Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
At The Sound of the Bell
Genres: Pop, Rock
The Debut Album from the 70's Progressive Hard Rockers from St. Louis, featuring Lead Singer David Surkamp, Whose High Pitched Vocals Often Prompted Comparisons to Rush. Their Approach to Music was Much More Organic Than R... more »
The Debut Album from the 70's Progressive Hard Rockers from St. Louis, featuring Lead Singer David Surkamp, Whose High Pitched Vocals Often Prompted Comparisons to Rush. Their Approach to Music was Much More Organic Than Rush and the Core Audience that Discovers and Rediscovers this Material Every Year is in for a Blazing Rock Treat.
A Hidden/Little-Known Rock Classic!
Dr. Of Style | Saginaw, MI | 12/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Greetings, all! Thanks for taking the time to read my review.
To me, this album is more than just a 'rock classic,' it is one of my favorite all-time recodings ever! And, trust me folks, I rarely dish our such superlatives. Many times, as we all know, albums by groups will contain one, or maybe just a few good/great songs, and that's it. Not here--this entire album is wonderful!
I don't like categorizing things, especially music, but a combination, really, of progressive rock, jazz, mainstream rock, ballads, pop, and even top forty is present here. But, in reality, none of that matters. What this is, simply put, is GREAT music! The tunes, all of them, are clever, beautiful, honest, and downright pretty! I bought this album when it came out in 1976, having already owned the group's first effort, the rocking PAMPERED MENIAL. The imapct and magnitude of its beauty, however, didn't hit me until some years later. Perhaps I was just to stupid or confounded at the time to appreciate it, but, after being away from it for many years, it came back to me like a long-lost best friend! I remember crying the first time I listened to it the second time around! It still makes me cry to this day! That's how very beautiful this recording is. Even more, to me personally, it is prophetic, even scary! The wonderful, epic tune "Did You See Him Cry" hit me like a truckload of bricks, for I had (bewteen listening in the 70's and redicovery in the 90's) lived and experienced what this wonderful song is all about. It touches my heart and makes me ever-recognize my humanity now, and my apparent lack of humanity in the 80's. For I saw and experienced the gentleman this song sings about.
How this album could be anything but great, is beyond reproach. I remember a review in the seventies (right before this album came out) which described David Surkamp as sounding like a 'choirboy on speed.' More acurately, he sounds closer to Rush's Geddy Lee. But, after many listens, one will see that David really is quite a bit different, and even better (IMHO) than Geddy Lee!
The cast of musicians assembled here is phenomenal: drummer Bill Bruford (the original YES drummer); the wonderful and soulful sax of Michael Brecker; saxman Andy Mackay (an original member of Roxy Music); and band regular, guitarist Stephen Scorfina (the original guitarist with REO Speedwagon). And let me tell you, folks, these cats rock! I hear something new every time I listen to this album--and I've listened to it hundreds and hundreds of times! Listen, especially, to Mr. Bruford's drumming on "Did You See Him Cry." I think only Bill could give this effort--no one else. Phenominal Bill, just amazing! Thanks!
All in all, each and every song on this album is great! I don't think I own one other album about which I can say this! The music here is wonderful; the lyrics are witty, crafty, artful, and beautiful. The way the songs are arranged (order-wise, I mean) is terrific, and more effective than I've ever heard. This album is truly one of those so-called Island Classics, for me.
We've all heard of the oft-used, and over-used term "Rock Classic," well, this one, IMHO, should be at the top of any such list. In fact, (and I have been a rocker since the 60's) this is one of my favorite albums of all time, without question!
Thank you to David Surkamp, Douglas Rayburn, et. al., for such a wonderful, personally fulfilling, prophetic, and beautiful album. I could never thank you guys enough!
Rock On, Kids,
Pampered Menial / At The Sound Of the Bell
Stargazer | St.Kilda, Victoria Australia | 03/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When we first heard Pampered Menial back in the wondrous 70's, we were blown away. Who Is this Group ? Where Are They From ? How Come We'd Never Heard Them Before ? Who is that Incredible Lead Singer ? Is that a man singing, or a woman. It's David Surkamp !
The music of Pavlov's Dog is soulful, searching, poignant and incredibly beautiful. No-one else sounds like them - they are truly unique.
Listen to the haunting "Julia", a beautiful song indeed. Then try She Came Shining on At The Sound of the Bell, wonderful, pure soulsearching music.
And what an indictment on radio stations around the world that they did not play this talented, unique, group of musicians,or give them the on-air time they deserved."
Wayne Dawson | New Zealand | 10/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At The Sound Of the Bell was the second release from this astonishing band that popped up in the mid 1970's and just as quickly disappeared. David Surkamp's lead vocals carry emotional upper register intensity that pierce the ether like the eye of a storm but he doesn't stand alone, this muster of musicians lay down some of the most tastefully textured instrumentation known to rock music, where mandolins mix it up with guitars and much else.
Adding Bill Bruford on drums (from Yes: listen to 'Close to the Edge' album) and with session man Michael Brecker delivering one of his quintessential, blistering alto sax breaks (Try to Hang On) the core of this tightly focused group created another album of poignant, miraculous beauty. Among the extensive list of guest artists, Surkamp had the presence of mind to enlist the High Wycombe Boy's Choir for back up vocals on Valkerie.
The songs reveal a storm tossed humanity constantly at odds with soul piecing delusions whether those delusions be lost love, unfound gold or the anonymity of old age. Referred to once as a `choir boy on speed', David Surkamp's intense emotional delivery (he can hold a note like no other), cloaked in the flair and dash of such an extraordinary band, made Pavlov's Dog one of the most exciting groups to emerge in rock music from a decade that, with hindsight, was more adventurous and bold than its been given credit for.