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09-20-2013, 05:21 PM
COTM #123 - Cathedral

Greetings Moonites.

This weeks edition of Corner of the Mooniverse is going to feature the band Cathedral. Now, there are several groups with that same name. One is from the UK but they are a death metal band. Another is from the US but they were formed in 1991 and have a neo-prog sound. The group I will be playing tonight is the first one to be formed, which was around 1975. The groups leader, Tom Doncourt, was living in upstate New York and had been in a group called Odessey. It was more of a Psychedelic group. Tom and the bassist from that group, Fred Callan, had a chance meeting with Ed Gagliardi in a record store perusing Genesis records. Ed introduced him to guitarist Rudy Perrone. They started jamming and over a few months found a good chemistry between Tom & Rudy. Ed was not quite into the prog scene so as the official group was pulled together he left and Fred Callan took on bass duties. Drummer - Mercury Caronia IV was added as well as lead singer Paul Seal. That completed the line-up.

The group was able to use connections at Delta Records, an older studio above Times Square. They began putting together their album right across the hall from Duke Ellington in his recording studio. The finished album was released as a 100,000 album pressing in 1978. The band was not able to secure a contract with a major label at that time, even though the album was extremely well rated. Prog was diminishing in popularity by then so they didn't want any part of it.

So, without a distribution contract the band concentrated on putting together a supporting tour but pretty much had to do everything themselves, including building their own stages in old Movie Theaters, wiring the lights, etc for a one night stand. That took it's toll but they were able to put together enough material for another album. That would be, alas, never released. The band split up after that.

The name of their first album is Stained Glass. If you have that on Vinyl, you are a very lucky prog collector. It remains one of the best thought of prog albums to come out of the US.

In the late 90's prog was re-emerging from it's dormant period and Tom Doncourt convinced the group to reform with all of the original members. They began working but guitarist Rudy Perrone wasn't in line artistically with the others and he left in the middle of recording. Quite the challenge a replacement guitarist, David Doig was found. In an interview in It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine Tom summed up how they felt about their 2nd album, The Bridge.

"I don't think anyone in the band is completely satisfied. Shortly after beginning the project Rudy left the band.There was open war in the control room over the mix of things and I think the mellotron in particular suffered as a result. I still stand behind the music however. I think it bares careful listening and it was a great learning experience for me."

"David Doig is a great guitarist and did his best to contribute to Cathedral's sound but the chemistry of the band was seriously changed and some "magic" went out the window. I think that is one of the biggest differences."

The Bridge is our 2nd album this week and it was finally released in 2007. While it was not as powerful as Stained Glass, it still is a good album and deserves a hearing, as Tom said.

As a time filler today I am tossing in a short epic from the group England titled Three Piece Suite. Oddly enough, the group is from the UK and came into being just a little before Cathedral They too project the symphonic sounds of Genesis, Gentle Giant and King Crimson. The album is titled Garden Shed and was released in 1977.

I think you'll like these albums. Enjoy.