Saturday, April 08, 2006

Kestrel - Kestrel (1975)

Kestrel released their album of smooth, polished and song-based mid-70's symphonic progressive rock in 1975, and then vanished completely. Not an unknown fate for many bands from the same period, but it was perhaps a bit odder with Kestrel than other groups, as their highly professional and accessible music still should have had great commercial appeal in 1975. All the songs on "Kestrel" were written by guitarist Dave Black, with the exception of "End of the Affair" that was penned by keyboardist John Cook. The songs can be, to be honest, a bit hard to distinguish from each other at first, but repeated listens will quickly solve that problem. "The Acrobat" is one of the strongest tracks, and also very representative for Kestrel's style. Cook provides a backdrop of string-synths, organ and Mellotron underneath the bright and uplifting vocal melodies of Tom Knowles. Cook also adds clavinet and el-piano to the instrumental passage, making sure to give the arrangements the needed degree of variety. "Wind Cloud" is a lush ballad, but "I Believe In You" goes back to the style of "The Acrobat" again. Already here it becomes apparent that the band's sound was extremely defined, and it would have been interesting to see how they would have developed it if they had stayed around long enough for another record. "Last Request" strays away from the formula a bit by having a laid-back, piano-dominated verse with a more powerful and dramatic bridge leading up to the chorus that again is unmistakeable Kestrel. They successfully attempt some slightly more complex structures in "In the War" that is far darker than the rest of the album. "Take it Away" takes the band back on "safe" ground again, although it's probably the weakest song. Cook delivers his only song on the album with "End of the Affair", a good progressive ballad with some nice melodies. The first part of "August Carol" is yet another ultra-typical Kestrel-sounding song, but climaxes into a majestic Mellotron-theme to die for, and brings a superb finale to this forgotten minor classic. Vintageprog

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Anonymous said...

i believe that dave black split when he got an offer to join woody woodmansy in a post bowie band still playing in ne england

bannermike said...

I don't know this band but their album looks like it's right up my street. many thanks for sharing.

Jassa said...

Another unheard beuty.
So many intresting postings but so few that still works. Why didn't I discover you site much earlier?
Well, I have to keep an eye on this most intresting blog.


Anonymous said...

please repost this....I have been searching for this one a long time...great blog

Anonymous said...

Riverman206 says: The link that work now is: .

The Album is really great, Enjoy people of Ezhevika Fields!!!

Noel Dávila said...

BEAUTIFUL! Thank you so much

Anonymous said...


Just found this site. I knew the original line up of Kestrel that included Tom and Mick Knowles Dave Black Fen Moir and Dave Whittaker. I have a few original photos , one of which can be seen on the web that I took at the rockcliff in Whitley Bay. I am lucky to have one of the original vynil L Ps plus some acetates of what became August Carol but in those days was called the Snowqueen. This was the inspiration for the phenomenal melody at the end of the album. So sorry to hear of Dave Blacks tragic acident , his work will survive.

Thanks for reading

Dave K