Columbia ES 90116, Canada, 1972
With a name like Space Opera you'd be forgiven for expecting some tripped out cosmic space rock somewhere between Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, but that, of course, would be far too obvious. What Space Opera play is a high quality country rock full of jangly 12-string, vocal harmonies and excellent twin lead guitar. Progressive movements elevate the music, as does some accomplished fuzz guitar, buzzing like a swarm of angry bees on "Holy River", feverish and frantic on the 7 and a half minute instrumental "Guitar Suite". Elsewhere the band utilise flute, harmonica, cello and harpsichord to good effect. The album sits well alongside Grateful Dead, CSN and the like and it is too bad they didn't get wider recognition which may have led to further albums. Both tracks on their sole single (Epic 10971) are taken from the album.
Many collectors believe that Space Opera were a Canadian band (as did I), but they actually formed in Texas in 1969. They later moved to Canada in the early 70s, recording the album at Manta Sound in Toronto. The American pressing was released on Epic (32117).
Side 1 - 1. Country Max (3:20) 2. Holy River (5:26) 3. Outlines (4:10) 4. Guitar Suite (7:36)
Side 2 - 1. My Telephone Artist (3:46) 2. Riddle (3:05) 3. Prelude #4 (3:52) 4. Lookout (2:46)
5. Blue Ridge Mountains (2:11) 6. Over And Over (5:56)
Recorded at Manta Sound, Toronto.