Header
Wally - Wally CD (album) cover

WALLY

Wally

 

Symphonic Prog

2.94 | 24 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars While much of the sixties were marked by the British invasion of America and all points west and east of Liverpool, there seem to have been some points in time where the influences flowed the other direction, if only in isolated pockets. Wally are one of those rare examples of this phenomenon. Despite being a bunch of guys from Leeds they managed to spend five years in the seventies touring around under management of Brian Lane and sounding something like the Eagles fronted by Jackson Browne with a hillbilly fiddler in tow. That and two albums produced by Whispering Bob Harris and Rick Wakeman should have made them stars somewhere, but apparently things just didn’t work out. Probably because their prog heavyweight connections belied their true talent as a modern-day R&B band.

This music is about as progressive as most of what Wishbone Ash or Ambrosia or America or Firefall or Home ever put out, which is to say not very. But if you are one of those people who has fond memories of the mellow, country soft-rock that filled the AM radio airwaves from about 1973 through 1978 then you will find this stuff pretty appealing. In fact “Sunday Walking Lady” sounds an awful lot like Firefall’s “Cinderella” except with some whiny fiddle for flavor. And “I Just Wanna Be a Cowboy” reminds me of Home’s “Time Passes By”. Not complaining mind you, just a couple of observations.

I think they’re closer to being a folk band than a symphonic one anyway, but I suppose the mellotron, Hammond organ and harmonium manage to fool some people. The one track that stands out a bit is the fourteen minute “To the Urban Man” with its psych sound effects and guitar fuzz layered in with that same persistently whining violin. This is a fun tune to listen to but it is also the only thing on the album that approaches true prog music with the exception of the opening track “The Martyr”, an eight minute mostly instrumental flight of fancy that moves between prog and pop almost seamlessly.

There’s a guy named Paul Middleton playing pedal steel throughout the album which of course makes this sound even more like country music than it would otherwise, although it would otherwise anyway. For fans of this instrument his highpoint is the closing track “Your Own Way” in which he pretty much sets the tone for the whole arrangement with some nice sustains and an overall wispy autumn afternoon feel. Nicely done.

These guys would put out one more album before constant touring and lack of acclaim took their toll and the band broke up. Most of them stayed in music though. Roy Webber played in a band called Trader for a while before turning to a graphic design career. Today he is one half of a part-time mainstream act known as Jackson-Webber. Pete Sage owns a recording studio in Germany, and Paul Middleton became a sort of British version of John Forgerty – hermit-like with rare public appearances before resurfacing a few years ago fronting Paul Middleton & the Angst Band. Keyboardist Nick Glennie- Smith (who replaced Paul Gerrett around the time this album was recorded) was one of a host of musicians who played the Roger Waters Berlin Wall gig. Pete Cosker unfortunately died of drug-related causes in 1990.

These guys aren’t all that memorable for a reason – they didn’t exactly put out innovative or timeless music. But they did what they did quite well, and managed to record an album with a decent sense of continuity and some nice blues steel, which is something I personally enjoy. This is a three star effort in my mind, but be warned that it is not what is traditionally considered progressive and is certainly not symphonic. Prog folk fans will undoubtedly enjoy it though.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Share this WALLY review

>

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.02 seconds