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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Supernatural Fairy Tales - The Progressive Rock Era CD (album) cover


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3 stars Probably one of the most ambitious prog anthologies ever made: 5 cd's and even a Roger Dean cover art. It's quite difficult to spot well-known bands that are missing here. Pink Floyd had to be omitted for some copyright problems - and oh, where's Camel?? Jethro Tull?? ... Well, at least this will most likely give new delights to almost any prog fan, whatever subgenre (s)he prefers.

For me, there were many interesting discoveries or bands I had been waiting to hear, e.g. NEKTAR (from Remember the Future); some French and Italian prog - all too unheard by me before -; 'Under the Sky by PETER SINFIELD; fantastic 'Lothlorien' by ARGENT; an amusing SUPERSISTER song 'Radio'; enjoyable 'Let's Eat' by HATFIELD & The NORTH; very charming 'Dear Little Mother' by Danish SAVAGE ROSE (an arty band featuring a unique lady singer - could be included to PA); and a mindblowing 'Sunrise' by ARTHUR BROWN & KINGDOM COME. Some new names weren't up to my taste, such as PRETTY THINGS, MAGMA, HENRY COW or FAUST, but on the other hand it's good that they have a very wide picture of prog rock. I also appreciate not-so-obvious inclusions like WISHBONE ASH, MOODY BLUES (these two should be more obvious as they tend to be), KLAUS SCHULZE, Swedish SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA or Finnish WIGWAM.

However, the way the 5 cd's are filled, has some irritating things. 1) Why no as long cd's as possible? 2) Why two tracks by YES, GENESIS, STRAWBS, ROXY MUSIC and - aaargh - ELP? And those pairs aren't even giving two different sides of the bands, as it could have been. A waste of minutes that could be used more usefully. The whole compilation would easily fit in 4 cd's by omitting only some unnecessary 2nd tracks. 3) Some tracks have become cliches: NICE's 'America', RARE BIRDS' 'Sympathy' - as if it was the only good song they wrote. ELO is represented by horrible 8-minute 'Roll Over Beethoven'. 4) Also the package itself could have been made more handy, instead of taking awful lot of space. But a compilation this big is never perfect to anyone's opinion. Musically I give 4 stars, for the overall package 3 stars.

Report this review (#74538)
Posted Monday, April 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This compilation was noted in Finland, as it has the grand finale of WIGWAM's album "Being" included in it. I found this from the library of Tikkurila here in Finland, and I think that this CD-box fits to such place most wonderfully: One can loan a comprehensive box of this music genre free, with an informative booklet included. I'm not sure how much this box set costs, but I fear that 5 CD's, book and special packet makes it way too expensive considering its content. There are some previously unreleased teasers for the collectors here, like ASH RA TEMPEL's fine "Der Vierte Küss", but really this box has so big scope, that this is mostly directed for beginners, or for those who have this stuff on vinyl only. I agree, that the double tracks from the most famous bands are not a good idea. Otherwise the material is various, and quite good of quality. I found ATOMIC ROOSTER thanks to this release.
Report this review (#81051)
Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Dont waste your time. Newbie? wanna learn about Pogressive Rock? Buy Yes - Close To The Egde, Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick, Genesis - The lamb Lies Down On Broadway, King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King, some Floyd, ELP - Brain Salad Surgery and you're OK. A thing like this probably is too expensive not just for begginers but for the old prog maniacs too. And for the begginers, the more obscure groups probably will be very boring. But on the other hand, on this compilation one dont have to listen to a thousand italian bands. Thanks for that.
Report this review (#108794)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars All I can say is, thank god I bought this. It was about 1998 or so, and I was very curious as I had heard a few of the bands on it, but mostly it was bands I'd heard OF but had never listened to. I figured much of it would be hard to track down (I was wrong, but had no idea at the time). On the positive side, it was a nice intro to me to a lot of new bands. On the down side, many of the numbers are not representative of the respective bands. And I don't understand how Roxy Music and Golden Earring are prog (or why Roxy got not one, but TWO songs on the box set). Also, Siberian Khatru is actually an edited version of And You And I (on my version anyway). Not sure what happened there, as And You And I was edited to the length of Siberian oddly enough.

Overall though, I think this is an excellent collection. The booklet is good and informative, and I still pull this out every so often and listen to a couple or even all the CD's (skipping a few tracks though). I'm not sure nowadays who this would be good for, since so many of these bands albums are easily obtained and many of these tracks are not the most representative of their output. For me, at the time, it was perfect (plus I was getting into Schulze, and the two unreleased tracks of him solo and with Ashra Temple are fascinating if fairly primitive). So I guess 3 stars is appropriate, though I don't even think you can buy this new anymore.

Report this review (#108809)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rhino's sprawling set of "fairytales" attempts to compile many of the significant bands which contributed to the original Progressive movement of the late-60/70s, and for the most part succeeds. It really has something for everyone: The Moody Blues, ELP, Genesis, and Yes for those who may be new to Prog; some deeper cuts like VDGG, Caravan, PFM, Nektar, and Zappa; and of course the extremely obscure tracks from bands like Quiet Sun, The Savage Rose and Lard Free.

It was quite an adventure listening to this compilation the first few times - wondering what sub-genre would be covered next and how it would sound; I was especially surprised upon my introduction to things like Krautrock, some Avant-garde (other than Frank Zappa), and the strangeness of Zeuhl! While not all of these "new" tracks were enjoyable (that's pretty hard to imagine in a 5-disc set anyways), they expanded my musical horizons as a great intro to other prog that's out there.

Prior to listening, I already knew many bands of the era (basic and "intermediate" level), and this box presented many more rare/obscure artists and tracks that would normally cost a lot to get a hold of. Highlights (and now favorites) of my newly discovered material include Aruthur Brown's "Sunrise"; Focus' "Hocus Pocus"; Seventh Wave's "Starpalace of the Sombre Warrior"; Banco's "Traccia II"; and Samla Mammas Manna 's "Andra Satsen". The only real downside to this album was some of the Krautrock tracks and Magma.

Although it's extremely long (5 discs worth!), missing some "essential" tracks/artists, and very broad in the sheer amount of content, I find myself enjoying this compilation of "Classic Prog" more and more each time I listen. This was definitely an excellent addition to my prog collection.

Report this review (#129249)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't know why some proggers tend to dislike this album but I think this is a very good prog rock box set and I like how they picked the artists/bands from all around the globe and they have picked the well known bands (Van Der Graaf Generator, Moody Blues, ELP, Genesis, Yes, Roxy Music, Curved Air, Gentle Giant & Caravan) and some of the really obscure bands (Ash Ra Tempel, Wigwam, Aphrodite's Child, Samla Sammas Manla, Quiet Sun, Lard Free, Ange, Savage Rose and Le Orme) on this box set, all of the songs here range from good to outstanding and there is no filler on this box set, there are some songs that take a little getting used to at first but it would be worth it after awhile and many of these songs do grow onto you.

I've first discovered this box set through listening to the Progressions show on SIRIUS 16 The VAULT (now Deep Tracks) and they've played a bulk of these songs featured on this album and that was how I first fell in love with progressive rock and I still wish this album is still in print and that it's not difficult to come by.

The only thing I would change about this box set is to have the CD's be over 75 minutes long instead of just 60-70 minutes, that is my only gripe about this box set but it's nothing major.

If you're a prog rock fanatic you will love this album.

Report this review (#190399)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can really see what this box set was going for. I very diverse collection of prog songs designed to give a nice taste of the many facets of classic prog rock to anyone curious to discover the genre. Even someone with a little classic prog knowledge should be pleased with this collection.

The reason this boxset excels is the fact it ventures into some lesser traveled territory. We get some avant-prog, Krautrock, Canterbury, and a brief glimpse of Zeuhl on the single Magma track. We also get some of the very first prog with bands like The Moody Blues and The Nice. I'm sure there aren't many that will enjoy everything here, but that's aside from the point. It's made to give you the idea of what bands are for you or not, and it does well here.

Now of course, it's not perfect. For instance, a couple bands were unable to be featured due to them not allowing it. Three huge examples are Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Jethro Tull. Also some songs seem like odd choices, such as Perpetual Change from Yes, Roll Over Beethoven from Electric Light Orchestra, and Legends of a Mind from The Moody Blues. Then there are some that are arguably not prog related whatsoever, such as the Roxy Music tracks and most notably so Radar Love by Golden Earring.

But other than this, this is a wonderful set for budding proggies. If they aren't aiming just to be impressed, but instead learn about a wide range of prog, this set is perfect, and there's nothing else quite like it.

Report this review (#528853)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars Ambitious yes, essential?...Not remotely.

This compilation was a gift from a former girlfriend which I thanked and placed in the car immediately, but as the songs and CD's passed, it was obvious that the producers of this box-set made three terrible mistakes.

1.- Most of the songs are great, but the selection doesn't remotely represent the best of each band, if anybody wants to talk about RENAISSANCE, they must choose "Song of Sheherezade", not "Kings & Queens" or in the case of STRAWBS, a masterpiece as "The Hangman and the Papist" would be more representative..

2.- The bands and tracks are mixed without coherence or logic, I don't ask this guys to base their selection in sub-genres, but they could match similar songs together, or at least by year of release would be nice, but mixing ZAPPA and ROXY MUSIC in the same CD is simply out of place.

3.- Some non Prog bands and tracks have been added, for example GOLDEN EARRING is barely Prog, but they have chosen "Radar Love" which is a pure Rock song and goes against the credibility of the compilation, or in the case of ELO, they went for "Roll Over Beethoven", one of the most mainstream songs they had.

I own most of this tracks in their natural context (the original albums by the bands listed), but when this fantastic songs were lumped together without any valid criteria, something important was lost...The atmosphere in which they were originally released.

I guess this collection must be expensive (Hey it was a gift, didn't asked the price), so better spend your money in original albums or if you like box-sets, go with one of your favorite band collection with rare editions or unreleased material, you will be more satisfied.

Not because of the quality of the music, but because the problems I found, will rate this collection with 2 stars, something that makes me sad, being that most of the tracks are timeless masterpieces in the wrong context.

Report this review (#528951)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars I find music samplers to be indispensable in getting to know strange new musical worlds where you are utterly clueless as how to proceed into the strange new universe you are wanting to explore. They are particularly helpful when exploring the niche markets of which progressive rock is definitely a member of. This 1996 5-disc boxed set boldly titled SUPERNATURAL FAIRY TALES...THE PROGRESSIVE ROCK ERA is really the only prog sampler i've ever heard. Prog is one of those umbrella terms that includes oceans of music that a meager little 5-disc set could hardly ever even begin to describe. I could personally make up a 5-disc set of material for individual bands included on this release alone.

After reading the vast number of negative reviews that this album has garnered from progsters, I have to remind them that this release isn't for them. It was intended to re-introduce the forgotten world of yesteryear to the clueless public at large in the mid 90s. Remember that this was before the internet as we know it today and the easy access of information in the form of electronic or otherwise. So this was in effect designed for to be an introduction to progressive rock to newbies during the grunge years when prog was making a small comeback after the release of newer classics like Anglagard's Hybris.

I got this as a freebie when a friend made me a copy several years ago well after being familiar with many of the bands on here. Despite knowing much of this, there were still a lot of bands I still had not yet encountered. Such acts like Rare Bird, Supersister, Peter Sinfield, Savage Rose and others had eluded me and it was great to get a small dose of what they sounded like. So I threw this on my itunes and let all these tracks pop up randomly on a DJ list. The result was quite pleasing as tracks I knew would come up and new ones I would discover as well. Overall I agree with a lot of the criticism of which tracks are on this. I have read that the there were licensing issues and such and it does indeed seem like a rushed affair just throwing anything they could find on here.

I think it's agreed that every lover of prog could come up with their own version of what they think should be a introduction sampler for newbies and how to develop it from the origins to the more advanced and eclectic nooks and crannies, but the fact is most of us have not done that and do not know the huge amounts of legal red tape and the mammoth task at hand in trying to summarize a musical style that is so vast and nebulous. I for one think this is an ok introduction especially if you don't pay a lot of money for it. I'm not sure it has any relevance in the modern world with such extensive review sites like ProgArchives existing, but for me personally I have found it to be both useful and interesting despite thinking it utterly ludicrous to include such tracks as "Radar Love" by Golden Earring or even "America" by the Nice. Far from perfect but far from a total waste of time.

Report this review (#1109932)
Posted Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars On one hand, this is the best prog-rock compilation of which I'm aware. For me personally, this boxed set served its purpose of exposing me to a variety of artists, songs, and styles that I doubt I'd ever have heard otherwise.

Supernatural Fairy Tales was my introduction to Klaus Schulze (represented here by "Searching"), who's since become one of my all-time favorites, as well as to five other great prog groups: Caravan ("In the Land of Grey and Pink"), Premiata Forneria Marconi ("Celebration"), Renaissance ("Kings and Queens"), the Pretty Things ("Private Sorrow / Balloon Burning"), and Van der Graaf Generator ("Killer"). I'd heard the Moody Blues, of course, but "Legend of a Mind," which has become one of my favorites by the Moodies, was new to me; same with "Lothlorien" by Argent. And then there are great songs by groups I haven't gotten around to investigating further: Rare Bird ("Sympathy)," the Savage Rose ("Dear Little Mother"), and Slapp Happy and Henry Cow (who co-perform "War" here).

I'm sure Rhino's purpose in releasing this boxed set was to generate profit, but I also feel that the compilers did their best given the time and licensing restrictions. They managed to represent Zeuhl, Krautrock, RIO, and RPI along with the more obvious subgenres. They also included a fair balance of longer songs (by my count, eleven songs over eight minutes). As others have noted, the liner notes and artwork are nice too, and in this case, that counts for something.

On the other hand, it seems self-evident that a progressive rock compilation album which leaves out Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, and King Crimson could not be "essential," and thus could not rate four stars. Of course, even if Rhino had been able to include Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, and King Crimson, I would complain that they'd licensed the wrong songs! Furthermore, where's the progressive jazz? Why limit the collection to the 60s and 70s? Or, where's the second collection of more recent music, including perhaps some neo-prog or math rock or progressive metal?

Even if Rhino could address all of my concerns and exhaust all of my complaints, the compilation still wouldn't be essential because it would still contain only one song from each of many essential albums.

So: if you're new to prog rock (as I was when I bought this) and you can find an affordable copy of Supernatural Fairy Tales: The Progressive Rock Era, buy it. If it does its job, you'll probably rate it four or five stars to begin with, but at some time in the future, I'll bet you'll agree that it will no longer be "essential." Nonetheless, I can't award this collection fewer than four stars.

Report this review (#2136596)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2019 | Review Permalink

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