Gracious, maybe Gracious!, are one of the most forgotten and neglected of bands.

They were formed in and around Esher in Surrey in the late 1960s, and were definitely a prog rock band. The classic line up included guitar, drums, vocals (plus guitar and percussion), bass and keyboards, including Mellotron.

They had a time supporting bands like The Who and King Crimson, then recorded an album with Tim Rice as producer. I am not aware that this ever reached the world or if it still exists.

They moved to Vertigo, the legendary prog rock label owned by Philips, and this album is a classic. Good vinyl copies go for hundreds of pounds.

There are five tracks, three on side one forming a kind of introduction/concept of heaven and hell, side two has a fugue with two guitars and harpsichord, and the last 15 minute track, The Dream, tells a tale of… OK, no spoilers.

It was not a big hit, and already the wheels had started to come off. Members left, there were tours but it wasn’t the same and the band, er disbanded.

The second album had been recorded, and included a five track concept piece about an astronaut returning to a dead Earth and well, no spoilers. The length of the piece meant a part of it had to be split onto the other side of the LP. The whole was released as the budget This Is Gracious! (1971).

There’s plenty of good playing on this album, on both albums actually, loads of Mellotron and some fine singing. But it marked the end of the group and it fizzled out. By 1971 they were gone.

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