Greetings. Well, surprise, surprise, this week’s drum cover is not RUSH!
But they are Canadian and they are ‘progressive’ – welcome to SAGA – one of the most under-rated bands in the prog fraternity, in my ‘umble opinion.
Way way back in the 1980’s – a distant time when there where still things called ‘Record Shops’ in most every high-street – I would pay a regular visit to ‘Mastersound’ in my home town and spend a few hours perusing the eclectic mix of this particular vinyl-pusher.
I’m afraid I don’t remember much about the owner, except his appearance and the fact that he seemed to stock the most eclectic collection of records. Everything from classical, pop, metal, prog – whatever really. Yet he veered away from the usual if you catch my drift.
If you were wanting to buy something in the top ten – well, Woolworths down the road would have it for sure. But, if you were looking for that band that were just hovering around the charts, or, in fact, were never going to chart but were still magical – Mastersound was the place to go.
Mastersound imbued in me the record-purchase approach that is the opposite of the old adage ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’ Or album, for that matter. The owner of this slightly gloomy, slightly chaotic music-peddler subtly taught me to do the opposite.
So, once a week or so, clutching my saved allowance, I would cross the threshold and begin searching for that album cover that would peak my interest. By now, I had worked out that some of the stuff I liked had sci-fi cover art. (I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a genre at the time…thank goodness!)
But generally, if I saw an album cover I liked, I was prepared to put my money down and give it a whirl. In those halcyon days I have to say that there were only a couple of duds.
The music was catchy, technical, jazzy and somehow lighter than Yes, Genesis or RUSH at the time. I was grabbed by the strong vocals, the interplay of guitar and keyboards and the grandiose arrangements.
At the time, I’m afraid to say that the playing of Steve Negus didn’t vie too much for my attention. It’s only after listening to him and the band over the years – finding those other albums did prove difficult in the days before the internet – that I appreciate his accuracy and feel.
Now I would call him a pioneer – his was one of the first pieces using synthetic drums that made them sound like more than a gimmick.
This track is from the second SAGA album I owned – a similar story – it just ‘turned up’ one day at a record store and I was fortunate enough to be there to buy it! (Turns out it was their fourth studio album.)
I shall be returning to ‘Images at Twilight’ in future, but for now here is my take on a track from that second fortunate find – the album ‘Worlds Apart’ – ‘The Interview.’