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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Demanding an attentive audition - this is ELP-ish with a RIO twist. Difficult but worthwhile and highly regarded among connaisseurs , I personally feel that this has not aged well especially compared to ELP. This might have been a foursome if Hillage had not gone back to school after that Arzachel - Uriel project. This might have changed drastically the sound of this band. Highly experimental , this should not please newcommers to prog.
Report this review (#23177)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Such a bit immature early 70's issue from Canterbury, characterized by normal music breaks through (natural I have regarded them as "normal" in comparison to the best standard concerning Canterbury, but I like to point out also their remarkable ideas too). In fact this classic album, featuring the brilliant and pyrotechnical keyboards of Dave Stewart, it's a mix between the "early progressive" style and such "Canterburian Jazz" in between... filled with odd time signatures and other adaptations from Bach and Grieg as well. This is one of the "prog rock rarities" which can complete our personal "prog discography". Recommended for the lovers of the early style from Canterbury, although it is not completely essential; but the best moments inside are memorable!!
Report this review (#23178)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars While often compared to the Nice for their tendency to quote the classics, Egg actually has more in common with Soft Machine or rock-in-opposition bands such as Henry Cow. Their 1970 debut is very challenging and complex while being quite listenable. The liner notes state "the music on the L.P. is not dancing music, but basically music for listening to" which is quite evident from the opening of "While Growing My Hair," that these guys have a definite affinity for odd time signatures. One could not dance to this album if they tried (although if they did, mind you, they would look pretty funny doing it). Much like Keith Emerson, Dave Stewart has a fondness for quoting the classics, although Stewart's approach is far more refined and mature than Emerson's flashy organ pyrotechnics. "Fugue In D Minor" is a tasteful cover of Bach, while "Symphony No.2, First Movement" slickly quotes Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King." All of the playing this album is superb and drummer Clive Brooks and bassist, vocalist Mont Campbell are a perfect match to Stewarts ablilities. This is definitely symphonic progressive rock at it's finest.

The CD reissue of this album reinserts "Symphony No.2, Third Movement" back into the album since it had been omitted by Decca before it's release due to a Stravinsky quote that would have caused unwanted copyright conflicts that could have led to problems with Decca's classical division. With this piece reinserted, one can now hear "Symphony No.2" in it's complete and intended form. This reissue also includes the single "Seven Is A Jolly Good Time" b/w "You Are All Princes" both of which display Egg's unusual time signatures used in a shorter, more concise format.

This is definitely a must have album and your prog rock collection is incomplete without it.

Report this review (#23180)
Posted Monday, April 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first work of announcement in 1970 "EGG". It characterizes too much in the rhythm in the organ lock. It is a content that can be called experiment music to have already achieved their plans.It is keyboard rock because it pursues the possibility of the organ including classics and jazz. Respect like the experiment on an irregular rhythm is emphasized and challenging posture of this group is understood well. Neither play nor the sound of this organ fade. It is a content that can be recommended for not only the keyboard rock fan but also the fan of the German rock.
Report this review (#43411)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Egg's debut album is an astonishingly assured piece of work, especially when you realise that the three members of the band were all under 20 when it was released. They had emerged from the ashes of Uriel, a band that was formed at the City of London school. Keyboard player Dave Stewart was originally the guitarist, but switched to organ when he realised that the young Steve Hillage (for it was he) was a better player. Hillage then left for university, the remaining trio renamed themselves Egg and built up a solid reputation on the underground circuit. It's an essential piece of the Canterbury scene jigsaw and also still stands up as a strong release today, although the sound is definitely dated.

Like the early Soft Machine, Egg was an organ led trio with a particularly English sense of humour to go with the serious musical chops, although where Soft Machine's work had a jazz flavour Egg were into quoting the classics. The main composer was Mont Campbell, although the group shared the writing credits (Stewart later said that Campbell was responsible for 95% of Egg's music). This album, like their follow up, had one side of shorter pieces and a side long instrumental. The first half is a patchwork of short, eccentric songs and instrumentals. A particular highlight is a jazzy reading of JS Bach's Fugue in D minor, which is closer to Jethro Tull's Bouree than to the occasionally overblown bombast of The Nice or ELP's take on classical music. Mont Campbell's voice has a similar timbre to Richard Sinclair's and the lyrics have a similar tongue in cheek quality. That, plus Dave Stewart's distinctive keyboard work, gives songs like While Growing My Hair a kind of proto Hatfield and the North feel. The second half of the album is a rather more serious affair. The first movement features a very nifty quote from Hall of the Mountain King, while Blane moves into the kind of RIO/Avant Prog territory that Dave Stewart would explore in the Ottawa Music Company, a rock composer's group he formed with Chris Cutler. The reissued version restores the third movement (originally omitted because of copyright issues over a quote from Starvinsky) which gives the extended piece a more balanced feel. Rounding off the CD reissue are the a and b sides of Egg's debut single. Seven is a Jolly Good Time is a catchy number in 7/4 time (Caravan's Hello Hello uses the same time signature to similar effect), which in 1969 wasn't a wholly uncommercial move - Jethro Tull had a sizeable UK hit with Living in the Past, which is in 5/4. You are all Princes is a similar experiment, though far less memorable.

This is an album which has a lot of charm, but which is very much a first effort by musicians (Stewart in particular) who would go on to achieve much greater things, and which hasn't aged brilliantly. The CD reissue, with extra tracks and informative liner notes (which have been cribbed from here) is worth an extra half star.

Report this review (#53980)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Cracking?

I first came across Egg's debut album around the time of its release when a friend bought it on spec. Having heard it a few times in the early 70's, and with positive memories of it, I picked up the recently released remaster to see whether my recollections were accurate.

Egg were very much a part of the Canterbury scene, citing Soft Machine as one of their major influences. The band was led by virtuoso keyboard player Dave Stewart, later of Hatfield and the North and latterly his long running musical partnership with his wife Barbara Gaskin. Stewart had previously been a member of a band called Uriel with legendary guitarist Steve Hillage, so it is interesting that Egg chose to become a very one dimensional unit, lead guitar being completely absent and organ becoming the sole dominant sound of the band. While Stewart is clearly the band "leader, the compositions are generally credited to most if not all of the group members collectively.

"Egg" was one of the most successful releases on Decca's short lived Nova label, which was dedicated to prog and other serious music. That is not to say the album sold in great numbers, but rather reflects the disastrously poor results returned by the label's other signings.

As for the music itself, the album moves from a deceptively pop like start, through predominantly jazz influenced colours to at times unstructured improvisation. Side one of the original LP consists of four separate tracks, plus three brief interludes. The interludes (the briefest of which, "bulb" is 9 seconds long) can be dispensed with without further comment. "While growing my hair" has distinct echoes of jazz pop band The Peddlars, being a jaunty 60's sounding piece. It was one of the last tracks recorded for the album, and the only one engineered by future Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker. It is immediately succeeded by the similar sounding "I will be absorbed", a Rare Bird/Beggar's Opera like organ based number with distinctive vocals.

"Fugue in D Minor" is a straightforward adoption of Bach's "Toccata & Fugue in D Minor" played on organ.

The second side of the album consists entirely of "Symphony No.2" in four Movements plus a brief interlude ("Blane"). Strangely, despite the fact that the entire piece is made up of improvisations on classical themes (Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King" is immediately noticeable in "First movement"), the third movement was omitted from the original LP due to concerns over the references to the work of Stravinsky. It is however restored to its rightful place on the remastered CD version. "Second movement" has distinct echoes of a theme from ELP's "Tarkus".

The suite is almost exclusively dominated by organ, and a single tone organ at that. While enjoyable, it does become somewhat tedious as the track progresses, especially in the jazzier improvisations of movement four.

The expanded re-master also includes the A and B side of a single released by the group prior to the album. "Seven is a jolly good time" takes its name from the time signature of the chorus. It's a light, bouncy song along the lines of Caravan's more frivolous numbers.

In all, an album of historical significance which still sounds good today. Some of the music displays a charming naivety, while other parts border on the indulgent.

If only they had recruited a guitarist.

Report this review (#56312)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Egg is a labeled a Canterbury band, but in all honesty they sound more Psych/Symphonic on this disc. Their sound is influenced by the classical prog of The Nice with a dash of early ELP. What probably might tip them in the Canterbury side of things is the silly song titles and the funny lyrics. They have moments that sound like the poppy side of Caravan, ('While Growing My Hair", "I Will Be Absorbed"). What stands out is the play of Dave Stewart. He brings out many sounds from his small collection of keyboards, and to think he and the boys in the band have yet to reach 20 years of age! Being young and ambitious, they tackle classical music, ("Fugue In D Major" for instance) and for the most of side two a bit of advant garde/classical prog with numerous odd sounds and bizarre turns. What might turn some people off are the flat-like vocals of Mont Campbell. Having a throaty voice, it works at times with the slower songs but when he needs to pick it up a tad especially during "The Song of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous...." his howls are Arthur Brown bad. But that's a minor quibble. It's a fun album, very much of it's time. A bit of psych, a bit of symph, a bit of advant garde and a bit of classical. Just not what you'd expect from a Canterbury band. I really enjoy the album, it's not a bad album at all, it just doesn't compare to other bands that warrant 4 stars, so I'll give it a solid 3. Well done, though!
Report this review (#93679)
Posted Saturday, October 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Considering their talent and importance, this fantastic group doesn't always get the love they deserve. Perhaps they were swallowed by the burgeoning English progressive scene in 1970. Or maybe the first record reminded people a bit too much of the Nice and it never took hold. Nevertheless, this is one of the very best debuts of a progressive rock band and is absolutely essential in the context of early Prog history.

Master keyboardist Dave Stewart, the underappreciated Clive Brooks on drums and bassist Mont Campbell were doing wild neo-classical organ rock when other acts like ELP were still developing and hadn't yet created a distinctive sound. They made an album for Zel records in 1969 as Azrachel (with a young Steve Hillage on guitar) before recording their first album proper at Landsdowne Studios, Holland Park in October 1969. Though clearly influenced by Keith Emerson's The Nice, Egg took classical prog to the next level and 1970's 'Egg' made 'Emerson, Lake and Palmer' sound average and reserved by comparison, with jazzadelic Soft Machinisms and brilliantly played passages in the manner of Stravinsky and J.S. Bach. The record starts off with the fun 'While Growing My Hair' and psychedelic 'I Will Be Absorbed' weakened only by Campbell's wan vocals. 'Fugue in D Minor' rocks the Bach beautifully and 'The Song of McGillicudie the Pusillanimous' gets the blood pumping with racing organ and a nod to the Doors. The centerpiece is 'Symphony No. 2', one of the first true symphonic rock compositions showcasing rhythmic counterpoint, swirling keys, and five sections including the marvelous, dark and previously unreleased Third Movement. 'Seven is a Jolly Good Time' brings a bit of English silliness to the party and the CD finishes with the great 'You Are All Princes', a melodic slice of commercial prog that gives ELP a run for its money. Though a touch less realized than their follow-up 'The Polite Force', this chronicles a priceless moment in rock and hinted at grand things to come.

Report this review (#107326)
Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A yummy scrambled egg!

My introduction to this band (and this first review of their material) also happens to be the debut album. It is a very strong debut as well. The band consists of a trio playing bass, drums, and organ/piano/tone generator ( a tone generator is some sort of wave generator that uses sine waves over the audio frequency range - I actually have no idea what it is and from the internet can deduce that it must be some synthesizer predecessor thing). They came from the band Uriel in which Steve Hillage was a guitarist before he left for university. The remaining trio formed this band called Egg. I was very impressed when I read that the band members were under 20 years old when they recorded this album.

So what does this band sound like? you might ask. It is a scramble of different sounds and (to give you a vague idea) they were influenced by The Nice (the band Keith Emerson was in before ELP), Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, and Fleetwood Mac. There are also many covers of classical music composers such as Bach, Stravinsky, and Grieg. This is the selection of tracks known as Symphony No. 2. It is made up of five pieces but the part called Third Movement was taken off because of the possible objections from the administrators of Stravinsky's music in Britain. It is only available on the remastered eggdition of this album (which also contains the A and B side of the single released in 1969). Be prepared for weird time signatures (as indicated by the original LP sleeve notes) as some of them listed are: 9/4, 7/4,5/4, 13/8,6/8 and 5/8.

Now, onto the music!

The first half of the album contains original songs from the band and a cover of JS Bach's Fugue in D minor. It is almost RIO/Avant prog, at times, and thus can be said it is eggcentric. The titles are also strange too, with such beauties like They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano., The Song of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas), and Boilk.

The album has the most eggcentric opener that I have ever heard. It is called Bulb and is only 9 seconds long! It is obviously the tone generator being played as it is strange noises that I have never heard before.

Next is the wonderful While Growing My Hair with lyrics that contain distinctively British humour (one of the trademarks of the Canterbury Scene). Same with I Will Be Absorbed and The Song of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas).

What follows these wonderfully avant (lyrically) songs is a jazzy cover of Fugue in D minor and is comparable to other Bach covers in prog such as Jethro Tull's cover of Bouree. They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano. is another track with really funky sounds and is definitely eggcentric.

After The Song of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas) (which is in the same vein as the previous two - jazzy avant music with British humour in the lyrics) comes Boilk which was one of the bands slang terms for a mistake and is them messing around with a mellotron for about a minute.

After these interesting songs comes the set of tracks known as Symphony No. 2. These tracks contain very good organ playing, harmonic bass, and good drum work in varied time signatures adding to the eggcentricity of the band. Some things to note are the organ improvisations, the good drum solo, and an improvisation on the tone generator. It is eggcellent.

The bonus tracks (the A and B side from the single) are also very good ones, my favourite being Seven Is A Jolly Good Time. As the name suggests the chorus is indeed in 7/4 time.

Overall this is very avant, jazzy, and all around good stuff. Nothing too spectacular here, but it is worth a listen or two if you are interested in this band. I give it 3 ˝ stars. It is a good one but some of the tracks are hard to appreciate if you don't like avant stuff and it is strange, but in a good, eggy sort of way.

Oh and sorry for the multiple intentionally bad egg puns. I could not resist the eggcasion to do so. Oops there I go again.

Report this review (#116295)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Egg certainly does sound Emerson, Lake and Palmer-ish but with the benefit of underexposure. The similarity is chiefly based on the organ sound, and since both bands issued their debut album in that same 1970, one must consider the likelihood of common ancestry rather than copycat syndrome. Egg also contains ample Canterbury elements beneath the Hammond domination.

In the end, like ELP, Egg did not age well, although they did not rot, and a certain jazzy aspects in the more vocal dominated pieces suits the band well and elevates their legacy somewhat. This is especially true in "While Growing my Hair" and "I will be absorbed", both well sung, played and improvised in approximately equal measure. But the short filler pieces serve little discernible purpose and the lengthy symphony is hopelessly retrograde even if it contains some toe-tapping moments.

It's an album with some fine but even more mind wandering aspects. I recommend this newly hatched Egg chiefly to hard boiled veterans of the Canterbury scene and ELP, and, while that actually covers quite a large audience here in the archives, I cannot really count myself among them.

Report this review (#149141)
Posted Monday, November 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars really. The album starts off sounding like a combination of ELP (organ driven)and Canterbury (light vocal structure like Caravan or The Soft Machine). But then we get The Song of McGillicuddie which sounds like a lost track from the Crazy World of Arthur Brown (more intense). And then we get the obviously classical based Symphony number 2 which sort of sounds like Ekseption or mabe Beggar's Opera but with more oomph. Anyways, even though there is a mixed bag here, it is all excellent for my money.
Report this review (#172067)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yup Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music!

This is a damn sweet album, an amazing mix of Jazz, avantgard, classical and symphonic prog rock. While Growing my, I will be Absorbed and The song of McGuillicudie the Pusillanimous (or don't worry James, your socks are hanging in the coal cellar with Thomas) are the 3 normal prog songs with vocals and stuff the rest are organ driven classical stuff and some very nice avant garde everything played by the organ mastermind Dave Stewart and its simply amazing, im very surpirsed by the low rating this fantastic album got for me this is one of the best Canterbury albums a real classic. I love the sound, i gues this is my favorite type of prog i have found right here. This fabulus band only made 3 album 3 classic prog gems that must be in your collection. Yes they are hard to find but very very whort it if you can. Simply amazing! This is prog with soul, it yust dont get any beter then this, atleast not for me.

My remastered edition got 2 suberb bonus tracks: seven is a jolly good time and You are all princes, 2 song that sound liek they culd have or shuld have been prog hits very chatchy and nice.

Report this review (#173669)
Posted Thursday, June 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
5 stars As is often the case, I just read a 5 star review of this wonderful album, and I am compelled by some existential forces to put in my bit !!! EGG were originally a 4 piece known as 'Arzachel', complete with guitar-zero Steve Hillage within the ranks, when Hillage left the band for further studies, the remaining 3 members opted to continue as 'Egg'. Keyboard nutter Dave Stewart already pushed the boundaries of the Hammond Organ's potential to inexplicable heights, and continues to titillate us with his amazing playing, unique style and manipulated sounds. The rhythm section of Bassist Mont Campbell and Drummer Clive Brooks had an obvious understanding of Mathematics and Science to comprehend and realise the extraordinary compositions which make up this slab of scarce vinyl....From the avante sounding 9 second opener 'Bulb', right through to the closing moments of 'Symphony No. 2', this album is an incredible journey of intellectual composition, and incorporates lots of fun and exciting moments, complete with an authentic 'Canterbury' sound (a sound which has been vaguely deciphered and labelled after-the-fact) and shouldn't fail to please listeners who aren't partial to humour and insane complexity. Naturally, lovers of SOFT MACHINE and the earlier CARAVAN albums should scramble for EGG !! 5 stars.
Report this review (#173777)
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Egg is the debut album from Canterbury/ psychadelic rock band Egg. The album was released in 1970. Egg came out of the ashes of the psychadelic UK based Arzachel. A great psychadelic rock band which only managed to release one legendary album in 1969. All three members of Egg were in the lineup of Arzachel. The only one missing from the Arzachel lineup is guitarist/ vocalist Steve Hillage. Egg continued the style of Arzachel on this debut album, but the music is generally more sophisticated and less psychadelic than on Arzachel´s sole album. The difference between the two bands also comes down to the lack of Steve Hillage guitar playing which means that Egg is a power trio without guitar.

The music has influences from several genres like psychadelic rock, jazz and classical music which makes Egg´s music pretty diverse. The focus in most songs is on Dave Stewarts organ playing but the rythm section of Clive Brook on Drums and Mont Campbell on bass and vocals are also very much a part of the music. Mont Cambell has a pleasant voice. It´s not especially distinct but pleasant like in most Canterbury music.

Songs like While Growing My Hair, I Will be Absorbed and The song of McGuillicudie the Pusillanimous (or don't worry James, your socks are hanging in the coal cellar with Thomas) are good psychadelic tracks with vocals and Dave Stewart´s organ playing little melodic figures. Fugue in D Minor is a rock version of a classical piece. The lead melody is of course played on the organ. Both They laughed when I sat down at the Piano...and Boilk are small piano, organ experiments that are nice breaks from the longer tracks. The main attraction on the album is Symphony No 2 though. A 22:26 minute long instrumental song with lots of both classical themes and more psychadelic excursions. It´s a great joy to be listening to this song even though there is a couple of minutes of the song that I could have done without. The noise making from Dave Stewart was probably considered innovative at the time, but today it´s just plain annoying.

The musicianship is excellent and I cannot praise Dave Stewart´s control of his organ enough. He is without a doubt one of my favorite organ players.

The production is a bit muddy but far better than the almost bootleg sound on Arzachel´s album.

There are many power trios playing rock music with a classical touch out there. Emerson, Lake & Palmer is the most obvious one to mention. Egg stand out from the rest though as they have a subtle and soft approach to the genre that is admirable compared to the pompeus and most of the time overblown symphonic approach of ELP. Egg deserves 4 stars for this wonderful debut album.

Report this review (#180848)
Posted Tuesday, August 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars What in the name of G...... that's the question

This is a release (and a band) I find very strange and almost impenetrable. An egg has a hard shell and a soft core. Which describe this band almost perfectly. EGG is a strange oddity in the progressive rock scene. They are not quite jazzy as SOFT MACHINE/GILGAMESH and not as melodic as CARAVAN/ SUPERSISTER. EGG is nowhere. The music is a strange blend of quirky pop, symphonic prog and jazz. EGG is one of a kind. Which may explain why so many has a soft spot for them. Which also may explain why the recent BBC documentary on prog rock also included EGG. What a band.....

Back to the music. Here comes the difficult bit......... describing and forming an opinion about this album. It is a mad collection of CARAVAN like prog, ELP like symphonic prog and GONG like jazz. All in one album. At times, the album turns into a straight jazz album. Then it changes over to a symphonic prog album and back to quirky pop again. The result is quite funny.

One of the best songs is aptly named The song of McGuillicudie the Pusillanimous (or don't worry James, your socks are hanging in the coal cellar with Thomas). Yes, that song title probably sums up both this album, the band and the whole Canterbury scene. It is also a superb song which starts as bombastic quirky pop, turns into a jazz number and implement symphonic prog too. All during five minutes. The symphony here is not exactly a standard symphonic prog symphony. It is a mishmash of all the mad things EGG can pull together. Which is a lot..... The other songs are also down that alley. Quirky, eccentric and very English. A good reference is the Monty Python movies. EGG is artistic and cultural wise in that area.

Listening to and then reviewing this album is not easy and takes me well outside my comfort zone. I feel out on a limb and I am sure you readers are ready with a chainsaw, sending me crashing to the ground. This album is normally a three stars album in my view. But I think this album is an essential album for every prog heads. Not because of the quality of the songs, but because of the philosophy of this album. It smashes all musical boundaries to pieces and sets it's own standards. Not quality wise, but by it's contents. I gladly admit I have started to love this madness. I suspect I am not the only one. With a four stars rating, I am urging you all to explore this album. It is mind expanding, mind altering & mind blowing......... without a hangover.

4 stars

Report this review (#201198)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The history of Egg starts exactly in 1967. The band formed mutually by student's companion was a band that was called "Uriel". The sound source of this Uriel is put on the market as CD. Therefore, it came to be able to buy material concerning this Egg in music worldwide in the market. If the age is considered, the band that derives in the music of Canterbury is not a translation that starts music with originality from the beginning. It is guessed to be a worldwide overflow of the element of Rock and psychedelic and a little start also of the situation of Canterbury from those influences. Active Steve Hillage to the back with Khan and Gong was on the register in this Uriel, too. And, their music characters came to be touched off gradually by Cream and The Nice. However, Hillage never debuted with them. The name of the band is renamed to "Egg" and debuts in 1970. A part of aggressiveness and a classical part of their elements might be indeed large. I think that they are the results of classical of Stewart and an active part's uniting with the dash feeling of the rhythm. Tunes of the album are all the work of the cooperation of the member excluding two. The keyboard of Stewart contributes to Canterbury with some perfection already. The variegation of the sound of Stewart might prove the fact with the riot of color and the shine like a sensual phrase etc. of the tune and "I Will Be Absorbed" with the dash feeling like "While Growing My Hair". However, a classical element is included as for some part. Egg might have been a starting point if talking about the history of the music of Canterbury Scene and Stewart of course.

Report this review (#223559)
Posted Sunday, June 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Proto-Prog is one of my least favourite genres, and I mention that because the vocals and organ on a few of these tracks sound like your typical Proto-Prog band (if there is such a thing). Honestly though I wish they hadn't used vocals on this album, especially when he really tries to sing with some passion, it's cringe-worthy. The Classical music sections are also not the kind of music I usually like, but those are hit and miss for me. Now that's only part of the story here of course. I love when they seem to jam and also the experimental passages. The first bonus track "Fourth Movement" is for me the best track by far, we even get some fuzzed out organ. It's not a good thing though when a bonus track is your favourite song off the album. So a mixed bag for me and certainly not nearly as good as "Polite Force" or "The Civil Surface", both of which will follow this debut.

The song I like the least is "While Growing My Hair". The vocals ruin it for me. It really reminds me of a bad THE DOORS song. "I Will Be Absorbed" is the only track with vocals I really like. Mainly because he sings in a reserved manner. I like the way the keyboards seem to echo. "Fogue In D Minor" is an instrumental with prominant bass and organ. "They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano..." is led by piano before experimental sounds come in. "The Song Of McGillicudie..." is uptempo with vocals, organ and drums standing out. The best parts are when he's not singing. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in.

"Boilik" is a short experimental piece. "First Movement" is where Stewart really shines. "Second Movement" is dominated by the drums until the organ comes to the fore later on. It sounds amazing after 5 1/2 minutes. "Blane" is fairly experimental. "Third Movement" opens with floating organ as drums join in. Again it's the bonus track "Fourth Movement" that steals the show for me. The fuzz organ and bass solo are killer.

3.5 stars. Interesting to hear this but I really feel they improved in pretty much every area on the two records that will follow.

Report this review (#284605)
Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The debut album of Egg ( nothing but Arzachel without guitarist Steve Hillage, who left to study psychology in Kent University) is a real early progressive gem. All Egg's releases stayed in the shadow, and it's a shame.

Guitar less trio, heavily based on future on of the greatest Canterbury scene keyboardist Dave Stewart plays perfect mix of psychedelic jazzy symphonic progressive. Nearest comparison could be ELP, but Egg's music is more jazzy and less bombastic.

Compositions still are not so complex, as in later Canterbury albums, bluesy roots still are more presented. But at the same time, besides of some jazzy arrangements, symphonic influences are very major. All three musicians are great, and Cambell's vocal is more then competent.

Whenever guitar is absent at all, keyboard sound absolutely dominate in album's music, but in a perfect way music doesn't become overloaded or too much symphonic, but stays airy and pleasantly lightweight.

One of the great early Canterbury scene's album - recommended!

Report this review (#287688)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Egg surely weren't planning to become Nice/ELP soundalikes - take Uriel (the band Egg is the successor to), remove Steve Hillage, and bam!, you get your bass/drums/organ lineup as the inevitable result. Maybe it's just the Bach cover and the prominence given to Dave Stewart's organ playing that makes people compare the group to Emerson's two big bands from the era, though I would personally stress that Stewart is in no way an Emerson soundalike - his playing is less forceful and aggressive, and also less inclined towards empty showing-off (unlike many ELP albums, there's no goofy novelty track here - the lyrics might sometimes be silly, but the music is always serious business). A solid debut from Egg, even if it is a bit of a Dave Stewart showcase.
Report this review (#456518)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars It seems as if virtually every single 'Canterbury' style group emerged from either the pop-psych outfit The Wilde Flowers or, latterly, Steve Hillage's college band Uriel. Whilst the Likes of Soft Machine and Caravan would form out of the ashes of the former, the latter give birth to what would eventually become the trio of Egg. Featuring Mont Campbell(bass, vocals), Dave Stewart(organ, piano) and Clive Brooks(drums), Egg were a funny little beast, part-classical, part-jazz and all-progressive. They produced three albums during a rather brief career, with this interesting curio of a debut followed by 1971's 'The Polite Force' and, after a three-year gap, 'The Civil Surface'(notice the pun titles) which saw the light-of-day in 1974. Of the three it is perhaps the self- titled debut that proves most satisfying due to a playful experimental edge that gives meaning to much of the meandering, especially on the interlinking five-part suite 'Symphony No.2', a composition brimming with jaunty invention and quick-fire tempo changes. Dave Stewart's organ is the dominant force throughout, his juicy solo's backed by the thoughtfully-applied bass and warbling vocals of Mont Campbell, whilst Clive Brooks energetic drumming bristles away underneath giving much of 'Egg' a sonic style not unlike that of The Nice or even ELP in their more jocular moments. Like many progressive groups from the genre's golden days, Egg are probably better thought of now then they were back in the day, and whilst they have always been a cult outfit with a small-but-loyal following their singular brand of eccentric neo-classical Canterbury jazz has always intrigued those with a penchant for something slightly different. Very much the thinking man's prog-rock group, Egg's first album is by no means a classic, but it is still a highly-engaging offering that nicely sums up just what an exciting and thoughtful time it was to be a musician back at the beginning of the 1970s. Like they always say: they sure don't make 'em like this anymore.


Report this review (#652127)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Legendary act of the Canterbury scene, Egg actually emerged in 1968 out of the ashes of Uriel with the same members (David Stewart on keyboards, Mont Campbell on bass and Clive Brooks on drums) minus guitarist Steve Hillage.The absence of Hillage naturally brought a change of sound to a more organ-driven style and Egg signed a contract with Deram, followed by a single in August 69'.A brief reunion with Hillage led to the classic Psych/Prog Arzachel album, but Hillage soon returned to his studies and the trio continued as Egg on the recordings of their first full-length album, the classic ''Egg'', released on Deram in March 70'.

Highly influenced by the sound of THE NICE but not leaving apart their psychedelic background, Egg came up with an album of Classical-inspired Progressive Rock with major psych influences as a more polished version of THE NICE.A couple of tracks though with aggresive vocals, powerful drumming and jamming organ versions are sure to remind of the later, but the majority of this album's legth show Egg trying to deliver a more professional and refined Classical approach on rock music.As expected the musicianship is heavily driven by Stewart's organ and piano lines, somewhat split between melodic passages, Classical adaptions and more improvised solos, always supported by the frenetic bass of Mont Campbell and the skillful drumming of Clive Brooks.The amalgam of Egg's sound is certainly the long epic ''Symphony No. 2'', a nice journey in Egg's history, offering, besides the undisputed Classical education of the band, plenty of dramatic moments, experimental beats and psychedelic cuts.

Egg's debut may sound a bit dated for today's standards but it still deserves a place in a prog man's collection.A historical piece of music regarding the Canterbury school of Psych/Prog and a must-have for anyone into keyboard-based Progressive Rock or early-70's Art Rock.Go for the Esoteric Recordings CD reissue, which offers also the pair of tracks featured on Egg's first ever single.Recommended.

Report this review (#768517)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Egg's self titled effort was acctually one of my first encounters with Progressive Rock in general, so this record is very dear to me. Egg didn't sound quite like anything else, the production quality was't great, but Dave Stewarts organ work gives the album a certain sound that can't be described. The stand out tracks on this record (for me) are "While Growing my Hair", "Fugue In D Minor", "The Song of McGuillicudie the Pusillanimous" and of course the grand "Symphony No. 2". The band show incredible time signature changes and they really left me amazed with their unique sound.

I will hold back from giving this album 5 stars because their are points on the album that aren't perfect, so I'll give Egg a solid 4 star rating. This album should be experienced by all fans of the Canterbury Scene.

Report this review (#800878)
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Egg's debut album is one of my favourite Canterbury albums. It displays great levels of musicianship from the 3 very talented members Mont Campbell, Dave Stewart, and Clive Brook, all of which are very underrated performers in the prog rock world. The band isn't shy to be entirely experimental in their musical direction, which could have alienated them from larger audiences, and are therefore a truly innovative progressive group. They explore many different approaches to creating music, and use the album as a subtle 2 fingers up to their classical forefathers and instructors. In addition to this, jazz and psychedelic music are very influential to the album, and teamed with excellent compositions, they produce an outstanding signature sound to run throughout the work. Very sophisticated and matured, yet still managing to hold onto a rhythmic and powerful rock feel - not getting bogged down in lifeless snooty drivel, the likes of which they are trying to get away from.

"Bulb" is an extraordinary way to begin the band's back catalogue, and immediately proving their experimentality and willingness to work with intriguing effects to the listener, and setting them distinctly apart from the guitar-brandishing "Good Times Bad Times" of bands like Led Zeppelin. Lasting only a few seconds, takes you more or less straight into the first real song: "While Growing My Hair". A quite psychedelic piece, displaying the signature tone of Egg's pulsing organs, pianos, percussion and a definite bass line blending with a unique and unconventional voice by Mont Campbell. Also introduces delicious chord progressions and time signatures that can be heard all through the album. "I Will Be Absorbed" is more airy piece, like a more laid-back "Growing My Hair" with a more provident and offbeat rhythm. The track creates a lovely texture for your ears to relax and indulge into, with some very echoing vocals and lyrics that are just pretentious enough for my liking. It reaches more fiery rock climaxes, proving its worthiness as a rock album more than anything else, and just a great track!

"Fugue In D Minor" is a great cover Bach's famous organ piece (beautifully underplayed here) with some fantastic tones resonating through the speakers, plus a sort of liquid touch when the keyboards are played, and a basic drum beat and bass line to once again keep it directed to rock music. I love the simplicity of it, and the prominent reverb that I believe should have been included more on the album. A brilliant contrast to their next track: "They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano". This is one of those pieces that just seems to connect with (me) and only me. I actually find it incredibly emotional and vivid, especially when the electric tears enter, almost testing how easily distracted you are from the blissful piano playing. One of the most played songs on my iPod apparently, probably because there's so many notes in those 2 separate instruments of indescribable relationship and I constantly have to hear it again to work it out furthermore. Just tremendous and so key to the album - my favourite track.

The next piece (can't be bothered to type out that title :P) is musical insanity at its best for me; feels like you're trapped inside one of their overly-talented brains trying to escape. Those monstrous keyboard chords coming over that rolling bass line on the intro takes you straight out of the odd tranquility of the last track and into something heavy again, with any spectacular riff to back Campbell's very progressive lyrics and melodies. Goes through a crescendoing middle section, reminiscent of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man", but surprisingly more organised in its chaotic nature, expressing youthful rawness in a very well-written and developed manner. Afterwards, a very experimental "Boilk" enters, showing all sorts of muffled and destructively offbeat tunes that acts as a brilliant prelude to the final piece of the work...

"Symphony No. 2" is very musically demanding to play and write; therefore wins me over as an early progressive rock epic! The first movement immediately exhibits this virtuosity, especially in those crazy time signatures. I must have heard it about a hundred times but I still can't nail the rhythms anywhere near as easily as ELP's "Karn Evil 9" for example. After covering "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" with legendary talents by ALL of the instrumentalists working together in an magnificently well rehearsed manner to play this very underrated rock symphony. The Second Movement enters with more twisted melodies than the relatively "sweet" ones of the first. Some more astounding effects are present here, and the track goes off on an eccentric tangent to say the least. "Blane" is then one of my favourite "non-musical" tracks of all time! So indulgently experimental, and very few actual notes, and such a majestic chordal appearance arises from the noodlings about 5 minutes through. The Third Movement (on CD editions) acts as a nice 3 minute break from the demented dissonant musical ramblings of "Blane", and sets you up splendidly for the similarly remarkable 4th movement. Retreating a little more towards blues roots perhaps, and more discernible tunes than previously on the album, with some solos to show off their capabilities to a more accessible audience. Unfortunately, ends rather suddenly on 2 blasted chords, acting as an anti-climax in sorts. Of course, still an absolute progressive masterpiece, and their best album by far, in my opinion.

A(-): Undoubtedly one of the most dexterous albums of this post-psychedelic era, employing all sorts of musical devices to produce a timeless yet somehow extremely underrated album.

Bulb: **** While Growing My Hair: ***** I Will Be Absorbed: ***** Fugue In D Minor: ***** They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano...: ***** The Song Of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (Or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas): ***** Boilk: **** Symphony No. 2: *****

Report this review (#984633)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dusty,moldy and memorable.

Yes this record sounds dated, just how I like them. Just the right amount of scratchy production and bad drum miking. But this is where all the charm lies: it's a terribly British record. Even the cover is sober. A subtle 'up yours' to the snobby English class who only listens to Stravinsky and Rachmaninov.

This is a record that probably fell under the radar at the time but to this day, still delivers charm and irresistible attraction. Keys, drums and bass is a formula that got worn out in the 70's, but this one is tearing up my heart and melts in tiny notes of nostalgia. It's not a pompous load of look-at-me, it's just 3 guys with bad hair and moustache who couldn't score with the ladies after a show....'cause not girls came to see them. Feel like and old pair of slippers, am I right?

Underrated and perfect.

Report this review (#1042834)
Posted Monday, September 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have been occupied by this record some days now and finally I write my review. I like music with this interesting and professional sound and I really like the early seventies and especially the British music. This is the British rock band Egg's first record and it was recorded 1970. The cover is very black but we can see an egg in the middle of a wooden frame. The record is just called "Egg" and the musicians are Dave Stewart at the organ, piano and tone generator, Mont Campbell at bass and vocals and Clive Brook at the drums.

This music is guitar free but I don't miss the guitar. Even if there are just three musicians there they did very rich music which opens up for a new music experience. If I should describe it I would mention Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Caravan and Van der Graaf Generator and suggest that Egg is a mixture of those. That explanation is too simple, I know but it's what I feel. The organs are played in the same virtous and classical way such as Keith Emerson did and I think Mont Campbell sings not very unlike Peter Hammill and if we some poppy melodies and a soft jazz touch of Caravan we get the music of Egg and the result is very good.

"Egg" has a lot to praise. The first side is both very playful, funny, yes a little silly and musically quite complicated and well done. The band blends classical piano with the rock sound of the late sixties. For example "I will be absorbed" and "The song of McGuillicudie the Pusillanimous" are great prog rock songs with heavyness and "Fugue in D minor" is of course inspired (and adapts) by classical music. The B-side is a long prog rock symphony in different parts. He we can both experience well known harmonies and experiemtal drum solos. I do not exaggerate when I say this is qualified and high class music. I am absolutely interested in investigate this band further. I give their debut album four solid stars!

I also like the two bonus tracks very much. They are older and a little bit more enthusiastic than the others.

Report this review (#1101622)
Posted Saturday, December 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I came into knowing Egg with the followup to this one, The Polite Force, which is one of my favorite Canterbury albums. So, the self-titled debut had a bit of a hill to climb to please me. But it does! I love hearing some of the sounds and rhythms that will later come into make the amazing music of The Polite Force! "I Will Be Absorbed" (5:12) (9/10) is an incredible song: great melodies, great singing, pretty tight musicianship. Definitely a favorite! The Bach "Fugue in D minor" (2:45) (9/10) and their own Stravinsky-influenced "Concerto" (20:41) (8/10) are both quite enjoyable--even the trippy, experimental parts of "Blane" are interesting. But the highlight for me is the piano/organ experimental piece, "They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano" (1:21) Perhaps a little autobiographical? The two other vocal pieces, "While Growing My Hair" (4:03) (8/10) and "The Song of McGullicudie the Pusillanimous" (5:10) (8/10) sound a bit dated but, again, this is amazing stuff for 19 year olds! This album is especially noteworthy in that within the next nine months you have the release of the much more 'mature' The Polite Force! Amazing! Also, I like Mont Campbell's voice! 3.5 stars rated up for astonishment factor. (Dave Stewart was Uriel's original guitarist?!!!)
Report this review (#1453686)
Posted Sunday, August 16, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Egg are often labled as a Canterbury scene band. The band's main composer and bassist Mont Campbell admitted he had not even known that until long after Egg broke up. Put lables aside, Egg's self-titled debut album ticks every box of what I'm looking for in progressive rock. At the beggining of 1970, this was way ahead of its time. Leaving the tired psychedelic cliches, Egg were looking for a classical and jazz-inspired sound that would later be heard from acts such as Emerson Lake & Palmer and many, many more. It has it all - musical experimentation, unique arangements, long epics, odd time signatures, strange titles, mystic lyrics, jazz and classical influences. I usually don't do so and do not like to, but I feel it is an absolute necessity for me to review every track seperately. Another fanboy review? Probably.

"Bulb" is a slowed down 8-second recording of a shattered lightbulb with mutliple delay. An odd album opener, giving us the taste of what's to come."While Growing My Hair" starts with a dreamy organ passage, than turning into a jazzy, rolling 3/4 rhythm. The main theme sounds a bit like The Doors at times with Mont Campbell's low vocals. "I Will Be Absorbed" is a lush and mellow, yet complex piece in 7/4, showcasing band's jazzier sensibilities with lush organ by Dave Stewart. Mont Campbell's singing again, does not disappoint."Fugue in D Minor" is a rendition of Bach's fugue of the same title in a very grooving, funky rhythm, letting Dave Stewart show-off his incredibly mature baroque organ skills. The track was allegedly recorded as an album filler. I'm sure glad it was, it's a Egg legendary piece."They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano" is a one-minute track, which only features Dave Stewart's Chopin-inspired piano playing. The beautiful romantic melody is haunted by a dissonant tone generator, which sounds like a... like a weeping robot of some sort. "The Song of McGillicudie the Pusillanimous (Or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging in the Coal Cellar with Thomas)" is a very avant-garde organ-driven song, which sounds a bit like a progressive rock "extension" of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown's early work. Based on a rapid rhythm in 10/8, it sounds incredibly smooth and moody. Lyrically, it's a perfect reflection of the sound. "Where should I go what should I do. Now that I know can't get away from you. Everyone has something to hide from themselves and now it's too late to go back go right on." This is it. A very interesting track."Boilk" is the most experimental of all. Without any rhythm, this features samples of Mellotron tapes played backwards, forming a sort of heavenly sound collage.

"Symphony No. 2" is one of the first real progressive rock suites. An outstanding work of art."First Movement" is opened by a very, very catchy, avant-garde sounding passage of notes played in 10/8. Next intervals are gradually being added to the main theme creating a unique passage, that is very typical of this album. It resolves into a part of Edvard Grieg's "In Hall Of The Mountain King" than turning into a laidback, hardbop-esque lane with a smooth jazzy jam. "Second Movement" is more classical inspired with dark organ passages. The main theme is borrowed from Igor Stravinsky's "Rite Of Spring". "Blane" honestly sounds like a homage to the electro-acoustic composers, who spent the 60's playing around with tone generators and computers in studios. There are loads of atonal sounds, saturation, "ugly" mechanical effects here, but also some charming, celestial chords. "Fourth movement" is Egg's classic sound! Filled with fuzz-organ, this is the most rock-oriented of the tracks without sacrificing any of its avant-garde integrity. This is the closing of a great multimovement suite. Sort of a let-down, I would expect fireworks and champagne, but I guess we will have to make do without those.

In conclusion, I will never have enough good to say about Egg's debut album. It's that good! Although I'm in the minority, I consider this one of the legendary albums of progressive rock's second league. However, this album is not for everybody. Newcommers shall not be pleased with what they hear. But this album is a must for prog nuts. Not only does it hold a strong historical value as one of the pioneering albums of the genre, but also it is just plain joy to listen to. This will be a very pleasing experience to fans of organ-driven prog and proto-avant-rock nuts alike. Highly recommended, 10/10!

Report this review (#1529945)
Posted Wednesday, February 17, 2016 | Review Permalink

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