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Greenslade - Bedside Manners Are Extra CD (album) cover

BEDSIDE MANNERS ARE EXTRA

Greenslade

 

Symphonic Prog

3.44 | 130 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
2 stars A marked improvement over their sluggish debut and far superior to 1974's commercially-successful 'Spyglass Guest', this 1973 album from the British quartet finds the double-keyboard flexing group hitting peak form. Fronted by classically-trained pianist Dave Greenslade(formerly of the groundbreaking jazz-rock outfit Colosseum) and featuring keyboardist Dave Lawson(The Web, Samurai) as well as bassist Tony Reeves and drummer Andrew McCulloch(King Crimson, Fields) Greenslade issued four albums on major label imprint Warner Bros between 1972 and 1975, yet despite prime backing never quite managed to reach the early-seventies progressive rock premier league inhabited by the likes of Yes, Genesis and ELP. Hardly the most prolific of outfits, the quartet - much to the chagrin of Dave Greenslade himself - have always been cast as a kind of second division prog act, but it is easy to see why. Of the four studio albums 'Bedside Manners Are Extra' is easily the pick of the bunch, yet what is most startling of all is the marked gap in quality between this 1973 effort and the group's three other 1970s albums, none of which come close to replicating the giddy charm and catchy melodies found at the core of this sweetly-crafted record. Alongside the likes of Rare Bird, Fields and Aardvark, Greenslade were one of small number of groups who deliberately eschewed the use of guitars as the lead instrument, instead utilising endless wire-strewn banks of synthesizers, organs and keyboards to create a rich and multi-layered sound. However, despite the obvious technical assurance of the individual band-members themselves, it is only on 'Bedside Manners Are Extra' - the group's second release after 1972's self-titled debut - that Greenslade fully realized their complex sonic vision(can you have a sonic vision...?). But what a way to realize it. From beginning to end, this consistently-impressive album proves a real treat for symphonic prog fans, something which may come as a surprise to those(and there have been many of you) who, over the years, have dismissed Greenslade as nothing more than a second-rate Yes-and-Genesis clone. Slightly tougher and rockier than the likes of Druid or England, yet with a playful edge so typical of British prog, 'Bedside Manners Are Extra' showcases the real Greenslade. It certainly took this once-doubtful writer by surprise. Highlights, then, are many, with the twinkling title-track and the deceptively-maudlin 'Pilgrim's Progress' highlighting Dave Lawson's undervalued lyrical skills, yet for the real meat look no further than the exciting and emotive 'Sunkissed You Are' - a mysterious love song dealing with regret - and the dazzling closer 'Chalkhill', which features some furiously-inventive keyboard interplay from both Greenslade and Lawson. A real surprise, 'Bedside Manners Are Extra' might just be the best British prog album you've never heard. Great stuff. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWNGTON, 2014

stefro | 2/5 |

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