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SKY 3

Sky

Eclectic Prog


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Sky Sky 3 album cover
3.05 | 53 ratings | 7 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The grace (0:30)
2. Chiropodie No.1 (4:22)
3. Westwind (6:22)
4. Sarabande (3:03)
5. Connecting rooms (7:10)
6. Moonroof (4:03)
7. Sister Rose (4:31)
8. Hello (4:12)
9. Dance of the big fairies (3:30)
10. Meheeco (6:35)
11. Keep Me Safe and Keep Me Warm, Shelter Me from Darkness (0:54)

Total Time: 45:12

Bonus DVD (Esoteric Recordings 2015)
Live at Westminster Abbey, London, 24th February 1981
1. The Grace
2. Chiropodie 1
3. Sarabande
4. Sahara
5. Recuerdos de la Alhambra
6. Dance of the Little Fairies
7. Fifo
8. The Swan
9. The Whale
10. Scipio
11. Hello
12. Hotta
13. Keep Me Safe and Keep Me Warm, Shelter Me from Darkness
14. Toccata

Total Time Approximately 1 h 25 min

Line-up / Musicians

- Herbie Flowers / bass, tuba
- Tristan Fry / drums, percussion, vibraphone, marimba
- Steve Gray / keyboards
- Kevin Peek / guitars
- John Williams / guitars

Releases information

LP Ariola 3 / CD Alex Imports 2809 (1992)
CD+DVD: Esoteric Recordings, ECLEC22475 (2015)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Matti for the last updates
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Sky 3: DeluxeSky 3: Deluxe
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SKY Sky 3 ratings distribution


3.05
(53 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
4%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (45%)
45%
Collectors/fans only (15%)
15%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

SKY Sky 3 reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'Sky 3' saw keyboardist Steve Gray's entry in Sky's line-up in replacement of Francis Monkman. This factor lead to the instillation of a slightly (yet clearly) jazzier feel into the band's sound. Not that the classcial touch got missing; on the contrary, there's still pretty much of it. The brief opening and closing themes, the evocative 'Connecting Rooms', and the beautiful rendition of Haendel's 'Sarabande' (ah, those heavenly classical guitars,... and that harpsichord,... and those magnificent synth layers...) are awesome samples of Sky's stylish symphonic facet. Yet, you can tell that the repertoire, as a whole, gives more room to jazz fusionesque (and sometimes funky) ambiences. Just to mention a few examples, 'Chiropodie No. 1', 'Meheeco' (a spectacular piece, full of exotic Mexican-like nuances), 'Sister Rose', and the delicate ballad 'Hello'. Gray's role is more subdued in comparison to that of Monkman's in the first two Sky recordings. Though he does solo every now and then, it is clear that he is more comfortable creating layers and chord progressions while his two guitarist partners come to the fore most of the time. Fry, as always, exhibitis his excellency on drums and some tuned percussion devices, and Flowers does a damn great job on his precise bass lines, and occasionally, contrabass (once again, I have to mention that magical piece titled 'Meheeco'). These guys are serious musicians (Willliams is not only classically trained, but also has gained worldwide recognition for his infinite finesse on the nylon strings since the late 60s), but they can always find a way to show off their amusing side: the most blatant case is Flowers penned 'Dance of the Big Fairies', a tuba-based number where the acoustic guitars, piano and harpsichord travel from circus merry spirit to Baroque to Greek folk dance - this only shows you that prog can also be fun and genius at once! Of all Kevin Peek numbers (he's the most proficientwriter in the band), 'Westwind' must be the most accomplished one, and a definite highlight of the album, indeed. The aforementioned 'Sarabande', 'Meheeco' and 'Connecting Rooms' (the latter, an exquisite 3-part mini-suite penned by drummer Fry but with the guitar and keyboards alternating the leading role) are, in my opinion, the other album's peaks. All in all, an excellent addition to any prog collection: it's true that Monkman's special magic is gone, but again, Sky remains a very creative band.
Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars Third album (as you might have guessed), but still nothing new under the sun, Sky is still unable to get excited about their music and understandably so, neither are most of the listener or even less the demanding proghead. Don't get me wrong; the average symphonic proghead will probably consider Sky as very interesting especially if he loves Camel, Happy The Man or even softer prog such as Alan Parsons and Ambrosia. Not a note out of place, AND IT IS A DAMN SHAME!!!!! I mean this flawless (but listless and the era in which it was recorded in will do nothing to better the mediocrity), slick (but lacklustre), instrumental (but from the choice of music, it might just as well be), never gets nervous, never gets you to perk your attention and this taking the cake is mostly about ripping off the classical masters. But unlike their Dutch counterparts like Trace or Ekseption, they do it with a kind of grace and style that makes more acceptable to the demanding proghead. But this album does not even come close to its predecessor, as it is downright so bland that the lack of flavour might just make it slightly stinky. However, this group's entire discography (I will stop at this one) is hardly worthy your investigation unless you own a few sky-scrappers and you want some progressive elevator music or you own a supermarket chain and you want some slightly better muzak.

If you must really investigate avoid this one and try on of the first two albums, because compared to them (at least there were some qualities to those), this one belongs to the vertical files.

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A pleasant, unassuming prog disc. This album by Sky is akin to a nice stroll down a country path. Sounding like Happy The Man lite, it's a bit jazzy with classical guitar, tuba! and harpsicord, (NOT all in one song, btw ;-). Not your most complicated prog, but if you're in the mood for some easy-listening and would like to play something nice for friends not into prog, this might fit the bill. Can't exactly call it essential, but it's at least good.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Both "Sky 2" and "Sky 3" were pressed in Yugoslavia shortly after they had been released. Although the former was quite popular, I purchased "Sky 3" on cassette tape because at that time I did not own a record player and this title I saw in tape format. Apart from several pleasant but unimaginative instrumental tracks that enjoyed considerable radio and TV play as background for commercials, the whole album made no significant impression on me. Fair but emotionless instrumentalist performance, some classical re-works and overall muzak style can be nice for housewives but not for a demanding prog listener. The album is not entirely bad and occasional spins can relax you, but nothing more than that.
Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars SKY lost a great deal when they lost Francis Monkman.

The stellar musicianship continues, as does the playfulness, necessary to offset the imposing nature of the music they play. But the progressive sensibilities are dimished here, and on subsequent SKY recordings they fade into the background. And from this album onward one gets the sense that SKY had lost their desire to try something new, and worked within the limits imposed by their formula.

The album starts with a gentle acoustic introduction, is followed by a standard SKY rocker with a few solos, and in turn by one of the three interesting pieces ('Westwind'). This, along with 'Connecting Rooms' and 'Meheeco', would not have been out of place on their magnificent previous album. Here they stretch themselves with time changes and complex melodies that intertwine and counterpoint. One wonders, however, what Monkman's superior compositional skills might have added to even these excellent pieces.

This is competent instrumental music that is sometimes elevated to excellent, but never reaches the heights seen on SKY'S first two releases. Those looking for a taste of classical/jazz/rock instrumental music with far more integrity than muzak or 'Hooked on Classics' would do well to acquire either Sky1 or Sky2. This album is for those wanting a little more of the same.

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
4 stars While parts of the excellent "Sky 2" implied a certain commercial concession to "classical pop", those aspects are virtually dispensed with on "Sky 3", perhaps the influence of newcomer Steve Gray. Moreover, while the group's relatively tame style may be irksome to some, within the context of its time this is still a rather bold endeavour.

Apart from its more understated nature - just listen to the marvelous and dignified "Chiropodie" and Handel's "Sarabande" if you need proof - the other major progression is in the jazzier accents, which suit this formation to a T. Tunes like "Westwind" and "Sister Rose" more than suggest a pull towards that idiom, and even the relatively rocking "Moonroof". While "Dance of the Big Fairies" is like "Tuba Smarties Part 2", "Meheeco" is not nearly what the bastardized title suggests. It's a full fledged prog number with spanish guitars, a worldly beat, and a kitchen sink approach to a finale that stands as SKY's ultimate moment as a band.

Some of the material is a bit more languid than most of us would like, in particular "Hello", which sounds like CAMEL on downers, if you get my drift. "Connecting Rooms" is,the quantitative centerpiece, but unfortunately that's all that can be said, as it abruptly switches between mundane themes. But on the whole this is the equal if not the peer of its predecessor, even if it might not propel the demanding progger skyward. 3.5 stars rounded up.

Review by jamesbaldwin
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When I was 20, I read an old Italian encyclopaedia of rock and I got curious about strange bands (in fact those of progressive rock), like Sky, or Van der Graaf, mixing rock music with classical music or playing strange instruments like an electric saxophone. So I looked for Sky vinyls, but they were nowhere to be found. Then one day my father took me home Sky3, who had found in Lyon, France. In that record Steve Gray entered the Sky line-up to replace the famous Francis Monkman. And so in my record collection Sky3 appears but not the first two, considered excellent.

When I listened to the album I had a lot of expectations, but I was quite disappointed even if the sound of the disc was very good, clear: unlike the wall of sound of Phil Spector, you felt very good and distinct instruments, close as if they played in front of our ears .

The short opening and closing themes (both by Flowers) are not significant. The first track is easy listening at the end; in fact, it was chosen as a single. Westwind, written by Peek, is quite good, but does not take off; and then, finally a great piece: Sarabande. Excellent. But the credit belongs to Mr. Georg Friedrich Haendel, although the arrangement of John Williams is excellent. The last song of the side A, "Connecting Rooms", by the drummer Fry, is a nice surprise: a wonderful mini suite with three movements, which goes from romantic, to sweet, to twilight, to the enthusiast. Magnificent piece, the best of the album.

The second side begins, like the first, with a well-beaten piece, then come the two compositions of Gray, which in my opinion are the weak point of the album, especially the slow and discharged "Hello". Gray does not seem particularly original and creative to me. The album is redeemed in the final with the huge circus number of "Dance of the Big Fairies", an entertaining piece with an irresistible performance of the tuba, with piano and harpsichord to delineate a folk dance, whether Greek or Arabic is not known. "Meeheeco" follows, from the Mexican inflections, another good piece (in both there is the hand of Flowers), then the final track.

The peaks of the album are Connecting Rooms and DanceBF; in the second instance Meeheeco. Sarabande is the other peak. The rest of the Lp is quite mediocre, however always dignified ... I wonder how the first two albums are with Monkman, I suppose more originals. Maybe I will find them. This is an album however discreet. Vote 7+. Three stars.

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