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Various Artists (Label Samplers) - Ars Longa Vita Brevis: A Compendium Of Progressive Rock 1967-1974  CD (album) cover

ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS: A COMPENDIUM OF PROGRESSIVE ROCK 1967-1974

Various Artists (Label Samplers)

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2 stars A mix of cows and birds, I would say.

Some of the stuff here is not what I would call prog rock. The Kinks, Small Faces and Humble Pie is as much progressive rock as I am a cat. But some of the tracks fits the bill well. Soft Machine and ELP is well represented. So is The Nice. Of the three CDs, they should had scrapped some songs and released it as a double CD just to call it a prog rock sampler. The inclusion of Fruupp, Gryphon, Comus and Marsupilami gets both thumbs up from me.

This title has been and will probably still be sold very cheap on both Amazon and Ebay in the future. Some may fall for it and they get good value for that price. But for hardcore prog rock fans like most of us, this sampler is as interesting as a wet towel. In other words; if you have a relative who you want to give a nice present which is cheap and looks impressive; give them either the BEST PROG ROCK ALBUM IN THE WORLD... EVER sampler or this one. it is a good Christmas present idea. They may even like the music. For prog rockers with good taste; this is one sampler best avoided.

2 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#241539)
Posted Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Unlike the previous progressive box-sets I reviewed (not the Nuggets compilations that were Garage rock though), this little "baby" is not based on a record label and this might just be its strength, but somehow it fails to capitalize on this strength (the multi-label freedom) to the fullest. Compared to the Vertigo, the island, the Decca-Deram and the Harvest box-set, this one starts in 67 to end relatively later. If you already own the other four, you will be likely to not need this one so much because there will be some overlapping, but this was probably already the case already with those sets and your albums collection

As I said above, the multi-label possibilities are not fully exploited, but for understandable royalty/author's rights reasons, some managers and record companies not always being philanthropic (to say the least ;-), anyway who needs Zep, Beatles and Purple tracks on such a box-set if it is going to raise the price by over 50%. Among the interest of this compilation are a few tracks that are borderline progressive inclusions, including B Auger & The Trinity, Humble Pie and Kinks and a few more. The object I believe followed by this to give us a good explanation on how mid-60's rock evolved into full-blown prog by the early 70's and that goal is fully achieved in these track selection, even if no-one will ever fully agree with the actual choices that were operated.

Among the notable tracks worthy of note to the collectors is a Sam Gopal track (Lemmy's very first group), Heavy Jelly, Marsipulami just to name a few. But the pure progressive content of this compilation is certainly a more diluted one than a ll of the single label ones, but the enjoyment is the same: You can put those on when you have a party and no-one will be annoyed by the bombardment of a full album from say a rather guests not liking your RIO tastes.

What one must realize is that all of these box-sets are only for the progheads being able to afford these rather non-essential (this is debatable, though) compilations or make the investment (this was the cheapest I paid for those box-sets) just for a few rare and not-easy- to-find tracks, however beautiful may they be.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#245730)
Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Review Permalink

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