Down To Earth

Artist: Nektar
Label: Passport Records
Catalog#: PPSD 98005
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1975
A1 Astral Man 3:13
A2 Nelly The Elephant 4:52
A3 Early Morning Clown 3:21
A4 That’s Life 6:49
B1 Fidgety Queen 4:04
B2 Oh Willy 3:58
B3 Little Boy 3:01
B4 Show Me The Way 5:55
B5 Finale 1:34

Backing Vocals – Kenneth Cole (tracks: 3. 7), P.P. Arnold (tracks: 3, 7)
Bass, Vocals – "Mo" Moore*
Choir – Chipping Norton Mandies (tracks: 2, 9)
Drums, Percussion – Ron Howden
Effects [Special], Technician [Sounds] – Dieter Dierks
Engineer – Barry Hammond
Guitar, Lead Vocals – Roye Albrighton
Keyboards, Vocals – "Taff" Freeman*
Lighting [Visual Minority], Other [General Hassles] – Mick Brockett*
Producer – Nektar, Peter Hauke
Saxophone [Tenor/baritone] – Chris Mercer (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 9)
Saxophone [Tenor] – Steve Gregory (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 9)
Trombone – Chris Pyne (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 9)
Trumpet [1st] – Butch Hudson (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 9)
Trumpet [2nd] – Ron Carthy (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 9)
Tuba – Stephan Wick (tracks: 1)
Tuba [Bass] – Phil Brown (10) (tracks: 1)
Vocals [Duet] – P.P. Arnold (tracks: 8), Roye* (tracks: 8)
Voice [Ringmaster] – Bob Calvert* (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 5)
Written-By – Freeman*, Moore*, Howden*, Albrighton*


Recorded at Chipping Norton Studios, England, March/April 1974.
Remixed at Dierks Studios, Germany, April/June 1974.

Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Though based in Germany, Down To Earth saw Nektar back to recording in the UK at Chipping Norton Studios, with producer Peter Hauke in tow. The album revolves around the concept of a circus; popular at the time, Argent would also use this theme. The band leave behind most of their psychedelic trappings and long-form jamming, and instead deliver an album of expertly-crafted songs. The lively "Astral Man" glibly sets the stage; these British expatriates may have been taking a stab at their countrymen's otherworldly opuses, or perhaps even a little at their own. But whatever motive the band had in mind, Nektar deliver a near-perfect slab of art rock. The album's highlight is the killer riff of "Nelly the Elephant;" the band rides the groove hard and heavy, and it's perfectly complemented by Robert Calvert's ringmaster recitation and a massive horn arrangement. The Yes-inspired "Early Morning Clown" and lively "That's Life" are a little more reflective, but no less effective. "Fidgety Queen" features another big arrangement, and even adds a little funk to the equation; while "Oh Willy" simply rocks out. Nektar leaves the excess off the album—no unnecessary frills or fills here—and thus presents their most consistent and accessible work. Throughout the record, the production is clean and uncluttered, with Mo Moore's bass high up in Dieter Dierks's mix. "Show Me the Way" closes the album in suitable style, with Roye Albrighton delivering both a fine vocal and some excellent guitar work. As he would later remark, the album was their Magical Mystery Tour, and I'll agree: Down to Earth is a more than worthy descendant. The album charted in the US, reaching No. 32, and the single "Astral Man" b/w "Nelly the Elephant" even managed to scrape the lower reaches of the Top 100. [US release date]
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