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nektar Thru The Ears Nektar - Thru The Ears
Vinyl L.P. IMP 9001
Import Records Research 1978

Roye Albrighton: guitar, lead vocals
Derek "Mo" Moore: bass, backing vocals
Ron Howden: drums, percussion
Allan "Taff" Freeman: keyboards, backing vocals
Mick Brockett: lighting, projections and visual effects
Larry Fast / Moog Synthesizers & Mellotrons

Concepts by Mo & Mick
Music by Roye, Taff, Mo & Ron
Lyrics by Roye, Mo & Mick.
Produced by Peter Hauke, Dieter Dierks, and Nektar
Cover Photo by Ivan Dryer
Laserium Image by Dave Terry - Laser Images
A NEKTAR composition.

Thru The Ears is another one of the five compliations albums (Thru The Ears, Nektar s/t, Best Of, The Dream Nebula, and the Highlights albums) of various songs released by Nektar that has a mix of live songs taken from the September 28, 1974 along with some previously un–released in America studio tracks at this time. This album was initially released only in the USA in 1978. "Thru The Ears" was never transferred to compact disc nor was it ever remastered.

Side One

Track Song Time
1. Do You Believe In Magic * 03:46
2. The Dream Nebula parts 1 & 2 * 04:40
3 It's All In The Mind * 03:22
4. King Of Twilight 04:18
5. Wings 03:48

Side Three

1. That's Life * 06:35
2. Desolation Valley * 09:45

* Previously un-released in America

Side two

Track Song Time
1. Remember The Future part – 1 16:38
a. Images of the Past 02:47
b. Wheel of Time 05:15
c. Remember the Future 05:11
d. Confusion 03:43

Side Four

1. Astral Man 03:15
2. Fidgety Queen 03:40
3. Good Day * 06:51
4. It's All Over ** 05:20

Songs Recorded at Dierks Studios

Songs Recorded at Chipping Norton, England

The Dream Nebula October 1971
It's All In The Mind October 1971
King Of Twilight October 1972
Do you Believe In Magic? 1973
Wings (live in the studio) February 1973

Remember The Future Part 1 August 1973
Astral Man May 1974
Fidgety Queen May 1974

Chateau D'Herouville, France and at Air Studios, London

Recorded live at the Academy Of Music, New York City over WNEW - F.M., Sept. 28, 1974

It's All Over July 1975

That's Life
Desolation Valley
Fidgety Queen

Below is a transcript from the inside cover.


One reason I'll never forget my first Nektar concert is because, back on the night of September 27, 1974, I was celebrating my twenty–third birthday twenty rows back in Philadelphia's chilly Tower Theatre, watching Nektar's Music and Light Theatre perform one of the final concerts of their smash debut American tour. The band—Anglos Mo Moore, Ron Howden, Taff Freeman, Roye Albrighton, and their light musician Mick Brockett—had come from Germany to perform the music from "Remember The Future," and to unveil their highly publicized Light Theatre, which boasted fifteen slide projectors, two strobescopes, and a forty channel mixing board. The hype was heavy, but that one night in Philadelphia proved conclusively that Nektar was a band that could deliver the goods when it counted—on stage.

'Remember The Future' was Nektar's first release in the States, and it attracted a lot of press, radio, and audience attention with its dynamic arrangements, its multitude of melodies, and its driving, inventive musicianship. But a lot of the people who turned on to "Remember The Future" didn't know—until they saw a Nektar show—that Nektar was not a new band releasing their first album, but a band that had been playing together as Nektar for four years, progressing to the finely–crafted music on "RTF" over a four–album period.

That accounts for the second reason I'll never forget that first Nektar show. Not only was the band performing their rousing rock–n–roll fairy tale, but they were also debuting an incredibly varied sampling of music they'd recorded before RTF, and selections from the then yet–to–be released Down To Earth and Recycled albums. Nektar's was an impressive, versatile repertoire, delivered with an unrestrained verve and undeniable skill, that convinced me that these musicians were not going to join the bloated ranks of the one-shot artists. With a little luck, I thought, this band and the potential for super credentials.

Since that first concert, I've seen Nektar live more than a dozen times—in places like Atlanta, Knoxville, Asbury Park, New York, and Jacksonville—and at each and every concert, I've witnessed Nektar's energetic, impassioned performance commanded nothing from their audience, who are always on their feet, always screaming for more.

Today, Nektar still carries on that tradition, but now the band is doing differently, with a young American guitarist named Dave Nelson, who replaced the charismatic Albrighton on New Years Eve of 1976. The purpose of this album then, is to present, for the first time ever, selections from all the Nektar albums cut by the original band, beginning with Journey To The Center of the Eye, in 1970, and ending in 1976 with Recycled, Roye Albrighton's final recorded appearance with the band.

By the time Nektar recorded Remember The Future, finishing it in three strait twenty–four hour sessions, the band had already, released Journey To The Center of The Eye, A Tab In The Ocean, and Sounds Like This in Europe, establishing a respectable following on the Continent and in England from their base of operations in Germany, where the British refugees had already become that country's most popular band.

Nektar formally began in 1969, but bassist Mo Moore and drummer Ron Howden began playing together in Germany four years before that. They met Scottish keyboardist Allan Freeman in 1966, and a year later, Freeman joined the Howden/Moore rhythm section in a new group they called Prophesy.

Prophesy gigged around Germany for over a year, until a chance meeting with British guitarist Roye Albrighton, at Hamburg's famed Star Club, instigated the bands eventual transformation from Prophesy into Nektar. By the fall after their first meeting in December of 68, Albrighton had quit Rainbows, the band that jammed with Prophesy at the Star Club, and returned to London to Hamburg, looking for new musicians to play with. Broke but ambitious, Roye rang up his mates in Prophesy, and offered his services to the band—if they could pay his traveling expenses from London to Hamburg. Moore, Freeman, and Howden were all anxious to play with the brash guitarist, and when he arrived the musicians decided to play a gig together immediately, planning to start a new band—which they'd call either Nektar or Pollen—if the evening's results matched everyone's expectations. The local press was awed by the new quartet, and when pressed for an identity by reporters, the band finally decided on Nektar.

A few months later, the new band ran into Mick Brockett, an old acquaintance from their Prophesy days. They'd originally met at the Camera Club, in Firth, where Mick was running a light show to records with and act called the Fantasia Light Circus. Brockett improvised a light show for Prophesy at a few gigs, but then lost touch with the band for nearly two years. Just after Nektar became Hamburg regulars they met Brockett again, this time at the Dandy Club. Brockett did a few more shows with the band, and soon after that became the bands fifth member.

By the summer of 71, Nektar was recording their first album, Journey To the Center of The Eye, for Bellaphon Records in Germany. One of the earliest concept albums, Journey's interstellar theme pre–dated both David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and Elton Johns "Rocket Man," chronicling the story of an earth astronaut who experiences a close encounter of the third kind with superior beings who transfer his space craft through "Hyperspace" into their own galaxy, the Dream Nebula. Journey is represented here by parts 1 and 2 of "The Dream Nebula," where the astronaut arrives in the Nebula, and by "It's All In The Mind," which details the earthman's inability to comprehend the bizarre galaxy's cosmic insights. These three tracks, along with the single version of "Do You Believe In Magic," "Wings," and "Good Day," from the Sounds Like This album are all previously unreleased in America.

Nektar followed Journey with A Tab In The Ocean, which Passport released in America in 1976, four years after the LP was recorded. The studio version of "King Of Twilight," a long–time concert favorite, and perhaps the best known tune from Tab, is included here, along with a live version of "Desolation Valley," culled from the import LP, Nektar Live In New York. Recorded on 9/29/74, the night after the Philly concert, "Desolation Valley," along with "That's Life," from "Sounds Like This," are the only live Nektar tracks available in America.

Just four months after completing "A Tab In The Ocean", Nektar was back in Dierk's Studio to cut Sounds Like this, needing only three days and nights to finish the two–record package. "Good Day," visually and musically one of the highlights of the Nektar live set, portrays the band in both mellow and explosive moods, sparked by Roye Albrighton's sensitive vocals and scintillating guitar work, and Taff Freeman's colorful organ passages, which serve as the perfect backdrop for Albrighton's frantic soloing. "Wings" is a surging, melancholy ballad that features Albrighton, Moore, and Freeman sharing the lead vocals, as does the albums third selection, the single version of the seven minute–plus "Do You Believe In Magic," which like other tunes, is constructed of both soft, lyrical passages, and more powerful, aggressive sections.

Nektar returned to England in August of 73 to record their second concept album, "Remember The Future," the idyllic story of a space traveler named Bluebird, who, because of his wings and blue skin, is rejected by the inhabitants of a planet he visits. Bluebird finally meets a blind boy, who eventually regains his sight because he trusts the alien. In Remember The Future, part one, Blue Bird makes mental contact with the boy, and projects the invalids worlds past and future though visions.

In the year between Sounds Like this, and Remember The Future, Nektar's music matured more than during any other period of the group's history up to that point. Lyrically, the band was focusing their ideas and defining their themes more precisely, while growing ever tighter and more sophisticated musically. People outside of Europe began noticing the bands accelerated progress too, and during a European tour with Frank Zappa, which began the day after Nektar finished RTF, Frank tired to make Nektar the First signees to his new Discreet Records label. The deal never materialized, and later that year, the band finally signed with Passport records, the result of Passport president Marty Scott's dogged determination to ink the group.

By the time Passport brought Nektar to America to promote RTF, their follow–up album, Down To Earth, had already been released in Europe, and was quickly nearing gold status there. Down To Earth, sounded nothing like RTF, but that really meant nothing to Nektar's European constituency, which had grown with the band over five diverse–sounding albums. In America though, where new bands are immediately labeled and categorized, many people were a little surprised by the album, which resembled RTF, only in the fact that both LPs were conceptually conceived. Down To Earth, was constructed of nine different songs, each documenting some aspect of circus life. Suddenly, Nektar didn't sound like the "space rock" or "kraut rock" band everyone thought they were, instead dealing forceful, straight-ahead rock n roll, as witnessed here by "Astral Man" and "Fidgety Queen," two of Nektar's raucous tracks. Despite the good music though, audiences and the media seemed to view Down To Earth more for what it wasn't—a stylish rehash of Remember the Future—than for what it really was—simply another side of the Nektar personality. Bassist Mo Moore defined the problem during the Down To Earth tour.

"Maybe people were expecting a different album." Moore reasoned. "Maybe they were expecting something more along the lines of Remember the Future. But the way I feel about it is, the people are gonna have to get used to us putting music out as we put it out, and not as they expect it. I don't think were gonna change our style to cater to what people want to hear."

Down To Earth climbed into the Top thirty and then stalled there, destroying much of the momentum created by the success of RTF. At the same time, the band was being strangled by management hassles, but their undying faith in their music, compounded by the always–ecstatic reaction of the audiences at their concerts, kept Nektar's confidence sky high.

By the time Nektar entered the Chateau, in France, to cut Recycled, most of the material to be included on the LP had already been tested in front of an audience. "Recycled," "Marvelous Mosses," and "It's All Over" had been staples of the Nektar repertoire for months, and all were particular favorites with Nektar freaks. Actually, these yet–to–be–recorded tracks were some of the best songs ever written by the band, promising an album that might even eclipse the impact of Remember The Future.

To my ears, Recycled is Nektar's masterpiece, a magnificent piece of progressive music that stands with anything recorded in the genre. Partly inspired by Nektar's first visit to America, Recycled is a stinging indictment of mankind's uncanny ability to waste his resources and slowly destroy his world. It is Nektar's warning to not only remember the future, but also remember the now. They plead.
"Clean the scene
Change machines"

Recycled portrays Nektar's musicians in their prime. There's hardly a more beautiful ending to a song that Taff Freeman's piano solo, ending "Its All Over", the one track from the album included here. Roye Albrighton's vocals are lustier than ever, and his guitar work incredibly inspiring. Ron Howden's drumming proves further that he's one of rocks most inventive percussionists, and teamed with bassist Moore, a member of one of rocks most solid rhythm sections. In Addition, some of the albums finest moments were contributed by Larry "synergy" Fast, the synthesizer whiz kid whose technical knowledge proved invaluable in the misarranged Chateaus studio.

It's not an easy job condensing seven years of music to four sides, but this album, more than any other, illustrates just how futile an effort it is, trying to define or categorize Nektar's music. The only constants are the imaginative arrangements, the potent melodies, and the masterful musicianship. And these constants will always remain important to the band, because as much as any band recording today, Nektar takes enormous pride in the music they produce. Unlike many bands, they refuse to disown their past, in the hope of selling their future. Says Mo Moore, "I believe in all the albums today as much as I did when we recorded them." And that is the best recommendation for owning this retrospective set.


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