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Valentyne Suite
Valentyne Suite
Genres: Jazz, New Age, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1

Digitally remastered reissue of the progressive rock act's second album, originally released on Vertigo in 1969. Features the original cover art & all eight of the original tracks, including the legendary 'Elegy', which is...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Colosseum
Title: Valentyne Suite
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sanctuary UK
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 11/20/2006
Album Type: Import
Genres: Jazz, New Age, Pop, Rock
Styles: Blues Rock, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1


Album Description
Digitally remastered reissue of the progressive rock act's second album, originally released on Vertigo in 1969. Features the original cover art & all eight of the original tracks, including the legendary 'Elegy', which is widely regarded the best recording they ever made. 1998 Essential/ Castle release.

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CD Reviews

William R. Nicholas | Mahwah, NJ USA | 05/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ok, first the confusing part. I have this album on vynyl, issued by ABC Dunhil in 1969. The album is called "for those about to die," another album by this band , and it is very unclear as to which album is which. I know Vertigo had a lot of distribution deals with a lot of U.S. labals, but in this case, it is really a puzzle as to how these were issued.

But the music is great. It is very hard-edged blues rock, but absolutely infected with jazz. "The Kettle," is based on a nasty Cream-like riff, and rocks like a bulldozer. "Elegy" is jazzier, but has the same blistering guitar work as the first track. Throughout, the band takes blues, adds all kinds of unpredictable chord subtitutons, which gives the music a sharp, suprising edge.

The guys in this band were all jazz musicans, but they had worked with John Mayall, and had a deep, instinctive understanding for the FEEL, not just the form of the blues. The hybrid is increadablely powerful. This is music that is impossible not to like."
Exciting example of the proto-progressive style
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 05/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This remastered 2-disc set by Sanctuary includes the excellent Valentyne Suite (1969) (Disc 1) and the US release of the album The Grass is Greener (1970) (Disc 2). This set is not too shabby and features good sound quality, liner notes that may be of interest to folks not familiar with the group, and tiny photos of the group.

Valentyne Suite (****½)

This 1969 release presents a very exciting mixture of classical, heavy British blues rock, jazz and psychedelic rock, and demonstrates how the psychedelic groups were becoming more sophisticated, especially in terms of the level of musicianship. Unfortunately, this album and group seem to have fallen through the cracks, which is too bad - this is a pretty good example of the proto-progressive style and its influences turn up on some of the debut albums by the English progressive acts.

The lineup includes bandleader and virtuoso drummer/percussionist Jon Hiseman, Tony Reeves (bass guitar), Dave Greenslade (organ, vibes), Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophones), and James Litherland (electric guitar, lead vocals). While some of the psychedelic outfits active at the time had great drummers, Jon Hiseman really raised the bar. Dave Greenslade was no slouch either and his organ playing is impressive throughout. Lastly, Dick Heckstall-Smith was a very jazzy player and borrowed the technique of playing two saxophones at once from jazzer Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

The album is split between four shorter tracks and the lengthy Valentyne Suite (it clocks in at a little over 16 minutes). While I enjoy the shorter tracks, which blend aspects of heavy British blues rock, jazz, and psychedelic rock together, it is the three part suite that really holds my interest. The suite is actually pretty cohesive and my favorite parts include the haunting, classically influenced passages, which feature some great Hammond organ work by Dave Greenslade. He really used the organ to its fullest extent on the suite and could make it alternately growl and sound like a pipe organ. Overall, this is a thrilling and early example of the multi-movement suite.

The two bonus tracks on Disc 1 are OK and were recorded live on the Top Gear show.

The Grass is Greener (***)

Released shortly after The Valentyne Suite, The Grass is Greener includes a few tracks from the Valentyne Suite and tracks written with new member guitarist/vocalist Dave Clempson (the lineup was the same, with this single exception). While the album is not bad overall, and presents a nice blend of jazz, psychedelic rock and heavy British blues, I have to admit that I was not completely bowled over - it is much heavier and the "artiness" that made the Valentyne Suite album so enjoyable is not present. While the new tracks are not too bad, Bolero does not work well at all from a composition perspective. I also feel that breaking up the three "movement" Valentyne Suite was not such a hot idea - as it appears on the album, The Grass is Greener (third "movement") just seems to hang in space. Overall, while there are some cool moments here and there, along with some decent playing, this album is neither as cohesive, nor imaginative as the Valentyne Suite.

All in all, the Valentyne Suite is an exciting listen and might be considered a good example of the proto-progressive style. For those folks that are interested, the offshoot projects including Greenslade (Dave Greenslade and Tony Reeves) and Colosseum II (Jon Hiseman) are also good and worth checking out."