T2 – It’ll All Work Out In Boomland (3CD Digipak)

T2 – It’ll All Work Out In Boomland

Released on 31st July 1970, It’ll All Work Out In Boomland by T2 is one of the staples for those of us who collect, or collected LPs from the classic era of “underground” music. Back when this album was released there were two genres, Pop (at 45 rpm), and Rock (at 331/3 rpm), and ne’er (or rarely) the twain shall meet. The “Rock” section of your local record emporium – come on down the long extinct Ireson’s Music of Midland Road, Wellingborough – included bands such as T2, Gracious!, Pete Brown’s Piblokto, and numerous other such rarefied LPs in the cut-outs or bargain bin, as all these albums sold no more than a few hundred copies on release. All are now valued at hundreds of pounds each to the sweaty-palmed collector ferreting through boxes of vinyl at record fairs.

T2 starred the prodigious talents of guitar wrangler Keith Cross, and were led by drummer, vocalist, and composer Peter Dunton, both of whom, judging by the band photo on the rear cover of the original LP, used to cut their own hair too. Keith should stick to the guitar, as his mesmerising fretwork is something to behold. T2 were one of many power trios of that era, a popular configuration for bands back then, both in terms of economics, and logistics, as no-one had to lug a Hammond up or down flights of stairs at various first floor or basement venues up and down the land.

Backing up Keith was a surprisingly nimble rhythm section, with Bernard Jinks on bass, who like Keith Cross was previously a member of underground band Bulldog Breed. On drums we have the previously mentioned Peter Dunton, formerly of Gun, another power trio, famous for their Race With The Devil single, and a debut album featuring the first sighting of cover art by one Roger Dean, not to mention briefly having Jon Anderson in their ranks. However, Peter was in a later version of the band, and it seems, only very briefly at that. Dunton had replaced Louis Farrell in Gun, the latter then joining Bulldog Breed. A suitably convoluted gestation, doncha know! Just to make things more confusing, Bulldog Breed’s one album Made In England (another essential purchase for the seriously addicted record collector), was released on Deram, Decca Records’ hip “underground” subsidiary, whereas T2’s lone effort was released on the fusty old parent label. Why this was, who knows?

Picking up on the birth pangs of what would become known as prog rock many years later, not for this hirsute trio the confines of the blues, oh no. All the material on the album was written by Peter Dunton, and it was and remains a relatively unusual thing to have a drummer write the songs. Peter also supplied the lead vocals, which while unremarkable are nonetheless strong enough for the job. Ambitious arrangements lend the album an epic quality, shot through with a worldly melancholy. No more so than on No More Wild Horses, the one tune from this record you may have heard of. Featuring horns, a piano, and acoustic guitars, and of course more fiery soling from Keith, the tune builds in an epic fashion, culminating in a frenetic climax. You can almost see all that hair flying about as the boys get into the groove. Smell the patchouli!

Side two of the LP was taken up by the 21 minutes of Morning, which had originally been the band’s name, changed due to an existing American band of the same moniker. Morning is a typical long ’un of its time, with a mercifully short improv section in the middle to make it last the whole side. Let’s face it, it’s no worse than the noodly bits of Close To The Edge, or Echoes, and it’s shorter too. The whole suite is remarkably cohesive, and Keith’s guitar work as ever, takes centre stage. You can feel the heat coming off his fret explorations. He must have got through some strings, this fella!

The real bonus here for rock fans who already know T2’s one official release, is that this set gathers together their remaining studio output in one place. While these extra tracks have been available before, this is the first time that the original group’s sessions for an aborted second album, and the reconfigured line-up’s 1972 sessions are all together in one set.

After the release of It’ll All Work Out In Boomland, and a successful residency at the Marquee club, the band became a staple of the UK live circuit, and material for a second album was recorded – all here on CD2 – and a tour of the USA mooted. Peter Dunton’s arranging skills come to the fore on the long track T2, where the group finally got to record an eponymous song, and where Keith Cross leads the way, not on screaming electric guitar but on electric piano, although his skills on this instrument are not in the same league as his plank spanking.

Then disaster struck as Keith Cross, frustrated at not getting any chance to use his own material with the band, upped and left. His subsequent album, made with Peter Ross and entitled Bored Civilians, is a very different affair indeed, and may give some indication as to why his writing wasn’t really suited to the group. The hoped for second album and the USA tour thus came to nothing, which is a shame, as Dunton’s material largely maintains the standard of the debut, showing more than enough promise. After some more studio tweaking, maybe less piano and more guitar in the closing track for instance, it would have made a fine record, and as is the case with some “one album” bands – Spring come to mind too – a real opportunity was lost.

Undeterred, Peter Dunton recruited a new guitarist, and after Bernard Jinks also left due to the band’s diminishing chances, as by this time Decca had decided not to renew their contract, a new bass player also joined. This new trio recorded the majority of the material on CD3, which while enjoyable is not as memorable, and not really up to the standard of the original trio.

This set is another worthy addition to the rock historian’s creaking shelves, and very good value for money it is too.

… and, I never mentioned “Rock’s Rich Tapestry” once!

Disc One: It’ll All Work Out In Boomland

01. In Circles (8:37)
02. J.L.T. (5:54)
03. No More White Horses (8:39)
04. Morning (21:14)

Time – 44:24

Disc Two: 1970 Sessions
01. Highway (3:02)
02. Careful Sam (5:46)
03. Timothy Monday (3:45)
04. CD (5:25)
05. The Minstrel (5:04)
06. Fantasy (8:07)
07. T2 (14:29)

Time – 45:38

Disc Three: 1971 – 1972
01. And Time (3:43)
02. Looking Back (5:57)
03. Questions & Answers (6:02)
04. Seventy-Two (2:11)
05. The Clown (2:59)
06. The Gambler (3:05)
07. Closing Your Eyes (4:04)
08. Into The Red (3:31)
09. PDQ (5:42)

Time – 37:14

Total Time – 127:16

Peter Dunton – Drums, Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Mellotron (CDs 1,2 & 3)
Keith Cross – Guitars, Keyboards, Harmony Vocals (CDs 1 & 2)
Bernard Jinks – Bass Guitar, Harmony Vocals (CDs 1,2 & 3 – track 6)
Andrew Brown – Lead Guitar (CD 3)
John Weir – Bass Guitar (CD 3)
Will Killeen – Guitar (CD 3 – track 6)
Andrew Keeling – Flute (CD 3 – track 7)

Record Label: Esoteric Recordings | Cherry Red Records
Catalogue#: ECLEC 32753
Date of Release: 26th March 2021

T2 – Info at Cherry Red Records | Facebook (Esoteric Recordings)