Week of April 25, 2004


Chris Williams - vocals
Hans-Rolf "Charly" Schade - guitar, vocals
Cristoph Barutzky - piano, keyboards, synth
Klaus Kohlhase - bass
Felix Hans
Konstatin Bommarius

same (Polydor 2371 215) 1971
Just A Day's Journey Away! (Polydor 2371 270) 1972
Everything You Need (Zebra 2949 002) 1972
Midway (Zebra 2949 013) 1973

Abacus were fronted by the British vocalist Chris Williams, who also wrote much of their material. “Abacus” was a successful debut album, recorded August 1971 at the Windrose Studios, Hamburg. It was also released on Polydor in the UK. It included six songs which were well-arranged and drew influences from sources as different as classical music ("Capuccino"), jazz and folk ("Pipedream Revisited", "Song For Brunhilde", "Song For John And Yoko") and psychedelic blues ("Radbod Blues"). The organ work of Barutzky dominated their instrumental muscle, but Schade's varied guitar (sometimes even sitar) work was also remarkable. This first album is often regarded as their best. With their great sense of humour and versatile musical style, Abacus can rightly be compared to Nine Days Wonder.

Their second album, “Just A Day's Journey Away!” (1972), was a competent follow-up, but this time the group abandoned their versatile progressive style and concentrated on folk and country. I'm not sure everyone will appreciate country songs such as "Ballad Of Lucky Luke"! Although "Seasong", "Munchen 23" and "White House May Come" are good enough, the album as a whole was less interesting and daring than the previous one. It was recorded at Music Land Studios, Munich, in June 1972. “Everything You Need” (1972) was released on Polydor's new Zebra label and introduced former 2066 & Then drummer Konstatin Bommarius as a new member of the band, replacing Felix Hans. This album was a further move towards a more simple and commercial style, with four average pop-rock songs on side one and the "Everything You Need" suite filling up side two. “Midway” (1973) was another disappointment lacking inspiration. Abacus now had a song-oriented style with short tracks, in contrast to their promising 1971 debut.

Taken from Cosmic Dreams at Play - A guide to German Progressive and Electronic Rock by Dag Erik Asbjørnsen, Borderline Productions, ISBN 1-899855-01-7

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