Space Opera – Safe At Home

January 01, 1970

(It’s About Music)


Mason Proffit. McKendree Spring. Cowboy. Goose Creek Symphony. Those were some of the
more obscure acts that accompanied the beginnings of country rock in the early
‘70s, bands that were by-products of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Poco
and the Flying Burrito Brothers’ wider reach. Nowadays, Alt-country and Americana are the common noms de plume for those rootsy designs, but back then, bands of
that description were lumped in with a starry-eyed Southern
California sound before even the Eagles began to edge into their
way into the musical mainstream.


Space Opera (not to be confused with Earth Opera, another
group from that same period) reaped even less attention than the rest, possibly
due to the fact that their fame never extended too far beyond their native Texas turf. Although
they managed to score a contract with Epic Records and to record a single,
self-titled LP, the band was dropped soon after, bringing their progress to a


Despite some down-home designs, the band’s handle reflected
headier ambitions and a skill set that belied those mellower melodies.
Fortunately, their deeper intents were never wholly misplaced. These 15 songs,
recorded for that first album and during subsequent sessions thereafter,
reflect a level of sophistication that ought to have earned them greater
notice. Even those tracks that provide a subdued start-up soon work their way
into more complex terrain, and while their rich harmonies often mask the more
sophisticated elements in their arsenal, it’s also clear that their
instrumental abilities were beyond dispute. In fact, the later material finds
them weaning themselves away from their soft rock sentiments and into prog rock
realms, finding such fluid offerings as “Still Life,” “Caledonia”
and “Psychic Vampire” bringing comparison to Yes, Jethro Tull and the more
adventurous outfits of that era.


Forty years seems a belated time frame for rediscovery, but Safe At Home rarely sounds distant or
dated. A band that could-of-been, perhaps should-have-been, better received,
this sole remaining artifact gives cause to lament the fact Space Opera never
took flight. 


Is Falling,” “Journey’s End,” “Psychic Vampire” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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