Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Aragon - Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past CD (album) cover




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
5 stars After 15 years of prog listening, there are a lot of songs that keep coming back into your life from time to time BUT there are a few that always stays with you. Rocking horse is just one of them. Amazing lyrics with a contrasted music (from mildest to most frantic). This song is priceless so if you can still find this CD, buy it (it's quite rare now). It's a jewel. I converted a lot of people to prog rock just with that unique masterpiece. You cant pretend to be a neo prog adept if you dont know this one. It's a shame that ARAGON doesn't exist anymore.
Report this review (#853)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Masterpiece of Progressive rock! I'll explain why: although the sound can remember Marillion, i think Aragon doesn't have any influences of it, but it's influenced by Mike Oldfield for the keyboards and the vibes that they use, and Genesis and Rush for the theatrical and expressive vocals. The music is keyboards driven or I should say "vibes" driven for the massive use of the digital vibes riff that they use, the guitar isn't omnipresent and is used just to give a groove factor in the composition, and this makes the music very original.

The moods is melancholic, dark and dynamic, especially the first track it's awesome where Aragon show all their talent: this is a long track that begins in a quite way to grow slowly and become hard and fast, almost heavy metal, but with a mute guitar, that is very original, after that a percussive keys solos concludes the heavy parts and begin a mellow parts with a catchy digital vibraphone riff in the vein of Mark kelly with vocals, after 2 minutes this mellow parts grow again to change again into a intricate instrumental passage of vibes solos and psychedelic/space guitar.

Dougan's voice is absolutely fantastic and he is very able to modulate it, with a wide range tune, so that he can resemble a mix of Peter Gabriel and Geddy Lee of Rush. The other track are good too, and the drum machine it well used with a lot of time changed, the other best tracks are "changes" and "secrets". This album is not for all?but if you like the darker side of Marillion with a powerful and scratched voice this album is for you, 5 full stars.

Report this review (#376067)
Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars A past that tells a story of a future that never was

To fill the gap between 1992's The Meeting and 1995's Mouse, Aragon released Rocking Horse And Other Stories From The Past in 1993. This album contains material that dates from before the band's debut album, Don't Bring The Rain. This means that the material featured here goes back to the band's early days sometime in the 80's. It is unclear to me whether it is the compositions only that date from before the band's debut album and that the present recordings of these songs were made later, or if even the recordings themselves date from before Don't Bring The Rain. Regardless of which, the sound quality of these recordings, though not perfect, is actually better than that of the debut album itself. Interestingly, and this is the important part, the compositions also by far outshine those that actually made it onto Don't Bring The Rain. Indeed, to have such great pieces as the 20 minute Rocking Horse and the haunting Ghosts on their hands and decide not to include them on their first album release cannot be explained by anything else than bad judgment or possibly by pure madness! The songs featured here are generally excellent and certainly include some of the best songs the band ever did.

The song Ghosts appear twice, first in a studio version and then in a live version. This emphasizes the compilation nature of this album and distracts somewhat from its inherent qualities. If I allow myself to dream a bit, I would say that had Aragon released a full-length studio album containing the best songs from the present collection plus good-sounding versions of the very best songs from Don't Bring The Rain and The Meeting, they would doubtlessly have a truly excellent album on their hands. As they stand, however, none of these releases deserve a higher rating. Still, I would say that at least Rocking Horse (the track) is essential listening for any fan of Neo-Progressive Rock.

Recommended, but not excellent all the way

Report this review (#403672)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to agree with SouthSideoftheSky here in saying that the pre-Don't Bring the Rain demos collected on Rocking Horse are truly excellent, and I'm also baffled that fantastic songs such as Rocking Horse or Ghosts weren't included on the band's debut album. Had these pieces been released in the latter half of the 1980s, when they were originally recorded, the entire history of the band might have been very different and they might have been held in much greater esteem than that they enjoy today.

Combining a Marillion-inspired theatrical neo-prog approach - singer Les Dougan rivals Fish when it comes to emotionally expressive vocals in the neo mould - with more prominent and varied keyboard work, at points drawing more on the progressive electronic genre than on the symphonic prog keyboardists most neo-proggers found inspiration in, the band come up with a truly original and haunting sound which is express perfectly in the songs collected here. It's rare that I feel inclined to give what is essentially an odds-and-sods collection a high mark, but in this case I feel compelled to. The band's decision to hold back this material - only releasing it after the neo-prog high water mark had come and gone - must surely go down as one of the greatest strategic blunders on the part of any neo-prog band.

Report this review (#587377)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Aragon seemed to work fine even with the trio of Behrsing, Poloyannis and Dougan and after ''The meeting'' they decided to go on with this reduced line-up.In 1993 a third, now full-length, album of the band came out on the Dutch SI label.Entitled ''Rocking Horse and Other Short Stories From the Past'', this work contains 6 tracks of reworked material that predates even the first album of Aragon.

''Rocking horse'' is actually the track that dominates the album, clocking at exactly 20 minutes, and featuring some very interesting work by the band.Its first part is dedicated to a very lyrical Neo Progressive Rock with limited instrumental parts but a great performance by Dougan on vocals with both sensitive and more aggresive singing.The second part though is exclusively instrumental with floating keyboards, powerful grooves and some more dreamy passages, a bit too long but still decent.The ''Other Short Stories From the Past'' of the title refers to the next sum of tracks, written in mid-80's, and offering catchy and lyrical Neo Prog with good breaks, incredible theatrical vocals, decent keyboard work and an overall nice performance by Aragon.A couple of these though suffer from flexibility with long hypnotic keyboard parts close to Electronic Music and distorted vocals, not what one would expect by the Aussies.

Despite its flaws this album is another pleasant listening experience by Aragon, mainly because of Les Dougan's superb vocals and the deep atmospheres the band could create with ease.Recommended.

Report this review (#839212)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my (very) humble opinion, this masterpiece is really worth to include in hypothetic "Neo-Prog Hall of Fame" (along with selected releases of MARILLION, PENDRAGON, IQ, ARENA, etc.). These guys managed to create an atmosphere of old prog-rock, that refers to bands like GENESIS, YES, CAMEL. The sound is overall dark. The band features the dense and at the same time floating sound, leaving the keyboards dominating. The opening, title and longest track in the album is simply brilliant, leaving an impression of a real rocking horse with the use of sampling keyboards. Sadly, this album (along with the others from the band) is not easy to find. Otherwise a great job, 5 of 5.
Report this review (#1340111)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2015 | Review Permalink

ARAGON Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of ARAGON Rocking Horse - And Other Short Stories From The Past

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives