Shagrat Records is proud to announce the release of a 7” EP by Horace.
Hugely obscure, Horace
grew out of some informal ‘hash’ jams that guitarist/bass player Jim Mercer
and drummer Ric Parnell
held in the autumn of 1970. Mercer was already a veteran of the British Blues Boom having played in the Tenement Blues Band
and Uncle Bud
guitarist-to-be, Graham Neill) whilst Ric, son of well-respected drummer and band leader, Jack Parnell
, had been playing in the later-to-be- revered psychedelic prog monsters, Horse
, and Atomic Rooster
, as replacement for Carl Palmer.
Ric wangled some free studio time through mate Andy Ced Curtis, and with Ced at the controls, Ric and Jim went into Central Sound Studios in Denmark Street on 1st January 1971 to cut a few of their own numbers.
The three tracks they laid down had an indefinable magic and musicality that Shagrat Records felt deserved a wider audience, and they have been taken from an old acetate Jim preserved for the past 40 years and lovingly released on vinyl (as they would have been back in the day) for the first time.
The music has a strong bucolic yet at times experimental feel to it, conjuring up comparisons with Traffic
, Frank Zappa
’s seminal Hot Rats
album, and the more pastoral moments of early Stackridge
. Ric Parnell, perhaps best known for his role as the spontaneously combusting drummer Mick Shrimpton in This Is Spinal Tap
is a revelation as the band’s lead vocalist and the tracks are made even more special by Mike Piggott’s magisterial violin playing, adding edge, textures and atmosphere to the songs.
‘Waiting for the Moon’ is a moody blues shuffle somewhat reminiscent of the Greaseband’s debut LP for Harvest cut around the same time, whilst “See the Sun’ shines with an exquisite West Coast aura, Parnell’s scatting in the closing moments reminiscent of the great David Crosby
! The closing instrumental, ‘Mongrel Polyop’ based around some haunting violin riffs is just plain beautiful – a kind of Brit version of ‘Peaches en Regalia’ with Curtis’s cascading grand piano runs to the fore.
Sadly these numbers were all that Horace recorded. Despite Mercer and Parnell landing a publishing deal, Ric soon re-joined the Rooster for a further two albums and a life in music that has seen him play with the everyone from Italian prog-jazz-fusion band, Nova to more recently, Mick Farren’s
. He’s currently playing with Montana psychedelic collective, Donovan’s Brain
Andy Curtis joined Rare Bird for their Polydor albums. Jim and Mike would both go on to long careers in music (for more details of which please read the sleeve notes). Long time followers of the Shagrat label will fondly recall that Mercer went on to form the short-lived Sandoz, a wild psychedelic power trio (produced by Curtis), whose surviving acetate Shagrat released in 1995 as Pay Attention
The 7” comes in a beautiful full-colour gatefold sleeve, and inner bag designed by psychedelic artist John Hurford
with extensive sleeve notes by Colin Hill
Pressed on heavyweight 70g vinyl, it is a limited edition of 250 copies
and is available only on this format.