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Eclectic Prog

4.11 | 557 ratings

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5 stars 1977 had a special meaning for me. That year had new releases from Genesis, ELP, Kansas, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant and Yes. Some very mixed results among those efforts. I also saw all of them in concert that year. In fact on successive Thursdays in May of that year I saw Genesis, Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant! 1977 was a great year!

Then I heard about this one. I knew who Bill Bruford and John Wetton were and I had heard of Eddie Jobson and Alan Holdsworth was just starting to enter my ears. To think they were putting out an album sparked my curiosity. The first play of this CD I really felt like they had hit something solid. The music seemed a cross of Genesis, ELP and King Crimson. The keyboard work was spectacular and the bass drums combo was one of the best tandem ever. Holdsworth guitar added something new. Take the song Alaska. I find the intro to this to be the same as the beginning of The Three Fates off of ELP's debut but faster and with drums. Then in comes Alan's guitar and it really made me think what ELP could have sounded like with Alan playing. This alone takes from the influence and moves it to different level. Very, very cool. I had the good fortune to see them in concert the same year and they were just as stellar.

Putting this album on just recently I found a few flaws that bothered me somewhat. The vocals are really nothing special and I have heard John Wetton do better. The lack of the Hammond leaves me a bit cold as well. (The same thing with Pirates by ELP that same year. I do believe that the Hammond was extremely important to all of the major groups listed above and when they stopped using it is when they had their biggest falloff) The production and sound of this CD is wanting too. I am hoping for a great remaster of this someday it should improve the sound quality greatly.

But those criticisms do not take away from this great record. Coming at the time of the final glory of the 1970's prog and taken into context of what I already mentioned came out that year this is 5 stars for me. I would have really liked to have known what this lineup could have done with one more stab at it. This band came out huge were playing major arenas from the start then just as quickly died.

Garion81 | 5/5 |


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