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England - Garden Shed CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 185 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars ENGLAND came a little late in the UK prog scene, coming at a bad time as punk rock was on the rise. Their one and only album, "Garden Shed" (well, at least until the 1990s with "The Last of the Jubblies" which contained leftover material) was released in 1977 on Arista Records. Despite the major label it was released on (yes, the same label that gave us the dreaded BARRY MANILOW, AIR SUPPLY and BAY CITY ROLLERS, at least the label did us a favor by having the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, CARAVAN, and HAPPY THE MAN on their roster), the original LP is hard to find. For those who don't live in the UK (me included): the cover to "Garden Shed" is a spoof of a label to a jar of Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade! Robertson's products are apparently not available outside of the UK (I certainly never seen any Golden Shred, Silver Shred, or any other Robertson's products sold at any supermarket in my neck of the woods), so I would never have realized the Golden Shred parody to "Garden Shed" had I not found out online. The band consisted of bassist Martin Henderson, guitarist Franc Holland, keyboardist Robert Webb, and drummer Jode Leigh. Vocal duties handled by all.

This was the last recording to feature the Mark II Mellotron (this was 1977, after all, and the Mellotron most used was the small 400 model, which was introduced in 1970, but didn't get used extensively until about or after 1972). Their keyboardist Robert Webb was said to sawed his Mark II in half to make it more portable (other keyboards he used included Hammond organ, Hohner clavinet, piano, electric piano, and Minimoog).

Musically, their influences can be rather obvious: YES, GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT, SUPERTRAMP, FRUUPP, perhaps even a little QUEEN. Like on "Midnight Madness" you hear plenty of GENESIS-like passages, with Yes-like vocal harmonies. "All Alone" is a short piano-oriented ballad that often gets compared to QUEEN, but to me reminds me of a Rick Davies-penned SUPERTRAMP ballad sung by Roger HODGSON. "Three Piece Suite" (get it?) is, as you expect, a three movement suite. The first part most resembling YES, but there are some passages with high-pitched vocals that don't seem to fit in too well. "Paraffinalea" is one of the more light-hearted numbers with more of that YES and GENTLE GIANT influences. "Yellow" is an acoustic ballad dominated by Mellotron. Here the influences seem to be not so obvious. The album then ends with "Poisoned Youth", at 16 minutes. Had this album been released a few years earlier, or punk didn't take over, this would have gotten more attention. Still, a great album.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Proghead | 4/5 |


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