonus of some interesting and intelligent lyrics; as usual, everything is well crafted but a little lacking in excitement. GRADE: C+.
Parallel Or 90 Degrees (UK): More Exotic Ways To Day (Cyclops CYCL 114, CD, 2002)
Rock/Metal/Progressive
Sam Baine (keyboards)
The song titles here are brilliant – ‘Impaled On Railing’, ‘Enbalmed In Acid’, ‘The Heavy Metal Guillotine Approach’ and ‘The One That Sounds Like Tangerine Dream’. The music is a step up too, moving away from their usual Pink Floyd stylings towards a majestic indie and progressive metal hybrid recalling Anekdoten without the Mellotron or a much heavier Radiohead. A few moments of intensity work particularly well, but that’s the problem: there are too few of them, and the album would have been great rather than good with some long instrumental passages. The band subsequently evolved into the Tangent. GRADE: C+.
See also Tangent

Parallèle (Canada): Parallèle (RCA KKL 1-027 4, with inner, 1978)
Folk/Rock
Anne Minville (joint lead vocals, bass)
The cover and title make this sound like a low-budget compilation, but this is actually a studio album by a talented pair of singer/songwriters. The backing for their well-composed material is beautifully judged, with some of the acoustic numbers referencing traditional folk and some of the electric pieces having that typically Québecois breezy, dreamy sound. Overall, this is a charming and delightful little record. GRADE: C+.

Paranormal Family (Hungary): Jam In Copenhagen Vol. 2 (Psychedelic Source, download, 2019)

Psychedelic

Soma Ambrus (joint lead vocals), Zoé Ambrus (joint lead vocals), Kriszti Benus (drums)

Although listed as four separate tracks, this is actually a single 52-minute jam, with Kriszti Benus on drums (rather than keyboards) and two other family members providing the wordless vocals. Whilst the results are pretty freeform, they’re also pretty effective, and fans of guitar-based psych should find this a thoroughly satisfying (if not hugely memorable) trip. GRADE: B–.

See also Forrás Sessions, Lemurian Folk Songs, Pilot Voyager, Psychedelic Source, Red Gem Space Funk, Satorinaut, Sessions With Hisa Shiroma, Various 'Psychedelic Source Records – Finalizing 2020 Compilation'

Parcel Of Rogues & Villagers (UK): Parcel Of Folk (Deroy, with insert, 1974?)
Folk
Eileen Mawson, Sheila Smith
This is a collaborative album split between between two interconnected Lancashire folk bands. Villagers are wholly acapella, whilst Parcel Of Rogues play with sparse acoustic backing. Clearly, they were big fans of Steeleye Span, as the LP includes versions of ‘The Weaver And The Factory Maid’ and ‘Rave On’. It was obviously a low-budget project as the tapes are crudely edited, the labels are generic, the insert’s a home-made photocopy and there’s no sleeve; I’d be surprised if more than 25 were pressed. A copy with a hand-painted sleeve has sold for £499 on eBay, an incredible sum for such a basic and unambitious album. GRADE: C.

Parchment (UK): Light Up The Fire (Pye NSPL 18388, with poster, 1972)
Folk/Rock
Sue McClellan (joint lead vocals, guitar)
This Christian folk/rock trio were perhaps a surprising signing for a major label, but they were much more talented than most of the competition and actually scored a minor hit single with the title track. That cut, along with ‘Zip Bam Boo!’, depicts the band at their jolly, singalong worst; skip those side-openers and you’re left with a fine album, alternating delicate acoustic folk and well-crafted mellow soft rock. The highpoints for most people will be the eerie, psychedelic ‘Son Of God’, with its electronically treated vocals, the Eastern-tinged ‘Love Is Come Again’ and the Magic Carpet-like ‘Roundabout’, any of which would fit perfectly on a top dollar acid-folk private pressing. GRADE: C+.
Parchment (UK): Hollywood Sunset (Pye NSPL 18409, 1973)
Pop/Folk
Sue McClellan (joint lead vocals, guitar)
Album number two is nowhere near as good as its predecessor, with the experimental edges being abandoned. The songs themselves are competent enough, if sometimes overly whimsical, but the heavy-handed arrangements, including strings on nearly every cut, move their sound close to the MOR pop of contemporaries like the New Seekers. Despite some fairly desperate attempts to be commercial, the album sold poorly and Parchment retreated to their natural habitat of specialist Christian labels. GRADE: C.
Parchment (UK): Shamblejam (Myrrh MYR 1028, with inner, 1975)
Folk/Rock
Sue McClellan (joint lead vocals, guitar)
The move away from Pye seemed to suit the band, as this has none of the overbearing orchestrations or desperate attempts to write a hit that characterised Hollywood Sunset. Although it never equals the finest moments on their debut, it’s their best album overall, with a procession of well-written and sensitively arranged songs, featuring some superb guitar work from Mo Witham. There’s also an excellent cover of Judee Sill’s ‘My Man On Love’ and an attractively nostalgic gatefold sleeve to complete the deal.. GRADE: C+.
Parchment (UK): Rehearsal For A Reunion (Pilgrim/Grapevine 106, with insert, 1977)
Folk/Rock
Sue McClellan (joint lead vocals, guitar)
The unwelcome orchestrations are back, though this isn’t as self-consciously commercial as Hollywood Sunset. The two vaudevillian singalongs (‘Glory Shone Around’ and ‘Jesus On The Mainline’) are predictably irritating, but the closing remake of ‘Light Up The Fire’ is better than the original, whilst all the rest is solid folk/rock. They’re still capable of writing lovely songs (notably ‘Talking To You’) but overall this is a step down from Shamblejam, though a perfectly listenable end to their career. GRADE: C+.
See also Fresh Air

Pareidolon (Canada): Aporía (No label, CD, 2017)
Progressive
Brittany Keller (joint lead vocals), Ashley Pearce (guitar), Anna Backus (keyboards)
With some crunchy riffs and a near-pop sensibility on a few cuts, this is a varied and enjoyable album of progressive rock. There’s nothing life-changing or particularly innovative here, but Pareidolon succeed in delivering the odd surprise, adding up to a promising debut, even if some of the lyrics are a touch trite. GRADE: C+.

Pareidolon (Canada): Lunar Sea EP (No label, download, 2019)
Progressive
Brittany Keller (joint lead vocals), Ashley Pearce (guitar, backing vocals)
The band’s second release couples an excellent 8½-minute cover of Camel’s ‘Lunar Sea’ with the five-minute original ‘Return To Earth’. This isn’t in quite the same league as the Camel instrumental, though it’s more than decent; it also maintains the album’s odd foible of mixing the vocals very low, even though the overall sound quality is excellent. GRADE: C+.

Paris (USA): Paris (Wes Bad, 1984)
Rock
Trudy Boli (lead vocals, vibraphone)
Not to be confused with the Bob Welch-fronted outfit of the same name, this Paris offered AOR and light hard rock similar to Pat Benatar or contemporary Heart. Despite some catchy material, the songs don’t sound particularly commercial, and despite instrumentation including Taurus pedals, synthesisers and vibraphone this doesn’t have any progressive or fusion leanings. Trudy Boli was very much the band’s driving force, writing or co-writing seven of the nine songs. GRADE: C.

Parke (UK): Parke (Folk Heritage FHR018S, 1971)
Folk
Julie Jenkin
Among the rarest Folk Heritage releases, the first Parke album is also among the most enjoyable. It’s fairly traditional folk for the most part, but with very varied arrangements, including some unusual instrumentation and strong hints of Pentangle. GRADE: C+.
Parke (UK): Joy, Health, Love And Peace (Folk Heritage FHR028, 1972)
Folk
Julie Jenkin (joint lead vocals)
The back cover states that ‘with the addition of a new member and an influx of new material, Parke have progressed towards a tighter and more harmonic sound – their vocal performance has expanded significantly’. The material is indeed more eclectic, mostly swapping traditional for contemporary folk, and there’s even a self-penned song, but whilst this is pleasant enough it doesn’t equal the highpoints of their first. In classic Folk Heritage tradition, both the front and back photographs depict the band in a pub. GRADE: C+.

Parnass (West Germany): Keine Zukunft? (A-Band-Land ST 33, with insert, 1981)
Progressive/New Wave/Reggae
E Naidenow (lead vocals)
This obscure album often resembles Cos circa Swiss Chalet, offering a similar mix of progressive, white reggae and new wave influences. There’s also some complexity and experimentation here, especially on the much weirder and more creative side two, and an overarching concept regarding the Greek Muses. By crossing genres in this way, Parnass probably won’t impress either prog or new wave purists, but this is certainly an interesting piece of work. GRADE: B–.

Emmanuelle Parrenin, Phil Fromont & Claude Lefèbvre (France): Château Dans Les Nuages (Cezame CEZ 1016, 1976)
Folk/Psychedelic
Emmanuelle Parrenin (lead vocals, vielle, épinette des Vosges)
Like Parrenin’s earlier work, this is rooted in French traditional folk; unlike her earlier work, everything is self-penned, with the writing split between herself and husband Phil Fromont. Also unlike her earlier LPs, subtle psychedelic influences creep in here and there, most notably the tablas on the eerie ‘La Sirène’ and the electronically treated bagpipes on ‘Taffetas’. However, the highpoint is the utterly gorgeous ‘Ballade En Fôret’, on which they resemble a French answer to Folkal Point. GRADE: C+.
Emmanuelle Parrenin (France): Maison Rose (Ballon Noir BAL 13001, 1977)
Folk/Psychedelic
Emmanuelle Parrenin (lead vocals, percussion, dulcimer, vielle, épinette des Vosges)
Parrenin’s solo debut (which really is solo, with other musicians appearing on only two tracks) builds on the more psychedelic, ethereal edge of Château Dans Les Nuages and adds a few mildly experimental edges. Most of the material is self-penned, although there’s a gentle, beautiful cover of Jean-Claude Vannier’s ‘Plume Blanche, Plume Noire’. However, the best-known cut is the extraordinary seven-minute ‘Topaze’, which adds electronics and elements of musique concrète to remarkable effect. GRADE: B–.
Emmanuelle Parrenin (France): Maison Cube (Disques Bien BIEN#12, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and poster booklet, 2011)
Folk/Psychedelic
Emmanuelle Parrenin (lead vocals, harp, sanza, vielle, épinette des Vosges)
As the title suggests, Parrenin’s first return to recording since the seventies is intended as a thematic follow-up to Maison Rose. It’s an equally interesting record, taking tranquil self-penned folk songs as its base but adding electronics, world music elements, avant-garde diversions and even occasional touches of trip-hop to create an unusual, minimalist and constantly changing mood. The result is a genuinely remarkable return from the wilderness. GRADE: B–.

Emmanuelle Parrenin (France): Pérélandra (Souffle Continue FFL025, green vinyl, 2017, recorded 1978-1982)
Folk/Avant-Garde
Emmanuelle Parrenin (lead vocals, spinet, percussion, dulcimer, vielle)
This collection of unreleased recordings from the late seventies and early eighties (with Gong’s Didier Malherbe appearing on several cuts) focuses on the most experimental end of Parrenin’s repertoire. Largely instrumental, it mixes haunting world music jams with drones and electroacoustic treatments, resulting in an album that fringes new age and hints towards Popol Vuh, whilst remaining intriguing and unsettling. GRADE: C+.
Emmanuelle Parrenin, Eat Gas & Etienne Jaunet (France): Volturnus/Balaguère (Besides BRLP06, 2017)
Folk/Psychedelic
Emannuelle Parrenin (lead vocals, harp, hurdy-gurdy)
Featuring two side-long improvisations of 13 and 17 minutes, this intriguing album melds folk, new age, avant-garde, psychedelic and progressive influences in differing combinations. The results are dreamlike, epic, tripped-out and frequently quite bizarre, often hinting towards Krautrock rather than the French folk tradition. GRADE: C+.

Christiane Bopp, Jean-Marc Fossat & Emmanuelle Parrenin (France): Nature Still (Fou FR-CD 40, with gatefold minisleeve, 2018)
Avant-Garde
Emmanuelle Parrenin (joint lead vocals, vielle), Christiane Bopp (joint lead vocals, trombone)
Emmanuelle Parrenin has certainly had a remarkably diverse musical career: here she eschews folk (even of the most experimental kind) for pure avant-gardism. Fringing free-jazz, this offers a series of lengthy, minimalistic improvisations for synthesiser, trombone and vielle, with diversions into Ligeti-like vocal sections, and could divide opinion sharply. To these ears, it’s well above-average for what it is, bolstered by an excellent recording, but it’s inevitably quite ponderous in parts and is never going to figure among my favourites. GRADE: C+.

Parrenin/Weinrich (France & Germany): Jours De Grève (Versatile VERLP41, some autographed, France, 2021)
Folk/World Music/Avant-Garde
Emmanuelle Parrenin
Ever unpredictable, Emmanuelle Parrenin here blends her singing and traditional instruments with the electronica of Detlef Weinrich on eight varied tracks. Drawing on jazz, world music and more, the music here is restless, exploratory and atmospheric, with some fascinating moments. But intriguingly odd as this is, it’s once again never going to figure among my favourite Parrenin albums. GRADE: C+.
See also Chants À Répondre Et À Danser, Confrèrie Des Fous, Phil & Emmanuelle Fromont, Galant Noyé, Gentiane, Yvon Guilcher

Parthenon (Venezuela): Mare Tenebris (Luna Negra CDLN-30, CD, Mexico, 2005)
Progressive
Marta Segura (lead vocals)
Parthenon was founded in the late seventies by keyboardist Robert Santamaría, but broke up in 1981, with Santamaría going on to found the far superior Amarok. In 2004, Parthenon reformed to cut this one-off album, bolstered by some previously unreleased male vocal bonus tracks from 1980 and 1981. Although mostly instrumental, Mare Tenebris appears to be a concept album, with rather pretentious lyrics about philosophy and the environment. Its busy, dramatic, keyboard-led progressive sound isn’t at all to my taste and is far removed from Santamaría and Segura’s work with Amarok. The disc was quite unusually packaged, with an undersized tray card and booklet. GRADE: C.
See also Amarok, Dafnia

Parzivals Eye (Germany/UK): Fragments (Red Farm 47110815-22, CD, Germany, 2009)
Rock/Progressive
Christina Murphy (joint lead vocals)
Led by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Postl, this German band offers pleasant melodic rock and neoprogressive. Postl is a more consistent composer than Murphy’s usual collaborator Rob Reed, so whilst this is pretty unadventurous stuff it contains some undeniably good tunes, making for an enjoyable listen. GRADE: C+.

Parzivals Eye (Germany/UK): Defragments (Gentle Art Of Music GAOM 037, CD, with digipak and poster booklet, Germany, 2015)
Rock/Progressive
Christina Murphy (joint lead vocals)
Their second album confirms my impression that this is my favourite of Christina Murphy’s projects (though she does very little here, merely fronting the two cover versions). The band’s brand of melodic seventies guitar rock and neoprogressive is as far from the cutting edge as it’s possible to get, but unlike Magenta they produce some decent hooks – and they’re not pretentious. GRADE: C+.
See also Christina, Magenta, Trippa

Passover (Italy): Passover (Ma.Ra.Cash AML001, CD, 2007)
Progressive
Ellen Garfield (joint lead vocals)
Covering a variety of Yiddish songs in a symphonic progressive style might not sound a great idea on paper. But this Italian band does it superbly, and the result is one of the better albums of 2007. GRADE: B–.
Passover (Italy): Sacrifice (Ma.Ra.Cash MRC 020, CD, 2010)
Progressive
Ellen Garfield (lead vocals)
The first half is self-penned and tells the story of Abraham – this is all very one-paced, being stately synthesiser-led prog that quickly becomes boring. The second half is covers of Jewish material, and mostly comprises piano-led ballads. These tracks are considerably better and more memorable, but overall this is far weaker than their debut. GRADE: C+.

Patchwork (USA): Patchwork (RCA LSP 4711, 1972)
Country/Rock
Kitty Appling (joint lead vocals)
The sleevenotes describe their album as ‘a musical array of country/rock, ballads and country baroque tunes’. If that makes you expect music so laid-back it’s nearly narcoleptic, you’re correct; whilst never breaking any boundaries and rarely catching the ear, this is pleasingly mellow stuff that should satisfy anyone liking Crosby, Stills & Nash et al. GRADE: C+.

Patchy Fogg (UK): Today’s Weather (Acorn CF254, 1975)
Folk
Sue Wilson (joint lead vocals), Bett McNiff (joint lead vocals)
This was released on the same label as Oberon, but is more comparable to bands like Galley or Gallery. A delicate version of ‘Scarborough Fair’ is especially enjoyable, but there are a number of well-judged, sensitive versions of traditional folk tunes. On the downside, their cover of Parchment’s ‘Light Up The Fire’ is pointless, and one of two or three tracks displaying a Christian lyrical influence and cabaret tendencies in the music. These songs significantly break the flow of an otherwise reasonably accomplished album. GRADE: C+.

Pattern (UK): Pattern (Pattern 001, 1975?)
Folk
Sarah Beard (joint lead vocals), Jane Nickolls (joint lead vocals), Jenny Beard (joint lead vocals, guitar), Sara Nickolls (joint lead vocals, guitar)
Only a handful of copies have resurfaced of this album, which was cut by an all-female quartet and comes in a striking brown-and-cream sleeve. Judging by the vocals, the members were probably aged around fifteen or sixteen at the time of the recording, and the disc may well have been a school project. Musically it’s very similar to Reality From Dream and Spinning Jenny, with the material made up of traditional songs and folk club covers. Some tracks additionally have a religious slant. GRADE: C+.

Brenda Patterson (USA): Keep On Keepin’ On (Epic BN 26501, 1970)
Blues/Rock
Brenda Patterson (lead vocals)
Backed by Redbone, Patterson turns in a solid album of R&B and soulful rock fronted by her powerful, unusual voice. None of the material is self-penned. GRADE: C.
Brenda Patterson (USA): Brenda Patterson (Playboy PB-109, 1973)
Blues/Rock
Brenda Patterson (lead vocals, percussion)
This is probably her best album: slow, spare and bluesy, and with the singer in fine voice (in fact, she often resembles a gruffer Maggie Bell). The list of backing musicians is pretty impressive too, including some of the West Coast’s finest (Ry Cooder, Wayne Perkins, Chris Ethridge, John Barbata, Clarence McDonald, Wilton Felder, Carol Kaye, John Kahn et al). Once again, nothing is self-penned, although Patterson did arrange and produce her cover of The Bee Gees’ ‘Bury Me Down By The River’. GRADE: C+.
Brenda Patterson (USA): Like Good Wine (DiscReet DS 2211, 1974)
Pop/MOR
Softer and more commercial than her earlier work, this alternates soulful pop and orchestrated ballads in a style similar to Elkie Brooks’s late seventies and early eighties recordings. However, despite somewhat resembling her vocally, Patterson has little of Brooks’s flair for making diverse material her own, so this is a pretty nondescript record. GRADE: C–.
See also Alabama State Troopers, Coon Elder Band Featuring Brenda Patterson

Pattersons (Ireland): Again! (CBS M 63532, UK, 1969)
Folk/Pop
Christine Patterson, Dorothy Patterson
Like the later I Can Fly, this is mostly a charming folk/pop set with lush, pleasant versions of ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘Come By The Hills’ and ‘Montego Bay’. I could have done without a couple of loungier, countrified numbers, however. GRADE: C.
Pattersons (Ireland): I Can Fly (CBS 64064, UK, 1970?)
Folk/Pop
Christine Patterson
On paper, this doesn’t sound too appealing, offering rather MOR orchestrated renditions of standards like ‘Durham Town’, ‘Both Sides Now’, ‘59th Street Bridge Song’ and ‘The Sound Of Silence’. But it’s beautifully done, with a charming baroque edge and remarkable joie de vivre, creating a delightful Swingin’ London folk/pop LP and a period piece par excellence. That said, for the first half of side two they up the lounge and novelty quotient, and ‘What Would You Do?’ in particular is downright annoying. GRADE: C.

Tuema Pattie (UK): Irish Airs (Oak RG 1717, 1971)
Classical/Folk
More light opera than folk, Irish Airs sees Pattie performing a variety of Irish songs in a light classical style with piano backing. This has sold for big money, but only because of the cachet of the label. GRADE: E.

Anne Lee Patton (USA): Plays The Harp And Sings (No label 1001, 1966?
Classical/Lounge/’Incredibly Strange Music’
Anne Lee Patton (lead vocals, harp)
This private pressing has attracted some interest from ‘real people’ collectors and is a relatively pricy item. They’re presumably attracted by the front cover, which depicts Ms Patton – a lady of Indian descent in very late middle age – looking slightly demented, as the music, mixing solo harp with formal vocals (though about half is instrumental) is only marginally odd. Nonetheless, it’s a pleasant and unusual set, particularly in view of the evocative sleeve. My own copy comes with a programme for one of her performances, at which this must have been purchased. GRADE: C+.

Paul & Georgia (USA): The Paul And Georgia Album (No label, CD, 2004, recorded 1968-1976)
Folk/Rock
Georgia Pulos (joint lead vocals)
Paul Ferrara and Georgia Pulos were associates of Jim Morrison (who used their excellent song ‘Bald Mountain’ in his film ‘HWY’) and had one of their songs considered for use by Janis Joplin, but never issued an album in their musical lifetime. This worthwhile archive release features 16 recordings from between 1968 and 1976, all in excellent sound quality. Mostly they’re acoustic hippie-folk with occasional country tinges and an outdoors vibe, but some cuts have full band backing; the opening ‘Hopi’ (one of two numbers on which they’re backed by the Doors) is probably the best thing on offer. GRADE: C+.

Ian Paulin & Glebe Hotel (Tasmania): Invitation (Candle CFPS 063, 1975)
Folk/Rock
Sarah Bucannon (backing vocals), Bronwyn (backing vocals), Joy (backing vocals)
Although a large number of musicians are credited and pictured in the inner gatefold, this is very much Ian Paulin’s album, as he wrote and sang everything. Musically, it’s introspective singer/songwriter far with nice mixed acoustic and electric backing, some well-judged rock moments and a few psychedelic and progressive touches typical of the era. However, the full-blown spacy prog of ‘Dreams’ takes the album into quite different territory, and this is by far the best cut. GRADE: C+.
Ian Paulin & The Glebe Hotel Band (Tasmania): All (Candle CFPS 070, 1975)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Kaye Wilkinson (percussion, backing vocals)
For their second and final album, Glebe Hotel were a more defined four-piece backing band, offering a tauter and more rocking sound. The slight progressive edges of the first LP are also much more emphasised here, with four songs exceeding seven minutes, making for a more substantial listen. GRADE: C+.

Pazzo Fanfano Di Musica (Japan): Pazzo Fanfano Di Musica (King/Crime 292E-2081, CD, with poster booklet, 1989)
Progressive
Megumi Tokuhisa (lead vocals), Kyoko Sugimoto (keyboards)
This supergroup project involved musicians from a number of eighties Japanese prog bands, including Megumi Tokuhisa from Teru’s Symphonia and Kazuhiro Miyatake of Mr Sirius. Musically, it’s a tribute to seventies Italian neoclassical prog, as the title and artwork suggest, and offers refined and delicate chamber music with a few RIO-like moments of rock, owing a heavy debt to Opus Avantra. The result is an excellent album that ironically outclasses just about everything else its participants ever did. GRADE: B–.
See also Teru’s Symphonia, Megumi Tokuhisa

PB II (Holland): Rocket – The Dreams Of Wubbo Ockels (Heartselling PBII 604954, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2017)
Rock/Progressive
Nathalie Mees (occasional vocals)

Wubbo Ockels was the first Dutchman in space, so this album has a fascinating backstory, and the artwork is excellent. However, if that concept makes you expect some kind of thrilling space-rock, think again: this is at the straightest end of song-based neoprogressive, with a procession of mid-paced songs featuring zero experimentation. To give credit where due, it’s all very nicely crafted, but it’s a great pity that the late Mr Ockels and his unique story were not commemorated by an album a great deal more inspiring than this. GRADE: C+.