Various Artists (Label Samplers) - Wowie Zowie! The World Of Progressive Music CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Label Samplers)


Various Genres

3.67 | 4 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars This could be claimed to be the first prog sampler, although at least one CBS/Columbia Records 'Rock Machine' was released in 1968 - although it has few obvious prog rock tracks. But 'Wowie Zowie' was certainly the first with that word 'Progressive' in its title. A historical album and certainly a good reference to the early days of progressive music/rock. The cover artwork by David Anstey is modern while not psychedelic, perhaps suggesting a move from the music of the summer of love.

But take a step back: 'Wowie Zowie: The World Of Progressive Music'? The title reminds you that the term 'progressive MUSIC' was being used in 1969, and there is a surprising breadth in the range of musics that fall under the heading of progressive music. Music sampled by Decca's 60's compiler included a couple of what from the 21st Century viewpoint would seem obvious: Genesis (but a couple of years before they signed to Charisma, and still rock fledglings under Jonathon "Everyone's Gone To the Moon" King's wing) and the Moodies ( the most obvious track being sampled, but here to pull the punters in to buy the album, if they hadn't already bought the single). However, there is the obscure: in particular Touch, arguably the first US prog band and here being acknowledged in the UK in 1969; this sampler would be perhaps the only reference a handful of knowledgeable people would have of this groundbreaking band, for nearly 30 years. And possibly surprising to a young fan in the 21st Century, the blues is there too (Mayall, Savoy Brown - with the great voice of Chris Youlden - and the Keef Hartley band). No need to question such inclusions: electric blues was amongst the first to be labelled 'progressive music' in the late 60's. And the jazz - and we were yet to call it 'jazz rock' then. Plus the psychedelic folk.

This album was released on Decca's 'World Of' series, a cheapo label of back catalogue albums and compilations, retailing for less than a quid, (then about 50% of the cost of full priced albums). Because of 'Wowie Zowie's' rarity a mint copy will now set you back many times that - if you see a copy beg, borrow but perhaps don't steal it..

Not quite a 5 star.

Dick Heath | 4/5 |


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