Released in 1973, Nektar gave the world their two-part concept album Remember The Future. Charting in Germany and reaching number thirteen on the US Billboard charts, the band’s fourth studio album was pivotal for this five-piece formed in Germany in 1969—guitarist and lead vocalist Roye Albrighton, Allan “Taff” Freeman manning the keyboards and singing backing vocals, Derek “Mo” Moore playing pretty much lead bass and singing backing vocals, Ron Howden providing drums, percussion and singing backup as well, with Mick Brockett listed as the band member contributing ‘lights’ — and broke them to a wider audience.
This sparkling-sounding Remember The Future (50th Anniversary Edition) features four CDs, which include a multi-region Blu ray Disc of various mixes of the album and video content, a newly remastered original stereo mix of the original album, promo recordings, and spanning all of discs three and four, a previously unreleased Nektar concert recorded at the Stadthalle, Munster, Germany in January 1974.
As you might remember about Remember The Future and will be pleased to hear this time around in some sure updated clarity, Roye Albrighton is in fine lead vocal here, but well backed by the vocals of Moore, Howden, and Freeman. His guitar playing tends to be on the cleaner side, although he can ‘chunky chunk’ with the best of them. And while part 1 sails us through some sure high and low dynamics, setting up mostly the repeated “Remember, the future” chorus, with Moore always pushed up front in the mix and Freeman’s organ wailing, the first part of this song suite sets us well into guitar-led prog of the time.
There is a more melodic sense to the proceedings on side B of this album, with the middle section especially rocking at great riff speeding, those high-flying Nektar harmonies always present. The playing, songwriting, and keeping to a concept (something this band did often) hint of things to come for Nektar, especially for what I feel is their masterpiece, 1975’s Recycled.
The 14 live tracks from Stadthalle, Munster (there is another live version of “Let It Grow,” appearing on the 1st CD from Erbach Germany) feature a solid live run through of lots of Nektar tunes, with a heavy emphasis on Remember The Future stuff. I’m surprised to say these tunes, recorded way back when as they were, sound pretty good. Yes, Freeman’s organ might push through slightly heavy in the mix, but hearing the band from this time is such a treat.
It’s great getting updates and extras from a band like Nektar, a personal favorite, that I feel was surely overlooked even in the niche prog music universe. The Remember The Future (50h Anniversary Edition) is a worthy grab you will well remember.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.