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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Best Prog Rock Album in the World... Ever  CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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5 stars This is a good selection, it might miss your favourite (hard luck King Crimson fans) but for me it has a lot of stuff that I used to have on vinyl but has been lost over the years.

My faves Man ar on the album though and if you play it backwards you get a message from the devil ( only kidding)

Report this review (#22431)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Dick Heath
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars What a parson's egg of compilation and the record label should be taken to a court of law with the exaggerations of the title of the album. But there appears to be some degree of thought put into the selection offered here and has to be aimed at the newcomers to the genre. The first Van Der Graaf track is odd, (little distance between it and George Martin's original - or if come to that Cozy Powell's version), the second is good. And Roxy Music.......? Deep Purple's inclusion is inspired because they were included amongst the "progressive music" bands at the end of the 60's. Good to see one of the most jazz rock of prog albums "Hot Rats"represented. But as ever there are some major omissions because the record company doesn't have access nor prepared to get a license from a competitor - so where is the representative Crimson track (or is this Fripp being awkward?)? Why do these British compilations always have "Silver Machine" and "Back Street Luv" - this is parallelled in 60's rock compilations, which always have Hendrix's "All Along The Watch Tower" and Cream's "White Room"?

Footnote: IMHO the best Prog Rock Album of 2003 was the 3 CD set compilation offered by Decca: "Legend Of A Mind". This contained a fascinating collection of tracks (and artists), many long forgotten and the label even specifically remastered tracks for the compilation (e.g. T2's "No More White Horses").

Report this review (#22432)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars The guys who created this compilation feel they are the owners of the ultimate taste by naming this mixture "The Best Prog Rock Album Ever" (What a pompous name!!!), but even worst, they seem to feel they can decide which song is the best from each band, forcing us to listen a compilation made without any coherence.

Who can listen Locomotive breath followed by the frantic Hocus Pocus and Hoedown? Or place something ultra complex as Spectral Mornings by Steve Hackett followed by the poppy Be Bop Deluxe?

There's no use to comment the songs because 90% are masterpieces, but even masterpieces must follow an order and have a reason to be in a determined order, which I can't find here. I believe they just calculated the time required to fill 3 CD's and found songs that could fit the length without caring to place a Folk Prog' song after a weak Art Rock track and before a Symphonic masterpiece.

Not the best choice for prog' newbies because no person can get a clear idea of early Genesis by only listening "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" or imagine what Yes is by listening "Roundabout".

As I said before the tracks are mostly great but I recommend to buy the original albums and forget this mixture without head or feet. But if you like compilations, better take your albums, find which are your favorite songs and create your own selection, I'm sure you'll enjoy it much more.

Hard to rate this album because the music is very good, but the idea of making some kind of "The best of Prog'" is not right for me, so I'll give 2 stars.

Report this review (#22433)
Posted Sunday, May 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
Jim Garten
Retired Admin & Razor Guru
3 stars Another addition to the "The best... album in the world ever" series of compilations, is a surprisingly listenable sampler, and ideal for keeping in the car for those long journeys (over three hours of progressive rock - enough to send the most tolerant child apoplectic in the back seat).

As with all such compilations, you get the usual suspects appearing again & again (Joybringer, Silver Machine, Hocus Pocus), but as these all crop up on the first CD, they're easier than usual to bypass; there is also the usual lack of any King Crimson or Pink Floyd, criminal omissions, but more likely due to licensing problems.

On the upside, you get a good three disc cross section of 1970's prog-rock, and unusually, some of those bands usually bypassed, are included here, such as Matching Mole, Kevin Ayers, Rare Bird, Steve Hillage and many other less luminary names.

A nice touch also, is that each disc concludes with an epic of around 20 minutes, from the psychotic jamming of Colosseum's 'Valentyne Suite', through the Canterbury fuelled lunacy that is Hatfield & The North's 'Mumps' to Van Der Graaf Generator's masterful 'Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers' (VDGG bookend the whole set - the first disc opens with 'Theme 1').

Altogether then, a worthwhile compilation to keep in the car if only to annoy your children/parents/granny/wife (delete where appropriate).

Report this review (#43410)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars An impossible task if ever there was one. Trying to put together the 'Best Prog Rock Album in the World....Ever' must have been very difficult. I don't usually like these 'Best....Ever' compilations because I often disagree with at least half of the selections. The same goes for this monstrosity. What would YOU put on it,you have 3 CD's. I know, lets put on Manfred Mann,Rare Bird,Procul Harum,Roxy Music,ELO,Hatfield & the North,Egg and Matching Mole. Tell you what - lets NOT. And even when they get the right bands they often get the wrong songs. You would expect to find Yes,Genesis and ELP on here,with Tull,Gentle Giant and VDGG but I'm sure there are better tracks by these bands that the ones appearing here. Check the track listing and if you agree with more than half you are one 'Lucky Man' (whose inclusion I DO agree with).
Report this review (#55098)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album cannot hope to live up to it's title because it's far too subjective and most prog classics are too long to be included. There are a number of obvious omissions - King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Rush to name but a few. Whether this is deliberate or due to contractual problems, I don't know.

Anyway, let's look at the music. It ranges from the usual suspects (Roundabout, Hocus Pocus) where the tracks are obviously brilliant but too well known, to the relatively obscure (Man, Rare Bird and Atomic Rooster). Some of the bands here fall into the "are they really prog?" category (Deep Purple, ELO, Roxy Music, Be Bop Deluxe) which has been much debated on this site. You may wonder why some bands have 2 tracks (e.g. ELP and VdGG) when there are so many omissions, but despite all this, it's a fairly good attempt at getting prog rock out to the mass market (it was even on sale in my local Woolies and sold out on the first day).

There's a nice touch by having a 20 minute epic as the last song on each CD and here they have gone for the less obvious choices. This is probably best suited to those who have heard the classic prog songs and want to investigate some of the lesser known, but equally good bands.

Report this review (#71230)
Posted Monday, March 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It is hard to know why anyone frequenting Prog Archives would want to buy this 3CD set. As a general Prog sampler it does a decent enough job, featuring a cross-section of mainstream bands from the classic 70s period, though with some seriously important omissions such as King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Renaissance, Moody Blues, Kansas ..... Instead, we are treated to some rarer names like Man, Matching Mole and Rare Bird rubbing shoulders with the big names of ELP, Yes and Genesis, though only a limited selection of sub-genres is explored.

Track choice is disappointingly conservative, often relying on well known and over-played examples where an alternative might have been more satisfying. Thus we have such old war-horses as Hawkwind's Silver Machine, Tomorrow Night from Atomic Rooster, Hocus Pocus and A Salty Dog, presumably chosen to entice casual browsers in Woolworth's. Most of these recognisable standards congregate on disc 1 while Disc 2 mostly comprises less popular artists (such as BJH's Mocking Bird) or tracks. Disc 3 is the most interesting yet more inaccessible to an unwary buyer as it contains more difficult material, culminating in the challenging Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers.

Is it The Best ..... Ever? Well probably not but still a good choice if you need a general introduction to the genre. Needless to say all the music on here is wonderful without exception.

Report this review (#83369)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars On the plus side I bought this for less than 9 UK pounds. There's some good stuff on it too, but it's an odd selection. Not sure that the best track of each band represented is included. I can think of better YES inclusions than "Roundabout", better PROCUL HARUM than "A Salty Dog" etc.

I have my doubts about the prog credentials of Deep Purple, Man and Be Bop Deluxe too though I think they're all on PA in various categories so maybe that's me just being picky.

Best Prog Rock Album ever? No, but that's an impossible goal to aim for. I seem to have managed to lose one of the 3 disks. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. Not bad though, all things considered. Buy it if you can get it eally cheap, it might just spark your interest in someone you haven't heard before.

Report this review (#105039)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Some great tracks stuck in with some that are a little tired when it comes to compilations!

First up, I found the name "Best Prog Rock Album in the World... Ever" to be a bit over the top and as pretentious and brash as it sounds. Just ignore the title as it would be aimed more at the casual prog listener rather than the prog aficionado.

As a compilation the track listing is quite eclectic and interesting when looking over the 3CD set, with a little bit offered from many prog genres. I found it handy to take down to the radio station to play the odd epic and other prog tracks while not having to take a mass of CD's. The epic tracks presented here are 'Valentyne Suite' by Colosseum, 'Mumps' by Hatfield & The North and 'A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers' by VdGG. It is also good to see Deep Purple's 'Child In Time' in the mix as this is a bit of a progressive offering from the heavy rock giant.

On the downside the set does however suffer from having a few too many compilation 'specials' . I am thinking of tracks like 'Joybringer', 'Back Street Luv', 'Silver Machine' and the excerpt from 'Tubular Bells Part 1' that seem to be in every second prog compilation.

And as you would expect with just 3CD's there are a lot of groups not represented, which I imagine is as much to do with the access Virgin had to bands as anything else.

All up, if looking for a reasonable compilation with some diversity I can recommend this . as long as you can pick it up for a song. And for a rating I am giving it 3 stars.

Report this review (#170455)
Posted Saturday, May 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars

Bad title, good music

No sampler will ever manage to represent the loose term progressive rock. The title is therefore a joke and some very cheap trickery to lure the newbeginner to buy it............. so I did buy.

The sampler itself is actually not bad at all. I have very successfully used it as a guide to the bands and scenes I did not know. In most instances, this has lead me to purchase their albums. The sampler is easy to find at for example Amazon and other places. It has three CDs full of superb music. One of the strong points of this sampler is that it covers the majority of the different progressive rock styles. From space rock, via art rock to symphonic prog. This is as close to an essential prog rock taster for newbeginners a sampler can get. I am pretty sure it is the best prog rock sampler on the market today.

3 stars

Report this review (#201129)
Posted Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permalink

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