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The Nice - The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack CD (album) cover


The Nice


Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 135 ratings

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4 stars This is one of those late 60's psychedelic albums that would lead to the progressive rock movement. Like most music of its time, the song writing is basic psychedelic blues rock that everybody was doing. But Emerson's keyboards are really excellent throughout and they make this music bigger, more ambitious and commanding then much of its contemporaries.

Flower King Of Flies is a great opener. A heavy blues rock number with excellent keyboard embellishments from Keith. Imagine this with a slight different arrangement and ELP is not too far away. But the credit does not just go to Emerson, the other bright light in this unit is of course O'List. His sharp Hendrix inspired playing offers the right balance against Emerson's urge to take the spotlight. It is mainly because of him that this is the only record where Emerson works as a band member instead of the ego tripper he usually is. So of course he would kick out O'List after this album and much of the appeal of The Nice would go with him. Just compare this opening track to anything from the ensuing Nice albums. It goes from focussed energy to mindless doodling in just one year. The contrast couldn't be bigger.

On Rondo, Emerson takes a classic twist on things and it forebodes things to come. He rarely matched the raw energy of this track here. Rondo comes in fact very close to what Jon Lord of Deep Purple would be doing in the years following this release. It's an excellent track, both proto-prog and proto hard rock. War and Piece is another instrumental with a great guitar versus organ battle without ever overdoing it.

Like many other tracks on this album, Tantalising Maggie could have come from Pink Floyd's 1967 debut so it's no surprise O'List joined Pink Floyd for a brief stint after being fired by Emerson. Dawn is another highlight: dark and brooding, heavy and gothic, symphonic and theatrical. The Cry of Eugene is another winner

There are many other early examples of prog. The fact that they are mostly from the same year indicates that not just one band can claim to have originated prog. It was something that was brooding in many artists' music from that time. The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack stands as a fine example of that creative ambition of 1967.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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