Angel Air SJPCD067.
Nova Solis, now issued on CD for the first time, is the first album recorded by Morgan Fisher's solo band Morgan, and follows hard on the heels of last year's reissue of their second. OK, so the scheduling is a bit odd (put that down to various factors, such as record company politics, and the small matter of actually locating the master tapes), but I have to tell you the wait has been well worth it.
Forget the label "prog rock", with its connotations of over-long compositions and extravagant solos, what we have here is an album full of good tunes and, dare I say it, songs. Never mind that the title track is some 20 minutes long, it does in fact comprise some half dozen songs in one and was, we are told, a live concert favourite.
Opening track Samarkhand The Golden is really good, with Morgan Fisher's synth darting in and out of the soundscape and Bob Sapsed's bass building nicely towards the end. Alone is the standout track, beautifully sung by Tim Staffell. I don't envy his old bandmates (Brian May and Roger Taylor in fact) in Smile the job of finding a replacement, but somehow they did it and, with a name change to Queen, went on to bigger things...
Anyway, I digress. War Games again lets Sapsed and Fisher duet on fuzz bass and synth respectively before the title track. Always interesting and varied, it tells the tale of a man who journeys into space, passing through the asteroid belt and on into hyperspace before returning home, only for the sun to explode so leaving him only with his memories of Earth... The most interesting aspect of this track is its being bookended with Holst's Jupiter (from the Planets suite), which Mott The Hoople were also using to open and close their shows. Remember this was 1972, and Morgan Fisher wouldn't join MTH for another year...
The CD comes with an excellent 12 page booklet, complete with lyrics, track-by-track notes and the inside story of the making of the album, written by Morgan Fisher.
Like I said, this is a darn good album, the tunes are good and the performance is good as well. Don't ask me why in 1972 they had to go abroad to get a deal, but I'm glad its finally been granted a domestic CD release, and I'm sure you will be too.Adrian Perkins