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Junipher Greene - Friendship CD (album) cover


Junipher Greene


Heavy Prog

3.96 | 57 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The early years of progressive rock, the formative years, gives me so much pleasure. If I would dare start counting the progress in the first, oh say, five years between 1967 and 1972, I think that there's so much music made that tried to break out of the mold of rock'n'roll and create a whole new universe. Some of the bands really found their niche (King Crimson, Yes, Caravan, Van der Graaf Generator et al) while others simply floated along nicely, though lacking any real identifiable identity. But then again, that does not mean that the music is less interesting och evocative.

Junipher Greene was a norwegian band, supposedly responsible for producing the first double album in that country. I find that although the band lacks any real identity of their own they did manage to record an album of the most fabolous prog rock in a sort of proto-prog sort of way. Referring to Jethro Tull when there's a presence by the flute has become the butt of a progressive rock joke but I suppose that only goes to show the major impact Ian Anderson made throughout Jethro Tulls half a century (or so) existence. And yes, there's a whole lot of flute on here but it doesn't necessarily sound like Ian Anderson and the music itself lacks the personality of Tull. But themix of blues, rock, folk and jazz makes it an album that rocks and knocks you about in a really nice way.

The opening "Try to understand" is a real hard rock knock in a blues-rock way, giving a lot of room for the flute. "Music for our children" adds a psych-jazz feeling to the mix and "Magical garden" allows the band to stretch out a bit and jam in a jazz-rock fashion. I love all songs on the album but I guess you all understand that the real prize is the epic title track, clocking in at 26 minutes.

I could talk for hours about this track. It is wonderful. The ideas within are maybe not the most demanding or challenging but it's like a really good meal where every dish adds to the experience. The track holds every kind of musical expression that Junipher Greene attempted and they managed to hit it off. They really did. Passionate vocals, great organ and jazzy playfulness amidst a plethora of blues and rock expressions. Amazing!

The whole album is warm, accessible yet challenging in a sort of melodic way where everything just falls into place. This album has become a staple of mine and every time I find myself smiling, feeling good and relaxed. You won't find the intricacies of Yes or Gentle Giant here but you will find extremely well played and thought through progressive rock. While it's not an essential purchase I do think it's an excellent addition to any decent collection.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |


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