Welcome - Welcome

Year of Release: 1997
Label: EMI Black Rills Records
Catalog Number: BRR006
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:39:00

Welcome is the name of a band of very young musicians who recorded this self-titled album in 1975/1976 [through EMI Switzerland EG]. Recorded in Geneva, Switzerland, this Swiss group then went about the usual tasks of performing and trying to build a career on the strength of this promising release. Their story is much the same as that of a hundred other progressive bands that came into existence in the mid seventies. Lack of promotion by their label, poor record sales, crippling personnel changes, and of course, the change in public tastes toward the end of the decade spelled doom for this group.

In their teens, and lacking the background to anchor them firmly in the music business, they put in several years and, failing to achieve their goals, went about life beyond the band.

Welcome, the CD, is blessed with music that seems beyond the years of the musicians who wrote and recorded it. The influence of Yes, exclusivly, is heard all over this album. A three piece, keyboards, bass/guitar, and drums, they are all surprisingly good players. The only real obstacles to my calling this a great, undiscovered gem, is the quality of the vocals. That and one instance of very bad guitar soloing and one very, very annoying set of song lyrics. Certainly, these will be fatal flaws for many listeners. The three members are all credited with vocals, and keyboard player Bernie Krauer is apparently the lead vocalist, though, unless I'm blocking something out here, all five songs on this CD are sung in Anderson/Squire type harmony, so I don't really see a "lead" singer here.

The problem with the singing is not difficult to hear. They regularly wander off pitch, but at least they do it in perfect harmony. It happens a lot, especially when a harmony is sustained. It really sticks out, but in spite of this, the music is not hard to listen to. Occasionally, there are some spoken lyrics, put out in some strangely twisted European way that I really am not qualified to comment on further. These "lyrics" remind me of some half crazed fiend let loose in a public park. Anyway???.

The songs on Welcome, are very good, all thing considered.

The first, "The Rag Fair," and the next "Dizzy Tune," are quite nice, the latter beginning with pumping Squire-like bass, nice sounding B-3, and with the introduction of the first theme, tubular bells. The former, "The Rag Fair," sounds a bit like something from The Yes Album, with similarities to "Starship Trooper' and "Perpetual Change."

In fact, everything on this CD sounds like material from the Yes Album/Fragile-era Yes, although the long guitar solo on the last cut, "Dirge," is something the likes of which you would never hear from Steve Howe. Very nasty, this one. Thankfully, there is little electric guitar played on this collection. When guitar is used, it tends to be nice strumming on an acoustic, thankfully. The lack of guitar on much of this material is one drawback, though no guitar is preferable to bad guitar.

I have warned you up front about the awful solo in "Dirge," and in the interests of full disclosure, lets point out the other glaring example of bad taste here. The lyric to "Chain Of Days,' an otherwise nice piece, repeats the words "Day has broken, about two hundred times, ok? Don't believe the insert, which shows four verses, with this line repeated once in each verse. Don't believe it!

All these failings aside, this is a decent CD. I've heard dozens of bands that "sound like Yes" but don't really. This one really does, as far as the writing and performance goes. This album even ends with the sound of someone walking out of the studio and slamming the door behind them. Too much like Yes for some, certainly.

Just remember, I warned you.

The Rag Fair (8:52) / Dizzy Tune (7:39) / Glory (3:40) / Chain Of Days (8:47) / Dirge (12:31)

Francis Jost - bass, electric & acoustic guitars, tuba, vocals
Tommy Strebel - drums, tubular bells, twelve & six string acoustic guitars, vocals
Bernie Krauer - grand & electric piano, organ, Mini-Moog synthesizer, Mellotron, vocals

Welcome (1976)
You're Welcome (1979)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CH

Added: March 22nd 2004
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Hits: 772
Language: english


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