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The Flock - Dinosaur Swamps CD (album) cover

DINOSAUR SWAMPS

The Flock

Eclectic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

TF's second album has a very bizarre but incredibly powerful pterodactyl imagery that most kids back then actually bought purely from curiosity (it was my case). Basically the group's sound hasn't changed that much except if you pay attention about whole TF scheme. The least I can say it that I was never impressed with this album's production, something rather odd for a large and rich Columbia label.

Some wild studio experimentation, followed by a gloomy organ and a solemn sax are some of the ambiances you'll enjoy from Green Slice, but then again you'll also get some kind of an unusually brassy country rock (first half of Big Bird) or some wilder jazzier country rock (second part of BB), Hornschmeyer's Island is a constantly evolving, but confused track, partly because the changes are occurring with somewhat poor succession of chords, but overall it's one of the album's highlights. The chorus vocals are a little iffy on the dB saturation scale on this track. A much wilder and straightforward Crabfoot, clocking over 8 minutes, has a heard-elsewhere chorus, but the track shines by its energy level, but again some abrupt changes are surprising and slightly cringe-worthy for demanding progheads, and of course the "unavoidable" drum solo closing the track, before some ridiculous electronics effects ending much of the band's credibility in terms of prog credentials. Mermaid is a weird semi-folk track that very spookily than become a strangely lame folk tune with some strange lyrics.

Overall I find that the same flaws that I had found on the debut album still exist in DS, and that this album's strengths lies elsewhere than in the debut, but no matter what: The Flock was never studio force, their live shows being somewhat rather different, legend has it. But I demand proof to review my relative poor take on this group

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#30874)
Posted Tuesday, June 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I knew nothing about The Flock when this LP was released, but I bought it since I thought the cover promised a great album. I can appreciate it more now; at the time I thought the album was interesting for its blending of divergent styles, but unsatisfying due to its reliance on sax and trumpet, and the overall commercial feel. To be sure, the album has some bizarre moments, perhaps included to give it more progressive credibility. Anyway, the performances and production values are solid, and the songwriting is pretty good, too.

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#30876)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This second album sounds different than the debut album. One thing very noticeable is the use of Hammond organ! Yeah . it's truly seventies music man. For those who like CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, CHAZE, BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS, or DIXIE DREGS or jazz fusion music may enjoy this album. The album starts off with an ambient "Green Slice" (2:03) that basically explores organ and tenor sax sounds, continued with "Big Bird" (5:50) in relatively upbeat tempo augmented with brass section work and violin; influenced by country music. The trumpet solo in alternate with violin is truly stunning. "Hornschmeyer's Island" (7:26) continues with heavy elements of jazz especially through improvisation part in the middle of the track where violin performs its solo. Brass sections, flute and guitar accentuate the song excellently.

It's unusual that the band starts "Lighthouse" (5:17) with electric solo followed with full music that brings voice line enters the scene. The bass lines are very obvious coupled with brass and guitar solo in uplifting mood. I like the interlude part where all solos are performed in compact fashion combining guitar, bass and brass section. "Crabfoot" (8:14) is an upbeat brass rock outfit, augmented with excellent violin work. The guitar solo reminds me to Chicago's Terry Kath, it's stunning. The interlude part is energetic with inventive brass section. "Mermaid" (4:54) is a track with different textures and styles compared to other tracks. The melody and rhythm are weird, they don't seem to fit but they produce unique sound. "Uranian Sircus" (7:09) is similar in style with previous track. I like the flute work and violin solo in this track - all performed in jazz nuance..

Overall, this album is less if I compare it with the band's debut album. However, it's a good album overall. Yours progressively, GW.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#30877)
Posted Friday, April 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
walterbruehn@
5 stars Well, the first time I got a glimpse of music was from The Beatles: After 3 Seconds I hated it! But what to hear instead?! Rolling Stones?Baaae! Frank Zappa? Too complicated: What the hell was the harmony in Nanuk?! Jazz? Horns??! Miles Davis? Noooo! Chicago?: Maybe. I got addicted to King Crimson and Soft Machine (and Kraftwerk), butI realised Blues wasn't as boring to pieces like the rest of Hitparade [&*!#] when I heard The Flock. He! Classical education and harmonies (vomit) with the feeling of Real Music!! A violin without beeing always the leader, a guitarist who's knowledge of harmonies was far behind these of Chuck Berry, Hornists with no preferences to improvise without limits. Well: that's The Flock! I saw and heard Jerry Goodman with The Mahavishnu Orchestra (speed without sense) He was the only boy in the group who smoked on stage, when Guru John requested for tidiness in the public. Unfortunately Mr. Goodman gave up The Flock and made Speed Metal Jazz for money. But this group and their two LP's (CD's) are milestones of Rock! Ever!!! Walter

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#53881)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The debut album from this US band has a special flavour for me (you can read more details in the appropriate entry). This follow-up has much less to offer IMO.

More jazz-oriented ("Green Slice"° or a combo country-jazz ("Big Bird"° which is excessively poor are not the best start I could have imagined. But things do improve with the subtle "Hornschmeyer's Island". The great Jerry Goodman performs an excellent violin part and vocals are sweet and emotional. Wind instruments not being too present is also a plus as far as I am concerned. The highlight of this album.

The same feeling prevails during "Mermaid". The least jazzy tune form this album. Again Jerry shows all his talent during his violin play which is definitely the highlight of this song (and album). Vocal harmonies are also well balanced.

If you are into jazz-rock, this album deserves your attention. If not, you might be disappointed by the little progressiveness you will discover.

I have a special tenderness for this band, although they don't really play the type of music I am found of, they are so closely related to my early teens with their first album that I'm going to rate this one with two stars. There are no such tracks as "Clown" or I Am The Tall Tree. If ever you would like to discover this band, you should stick to their debut album.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#162957)
Posted Saturday, March 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars The Flock made a rather remarkable transformation on their second album. The lineup is the same including violin impresario Jerry Goodman, but rather than the big brass and jazzy sound that dominated the first record, this one features copious amounts of multi- tracked vocals, an almost country-rock mood and violin work that sometimes borders on what can only be described as 'fiddling'. All in all I have to say I like this album very much, especially since the production quality is noticeably improved over their debut. Still, the significant shift in sound is quite surprising and must have been a bit of a shock to whatever fans they had in the early seventies. Rather than sounding like Chicago or BS&T, comparisons to the Grateful Dead are quite a bit more apropos this time around.

The opening "Green Slice" sounds like Steve Howe setting in on a session with Jerry Garcia, while "Big Bird" retains that country-fried rock sound but adds in the discordant brass that distinguished the middle part of their first album.

"Hornschmeyer's Island" would qualify these guys as a progressive band even if none of their other music had. The shifting tempos and moods along with a blast of vocals followed by a series of contrasting saxophones and trumpet make for a complex and engaging song all by themselves, but the shift midway to a torrid bass rhythm and dissonant violin solo is simply too cool for 1971, and something that impresses even today. Only a real turd of a filler track would have taken away from this, and fortunately the band managed to avoid including such a track which ultimately saves the record as a whole.

I think the oddest tune in the band's entire discography comes next on this record, a bluesy and driving version of James Taylor's laconic "Lighthouse" that apparently only salvages a few of the original lyrics and a heavily amped-up version of Taylor's guitar chord progression. Otherwise this is a heavy rock number that bears almost no resemblance to the original, but does trot out the same sort of harmonized vocals their debut album features, but that sound much better this time around thanks to the improved engineering.

"Crabfoot" is mostly an instrumental track with plenty of trumpet and saxophone (three of them if I hear correctly), a blazing number that shows the band members had managed to gel as a unit after a couple years of touring and studio work together. The scat-like vocals toward the end are unnecessary but don't take much away from the groove.

I'm not sure what the group was trying to accomplish with "Mermaid", a sort of British folk- sounding minstrelly thing that I probably would have appreciated more had it come out on a Dulcimer or Incredible String Album rather than a Flock record. Still, I like the song and give the group some credit for being willing to experiment.

Finally "Uranian Sircus" starts off sounding like something Principal Edward's Magic Theatre would have done, but morphs into a funky and almost psych number with a hippy version of white rap and a frenetic guitar riff that is as annoying as it is intriguing. A truly weird tune that could have only been recorded in 1971 or by Ozric Tentacles, and probably nowhere in between. Very cool.

I actually like this album better than the band's debut, although in the end I can't give it anymore than the three stars I gave that one simply because it is good but not outstanding. Three stars in a five star rating system is just too broad a range I guess. Anyway if you are curious at all about the band I would recommend this one first, followed by their debut record if you're still interested. And there's a CD reissue that combines both of them if you're feeling frisky and want to check them both out.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#588481)
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | Review Permalink

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