Douglas Ward – “From An Elevated Platform”

The Sleeve:
105_5667 105_5668

The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
 This album was recorded in Bermuda in December, 1971 in two studio sessions. The first was completely solo; the second was with bassist Wally Russsell, drummer Allan Ganley and conga player Freeman Trott. Duggie (as he likes to be called) here plays a Cordovox electronic instrument on all the tracks, and the variety of sounds you will hear is due to his own superb technical ability and handling of the Cordovox. The album was recorded expertly by Ian Marshall, without reverting to overdubbing or the use of electronic studio devices (other than reverberation) heard on most of today’s records. In other words, the sounds are just as you would hear Duggie play in concert.

  “FROM AN ELEVATED PLAYFORM – the title track of the album, was written by Duggie especially for this record only days before the session. It is a current rock song with rather deep-rooted words and several changes within the musical structure.
 LONELY IN MY MIND is a slow rock song, with a pretty but slightly sad lyric and a rather haunting tune.
 WEATHER VANE PEOPLE is a swingy little waltz thing with very pretty words – colourful and yet sad. There is a hidden moral in this one.
 NEOPHYTE comes next, and this is something far removed from the ordinary everyday bag. Neophyte (an ancient Egyptian and Rosicrucian word meaning ‘student’ or ‘young learner’) is an instrumental which includes chimes during the introduction. The composition then goes into 11/8 and swings along nicely throughout, until the ending, which is in 5/8.
WELCOME TO MY MIND is also a departure from the norm, being alternatively in 7/4 and 4/4, with the introduction and ending both in 3/4. This one is a vocal – beautiful words.
 IN THE LAND OF THE CUCKOO CLOCK ends side one with a tick or two. A metronome and live clock were used on this one, and the song is about a little old clockmaker who loved his work and its end results.
THE PLATFORM SONG begins side two with a bouncy, happy-go-lucky feeling which carries itself to the end. Listen for the ‘train’ rhythm.
BLIND came about during a period of quiet thought I guess, when Duggie seems to have placed himself in the position of a blind mad. Without sight, a whole new vista is opened up – but not the one in which a person with sight is familiar.
 CLOSER AND CLOSER is another pretty, slow rock ballad with a happy theme for once, powerful words and a pleasant flowing melody.
 CZECHMATE takes us back to the instrumental field with a jazz flavour. The piece was composed on the day of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia – 12th August, 1968. The piece is in the unusual time zone again, being both in 13/8 and 5/8. There are one or two bass, drums and conga drum solos scattered throughout the piece. This is indeed a fascinating work.
 INTROSPECTION  is the last song on side two and features just voice and Cordovox in a free-style ad lib song-poem. It is written in inter-connected verse with a rather interesting theme and ending.

 All the music on the album was composed and arranged by Duggie, and it represents but a small cross-section of his musical tastes and interests. The mood is whatever you wish to make it – swinging, slow, sad, gay sometimes humorous. This then, is Douglas Ward.

 JOHN HAMPSHIRE

Personal Review:
 I know there is another site somewhere that did a written piece on Douglas Ward, but I figured I’d give it a shot now.

 The album opens with the title track “From An Elevated Platform” and it has a pretty good opening musicianship, and Douglas, or Duggie as he credits himself, is actually a pretty decent singer, and the organ backing with the vocals makes this first track very catchy. “Lonely In My Mind” comes next, and it begins with a familiar beat from the previous track, but then it goes into a different type of beat and Duggie begins to sing again. It’s a good song, a bit repetitive but all the well good. “Weather Vane People” comes next, and it comes off in a more upbeat type of track, but it has that 60’s psychedelic organ sound. “Neophyte” comes next and there is some congas in this song, and it really has that jazz beatnik sound to it, and then Duggie even brings in some organs, and it’s pretty great so far. Yup this song is a pretty great song. After that we go onto what is probably the most talked about song from this album, that being “Welcome to My Mind” and it’s a bit remiscent of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, it’s a pretty interesting song. The A-Side ends with the song “In the Land of the Cuckoo Clock” and it’s a pretty decent track, and Duggie just continues to give out little surprises.

 The B-Side opens with the “The Platform Song”  and it’s a really upbeat, happy song and it’s a good way to open the B-Side. It kind of almost has pop sound to it. “Blind” comes and well, it comes off sort of like a ballad, and it’s really decent. The album itself is pretty good so far, and with little tracks like this they make everything much more nicer. It’s a good listen. It’s a very deep track. We go onto the song “Closer and Closer” which is a ballad for sure, I’m definitely hearing an electric drum on this song, like that does not sound like an actual drum, and it just stands out so much over everything else, it’s tantalizing. This song is definitely one of the great ones on this album, everything from the organ to the drum machine. “Czechmate” and it’s an instrumental jazz piece, not too bad, it’s definitely a piece of music, overly interesting though as the musicianship is fantastic. The album closes with “Introspection” and it kind of comes off as a love ballad song, it’s different, not too bad. It’s good, pretty interesting. Duggie Ward is a good singer.

Interesting Facts:
None.

Track Listing:
A1 – From An Elevated Platform
A2 – Lonely In My Mind
A3 – Weather Vane People
A4 – Neophyte
A5 – Welcome to My Mind
A6 – In the Land of the Cuckoo Clock

B1 – The Platform Song
B2 – Blind
B3 – Closer and Closer
B4 – Czechmate
B5 – Introspection

Standout Track:
“Closer and Closer”

Label:
Forward Music Productions

Catalog Number:
FS1001

Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Recordeed at ZBM Studios, Bermuda
Producer, Arranger, Vocals, Cordovox & Accordion – Douglas Ward
Engineer – Ian Marshall
Electric Bass – Wally Russell
Drums & Electric Feet – Allan Ganely
Conga Drums – Freeman Trott

Other Albums I Own by Douglas Ward:
None.

Released:
1971

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