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England Garden Shed album cover
3.92 | 253 ratings | 45 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Midnight Madness (6:58)
2. All Alone (Introducing) (1:53)
3. Three Piece Suite (12:58)
4. Paraffinalea (4:12)
5. Yellow (5:24)
6. Poisoned Youth (16:17)

Total Time 47:42

Bonus track on 2005 & 2008 reissues:
7. Three Piece Suite (Olympic studio recording) (11:43)

Bonus track on 2008 reissue:
8. Nanagram (4:17)

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Holland / guitars, vocals, Mellotron & Leslie guitar (5)
- Robert Webb / Minimoog, Hammond, harpsichord, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, piano, Hohner clavinet, 12-string guitar (5), vocals
- Martin Henderson / bass, acoustic guitar (5), vocals
- Jode Leigh / drums, vibes, percussion, bass (5), vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Mike Cosford

LP Arista - ARTY 153 (1977, UK & Netherlands)
LP Arista - ERS-28024 (1989, Japan)
LP Progressive Vinyl Company - 232 (2012, US)

CD Arista - ERC-32004 (1988, Japan)
CD The Forward Organisation - RWE 004cd (1997, UK) Remastered
CD Si-Wan Records - SRMC 1042 (1997, South Korea)
CD Garden Shed (2005, UK) With a bonus track
CD BMG - BVCM-37613 (2005, Japan) Remastered by Koji Tanaka with a bonus track
CD Piper Records - PIPER088 (2008, Europe) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ENGLAND Garden Shed ratings distribution

(253 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ENGLAND Garden Shed reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars Warning Prog heads, you may really like this one and you may have to open the 'ol wallet to afford it as well. ENGLAND are a superb prog act which combine the best elements of GENESIS, YES, GENTLE GIANT and SUPERTRAMP. This recording is brimming with mellotron textures, keyboards and organ to make you drool and variant time signatures which remind one very much of GENTLE GIANT. ENGLAND have written some real classic prog songs here and after a few listens you will be hooked on their brilliance. "Garden Shed" has been remastered and offers great speaker seperation and a very clean crisp sound. This is classic progressive rock and is highly recommended by this prog head.
Review by Steve Hegede
5 stars Are you a fan of albums like "Close To The Edge" and "Selling England By The Pound", and wish that YES and GENESIS released at least one more album in those styles? Well, ENGLAND might be a band to check out. These guys not only managed to write music similar to YES and early GENESIS back in 1977, but the quality of that music reaches the level of those two, once mighty, bands. There isn't a weak track on here, and the two epics are worth the price of the CD alone. The band comes close to plagiarizing well-known YES and GENESIS melodies, and riffs, every once in a while, but the majority of "Garden Shed" sounds original. A fun album!
Review by lor68
4 stars A classic and a must have as well, featuring one of the most underrated UK progressive bands, in the vein of YES and GENESIS, in the late seventies, but with a melodic touch of their own. Probably a band such as SUPERTRAMP would have sounded like this band - if they had been playing as a progressive band!! Recommended!!
Review by Marcelo
5 stars Did GENESIS and YES decide to release an album togheter titled "Garden Shed"?

ENGLAND plays the best classic symphonic rock and, although not the most original, simply beautiful. Organ, synths, Mellotron, great guitar and nice vocals conforming six superb pieces, plenty of symphonic melodies and emotive soundscapes. Maybe a little bit derivative from the two big monsters of the genre, but 100 % enjoyable.

While another bands in late '70s took distance from the true progressive sound, ENGLAND made this jewel. How can I categorize an album that impressed me so much? Masterpiece? A must have? A gem? What else? OK, all togheter.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Poisoned Youth" really blew me!! This track is absolutely great! It starts with unique drumming with soft keyboard / mellotron (?) sounds. The music then flows nicely with great strange vocal. Its music is relatively complex with some melodic segments, stunning bass and drumming sounds. The guitar style in this track has influenced many prog bands. If you never heard this band, go straight to "Poisoned Youth"! It's a strange beautiful music ...and it's enjoyable after all! "All Alone (Introducing)" and "Paraffinalea" are also excellent tracks.

This is an excellent album with a complex and tight composition coupled with great musicianship. One thing this band has been noticeably different from other band is its strange composition and unique drumming style. I would say the drumming style and sound are similar with BRUFORD's style. The keyboard playing style of the band has somehow influenced some prog bands such as SINKADUS, ANGLAGARD. On vocal part it sounds to me like GREENSLADE's.

It's so sad that this band has only produced two albums. Overall, I recommend this debut album. You may find difficulties in getting the CD. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Proghead
4 stars ENGLAND came a little late in the UK prog scene, coming at a bad time as punk rock was on the rise. Their one and only album, "Garden Shed" (well, at least until the 1990s with "The Last of the Jubblies" which contained leftover material) was released in 1977 on Arista Records. Despite the major label it was released on (yes, the same label that gave us the dreaded BARRY MANILOW, AIR SUPPLY and BAY CITY ROLLERS, at least the label did us a favor by having the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, CARAVAN, and HAPPY THE MAN on their roster), the original LP is hard to find. For those who don't live in the UK (me included): the cover to "Garden Shed" is a spoof of a label to a jar of Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade! Robertson's products are apparently not available outside of the UK (I certainly never seen any Golden Shred, Silver Shred, or any other Robertson's products sold at any supermarket in my neck of the woods), so I would never have realized the Golden Shred parody to "Garden Shed" had I not found out online. The band consisted of bassist Martin Henderson, guitarist Franc Holland, keyboardist Robert Webb, and drummer Jode Leigh. Vocal duties handled by all.

This was the last recording to feature the Mark II Mellotron (this was 1977, after all, and the Mellotron most used was the small 400 model, which was introduced in 1970, but didn't get used extensively until about or after 1972). Their keyboardist Robert Webb was said to sawed his Mark II in half to make it more portable (other keyboards he used included Hammond organ, Hohner clavinet, piano, electric piano, and Minimoog).

Musically, their influences can be rather obvious: YES, GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT, SUPERTRAMP, FRUUPP, perhaps even a little QUEEN. Like on "Midnight Madness" you hear plenty of GENESIS-like passages, with Yes-like vocal harmonies. "All Alone" is a short piano-oriented ballad that often gets compared to QUEEN, but to me reminds me of a Rick Davies-penned SUPERTRAMP ballad sung by Roger HODGSON. "Three Piece Suite" (get it?) is, as you expect, a three movement suite. The first part most resembling YES, but there are some passages with high-pitched vocals that don't seem to fit in too well. "Paraffinalea" is one of the more light-hearted numbers with more of that YES and GENTLE GIANT influences. "Yellow" is an acoustic ballad dominated by Mellotron. Here the influences seem to be not so obvious. The album then ends with "Poisoned Youth", at 16 minutes. Had this album been released a few years earlier, or punk didn't take over, this would have gotten more attention. Still, a great album.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars The debut LP "Garden shed" from this UK four piece band is one of the finest, 24-carat progrock albums I've ever heard and it was also a sought after item. The LP was released on CD in Japan but you could hear the scratches because they put it directly from the record on CD without the usual mastering. Fortunately keyboardplayer Robert Webb re-released the original album tapes on a limited edition CD with the help of Gordon Haskell and The Forward Organisation 1997. This in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the acclaimed album "Garden shed". This year England released a special edition CD (on the size of a vinyl single) that contains the 6 albums songs, one bonustrack and a 20 page booklet featuring reviews from all over the world, including reviews from Prog Archives collaborators (Steve Hegede, James Unger, Proghead and myself, what a fine tribute to our site!

The album "Garden shed" has strong echoes from early GENESIS and YES. The often Mellotron drenched compositions sound melodic, warm and inventive with many captivating changes of climate and thrilling breaks. The guitarwork is sensitive, the keyboardplay is varied and the vocals are strong, no doubt that these are good musicians. The way England combines the influence of YES with lots of original ideas reminds me of FRUUPP, another good British progrock band. The bonustrack is a 1976 version from the third song entitled "Three piece music", it sounds almost similar but a bit more raw and with some slight musical changes.


Review by hdfisch
3 stars This very little known British band from the 70's was playing a nice blend of elements of GENESIS and YES without sounding like a clone. Especially the bass playing sounds very much Squire-reminiscent (must be a Rickenbacher probably). The music is kept most of the time in a very light and cheerful mood, quite melodic and therefore bands like Supertramp or Ambrosia might come as well into one's mind. Compositions are at least to a certain extent intricate, but appear in some way as well a bit soulless and constructed. The music sounds playful, structure of the songs seams to be GENESIS-alike, harmonies and vocals more YES-alike, but in fact more at the level of later YES releases like "Tormato". The result of this blend actually never reaches the level of albums like "Close To The Edge" or "Selling England By The Pound". As well the very high-pitched voice sounds at some moments a bit too much like a trial of emulating Anderson's and sometimes even unbearable. Nevertheless it's a nice album of 70's light Prog-sound. Best songs are "Poisoned Youth" (the very best one), "Midnight Madness" and "Three Piece Suite". The album is very difficult to get, it has been put on CD once, but taking the vinyl as master and there is a very expensive remastered import-CD available. I'm really not that sure whether it's worth to do the investment. I would not regard it as an essential album in a prog collection. 3 stars for this album!
Review by Menswear
2 stars Do we really need another tribute to Genesis or Yes?

To me, discovering an obscure band and finding a gem in the waste is a real thrill. This record is obviously an anonymous band that fell between the cracks of time like Locanda Della Fate or Neushwanstein. Like those bands, England suffers from a critical identity crisis based on adoration for Genesis. The material is bombastic in some moments (Midnight Madness) but the desire of recreating Selling England by the Pound just turns me off like a picture of your grandma naked.

Does good writing covers multitude of sins in a record? Sometimes, yes. But not here.

Inspired by Supertramp (singing), Genesis (song frame) and Gentle Giant (not often enough).

Overrated and tacky.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This one-off album from the final days of the golden age of progressive rock is often cited as one of the great lost albums. I don't think it is. I think it's a good album that's worth getting if you stumble upon it, but hardly the sort of thing one should undertake a life-long quest in search of. With liberal doses of Yes, Genesis and Supertramp shining through England's music, Garden Shed is a strongly symphonic, but not particularly original, and occasionally lightweight affair.

The album is centered around two stong epics. The closing 16 minute cut Poisoned Youth is an engrossing composition with a percussive intro, a dark synth-laden vocal segment, a racing piano powered portion, some threatening organ work, polka-inflections and a series of daring melodies. It is reasonably impressive without being even remotely endearing.

The 13 minute Three Piece Suite is another attention grabber, with Robert Webb's organic keyboards flavouring the superbly flowing piece, in a manner reminiscent of the style of Italy's Locanda Delle Fatte (in fact I draw a strong correlation between the two bands, as both came out with their only album in 1977 as classic prog was dying, and have a similar sound, although I think that Locanda Delle Fatte's album is a far more exciting work).

Of the shorter songs, the jerky Paraffinalea makes the biggest impression, while the pastoral Yellow (despite some excellent Steve Hackett inspired guitar) and disjointed Midnight Madness are pleasant, but forgettable ... which is probably an understatement when it comes to describing the minute-long All Alone.

Like a few bands that worked in the late 70s (Happy The Man, Kayak and Breathless-era Camel come to mind), England have a sound and style that I suspect will appeal more to neo-prog fans that those expecting meaty classic progressive rock. ... 60% on the MPV scale

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I got a chance to listen this album as my friend's father loaned the original vinyl for me, but sadly this was a disappointing experience. Maybe my expectations were too high due to the hyping I had heard about this album? The highlight of the album for me was the song "Yellow", which has some nice acoustic pianos and guitar sequences, and the singing melodies are pleasant and calm. All this being backed up with some good Mellotron chords also. The closing number "Poisoned Youth" following this song also starts wonderfully, but the later parts of this sixteen minute epic felt somehow irritating. The musicians are skilled certainly, but their sense of style doesn't match my tastes. There are some multi-vocal harmonies here too, which reminded me of Magellan or Queen. "All Alone" is a nice short tune with acoustic piano and vocals, but as it is running shorter than two minutes, it doesn't bring much extra value for the album. The following "Three Pieces Suite" starts promisingly; There are birds singing behind hypnotic guitar notes, companied with nice Mellotron and piano passages. But sadly this nearly thirteen minutes long song evolves later again to a direction which I didn't appreciate, getting some associations of Greenslade's "Bedside Manners are Extra" album from it. Then the only aspect that I noted from "Paraffinalea" was a rude fade-out at the end of it. As the feelings of this music weren't very deep or interesting, this quite easy listening stuff left me cold. As the things that displeased me were mostly stylistic, I would suggest that the fans of Mellotrons and symphonic progressive rock giving this album a listen, as many other listeners than me has liked it quite much.
Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
3 stars It's not the garden shed of England!

'Garden Shed' is very symphonic and contains many influences from other bands of this genre and this time. But I wouldn't say that this is only a simple tribute to GENTLE GIANT, GENESIS, YES or others as some reviewers do. Yes - 'Midnight madness' f.e. remembers me at ALAN PARSONS PROJECT - 'Three piece suite' and 'Yellow' at GENESIS. But on the other hand all the tracks have also an important unique ENGLAND content - the vocals for example are completely different.

This is all well performed. What I'm missing are catchy melodies you can remember for a long time. Such as you can find on 'Selling England By The Pound' or other important symphonic releases in the 70's. 'Three Piece Suite' and 'Poisoned Youth' - the longest tracks - are the best songs.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars ENGLAND sound like a cross between YES and GENESIS with a dash of GENTLE GIANT.They present melodic and uplifting music that is at times too light for my tastes.There is also mellotron on every track, and if it had been released in 1972 it would be a classic. It came out too late though (1977) and really does sound too much like the bands I mentoned earlier.

"Midnight Madness" opens with orchestral-like sounds before it kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes sounding very YES-like. Vocals join in. Some nice drum work here and the vocal arrangements are cool before 4 1/2 minutes. It then settles with whispered vocals before building again. "All Alone" features high pitch vocals accompanied with piano, very QUEEN-like. Not a fan of this one.

"Three Piece Suite" has some excellent sections in it. Again when the vocals come in i'm thinking YES. Very enjoyable and I like the pulsating organ.The guitar becomes the focus after 5 minutes before it picks back up with bass and mellotron after 6 minutes. Love this part. Tempo picks up 8 1/2 minutes in with the vocals being too high pitched for my taste. Mellotron's back late. "Paraffinalea" is so catchy once it kicks in. "Yellow" has a psychedelic feel to it and it's my favourite. It's dreamy with mellotron, acoustic guitar and vocals. "Poisoned Youth" is a little darker, lots of mood shifts in this one. The drummer is tremendous, and there is some excellent guitar. It gets pretty heavy before It ends dramatically followed by the wind blowing.

This is one of those albums that could easily be a 3 star or a 4 star. It's right on the border as far as i'm concerned.

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars To many this album, released in 1977 and reissued on digitally remastered CD dated 1997, could seem like a spoof of major early 70's Prog bands - most obviously Yes and Genesis (an early version of Genesis were called "The Garden Wall"), and snippets of Supertramp, Argent, ELP, Gentle Giant - you name 'em, they're all there lurking in the Garden Shed like some long forgotten albums! I'm surprised the aforementioned artists, especially Steve Hackett, didn't go rushing to their lawyers to sue for blatant style theft!! This is such an obscure album, though, but it's all done so brilliantly, and it's sooooo Prog! The sound quality is excellent, the songs are good, the cover is dead "jammy" (sorry i couldn't resist that!) - you have to like it!

The first song "Midnight Madness" is the most obvious pastiche of Yes melding with Genesis, a short piece "All Alone" starts with a beautiful lonely echoey piano solo, "nothing i do seems right", maybe they had a bust up in the studio... but came back again for the twelve minute "Three Piece Suite", a nice mellotron intro followed by Yes style harmonies. Actually if Yes had done this Three Piece they wouldn't be ashamed of it at all, some catchy hooks - it works nicely! The guitar solos are unashamedly the Hackett style, heavily orchestrated with layers of mellotron and piano.

"Paraffinalea" starts with a Bach style keyboard intro leading to obviously Yes style choral arrangements, not sure what the song is about, with references to "lying/dying in the roadside" and "a bomb in his pocket.."..??? "Yellow" is a much slower "mello-er" arrangement, leading up to the longest track on the album " Poisoned Youth " at 16 minutes. This amazing piece starts off with a short drum break , bass line and mellotron, into a Crimson style theme and Yes style staccato vocals. The song has some great hooks and arrangements, and seems like a mini-opera of dramatically shifting moods and patterns!

Despite all the aforementioned references to other more well-known bands this is a great album by excellent musicians - it is a shame they had to follow these influences so closely, especially the Hackett-style riffs, the Yes bass lines and Yes vocal arrangements when they obviously had the talent to create something great of their own! Nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and, if you can live with it, an essential Prog addition!

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars England were another 'one-shot' band from the tail-end of the Classic Prog era who stepped up to the mark too late to play any significant role before the record buying worm turned against them. Their music is firmly ensconced in 'mainline' Prog so not surprisingly it bears comparison to Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson and PFM etc, a fact not lost on those who claim this music is too derivative. Clearly they were influenced by their peers, yet England managed to conceive a sound distinctly their own that, had their timing been better, may well have propelled them into Prog's major league instead of being merely a footnote in its long history.

Garden Shed bears repeated listening, but doesn't take long to work its way into the brain - catchy melodies, superb song-writing, clever lyrics and inventive arrangements are allied to lush and intricate keyboard textures, and tight ensemble playing topped off with wonderful vocals, all performed with energy and enthusiasm. Indeed, the vocals are a major strength, ranging from lush harmonies and multi-part counterpoint to solo voice, sometimes 'straight' and 'dry', at others 'theatrical' - always involving and interesting. Instrumentally, the album is awash with vintage keyboards, but is especially memorable for being a king-pin Mellotron album and the swan-song for the mighty Mk II.

At the core of the album are two lengthy set-pieces - 'Three-Piece Suite' and 'Poisoned Youth', the latter inspired by 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde. Both are brilliant examples of organically progressive 'symphonic' Prog, song-based 'epics' that sound naturally cohesive and never forced. These are accompanied by shorter tracks: wonderful ensemble vocals [I love the whispered countdown 1-2-3-4 into the second verse] and bitter-sweet lyrics make 'Paraffinalea' one of my all-time favourite songs; the mellow 'Yellow' is one of those beautiful acoustic based 'pastoral' songs most bands did so well in those days; superb opener 'Midnight Madness' packs a lot of Prog into its seven minutes; while the simple piano accompanied 'All Alone' acts as a calming bridge before the next Prog epic.

Faults? I can sometimes become irritated by the distinctive 'dustbin lid' snare sound, but other than that, it is a good sounding production in keeping with the times, and has transferred well to CD. The album is now available from the band's website in a lavishly packaged edition. Expensive it may be, but this is one 70s album you would be wise not to miss.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well,it's very difficult to rate an album if you are between 3 or 4 stars...It's a big difference to decide whether an album is simply good or a must-have for every prog fan...The album starts with a great track, ''Midnight Madness'',you think it is a song written by GENESIS in their golden 70'-75' era...The second track is a piano intro quite similar to QUEEN's sound...And we head for the first epic, the ''Three piece suite'', a beautiful track reminiscent of GENTLE GIANT's vocal harmonies and YES' symphonic arrangements...''Paraffinalea'' is a happy,pleasant song in the vein of YES and SUPERTRAMP,not the best track of the album,but it flows easily...''Yellow'' is another YES-like track,a soft song with nice Jon Anderson- like vocals followed by smooth piano and acoustic guitar interplay...And finally the last epic, ''Poisoned Youth'', the most original composition of the album where ENGLAND add their own flavor...Stunning!...

It is obvious that this album lacks in originality and that's a reason for a 3 star rating...But the musicianship is excellent,the symphonic arrangements are of first class and I'll give ENGLAND a 4 star rate for one more reason...At a time where YES and GENESIS (and maybe the whole prog community) seemed to lose their way of inspiration,ENGLAND gave us another symphonic rock gem...Highly highly recommended!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I found amusing all these reviews about this obscure prog band of the late 70īs. I must say I did not find it to be a long lost prog gem of most, neither the bad copycats of others. Garden Shed was released in 1977, probably the worst time ever for a new prog outfit. This may explain why there was not a follow up (at the time). England was an interesting band, had the chops and the right influences. Unfortunatly their songwriting skills were not par to their obvious heroes. Maybe with time and experience they would develop into something more original and strong, but, alas, that was not meant to be. What we have here is one of many Yes wannabes, trying very hard to emulate Jon Anderson & co. The resulting music is a curious mix of that style, plus some early Genesis, Supertramp, Alan Parsons and small doses of Gentle Giant here and there.

Garden Shed has its moments, specially if you like Yes. The music is pleasant most of the time (Three Piece Suite is a good example), but does not always work. They still had a lot to work out. Anyway, the record holds your attention until the end and if you like average 70īs symphonic prog you should check this out. But if you donīt you wonīt be losing anything very special. They were outstanding musicians, although the high pitch, Anderson-like vocals can be annoying at times, at least for me. The production is quite good. Only the timing was clearly wrong. Had this album come along some 3 or 4 years ealier they could had been a great band with a good, but not too original debut LP (like what happened to most of the great bands). But they didnīt stand a chance in 77.

Conclusion: good, but non-essential. 3 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Lots of five star rating for this album.I was interested.

I listened... I was not that interested any longer to be honest.

Clones aren't bad per se. But did they really create masterpieces? I guess not. This one is no other. The most notable relation is the ''Yes'' one of course (vocals) and some ''Genesis'' (music).

There are hardly two very good songs in here: ''Three Piece Suite'' which holds some fine guitar solo work and a more complex song structure. Because most of the other songs featured here are rather basic I should say. Even flat (''Paraffinalea'', ''Yellow'').

This work is fully derivative. OK for a while (just pick up the two good songs) but irritating rather quickly. Here and there, some fine mellotron parts are raising my interest but they are too scarce really.

The epic ''Poisoned Youth'' is by far the best music available. Fine build up and mellotron parts, but vocals are again the weak side. It is very much ''Tales'' oriented (and I'm one of those who liked it very much - I mean ''Tales''). At times bombastic, at times poignant, at times annoying.

There is nothing wrong with the musicianship of those lads, but IMHHO their song copying doesn't deserve the highest rates on my musical scale. Three stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Take the polished prog delivery of Genesis, from around A Trick of the Tail, add generous amounts of Yes (just listen to the start of Three Piece Suite and tell me that's not a reference to A Venture!), and give the whimsical vocals a tense, nervous delivery that sometimes hints at something a little darker than the fairytale stories of early Genesis and you've got England, and Garden Shed. Had it been released five years earlier or later it would have been much more successful - in the former case as a peer to the bands it is influenced by, and in the latter as part of the neo-prog movement; heck, if it were released today it'd be regarded as a fairly decent retro-prog effort.

That said, the climax of the album - Poisoned Youth - hints that there was more to the band than just paying tribute to the old masters of the prog scene; this concluding epic, based on The Picture of Dorian Gray, finally manages to fuse the Genesis and Yes influences into a coherent whole (on other songs it's more as though there's a Yes bit, followed by a Genesis bit, followed by a Yes bit, and so on), and takes the sound developed into interesting musical territory. Had England survived to make a second album, and had they managed to pursue the new ground they'd broken on Poisoned Youth, they might have had more success. As it is, this is a great album which is interesting in terms of bridging the golden age of prog in the UK and the Marillion-led new wave, but isn't of such consistently high quality that it quite merits a fifth star.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Garden Shed is the debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act England. It was also the only studio album release by the band from when they were still active. The album was released in 1977 by Arista.

The music on Garden Shed is influenced mainly by Genesis and Yes. Camel and a band like Greenslade also come to mind a couple of times but the two first mentioned acts are the dominant influences. You get clever keyboard and guitar playing, a tight rythm section and some great harmony vocals. The lead vocalist is good but he lacks that original touch that could have made the album really great. The musicianship on the album is absolutely brilliant though and thatīs probably the bandīs greatest asset because the material have a hard time escaping the clone tag. Clone or not, most of the tracks are of a very high quality. The strong opener Midnight Madness, Three Piece Suite and the 16:17 minute long closer Poisoned Youth particularly stand out. Yellow is a good song too.

The production is professional and warm.

Garden Shed is overall a very good album fully deserving a 3.5 star rating and I canīt help thinking that England would have had great success with the album, had it been released 5 years before. If you can get over the clone factor I find this one highly recommendable.

Review by stefro
3 stars Amazingly, this forthright slice of symphonic prog was written, recorded, produced and released in 1977, a full year after the horrifying punk tornado had come swirling through Britain. Not so amazingly, however, England's slightly twee debut failed to sell and the band wouldn't re-appear again until a belated 1997 follow-up. It's an odd tale, as one genuinely wonders whether England would have found more success if they had managed to get their act together five or six years earlier and release 'Garden Shed' during the early part of the 1970's when prog still ruled the roost. We can never know, but at least we know where this four-piece garnered their influences from. Their un-ashamedly symphonic sound has serious echoes of Yes, and England can be placed in that slightly unfortunate category of bands - along with fellow Brits Druid and yankee proggers Starcastle - that are often labelled 'Yes clones'. That tag may be taking it a bit too far but it's easy to see why the bands are so often compared. England sport a light, airy, keyboard-dominated sound that resonates with Yes- isms, whilst the band's lead-singer has an uncanny ability to hit those high notes a la Jon Anderson. Quality-wise England are miles behind Yes, but, happily, 'Garden Shed' is an enjoyable if sightly lightweight affair that is, like Druid's 'Toward The Sun' or Starcastle's eponymously-titled debut, a fine example of lush symphonic prog from people who care not about style but are all about substance. Fans of mid-seventies Yes and the previously-mentioned twosome will find much to admire on 'Garden Shed'. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One might expect a band called "England" to represent the worst of that country's music: The Dave Clark Five, Brotherhood of Man, Slade, Gary Glitter, and other crippling wonders of 20th century British Pop.

But one would be wrong. Garden Shed is hardly the worst of anything, but rather the best of the English Progrock sound concentrated into an hour-long celebration of fine stuff. And if you've got a ticket, you're welcome to join. No doubt derivative of just about every British prog institution but done with such reverence and inspiration it's as if the band didn't know it wasn't the first to do it. Consequently, the 1977 release has taken on an air of legend, an almost Holy Grail-like aspect to some. It doesn't disappoint. A fluid matrix of period synths negotiate 'Midnight Madness', full of early Genesis to be sure but also Becker & Fagen, the Swingles, and Yes. By the end of this first cut the quality of skill in Henderson, Holland, Leigh and Webb is crystal clear. Once past the shameless (and I mean shameless) Yes vocals, thirteen-minute 'Three Piece Suite' is an exquisite number that qualifies as one of the most representative of the genre in its classic, native form-- delicious organ parts, blistering and weeping guitar solos from Frank Holland, the 'trons of Robert Webb dancing with Martin Henderson's bass and the whole group doing a heroic job alternating on voice duties.

The record hits its stride with the utterly hilarious 'Paraffinalea', just over four minutes and not a wasted moment of dazzlingly concise midtempo prog. Sugary and stoned 'Yellow' kinda just sits there but yields to magnificent 'Poisoned Youth' where they just let it go. Two bonuses from '76 on the Piper reissue. Nothing less than definitive if not wholly original, and a great time regardless.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars English Prog

Taking the best of what their home country had to offer, the appropriately named England produced an appealing slice of British progressive Rock with Garden Shed. The major influences seem to be Gentle Giant and Genesis but there is also a sprinkling of Yes, King Crimson and other bands. There are also some nice Queen-like harmony vocals. While England clearly lacks the distinct musical identity and ground breaking originality of these other bands, it would be unfair to thereby dismiss them as wannabes. They do not compete with the topmost names in our favourite genre, but frankly not much does. Garden Shed is clearly an entry in an already well-established genre, but it is a very good entry that will most certainly appeal to fans of that genre. England obviously has talent in all the relevant dimensions and this album does in my opinion deserve its title as a minor classic in the annals of Prog.

The keyboard sounds are vintage (with such usual suspects as organ, Mellotron, piano, etc.), but the production is that of the late 70's. The production is very good indeed; a clear and clean sound. The material is not among the most complex you'll find, but all of the six tracks are excellent. It is hard to pick out any particular favourites. I enjoy the album from start to finish.

An excellent addition

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars I have spent my youth longing for this album, never really getting my hands on a copy. And then I did manage to do so. Then I spent my older youth trying to understand it's greatness, though always stumbling on something else and seemingly (or hearingly) more interesting. However, now the knot has been loosened by the mighty sword of time and I am looking at something very beautiful. A relic from the past, made way out of it's time. Like the famous and ancient batteries found in modern day Iraq (was it?). They were made there in a far away time, though they shouldn' have been. I am rambling, of course.

"Garden shed" by England. The anglophile soul of mine is shivering with delight. The visual piece of the puzzle could not have spoker more in my favor than that. I am sold. Now to the audio-side of it all. Is it any good, really? Yes, is the short answer. It is very good. The opener "Midnight madness" is quite brilliant in all it's quirky british symphonic glory. Actually, this piece is as good as the rest on the album, bar two tracks that are even greater pieces of music.

"Three-piece suite" is my favorite of the album. It encompasses everything great about prog, as far as I am concerned. The instrumentation is gloriuous, all the way through the instrumenta used to the rattling of the keys on the organ. (I love the organ, by the way.) The track paints a picture very british and pleases me immensely. I fear that this track has become an all time favorite of mine. This is prog in it's glory. Tender, symphonic stuff weaved in stabs of slightly more harder grooves. Though it need to be said, if you are looking for eruptions of cacophony you need to go else where. This is, as the rest of the album, gentle music though by no means withput edge and complexity. The last track, "Poisoned youth", is the other, truly brilliant composition. Ranging over 16 minutes it is a delight. Just as with "Three-piece suite" you get textures and levels that really makes it prog masterpieces.

The introduction to this review spoke of the album as been made at the wrong time. Yes, somewhat. In 1977 the sound could be seen as somewhat dated, belonging more to the early 70's. Echoes of Genesis are abound and though being very present it is only part of England's glory and unique talents. I'd say that this album in many ways represent the timelessness of prog. It is a piece of magic that has lost none of it's beauty. It did take me long time to crack the album. Why I cannot tell you, as it is quite easy to digest and get into. The complexity and musical insanity is there, balancing on the melodic borders making it a charming, quite brilliant album. I'd advise anyone, really, to give it a go. Please do.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is another one that I missed out on when it originally came out in 1977, though I can only be partly reassured that it went unnoticed by many more fans, being that 1977 was the universally agreed death year for prog. Punks with bad teeth and worse manners entered the mainstream and kicked serious musicians in the behind and right off the main stage! In retrospect that may have been a good thing as the dinosaur mentality had crept in by then (Hello Tony Emerson and Keith Banks). England released this puppy to little fanfare, even though it is regarded in hindsight as a quirky little masterpiece, featuring a gifted talent in keyboardist Robert Webb. The cover is perhaps one of the most fascinating in prog, very English style like Robertson and Sons' Marmalade or Twining's Tea. The music is quite reminiscent of The Enid in that classic symphonics are blended with orchestral arrangements, sugared by some blatant rock multi-tracked vocalizations that can run the span between Gentle Giant, Yes, Supertramp, Genesis, Druid, Greenslade etc?

"Midnight Madness" provides exactly that kind of premise, the high pitched vocals meandering down a symphonic river, with clever little e-piano motifs that wink at Supertramp, vibraphones wrestling with slippery synths, slamming organ ushering the crew along. Of course, harmony vocals add a great amount of choral depth to the arrangements, which is easily admirable to any prog fan. High-pitched vocals almost have a Russell Mael feel (he of Sparks fame) or even Freddie of Queen. In fact, I would not be surprised if Webb and company had been influenced by the Champions. England, Queen, yeah! All in all, a thrilling introduction.

A mini-piano etude "All Alone" simply sets the table for the first section of the main opus here the "Three Pieces" suite, as such I cannot help but feel a reminder of an artist such as Anthony Phillips , meaning it's all very British, wot? "Introducing Three Pieces" is definitely symphonic in style that at times sounds a lot like Yes, what with the grandiose orchestrations and the ruthlessly trebled bass guitar, veering close to the edge in more ways than one. Drummer Jode Leigh has his Bruford tapes working nicely for him, Martin Henderson must have heard of Chris Squire, while only the guitarist Franc Holland differs a tad, being more Hacketty than Howey. Robert Webb can compete with the Wakemans, Emersons and the Greenslades of the world, a clever utilizer of all forms of ivories. The result is a brisk-paced, densely choired as all four musicians sing, reverential homage to "Close to the Edge" in a multi-hued, uncanny reworking that is ultimately enjoyable. The electric guitar has a muffled 'in a tube' sound that actually fits the mood quite well, followed by a thunderously harmonious bass solo from Mr. Henderson, Webb shuffling in his cozy mellotron to great effect, even discreet winks at snippets of la Marseillaise. The Queen/the Korgis/Sparks high pitched voice is actually cool and well performed.

"Paraffinalea" is a jaunty little affair, heavily vocalized, and doused in waves of glorious mellotron splashes as well as some coily synth loops. I actually liked the next piece a great deal, "Yellow" wallows in pastoral noodling, handled by some quality orchestrations and a Beatles-like vocal presence, a reminder of a psychedelic past that once ruled over the first prog wave. The Anthony Phillips hints are again quite clear and determined. There is even room for some brief soloing to make matters more interesting.

The tectonic plate on which this album revolves is the epic 18 minute + monster "Poisoned Youth", a scintillating composition that wastes little breath in getting the troops moving forward. The bass is up-front and brash as it leads the crew into some multifaceted territories where all is molded into a whole musical experience, tight drum attack, spooky vocalisms and the obvious colossal keyboard colorations. Paced in such a manner as to provide a slew of unpredictable peaks and valleys, wrapped in various layers of mood and contrast, this is a perfect example of a typical progressive rock epic.

Nice music ! Great cover , really!

4 Lawn barns

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 688

England was a progressive rock band that was formed in UK in 1975. It wasn't really very surprising that an English band released their first studio album in 1977. "Garden Shed" is often regarded as an obscure classic of the British progressive rock, and is easy to see why, as it's a very competent, professional, well produced, impressively performed and a complex album of the British symphonic progressive rock at its most typical. Their main influences were, with no doubt Yes, but you can also see references to Genesis and Fruupp, another excellent British prog rock band of the 70's.

England is considered by many as a gem of the progressive rock of the 70's. With their only album "Garden Shed" the band has created something like a classic, which deserves to be much more popular than just insider limited circles of prog. A second studio album was released in 1997, "The Last Of The Jubblies". The album is a collection of unreleased tracks, including material from 76 and 77 and also some demo recordings. The band was reactivated around 1983/1984 and was reformed in 2005. In 2017 they released another studio album, their third studio album named "Box Of Circles".

The line up on the album is Frank Holland (vocals, guitars, Mellotron and Leslie guitar), Robert Webb (vocals, Mini-Moog, Hammond organ, harpsichord, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes piano, Hohner clavinet and 12-string guitar), Martin Henderson (vocals, bass and acoustic guitar) and Jode Leigh (vocals, drums, vibes, percussion and bass).

So, "Garden Shed" Is the debut studio album of England and was released in 1977. The album has six tracks. The first track "Midnight Madness" is one of the best ways to start the album. It's a catchy track with lots of powerful mellotron and instrumental breaks. The synthesizer that was very common with Rick Wakeman in Yes appears here. Almost two minutes and the band remember Genesis too. The whole atmosphere on the track awakens the best that was done in the prog of the 70's, like good vocalizations, strategic stops, the great use of keyboards and perfect climates. The second track "All Alone (Introducing)" is a short piano ballad and as its name indicates is the introduction to the highlight of the album, the "Three Piece Suite". It's a bit melancholic, but very well composed, and has a nice use of the piano. I'm not sure who the main vocals are, since the vocals are credited to everyone in the band, but it has a great melodic and beautiful vocal work. The third track "Three Piece Suite" is a 14 minute piece of music. This is a great composition that more or less encapsulates everything of the British progressive rock in the 70's. The melodies and themes are great all the way through, and you'll get lots of tasty organ and Mellotron. The drummer is an impressive Bill Bruford clone, and you'll notice him all the time with all of his unexpected rhythmic twists and breaks. This is purest progressive rock of the 70's. It's really a true amazing track. The fourth track "Paraffinalea" is a short and very cheerful song that yet brings Yes to my mind. It has a very strange melody with the keyboards and an even stranger melody to the guitar. When the band starts the first point is that the vocal is very similar to Chris Squire on their solo album "Fish Out Of Water". The solos of the keyboards are different from the common place of many other bands, and that is great. The fifth track "Yellow" is a much mellower and acoustic track with some atmospheric Steve Howe like guitar work. Here, the folk face of the band appears with the guitars synchronized with the orchestral keyboards. It has a psychedelic mood with its dreamy Mellotron, acoustic guitar and vocals. It's one of those beautiful acoustic based pastoral songs so common in those days. Once again we can hear great vocals and some beautiful harmonies too. The sixth track "Poisoned Youth" is the closing track of the album. This lengthy and monumental 15 minutes track stands as the most complex and least accessible moment on the album. It has excellent vocals, but we already know that from the first song. Several are the main voices in this long epic, I think all members of the band sing, which is, in my humble opinion, excellent. The song has some great arrangements, and seems like a mini opera of dramatically shifting moods and patterns. You had to have balls to release music like this in 1977, but England did it and they did it very well too.

Conclusion: With "Garden Shed", England made really nice English progressive rock. The music is very melodic, and seems to be pretty heavily influenced by Yes and Genesis. However, England isn't a clone of those bands. This is more like Yes and Genesis had decided to release an album together. I think it couldn't be a better example of that. The compositions are usually pretty busy, especially in the rhythm section, with the multiple keyboard layers, constantly changing time signatures, and lots of polyrhythmic playing. The harmonies are very nice too. In reality, "Garden Shed" is a very satisfying and a pretty strong symphonic prog journey from the start to the end. It's not one of the biggest classics of the progressive rock history but, in my humble opinion, every genre fan should give this album a try. Some magnificent moments can be found from this album and it's a very solid package of great symphonic prog rock music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars This album is considered a classic worthy of the great progressive rock groups of the 1970s. In my opinion, it remains very far from the latter. There is clearly a desire to do well at the origin of this music. The compositions are subtly worked but the talent of the musicians is not at the required ... (read more)

Report this review (#2965121) | Posted by Kjarks | Sunday, October 29, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Garden Shed is the debut album by the classic prog band England. After its release, the band broke up because of a poor financial situation. England is known for having a very Yes + Genesis-esque sound and, this is definitely true on this great album. It is very mellotron heavy and the vocalist, Fra ... (read more)

Report this review (#2878337) | Posted by AJ Junior | Wednesday, January 25, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was introduced to this band when listening to a progressive rock radio and suddenly hearing the best clone of Yes which was not a rip-off and had own music ideas. All band members but the keyboard player sound very similar to classic Yes with Bruford minus instrumental extravaganza, classical ... (read more)

Report this review (#2450580) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, September 24, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Until around 15 years ago, I'd never even heard of this album from 1977. And after a few listens, I was just dumbfounded that music of this quality and originality had to go unnoticed by the masses because of timing (the infiltration of punk and disco) or mis-marketing. The only other plausible ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441762) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Thursday, August 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars England are an English band, not surprisingly, with a powerful Symphonic Prog-Rock sound, very reminiscent of YES, with elements of early 1970's Genesis too. The singer sounds remarkably similar to Jon Anderson of YES at times. The forerunner of this album was a 20-minute-long suite released as ... (read more)

Report this review (#2272948) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Thursday, October 24, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is undoubtedly one of my favourite Prog albums of the 70s. It stands up well alongside their obvious Yes, Genesis and Gentle Giant influences. The musicianship is of a very high standard, and for some reason the drummer uses a snare drum without the snares, so it sounds like a differently ... (read more)

Report this review (#1630630) | Posted by Albert H | Monday, October 10, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am 100 % sure the supermarket chain LIDL has copied the artwork for their orange marmelade tins they are now selling in their shops. I passed through it earlier today and got a reminder that I should listen to this album today. The artwork is brilliant though and I will buy one just to put it ... (read more)

Report this review (#202059) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, February 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I recently got this album from England's website after almost ordering the (dodgy) Jap import by mistake. I must say I'm very impressed by it and the accompanying booklet which is about the size of an old 45. Sure, the volcals are very 'Yes like' and some of the rythms do bring to mind some e ... (read more)

Report this review (#110786) | Posted by Dieselhead | Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a surprisingly good album by the obscure band England. With blends of Genesis, Yes and Supertramp and with some really nice Mellotron usage this album is really worth a listen. Maybe for the prog purists they are too derivative, but anyone that looks at this album as a standalone effort ... (read more)

Report this review (#97127) | Posted by Autoband | Sunday, November 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars On "Garden Shed" England presented nothing original at all. This album is filled with other bands' influences. You can find compositions soundlike Genesis (in the way of the construction of songs) with Yes and Gentle Giant vocal harmonies. Despite the Defects I have to admit that this album ... (read more)

Report this review (#88832) | Posted by Patique | Sunday, September 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars England truly represent a perfectly balanced combination of progressive musical aspects. Attached to the record itself is a certain feel of genuinity despite the fact that the group heavily bases its influences upon larger prog acts such as Genesis, Supertramp and Yes. Amazingly sophisticated ... (read more)

Report this review (#70121) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the best English discs of symphonic rock. It's a pity that it was forgotten by large the history of the prog. "Garden Shed" mixes influences like: Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis and King Crimson but without being a clône. A must. ... (read more)

Report this review (#58622) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I know a lot of people who either claim this to be a masterwork of early Genesis meets Yes or who think it is a blatantly poor opportunistic venture by talentless hacks. I would go with the latter, but give it even more of a slamming than that. To this prog rock lover this is THE WORST EXPLOITAT ... (read more)

Report this review (#58563) | Posted by | Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Having searched far and wide for this album and finally acquired it from Portugal (!), I have to say that it is good but not great. I would agree with the reviewer who gave it 3.5 stars. It has some lovely tracks but it never reaches the heights of the music Genesis and Yes were producing ... (read more)

Report this review (#38017) | Posted by progadder | Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.5 stars actually! The music is very derivative of GENESIS and YES but it never riches the hights of these masters. The problem is because it sounds a little soulless and forced. However, the performance is very enjoyable and a lot of symphonic fans will love this album... Not essential but reco ... (read more)

Report this review (#21537) | Posted by terramystic | Wednesday, March 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After reading an interwiev with Robert Webb(The keyboard player of England)in Melody Maker back in 79 i got interested in the work of England,i knew i had the record somewhere in my huge collection but i had never really listen to it.Well,i got my hands on it and i tell you...these gays can pl ... (read more)

Report this review (#21535) | Posted by | Thursday, December 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The for me is the lost gem of progressive rock. If had been released by Yes or Genesis it would be revered as one of the greatest albums ever made. Sadly it was released in the summer of punk, had virtually no promotion or publicity and sank without a trace. Three Piece Suite and Poisoned You ... (read more)

Report this review (#21532) | Posted by Dave Preston | Friday, September 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars this hard to find album (Yes..its hard to find on cd too!)is a really rare thing. Both musically and psychically its a gem. Its like Genesis...the forgotten songs...and still its their own (old) style.... really a forgotten gem....but not to be missed!!! So..if you find in a cheap-bin somewhere ... (read more)

Report this review (#21524) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Thursday, November 27, 2003 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The last song, Poisoned Youth, is worth the album price alone. If you like early Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, The Enid etc you should enjoy this album. Lead vocals are a little weak but harmony vocals are awesome. The mix seems a little odd but not bad. It tends to be placed a little higher on ... (read more)

Report this review (#21522) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 5, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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