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PRAISE THE LOAD

The Load

Symphonic Prog


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The Load Praise The Load album cover
2.84 | 16 ratings | 4 reviews | 31% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fandango
2. Flyaway
3. Brandenburg #3
4. Dave's 'A' Song
5. The Betrayal
6. The William Tell Overture
7. Sit Down (bonus track)
8. She Calls My Name

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Sterling Smith / keyboards
- Dave Hessler / guitar, bass
- Tommy Smith / drums, percussion


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THE LOAD Praise The Load ratings distribution


2.84
(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
31%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(12%)
12%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)
12%

THE LOAD Praise The Load reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This album strikes me as a collection of semi-serious musings by a couple of seventies Midwest suburbia kids who either spent a lot of their free time at the Lowry Organ & Piano store in their local mall, or maybe snuck some time in on their church’s Wurlitzer after services. The seventies Midwest suburbia types is pretty much accurate; not sure where they cut their musical teeth. In any case they undoubtedly listened to a lot of seventies keyboard music back then, and I suspect they had some classical training as well.

This is a pretty entertaining record, although getting your hands on the original vinyl release would be pretty difficult. Fortunately the album was reissued on CD in the nineties, and that one isn’t very hard to find. There are basically two types of tracks here – keyboard-crazed instrumentals, and keyboard-crazed instrumentals with vocals. The lineup is a trio consisting of brothers Tom and Sterling Smith, plus guitarist Dave Hessler. Apparently Sterling Smith has subsequently made a career of session work, no surprise since his keyboard skills are readily apparent all over this album. The other two have appeared as part of “America’s Favorite Party Band” the Danger Brothers for the past quarter-century. So they’ve managed to make a living in the industry, albeit not playing this type of music. But they have this and one other early recording and their memories, which is nice I suppose.

The opening track “Fandango” is an eleven minute instrumental featuring what sounds like acoustic guitar, slightly syncopated and lively drumming, and a whole cornucopia of Hammond and synth keyboard passages that are pretty entertaining and kind of impressive for the skill of Sterling Smith’s fast fingers if nothing else.

“Flyaway” features more detailed keyboard work and electric guitar, well done except for the harmonized and uncredited vocals which are quite dated-sounding and kind of pithy in their lyrics. This one sounds like a hundred different forgotten seventies bands, but wouldn’t have been too bad on the radio back then.

“Brandenburg #3” is another instrumental, mostly keyboards, and quite a bit shorter than “Fandango” but with the same kind of lively tempo. Smith seems to favor string synths, which is okay since he plays them quite well.

The Hammond and some electric piano are featured on “Dave’s ‘A’ Song”, and this is the one that reminds me of those Lowry organ showrooms in the malls back in the seventies. Peppy tempo, light and lively progressions, but not a whole lot of substance. This clocks a little over seven minutes but actually seems a lot longer than that.

There’s a short blast of the “William Tell Overture” included which is almost all organ, with a few synth flourishes for good measure. Heck, why not?

The longest and probably most ambitious track is “The Betrayal”, an eleven minute blend of funky bass, light guitar, and almost jazzy drum work. Again the featured instruments are the various keyboards, although they are a bit more subdued here. I think this is some kind of religious-themed song, but the lyrics are a little hard to follow since they almost seem like an afterthought added once the instrumental tracks had been laid down. Again the vocals are very dated, but wouldn’t have been out of place thirty years ago when this was recorded.

There’s two ‘bonus’ tracks on the CD version, which is probably the only version anyone who doesn’t already own this is likely to find. Both are pretty good. “Sit Down” reminds me a bit of “Fandango” with its twangy guitar, off-beat drumming, and Wurlitzer-like keyboards. The lyrics are just silly, which probably explains why this one didn’t make the original release.

“She Calls My Name” sounds like a cross between the Nice and the Beach Boys circa the mid-seventies. Not a bad song, but nothing special.

Like I said, this is a pretty entertaining album, and the keyboard work is excellent. This isn’t an essential piece of progressive history or anything, but makes for a decent novelty piece on a symphonic rock collection. For American prog fans this one probably gets an extra star for its decidedly Styx-meets-Church-lady keyboard passages. I’d say three stars, almost 3.5, is accurate.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#104581) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Praise the Load & pass on the CD. Unless you're head over heels in love with the B3 & vintage synths, this will be no more than a pleasant experience at best. Fandango, starts off the album in a decent manner, but it quickly becomes a case of where did I hear this before ? Flyaway slows things down ,with a rather formulaic prog melody, with a mid-piece that reminded me of a very bad Klaatu outtake. we will flyaway, indeed, if only they'd found a way to make this song rise above mediocrity. As they repeat the chorus ad nauseum, I would be driven crazy if not for the magic of remote controls. Brandenburg # 3 is, as can be expected a version of a Bach tune. ELP made a career out this, and more than one ELP wannabe built overly long careers re-interpreting classical music. The better ones, though , know that they have to bring something new to the table. Otherwise, why not just listen to the London Philharmonic or Glenn Gould play the stuff ? Dave's A Song starts off with a 60s type of organ riff that morphs into an electric piano jam with just bass & drums as backing. At the 4 minutes mark, I thought it was going to turn into an early Kansas riff due to the keyboard sound, but that didn't last. It goes back to a generic jam that most semi-advanced garage bands could pull off. Even the ending guitar solo is nothing to write home about. some nice noodling. The Betrayal - continues the lack of originality and lack of interesting music. Songs like these must be what anti proggers would use to illustrate this genre's reliance on a set of formulaic chord changes & vocals. Plus lyrics that would get a C in grade 9 poetry classes ! And then, we come to another classical music remake. Did I say that some groups really don't help themselves by pulling this schtick ? At one point, I thought that I was back in the 70s at our local skating rink , and that they were about to play Herb Alpert lonely Bull . We now get to the bonus tracks. Sit Down stands out only for words that recall a bit ( a very little bit) of Kevin Gilbert's lyrical bent on Shaming of the True (vis a vis the music industry) She calls my name - My God, is it followed by the words please please stop playing !

This is really not a treasure, and the only value, would be as a collectible. I would hazard a guess that the rarity of the LP is owed mostly to the fact that most of the buyers didn't bother to keep it around, and it probably found its' way to the curb for garbage pickup in the few neighbourhoods where someone had it. One of those albums where you just wonder ...

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Send comments to debrewguy (BETA) | Report this review (#201300) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The Load from USA was and is a quite unknown band in prog circles. Formed as atrio in 1973 releasing one album (if I don't count the later archival release from 1999) in 1976 named Praise the load and disbanded and gone into oblivion in 1979. Anyway this album is far from being bad, at least for me, I don't know why is so low rated, really. This is the type of prog dominated by keyboards, moog and synth in purest mid '70s tradition with classicla influences not far from ELP, Refugee, Greenslade or Yes tradition. I like that the album is quite dynamic in most of the parts with nice interplays between musicians, specially the keybordist Sterling Smith who has some spectacular parts on opening instrumental 11 min piece Fandango, quite great for my ears, the rest is also more then ok. All in all Praise the load was gone unotticed, even has some good moments on it. For me solid 3 stars for sure, maybe 3.5 stars in places, for the excellent opening track.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#1195816) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 19, 2014

Latest members reviews

5 stars First of all, I am surprised - there is still no one reviewed this amazing album before. The Load is keyboard driven blend of symphonic progressive rock generally in the vein of ELP, REFUGEE, early Rick Wakeman and Rick Van Der Linden (TRACE/EKSEPTION) very slightly touched by "American prog in ... (read more)

Report this review (#39848) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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