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Rufus Zuphall - Avalon And On CD (album) cover


Rufus Zuphall



3.51 | 5 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars I'll be reviewing the single-disc release

The story of this posthumous album is that the high-quality demo tape did not please their new label that had started promoting the group in a different manner than the band was heading in another. So the band could not record it and broke-up. These 5- tracks demo tapes reappeared in the 94 4-record box-set and they were later released under the ten-working title Avalon. Were added three tracks from their early stages and another three from a reunion concert in 99.

These demo tapes can actually show how much a great album this would've been had it been allowed to be properly recorded. Actually, the demos are fine enough to be released on their own as a full-fledged album (since RZ was always proud of its rough and raw sound). The 11-min+ Avalon is a rather interestingly progressive track with a medieval-influenced guitar middle section. The next tracks are yet unfinished also, but the great Pachebel and the short Prelude (a guitar duo that has reminiscence of Hackett and Rutherford) are both a pure joy if you are not picky of sound quality. The last two demo tracks were clearly intended as part of other more intricate composition.

Where things go slightly awry is with Krause's vocals: they were never RZ's forte, but in this demo, they are (understandably) just acceptable. Again looking at the three potential albums, RZ had a relatively unique sound, but even these demo tapes sound so typical of them, that it remains difficult to tell quickly on which track you are listening to.

On the other "side" of this record are three tracks coming from early recordings, among which is a 12-min+ Dylan cover of Hollis Brown, which starts slowly and builds a slow crescendo, and if the track stays on the same tempo, the jam-like ramblings are quite enjoyable for non-demanding progheads. Granum Cerebri has a rather messy intro, but develops quickly into a riffy guitar and flute thing. A bit na´ve, but this track was recorded prior to their debut album and is still a joy to hear. An early version of their classic reprise of Portland Town follows.

The last three tracks are taken from a re-union concert in 99 with the original line-up and doing tracks from their debut album: Of a much better quality than the bonus live tracks of their two historical albums (Cd version), all three are closely respected in spirit.

If you enjoy much the other two historical albums and like me considered RZ worthy of an obscure and tiny cult-status, this "posthumous " release will most likely please you, and it might not be anymore essential than the other two records, but not much less either.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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