(4 / 5)
Nine tracks that cover 1973 to 1975 on a newly remastered ‘Best Of’ compilation of the Irish prog’ rock band Fruupp, remastered from the original master tapes. Out today.
The digi-pack includes the fully restored original artwork and a new essay by the band’s manager and lyricist Paul Charles.
The band featured Pete Farrelly on bass guitar, flute and lead vocals, Vincent McCusker on lead guitar and vocals, Stephen Houston on keyboards, oboe and vocals and Martin Foye on drums and percussion.
Formed in 1971 in Belfast by McCusker and mainly classically trained musicians, they signed with Pye Records’ Progressive label Dawn Records in 1973.
Students took the band to their hearts, and they were a sought-after support act on the British gig scene, opening for the likes of Genesis, ELO, Hawkwind, Man, Supertramp and Queen.
Fruupp’s debut album “Future Legends” was released in October ’73 and won them a loyal following. Follow-up LP “Seven Secrets”, dropped in April 1974 and its symphonic and melodic rock attracted much praise.
Later that year, in November 1974, the concept album “The Prince Of Heaven’s Eyes” was Fruupp’s third LP.
Before they started recording fourth album, Stephen Houston was replaced by John Mason on keyboards, vibes and vocals. Houston became a clergyman.
“Modern Masquerades” was Fruupp’s final album, produced by former King Crimson and Foreigner member Ian McDonald. The band called it a day in 1976.
Between ’73 and ’75 they released four studio albums and three singles. They were working on a fifth album, but that was never finished before they split up.
Despite a stack of gigs throughout their six years together, so far there has not been a live album, but there are known bootlegs out there from shows in Ireland and England.
Maybe Esoteric can track them down and if the quality is there, do the business on legal clearances and digital improvements and stick a first live album out.
Sadly, a fire at the flat the band shared in London, destroyed the tapes of a mobile recording unit’s capture of a gig they did at the famed Friars in Aylesbury in December 1976, for a possible live album.
This lovely set is a reminder of a classy Brit’ progressive rock band who seem to get forgotten about when it comes to critics’ writing about the best prog’ rock bands of all time. Fruupp should be recognised as a superb band of their time, and this collection should help in that mission.
Tracks here include popular Fruupp songs “Janet Planet”, “Sheba’s Song”, “Graveyard Epistle” and “Prince Of Heaven”. My faves here are “Three Spires” and “Wise As Wisdom”. But it really is all good stuff……………
By David Roman
(1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’