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LEGEND OF A MIND

Various Artists (Label Samplers)

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4 stars I remember a review of this record in a major swedish newspaper complaining about this compilation did not include early Genesis or Cat Stevens, who laso where on Decca. This is a 3-disc compilation of famous and not-so-famous releases from Deccas label Deram. (And Moody Blues label Treshold.)

Not all of this is prog rock but rather proto-prog," progressive blues" and early jazz-rock. More famous acts are for example Moody Blues, Caravan, Ten Years after, Camel, Thin Lizzy etc. but oftentimes it is the more rare, obscure tracks that are interesting, like T2s "No more white horses" or Aardvarks "Once upon a Hill/Put that in your Pipe and smoke it". Some of the smaller bands are included in the archives here.

Anyways, personally the best with this boxset is for introducing me to Caravan and Camel. Caravan has "Hello Hello", "Golf Girl" and "C'Lu Thlu" included. "Golf Girl" is the best of them, and are taken from their best album, "In the Land of Grey and Pink". Camel has "Airborn" and the previously unreleased original mix of "Lady Fantasy" (It is also included in the CD-reissue released in memory of peter Bardens.) Now, that's how you should introduce one to a new group, " Lady Fantasy" is awesome, Camel is awesome.

Another one I like is proto-prog/bluesman Keef Hartley (Solo projekt of John Myalls drummer.)

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Send comments to Frasse (BETA) | Report this review (#39421)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars I am not one to buy compilations or box-set especially of multi-artist , but let temptation get the better of me and I am reaaly glad I did. This compilation is a tribute to one of the most known but bluesish label Decca that created a sub-label Deram for its more adventurous and progressive acts. EMI will do the same with Harvest , Philipps will create Vertigo , RCA will create Neon etc... Most of those sublabel will not bring much money to their bigger brothers, but in spirit with the era , this was not the goal, but to create some out of ordinary music was the main aspiration. A very noble project indeed. The title refers to a song that The Moody Blues wrote in honour of Timothy Leary "the pope of acid", but really honours a certain type of music developped here that was partially created under use of substances.

Although most of the artist featured here , i knew and needed no more introduction , there were a few surprises (not really among the more progressive artist, though) that got my interest going. Ten Years After , Caravan , Curved Air , Camel and The Moody Blues were definitely the best known and better selling artist of the label , and they are represented here overe the 3-discs set 2 or 3 times. Some artists such as Egg , Aardvayk , East Of Eden and Khan are probably known to my older fellow reviewers , but the real interest here is the obscure stuff. Johnny Almond And The Music Machines (future Mark-Almond), Leafhound , Black Cat Bone , Room and Mellow Candle were among the fine momemts.

Actually , the thing I regret most here is that too much space for the well known artists is spent , not allowing more space for the obscure stuff! Some things never change!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#42913)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Dick Heath
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars Legend Of A Mind is the first of the excellent and cheap 3 CD compilations to be issued by a UK based record labels in the last 3 years. Between them these provide an excellent cross section of British rock appearing in its formative years, from approximately 1967 to 1975. And one of several things common to all 4 sets, is the low price (typical less than 15 pounds sterling per box set). Anybody interested in the history of rock music, especially progressive rock, should take time to listen all three set of CDs and the total of 15 hours music held within: Legend Of A Mind (Universal/Decca Records) All Good Clean Fun (Liberty & UA/EMI) Ars Longa Vita Brevis (Castle Communications Records). Note: Harvest Records issued a relatively expensive, luxuriously packaged, mulit-CD set some time earlier, which provides illustrations of both the early prog music musicians but also includes later signings with little relevance to progressive rock.

Of the four cheaper box sets listed above, Legend Of A Mind is my favourite. To some extent it has a reference point in the 1969 sampler issued by Decca, Wowie Zowie: The World Of Progressive Music, and indeed reprises some of the tracks from that (but still not quite getting Savoy Brown right), while strangely some do not appear on the CD set. 33 years later and the event of the CD, plus a wealth of archived back catalogue, the label can afford to be greatly expansive. Inevitably, across the 3 CDs, a few obvious tracks by obvious bands appear (e.g. East Of Eden's Jig A Jig). But the real joy is that plenty of space given here to:

1. the selection of the good but less obvious tracks by the obvious, e.g. Legend Of A Mind rather than Nights In White Satin (but there is Question); the storming Propositions by Curved Air, with Francis Monkman conjuring up several bars of Terry Riley's Rainbow In Curved in the middle of his solo.

2. a goodly selection of the obscure/forgotten, the one-off album bands who didn't have the luck to make it, when lesser musicians did. For instance, Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirk's cast offs Back Cat Bone, sounding remarkably like Free. Clark Hutchinson with that pot-fuelled rant Free To be Stoned. And those samples from albums now demanding high prices on the 2nd hand market.

3. early recordings of bands who made it big later and somewhere else - e.g. Thin Lizzy.

4. and a personal note: my long term obscure favourites T2 are rightly here. And better still with my favourite track, No More White Horses, freshly remastered and sounding significantly better than the previous German remastered version - hurray for that. (And those Caravan tracks are freshly remastered too and sound mighty good!!)

On the negative side: where are John Mayall, Touch and early Genesis found on Wowie Zowie? Why too miss the chance to include the likes of English brass rock of Satisfaction, (and so on) - especially when Decca found the space to include a handful of bands represented more than once in this compilation?

This cornucopia of music approachs the full five stars, (but let me sleep on that), an album which every progressive fan should hear to realise how progressive music literally progressed during a short period in the late 60's and early 70's.

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Send comments to Dick Heath (BETA) | Report this review (#43421)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a beautifully packaged box set and you can tell this has been a labour of love for the people concerned. Each of the three CDs comes in its own little cover and the package includes a very informative booklet. This set is a compilation of artists from the Deram label, a collection of the obscure and the very obscure, some of whom went on to greater things (Thin Lizzy, Camel and Caravan) and some who didn't (Bulldog Breed, T2, Mellow Candle). Of the well-known bands, we have prog bands such as The Moody Blues, Curved Air, Egg, Wolf, as well as the aforementioned Camel and Caravan. The Moodies are represented by the title track and one of my favourite Moodies songs, the brilliant "Question" (although not a very good quality version, the drums are distorted). Camel have the classics "Lady Fantasy" and "Airborn" and Caravan have "Golf Girl", "Hello Hello" and "C'Lu Thlu". Egg have the brilliantly named "Song Of McGuillicudie The Pusillanimous" There are a number of excellent songs from slightly lesser known bands - The Rattles' "The Witch", which was a hit single, "Jig-a-jig" by East of Eden, a couple of Ten Years After tracks, Giles, Giles and Fripp with the insane "Suite No. One" featuring some nifty Fripp fretwork, Savoy Brown with the excellent bluesy "Hellbound Train", also Curved Air and Wolf. Then we get to the really obscure stuff - the bizarre, druggy "Free to be stoned" by Clark Hutchinson, the excellent folk of Mellow Candle, "Cemetry Junction" by Room which features a well-integrated orchestra, Khan with Steve Hillage, Granny's Intentions, Leafhound and Aardvark. This is not an entirely prog collection as it does include folk, rock, blues and psychedelia, however it is a very well put-together package and will appeal to anyone interested in obscure British music of the 60s and 70s. Some of the original albums that feature here are amongst the most valuable for record collectors, so keep your eye out when rummaging around your local charity shop.

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Send comments to chopper (BETA) | Report this review (#74104)
Posted Wednesday, April 05, 2006 | Review Permalink

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