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ROOTS IN THE SKY

Oregon

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars While I don't have every studio album Oregon has done, I do have a nice collection and this one's my favorite. In fact, if I had to point to one Oregon album as an example of why this band belongs in the Archives, it would be this one. Sixty percent of the music was recorded during the same sessions as Out of the Woods and Roots is considered by the surviving band members (Collin Walcott died in 1984 in a bus accident while they were on tour) to be one of their finest.

The latest reissue of Roots is now paired up with Out of the Woods, which I've never had in my collection before. Can't beat that with a stick (sorry, .... no I'm not, heh heh heh).

Prepare yourself for some of the finest and most interesting acoustical music out there. All of the pieces have credit for a particular band member, but they never let you in on who's playing what. Not too difficult to figure out in general, but Collin's got this amazing arsenal of percussion and I suspect there's some sharing going on here..

June Bug starts things off. A short and frenetic piece that shows off Towner's acoustic guitar skills really nicely. Vessel is another Towner credited piece, he moves over to piano. Collin gives us some really cool sounding pot-esque percussion (not the drug). Glen Moore provides some really complex bass. And Paul McCandless's windworks float this song up into the stratosphere. Sierra Leone, more of Walcott playing with his toys. Very exotic and the song's title really seems to fit, though I've never been there personally. Ogden Road is supposed to be named after a street where a bully of Ralph's lived and he finds it a bit ominous. Maybe, Towner's back on the piano, then there's some clearly Towner guitar mixed in with the piano, overdub or who knows? House of Wax definitely has Walcott on sitar, an exotic piece that likely has no connection to the old film of many years ago. Hungry Heart is a mellow and relaxing piece, reminiscent of Icarus (not from either of these albums). Orrington's Escape clocks in at only :49. Short and quirky. I suppose he got away OK. The title track, Roots In The Sky, is certainly dominated by Moore's bass, really gets his time to shine in. (4:20) Longning, So Long is another Walcott credited piece, though pretty much another ensemble affair. Not sure if I'm rounding up giving this one a fiver.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#164975)
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars What a talented and unique sounding band OREGON are. As i said when reviewing their "Out Of The Woods" album, if i gave my rating based on objectivity this is a 4 possibly a 5 star record. Again i have a hard time getting past the fact that it's an all acoustic album. My loss i know. Once again acoustic guitars,aboe,piano and percussion lead the way. I must say i do prefer this one over "Out Of The Woods" but not by much. If you can get the re-issue with both of these paired together i wouldn't hesitate.

I read where someone refered to this music as "acoustic jazz chamber music". Or something like that. "June Bug" kicks in quickly to an uptempo pace with percussion,aboe and acoustic guitar. Just a great sound with so much going on. "Vessel" is the longest track on here. Percussion of some sort to open as piano comes in gently. Some dissonant horns join in around 3 minutes. Bass clarinet too then the piano takes over. Percussion becomes the focus again in this laid back tune. "Sierra Leone" is very quiet with some sparse aboe until we get this World music sound around a minute. It's building.

"Ogden Road" opens with piano as a horn comes in and other sounds. Percussion around 1 1/2 minutes. The tempo continues to change. Acoustic guitar before 3 minutes. Horns 3 1/2 minutes. Aboe before 6 minutes with piano. Excellent track. "House Of Wax" opens with piano as sitar joins in. It seems out of place to me. "Hungry Heart" opens with percussion as aboe,bass,acoustic guitar and other sounds join in. "Orrington's Escape" is led by aboe but i don't like it. Thankfully it's very short. "Roots In The Sky" builds with horns,percussion and other sounds. It settles right down then builds a lot more slowly this time. "Longing,So Long" sounds like sounds from the jungle to open. Percussion and aboe follow with acoustic guitar. Some bass and piano too as the tempo continues to change.

So an impressive release that i need to be in the right mood for. I found this more jazzy than "Out Of The Woods" and that's probably why i liked it more. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#250060)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permalink

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