Week of March 4, 2007

Dr. Z

Keith Keyes - Keyboards, Vocals
Bob Watkins - Drums
Rob Watson - Bass

Three Parts To My Soul (Vertigo 6360 048) 1971
CD: Vertigo/Second Battle SB 012 1991, Si-Wan SRMC0015 1994

Lady Ladybird/People In The Street (Fontana 6007 023) 1970

Only around 80 copies were reputedly sold of this keyboard-dominated progressive album, making it one of the most difficult major label releases to trace. It is, however, better than its reputation would suggest. The main concept is the division of human nature in three parts which are inimical to each other and this philosophical point of view is strongly reflected in the lyrics:

The more I live, to love, caress and tend
The more I know the need to rave and rip and rend
So liberate my soul, come see the trinity
Neither good nor bad
It's dead - that makes you free

Although this inevitably hangs heavy on the music, the careful approach applied to most of it saves a lot. The parts where the shadow-side of the soul plays the cardinal role are full of real despair and get a convincing musical treatment. The sparse instrumentation, virtually without guitar, is skilfully used. If you don't mind being showered with philosophical content while listening to rock, then this comes recommended.

The 1991 CD reissue came in two formats and included both sides of their earlier non-album 45, which was a fine example of inventive late sixties pop. Aside from the straight-forward CD reissue, there's also a lavish 7" sleeve CD package which tries to replicate the original open-out sleeve which had been designed by Barney Bubbles who was better known for designing Hawkwind's sleeves.

Robbie Watson was later in The Speedometers in 1979. The band were the musical vehicle of a North Wales professor called Keith Keyes. They were signed to Vertigo by Patrick Campbell-Lyons after he'd been sent a tape of Keyes' singing accompanied only by a piano.

(Marcel Koopman/Vernon Joynson)

Taken from The Tapestry of Delights Revisited - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson
ISBN 1 899855 15 7

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