Pendragon - Acoustically Challenged

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Metal Mind Records
Catalog Number: Prog CD 0085 DG
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:20:00

I'm not really sure why, but at one given time, it seems that drummer Fudge Smith was not able to join his Pendragon friends on tour so, rather than postpone the entire event, the remaining threesome thought it wouldn't be such a bad idea to tackle the "unplugged" format for a change. That's exactly what happened when Barrett, Nolan and Gee set off to record some well known Pendragon classics, albeit in an acoustic fashion, for Radio 3 Warsaw in Poland. With Gee switching to acoustic guitar as well, the sound is much different than the Pendragon we all know and love so well. Whilst the electric Pendragon with Fudge holds a lot of Pink Floyd-like elements, mainly due to Nick's guitar playing, this time some of the arrangements hold an early Genesis feel. Listening to this album once again illustrates what I have been saying for many years, namely that folk and prog often get very close indeed! This is once again proven here by means of "The Pursuit Of Excellence," which could one day be tackled by The Pogues if they'd fancy it!

Recording for a national radio station often means you can be certain that the end result will be perfect, that every little detail will be captured for posterity. The beautiful digipack also contains all the lyrics to the songs, and because Nick's vocals are not hidden amongst loud keyboards, electric guitars, and powerful drums, we get the chance to really explore his lyrics and the deeper meanings of some of them. So all in all you get a different view of Pendragon, making them more mature, if you like, obliging people to really listen,. as opposed to dance away to the rhythm. There's a wide variety of material to be found here, harking as far back as the band's very humble beginnings in the form of "Dark Summer's Day," an uplifting song with a kind of bossa nova feel tucked away in the distance. The song also includes a splendid guitar solo by Nick. This intimate set closes with a track from the hard to find first solo album of Pete Gee, Heart Of David (it was released on the now defunct SI label and might be re-released soon). Being a strong Christian, all songs on the album were inspired by his belief in God, as is the song included here "Unspoken Words," a nice surprise to hear it here sung by Nick, as the original is sung by a certain Paul Wilson.

Our Polish friends certainly wanted to make this release a memorable one, so next to the ten acoustic songs delivered here, they have added an extra multimedia segment. Here you'll find some notes, the tour dates and some live pictures as well as a 9-minute interview with Nick, interspersed with bits of live concert footable to create a complete picture of Pendragon. With Pendragon having decided to stop releasing any more live albums, this album is kind of different, as it illustrates the craftmanship of our three musicians blending together to create some truly wonderful music which indeed is and will always remain the true identity of Pendragon!

And We'll Go Hunting Deer / Fallen Dreams And Angels / A Man Of Nomadic Traits / World's End / The Voyager / Alaska / The Persuit Of Excellence / 2 AM / Dark Summer's Day / Unspoken Words / Multimedia section : live footage, interview, photo gallery, notes, tour dates)

Nick Barrett - acoustic guitar, vocals
Pete Gee - acoustic guitar
Clive Nolan - keyboards, backing vocals

Fly High Fall Far (ep) (1984) (OOP)
The Jewel (1985)
9:15 Live (1986)
Kowtow (1989)
The R(B)est Of Pendragon (1991) (incl. Fly High... ep)
The World (1991)
The Very, Very Bootleg - Live In Lille, France 1992 (1993)
The Window Of Life (1993)
Fallen Dreams and Angels (ep) (1994)
Utrecht... The Final Frontier (1995)
The Masquerade Overture (1996)
As Good As Gold ep (1996)
Live In Krakow 96 (1997)
The Masquerade Overture (digi-pack w/bonus trk) (1999)
Once Upon A Time In England Vol 1 (1999)
Once Upon A Time In England Vol 2 (1999)
The Round Table (1985-1998) (1999) (Sth Am. mkt)
The History: 1984-2000 (2000) (Polish mkt)
Not Of This World (2001)
Acoustically Challenged (2002)
The Jewel (remastered) (2005)
Believe (2005)
Pure (2008)
Concerto Maximo (2009)
Passion (2011)
Out Of Order Comes Chaos (2013)
Men Who Climb Mountains (2014)
Masquerade 20 (2017)

Live... At Last! (VID) (1997)
Live...At Last And More (DVD) (2002)
And Now Everybody To The Stage (DVD) (2005)
Past And Presence (DVD) (2007)
Concerto Maximo (DVD) (2009)
Out Of Order Comes Chaos (DVD) (2012)
Masquerade 20 (DVD) (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: July 30th 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 850
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]