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Aphrodite's Child - Babylon the Great CD (album) cover

BABYLON THE GREAT

Aphrodite's Child

 

Symphonic Prog

2.55 | 6 ratings

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Syzygy
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Babylon The Great is subtitled 'An Introduction To Aphrodite's Child', and as such it is the most interesting compilation of this unique band. Although they made little impression in the English speaking world, they were massive in Europe and had numerous hit singles and albums. They also spawned two very different solo careers - Pavarotti lookalike MOR warbler Demis Roussoss and keyboard wiz Vangelis. Only their last release, the remarkable double album 666, can be properly considered full blown prog, so this collection also shows the change from psychedelic pop/rock to full blown prog.

Tracks 1 - 9 are drawn from the first two albums plus single and ep releases, although their biggest hit 'Rain and Tears' (which did for Pachelbel what A Whiter Shade of Pale did for Bach) is missing. Most of these sound very much of their time, with lots of slightly odd sounding culture references on songs like 'You Always Stand In My Way'. The stand outs are the swirling Greek psychedelia of 'The Grass Is No Green' and 'The Shepherd And The Moon'. 'Funky Mary', hints at a jazzier direction that they might have taken had Vangelis not emerged as the dominant composer.

The huge success of the early singles and albums enabled them to build their own studio in Paris, where Vangelis worked largely alone while the rest of the band toured with a substitute keyboard player. Track 10, Chakachak, is a 16 minute instrumental composed and played by Vangelis on keyboards and percussion and which is previously unreleased. This is an interesting piece for a Vangelis fan, and a good piece of music in its own right, but isn't really in keeping with the rest of the album. The final 5 tracks are taken from 666, and this is the real meat for prog fans. They were augmented with a host of guest musicians and vocalists, and it was to be a couple of years before the results were unleashed on an unsuspecting world, but the double concept album based on the Book of Revelations was the high point of their career.

Buy this and 666 and you've probably got all the Aphrodite's Child you need.

Syzygy | 4/5 |

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