Parzival - Legend + Barock. 1971; 1973 Germany



Legend is unique amongst German folk rock albums, in that it's more in line with the English progressive folk rock movement. As such, these albums have long been held in high esteem from worldwide collectors who prefer the UK progressive style and lyrics in English. Only on occasion do Parzival play it straight, and long stretches of instrumental fancy are on display. With flute, violin, acoustic guitar, cello, viola, driving electric bass and drums, and piano, the instrumental palette is rich and the music is at times complex. The one anomaly is Groove Inside, which for me is the highlight of their canon. Imagine an instrumental kosmische Comus caught in a deep groove trance for 16 minutes. It's an amazing piece, and if the album in total was entirely like this, no doubt Parzival could have found themselves on the Ohr label.

For years, I'd thought of Barock as a much more inferior and straightforward folk rock album than its predecessor. On a careful listen, it's obvious that this album too possesses many delightfully odd moments, and some truly excellent progressions. In particular tracks like Black Train, Scarlet Horses, Thought, and Paradise all feature more than enough twists and turns to keep a progressive rock fan happy. The shorter tracks act more as incidental interludes.

On a personal note, of the two band leaders, a one Lothar Siems, is most assuredly a distant cousin of mine. See, my mother's maiden name is Siems, and the family history was for hundreds of years in and around the Bremerhaven area of far northern Germany. Given that Parzival are from Bremen, only a short way south confirms that. Besides, he actually looks like some of my cousins... :-)

Personal collection
LP (Legend): 1971 Telefunken
CD (Legend): 1998 EastWest / Telefunken
CD (Barock): 1998 EastWest / Telefunken

My introduction to these fine albums came via the 2 LP Nova compilation set, that contained both albums in full, which I picked up about 20 years ago or so.  I sold that copy when the two CD versions first appeared on the shelves. These are both excellent reproductions with unique photos, liner notes (in German), great sound from the master tapes, and a few short bonus tracks (more of historical interest than musical). As far as originals go, the LP of Legend is stored in a magnificent gatefold cover. It's something I had on my personal want list for years, and I finally paid good money for a copy from a trustworthy Austrian dealer about 3 years ago.

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