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Freedom's Children - Galactic Vibes CD (album) cover


Freedom's Children


Heavy Prog

3.33 | 23 ratings

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3 stars Freedom's Children is one of a tiny number of groups from South Africa known to have recorded and performed progressive rock music, their history going as far back as 1966. There are folk proggies Hawk and a few artists as Robert Calvert and Manfred Mann, but documented art rock from the nation is sadly lacking due to political issues. It was also difficult for bands to play outside the country, which makes this final LP that much more a treasure. FC really knew how to record with limited means, though, and a presumably tight budget. Oh, this is prog alright, it just tends to be spat it in your face, coming more from the schools of Sabbath, Creedence and Zeppelin with only hints of the Nice and Tull. But these guys had visions of art and hard rockin power come together at a time when it was usually one or the other. And they could play like mutherf*ckers. 'Sea Horse' is a standout rocker, Julian Laxton's cutting wah-wahed ax, Brian Davidson howling up a storm with drummer Colin Pratley and Barry Irwin (Ramsay MacKay only appears on the live 'Homecoming') on heavy bottom. Evidently they had lost their keyboardists and on this night only Laxton plays synthesizer. Pratley takes a mammoth and very jazz drum solo in 16-minute stomper 'The Homecomming'. A taste of Zep in 'That Did It' and a good one too, perfectly dirty, raggedly beautiful and bruised in all the right places, just like those English rockers on a good night. Acid folk of 'Fields and Me' is more than it seems, with a swelling 25 piece string section as it becomes a trip through an Arabian desert at sundown. A remarkable piece. Brief 'The Crazy World of Pod' interrupts the moment with electronic warbles, hokey country-psych bit '1999' doesn't quite work, and 'About the Dove and His King' shines with more Eastern mystique and makes ample use of the strings.

Good music from a band denied its part in progressive rock history till recently, and a rare treat from the truly sparse South African prog scene.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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