“I wonder what would happen if a giant tab of acid was dropped into the sea?” asked a member of the progressive rock band Nektar some forty years ago, recalled Roye Albrighton, Nektar’s guitarist and vocalist. Albrighton and his mates parlayed their curiosity into the group’s acclaimed second album, appropriately titled A Tab in the Ocean. Philadelphia’s ItsAboutMusic.com label has just reissued that recording in a deluxe two-CD set also containing a bonus “lost album,” In the Beginning: The Boston Tapes. This 8-track collection was recorded in 1970 and contains the very first recordings of the band.
Europe was first to catch on to this British collective’s work, but success soon followed in the United States. A Tab in the Ocean built on the sound of Nektar’s first album, Journey to the Centre of the Eye, but further emphasized a “concept” over its five tracks (the lengthiest being album opener “A Tab in the Ocean”) and took the band musically in a tighter, more structured and focused direction. Whereas the first disc represents the band at one of its high points, the second disc features Nektar in a formative period with a style hewing closer to traditional “classic rock” of 1969 than the progressive sound for which they became known. There’s even a cover of Brian Hyland’s “Sealed with a Kiss” on The Boston Tapes! (“Do You Believe in Magic,” however, is not the Lovin’ Spoonful song.) Fans should be aware that this reissue presents the original 1972 LP mix and drops the 1976 American mixes added on Dream Nebula’s 2004 edition.
ItsAboutMusic.com’s two-CD reissue of A Tab in the Ocean was released on February 22. The label is currently planning expansions of the entire Nektar catalogue. Hit the jump for the label’s complete press release, pre-order information and track listing with discographical annotation! Thanks to the good folks at the indispensable MusicTAP for the heads-up on this one!
3/3/2011 – Philadelphia, PA – Considered one of the top progressive rock bands of all times, UK music legends Nektar are re-releasing their classic second album from 1972 ‘A Tab In The Ocean – Deluxe Edition’ (2 CD Set), along with the the ultra rare first recordings of the band from Boston 1970 titled the ‘In The Beginning (The Boston Tapes)’ on Philadelphia’s ItsAboutMusic.com, much to the excitement of fans of the band and the music press alike. One of the first ‘prog’ concept albums, Nektar’s ‘A Tab In The Ocean’ is an innovative piece of music that helped propel the group to international stardom.
The time that the band lived in Germany, before their departure to live in the USA, was spent in the cellar of the house they rented in the little town of Seeheim that eventually became their rehearsal room. It is in this cellar that the idea for a follow-up album to Journey To The Centre Of The Eye was to be conceived. As founding band member Roye Albrighton recalls, “The only piece of furniture we had in the house was a fish tank, and one day we were all sitting watching it when someone said ‘I wonder what would happen if a giant tab of acid was dropped into the sea?’ We had found our title and concept for the new album.” The album is still considered one of the band’s finest efforts.
The Boston Tapes have been a much sought after collectors’ item for many years as it is the first studio recordings of Nektar. “In the early months of 1970 Nektar was seen performing in Hamburg by an American producer named Charlie Dreyer, who owned a recording studio in Boston,” says Roye. “Charlie invited the band over, which at first we thought was a joke, but as it turned out, he was dead serious. We found ourselves on the next flight to Boston and started recording in his 8-track studdio.” The tapes reveal the genesis of one of the great prog bands to emerge in the 1970s.
The Nektar story is a remarkable one. A British rock band that found stardom and major success in Germany and the USA, yet failed to make the significant breakthrough in their own country. With three gold albums under their belt (Remember the Future, Down To Earth and Recycled), Nektar produced some of the most original work of the seventies and eighties. In virtuoso guitarist Roye Albrighton Nektar had a charismatic front man who had shared a stage with Jimi Hendrix, in Allan “Taff” Freeman a unique keyboard player, in Derek “Mo” Moore a bass playing powerhouse and in Ron Howden a fluidity rarely found in a drummer. Fifth member Mick Brockett was not a musician, but was responsible for one of the most stunning light and visual shows ever to grace the rock stage. Nektar’s history appeared to have been written when they finally split in the eighties. Despite attempts to re-kindle the flame, the Nektar light, it seemed was out…until that is, the year 2000. The new millennium saw the long awaited reunion tour of the classic line-up, to rave reviews and fantastic receptions. The light we thought was out, had in fact been kept aglow – by loyal fans across the globe! “It’s pretty timeless music,” says Roye Albrighton, “and what I’m hearing from most of the new, younger fans that are now coming to our shows, is that it’s like going back in time. They are starting to really discover music again, which, of course, is a great relief to us and some of the older bands from our time.”
An American tour in September 2004 saw Taff Freeman depart the band for personal reasons and his successor, Hammond virtuoso Tom Hughes, instantly earning a place in the hearts of the Nektar faithful. In 2007 Nektar truly took over their own management, procured their official website as their own, entirely under their control and went on a 22-date tour of Germany. Joining Roye and Ron was Peter Pichl on 5-string bass and Klaus Henatsch on keyboards, these two new members from the rock ‘n roll city of Hanover, Germany, seemed to gel from the outset and along with the release of the critically acclaimed CD Book of Days in 2008 and the live DBL CD Fortyfied, Nektar has set its mark once again. With continued concert dates, along with the remastering of the remainder of the Nektar back catalogue on CD by ItsAboutMusic.com (all as double discs with bonus material), this legendary band has become once more a proud force to be reckoned with in the world of progressive music. Now fans of the band can enjoy their timeless classic A Tab in the Ocean – Deluxe Edition (2 CD Set) with pristine sound, and for the first time hear the band in their formative stages on In The Beginning (The Boston Tapes).
Nektar – ‘A Tab in the Ocean – Deluxe Edition’ (2 CD Set) will be re-released on February 22, 2011 – and the downloads will become available then as well.
Nektar, A Tab in the Ocean – Deluxe Edition (United Artists (U.K.) UAG-29499, 1972 – reissued ItsAboutMusic.com, 2011)
Disc 1: A Tab in the Ocean
- A Tab in the Ocean
- Desolation Valley
- Crying in the Dark
- King of Twilight
Disc 2: In the Beginning: The Boston Tapes
- New Day Dawning
- Do You Believe in Magic
- The Life I’ve Been Leading
- Where Did You Go
- Sealed with a Kiss
- Our Love Will Last Forever
All tracks on CD 2 are previously unreleased.