Patrick Forgas - Cocktail. 1977 France

Patrick Forgas was known, even at the time of this release, as the French Robert Wyatt. The parallels are certainly there: Canterbury styled jazz rock, lead by a drummer, who sings with a high pitched insouciant voice. But perhaps it's the French part that gives Cocktail its unique edge, and you'll also hear artists like Gong, Dashielle Hedayat and even Moving Gelatine Plates creeping in here and there. And, this being 1977 and all, it was hard to avoid those trendy funky grooves, and Forgas succumbed on occasion. Forgas compiles an all-star cast here, and in addition to the multitude of instruments Forgas plays himself, they add keyboards, guitar, bass, violin, saxophone and flute. 'Monks' features a vicious fuzz bass groove, that reminds me of Hedayat's Obsolete. Elsewhere, Forgas writes little vignettes, each could have been the basis for a longer and more enjoyable track had he decided to flesh them out. These serve almost as Library music / incidental music. For Side 2, Forgas does just that - writes a full opus - and gives us the 18+ minute 'My Trip' fulfilling the promise of Side 1.

Following this, Forgas piddled around with substandard releases, until he got serious again in 1998 with his Forgas Band Phenomena, a band that continues today and is one of the leading lights of progressive music. Great to see the old dogs showing the new pups a few things.

Personal collection
CD: 2008 Musea

The original single sleeve cover has always been relatively easy to find. Gratte-Ciel (Skyscraper) was a subsidiary of RCA, who it appears at the time was completely behind the French progressive rock movement. They had other progressive rock specialist labels, such as Arcane/Crypto. The Musea CD adds no less than 13 relevant bonus tracks, making this the de facto release of the album.

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