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Various Artists (Label Samplers) - Legend Of A Mind CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Label Samplers)


Various Genres

4.01 | 6 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars Legend Of A Mind is the first of the excellent and cheap 3 CD compilations to be issued by a UK based record labels in the last 3 years. Between them these provide an excellent cross section of British rock appearing in its formative years, from approximately 1967 to 1975. And one of several things common to all 4 sets, is the low price (typical less than 15 pounds sterling per box set). Anybody interested in the history of rock music, especially progressive rock, should take time to listen all three set of CDs and the total of 15 hours music held within: Legend Of A Mind (Universal/Decca Records) All Good Clean Fun (Liberty & UA/EMI) Ars Longa Vita Brevis (Castle Communications Records). Note: Harvest Records issued a relatively expensive, luxuriously packaged, mulit-CD set some time earlier, which provides illustrations of both the early prog music musicians but also includes later signings with little relevance to progressive rock.

Of the four cheaper box sets listed above, Legend Of A Mind is my favourite. To some extent it has a reference point in the 1969 sampler issued by Decca, Wowie Zowie: The World Of Progressive Music, and indeed reprises some of the tracks from that (but still not quite getting Savoy Brown right), while strangely some do not appear on the CD set. 33 years later and the event of the CD, plus a wealth of archived back catalogue, the label can afford to be greatly expansive. Inevitably, across the 3 CDs, a few obvious tracks by obvious bands appear (e.g. East Of Eden's Jig A Jig). But the real joy is that plenty of space given here to:

1. the selection of the good but less obvious tracks by the obvious, e.g. Legend Of A Mind rather than Nights In White Satin (but there is Question); the storming Propositions by Curved Air, with Francis Monkman conjuring up several bars of Terry Riley's Rainbow In Curved in the middle of his solo.

2. a goodly selection of the obscure/forgotten, the one-off album bands who didn't have the luck to make it, when lesser musicians did. For instance, Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirk's cast offs Back Cat Bone, sounding remarkably like Free. Clark Hutchinson with that pot-fuelled rant Free To be Stoned. And those samples from albums now demanding high prices on the 2nd hand market.

3. early recordings of bands who made it big later and somewhere else - e.g. Thin Lizzy.

4. and a personal note: my long term obscure favourites T2 are rightly here. And better still with my favourite track, No More White Horses, freshly remastered and sounding significantly better than the previous German remastered version - hurray for that. (And those Caravan tracks are freshly remastered too and sound mighty good!!)

On the negative side: where are John Mayall, Touch and early Genesis found on Wowie Zowie? Why too miss the chance to include the likes of English brass rock of Satisfaction, (and so on) - especially when Decca found the space to include a handful of bands represented more than once in this compilation?

This cornucopia of music approachs the full five stars, (but let me sleep on that), an album which every progressive fan should hear to realise how progressive music literally progressed during a short period in the late 60's and early 70's.

Dick Heath | 4/5 |


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