I Know What I Like: Trollheart's History of Progressive Rock - Page 3


Page 3 of 11 FirstFirst 1234567891011 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 103

Thread: I Know What I Like: Trollheart's History of Progressive Rock

  1. #21
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Revolver.jpg 
Views:	10 
Size:	39.8 KB 
ID:	24580


    DRAW! (Or rather, don't...)

    As I've been somewhat busy over the past two weeks, posting over a hundred album reviews and also getting in the odd spot of breathing in between, I haven't yet got to review that Revolver album. Am I stalling? Of course: after you've got to know me better you'll all realise I don't have much time for the Fab Four, but I do intend to listen to and review this album, and any others of theirs that qualify, as part of this project.

    For now though, it's holding things up so I'm going to use this as a placeholder for when I get the chance to devote the time to it that it presumably needs and demands, and I'm going to move on with the next part. I'll come back to this when I can and NO Musty, I won't bloody forget it (I'm sure you won't let me).
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  2. #22
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762


    Before the storm...
    This is by no means meant to be a definitive biography of any of the bands formed before the proper onset of the progressive rock scene in the late sixties and early seventies. This is merely a few lines pointing to those bands and to how they would later influence the sub-genre. When we get to where they released albums, I will of course go into them in a little more depth.

    One small point: I use the words “first relevant album” to distinguish any of the output of these bands that was not in a prog rock vein, as many, such as The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull and even the mighty Genesis began their career with albums that could not in any way be called progressive rock, and in that case those albums are not important, and so not relevant to the history of prog rock.

    You can't help noticing that, apart from one or two exceptions, all of these bands are British. Progressive Rock seems to have been almost an exclusively British movement, with American prog rock bands only coming much, much later. Like the NWOBHM, the US was well behind the curve when it came to prog rock, still mired I guess in "flower power" and the Vietnam War which gave a focus to more protest/folk-oriented sounds, not to mention the burgeoning soul-to-become-disco scene. Why prog rock developed in Britain almost alone I don't know but I will be looking into.

    I guess it has a lot to do with the public school system, as many of these bands met each other in school, and the gentle pastoral English countryside probably played its part too. While students were protesting in US universities and clashing with police, fighting for civil rights and rioting in the streets, you can just hear the English tsk and sigh "Oh, I say!" as they sipped their tea and wrote another song about meadows and rainbows...


    The Moody Blues (1964 -)
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas Clint Warwick, Denny Laine
    First relevant album: Days of Future Passed, 1967

    Impact on the progressive rock scene (on a scale of 1 to 10): 7

    Formed in 1964, their band name was not, as I had originally thought, anything to do with the Elvis song, but was both a reference to M&B Breweries, with whom they had hoped to win a sponsorship contract (they didn't) and the Duke Ellington song, “Mood indigo.” When they formed the Moody Blues were much different to the band we have come to know, and who contributed so much to the progressive rock arena. Justin Hayward was not on board at this time, nor was John Lodge. Their first album, The Magnificent Moodies, would bear no resemblance to what would end up being their first real progressive rock album, and one which would bring them to the notice of the general public, Days of Future Passed. The debut was more an r'n'b effort, and it flopped, though it would later spawn a hit in “Go Now” which, ironically, was a cover version of an earlier song.

    The Wilde Flowers (1964 – 1967)
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Hugh Hopper, Brian Hopper, Robert Wyatt, Richard Sinclair, Kevin Ayers
    First relevant album: n/a
    Impact: 6
    Linked to: Caravan, Soft Machine, Gong

    Another band forming in 1964, oddly The Wilde Flowers never released any albums, but were one of the first bands active in what would become known as the Canterbury Scene. They are however notable for the bands their former members ended up in, two of the biggest bands in that scene, Soft Machine and Caravan.

    Pink Floyd (1965 – 2014)
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Richard Wright
    First relevant album: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967

    Impact: 9

    Originally The Pink Floyd, one of the most influential bands in progressive rock music as well as psychedelia, Floyd would redefine how music was created, and performed, and perceived. Mainstay of the band David Gilmour was not part of the early lineup who recorded their first album, and would only be brought in to replace bandleader Syd Barrett, when increasing problems with substance abuse and personality issues made it impossible for Barrett to continue in the band. Under the lineup of Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, Pink Floyd would go on to become a worldwide phenomenon and a true star of the prog rock scene.

    The Syn (1965-1967, then 2004-)
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Steve Nardelli, Chris Squire, Andrew Pryce Jackman, Martin Adelman, John Painter
    First relevant album: Original Syn, 2004
    Linked with: Yes
    Impact: 4

    Seen as a precursor to prog rock giants Yes, they lasted from 1965 to 1967, then came back in 2004 as a proper progressive rock band. They are notable for including later Yes bassist Chris Squire (RIP) in their lineup.

    Barclay James Harvest (1966- )
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: John Lees, Les Holroyd, Stuart Wolsthenholme, Mel Pritchard
    First relevant album: Barclay James Harvest, 1970
    Linked to: The Enid
    Impact: 5

    Formed in 1965, they originally included Robert John Godfrey in their lineup, he later leaving to form The Enid. They were successful throughout the seventies but dogged by comparisons to The Moody Blues, leading to their being perhaps unkindly described by critics as “The Poor Man's Moody Blues.”

    Soft Machine (1966-1984)
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, Kevin Ayers, Mike Ratledge
    First relevant album: The Soft Machine, 1968

    Linked to: The Wilde Flowers, Caravan
    Impact: 7

    Another band who later dropped the “the” from their name, they were also a big Canterbury band, and included among others Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers in their lineup. Like many Canterbury (and many progressive bands) they are feted for their contribution to the genre but achieved little in the way of commercial success.

    Stormy Six (1966-1983 (first incarnation), 1990-2010 (second incarnation)
    Nationality: Italian
    Original lineup: Giovanni Fabbri, Maurizio Masla, Franco Fabbri, Luca Piscicelli, Fausto Martinetti, Alberto Santagostino, Antonio Zanuso
    First relevant album: Guarda giù dalla pianura, 1974
    Impact: 4
    Linked to: Henry Cow


    One of the first Italian prog rock bands, Stormy Six also became involved with, indeed created the idea of Rock In Opposition, (RIO) however they did not really become a true progressive rock band until the middle of the 1970s.

    Genesis (1967-1997 (?))
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Peter Gabriel, John Mayhew, Mike Rutherford, Anthony Phillips, Tony Banks
    First relevant album: Trespass, 1970

    Linked to: Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins solo careers, Mike and the Mechanics, Tony Banks solo career, Anthony Phillips solo career
    Impact: 10

    What can I write about Genesis that I have not yet already? One of the founding members and drivers of the progressive rock movement through the seventies, Genesis eventually fell prey to the bright lights of chart success and turned from their prog rock roots to become just another rock, and then rock/pop band. They disbanded after one album following Phil Collins's departure, but like Yes and ELP were leading lights of the development of progressive rock. Well, to be honest there's some doubt about their breakup, but their last actual album was in 1997 (hence the question mark above) after which they got back together for some tours but have not yet released anything new, and that's over eighteen years now, so you'd have to wonder if they ever will.

    Gong (1967 – 1976) (first incarnation) 1991-2001 (second incarnation) 2003-2004 (third incarnation) 2006 – (fourth incarnation)
    Nationality: French
    Original lineup: Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Ziska Baum, Loren Standlee
    First relevant album: Magick Brother, 1970

    Linked to: Soft Machine, The Wilde Flowers
    Impact: 8

    One of the first French progressive rock acts, Gong began as more of a psychedelic band and were kind of a forced situation originally, when Daevid Allen, playing with Soft Machine in France, was unable to get a visa to allow him entry into the UK. He thereafter formed Gong, but had to flee France in '68 during the student riots and went to Majorca, where he found his future saxophonist living in a cave. It says here. Trippy, man! Trippy!

    Jethro Tull (1967 – 2011)
    Nationality: British
    Original members: Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Glenn Cornick, Clive Bunker
    First relevant album: Benefit, 1970

    Linked to: Fairport Convention
    Impact: 8

    Very much a folk-based band, with bandleader Ian Anderson proficient on the flute, and lyrics often about agriculture, folklore and rural life. They went on to become a very famous and successful band, selling over sixty million albums, despite their strange eccentricities, and even scoring hit singles.

    The Nice (1967 – 1970)
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson, Davy O'List, Ian Hague
    First relevant album: The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, 1967

    Linked to: Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP)
    Impact: 7

    With their caustic rendition of Leonard Bernstein's “America” and keyboardist Keith Emerson's antics with his keyboard, which would carry through into his association with ELP, The Nice have been credited often with recording the first ever progressive rock album, their debut, The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack. This has however been disputed. Whatever the case, what is not disputed is that The Nice was a training ground for one of the world's greatest, and most pompous and arrogant keyboard players, before he joined Carl Palmer and Greg Lake in the immortal prog rock power trio some years later.

    Organisation (or, Organisation zur Verwirklichung gemeinsamer Musikkonzepte ) (1969 – 1970)
    Nationality: German
    Original lineup: Basil Hammoudi, Butch Hauf, Ralf Hütter, Alfred Monics, Florian Schenider-Esleben
    First relevant album: Tone Float, 1969
    Linked to: Kraftwerk
    Impact: 3

    With just the one album to their credit, the only real relevance Organisation (I'm not going to write it all out again, but it stands for “organisation for the realisation of common music projects”) have to the progressive rock scene is that they were a Krautrock band which split in 1970 to allow two of the members to form Kraftwerk.

    Procol Harum (1967-1977) (first incarnation) 1991 – (second incarnation)
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, Matthew Fisher, Ray Royer, David Knights
    First relevant album: Procol Harum, 1967

    Impact: 7

    Best known of course for their smash hit single “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, and were therefore one of the few progressive rock bands who managed to have a big hit first time out. Unfortunately, though they remained active through the seventies, they were never again to repeat this success.

    Van der Graaf Generator (1967 – 1972) (first incarnation) 1975-1978 (second incarnation) 2005 – (third incarnation)
    Nationality: British
    Original lineup: Peter Hammill, Chris Judge Smith
    First relevant album: The Aerosol Grey Machine, 1969

    Linked to: Peter Hammill solo career
    Impact: 8

    One of the most influential early progressive rock bands, Van der Graaf Generator would have a huge influence on Genesis vocalist Peter Gabriel, as well as much later, Marillion's Fish, as both tried to emulate Peter Hammill's style and vocal delivery. VDGG would be another prog rock band though who never troubled the charts, and never strayed from their prog roots, using jazz and blues as part of their musical palette. They would set the standard for much of what was to follow.

    So those are, basically, what I guess you could call the parents or grandparents of progressive rock. They would have many children, some of whom would spread their message far and wide across the world, but at this point even these venerable elders of Prog Rock had yet to even record their first albums, and make their impression on the world of rock music. Some would not even make that impression with their debut, but might take another two or three before they hit the magic formula that put them forever on a course to glory and immortality. But even with all that to come, in a very real sense, the birth of progressive rock began here!
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Revolver.jpg 
Views:	10 
Size:	39.8 KB 
ID:	24580


    DRAW! (Or rather, don't...)

    As I've been somewhat busy over the past two weeks, posting over a hundred album reviews and also getting in the odd spot of breathing in between, I haven't yet got to review that Revolver album. Am I stalling? Of course: after you've got to know me better you'll all realise I don't have much time for the Fab Four, but I do intend to listen to and review this album, and any others of theirs that qualify, as part of this project.

    For now though, it's holding things up so I'm going to use this as a placeholder for when I get the chance to devote the time to it that it presumably needs and demands, and I'm going to move on with the next part. I'll come back to this when I can and NO Musty, I won't bloody forget it (I'm sure you won't let me).


    Sure, sure
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  4. #24
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762

    Album title: The Velvet Underground and Nico
    Artiste: The Velvet Underground and Nico
    Nationality: American
    Label: Verve
    Year: 1967
    Grade: B
    Previous Experience of this Artiste: “Venus in Furs”, that's about it. And some Lou Reed solo material.
    Landmark value: Obviously this has a very high landmark value, given the contribution it made to the subgenre, but again I feel it's more on the psychedelic side of things than the progressive. Can't be denied it broke down many boundaries though.
    Tracklisting: Sunday Morning/ I'm Waiting for the Man/ Femme Fatale/ Venus in Furs/ Run Run Run/ All Tomorrow's Parties/ Heroin/ There She Goes Again/ I'll be Your Mirror/ The Black Angel's Death song/ European Son
    Comments: First track's a bit tame, given what I had expected: bit dreamy, sixties pop really. Things up a little with “I'm Waiting for the Man” as Lou Reed takes over vocals solo and the sound crystallises a bit more, harder guitar, edgier lyrics. Beginning to see it now. Distorted, manic piano at the end really adds to the song. Hmm, but then we're back to that dreamy sound again for “Femme Fatale”. Very laid back and seems a little empty. I mentioned I knew “Venus in Furs”, (who doesn’t, if only from the ads?) so no surprises here, then we're on to “Run Run Run”], the first uptempo song on the album. Kind of like a fast blues with a bit of southern boogie, pretty infectious rhythm really. “All Tomorrow's Parties” slows down the tempo again, and it's Nico at the mike again, with a dark psychedelic sort of feel. Sounds like sitar there. Is it? No, it isn't.

    As if they haven't made it plain enough that they're singing about drugs on the album, the next one is called “Heroin”, so there can be no doubt. Another kind of laid back, relaxed sort of song with some nice guitar, that perhaps belies the bleak nature of the lyrical matter. It speeds up but then drops back again. Great vocal from Reed, really more like speaking poetry than singing. Lots of feedback guitar; at one point it totally drowns out Reed's voice, which I assume is intended to make a statement. Almost the longest track on the album, just beaten out of that place by the closer. This is balanced out by the three tracks in between being no more than three minutes long each.

    Don't see anything terribly great about “There She Goes” - standard sixties rock song, could hear The Kinks or The Animals singing this. Nothing special. Back to dreamy pop then for “I'll be Your Mirror” with Nico back on vocals. “The Black Angel's Death Song” is good though: sort of a bluegrass idea in it, screeching viola from John Cale as well as hissing into the microphone all creates a rather unsettling atmosphere. The final track then is “European Son” with a really nice bass line and again it's reasonably uptempo compared to most of the rest of the album. It's also, as mentioned, the longest track, just shy of eight minutes. There are more sound effects here, like things rolling on the floor, barrels maybe, and crashing breaking glass. Actually no: I read now that it's Cale hitting a stack of plates with a metal chair that made the sounds. Of course it is.

    Well, it's a weird end to a much less weird album than I had thought it would be. Good enough, but somehow not the powerhouse gamechanger I had expected to hear. I guess, as they say, you had to be there.

    Favourite track(s): I'm Waiting for the Man, Venus in Furs, Run Run Run, The Black Angel's Death Song
    Least favourite track(s): European Son, There She Goes, Femme Fatale
    Overall impression: Not what I was expecting at all. I thought it would be wilder, sort of punkish, more experimental. Pretty pleasant really, all things considered. I'm certainly not denying this album its place in musical history, and I can see the progressive rock tinges in it, but they're tinges only, and if this is one of the ancestors of prog rock, then it's the drunk old uncle with tourettes whom everyone tries to avoid at the Christmas dinner, lest he corner you and start going on about how music was in his day.
    Personal Rating: 3.0
    Legacy Rating: 4.0
    Final Rating: 3.5
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  5. #25
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762
    Up to now, though I’ve tried not to be too dismissive of nor ignore bands who are cited as being influential on the birth of prog rock, I’ve yet to hear anything approaching what I would consider to be the sound of the genre. My understanding of what makes progressive rock may be simplistic and basic, but for me, prog rock music has at its heart long and/or complicated keyboard passages, introspective guitar, other instruments like sax, violin, cello or flute, has long songs that are often broken into suites and deals with fantasy or mythological, or at least other than mundane lyrical content. Obviously, that’s not true of every prog band nor indeed every prog song, but I’ve not yet recognised anything that puts me in mind of, say, “A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers”, “2112“ or even “Tarkus”. The bands and albums I’ve listened to so far do not, to me, speak of a new genre straining to be born, and though some of them did experiment with sound and ideas, most seem rooted in blues or jazz tropes, and show no sign or stepping much beyond that. Perhaps that will change as I investigate our next band, jumping off at the next stop along my extremely long journey.

    Formed initially as The Paramounts, and having one hit single but getting no further, Gary Brooker and Robin Trower formed Procol Harum and began recording their first, self-titled album in 1967, from which they had their biggest hit single, “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. Oddly enough, this was not on the UK version of the album, though it does appear on the US one. I guess you can only assume the label were trying to push sales of the single further by not allowing those who bought the album to have access to it that way, but it’s a strange thing to do: most people who bought singles would probably then go and get the album if they liked what they heard.

    The success of the hit single assured Procol Harum of a place in musical history, and could very well point to them as being one of the first true progressive rock bands, but it did encumber them with the “first hit single syndrome”, and they never really repeated the worldwide success of that song, which is still the one they are associated with, even by those who have never heard a single album of theirs. Like me.


    Album title: Procol Harum
    Artiste: Procol Harum
    Nationality: British
    Label: Regal Zonophone
    Year: 1967
    Grade: A
    Previous Experience of this Artiste: “A Whiter Shade of Pale”
    Landmark value: With a worldwide smash hit single on it (at least, the US version) this album could be said to have brought the fledgling progressive rock to the mainstream.
    Tracklisting: Conquistador/ She Wandered Through the Garden Fence/ Something Following Me/ Mabel/ Cerdes (Outside the Gates of)/ A Christmas Camel/ Kaleidoscope/ Salad Days (Are Here Again)/ Good Captain Clack/ Repent Walpurgis
    Comments: Well, I finally hear the organs, Hammonds and keyboard runs that would become part and parcel of prog rock here in songs like the opener and the second track particularly, so perhaps Matthew Fisher can be said to be the first prog rock keyboardist? Meh, probably not, but he’s the first I’ve heard to date that embraces and embodies that style that would be identified with this genre. The music definitely seems more keyboard-driven than guitar-centric, which I believe is important. Some nice bluesy piano on “Something Following Me” which has a really nice country feel to it too. Next one’s annoying though: too “Yellow Submarine” Beatles for me. “Cerdes (Outside the Gates of)” brings back the progressive rock though, with some fine guitar from Robin Trower.

    This version then has that smash single, and there’s little I can say about it that hasn’t been said already, so on we go and I have to say I pretty much love most of what I’m hearing here. Like I say, the main thing for me, the thing that differentiates this from the other albums I’ve listened to up to now is the dominance of keyboard; Fisher really holds court over the album and brings it all together, which is not to ignore the other members of PH, but his keyboard soundscapes form the background for the music here, and the album would not be the same without it. The closer is just perfect. Love it.

    Favourite track(s): She Wandered Through the Garden Fence, Something Following Me, Cerdes (Outside the Gates of), A Whiter Shade of Pale, Salad Days (Are Here Again), Repent Walpurgis
    Least favourite track(s): Mabel, Good Captain Clack
    Overall impression: Think I really love this album, and I can finally say that, as far as I’m concerned anyway, and going only on what I’ve listened to up to this point, this, for me, is the first true example of an album that would lead to the proper emergence of progressive rock. Superb.
    Personal Rating: 4.5
    Legacy Rating: 5.0
    Final Rating: 4.5

    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  6. #26
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762
    As with The Byrds, the first name that drops from my lips when I speak of progressive rock is not that of the "Fab Four". Although I’m no fan and have heard little of their music beyond the singles, and I know they did a lot of experimental work later in their career, their contribution to the evolution of progressive rock has always been a bone of contention to me. I can’t deny that, like Pet Sounds - and on which much of this was based - their concept album did open doors that others had not really tried, but really I see it more as a case of the Beatles opening the door but allowing others to rush through, taking the bones of what they had started and putting a lot more flesh on it, to create what was generally accepted by at least 1970 as the format of progressive rock.

    As an aside, I must point out that the Wiki entry on this album goes into almost tortuous detail about every song, dissecting it until the various commentators have almost wrung every drop of soul or enjoyment out of it. It’s something like watching a dispassionate autopsy being conducted. I have never quite in my life read so much psychobabble written about music. Like Freud himself once observed, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar guys!

    Nevertheless, this album has its place in history, and we would be remiss to exclude it, as it is hailed as one of the first proper concept albums, though to be honest I fail to see any common thread or plot running through it. To me, it’s more a collection of songs, though the idea of it being performed by a fictional band made up by the Beatles is interesting and certainly was, at the time, pretty ground-breaking. But was it progressive rock? Um...

    Album title: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
    Artiste: The Beatles
    Nationality: British
    Label: Parlophone
    Year: 1967
    Grade: B
    Previous Experience of this Artiste: Who hasn’t heard something by the Beatles??
    Landmark value: Seen as not only very important in the evolution of progressive rock (though I would not call it a prog rock album by any stretch), but also in helping to establish the identity of albums as opposed to singles and one of the first real concept albums, this set the standard for future recording techniques and was one of the few albums that was essentially recorded as a band other than the one the artists were known for.
    Tracklisting: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band/ With a Little Help from My Friends/ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds/ Getting Better/ Fixing a Hole/ She’s Leaving Home/ Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!, Within You Without You, When I’m Sixty-four, Lovely Rita, Good Morning Good Morning, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise), A Day in the Life
    Comments: We’ll all heard this album - or at least, some of it, so I’ll skip the tracks I, and everyone else, knows, and jump to “Getting Better”, which seems to keep some of the basic idea from “With a Little Help from My Friends”, straigh tahead rock tune really. “Fixing a Hole” has more of a twenties feel about it, sort of music-hall idea there, and “She’s Leaving Home”] slows it all down to a moody dirge with some beautiful violin and cello. I’ve heard this of course before, and I like the way it’s seen from both sides, the runaway and the parents, each giving their reaction.

    “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” has the sort of melody that would be very much at home on a Tom Waits album, and I guess you can see the influence of this album in his later work, lot of carnival sounds and effects, seems to be an instrumental, then Harrison’s sitar introduces “Within You Without You” with some suitably Indian percussion (congas?) and a sort of droning, chanted vocal; I’ve heard part of this melody in a much later Marillion song. It’s the only one with Harrison on lead vocals, and almost the longest on the album: whereas most of the other tracks, bar the closer, are around the two or three minute mark, this runs for just over five. I think we all know “When I’m Sixty-four”, which bumps along nicely on tuba and horns, with “Lovely Rita” coming back to the main theme of the title track, bopping along. Interesting that they use the description "meter maid", when they were an English band and on this side of the Atlantic we call them all "traffic wardens", male or female. Still, I guess “meter maid” rhymes better with “Rita”. Sort of.

    I’m not too impressed with “Good Morning Good Morning”, bit ordinary, though it has some nice guitar in it. There’s a reprise then of the title track, then if anything is progressive rock on this album - and little is really - I’d have to mark the closer, “A Day in the Life” as an indicator of the direction the genre was going to go over the next few years. I like the way it changes time signatures, tempos and particularly the crescendos that provide the real power behind the song.

    Favourite track(s): With a Little Help from My Friends, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, She’s Leaving Home, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!, A Day in the Life
    Least favourite track(s): Good Morning Good Morning
    Overall impression: Given that I know so much of this album already, not the biggest surprise, but I’d still have to say the jury is out, as far as I’m concerned, as to how much of a role this album has to play in the genesis (sorry) of progressive rock. It’s certainly an important album, but though I can see some of the processes and thoughts here being used in future prog rock albums, I’m not sure I don’t see it as more of a psychedelic album than a progressive rock one.

    Personal Rating: 4.0
    Legacy Rating: 5.0
    Final Rating: 4.5

    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  7. #27
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762
    Although I came to their work relatively late, by way of The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon, there can be little argument against Pink Floyd having been one of the prime movers behind the rise of progressive rock. Their music on the albums mentioned, and continuing on into the second side of Meddle, Wish You Were Here, to say nothing of Animals, typifies that refusal of the genre to conform to the norms of rock music at the time: albums must yield hit singles, singles must be such-a-length, the setup is guitar-vocals-bass-drums, and so on. Through the pioneering efforts of their seventies output, Floyd blazed a trail for others to follow, and could not more exemplify the term “experimental music” if they were all wearing white coats and working in a lab.

    But their first few albums were not quite so progressive as psychedelic rock, though I’m beginning to realise that the two are, or were at that time, quite closely linked, if not inextricably tied together. In ways, what psychedelic rock began progressive rock either expanded on, absorbed into its own music or improved upon. In fact, for the next five or six years the two terms could almost be described as interchangeable, as bands like Tangerine Dream, Gong, Captain Beefheart and The Mothers of Invention tried out new sounds, tested the ground ahead and, even if it gave way and they fell through, always climbed out, nodding and taking notes. It’s not an overstatement, I believe, to say that had we not had psychedelic rock we would in all likelihood never have had progressive rock.

    And many bands, as mentioned, began in a sort of psychedelic direction but later changed to a more structured approach as they became more in the way of progressive rock bands. Pink Floyd were one case in point, and a vitally important one. At the time they started playing the local clubs there was literally nothing else like them on Earth; they were the only show in town and the one you had to see if you wanted to “get your mind blown,” Even in my long-vanished youth, when our school shelled out for a rare trip to London and we were taken to the Planetarium, it was the music of Pink Floyd that accompanied the stars streaking across the sky, the visits to alien worlds and the whole voyage through the cosmos. Their music was almost tailor-made for such excursions, both of the eye and, I am reliably informed, of the mind.

    But Floyd started off with a drag factor which was to lead to perhaps one of the earliest changes in a band’s history that I know of. Bright as a burning star himself, and commemorated in the almost-album-long “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” eight years later, Syd Barrett was one of the founders of the band, then called The Pink Floyd Sound, though they quickly dropped the last word and fairly soon afterwards the first too, becoming ever after known as Pink Floyd. Barrett was a great musician and songsmith, but his battle with addictions would have detrimental and later, tragic consequences on his career, and lead to his being fired from the band he had created, to allow the others to shine as brightly. It was a tough decision for Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright, but not taken lightly, and done because there really was nothing else they could do.

    Before he left them though, Barrett was the creative genius and visionary who wrote their entire debut album, music and lyrics, and sung on almost every song. He even came up with the striking and memorable title, taken from a chapter of the children’s classic “The Wind in the Willows”.


    Album title: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
    Artiste: Pink Floyd
    Nationality: British
    Label: EMI
    Year: 1967
    Grade: A
    Previous Experience of this Artiste: Pretty much everything after Dark Side of the Moon, including Roger Waters’s solo material.
    Landmark value: Heralding the arrival of Pink Floyd on to the scene, the value of this album really can’t be overestimated. Floyd brought things like lightshows, taped effects, feedback, video and special effects to their stageshows, and were probably the first British band to create what is today termed a “full multimedia experience”. I never got to see them live, ever, which I regret, but I’m told it was an experience you never forgot. Although there was a hit single for Floyd at this time, it was not from this album and they helped usher in an era where albums were more important than singles, and you didn’t have to have a hit single for an album to sell well. This, and its followup, would of course lead in time to the genre-defining classic that is Dark Side of the Moon, which would have such an influence and effect on musicians as well as fans that it is still the standard today.
    Tracklisting: Astronomy Domine/ Lucifer Sam/ Matilda Mother/ Flaming/ Pow R Toc. h/ Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk/ Interstellar Overdrive/ The Gnome/ Chapter 24/ The Scarecrow/ Bike
    Comments: “Astronomy Domine” is a great start, with really atmospheric, spacey effects, not to mention one of the coolest song titles ever, and shows the sort of direction Floyd would begin to move in, while “Lucifer Sam” is kind of more straight ahead rock, though you can get an idea of Waters’s prowess on the bass lines here. “Matilda Mother” is very psychedelic, sort of reminds me of those winged chaps I reviewed a while back. Nice kind of eastern tinges to the melody from Wright on the keys, and a sort of hissing, pumping sound that would later make its way into “Welcome to the Machine”.

    The psych elements continue into “Flaming”, and it’s clear by now that though Barrett was a competent singer, there’s something missing from his delivery here. Maybe it’s the bitterness or anger Waters put into his singing, or the more mellifluous tones of David Gilmour, when he joined later and occasionally got behind the mike. I can see why there was concern over Syd being too quiet to be heard; at times here the music just overpowers his voice. The first of two instrumentals on the album, “Pow R. Toc. H” presages some of the music from later album Animals, and gives both Wright and Mason their chance to really shine. It’s quite uptempo and all a bit mad, but good fun, with some crazy effects that would become trademarks of this unique band.

    Roger Waters’s only vocal then comes in “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk”, and even here you can see the difference in styles; Waters is more forceful, more in-your-face, louder than the mostly gentle Barrett. Wright also goes wild on the organ here as the song rushes along at a much more frenetic pace that any of the previous tracks. It is, to be fair, not as great as some of the rest of the album. Where Floyd really hit their stride though is with the nine-minute-plus “Interstellar Overdrive”, which marries space rock, psych and the emerging progressive rock tropes really well. The echoes, the feedback, the effects. Hard to believe that a band starting out could put a nine-minute instrumental on their debut album, but Floyd from the beginning weren’t interested in kow-towing to the charts. And they were right. As they set their own course and people bought into what they were selling, this would become a future classic.They were on their own personal journey, and very soon millions would want to be part of it.

    “The Gnome” then is just silly, there’s no way around that. I like the Beatlesesque sound of “Chapter 24”, it’s quite slow and dreamy with some nice keys effects, “The Scarecrow” is nice too, very laid back and pastoral, but I don’t like “Bike”, which closes the album. Seems totally out of place to me. Crazy lyric, I guess reflects Barrett’s personality at the time. Actually, fuck it, I’ve changed my mind. This is a fun song and I suddenly like it. Yeah, I can change my mind like that: it’s my goddamn journal! Hey, totally weird-out ending!

    Favourite track(s): Astronomy Domine, Lucifer Sam, Pow R toc H, Interstellar Overdrive, Chapter 24, The Scarecrow, Bike
    Least favourite track(s):Flaming, Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk, The Gnome
    Overall impression: Not so much the World Tree of Progressive Rock as one of the major seeds that germinated and then spread across the music world, pollinating everything they touched, this album is a nod towards where Floyd were headed, a road sign if you will on the journey they were about to undertake. While for pure progressive rock it’s still not as much an early example as the Procol Harum album, the impact Floyd would have on prog rock far outweighs that of the other band, and for that reason alone this album needs to be heralded as one of the progenitors of the movement.

    Not as simple rock as I had been led to believe, there are two seriously prog instrumentals on it and some lyrics that would be at home on any Yes or Camel album. Possibly. But the important point is that Floyd were pushing, changing, evolving from this album on, transforming the face of rock into something that had really never been seen before, and which would birth some giants of the era. Progression: it’s what drove Floyd for many years, and by association, many other bands who were to come.
    Personal Rating:4.0
    Legacy Rating: 5.0
    Final Rating: 4.5
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  8. #28
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762
    In 1965 a young contemporary of Frank Zappa called Don Van Vliet decided his own name wasn’t interesting or psychedelic enough, and changed it to Captain Beefheart, a name that would ring down through the annals of progressive, experimental and psychedelic music for decades, and reverberate in even the work of many musicians later to come, including the venerated Tom Waits. Beefheart’s music could probably only be rivalled by the gleeful madness of Zappa, and I certainly found at least one of his albums totally inaccessible to me, leaving me with some trepidation in covering him here. But he is or was a massive influence on so many artistes and on the genre in general that I could not afford to leave him out.

    Like some progressive rock progenitors, Beefheart’s music seldom if ever troubled the charts, though his albums have gone on to appear in “best of” lists all over the spectrum, and he is revered and referred to by many a musician. A volatile, enigmatic personality, it seems Beefheart had something of a dictatorial approach to his work and his band, best reflected in this quote from drummer John French, taken from Wiki:

    ”If Van Vliet built a house like he wrote music, the methodology would go something like this... The house is sketched on the back of a Denny's placemat in such an odd fashion that when he presents it to the contractor without plans or research, the contractor says "This structure is going to be hard to build, it's going to be tough to make it safe and stable because it is so unique in design." Van Vliet then yells at the contractor and intimidates him into doing the job anyway. The contractor builds the home, figuring out all the intricacies involved in structural integrity himself because whenever he approaches Van Vliet, he finds that he seems completely unable to comprehend technical problems and just yells, "Quit asking me about this stuff and build the damned house."... When the house is finished no one gets paid, and Van Vliet has a housewarming party, invites none of the builders and tells the guests he built the whole thing himself.”

    Not the nicest of people then, and certainly when I listened to - well, suffered bravely through - Trout Mask Replica I just got the feeling of someone having a laugh, imagining people listening to this and calling it music. I certainly didn’t enjoy it. I’m told though by people who know far more about him than I that his debut album was a lot more conventional than Trout Mask Replica, and if so, it’s something I’ll be thankful for, because I do not fancy going though that again. For those wondering, when we get to that album I’ll just be referring back to my previous review of it: I don’t think my fragile psyche could take another trip through that particular wonderland. But this was his first release under his band’s name, one of thirteen in total he would release up until his retirement from music in 1982.

    Album title: Safe as Milk
    Artiste: Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
    Nationality: American
    Label: Buddah
    Year: 1967
    Grade: C
    Previous Experience of this Artiste: Trout Mask Replica (Shudder!) Oh, and “Ice Cream for Crow” - I actually enjoyed that!
    Landmark value: As detailed above, Beefheart had a massive influence on progressive rock, but what effect this particular album had is debatable, so after listening through to this I would say not that much really.
    Tracklisting: Sure ‘Nuff ‘n Yes I Do/ Zig-zag Wanderer/ Call On Me/ Dropout Boogie/ I’m Glad/ Electricity/ Yellow Brick Road/ Abba Zaba/ Plastic Factory/ Where There’s Woman/ Grown So Ugly/ Autumn’s Child
    Comments: It’s pretty straight ahead Delta blues here, which is a relief for me but nothing terribly progressive yet. It’s pretty basic up until “I’m Glad” which has a nice motown soul feel to it, then the weirdness that would become Beefheart’s trademark (it says here) starts to leak in as “Electricity” hits and he assumes a sort of moaning, warbling voice which I can see Waits adopted from about 1983 onwards. Country jamboree then on “Yellow Brick Road”, a few years before Elton snagged it, and I find “Abba Zaba” very annoying.

    If this is seen as the easy way into Beefheart, then while it doesn’t give me nightmares in the same way TMR did, I really don’t see myself being a fan of him ever. This I just find pretty generic with a side of weirdness tacked on and it’s not for me. I also don’t see anything particularly progressive about it, not here anyway. It’s a good blues album, but there are so many of them I couldn’t say this is any better than any of them, or indeed any worse. The only real interest in this for me is hearing where Waits learned to develop his voice, and I can hear echoes of him again in “Where There’s Woman”. Other than that I’m just bored.
    Favourite track(s): Sure ‘Nuff ‘n Yes I Do, I’m Glad, Yellow Brick Road, Where There’s Woman
    Least favourite track(s): Electricity, Dropout Boogie, Abba Zaba
    Overall impression: Decent album, no shock to the system like TMR but nothing that special.
    Personal Rating: 1.00
    Legacy Rating: 2.00
    Final Rating:1.50
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  9. #29
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762
    Another band who would go on to shape, lead and influence the progressive rock movement began in the south of England when five young lads decided to ditch their overly blues/r&b influences from their first album and looked more towards a fusion of classical, blues and more symphonic music that would result in their second album, which would go on to be one of the most important records of the era. With new boys John Lodge and Justin Hayward in tow, the Moody Blues were ready to take on the world.


    Album title: Days of Future Passed
    Artiste: The Moody Blues
    Nationality: British
    Label: Deram Records
    Year: 1967
    Grade: A
    Previous Experience of this Artiste: Sur la Mer, In Search of the Lost Chord, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Long Distance Voyager and the singles
    Landmark value: One of the true progenitors of the progressive rock movement, The Moody Blues tend to get a little forgotten about and left behind, with only their hit single “Nights in White Satin” to mark their passing, but they really were one of the original bands to push their music towards what would become known as progressive rock. This being their second album, first real prog rock one and a concept album, all adds up to make this a very important recording. It also marks the first real use of the mellotron, one of the keyboard instruments which would become a true staple of the genre.
    Tracklisting: The Day Begins / Dawn: Dawn is a Feeling / The Morning: Another Morning/ Lunch Break: Peak Hour/ The Afternoon: Tuesday Afternoon/ Evening (The Sunset/ Twilight Time)/ The Night: Nights in White Satin
    Comments: Right away you’re into a whole different kind of music here. It’s full, it’s dramatic, it’s, well, classical. It’s the sort of thing the likes of Jeff Lynne would pick up on in a few years’ time and make his trademark, but here it’s something totally new, initially like listening to a symphony. The album charts, to quote the Beatles, a day in the life, and goes from dawn to night, with little interludes and intros for each piece. There’s a full orchestra here, and it’s not really that surprising, as although this kind of sound could possibly be reproduced today with a few banks of synthesisers, back then they were much more in their infancy and you would need the full orchestra to do this music justice. Mike Pinder’s mellotron however does hold court here, and you can hear its influence all through the album.

    I like the way “The Day Begins” opens with the theme for what will become the main melody of their most famous and successful single, “Nights in White Satin”, and it’s a lovely sweeping majestic tune which then gives way to spoken poetry against much lighter, airier music, almost ethereal. “Dawn is a Feeling” is the first real vocal track, slow and grandiose, and again I can hear melodies and progressions here that would form the backbone of many an ELO tune in the next decade. A lot of flute here too, something that had not really been used on rock albums up to that point much, if at all. “Another Morning” is much more uptempo, sort of Beatles in form, some really nice acoustic guitar from new boy Justin Hayward and some peppy flute from Ray Thomas.

    A big orchestral intro then for “Lunch Break” and then it hits into that rush-rush pumping sort of tune that always seems to depict the big city, people hurrying to and fro, going to appointments and meetings, catching buses and taxis; you know the kind of thing. “Peak Hour” then breaks in with a real rock tune driven on electric guitar and bass, the percussion hard and heavy and the vocal a little wild. I know “Tuesday Afternoon”, with its gentle boppy feel, again the acoustic guitar and this time the voice of Hayward, and a really sumptuous orchestral passage leading into a kind of folky campfire ending.

    “Evening” doesn’t do too much for me I’m afraid. The semi-tribal opening of “Sunset” is a little jarring, even given the classical sweep that follows it, and even though there’s some nice bass work from John Lodge and some more lovely flute from Ray Thomas, it just doesn’t sit right somehow. The mix of orchestral and rock and roll on “Twilight Time” is much better; the vocal harmonies work really well and the whole thing just hangs together better. Of course I know “Nights in White Satin”, an extended version of which closes the album in fine style, a song which would not only become one of their biggest hits but a staple on love compilation albums for decades to come. Pinder really comes into his own here on the mellotron, and there’s a powerful spoken piece by him before the orchestra brings everything to a triumphant close.

    Favourite track(s): Dawn is a Feeling, Tuesday Afternoon, Twilight Time, Nights in White Satin
    Least favourite track(s): Sunset, Peak Hour
    Overall impression: A very impressive and ambitious album, and one which would certainly point the way for progressive rock bands that were to come. The first time a rock band had really married symphonic orchestral music and rock together and come up with something that was greater than the sum of its parts.
    Personal Rating: 4.0
    Legacy Rating: 5.0
    Final Rating: 4.5

    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  10. #30
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Posts
    762
    I’ve never had that much time for Keith Emerson, but it can’t be denied that in the same way as Mike Pinder brought the mellotron into progressive rock music, Emerson ensured that keyboards took centre stage. Almost literally. He’s more known, in some ways, for the abuse he practiced on his keyboards - dragging them around the stage, attacking them with knives etc - than he is for his prowess on the instrument, but there’s no getting away from the fact that he knew how to play. He may have pushed showmanship to the fore in preference to musical ability, but he had both in spades.

    The band he started out in, more or less, is the feature of our next article. With a name that typically sounded acceptable and normal, but actually referred to drug-taking, The Nice were big on the scene from 1967 to about 1970, and in that time they popularised the idea of marrying jazz, classical and other influences into their music. They would also be feted as the first real supergroup, although for me the term has a different meaning: you have to have been in a big, successful band and then joined others who have done the same, in the way Asia, Box of Frogs and The Travelling Wilburys did. But that’s just my opinion.

    With arrogance that would become one of his worst traits, Emerson made sure his name was first when the band released their debut album, and it was his somewhat dictatorial approach to his bandmates and his desire for more and more of the spotlight that would eventually lead to their breaking up in 1971. Before that though, they released four major albums, one of which is said to have been one of the cornerstones of the progressive rock movement.


    Album title: The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack
    Artiste: The Nice
    Nationality: British
    Label: Immediate
    Year: 1967
    Grade: A
    Previous Experience of this Artiste: Zero; I saw them playing “America” live on some prog history show, but that’s about it.
    Landmark value: Bringing together both the idea of interpreting classical music for a new generation and pushing the keyboard towards the front of the band, whereas before it has been more of a backup instrument, The Nice certainly laid many of the foundations for what would become prog rock, and of course Emerson went on to found ELP, one of the biggest and most successful prog rock bands in history, and ironically, one against whom the backlash of punk rock was aimed and which spelled, for a while, the end of the genre.
    Tracklisting: Flower King of Flies/ The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack/ Bonny K/ Rondo/ War and Peace/ Tantalising Maggie/ Dawn/ The Cry of Eugene
    Comments: A brief rant at Spotify, though I probably shouldn’t; they provide me with so much music I would otherwise have to pay for. But still: they have The Nice on their books but not this, supposedly their most important album! Why? I had to go Groovesharkin’* to find it. But to the album: there’s a lot of psychedelic rock here, decent enough song to open, and you can certainly hear Emerson’s organ (ooer!) taking the lead in just about every song. He does prove he’s a master of it though. The title track has a nice sort of early prog feel about it with some classical mixed in, and I sort of hear early Moody Blues here too. Good marching rhythm, very upbeat, I really like this.

    “Bonny K” is more a rock-and-roll track, with the guitar getting in some fine licks and Emerson almost pushed to the background for a little, but he’s back with a bang for “Rondo”, based on Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk”, which is pretty damn excellent. The “Toccata and Fugue” extract, almost in the background is tremendous, like the past calling “Don’t forget me!” Must say, I really love this. “War and Peace” is another instrumental, this time with a real blues/boogie flair, and again I must admit it’s totally bitchin’. The keyboard arpeggios and runs are amazing.

    Not so impressed with “Tantalising Maggie” though; bit kind of folky with elements of rock, doesn’t really work for me. Stupid ending too, with some sort of taped laughter? Yeah, definitely my least favourite so far, almost the only one I don’t like. “Dawn” has a great creeping menace about it, reminds me of later Waits at times; the dark whisper works really well. Like this one too. Gets a little indulgent towards the end, bit freeform; you can see where Emerson was going to go later with ELP. It recovers well though and it’s still a great track. Which leaves us with only one song proper to go. I say proper because although it wasn’t included on the original release, how could I not mention their rendition of Bernstein’s “America” from West Side Story?

    But before that we have “The Cry of Eugene”, with a Beatles-like psychedelia and some really nice violin it sounds like, though I see none credited. Can’t be synthesised as at this point even analogue synthesisers had to make their presence felt. Maybe a guitar effect? Good anyway. It’s not, to be fair, the greatest closer (“Dawn” would have been much better) but it’s a decent song and I have little bad to say about it, or indeed this album.

    But then, technically that’s not it, is it? Although excluded from the original release as I said, their most famous/infamous song is their pastiche of Leonard Bernstein’s “America”. What Jimi did for “The Stars and Stripes” Emerson and co. do here, ripping the piss unmercifully out of the nationalistic theme for West Side Story, and it’s probably one of the first real protest songs without words. Maybe the only one. Great stuff, and again proof that, despite my dislike for him, Emerson was a true keyboard wizard. Apparently Bernstein hated it. Good: I’m sure he was meant to.

    Favourite track(s): The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, Rondo, War and Peace, Dawn. America
    Least favourite track(s): Tantalising Maggie
    Overall impression: Brilliant album. Keyboard-heavy of course, and a real pointer to the way prog rock would develop, thrive and grow. I may not like ELP but I certainly love this.
    Personal Rating: 4.5
    Legacy Rating: 5.0
    Final Rating: 4.5

    * Grooveshark, for those who don’t know, was something of a minor competitor to Spotify, but they didn’t last. As Agnes said to Marge Simpson when Marge intimated that Macys and Gimbels could get along, “Gimbels is gone, Marge! You’re Gimbels!” Indeed.
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.