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Greenslade - Greenslade CD (album) cover



Symphonic Prog

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5 stars With the unique combination (RARE BIRD did it earlier)of 2 keyboard players...a bass player and a drummer. GREENSLADE set out to make a a time of Guitarheroes....and they this is a superb piece of UK prog music. The keys of Lawson and Greenslade are quite wonderful.. intercepting each other in ...what you might call a keyboard dance...inspired by the brilliant songwriting...courtesy of Lawson & Greenslade (though some were written by Tony Reeves)...especially the song:Feathered friends" are a wonderful example of their brilliance...but "an English western" and "Melange" stand out prog friends give them a listen...i dare you to not like them. Actually...i would state that you have serious problems with your inner prog hearring, if you dislike these guys!! GREAT STUFF.
Report this review (#3052)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars I think the number of stars that iIgive is self explantory of my opinion of this band. This double Kb has been done much more successfully by Procol Harum before and Supertramp later. Lawson coming from the Web and Samurai helps out Greenslde and Reeves from Colosseum , with McCullough from KC - another example of a supergroup not really clicking it together.
Report this review (#3055)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Former COLOSSEUM member David Greenslade's debut album is an essential piece of UK Prog 70's history. The band also included Dave Lawson who earlier had played with both "The WEB" and "SAMURAI". As you would expect the music is highly keyboard-centric with both Greenslade (Organ, mellotron) and Lawson (piano, synths) playing keyboards. Overall sound is distinctly British styled progressive rock and fits into the YES school of prog. Songs are well written and performed with great musicianship. Album will definitely appeal to fans of 70's styled British prog.
Report this review (#3057)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Lots and lots of lovely Mellotron and organ, backed up by bass, double bass and drums, plus some great tunes and good lyrics make this a classic album. Three of the seven tracks are instrumentals. Dave Lawson's voice lacks some strength and he has to strain sometimes, but actually I don't mind this one bit - it seems to fit with the keyboard sounds.

There are some clever tracks, such as the instrumental 'An English Western' and the song 'What Are You Doing To Me'. The latter has one of my all time favourite lyrics. To top it off, the album has a wonderful cover by Roger Dean.

I bought the LP in 1973 and instantly liked the music (those keyboards!), and in 2004 still listen to the CD often. This album is essential.

Report this review (#3058)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars IMHO, Greenslade has always been a great unsung prog hero from the UK. I fell in love with their style at first listen, which happened the day that I purchased their first two albums. I felt connected with the dual keyboard interplay, the jazz/blues nuances that were fluidly instilled in their symphonic approach, the powerful rhythm section, the way that all the virtuoso playing was accurately placed in the logic of the compositions, and even Lawson's peculiar singing. 'Feathered Friends' kicks off the album with an effective, fast-paced motif, which softly turns down and gives way to the slower, blues- based sung motif that fills 90 % of the song: this is an appropriate opening number, since it shows straight away the typical keyboard interplays fluidly sustained between both Daves, the solid rhythm partnership of McCulloch and Reeves, and Lawson's sharp vocal. 'An English Western' is an effective instrumental pretty much focused on Greenslade's organ excursions, with Lawson and himself delivering some well crafted complementing labour on grand and electric pianos: the bluesy aspect is somewhat pronounced on this one. That same bluesy aspect is evident in 'Drowning Man' (one of the most popular Greenslade tracks, well, under the boundaries of the popularity they managed to achieve), but it goes more places, from jazz to R'n'B to symphonic prog all throughout its developing themes. 'Temple Song' is a candid semi-ballad based on a Far East-like motif: beautiful dialogues between vibes and electric piano, and the first time Lawson chooses to assume a gentle vocal cadence in order to deliver a more "conventionally pleasant" singing. 'Mélange' is another Greenslade classic, going for the rockier side of things while being supported on a jazz fusion basis. Reeves shines particularly here, with his fuzz bass assuming the leading role in many passages: McCulloch delivers a more compact drumming in order to compensate for his rhythm partner's melodic excursions. Were it not for the closing track, this one would be my personal fave in this album. Without the presence of a guitar, it's amazing how Greenslade can get really aggressive whenever they want to: the organ chord progressions and the dual mellotron layers of 'What are You Doin' to Me' feel really dense and heavy, and the way that Lawson delivers his sung demands as stated in his lyrics don't make things any softer. Generally speaking, I feel this number as an appropriate moment of energy and irony between the exhibitions of instrumental tour- de-force delivered in the preceding and following numbers. So now, here it comes, last but not least, the closure 'Sundance'. The epic multicolored explorations and immaculately cohesive interplaying contained in this 8 ¾ minute long piece make it the most impressive number in the album, and a most amazing closure as well: it has all the common recurrent elements in the quartet's style, albeit with an overtly featured symphonic feel. If this is the first Greenslade experience for the listener, 'Sundance' sure makes them willing to keep track on this band's efforts - they won't be disappointed by the follow-up "Bedside Manners are Extra", but that's an issue for another review. As for "Greenslade", I think it's an excellent sample of prog stuff with a jazz-blues twist, and it would make a great addition for any good prog collection.
Report this review (#3059)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator

Phew . Finally, I feel relieved that I got the CD version of this classic album which in a way has colored my childhood. I have been thus far holding a cassette version until last week when I visited one of local CD stores in Jakarta, I saw this under "Rock Legend" shelf. Wow .!!! What a lucky man I was. Even though I have been hearing "Feathered Friends" through classic rock FM radio station down here but I still want to have the whole album as this band was one of progressive rock icons of 70s. I fully agree with most reviewers that have said it like that. When I got this CD, I asked the store keeper to play it LOUD while I was continuing my search of other CDs. The crowd in the store was wondering "Oh, what music is this?" as previously the store played jazz music (uuuugghhh .!!!!). I don't really care about it as I am the customer and I know that this band is so damn great! Pity them if they are at the same age with me but they don't know about GREENSLADE???!! Come on! Where have they been? For sure, they are definitely not my friends because they did not prog during their teenage. When the CD was played at the store, I really loved the "sound" - it's a very capped sound, I would say. The treble is not crispy or transparent, the bass is not that solid, mid range was a bit dull.. But, hey .that's exactly what I want: they sound of seventies! Of course it's way less superior than the latest prog recording. But I do even enjoy it, very much. When I hit the road, I played it again outloud in the car. Oh man .. what a great drive that evening. What a truly classic prog album! For those who like 70s prog and has not got this CD yet, BUY NOW man ..!!!!

Feathered Friends (6:42) kicks off the album with relatively fast tempo style and very unique snare drum sound - it's like Bruford's or like other 70s prog band: ENGLAND. Keyboard dominates the melody as well as rhythm section, augmented with organ / mellotron. When vocal enters the music with "What's your poison? Well here's mud in your eye ." it has a killing melody especially when it's combined with organ and mellotron sounds. The bass guitar also demonstrates its role with its dynamic sound especially during the singing part. I especially love the organ sounds with many catchy melodies found throughout this track. Also, the mellotron is performed excellently here. Vocal quality is top notch! Excellent composition. [*****]

An English Western (3:25) continues with a previous track style: energetic opening dominated by organ and dynamic drum work. The music represents an original Greenslade music: keyboard-based, floating melody with accentuation, weird drum sounds and good composition with some jazz rock influence. I like the combination of organ / keyboard work and dynamic drumming in this track. It's an excellent instrumental track with relatively complex arrangements. [****]

Drowning Man (6:40) begins with a low register notes voice line - something unusual in Greenslade singing style. It even reminds me to the voice of Gentle Giant even though this track seems mellower than typical Gentle Giant song. The singing is augmented with excellent organ work and bass line. At the end of first lyrical part, the music flows in faster tempo and uplifting mood demonstrating excellent combination of organ sounds augmented with mellotron. Drums still demonstrate its Bruford's sounds especially in the snare drums that keep the beats. The organ work really brings me back to the glory years of 70s music. Excellent. [****]

Temple Song (3:32) starts mellow with sort of jazz influence music, featuring ambient vocal and combination of great organ and solid bass lines. Vibraphone is used throughout this track. Keyboard / organ solo in the middle is backed up with some light orchestration. [*** ½ ].

Mélange (7:27) starts with an uplifting music with medium tempo/fast style and turns slower with mellotron sound and inventive organ work. Drums demonstrate its contribution with normal snare drum sound. What follow is a bass solo segment with its inventive play that forms a melody of the song. Other instruments fill the music to support bass guitar solo. Right before the middle of the track, the music turns quieter featuring bass guitar solo only. The other later half of the track demonstrates mellotron work by maintaining dynamic bass guitar play and the snare drums sounds return to Bruford's like. [****]

What Are You Doing to Me (4:40) opens with organ work in relatively fast tempo style followed with high register notes singing. It's very Greenslade, sound-wise! Structurally, it's relatively a straight forward track - however, there are some nice transitions, e.g. the inclusion of mellotron between musical segments. [****]

Sundance (8:45) starts mellow with piano work with some influence of classic music.What follows is an upbeat music demonstrating great keyboard / organ. With dynamic drumming. Again, the bass lines are really great even during the organ solo part. This instrumental track offers some variation of styles and tempo changes. The ending part brings the music to piano solo work as its opening. [****]


For those who want to explore the treasure of 70s prog music, you should not miss this one. But for those who's got used to recent quality of sound recording, you might regret hearing the sonic quality of this CD. But, the content (the music) is great. Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Progressively yours,


Report this review (#3060)
Posted Sunday, April 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars Colosseum was one of the first progressive bands although their mix of jazz, blues and rock was miles away from the sound of later progrock dino's like Yes, Genesis or ELP. But Dave Greenslade his keyboards added 'a symphonic element' to the music, the best example is the 'sidelong' titletrack of Colosseum's second album Valentyne Suite. His strong build up solo on the Hammond organ ended almost psychedelical! Dave decided to form his own band and contacted his former bandmate Tony Reeves (who had become a record producer). Tony introduced Dave Lawson from a band called Samurai, Dave was quickly convinced of his skills. Drummer Andrew McCulloch had just left King Crimson and was willing to complete Dave Greenslade's own band, simply called Greenslade. On their eponymous album you can enjoy a very unique blend of rock, blues, jazz, symphonic and classic, embellished by dual-keyboardplay, a good rhythm-section and distinctive vocals. It's not the usual progrock in the vein of ELP, Genesis, King Crimson or Yes but it sounds very tasteful and refined featuring a fine melodic structure and great harmonics. THIS IS GREAT PROGROCK THAT DESERVES MORE ATTENTION!!
Report this review (#39142)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is my personal favorite recording from Dave Greenslade. The mellotrons, electric piano, soft singing voice and well working rhythm section form a sound being similarly pleasant and unique. When compared to the other works of this artist, I'm also satisfied to the overall quality, which I think reduces quite dramatically after this record. The starter "Feathered Friends" is one of the most beautiful minor art rock songs I have yet heard. I have some personal strong associations, which focus directly to this song. I got to know this record in first place as a father of my friend spotted this album from a local second hand record store. He got to a bad argument with the shop owner after criticizing his high prices, but as this wise shopkeeper realized in early 90's that vinyl records are obsolete as merchandise, he sold everything out with 50% discount, and I fetched this one for him. When I delivered the record, a sad tale was told to me about the particular copy of the album. It was told being from an estate of a local guy, who had jumped out from the roof of block of flats. On the song "Feathered Friends", always as I listen to the lyrics "It's time to leave, if we can heave ourselves away from here, while the sun is still burning, even though we're just learning to fly, we can get by, by and by?", the mellotron solo enters? I can see the last flight of desperate man in my soul's eyes, making this a really deep and disturbing listening experience. From the western-interlude follows the tune "Drowning Man", this being some sort of sacral song along with the following "Temple Song", sticking to more orientalist motifs. Both associate with some sort of spiritual experiences, and I think especially the fine composition closing side A oscillates wonderfully from anticipating moments of sorrow to the hopeful glimpses of redemption, thus surviving the test of time on turntable selections. "Mélange" cruises more deeper to the pleasant symphonic prog depths than the other tracks, strengthening the group's sound from this aspect to the general prog scene style. However I liked here the vivid aspects of the group playing, which I fear later went to too confusing levels, making the albums quite messy, and losing similarly quality control or innovation from compositional qualities. "What are You Doing to Me" reminds slightly the tones of Badger, mello-illuminated riff-driven groovy track with bluesy edge in vein of softer 70's Deep Purple tracks. The album closes to grandiose epic of "Sundance", which finds it place from the end justified as "a final word", but sometimes I think putting the most essential songs to the end of an album require high quality from the whole record, and also listening patience from the record spinner. In addition of the musical content, the album covers by Roger Dean are also exceptionally marvelous, so if you can, I would recommend acquiring this one as vinyl.
Report this review (#44361)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Debut album released in 1973 "Greenslade". It is a feature there are a sound and warmth in the entire sound like having the dream. It is a work that can be especially recommended for the fan of YES and GENESIS. Appreciating music is unlimited and is deep. The fantastic jacket based on green by the Roger dean is wonderful.
Report this review (#57005)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Take Colosseum and start opening it as an onion. Take away the roughness. Take away the clumsy melodies. What do you get. A prog GEM: Greenslade. I admire Colosseum when they play the Valantyne Suite and such but there are a lot of material that is not of the same standard. Greenslade is much more consistent band. They took the best of Colosseum and added great new songs that really prog and at the same time really swing. Symphonic boogie prog. This is just the kind of music that the band I played in, in the mid seventies, tried to play. It was fun but it never came anything. We played progressive music with strong organ body and long jamming sections for guitar and the organ. When I listen to this Greenslade album I hear similarities with the finnish group Tasavallan presidentti and the melodies of Pekka Pohjola. Don't know who heard whom... Anyway a great album.
Report this review (#74920)
Posted Friday, April 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a masterpiece of keyboard-based prog, which I have consistently enjoyed since it was first released. There is excellent use of Hammond organ, piano, and especially mellotron, throughout. Four of the seven tracks have vocals, Dave Lawson doing the honours with his unique, if slightly dodgy, vocal style. The instrumental tracks are lively and varied, with 'Melange' highlighting Tony Reeves' bass guita, . The highlight for me is the spiralling mellotron in 'What are you Doing to Me', but the whole album is consistently enjoyable.
Report this review (#79321)
Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I bought this album way back in 1973 I could hardly wait to put the record on my turntable to hear these two former Colosseum members; the names of Dave Lawson and Andy McCulloch have even additionally spur up the tension; two great keyboard players, bass virtuoso and Crimson reputation drummer - I thought it simply had to be great music! But it turned out to be a real disappointment musical output I heard. The only track which had justified my expectations was 'Melange'. Afterwards, I would regularly buy every subsequent release and eventually I've concluded that the whole Greenslade 1973-1975 opus had been very balanced mediocre work. In that context, this debut album seems to me to be their best one.
Report this review (#88056)
Posted Wednesday, August 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Frustrating

For a prog fan like myself in the early 1970's, Greenslade appeared to have everything. An eponymous band leader who played a variety of electronic keyboards, long elaborately structured tracks, and on top of everything a Roger Dean sleeve. In fact, the sleeve is the best thing about this album, being an absolutely essential Dean illustration, which demands to be seen in its original foldout LP cover format.

Behind the sleeve though, the story is different. It is hard to identify what it is about the music of Greenslade which made it so obvious that they had little chance of being anything other than a second division prog band. Perhaps an examination of the opening track "Feathered friends" will help. Here we have a wonderful mellotron break surrounded by some diverse but weak melodies. The vocals are high pitched but not particularly tuneful. On the face of it, the lyrics are structured into rhyming phrases, but in reality, they are sung without any cognisance of that phrasing. The song passes by but makes little impression. And so it goes throughout the album. When the mellotron sweeps do appear, they are symphonic and majestic, but they stand like pyramids in a vast desert of sand.

The twin keyboards of Dave Greenslade and Dave Lawson dominate tracks such as "An English Western" and "Drowning man", and while the organ and mellotron tones are pleasant to the ear, they lack the melodic substance to make them genuinely compulsive. At this point, I am going to make it clear that there are many positives in the music of Greenslade. The lyrics are thoughtful, the overall sound is accomplished and pleasing, and there are far worse vocals than these about. And there is the rub. It is frustrating to find a band who were so clearly capable of becoming one of the prog giants for want of some decent melodies.

Side two of the LP consists of just three tracks, ranging from four to nine minutes. They are predominantly instrumental, and seem largely improvisational. There are times on Mélange when the bass and mellotron combination has strong echoes of Yes' "Heart of the sunrise" but where Yes would burst into a strong hook, Greenslade drift back into another muddled passage or simply fade. Only the rather out of character "What are you doing to me" stand out as being different, its earthy blues being interrupted by a mellotron fanfare.

Perhaps it is the band's leaning further towards jazz than their peers which is the defining factor. Those coming to the band via Genesis or Yes, as many would have done lured by the instrumental line up and sleeve illustrations, would most likely have been disappointed to find that the melodies and hooks were not nearly as strong. They would quickly have realised that while the band was awash with talented musicians, their compositional skills were less clear.

Report this review (#96305)
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars ***** FIVE STARS

First of all, I am a big fan of Colosseum and Dave Greenslade. His first solo album is simply marvelous. It is full of intelligent well-crafted rock-music. Being a debut this album is one of the best debut albums ever.

As for musicianship, the members from Colosseum are assurance for great music. Also McCulloch was a hell of a good drummer (ex-King Crimson's Lizard album - one of the best Crimson album). On this album (and the next one) the drums are extraordinary. Lawson is good keyboard player and I like his way of singing. Together the band Greenslade is more than excellent. No guitar can be heard here and that's also great. This is one of the few groups that can do rock music without guitar and still this instrument isn't missing!

All songs are great, my favourite is the opener Feather friends and Sundance. But the album works as the whole, although it is not a conceptional album.

This is a must have for anyone who is seriously a fan of unique rock music.

Report this review (#104928)
Posted Saturday, December 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars To some this is a 5-star gem, but I'm not very impressed. The songs are ignorable (the best being the opener 'Feathered Friends'), the dual keyboards that very much dominate the music sound too fuzzy and unclear to my taste. Most of all, the singer-keyboardist Dave Lawson has a terrible 'forced' singing style. The closest band to compare Greenslade is RARE BIRD, only with a worse singer. Hmmm, do I have anything else to say about this? No. Thank you.
Report this review (#122294)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've recently bought the first two albums by Greenslade and I have been pleased, with the first one, in particular. This is a very accessible prog, very listenable with many haunting, strong and suddend mellotron eruptions often enriched by a wonderful work on bass guitar. Really very good job, Tony Reeves!

A strong and convincing combination with keyboards even if the sound's quality of the cd I isn't of the best I've heard. I wonder if the rights' owners have planned to release a remastered serie. It would be great to re-light this delightful music.

The album isn't based on complex, adventurous and technical keyboards-based extended tracks. Notwithstanding the band reached a high level of quality with also excellent vocals and melodies. Some sparkling moments of jazz is the icing on the cake!

Report this review (#129815)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars A little green man

Dave Greenslade was the keyboard player in Colosseum before he formed this band named after him. The eye-catching Roger Dean art work and the fact that the band relies heavily on keyboards is perhaps enough to make Greenslade interesting for many Prog fans. This reviewer is no exception. Though, some people falling into this category might be disappointed by this album. The closest comparison is probably with Rick Wakeman's solo albums and with Emerson, Lake & Palmer. But compared to those two, Greenslade is on the lighter side progressive Rock.

I like this band, but I don't love them. I think their albums are good, but none of them are great. I enjoy all the albums by Greenslade, but they fail to really excite me. It is good, neither more nor less.

Recommended for fans of keyboard-driven progressive Rock, but it is hardly among the best of its kind.

Report this review (#178177)
Posted Friday, July 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the debut album from symphonic prog rock band Greenslade. Greenslade consists of Dave Greenslade ( Keyboards) and Tony Reeves ( Bass) who where both formerly with Colosseum. Drummer Andy McCulloch had previously played on King Crimson´s Lizard album and Dave Lawson ( Keyboards and vocals) was a former member of Samurai. After Colesseum disbanded in 1971 Dave Greenslade had played as a session musician while assembling musicians for his new band Greenslade. It took him two years and Greenslade was released in 1973.

The music is very symphonic and notably without any guitar. It´s not missed though as the two keyboard players fill every vacant space with every imaginable vintage keyboard sound. This is vintage keyboard heaven. Dave Lawson´s vocals are distinct and pretty good without reaching excellent while the rythm section delivers some great backing. But this is first and foremost keyboard dominated music. Songs like Feathered Friends and What are You Doing to Me are good vocal tracks but the instrumental songs are also very enjoyable.

The musicianship is excellent and as this is keyboard dominated music I have to mention Dave Greenslade and Dave Lawson for their great complimenting interplay.

The production is a bit weak and muddy. I have this album both on LP and on CD and the CD unfortunately doesn´t have a better sound than the LP. It´s a bit of a shame and takes away some of my enjoyment.

Greenslade is one of those symphonic prog bands that are not quite in the elite but certainly near it. I think it would send a wrong signal to rate this album 3 big stars so instead I´ll rate it 4 small ones. Recommendable to vintage keyboard freaks.

Report this review (#181048)
Posted Friday, August 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Dave Greenslade's Hammond organ and Tony Reeves' bass play really stand out on this GREENSLADE debut.They both of course were part of the legendary band COLOSSEUM before this. Greenslade plays mellotron on every track as well. The vocals of Dave Lawson remind me of the way Peter Hammill sings, very expressive and theatrical, he also is the second keyboardisit for the band. Andrew McCulloch on drums played briefly with KING CRIMSON and he's very prominant on this album.

"Feather Friends" is a catchy, uptempo track with lots of organ runs and great drum fills. Vocals come in as it settles before 1 1/2 minutes. This is where he reminds me of Hammill the most. Nice bass throughout. A mellotron storm after 4 minutes. More great organ late. "An English Western" is an uptempo instrumental with drums, organ and bass standing out. Mellotron ends it in style. "Drowning Man" is fairly mellow with reserved vocals and organ for the first 2 minutes then a fuller sound arrives. The tempo then picks up as bass and organ shine. Mellotron 4 minutes in and then back to the original melody.

"Temple Song" is a mellow track with plenty of vocals and vibes. Prominant bass before 3 minutes. My least favourite. "Melange" has more energy, I like the drumming on this one. Some huge bass before 1 1/2 minutes followed by mellotron. Vocal melodies come and go. The song brightens somewhat 4 minutes in with drums, organ and mellotron following a minute later. Nice. "What Are You Doing To Me" has a nice heavy intro with passionate vocals. Some great organ work here with mellotron after 3 1/2 minutes. "Sundance" opens with piano before we get a fairly heavy sound before 2 minutes. Drums, bass and organ dominate. Impressive. Mellotron 5 minutes in as the melody stops. It kicks back in after 5 1/2 minutes and then speeds up. It ends as it began with piano.

This is one of those albums that has character. I do prefer "Bedside Manners Are Extra" but there's enough here to give it a low 4 star rating.

Report this review (#185903)
Posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Having two keyboard players, I guess that it is all too normal to compare them with ''Procol Harum'' and ''Rare Bird''. But IMHHO, ''Greenslade'' only falls shy of these two (especially the former of course).

Keyboard lovers will of course appreciate the lush mellotron lines, the fine organ parts but the whole of this work is lacking of melodies, passion and structure. This is probably the reason why the band has always been a second to third tier and called it quit pretty rapidly.

Still, this album is pleasant (but not brilliant). I was charmed by the beautiful middle part of ''Feathered Friends'', and by the ELP oriented ''An English Western''. To be honest, there are no weak tracks on this album, but no real highlights either. An easy listening album with some jazzy textures (''Drowning Man', ''Temple Song'') and fine dual keyboards all the way through.

The only problem of this album resides in the fact that there are very little great moments available. ''Melange'' features a great start, but turns out to be an average jamming effort after two minutes or so. Bass play is prominent, almost soloing and I have to admit that this has never been my cup of tea.

There is hardly anything wrong with the musicianship of the guys of course, just that the overall song writing was not on the expected level. Here and there, the listener will face some fine and bombastic passages but those are really too spread out to be convincing. The very good closing ''Sundance'' is another example of this theory. Still, I like very much and it is without doubt one of the best track available here.

I also feel that to name a band with your own first name sounds rather pretentious and little respectful of the other band's members. As if you could only impose your own stuff, since you are the ultimate boss.

I can't really consider this album as a masterpiece as other colleagues have done. Maybe because I have listened to too many records which leads me to be more strict in my ratings.

This album is still a pleasant one which I rate with three stars.

Report this review (#192736)
Posted Friday, December 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars I remember I was always impressed by Greenslade´s debut cover. It is really one of Roger Dean´s best works and still stands as one of the ultimate prog icons. Unfortunate the music inside was no match for the striking illustration it comes with. Not that is bad, far from it, but certainly is easy to understand why Greenslade never reached the prime legue of prog rock. It is the simple case of fantastic musicians who just didn´t gel together and neither had enough chops in the songwriting department. Yes, simple as that.

If you like keyboard driven prog music in the vein of ELP, Focus (without Akkerman, of course), Trace and others, give it a try, but don´t expect anything too symphonic or lengthy moments. The songs are shorter, not fully developed and nice. What are you Doing to Me has a bluesy, differente approach that has its charm, but not much more than that. A pity, since they are obviously a talented bunch. The best tracks are Drawning Man and the long Sundance. The melodies are not exactly memorable, but there are some good moments on most tunes. Production is quite good for its time. 2,5 stars, really, for its great musicanship.

Report this review (#209413)
Posted Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Evidently the high-quality but sometimes sedate jazzrock of drummer Jon Hiseman's Colosseum wasn't enough for David Greenslade, the extraordinary keyboardist/composer, so after that landmark band dissolved in 1971 he began building a formidable unit of his own; the warm jazz basses of Tony Reeves, Andrew McCulloch's totally freakin' drums, and Dave Lawson's accompaniment on keys and lead vocals. In an amazingly freethinking venture for the time - or perhaps a perfect example of it - David Greenslade succeeded in creating a near-masterpiece of rock theater by balancing what could have been a very unstable meeting of orchestrina fantasy, garage art, and deep lakes of inspired progressive rock. This was prog unmasked, stripped of most of the studio trickery and flash for flash's sake in much music of the period. The real thing, a group that took up the challenge, seized the surely brief moment, put any notions of mass appeal aside and just let go with a brand of symphonic rock that was more raw and personal than their bigger siblings but still retained the intricacy and ridiculousness of prog. Unashamed, childlike but haughty, Greenslade was a special offspring of the era and gave us several jewels, this debut probably their finest.

'Feathered Friends' hits the floor with a mean groove, Lawson's prepubescent falsetto screeches over big chords of organ, the band's soundwall, David Greenslade's mellotron a beauty of another age and the band's production quite good if ancient. Instrumental 'An English Western' absolutely rocks the house with all sorts of blues, gospel-jazz and classical kitsch in a Wakeman vein, and churchly 'Drowning Man' is a somber condolence that jumps up with samba, drowsy acid and bassy late 1960s dance beats. Forgettable 'Temple Song' follows but 7-minute 'Melange' is another good instrumental that inhales deeply of space and jazz as it grows large, kicker 'What Are You Doin' to Me' shows just how appealing this group can be with a successful fusion of pop and symphonette, and David's piano slowly introduces nine-minute sprawler 'Sundance' that varies between soft and magisterial.

Entirely original though doses of everyone from Procol Harum and Morgan to The Nice and Supertramp can be heard, and urgently recommended to anyone who's past their own expectations of what prog is, was or should be.

Report this review (#214374)
Posted Friday, May 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is an album of mostly pleasant, and occasionally bluesy, keyboard-driven prog, not far at all from Yes and ELP's musical space. I don't think it's aged nearly as well as the efforts of either of its larger cousins, however.

The weak point in the band is the songwriting, which ranges from competent to calculatedly derivative, and the lyric writing, which ranges from OK to flat-out embarrassing. The music struggles to rise above the dated lyrics, but the limited vocal delivery makes things even worse. A case in point is "What Are You Doin' To Me," which attempts to wed heavy rock organ and an unabashedly epic Mellotron bridge to Lawson wailing, "You left me a nut when I wanted a screw ... I fell out of love babe, when I fell out with you." It's prog wrongness at its most picturesque.

Moving away from the songs with words, things get more tolerable. "Mélange" is a nifty bit of music that uses its Mellotron interludes to much greater effect, dancing adroitly between a upbeat, tight, and intricate keyboard opening and a spacious, rising Mellotron theme that floats beautifully, both resolving into a Rickenbacker bass solo straight out of Chris Squire's book. "An English Western" delivers exactly what it promises, lots of English prog, shifting time signatures and galloping motives, with just a little seasoning of corny cowboy song thrown in.

Having savaged the songwriting (there's mud in my eye!), I do have to say the keyboard work here is quite good--not just a chops-fest, Greenslade and Lawson know how to coax out lots of different colors and textures from their instruments, and the band sans vocals is tight. if you're willing to overlook the songwriting and just jam along to some vintage prog, this will probably fit the bill nicely for you. Don't expect groundbreaking work, though, and I recommend starting with the nonvocal tracks first.

Report this review (#226902)
Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not an act of UK's top progressive rock league,but nevertheless a very good company of important musicians,formed in autumn of 1972 and named after keyboardist Dave Greenslade.Greenslade,along with bassist Tony Reeves ,were among the founding members of one of the best early prog/blues bands,''Colloseum''.Other members were keyboardist Dave Lawson (ex-''Web'' and ''Samurai'') and drummer Andrew McCulloch,who had played on KING CRIMSON's ''Lizard'' and in ''Fields''.GREENSLADE's eponymous debut was released in 1973 on Warner Bros.

The band delivers absolutely great musicianship with excellent flowing compositions in a typical British symphonic style.With two keyboardists in the line-up,their sound is obviously led by the double keyboard plays,featuring atmospheric synth work,groovy Hammond organs and,of course, vintage mellotron breaks.Regarding the style of the compositions,this one starts from almost heavy symphonic organ-driven rock like BEGGAR'S OPERA and even DEEP PURPLE and ends up in almost smooth progressive rock with an intense romanticism in the vein of YES,GENESIS and lesser known-acts like CRESSIDA and FRUUPP.The vocal lines,sung by Lawson,are definitely satisfying and emotional,fitting excellently in the whole concept.A great balanced album,presenting old-school prog rock from the very first minute,that comes strongly recommended to anyone looking for this kind of sound.

Report this review (#227873)
Posted Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I honestly could never get where this album was going or what the music was supposed to do. This keyboard soaked album has the utmost potential of being a prog rock classic, but the execution just sounds ''empty'' for lack of a better term.

There's no real feeling I have for GREENSLADE other than it really puts me to sleep, and that feeling occurs in just about every song. It's as if the music is in some sort of stupor; it comes across as blatanly monotone to my ears. Some bits stick out, mostly coming from ''An English Western'', but 75% of the album doesn't click with me whether it's the tempos being too slumpy or weak vocals or noninteresting mellotron thingys.

I don't get it. I'm sure there's plenty of progsters out there who will because of all the keyboard passages, bass fills and off metre shifts. It's one of those albums where I really cannot describe why it doesn't work with me; it just doesn't.

Report this review (#243141)
Posted Monday, October 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's hard to believe its taken me this many decades to get around to listening to Greenslade. Somehow, even though I grew up in the late 70s as a huge fan of English prog rock, I never got turned on to Greenslade. It's a shame, because I missed out on many years of listening to this fantastic music. The musicianship is stellar. So good that if you told me it had members of Yes playing on it, I would believe you. The drums and bass especially. If you love Chris Squier's bass-playing and/or Bill Bruford's drumming, this album is made for you! There are long, beautiful, instrumental sections that would fit almost perfectly onto "The Yes Album" of "Fish Out Of Water". Extremely tight, muscular and expansive. The way i like my symphnic prog.

Once again, though, the vocals are the weak point. This is a recurring problem in prog. Tons of exceptionally talented musicians, but not enough great singers to go around. The vocalist here, Dave Lawson, is not terrible by any means. At times, he's quite good, but at other times his overdramatic style of singing sounds almost comical. He's got good pipes, but his delivery is just too over-the-top a lot of the time.

I think the incredible musicianship and the gorgeous, intricate compositions more than make up for the weak vocals. Highly recommended to fans of Yes, Gentle Giant, early King Crimson, Gabriel-era Genesis, etc.

Report this review (#278490)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars As a person very interested in Prog Rock and trying to learn more about it, I came across this band, Greenslade. Greenslade seemed to have something, whether it was the engrossing cover (done by Roger Dean of Yes artwork fame), or the keyboard work done by Dave Greenslade himself. But looking into this I could not help but focus on a couple things. First, the vocals. One thing I noticed right away is that Greenslade was dramatic, maybe over-the- top in it's own way. But listening to the vocals by Dave Lawson was not very fun. Lawson does not seem to be a terrible singer, but he is over-the-top. He achieves this in several ways, by reaching notes he should not be reaching for, pitch changes, and dramatic effects that in the long run just don't work. Now, loving bands like Kansas and Gentle Giant, these vocals don't compare in any way. Much like Catapilla, the vocals are made annoying to listen to by dramatic effects. In fact I am not exaggerating when I say that I like the Instrumental song, English Western, better than the groups most famous song, Feathered Friends, because of the length of Feathered Friends and it's vocals. Next, very little is done to keep the songs interesting. While listening to these songs for the first time, I got bored. The songs do very little to keep my interest. This may just be the vocals taking it's effect on me again, but I was not interested in these songs. Part of the problem, I believe is the approach to these songs. Songs like What Are You Doing to Me and Feathered Friends are given Rocking intros with Bass powered backrounds, but slow down to an unexpecting halt (not to mention the vocals start). In conclusion, Greenslade is an album that shows the potential of the group but does not deliver in being interesting or easy to listen to. But, as the rating suggests, not all people will hate this, these songs are far from terrible, and someone out there will probably like them.
Report this review (#422043)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars A Sundance in the Temple

☞note: this review stands for Greenslade's first two albums.

You, who were around 18 in 1973, have to admit it. Do not deny it. Whenever you saw that green Dean cover glittering from the shopwindow as it if were inside a cave of wonders with vaults as high as a cathedral's and pillars, lakes, waterfalls, the whole lot... with that strange wizard on a stranger seat doing... what? Reading his book of enchantments? Casting a spell?... your mouth did fall wide open, didn't it? Mine did, I confess.

In advance, I had no previous idea of these guys' origin but of Andrew McCulloch having been 'my' marvellous King Crimson's Lizard's drummer. Later, I would learn that both Dave Greenslade, who seemed to be the leader and ideologist of the band, and Tony Reeves -that astonishing bass player (listen to his work in Melange, for instance)- came from Colosseum. Nothing I knew of Dave Lawson, and would not know until a lot of years after of his having come from Episode Six, (The) Web and Samurai. But what did it matter? Nothing at all. It was a time for discovering new things. And 1973 was perfect for discovering Greenslade or The Kinks, a 10-years-career band, although there were also many awful things to meet as that new distasteful glam rock with its unbearable looks and tacky musical style. Or was it viceversa?

And indeed all expectations would be fulfilled after pre-listening some of the tracks in the record shop boot. That mellotron solo on Feathered Friends, that intriguing and sinister beginning of Drowning Man and its posterior explosion, those oriental notes in Temple Song... it had all the musical features as well as the artistic ones: not only roger Dean's cover, but his design and handwriting of the songs lyrics... even the b&w (green) pictures of the members showed them so nice and "in"!

After several complete listenings, the un- or self-titled first Greenslade record reached to top ten in my -on the other hand, minute but selected- collection of some 10 LPs but sharing place with the aforementioned Lizard, and with Trilogy, Close to the Edge, Nursery Crime, Living in the Past or Made in Japan, among others less well-known productions of the year or previous.

Some people refuse listening or even liking a band without a guitar player. I don't think Greenslade wanted one at all, as happened with others which, as in the cases of The Nice, Soft Machine, E, L&P, Renaissance, Supertramp, VdGG etc, did not want one either although their bass guitar players used to include some guitar work every now and then. Not the case of Greenslade until their third production, in which we felt something had broken inside the cohesion of that magnificent band which only lasted one (4th) work more in two years' existence. But that was just natural with a monster with two heads and different wills. Two heads on different keyboards with their own personal seal, Greenslade more organ-oriented while Dawson more electric piano-oriented. Synths and mellotron are not missing either to provide both solo or strings-like arrangements.

In their first two records they gave ample samples of their dynamic and rich interplay, supported by a stupendous rhythm section impersonated in the brilliant Reeves and McCulloch, who had their share in those fantastic instrumental as Melange, the lyrical Sundance and, in their second effort, Bedside Manners Are Extra- published only some ten months later and in whose cover the wizard would leave the cave and appear now as an eastern Temple Master-, the brilliant Pilgrim Progress (a masterpiece), Drum Folk or Chalkhill.

In fact, there are so little differences between both first albums and so many similitudes in structure of their A and B sides that I have always thought they could be really made into one double album. And that was what Demon Music Group probably thought by publishing in 2011 both albums in one double CD set under the label Edsel -together with a second set featuring efforts three and four, that is, Spyglass Guest (1974) & Time and Tide (1975), which completes Greenslade's seventies' studio discography- and which is the best way to get into that somewhat despised or forgotten but which made, at least, two essential when not two masterpiece albums.

Posted from Sanlucar, Spain, 28th July 2014.

Report this review (#620021)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars I have little to say about this album

"Feathered Friends" (2.00 out of 5.00) After the good intro, all turns into a dramatic way, wich became unbearable and monotonous.

"An English Western" (2.00 out of 5.00) Is the first instrumental song, this song means nothing to me but the performance is good.

"Drowning Man" (1.00 out of 5.00) Even worse than the previous tracks, certainly this kind of song are made to show us the strength of David Greenslade as keyboardist, also, vocals are horrid and forgettable.

"Temple Song" (1.00 out of 5.00) Sounds childish, like a lullabye. Vocals are dull and pathetic just like the whole song.

"Melange" (1.00 out of 5.00) At this point I realize that their compositions and performance are mediocre. I surrender, but there are two remaining songs. About this song: "A refiller".

"What are You Doin' to Me?" (1.50 out of 5.00) Here`s the heavy one, with an umpredictable break wich leads to an orchestral moment, played mainly with mellotron, almost decent. but not my taste.

"Sundance" (1.50 out of 5.00) Another song where David Greenslade show us his Strenghts, this one is better than "Drowning Man" but not as I expected.

Very Weak... Very Poor

1 Star

Report this review (#747723)
Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Greenslade's debut album underscores what the Greenslade project was all about - namely, Dave Greenslade jamming with a bunch of musicians who would happily follow his lead. Dave's keyboard antics are technically competent but tend towards showboating for showboating's sake, whilst the other musicians are present but not exceptional. (In particular, Dave Lawson's vocals don't quite work for me.) Hampered by an adequate but not sparkling production job, the album as a whole feels inconsistent and flavourless, as though Greenslade were just ticking off numbers on a prog rock checklist rather than bringing anything genuinely substantial and meaty to the table. Competent but disposable.
Report this review (#1017465)
Posted Tuesday, August 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars An underrated british symphonic prog gem. Dave Greenslade, the man from COLOSSEUM, just plays the keyboard like I wanted to hear. Supported by members of King Crimson, Colosseum and Web-Samurai, Greenslade put out the heavy rock without any guitar, but tasty organs and keys. Highly reccomended to organ-based rock fans. The album starts in a Deep Purple way, but it slowly becomes totally progressive, from slow times to hard psychedelic Hammond-Organ-washed music. Awesome epic songwriting. And what about the vocals? Heh... It is... Goddamn great! Lawson's vocals is something like Robert Plant singing some VDGG/Peter Hammil's vocal line. After listen to the whole album you will get my point about the vocals (if you hadn't heard of it before, of course). I must say that Roger Dean's artwork captures the soul of the music, and listen to a good album feautring his cover design and paintings, always makes the final touch.
Report this review (#1057099)
Posted Wednesday, October 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Greenslade was one of the few members of that prickliest of musical aggregations, the prog supergroup (a club which also included ELP and, later on, Asia and GTR). The band's namesake and de facto leader, Dave Greenslade (who I will call DG to avoid confusion), and bassist Tony Reeves both came from Colosseum, 2nd keyboardist and lead singer Dave Lawson was a veteran of the Web and Samurai, and drummer Andy McCulloch was in King Crimson for about five minutes, by which I mean his only credit with Fripp & Co. was the Lizard album from 1971. (Funny how a lot of KC alumni go on to join other bands or form their own.) In any event, the combination that grew out of the players' distinct "jazz-ical" influences was a smooth, somewhat perky two-keyboard sound not unlike the earlier Procol Harum, which also carved out its own little prog niche in the process. (In case you're wondering, DG plays most of the keys including organ, electric piano, Mellotron and clavinet, while Lawson handles the acoustic piano and synth work.)

Probably the main source of people's curiosity about this group (including myself) is the Roger Dean covers on almost every album and accompanying Yes font for the band logo. How well does that translate to the music? Well, sub-consciously or not, I get a very strong Rick Wakeman vibe from this record in particular. DG's slightly grungy Hammond and RMI electric piano remind me of Six Wives in a number of respects, while the Mellotron (of which there is plenty in this band) is redolent of the caped Yes-man's best work on CTTE or Tales. In addition, Reeves' bass work and tone is at times strangely similar to Chris Squire (was he using a Rickenbacker as well?), while McCulloch has the feeling of how Bill Bruford might have sounded if he hadn't left Yes and that band had also kept making Fragile-type albums for another couple of years. For all the quirkier Yes influences they exhibit (instrumentally at least), the band admirably avoids sounding like Starcastle or any other band of that ilk.

"Feathered Friends" gets things off to a rocking start with bluesy Hammond from DG and a solid beat from McCulloch before shifting gears into atmospheric ballad mode. The song proper is taken over vocally by Lawson (who by the way sounds nothing like Jon Anderson, even though he certainly has the range) who sings about? nothing in particular, as far as I can tell. Lawson's vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, although he will have one or two great moments later on. Admirably, the two keyboardists complement each other very well throughout the album, and the lack of a guitar is never noticed.

"An English Western" is the first instrumental of the album, a bit more energetic than most of the previous track. A good portion of it sounds as though Keith Emerson hijacked the session (maybe that's why I love it so?). One of the really cool aspects of this tune is the way that the eighth-note beat is added to or subtracted in certain points, so one could conceivably tap their foot and not lose their place when the opening section repeats (to quote legendary jazz guitarist Jim Hall, "trust means never having to say you're sorry"). Great track, although the random Mellotron chord at the very end didn't really need to be there.

"Drowning Man" is mostly a ballad, starting off with low vocals and rich-sounding Mellotron cellos?actually reminding me somewhat of early Genesis. The minor mode of the first minute gives way to a major-key slow waltz that actually enters chorale/hymn territory in the third verse, before the faster instrumental section which develops themes from the verse sections. DG has most of the solo spotlight here although I think I also hear a bit of Lawson's synth during this part of the tune. Good stuff, in any case.

"Temple Song" has a sort of lounge-jazz feel to it due to McCulloch's vibes doubling the vocal melody, as well as other assorted percussion throughout. It's a dreamy, lilting detour which serves as a nice comedown from the previous tracks. DG also gets to stretch out a bit on Fender Rhodes, which may be doubling the vibes with a tremolo effect in other places. Nice way to close out the first side.

"Melange" happens to be the very first Greenslade track I heard, right here on ProgArchives; this was the track that reminded me of Wakeman and led me to explore this group further. (Hey, if you enjoy the work of a certain band or musician, doesn't it make sense to seek out the people they may or may not have inspired?) In, I guess, typical Greenslade fashion, this one alternates between rocking sections and more atmospheric passages, with interest added by a Reeves bass solo (he gets a partial writing credit here, his only one on the album)?until it becomes apparent that said bass solo lasts for the majority of the track's length and isn't terribly interesting (something I didn't realize originally upon hearing the first two minutes of the tune). The bouncy, Bacharach-esque section about halfway through sounds nice, though.

"What Are You Doin' to Me" may be my favorite track here. Lawson is the sole writer credited, and he gives it his all on this one, with easily his most impassioned vocals on the album. (Must have been teed off about a bad relationship when he wrote it.) The music reflects the struggle in the lyrics as well, alternating from a 12/8 Hammond pattern to a slower jazz-rock section to some of the darkest Mellotron passages I've heard yet from any group. Somehow it all works.

The final track, "Sundance," is also the longest and apparently the one that went through the most changes in live performance, if certain archival performances are to be trusted. It's a rather meandering instrumental, with several really nice themes throughout; unfortunately, it seems to end somewhat abruptly after 8 1/2 minutes, as if the band couldn't think of a way to tie it all together. DG once again gets some nice licks in to close out the proceedings.

My verdict? Well, with a band like Greenslade, it's difficult to point to any one album as being representative because they changed their sound seemingly with every album. Most people point to this and the follow-up, Bedside Manners Are Extra (whatever that means), as generally being the best ones, and it's pretty hard to argue with that. Having said that, this band/album will mostly appeal to keyboard freaks such as myself, since a band with lots of keys and no guitars may be tough to take for some. If you have a craving to hear more obscure prog bands such as this, I recommend starting with the debut and, if you like it, working your way forward through their discography. 4 stars out of 5.

Report this review (#1451256)
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2015 | Review Permalink

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