Dave Greenslade: Cactus Choir

Old-school musical dexterity gets new chapter.

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After the band Greenslade split, keyboardist Dave Greenslade recorded this 1976 solo album – something of a flop the year punk broke and declared florid synth-players to be evil incarnate. It now appears on CD for the first time, which proves you can’t keep a good Hohner Electra piano down forever.

Yes, it sounds outlandishly dated, with the kind of chintzy mock-classical flourishes that gave prog a bad name, but its time-warp tropes – such as the Roger Dean cover – are also its charm. There’s a deft melancholy running through its movements, and the song Time Takes My Time echoes the more mournful side of Robert Wyatt. Lavish orchestrations are by Simon Jeffes (Penguin Café Orchestra).

Tagged on to the end, and thus killing the mood, is Dave Greenslade’s theme to the BBC series Gangsters, on which his some-time Colosseum bandmate Chris Farlowe’s vocals make a foghorn sound understated. Thoroughly quaint./o:p

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.