SEABIRD (1995)

TRACKLIST
1 Uncle Sea Bird: His Nibs
2 The Art Of Boeing
3 Uncle Sea Bird Has No Truck
4 Getting Off The Ground
5 The Kittyhawk Strut
6 Uncle Sea Bird's Finest Hour
7 The Lockheed Lizard
8 Obsoletely True
9a Uncle Sea Bird Remembers Himself
9b The Orchid Lounge
LINE UP
Elio D'Anna - sax, flute
Michael Giles - drums
Rupert Hine - keyboards
John G. Perry - bass, vocals
Morris Pert - percussion, piano
Geoffrey Richardson - viola, flute
Corrado Rusticci - guitar
VERSIONS
year/format/label/cat/country
1995/CD/Voiceprint/VP169CD/UK
2003/CD/Voiceprint/VP169CD/UK
REVIEWS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES

Of Queues Obscures
Here's a disc so obscure Calyx doesn't even have a colour picture of the cover! Recorded in 1976 (as a followup to Perry's classic 1975 "Sunset Wading"), it was, like so much good music of the era, orphaned by the winds of change in the music industry (more like a typhoon!) The nine tracks are fully finished and overdubbed with string pads from Simon Jeffes (of Penguin Cafe fame) so it seems likely that this album lost its funding just moments before release. Nineteen years passed before Rob Ayling's Voiceprint Records finally discovered and released "Seabird" in 1995 (not "Uncle Seabird" as Amazon misidentifies). The release is not without problems. Besides the utter lack of any explanation, there are no liner notes from Perry or any other of the musicians. The booklet reprints lyrics and credits the musicians, but gives no recording dates (my information was gleaned from other sources). The cover is obviously an anachronistic computer graphic. The sound is noticeably hissy in the quiet portions, has a open ground hum, and distorts in the louder portions -- in fact it sounds like (and may be?) a cassette reduction. Although there are nine tracks, only seven are indexed; it takes some guessing based on lyrics to properly identify them. But all that aside what we have here is another episode in the Sunset Wading story (I guess Perry was trying to launch a band with that name) featuring Perry on WAL bass, Michael Giles on drums, Morris Pert on percussion, Rupert Hine on keyboards, NOVA's Elio D'Anna and Corrado Rusticci on woodwinds and guitars respectively, and Geoffrey Richardson on viola. Plus string arrangements by Jeffes. With that lineup, even a bad cassette dub is a fabulous find. Too bad the album seems to have suffered the same fate in 1995 that it would've 20 years earlier.
Robert Carlbergon 4/5 13,09.2009 (AMAZON)

Caravan/Aviator-PROG.bassist.
2ndsolo lp..BRILLIANT.
feat.'NOVAS' Corrado Rusticci on guitar. Ex-KING CRIMSON **(1st)Drummer Michael GILES. Caravans violist' Geofftey Richardson. Brand X/Quatermass Moris Pert on percussion and Novas Elio D'eanna on saxes. Rupert Hine on keyboards. Great 'lost' prog/fusion masterpiece. All involved, really deliver A+++ performances. Compositions are memorable too. A 'MUST HAVE/BUY!NOW!
babytrina 23.11.2014 (Discogs)

Hibernating Canterbury gem.
Sometimes I find it unbelievably baffling to hear some of the albums that were rejected back in the day. I guess I can see what may have driven the record companies to refrain from putting prog rock albums out during the height of punk and disco, even more so if the record had clear connotations with the abstract and unfathomable part of the progressive universe, - BUT if the album itself was a combination of fantastic song-writing beautifully backed up by some fantastic musical acrobatics, I fail to see the logic. Cue John G. Perry´s second outing Seabird. This album was recorded in 1977, but remained unreleased and kept in the dark for nearly 2 decades. What a waste I say!!! This Canterbury bear has had its fill of sleep, and you may want to greet it welcome coming out of its long and fruitless Sleeping Beauty stint. While Perry may have been considered a second fiddle to many at the time, such as some unfairly look upon John Wesley who backs up Porcupine Tree in their live setting, he proved his remarkable talent for writing pensive and to the point songs with his first solo record called Sunset Wading. On this one, he elaborates on the musical ideas and though many of the tracks here are simple in structure and almost naive in expression, they wield an uncanny power to seduce you. In fact I feel Seabird has a lot of similarities with the song writing of Caravan, which come to think of it isn´t that big of a surprise, seeing as Perry played on their For GIrls who grow plump in the Night album. On Seabird Perry is helped out in the studio by such magnificent musical enforcers, that anyone in to the Canterbury sound or indeed the melodic side of fusion, should immediately start sponsoring an erected tent pole in their trouser department. I mean, Michael Giles, Rupert Hine, Morris Pert, Geoff Richardson and an enthusiastic Simon Jeffes behind the arrangements. Like the aforementioned Caravan album, this album also plays around with a meaty and funky sound. Together with the arrangements that sweeten the flavours slightly, though without becoming overripe and sticky like jam,- the balance of raw reeling funked up Canterbury with small touches of the whimsical - the high reaching tender sensibilities of the orchestral arrangement coming from the back, - is a true winner here. About the instrumentation here, there is no surprise - everyone involved sound very much into the thing, and furthermore employ a spirit of togetherness as if they all were a band, which is a bit far fetched as each of these musicians were famous for not being famous band members. They were the session men of the Canterbury scene. This is perhaps why the album never amounted to anything - let alone a release, and as I stated earlier, that is truly a shame. The fretless bass playing of Perry is inspiring, gentle and booming like a singing rubber band of exuberance. Michael Giles adds his original way of bouncy off kilter rhythm enhancements, whilst still being enormously tight and with it. Geoff Richardson, as always, is just wonderful on both the viola and flute - and helps generate some of the same atmospheres as he did on Caravan´s Girls getting chubby overnight album. Morris Pert conjures up mysticism and spice with his percussive talents and breaks the otherwise smooth surface of the music. Elio D'Anna off the band Nova sports the occasional saxophone tweets, which are tastefully used in accordance with the wide scope of what the specific track is on about. Another guy from Nova perfects this Italian duo: Corrado Rusticci, and boy does this dude shine on the guitar. With a blistering solo that sounds like wobbling star-shine fire on the first cut, -people should get ready for a terrific ride with Corrado under the bonnet, although as all the other instruments here, he is only put to real use when most effective and apt, which rather reflects the subtle splish splashes of piano playing and slowly emanating keyboard work from Rupert Hine. I´d recommend this album to anyone into the melodic aspirations of Caravan, and if you thought the albums of said band were unnecessary and flat sounding from around the same time - then Seabird should come as a brilliant surprise to you. Furthermore, if you haven´t veered into the somewhat sneaky and on occasion mad bizarro world of Canterbury, this album should serve as a welcoming and embracing start to what hopefully will be a successfully guided tour into English eccentricity and music with a sense of humour.
Guldbamsen 4/5 30.12.2011 (PROGARCHIVES)

This British band was touted as a super group to be called Sunset Wading (title of Perry's first solo album), even set to tour with French band Pulsar in the late 70's but never really materialized because of bad management and the impending arrival of punk. Yes, it started out as a John G. Perry solo project, he of Caravan, Anthony Phillips and Quantum Jump fame, a bassist extraordinaire using the WAL, a hand-made fretless wonder that has an astonishing tone. Under the guidance of the supremely talented and connected keyboardist / producer Rupert Hine, many of Europe's most talented progressive musicians eagerly signed on to participate. The fabulous Michael Giles of KC on drums, the equally legendary Geoffrey Richardson of Caravan on viola and flute , the most accomplished percussion session man ever in Morris Pert of Brand X fame, the duo from Italian group Nova: Elio D'Anna on saxophone and flute as well as the thunderous Corrado Rustici on lead guitar. That first classic album "Sunset Wading" is rightly considered as perhaps the finest example of Brit prog-jazz rock ever to be "undiscovered", a little gem that only too few have ever discovered. "Seabirds" is the second chapter, also recorded at the illustrious Trident Studios in London, arguably one of the finest temples of creation in the 70's. What characterizes their brand of distinctive music is the overpowering influence of strings arranger Simon Jeffes (Penguin Café Orchestra, Ant Phillips, Caravan, Quantum Jump, Hine, among many others) with Richardson's viola up front and center, leading the charge. With a rhythm section comprising the cymbal -savvy Michael Giles, Pert's inventive frills and the fat wobbly bass of the main man, the percussive side is perhaps one of the finest ever anywhere. Hine stays in the background allowing Rustici and D'Anna to solo when necessary or called for. The whimsical introduction "Uncle Sea Bird; His Nibs" is a rousing little flute/oboe/viola ditty, playful and true to that unpretentiously precious Canterbury style, the percussion work in particular simply bedeviling.The 9 minute epic "The Art of Boeing" (what, the aircraft ?) is a disjointed collage that is maliciously held together by the massive string arrangements and the rhythm section , as the inventive piano scours the horizons while Perry's rather pleasant voice spins a tale. Again, the sheer textural quality of the musicianship here is spell binding, with the spot lit WAL creating a fair amount of havoc; wow, my kind of bass player! The next two joined pieces offer a tone that gets a tad experimental with some dissonant sonics, weaving a shimmering expanse, enough teasing foreplay until the gloomy bass and drums gets cooking, seductively searching for that funky jazz furrow. That zipping groove suddenly appears out of the blue with the joyously brief "Uncle Seabird's Finest Hour", with monstrous Hohner clavinet work (another classic 70's prog keyboard sound) and an all around splendid touch. Hey, let's have another aviation innuendo with splendid "The Lockheed Lizard" a tune that illuminates a hypnotic percussive-vocal jungle theme, a lush runway supplying the takeoff for a magical Corrado Rustici guitar sortie, full of rustling jazz chords. Humor, you ask? How about this fine example! A tune titled "Obsoletely True", a flute-laden spoken-vocal oddity that suddenly explodes into this immense joyride full of whimsy and spirit, the walls of strings giving it an even more British sound, all with truly remarkable ease. The nearly 7 minute two-part finale possesses some very clever innuendo-laced lyrics ("Alice in autumn.clothes of air , Blue bird adventures..what to where, Oboeing over..flutes away, Sorrowful penguins..Sad café. There was nothing to do but jive, But by Jove, I jove!") and the most playfully confident music you will ever hear anywhere. Simply timeless and original 5 windswept droppings.
tszirmay 5/5 14.05.2008 (PROGARCHIVES)

I finally got this!!! As other forum members know, I have wanted this forever. I won't go into the description, as tszirmay has already done a beautiful history, outline, and playful commentary on this master work. I will say, that if you like English, Caravanish, pastoral (but with guts) settings, this is the album for you. Perfectly recorded, produced and arranged. The instrumentation is quaint and exquisitely played. The vocals are those that make English bands so personal and yet professional. The small amount of spoken word is done with the beautiful/playfull English signature. A note must be said here - anything Rupert Hine touches is wonderful. He is the finest of producers and musians one could ask for. Mix that with a true writer and dreamer in Mr. Perry and you get this absolutely essential record. Hopefully Voiceprint, or one of the new companies doing remasters, will release this again so that others can enjoy this beautiful work. The English continue to inspire after all of these years - it must be The Real Ale!
tmay102436 5/5 14.09.2009 (PROGARCHIVES)