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HIGHLIGHTS

Wigwam

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Wigwam really only released one solid album - that being _Fairyport_ which is a masterpiece of Finnish prog., and to a lesser extent Canterbury music outside of that English scene. There are 2 tracks from _Fairyport_ on this HIGHLIGHTS compilation, somewhat representative but _Fairyport_ should be listened to as a whole. Other releases from Wigwam seem to be in a 10cc vein, as in _very uneven_ but always interesting. Hit and miss, if you will. Wigwam's HIGHLIGHTS corrects that problem by compiling what I feel are the highlights from their albums outside of _Fairyport_. This compilation is worth the price alone for the track _Kite_. It's not very prog-like, but has some of the best back-up vocals I've ever heard in a pop-rock setting. I can't recommend this enough for anyone wanting an introduction to Wigwam or to simply have a Finnish inclusion in your collection.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#194497)
Posted Saturday, December 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
2 stars I don't appreciate this compilation very much. As you hopefully know, WIGWAM was the leading Prog band from Finland in the seventies (along with Tasavallan Presidentti), and its career is quite clearly divided in two rather different phases. The early one was a deeply innovative fusion of two different writers: TRAFFIC-influenced Jukka Gustavson (who even sounded a lot like Stevie Winwood) and more pop-oriented Jim Pembroke, who remained the captain of the band for artistically weaker years to come. Well, by the word weaker I actually refer to the later days of re-activity. Positively, this 1996 compilation omits their then latest album Light Ages (1993). But as well it might have taken something from it too, because this song list is SO wrongly emphasized anyway!

This CD is doing its best to underline Pembroke's leadership of the band, even at the time when Gustavson was still with them. (It also contains two tracks from Pembrokes' SOLO albums, WTF?) In practise, the albums like the commercial peak Nuclear Nightclub (1975), the strikingly weak Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose (1976) and relatively good Dark Album (1977) are given much more space than the earlier albums which are much more interesting, especially from the proggy point of view. Most notably missing is the cheerful jazzy side, written by Gustavson, of the wonderful debut album Hard N' Horny (1969). Its follower, quite disappointing Tombstone Valentine (1970) - with which they tried some international success and more or less failed - is represented by pretty uninteresting Pembroke songs: the title track and Frederick & Bill.

Fairyport (1971) was originally a double vinyl but as such not very strong, I think. This compilation wisely picks up its two first and best tracks, Losing Hold and Lost Without a Trace. Maybe the artistic peak of Being (1973) would have deserved a better share. Two chosen tracks don't yet capture its many-sided deepness. All in all, there are many too many not-so-good songs in this CD (and a lot of great stuff omitted) to rate it higher than two stars.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#210466)
Posted Sunday, April 05, 2009 | Review Permalink

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