Sandrose - s/t. 1972 France

Sandrose are France's best representation of the European progressive adaptation of the post Jefferson Airplane sound. For anyone who loves groups like Earth & Fire, Julian's Treatment/Julian Jay Savarin, Goliath, Room, Nattura, Analogy and a host of others then Sandrose is an obvious choice. Jean-Pierre Alarcen is absolutely sublime on guitar. Organist Henri Garella lights it up on the organ and adds more than enough mellotron to satisfy any addict of the instrument. The rhythm section is clearly schooled in jazz improvisation, while Rose Podwojny sings her heart out in a decidedly non-sweet, shrill way. 'Old Dom is Dead' will test your tolerance of her style. Eleven minute 'Underground Session' is not just a highlight of the album, but one of the great instrumental rock tracks of our time. I'm serious.

Personal collection
LP: 1988 Musea
CD: 2016 Belle Antique (Japan)

Even when I started collecting progressive rock rarities in earnest in the 1980s, Sandrose was a rare item not be found anywhere. Like many people, I was introduced to this great album via the Musea LP reissue, which I own to this day and wouldn't consider parting with. I did go for the Korean mini to replace the original Musea CD reissue which was a bit muffled in sound. Rest assured, all of the Sandrose reissues are licensed directly from Musea. Unfortunately the Koreans left out the critical historical booklet (though I already have it in the LP version). 2017 update: I have now secured the new Japanese mini on Belle Antique as well. The Belle Antique version also leaves out the Musea booklet unfortunately, but is a much better reproduction of the original packaging.  After comparing the two for sound, I ruled in favor of the Japanese CD. It's more bass heavy, but the Korean version is distant. And I remember comparing the M2U version against the Musea CD and thinking it was better. I should compare against the Musea LP at some point. I'd love to get an original LP. I want the French one though, as the UK version has a white box on the back with the track titles, that is entirely unappealing.

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