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ACOUSTICALLY CHALLENGED

Pendragon

Neo-Prog


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Pendragon Acoustically Challenged album cover
3.33 | 43 ratings | 9 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Live, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. And We'll Go Hunting Deer (5:33)
2. Fallen Dreams And Angels (5:30)
3. A Man Of Nomadic Traits (6:20)
4. World's End (5:48)
5. The Voyager (9:06)
6. Alaska (8:38)
7. The Pursuit Of Excellence (2:23)
8. 2 AM (4:19)
9. Dark Summer's Day (5:52)
10. Unspoken Words (4:45)

Total Time: 58:54

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Nick Barrett / guitar and vocals
- Clive Nolan / keyboard and backing vocals
- Peter Gee / guitar

Releases information

Metal Mind Records PROG CD 0085 DG

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
Edit this entry

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PassionPassion
CD+DVD
Snapper Madfish 2011
Audio CD$7.69
$5.20 (used)
IntroducingIntroducing
Recall Records UK 2013
Audio CD$5.76
$10.02 (used)
PurePure
Snapper Music Group 2011
Audio CD$8.87
$13.31 (used)
Masquerade OvertureMasquerade Overture
Madfish Records UK 2013
Audio CD$6.60
$8.99 (used)
Window of LifeWindow of Life
Madfish Records UK 2012
Audio CD$6.74
$6.74 (used)
BelieveBelieve
Madfish Records UK 2011
Audio CD$6.60
$6.44 (used)
Not of This WorldNot of This World
Madfish Records UK 2012
Audio CD$6.48
$5.98 (used)
WorldWorld
Snapper Classics UK 2005
Audio CD$6.52
$4.50 (used)
KowtowKowtow
Snapper Classics UK 2012
Audio CD$6.60
$5.99 (used)
The Window of LifeThe Window of Life
Import
Toff Records
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$10.80 (used)
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PENDRAGON Acoustically Challenged ratings distribution


3.33
(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
21%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

PENDRAGON Acoustically Challenged reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album was recorded during a radio show in...Poland of course. Pendragon like this country pretty much and the band is always well received there. I usually am NOT a fan of acoustic sets and this one won't fundamentally change my mind.

Clive and Nick will also record a DVD made of an acoustic set, recorded in ...Poland (called "A Rush Of Adrenaline" and released in 2006). For this set, Peter Gee will play the acoustic guitar as well which adds value.

When you look at the tracklist, very few of the great "Pendragon" songs are featured. A very, very old song is recorded here : "Dark Summer's Day". It was released on the first Pendragon mini-album called "Fly High Fall Far". A song from "Kowtow" : "Two AM". Very quiet and melancholic. It is not the best here.

The best moments of this CD is when the band starts "The Voyager" and "Alsaka". I would have liked to get a bit more of "Masquerade" as well but in this live set only "The Pursuit of Excellence" is featured. Nick will tell that it is the first time that "Pendragon" plays this song live (and you'll know why when you listen to it).

There is an unofficial version of this set which includes "King Of The Castle" (which is very nice) but it is not featured on the official version which is a bit of a shame. But it is included on "Not Of this World" as a bonus track just like an acoustic version of "Paintbox". They should have been featured here IMO.

This recording took place in 2001, so the band will play two songs from their newest album : " A Man of Nomadic Traits" and "World's End" but none of these songs are advantagely converted into acoustic, I'm afraid.

The last song of this set is "Unspoken Words". It is a song from Peter Gee and is featured on his first solo album ("Heart Of David", 1993). Nothing from the other ...World I would say.

Nick is of course pretty much at ease with the audience and even says a few words in Polish. Poland is important for "Pendragon" : there is a full section in Polish available on their web-site (as well as French, Spanish, Dutch, German and Portuguese). I guess that these guys have understood how each band should handle his fans : in their own language. Great job.

This acoustic album can only please die-hard "Pendragon" fans. Therefore, two stars for this peaceful but not essential work.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#137774) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The next track has acoustic guitar, vocals and a keyboard

With Pendragon being such a bastion of pompous neo-prog, the decision to strip down their sound and perform an unplugged set could be perceived as a brave one. They had however set the groundwork for such a venture over the years, notably on the bonus CD which came with "The Masquerade Overture" which included acoustic reworkings of parts of tracks from that album.

Reduced to a trio for this recording due to the complete absence of Fudge Smith on drums, the instrumental line up extends to twin acoustic guitars plus a keyboard (complete with a tell tale electric cable!).

The recordings here are taken from a special acoustic show performed in Poland during the 2001 Not of this world tour. The tracks come from a reasonable selection of the band's albums, including two tracks from Not of this world and a couple from The world.

The absence of Clive Nolan's banks of keyboards leaves the overall atmosphere sounding rather one dimensional. Indeed Nolan's role is very subdued throughout, generally consisting of low in the mix atmospheres. This, combined with the absence of lead guitar, means that instrumental solos are few and far between. This in turn places a great emphasis on the vocals of Nick Barrett, which dominate much of the album. I enjoy Barrett's singing, but for me the singularity of the sound quickly becomes wearing.

The selected tracks have a certain uniformity too, leading to the conclusion that this album can be enjoyed best by listening to a couple of selected tracks, rather than the complete performance in one go. For me it is the shorter tracks such as The pursuit of excellence which work best, with longer pieces such as The voyager and Alaska crying out for some aggressive pruning.

The album is completed by an old Peter Gee song Unspoken words which was rehearsed for the show, but is not actually a live recording. It is actually a lovely little song, sung with appropriate emotion by Barrett.

It is difficult to know who to recommend this album to. Fans of the band will generally prefer the volume driven sound of the full band versions of the songs, while those who enjoy stripped down acoustic music will be unfamiliar with the songs (which it has to be said do not necessarily lend themselves to the adaptation).

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#157432) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars If you want to hear clear sounds of Pendragon, or how good acoustic guitar can sounds with P.'s music for example A Man of Nomadic Traits sounds almost like album version (from previous year's Not of This World). The reason is simple, whole NoTW uses acoustic guitar a lot in combination with Nick Barrett's voice. But also uses keyboards a lot, which can't be here heard so much, to prevent ruining acoustic vision. And if Clive Nolan play them, it's not this heavy, space sounding synth tone, it's rather calm and background-like type. It's nice to hear it from another point of view.

3(-), songs are rather calm. Not that I can't stand hearing Pendragon like that, but I don't think their songs are suitable for this version. There are many better. Listenable, but Pendragon fan will lack a lot. Maybe unfair, but it's sad truth.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#239545) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars The pursuit of acoustic excellence?

This acoustic live album originally recorded for Polish radio is probably a pleasant listen for many Pendragon fans, but it does not compare very favourably to their studio output nor do these acoustic live versions add anything of significant interest to the original studio versions. The line-up here is reduced to only Nick Barrett on guitars and vocals, Clive Nolan on keyboards and Peter Gee on extra guitars. As Nolan plays not only acoustic keyboards, the "unplugged" label is not entirely accurate. But it is surely a toned down affair and with such a restricted musical palette, the songs are naturally stripped of their complexity and most of their splendour. The instrumental flourishes that normally are so important to Pendragon's music (and to most progressive Rock in general) are either eliminated altogether here or considerably abridged and simplified. This is notable throughout the whole performance, but it is nowhere as evident as on A Man With Nomadic Traits. This song was the highlight of the Not Of This World album, but here it is transformed into a rather generic number, albeit with strong vocals. Had I not known the greatness of the song beforehand, it could probably have passed through my ears without leaving any particular impressions at all.

The selection of songs they chose to perform here are hardly the best or even the most well-known ones. Rather they concentrate on rather obscure songs, which is interesting but ultimately a not very wise move I must say. Some of the songs date back to the first half of the 80's, one of which - Dark Summer's Day - was only released on an EP that came out one year before the release of the band's debut album. Fallen Dreams And Angels is another song present here that was also only released on an EP. One song is taken from the 1985 debut album and one from the weak KowTow. Some of the band's later and more well-known and popular albums are represented as well, but not always by their best songs. The Masquerade Overture, for example, is represented by The Pursuit Of Excellence which is not a very representative song for that album. This version is not an improvement either with Nick being unable to handle all the notes properly!

This is a release that fits firmly into the "for fans only"-category. It will please the band's most devoted fans, but hardly attract any new ones

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#294950) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In the 1990s and early 2000s Pendragon weren't exactly a name known for wild experimentation - sticking firmly to the fairly accessible style of neo-prog they'd first unveiled on The World, the band soon became the subject of sniggering from some prog circles because of a perceived sameness to their albums.

However, after Not Of This World the band started to change up their sound, and the first herald of this sea change was Acoustically Challenged, a live set recorded for Polish radio in which the band retool their songs for mostly-acoustic instrumentation - Nick Barrett and Peter Gee on acoustic guitar, with Clive Nolan using his keyboards mainly to mimic other acoustic instruments. The transition works remarkably well, and in some cases taps into hidden reserves of beauty in some of the songs - I like the version of The Pursuit of Excellence on here much more than the original, for example. A remarkably gentle and beautiful album and a neat counterpoint to the grittier territory the band were about to delve into.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#652106) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 09, 2012

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars Over the last ten years or so there have been many 'unplugged' albums from hard rock bands, but this has to be one of the first from a prog band. No extra musicians, such as on the Galahad Acoustic Quintet release a few years ago, just the normal guys strutting their stuff acoustically (in fact only three of the band feature, as there is no room for Fudge's drums). With Peter and Nick on acoustic guitars, and Clive on keys, this was recorded for a radio show in Poland, hence the release on the Polish label Metal Mind.

The songs are taken from throughout their career, and works well in conjunction with the DVD (see review elsewhere) as none of the songs are duplicated. In fact, they actually play a non- Pendragon song in "Unspoken Words", which is from Peter's solo album. They start with a dreamy version of "And We'll Go Hunting Deer", which is one of my favourite Pendragon numbers, and played in this manner it gives it a more magical flavour than the original release. This album shows that prog music can be played in a more simple manner and still contain power and complexity (if that isn't too much of a contradiction).

Other songs of note are "Alaska" and "The Voyager", but while I wouldn't necessarily recommend this album to those who have yet to discover the joys of Pendragon, to those of us who have followed the band for years this is a delight. This digipak release contains a good booklet and photos, as well as a multimedia section that contains an interview with Nick and some live snippets, as well as extra information about this release.

Originally appeared in Feedback #68, Jun 02

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#975629) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Latest members reviews

4 stars Perhaps this album should be called Pure, instead of their latest studio effort. Cos its nothing of the pomp and bombastic Pendragon that we know from other albums.....no long and amazing electric guitarsolo's, or Wagnerian keyboard parts, the very recognisable bass style of Gee, that I think so ... (read more)

Report this review (#211457) | Posted by Daniel1974nl | Thursday, April 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Just got my hands on this one. And I must say, I'm impressed. Mostly the unplugged sessions end up in dull covers (the beatles seem to be hot in those circles) but none of this. All familiar Pendragon songs, with the familiar Pendragon voice, nothing fancy. So if jou like an album just to rela ... (read more)

Report this review (#68946) | Posted by Hét LICHAAM | Friday, February 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The longer the Autumn lasts, the more I like this record. Acoustic concerts are good tests for bands - you cannot hide behind studio production, there's only you, the simpliest instruments and the audience. You have to show your musical ability, but also build a relationship with fans - much c ... (read more)

Report this review (#52357) | Posted by | Wednesday, October 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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