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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Wondrous Stories CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

3.34 | 11 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Prog for the masses... as seen on TV!

An obvious cash in on the popularity of Focus' Hocus Pocus used on the World Cup's Nike Ad and why not, it's a great song and deserves recognition. This is a very commerocal prog compilation but then again most comps are, yet it features some of the greatest prog on the planet that will hopefully draw newbies to more material from these incredible artists.

All these tracks are well known among the prog community and you would expect to see artists such as Yes - Wondrous Stories; Jethro Tull - Living In The Past; Rush - The Spirit of Radio; Camel - Rhayader; Hawkwind - Silver Machine; Gong - Perfect Mystery; Focus - Hocus Pocus; Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill; Genesis - The Serpent; ELP - Fanfare for the Common Man (long version); Marillion - Kayleigh; and Caravan - In The Land of Gray and Pink. The real surprise here is the same as occurs on all these type of compilations; the addition of prog related or even non prog artists. It makes one wonder who puts these compilations together. Why is Edgar Winter Group and Mountain here? Nice music but not prog! Then we have a criminally butchered Iron Butterfly classic - In a gadda da Vida mutilated to a paltry 2:52. The same applies with the heavily edited Tubular Bells which is not worth including.

Interesting additions are Crime of the Century by Supertramp and Kansas with Dust In The Wind which are less progressive than others that could have been included.

I always thought The Kettle by Colosseum was among their best so good choice. And another positive is the delightful riff heavy Gypsy by Uriah Heep. These are the choices for me that should go on any compilation. Also Argent are here with their classic song Hold Your Head Up. Traffic are here with Paper Sun, though I think there are better choices such as 40,000 Headmen.

Mocking Bird by Barclay James Harvest makes a typical appearance and Sympathy by Rare Bird, both found on countless compilations, as is Radar Love by Golden Earring and Question a perennial fave from The Moody Blues.

Catherine of Aragon by RIck Wakeman is a weird choice though very popular and we have an edited version, and I loved the addition of ELOs best with 10538 Overture. Roxy Music are at their prog best with Virginia Plain and its always great to see Wishbone Ash gain some exposure, here with Jailbait, not a track from Argus funnily enough. I have no idea why the compilation ends with Paganini: Theme and Variations 1-4 by Andrew Lloyd Webber, but anyway here it is.

Overall the comp is not the worst I have heard, not the best, but for newbies it does introduce you to some very important works and thats never a bad thing. I can award it 3 stars for its 2 CDs packed with prog.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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