[Hidden Rarities #12] Titus Groan

Titus Groan is an English band active between the 60s and the early 70s, which takes its name from the series of Gothic/Fantasy novels Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. They only publish an album in 1970, the same name and three singles, which will later become bonus tracks for CD reprints. Their sound comes close to that of the first era of the Prog, slightly immature, like all groups of the late 60s. There are contaminations that vary from the Hard Rock to the Jazz and the Folk, with the presence of wind instruments that enriches the melodies. The band was composed by Stuart Cowell on keyboards, guitar and vocals, Jim Tooney in the drum, John Lee on bass and Tony Priestland on sax, Oboe and flute. Except for Jim Tooney, who played for some time in Tourist, an English Pop band, all the other members of the band left no trace at the end of this experience. In 1970, they took part in the Newcastle Holliwood Pop Festival, which represented their best live performance, with an audience of over 30,000 spectators. The festival featured the likes of Black Sabbath, Fantasy, Traffic and Colosseum, to name a few. After a short time they are cast by Dawn Records, with whom they produce the self-titled album and a Maxi single containing the 3 unreleased tracks. A bizarre choice as the album lasted over 30 minutes, it could contain the other 3 tracks, very good quality. They receive good reviews and an good response from the public, and the band participates in the Penny concert, a promotional tour organized by Dawn Records. Along with Titus Groan, other bands linked to the label, such as Comus and Demon Fuzz, participated, but the tour ended in 1971, without any of the bands being able to assert itself in a complete way. It therefore ends the brief history of the Titus Groan without leaving any trace, leaving this good album as its only testimony. It is not to be considered a masterpiece but a good work, which after half a century still shows all its freshness and originality of a genre, the timeless Prog. The album is available in various editions, six in the 1970 LP, of which three Promos, for Dawn Records and for Janus Records. The first CD reissue dates back to 1989 for See For Miles Records Ltd., which produced an LP version in the same year, both containing the three tracks produced on maxi singles, as bonus tracks. It has been reprinted on both CD and vinyl, by various labels, including Belle Antique, Esoteric, Lost Century Records, and Rabbit Hall Records among the main ones. The Maxi Single instead was only published in two versions, one from 1970 and one from 1971 for Dawn Records. The material produced by the group shows me the eclecticism of the band and all its stylistic influences between Folk and Rock, with a touch of Prog and Psych from the late 60s. Not particularly expensive, but in the original version it is difficult to find. The numerous reprints guarantee a fair diffusion, superior to other issues mentioned in this editorial. However, it remains a group that having released only one album and then disappeared, qualitatively pleasing, enters with merit to be part of Hidden Rarities.


(1970) Titus Groan [Dawn Records]

(1970) Maxi Single [Dawn Records]


Stewart Cowell / Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
John Lee / Bass
Tony Priestland / Flute, Oboe, Sax
Jim Toomey / Drums

Titus Groan |Official Website|Facebook Page|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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