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Peggy's Leg - Grinilla CD (album) cover


Peggy's Leg

Eclectic Prog

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5 stars PEGGY'S LEG are a relatively recent addition to ProgArchives. We're travelling across the Irish Sea to meet them as they hail from Dublin in the Emerald Isle. Peggy's Leg were a short-lived band who released just one album "Grinilla" in 1973, which was apparently recorded in the space of just 24 hours. The bizarre album cover depicts a gorilla with a big cheesy grin (hence "Grin-illa"), apparently lumbering across the surface of the Moon in an astronaut's outfit with a big banana on its back, which might give some indication of the unique music contained within. The music of Peggy's Leg has sometimes been described as classically- inspired Symphonic Rock, so let's have a listen to "Grinilla" and find out for ourselves.

We're travelling back in time for "History Tells" where the enigmatic musical mystery of Peggy's Leg is gradually unveiled, just like an Irish limerick. Their music is hard to describe, so, somewhat inevitably, the band have found themselves in the Eclectic Prog section of ProgArchives, a prog sub-genre that's reserved for bands who don't fit conveniently into one particular genre of music. The opening track is a curious mixture of Jazz-Rock combined with acoustic Folk and subtle shades of Psychedelic Rock thrown into the mix too. One thing's for sure though, it's a recipe for success and the hairy "Grinilla" pictured on the album cover deserves a whole bunch of bananas because "History Tells" us that this terrific opening song is top banana. It gets even better too with the second song "Think for Yourself", a very commercially appealing and joyfully optimistic tune that's loaded with passionate intensity and which is very reminiscent of the Fab Four. Yes, there are definite Beatles influences to be heard in this charming acoustic melody which features some lovely harmonising too, in true Beatle-esque fashion. If all was fair in love and war and the harsh music business - where many dreams of stardom have been shattered - this potential hit record could have gone storming up the charts and reached the number one spot, but sadly, it wasn't to be as the song was never released as a single - not even in their native Ireland - as far as can be gathered. Such are the vagaries of the cynical music industry though, where so many budding new bands have withered on the vine, and Peggy's Leg unfortunately never managed to gain the widespread recognition that they deserved, either at home or across the Irish Sea in Great Britain. Anyway, after that minor digression, it's time for our third song "Variations for Huxley", a reference to the English writer Aldous Huxley (1894-1964) who was best-known for his book "Brave New World", about a dystopian futuristic World State - a bit like the European Union, only on a much larger scale. "Variations for Huxley" is a lovely 10-minute-long acoustic Folk Rock number bathed in warm golden guitar strings. This gorgeous piece of music begins as a gentle instrumental, with delicately understated guitar and percussion, carrying the listener along on a mellow wave of blissful harmony and melody. The upwelling music slowly gathers in pace and intensity, shifting into high gear when the singer and electric guitarist emerge to give the glowing performances of a lifetime in a gloriously uplifting display of majestic epic splendour. The grand finale to this outstanding song is simply sublime and we still have Side Two to look forward to yet.

We're Bach for the classically-inspired "Into the Nightmare", which opens deceptively-gently as a Jazz-Rock number with a good helping of classical Bach-style influences to be heard too. The clue to the music contained within is in the title though, because the song suddenly veers off the beaten track totally without warning and takes us on a storming nightmare ride of pounding machine-gun percussion and wild psychedelic guitar riffing in a sonorous explosion of raw power and energy. This is music that's meant to be played LOUD! The crazy off-the-rails nightmare train ride ends just as suddenly as it began as "Into the Nightmare" returns to the dream-like state of peaceful pastures for the gentle bucolic ending to this superb three- piece suite. This stunning album is no horrid nightmare though - it's turning out to be a heavenly dream-come-true album of classic Progressive Rock. We're on the move again with "Just Another Journey", where Peggy's Leg get to firmly establish their classical and jazz credentials in a glorious musical maelstrom of dynamic energy and sound. Again, the diverse music can't be easily pigeon-holed as it combines Jazz, Classical and Prog-Rock in equal measure in an intoxicating mixture that makes for great music. In fact, It's hard to compare this one-of-a-kind band with any other band as they've artfully managed to develop their own unique style, which isn't easy to do in the huge music industry. The sixth and final piece of music on the album will be instantly recognisable because it's none other than Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance", although you've NEVER heard it played quite like this before. This storming number barrels along relentlessly at 100 miles per hour with all of the power of a runaway steam locomotive. You really have to hear it to believe it!

Peggy's Leg have concocted a delicious Irish stew of Classical, Folk, Jazz and Prog-Rock in this stunning one-off album. This merry band of Irishmen could never be accused of aping the music of other bands, because "Grinilla" is a unique rarity in the progosphere which sounds like nothing you've ever heard before, and probably like nothing you'll ever hear in the future either. There's no monkeying around here, because the six outstanding pieces of music on this extraordinary album are all King Kong giants! This Eclectic Prog masterpiece will surely leave any ardent prog lover grinning like a Cheshire Cat, or indeed, grinning like a "Grinilla" upon hearing this outstanding album for the first time. Give the "Grinilla" a banana. He deserves it!

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Posted Sunday, February 16, 2020 | Review Permalink

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