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DINOSAUR SWAMPS

The Flock

Eclectic Prog


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The Flock Dinosaur Swamps album cover
3.22 | 34 ratings | 7 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Green Slice (2:03)
2. Big Bird (5:50)
3. Hornschmeyer's Island (7:26)
4. Lighthouse (5:17)
5. Crabfoot (8:14)
6. Mermaid (4:54)
7. Uranian Sircus (7:09)

Total Time: 40:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Fred Glickstein / guitar, Hammond, vocals
- Jerry Goodman / violin, guitar, vocals
- Rick Canoff / saxophone, vocals
- Tom Webb / saxophone, flute, vocals
- John Gerber / sax, flute, banjo
- Frank Posa / trumpet, "Posaphone"
- Jerry Smith / bass, guitar, vocals
- Ron Karpman / drums, vocals

Releases information

LP Columbia ‎- C 30007 (1970, US)

CD One Way Records ‎- A 26658 (1996, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE FLOCK Dinosaur Swamps ratings distribution


3.22
(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
15%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
26%
Good, but non-essential (53%)
53%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

THE FLOCK Dinosaur Swamps reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

TF's second album has a very bizarre but incredibly powerful pterodactyl imagery that most kids back then actually bought purely from curiosity (it was my case). Basically the group's sound hasn't changed that much except if you pay attention about whole TF scheme. The least I can say it that I was never impressed with this album's production, something rather odd for a large and rich Columbia label.

Some wild studio experimentation, followed by a gloomy organ and a solemn sax are some of the ambiances you'll enjoy from Green Slice, but then again you'll also get some kind of an unusually brassy country rock (first half of Big Bird) or some wilder jazzier country rock (second part of BB), Hornschmeyer's Island is a constantly evolving, but confused track, partly because the changes are occurring with somewhat poor succession of chords, but overall it's one of the album's highlights. The chorus vocals are a little iffy on the dB saturation scale on this track. A much wilder and straightforward Crabfoot, clocking over 8 minutes, has a heard-elsewhere chorus, but the track shines by its energy level, but again some abrupt changes are surprising and slightly cringe-worthy for demanding progheads, and of course the "unavoidable" drum solo closing the track, before some ridiculous electronics effects ending much of the band's credibility in terms of prog credentials. Mermaid is a weird semi-folk track that very spookily than become a strangely lame folk tune with some strange lyrics.

Overall I find that the same flaws that I had found on the debut album still exist in DS, and that this album's strengths lies elsewhere than in the debut, but no matter what: The Flock was never studio force, their live shows being somewhat rather different, legend has it. But I demand proof to review my relative poor take on this group

Review by soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I knew nothing about The Flock when this LP was released, but I bought it since I thought the cover promised a great album. I can appreciate it more now; at the time I thought the album was interesting for its blending of divergent styles, but unsatisfying due to its reliance on sax and trumpet, and the overall commercial feel. To be sure, the album has some bizarre moments, perhaps included to give it more progressive credibility. Anyway, the performances and production values are solid, and the songwriting is pretty good, too.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This second album sounds different than the debut album. One thing very noticeable is the use of Hammond organ! Yeah . it's truly seventies music man. For those who like CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, CHAZE, BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS, or DIXIE DREGS or jazz fusion music may enjoy this album. The album starts off with an ambient "Green Slice" (2:03) that basically explores organ and tenor sax sounds, continued with "Big Bird" (5:50) in relatively upbeat tempo augmented with brass section work and violin; influenced by country music. The trumpet solo in alternate with violin is truly stunning. "Hornschmeyer's Island" (7:26) continues with heavy elements of jazz especially through improvisation part in the middle of the track where violin performs its solo. Brass sections, flute and guitar accentuate the song excellently.

It's unusual that the band starts "Lighthouse" (5:17) with electric solo followed with full music that brings voice line enters the scene. The bass lines are very obvious coupled with brass and guitar solo in uplifting mood. I like the interlude part where all solos are performed in compact fashion combining guitar, bass and brass section. "Crabfoot" (8:14) is an upbeat brass rock outfit, augmented with excellent violin work. The guitar solo reminds me to Chicago's Terry Kath, it's stunning. The interlude part is energetic with inventive brass section. "Mermaid" (4:54) is a track with different textures and styles compared to other tracks. The melody and rhythm are weird, they don't seem to fit but they produce unique sound. "Uranian Sircus" (7:09) is similar in style with previous track. I like the flute work and violin solo in this track - all performed in jazz nuance..

Overall, this album is less if I compare it with the band's debut album. However, it's a good album overall. Yours progressively, GW.

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The debut album from this US band has a special flavour for me (you can read more details in the appropriate entry). This follow-up has much less to offer IMO.

More jazz-oriented ("Green Slice"° or a combo country-jazz ("Big Bird"° which is excessively poor are not the best start I could have imagined. But things do improve with the subtle "Hornschmeyer's Island". The great Jerry Goodman performs an excellent violin part and vocals are sweet and emotional. Wind instruments not being too present is also a plus as far as I am concerned. The highlight of this album.

The same feeling prevails during "Mermaid". The least jazzy tune form this album. Again Jerry shows all his talent during his violin play which is definitely the highlight of this song (and album). Vocal harmonies are also well balanced.

If you are into jazz-rock, this album deserves your attention. If not, you might be disappointed by the little progressiveness you will discover.

I have a special tenderness for this band, although they don't really play the type of music I am found of, they are so closely related to my early teens with their first album that I'm going to rate this one with two stars. There are no such tracks as "Clown" or I Am The Tall Tree. If ever you would like to discover this band, you should stick to their debut album.

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars The Flock made a rather remarkable transformation on their second album. The lineup is the same including violin impresario Jerry Goodman, but rather than the big brass and jazzy sound that dominated the first record, this one features copious amounts of multi- tracked vocals, an almost country-rock mood and violin work that sometimes borders on what can only be described as 'fiddling'. All in all I have to say I like this album very much, especially since the production quality is noticeably improved over their debut. Still, the significant shift in sound is quite surprising and must have been a bit of a shock to whatever fans they had in the early seventies. Rather than sounding like Chicago or BS&T, comparisons to the Grateful Dead are quite a bit more apropos this time around.

The opening "Green Slice" sounds like Steve Howe setting in on a session with Jerry Garcia, while "Big Bird" retains that country-fried rock sound but adds in the discordant brass that distinguished the middle part of their first album.

"Hornschmeyer's Island" would qualify these guys as a progressive band even if none of their other music had. The shifting tempos and moods along with a blast of vocals followed by a series of contrasting saxophones and trumpet make for a complex and engaging song all by themselves, but the shift midway to a torrid bass rhythm and dissonant violin solo is simply too cool for 1971, and something that impresses even today. Only a real turd of a filler track would have taken away from this, and fortunately the band managed to avoid including such a track which ultimately saves the record as a whole.

I think the oddest tune in the band's entire discography comes next on this record, a bluesy and driving version of James Taylor's laconic "Lighthouse" that apparently only salvages a few of the original lyrics and a heavily amped-up version of Taylor's guitar chord progression. Otherwise this is a heavy rock number that bears almost no resemblance to the original, but does trot out the same sort of harmonized vocals their debut album features, but that sound much better this time around thanks to the improved engineering.

"Crabfoot" is mostly an instrumental track with plenty of trumpet and saxophone (three of them if I hear correctly), a blazing number that shows the band members had managed to gel as a unit after a couple years of touring and studio work together. The scat-like vocals toward the end are unnecessary but don't take much away from the groove.

I'm not sure what the group was trying to accomplish with "Mermaid", a sort of British folk- sounding minstrelly thing that I probably would have appreciated more had it come out on a Dulcimer or Incredible String Album rather than a Flock record. Still, I like the song and give the group some credit for being willing to experiment.

Finally "Uranian Sircus" starts off sounding like something Principal Edward's Magic Theatre would have done, but morphs into a funky and almost psych number with a hippy version of white rap and a frenetic guitar riff that is as annoying as it is intriguing. A truly weird tune that could have only been recorded in 1971 or by Ozric Tentacles, and probably nowhere in between. Very cool.

I actually like this album better than the band's debut, although in the end I can't give it anymore than the three stars I gave that one simply because it is good but not outstanding. Three stars in a five star rating system is just too broad a range I guess. Anyway if you are curious at all about the band I would recommend this one first, followed by their debut record if you're still interested. And there's a CD reissue that combines both of them if you're feeling frisky and want to check them both out.

peace

Review by VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nš 283

The Flock was an American progressive rock band based in Chicago. Like many other prog acts from Chicago, The Flock was a prog/jazz/blues rock band from the late 60's and early 70's. However, they didn't achieve the commercial success of some other jazz/rock groups of that era such as Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, but were recognized for featuring a violin prominently on their recordings. The Flock claims to fame because were they that launched the violinist Jerry Goodman. Goodman went on to later fame when he becomes a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Later, he was also a member of the Dixie Dregs between 1992 and 2017, before starting a new career as a solo artist.

The Flock was founded in 1964. They released a few singles untill 1969, the year they released their debut studio album. So, between 1969 and 1971, The Flock released two studio albums, their eponymous debut 'The Flock' in 1969 and the second one 'Dinosaur Swamps' in 1971. Both albums have the presence of Jerry Goodman. They began working on a third studio album but with the recruiting of Goodman for the Mahavishnu Orchestra's project, The Flock fell apart. So, it was only in 1975, when The Flock reunited only briefly, that the band released their third studio album 'Inside Out'.

However, in 2004 a new album was released of a 1973 live concert called 'Live In Europe', which features Michael Zydowsky on violin in place of Goodman and includes the original members Fred Glickstein, Jerry Smith, and Ron Karpman. Finally, a fourth studio album was released in 2014, 'Heaven Bound ' The Lost Album'. As it name indicates, the album has 70's lost recordings from the band recently discovered. These recordings were never released before.

So, 'Dinosaur Swamps' is the second studio album of The Flock and was released in 1971. The line up on the album is Jerry Goodman (vocals, violin and guitar), Fred Glickstein (lead vocals, guitars and Hammond organ), Jerry Smith (vocals and bass guitar), Rick Canoff (vocals and tenor saxophone), Frank Posa (trumpet), John Gerber (vocals, alto and tenor saxophones, flute and banjo) and Ron Karpman (drums).

'Dinosaur Swamps' has an intricate gatefold artwork, which is a reproduction of a mural of pterosaurs, flying reptiles, at the American Museum of the Natural History, painted by Constantine Astori and A. Brown in 1942. It shows a host of pterosaurs flying and clinging to cliffs above an ancient beach. Into this iconic piece of paleoart, the band's members of The Flock have been inserted in the painting and they are looking to those flying reptiles with different expressions.

'Dinosaur Swamps' shows the band more at home with their prog and jazz sensibilities, than its predecessor debut. It's perhaps even more progressive, and completely bewildering. This is a very dense sounding album. Usually, Glickstein using both guitar and keyboards and Goodman playing at the same time, frequently the horns as well, both get a larger role effect into the album. The songs are in general very good. Still, the band seems to have too many musical ideas.

'Dinosaur Swamps' has seven tracks. The first track 'Green Slice' is a brooding instrumental. It has some melodic sax accompanied by swirling organ, and seques into the bluegrass feel of 'Big Bird'. It's interesting to hear the combination of country fiddle and a full horn section, and comes across like the early Dixie Dregs if they jammed with Chicago. The strong country feel on 'Big Bird' is pretty evident. The third track 'Hornschmeyer's Island' is a more straightforward pop tune with a very psychedelic feel, very indicative of the late 60's San Francisco hippy sound, which makes that it sounds a bit dated by today's standards. The fourth track 'Lighthouse' is heavier than the predecessor tracks. Overall this is a heavy rock number with throbbing bass lines from Jerry Smith, Glickstein's power chords, and a raging horn section. The fifth track 'Crabfoot' is mostly an instrumental track with plenty of trumpet and saxophone. It's a symphonic blues jazz number with percussion solos, backwards noises and a strange horn noise section. The sixth track 'Mermaid' is a sort of a romantic British folk sounding minstrelly ballad with a complex little ditty featuring violins, trumpet, and medieval sounding vocals. Perhaps the band pre-dates Gentle Giant on the song 'Mermaid'. The seventh track 'Uranian Sircus' closes the album with a jangly of guitar rock. This is a very cool way to finish the album.

Conclusion: I must confess that I like very much of 'Dinosaur Swamps'. It was a real good surprise for me. It's better than I thought after my first listening of it. This is an album very fun despite it sounds too much to the 60's. I'm not really a great fan of the 60's, in general. By the other hand, it also has too much influences of country music, of which I'm not a great fan either. Still, the album is full of playful music. I'm sure these guys seemed to have fun doing what they do, which is a great thing. I think 'Dinosaur Swamps' ranges several styles of music, probably too much on the same album. And maybe it even sounds too much dated too. However, despite all I said before, I think the final result is a very good album, a great collection of great songwriting and performance. So, after some hesitation I give to it 4 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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