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Flaming Youth


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Flaming Youth Ark 2 album cover
2.58 | 27 ratings | 3 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Guide Me, Orion (3:16)
2. Earthglow (2:52)
3. Weightless (instrumental) (2:37)
4. The Planets (12:47)
5. Changes (5:48)
6. Pulsar (3:05)
7. Spacechild (5:10)
8. In the Light of Love (3:26)
9. From Now On (Immortal Invisible) (4:19)

Total Time: 43:30

Line-up / Musicians

- (Flash) Gordon Smith / Guitar, 12 string, Bass Guitar, Vocals.
- Ronnie Caryl / Bass Guitar, 12-string Guitar, Vocals.
- Brian Chatton / Organ, Piano, Vocals.
- Phil Collins / Drums, Percussion, Organ, Vocals.

Releases information

1969 LP UNI 73075
Polydor 532905-2

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the addition
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FLAMING YOUTH Ark 2 ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(19%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (38%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

FLAMING YOUTH Ark 2 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars God knows that I'm not a fan of Phil Collins due to the difference between his era as GENESIS frontman and the Gabriel years, much less for his solo albums, so when a former hippy uncle gave me a copy of the album, I accepted he gift (mainly for courtesy), but without really caring too much about it. Some months passed, and one day placed the CGD in the car, and listened it while going to work, when I reached the office all my prejudices were left behind and I was already a fan of the band.

Besides being a symphonic nut, I have developed a strong passion for the late 60's, specially for those bands who combined the experimental sound of Psychedelia with early forms of Prog........."ARK 2" is that and much more, couldn't really believe what I was listening, even loved the tracks where Phil takes the lead vocals, simply delightful.

Something else ,must be said, "Ark 2" is a conceptual album about a journey of an astronaut across the solar system and beyond, of course the lyrics has the influence of the times, with clear references to the search of peace and hope, and even when not as strong as they could be, the idea is interesting.

The album starts with the excellent vocal intro of "Guide me Orion", somehow like THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS without The Mamas, but suddenly the band bursts in fire with typical British Invasion sound, but in this case fused with Classical music and Rock, a very good start.

"Earthglow" is a radical change, starts melancholic and Baroque, with clear references of PROCOL HARUM but with better vocals, Gordon Smith does an outstanding job with an almost religious voice and Brian Chatton playing killer keyboards, incredibly beautiful song.

The beauty of Weightless is the contrast between the clearly Baroque organ intro that without advice turns into some sort of 50's Rock Boogie Boogie and Jazz instrumental with classical overtones, the guys were really versatile, but the stars of the track are Phil Collins in the drums and Ronnie Caryl who complement the outstanding rhythm section perfectly.

Now is the turn for the epic "The Planets" (In some versions each planet of the solar system is a song), there's little (if any) connection) with Gustav Holst's masterpiece but it's clearly inspired in this work, even the inner notes make clear references to each movement of the classical piece and as Holst they ignore Pluto.

Now lets talk a bit about the music, there's everything, from 12-bar Blues, to Classical - Orchestral, Jazz, Rock,Vaudeville, Acid Psychedelia, etc, and the "personality" of each planet is described by the music, we can find influences from THE NICE and almost every great musician of the 60's but with a unique touch. This 12 minutes track alone would pay the album.

Changes marks the point where the astronaut leaves the solar system and a turn for Phil Collins and Gordon Smith to take the lead vocals and both make a hell of a job, the sound is lost in the boundaries hat divides the late first British Invasion from early Psyche until Chatton starts to jam with the organ and crosses all the possible boundaries of Rock, but that's not all, the band enters into melodic (almost Symphonic) territory, one of the best songs of the album

"Pulsar" is a frantic track in the vein of THE NICE with Chatton adding an incredibly fast keyboard performance with Phil covering him all the way, another excellent track that leads to "Space Child", which after a keyboard and guitar intro allows us to listen Phil Collins singing some sort of early Symphonic with real feeling, a bit cheesy by moments but beautiful.

Almost every release has a weak point and "In the Light of Love" is the one from "Ark 2", this guys have proved they could play almost everything, but an almost Latin percussion song with Motown touches is not one of them, not so bad to press the skip button, but clearly bellow the level of the album.

"From Now On (Immortal Invisible)" presents Brian Chatton as a vocalist (he can also sing) and at least in the live video Phil Collins in the organ, extremely beautiful and melodic musical piece with full orchestra and chorus, a brilliant closer for "Ark 2".

Not a perfect masterpiece, but very far from some reviews that qualify them as a disaster, in my opinion an excellent addition for any Prog collection and for this reason worth 4 solid stars.

Review by Guillermo
1 stars My late father was a great record collector of mainly Classical Music albums, but he also liked in the sixties to buy some of the singles which were played in some AM Rock and Pop radio stations in my city, mostly sung in English by some British bands and by some artists from Europe and the U.S. Most of these singles were bought by him for us, his sons, and we liked most of them very much. I remember than in the early seventies, when I finally learned to read, I liked to see the record labels of these singles to read who wrote the songs. I remember seeing the names there of Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley as composers of some British Pop and Rock Hit singles from the sixties. Yesterday, I was visiting youtube and I was looking for some rare albums which can be listened to there. So, I found this album there, and I listened to it. While I was doing this, I looked for information in the web about this album, and I found an article in Wikipedia about it and the band called Flaming Youth. I also found there the link to an unofficial website about this band and this album, and Wikipedia also linked Ronnie Caryl`s website address. So, I visited both websites and read about this band and this album

This band started their career under the name "Hickory" playing some covers of songs by other bands. By 1969, Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley wrote a concept and songs for a conceptual album about "space journeys", maybe inspired by the Moon Landing of July 1969. So, they offered "Hickory" the opportunity to record their project for an album. The band changed their name to "Flaming Youth" and recorded the album titled "Ark2" which was released in October 1969 in the Fontana label in the U.K., but it also was released in the U.S. and in other European countries. The album had some critical praises but not chart success. The band presented the album in concert sometimes, and even a TV programme was done about it in 1970. But that was all. The band split and Phil Collins some months later successfully auditioned for Genesis, but Ronnie Caryl also auditioned to fill the guitarist role in that band, but without success. Anyway, both musicians are still friends and since 1996-97 Caryl has played guitar in Collins`s solo bands.

This very rare album was really more interesting for listening to it while I was looking for it than when I was actually listening to it. With Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley being mostly composers of Pop Rock tunes and musicals, well, I really didn`t expect something Progressive from their work and from this band. The presence of a very young Phil Collins on drums (and some lead vocals by him in some tracks) is the main "hook" to listen to this album. But after listening to it, well, I can see why this album is almost forgotten. Yes. It is a conceptual album about "space journeys". It also has a "suite" titled "The Planets" like the classical music work which Gustav Holst composed, but this "suite" has nothing in common with the classical music work that Holst composed, other than the use of the titles. Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley only used the titles of the sections of that classical music work to compose their Pop songs around them, but that`s all. The music style of the album as a whole is simple Pop Rock from the sixties, somewhat "pretentious", with some "pompous" orchestral and choral arrangements added to the musical pieces recorded by the band. There are some Psychedelic influences in some places, but this conceptual album also sounds a lot of influence by musicals. and there also some good "Proto-Prog" arrangements played by the band, but there are very few "Proto-Prog" moments in this album. The members of the band were good musicians, but obviously Collins showed a lot of talent to play the drums since then and his vocals are also good but still sound a bit inmature.

This album, in my opinion, sounds very dated, and is mostly of historic interest to know and to listen to a young Phil Collins for maybe his first appearance on an album, and nothing more. Like the "From Genesis to Revelation"album by Genesis from the same year, this album, while showing some talent from Collins, still doesn`t show how his musical style would change and develop in the future. As history showed, his best place to be in a band was with Genesis, a band in which he developed his talent a lot and he helped to survive after Peter Gabriel left the band in 1975.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Let me start confessing that Iīm really a Genesis fan and, being quite curious about one of my favorite bands, it is natural that Iīm used to dig a lot of things Genesis related. Steve Hackett pre-Gnesis band, Quiet World, was the first. Now comes this one. I have always heard about Flaming Youth, but I didnīt know until a few days ago that they had released a complete album at the time Collins was laying drums with them. And when I put Ark 2 on, I was even more amazed. itīs a conceptual album about traveling into space (a very common theme at the time). Considering Collins love for Motown and R&B I was expecting something in that vein. I could not be more wrong about that.

Ark 2 is a strange mix of british late 60īs psychedelia, pop and tunes that sound like a musical soundtrack from that period. In fact, I think it would have worked much better if indeed there was a musical play to go along with those songs. Without it, it simply sounds pretensions, pompous and silly. Compared to it, the Moody Blues seem to be avant guard. Ok, the vocal harmonies are interesting and somewhat original, the playing is professional and sometimes you can find a good "song" around (Space Child is a good example). But overall the feeling is that of a band playing backing songs in a flower power theater play, or movie. And despite all advertising efforts (even a couple of videos were made and can be found on the youtube), itīs easy to see why it failed commercially. In 1969 you could find much better, stronger and more progressive works like this in spades.

More a curio than anything else, I found it only interesting in a historical way. It dated badly and itīs good proof that good playing and good singing was not enough to grant a good work in the end. However, I donīt want to sound too harsh about it. It simply did not move me, but if you like the aforementioned styles, then you should give it a try.

Rating: 2 stars

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