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VALLEY GARDENS

Wally

Symphonic Prog


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Wally Valley Gardens album cover
3.00 | 24 ratings | 8 reviews | 8% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Valley Gardens. 9:51
2. Nez Perce. 5:03
3. The Mood I'm In. 7:07
4. The Reason Why. 18:28
a) Nolan
b) The Charge
c) Disillusion

Lyrics

Search WALLY Valley Gardens lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search WALLY Valley Gardens tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Pete Cosker / Electric and acoustic guitars, vocals, bass guitar
- Nick Glennie-Smith / Keyboards
- Paul Middleton / Steel guitar, bass guitar
- Roger Narraway / Percussion
- Pete Sage / Electric violin, bass guitar, mandolin
- Roy Webber / Lead vocals, acoustic guitar

Guests:

- Jan Glennie Smith / Vocals
- Madeline Bell / Vocals
- Ray Wherstein / Sax

Releases information

Atlantic (K50180) 1975

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the addition
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WALLY Valley Gardens ratings distribution


3.00
(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
8%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
38%
Good, but non-essential (42%)
42%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

WALLY Valley Gardens reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars I find it interesting that Wally’s second (and final) studio album sounds slightly more symphonic than their first, which was co-produced by Rick Wakeman and Whispering Bob Harris. The opening strands of the title track have a very distinctive Yes feel, and both the keyboards and electric guitar on “The Mood I'm In” coming off as sort of a mid-seventies Steve Howe/Pat Travers collaboration (did those two ever play together?).

But then again that’s only half the album, and the other two tracks veer much closer to the Firefall / Bad Company-like smooth country rock vibe that characterized their first record. “Nez Perce” especially comes off as contemporary rock, recalling at the same time both Help Yourself and some of the later and more boring Wishbone Ash albums. Simple song construction, melodic with rather plain keyboard (piano) progressions and whiny steel guitar along with what turn out to be fairly trite lyrics.

The coup de grâce is the wandering closing epic “The Reason Why”, a 3-part, 18-minute Pink Floyd drenched fusion of psych keyboards, fuzz guitar, violin and spacey interludes without any coherent message but a cool trip nonetheless.

These guys were finalists in a Melody Maker competition in 1973, losing out to another British symphonic prog band (Druid). Both band’s first albums were produced by Bob Harris, both were heavily influenced by Yes, both released two mid-seventies studio albums and both were defunct by 1978. So it goes.

Nothing special, but may be moderately interesting to folks who found the first Wally album to be a decent prog curio. Otherwise mostly forgettable. A high two stars but I can’t quite go with three.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#254294) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 04, 2009

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Wally´s second album is considerable better than their debut. Their odd mix of symphonic rock and country music is much more even here and although it is hardly great, it showed they were developing their very own sound and maturing. Unfortunalty, they disbanded soon after this album was out and their truly potential would remain as one of rock´s many unanswered questions

There are nice pasages all over the album, even if nothing really spetacular. Their songwriting was still in the early stages, I believe. Nevertheless, they were able to come up with a fairly good prog rock CD that has some Yes influences here and there, plus very good harmony singing. I liked the guitar and violin parts as well. The only real downside on the instrumental field are some pointless noodlings on the epic The Reason Why.

In the end I found Valley Gardens to be an interesting album, with a sound that promised more than they delivered by the time the band broke up. A real shame, I guess, since they at least had something different from most prog bands at the period. If you´re into both prog and country, this is an album to look for. But don´t expect too much . 3 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#258479) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RPI
4 stars A sensitive artist, deafened by our endless noise of opinions, has questioned the value of amateur music criticism. Frankly Mr Shankly, I don't know if I should give one jot for the opinion of an artist I'd never heard of until yesterday. In spite of my bias, ignorance and inability to make a critical evaluation, I'm going to keep on crawling out of my dunghill to write ''so-called'' reviews for ProgArchives. If it wasn't for this website I wouldn't be aware of bands like Wally, or Porcupine Tree for that matter.

''Valley Gardens'', released in 1975 and named after the area of Harrogate where most of the band lived, was Wally's second album. They split up following the album's release due to a lack support from their record company, although they have recently reformed and released a DVD of their comeback concert and a CD of old demos and new material. Whereas the band's debut album is a curious hybrid of country and progressive music ''Valley Gardens'' is pure symphonic, although extremely light in weight and still featuring the prominent use of traditional instruments.

Nick Glennie-Smith, who had replaced original keyboards player Paul Gerrett, ploughs straight in with a fitful synthesizer flurry on the title track before it settles into a gossamer space rock groove of intertwining Mellotron and steel guitar. ''Nez Perce'' features guest vocals by American soul singer Madeline Bell, probably most famous for her work with Blue Mink. The Nez Perce, a tribe of Native Americans, got their name from the French term for pierced noses. Among the traditions of the Nez Perce is the legend of the Wallowa Lake Monster, often referred to as Wally. This song artfully combines the band's pop sensibility with Pete Sage's ethereal electric violin, and it even managed to achieve some airplay back in the day.

''The Mood I'm In'' is a fairly nondescript West Coast ballad with a bit of saxophone tagged onto the end for interest, but it's ''The Reason Why'' that grabs the most attention here. At over 19-minutes it takes up the entire second half of the album and is based on Lord Tennyson's anti-war poem ''The Charge of the Light Brigade''. It's an ambitious, moving piece and no mistake, with a lengthy improvised instrumental section.

''Valley Gardens'' neither sucks nor rules. It will obviously have more appeal for fans of mellow progressive music, but others might even enjoy something along the way. Wally are sadly over-looked and I wonder if they would be whining if there were more than half a million reviews of their output online?

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#299808) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 20, 2010

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The sophomore album by Wally, and their last album for +30 years, is a little different than their debut. It's much more space rock and psychedelic influenced, though all the country elements are still present, which I consider a good thing because that is what makes this band stand out (otherwise they would just be a sub-par symphonic prog group).

While listening to the first song it became apparent that this album was going to be a little bit more dynamic throughout. I usually don't care much for psychedelic music, but I really enjoy Wally's take on the genre. The music on this album is much more progressive than that on the debut, including more alternating in tempo, time signatures, and mood. This album still includes a country-rock ballad song, "Nez Perce", but the songwriting and musicianship seems much stronger than on the debut album's ballads. The strong Pink Floyd influence is very strong on the last two tracks, "The Mood I'm In" and the epic track "The Reason Why", the latter being moderately eclectic but too long for it's own good. The middle of the song just drones endlessly, which isn't what I want to hear in my progressive psychedelic country.

One thing that I really like about this album is the tone of the bass. I don't really play bass that well, but I love when the bass stands out on an album. The playing and songwriting as a band on the whole is much better than on the debut, which is fantastic, and I love that they kept their signature country sound intact while adding more elements to the mix. This is another interesting listen from Wally, and I'd suggest it to people who are fans of both Pink Floyd and John Denver.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#434177) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 15, 2011

Review by VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars We have here the second album from a decidedly interesting band whose first album was memorable (if very flawed) for its rather unique "country prog" sound. While a bit of that sound remains, this album sees Wally streamlining their sound quite a bit, moving towards space rock in a Pink Floyd and generally trying to come off as a more explicitly "prog" band. That's the impression I got, anyway, and unfortunately I don't feel that this approach works out for them very well. The first album was flawed but charming enough in its strangeness to be a rather enjoyable listen, while this one, on the whole just comes off as bland despite an early high point.

That high point is "Valley Gardens," which starts off the album with an intro that sounds like it easily could have come from Yes if you didn't know better. The sound quickly changes, however, into a guitar led melody that sounds like Dick Dale mixed with Pink Floyd. It's an incredibly promising instrumental opening that blends styles from many bands without coming off as a direct clone of any of them (with the exception of the first little bit, which sounds exactly like Yes). When the vocals come in the track takes on an even more Floydian sound, with languid delivery and spacey guitars that are spot-on for Dark Side era Pink Floyd. The track again shifts gears at around the 6 minute mark, bringing in a bit of the "country-prog" sound that made Wally's debut album sound so unique. As a whole, the title track here is a bit disjointed, but it's also a very, very good song and one that sets the bar very high for the rest of the album.

Unfortunately, it immediately becomes clear that the rest of the album is not going to reach the same heights. "Nez Perce" is a shorter tune, very much in the style of the first album, with Wally's rather unique blended style of folk, country western, and spacey progressive rock returning in a characteristically languid way. Violin plays a prominent role in the song, drawing possible connections to Kansas, though in general Wally's style is far more country than Kansas ever was. Excellent vocal harmonies that are at times reminiscent of CSN(Y) also feature prominently. Overall, "Nez Perce" is a pleasant little song, but not remotely proggy and a pretty big letdown after the excellent opener.

"The Mood I'm In" follows in a similar vein, starting off with some some ethereal keyboards and psychedelic guitars and adding in vocals in much the same vein of "Nez Perce." Languid delivery and lush backing harmonies are the name of the game here, and like the title track there are obvious comparisons to be made to the sound of Dark Side of the Moon, though this is done with far less subtlety. In fact, given the sound of the track it's not too hard to imagine that Wally was going for intentional imitation, especially given the remarkably similar use of saxophone in the track. With a spacey atmosphere and some pleasant (but not particularly noteworthy) solos, "The Mood I'm In" is again a decent song, but not a particularly original or spectacular one, which prompts me to ask myself if I wouldn't just be better off listening to a band that pulled off the style better.

"The Reason Why" sees Wally trying its hand at a sidelong epic. The epic "To The Urban Man" from their previous eponymous album came off as a wandering, aimless affair, and I was curious to see whether they would be able to pull it off better here. Unfortunately, after several listens I am forced to conclude that the answer is "no." It seems that the band tried very hard to make a progressive epic, with various motifs, solos and instruments darting in and out; however, the track simply meanders on with no sense of purpose and even kills a good two minutes with a pseudo-ambient section that sounds kind of cool but doesn't fit into the track as a whole at all. There's no real sense of drama or pacing, and even the solos feel bland and phoned in.

Thus, unfortunately, Valley Gardens is an album that starts strong but ultimately fails to deliver. The title track shows that Wally's compositional abilities had obviously begun to improve, but unfortunately the rest of the album has been so homogenized that it lacks even the idiosyncratic charm of the first album. Beyond the first track there's really not too much reason to check this one out, as there are a multitude of other bands who can do what Wally does here, but better.

2/5

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Send comments to VanVanVan (BETA) | Report this review (#730637) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 16, 2012

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A curious and sadly little-remembered outfit, Wally produced a sophisticated yet slightly odd sound that mixed Yes-style symphonic grandeur with country-tinged West Coast rock. However, this was no North American act; far from it. Instead, Wally were in actual fact a Yorkshore-based British group with a collective love for Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Byrds et al, marking them out as one of the more adventurous groups bracketed under the far-reaching 'progressive rock' banner of the early 1970's. However, despite their bold musical brand, the six-man group would produce just two full-length studio albums during their initial burst of activity, their Atlantic-issued self-titled debut of 1974 succeeded by the following years superior 'Valley Gardens'. However, despite modest album sales they did enjoy a fairly strong live following, and would would often open for label mates Yes, sometimes at large venues. For some, this, and the fact that Wally were looked after by Yes' long-term manager Brian Lane, was proof that the Northerners were Yes' heir apparents; sadly it wasn't to be. Despite this strong backing, Wally had simply joined the progressive rock party a bit too late-in- the-day; Punk-rock exploded throughout Britain less than a year after 'Valley Gardens' was issued and the rest, as they constantly say, is history. But was it? Thankfully, one of the many wonderful advantages of both the CD and digital ages is that music that was once forgotten can be rediscovered, reissued, restored and remastered. Issued by the impressive reissue imprint Wounded Bird Records, 'Valley Gardens' can be now be fully experienced by those potential fans intrigued by the prospect of mixing early-seventies symphonic-style progressive rock with the dreamy sounds of the late-sixties Californian West Coast. Unsurprisingly, the former style dominates - 'Valley Gardens' features just four tracks, two of which take up more than two-thirds of the album's running time - though the addition of hazily-strummed acoustic guitars, slide whistles and violins makes for an almost cinematic overall quality, best exemplified by the lengthy and rather wonderful instrumental sections adorning the epic, nineteen-minute closer 'The Reason'. Overall, 'Valley Gardens' does prove an impressive and highly- melodic listen, almost an orchestral wall-of-sound experience. The album's country elements help to produce a gentle, breezy atmosphere that juxtaposes nicely with the faster symphonic sections, whilst the individual playing is carefully-restrained-yet-powerful. Exactly what fans of the West Coast sound make of Wally's second album should make for some interesting discussions; the fact remains, however, that classic-era progressive rock fans should find much to enjoy on this singular mixture of moods and styles. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#911212) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 08, 2013

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3 stars The second and final album from Wally is another eccentric symphonic prog album. The music on this album is a lot more symphonic and space rock'ed than the debut album. The sound is pretty full of spacey elements. Pink Floyd is a natural inspiration, it seems. But the music is still rooted in ... (read more)

Report this review (#245787) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, October 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I noticed in the synopsis of this band where it says The band was discovered in 1972 when they reached the finals of a contest organized by the Melody Maker Magazine which was won by another band named DRUID. My personal tastes prefer Wally much more to Druid due to the emotional compositio ... (read more)

Report this review (#214359) | Posted by progbaby | Friday, May 08, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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