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Happy The Man - Beginnings CD (album) cover

BEGINNINGS

Happy The Man

 

Eclectic Prog

2.95 | 39 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
2 stars A year after the release of a compilation ("Retrospective"), the fans could grab this "Beginnings". An album with songs from their very debut and never released so far (some fifteen years later).

I am usually septic about such releases. Why were these songs not featured on some previous studio works if they were so good? That's the question.

Five songs are recorded "live" on a two track tape. The band was playing in their own house without any audience. The restoration did take place in 89-90 by Kit Watkins (one of the keyboard players).

The jazzy atmosphere of the opening track is elegant but complex. Already a T of this band in these early days. The cohesion of the band is good during this exercise but unfortunately they won't be able to repeat this throughout the album. The music is very quiet during several songs (limit dull during "Passion's Passing") even if some pastoral fluting is not too bad and little passion perspires from this album, but to be honest, I am not a die-hard fan of HTM.

The jazzy mood is already well present in their repertoire, like in the second part of "Don't Look To The Running Sun". This section is just a boring and useless jam IMO. But overall, this song is not too bad.

My favorite one of this album is also the longest one. Clocking at over eleven minutes, "Gretchen's Garden" is very much "Trespass" oriented. The band had repeated this mood during their official releases and this one is particularly well achieved. Very good vocal harmony, fine keyboards, sweet flute, tranquil mood: you get it all there. The highlight.

On the other end of the specter, "Partly The State" is a very poor song. Vocals a la "Gentle Giant", this jazz number is particularly hard to bear. At least for my ears. And the nice flute break is not enough to raise the level of this other long song.

The jazzy instrumentals "Broken Waves" and "Portrait Of A Waterfall" (both recorded in 1975) close the album on a low note. Not really structured nor melodic, they don't add anything to the credit of the band.

A curiosity. Five out of ten reduced to two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |

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