A couple years ago while adding bands to Symphonic database, we received a proposal for an early Prog band named "WALLY", despite the long search we couldn't find almost any information, much less get an album, but lately and thanks to a former member of the team, the information appeared.
WALLY is a strange band, they started playing some sort of Symphonic Country, which wouldn't be strange "per se" if they were from USA, but this guys were British and their debut album was produces by Rick Wakeman, so it's kind of unusual.
The band was formed in the early 70's by Singer Songwriter Roy Webber, the original lineup that was completed by Pete Cosker (Electric and acoustic guitars), Paul Gerrett (Fender Rhodes, harmonium, grand piano, harpsichord, mellotron, Hammond organ and vocals) Paul Middleton (Steel guitar and bass), Roger Narraway in the drums and Pete Sage playing electric violin, bass and Mandoline.
The band was discovered in 1972 when they reached the finals of a contest organized by the Melody Maker Magazine which was won by another band named DRUID. But they caught the attention of a judge of the contest called Bob Harris, who got them a contract with Atlantic Records, and with the support of Rick Wakeman co-produced their debut self titled album in 1974.
This album has a clear Symphonic sound, specially in the excellent "The Martyr" and the twelve minutes epic "To the Urban Man" with great Mellotron, but a good deal of Country music influence, more evident in songs as "I Just Wanna Be a Cowboy" that mixes some EAGLES sound, not an outstanding album, but solid enough, sadly it was a commercial failure.
Before they released their second album in 1975, Paul Gerrett leaves the band is replaced by Nick Glennie-Smith, with whom the release " Valley Gardens " in which they leave the Country sound behind and contains the best track they released, the epic "The Reason Why" which covered all side "B" of the LP.
Little is known after this release, but most people remembers them for their participation in the 1975 Reading Festival where they did a strong performance, despite playing with bands as YES, CARAVAN, WISHBONE ASH, SOFT MACHINE, etc.
As I said before, not the best band ever, but they were very good and deserve more recognition for being owners a unique sound.