The name Three Man Army is rather unknown to most people. Some of our older readers are familiar with Adrian Gurvitz and Paul Gurvitz, who had been key members in the band Gun (famed for the 1968 hit Race With The Devil) and the Baker Gurvitz Army. Both musicians are also in the band I mentioned earlier. However they are credited as the Curtis brothers instead of the brothers Adrian and Paul Gurvitz. Together they formed this band in 1971 and the same year released their debut A Third Of A Lifetime. An album which has seen the light of day with a remastered edition forty five years later. This new official release has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes. Featuring two bonus tracks originally released as a single in 1971, it includes a booklet with liner notes and fully restored album artwork.
Three Man Army were Adrian Gurvitz (guitar, vocals, organ, Mellotron), Paul Gurvitz (bass, vocals), Mike Kelly (drums) and guest Buddy Miles (drums, bass, organ). They recorded their debut album for the newly established progressive imprint Pegasus. The band on this album sounds like other hard rock bands which were more well known at the time. Just like Budgie, this band has its own unique sound, and features some fine guitar work. The songs are riff oriented but not as heavy as Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. The only problem is the overly repetitive nature of most of the album, but the great melodic guitar-driven rock on this album is certainly worth a listen. Moreover this album has the drive of Grand Funk combined with the jazzy tunefulness of Traffic. On the other hand, the compositions are in the style favoured by bands such as Badfinger. You could say that the sound of the moody Mellotrons make a lot of the songs interesting for lovers of progressive rock, and those songs can be heard half way through the album, when the tracks move very much in the direction of bands such as Procol Harum, Electric Light Orchestra, Moody Blues or Barclay James Harvest.
The tracks 1 to 10 are taken from their debut LP A Third Of A Lifetime which didn't chart at all. The two bonus tracks What's Your Name and Travellin' are the non-album tracks and A and B-sides of a single released November 1971.
Even now Three Man Army are an obscurity. They sold jack zip on release and their albums have always been hard to find. Therefore this Esoteric Recordings remastered CD reissue is very much welcome! If you are a music lover of good hard rock with a twist to progressive rock then this album will blow your mind. Just as it did with me!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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