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High Tide

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High Tide High Tide album cover
3.77 | 180 ratings | 16 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Blankman Cries Again (8:28)
2. The Joke (9:29)
3. Saneonimous (14:30)

Total time 32:27

Bonus tracks on 2006 & 2010 remasters:
4. The Great Universal Protection Racket (15:45)
5. The Joke (7:44)
6. Blankman Cries Again (8:25)
7. Ice Age (3:25)

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Hill / electric & acoustic guitars, organ, vocals
- Simon House / electric violin, organ, piano
- Peter Pavli / bass
- Roger Hadden / drums, piano, pipe organ

Releases information

Artwork: Joanna Enderby-Smith

LP Liberty - LBS 83294 (1970, UK)

CD Repertoire Records ‎- REP 4413-WY (1994, Germany)
CD Eclectic Discs ‎- ECLCD 1038 (2006, Europe) Remastered by Paschal Byrne with 4 bonus tracks recorded in 1970, previously unreleased
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2203 (2010, UK) With 4 bonus tracks remastered by Ben Wiseman

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy HIGH TIDE High Tide Music

HIGH TIDE High Tide ratings distribution

(180 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

HIGH TIDE High Tide reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
4 stars High Tide actually was one of the few bands here that I discovered before it has been added to the archives. I have to say I like their second release a bit more than their highly acclaimed (well I guess by Metal- and not by Prog fans) debut.

The opener is starting quite fine in fact and of course the electric violin is great. Neverthess the song doesn't offer too much variation later on for its length and starts becoming a bit boring, but still a fairly good hardrock song. Second track The Joke is done very much better starting with a bit odd classical intro and offering much more variation with some more heavy sections and as well some more in a folk-ish vein with very nice violin. Highlight of the very short album is of course the over 14 minutes long Saneonimous. It starts with great guitar lines, violin playing a second different voice and very good rhythm section. Then there is a second part starting acoustically with guitar and some piano until violin and vocals are entering. Really excellent! Then a short guitar solo and things are becoming more heavy again for quite a while with fantastic guitar riffing and violin playing. Finally there is again a more quiet part similar to the middle one.

I'm not quite sure whether this album is really an essential one in Prog and moreover it just has a bit more than half an hour and only 2 tracks of the 3 are really excellent. Still I'd like to rate it with 4 star since I like it quite a lot. Actually I combined their first two albums on a CD and if you do like this you end up with a rather versatile album with more than one hour of great music and

an excellent addition to any prog collection!

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars High Tide's second eponymous album is a big step forward , mostly due to a better sound but also to the much greater place allowed for instrumental forrays into improvisations. However , I find the album a bit short even if the shorter track is 8,5 mins!!! Compensated by a stunning artwork, it is a seminal proto-prog or proto-prog-metal album.

If the opener does not spark any enthusiam into me , however The Joke is anything but one. The lenghty interplay between Simon House's violin and Tony Hill's hysteric guitar lines/riffs/heroic solos is very amusing and induce a short trance reinforced by a very subtile raga music influence. But clearly the centerpiece of the album is the 14 min+ Sanenonymous with an extensive soloing , great interplay and great virtuosity. The palette of sound is also enriched by KBs although they stay discreet and are not dominant.

One of those albums that could've been a cornerstone had it gotten a bigger public notice. High Tide will not really disband but will not record more albums until the mid-80's. Only Simon House will be in public domain with contributions to Third Ear band and latter Hawkwind - a band that shares a few similarities with High Tide. Prefer this album to the rather sloppy debut.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album would deserve more than 4 stars if it were a bit longer. As it is, even none of the three tracks is shorter than 8 minutes, the longest clocking in at almost 15 minutes, it is hardly more than a glorified EP. However, the sound quality is miles ahead of their debut, the highly-rated "Sea Shanties"; the compositions are also more accomplished, relying less on the rawer, wall-of-sound effects of the former album and more on clarity and complexity of sound textures. The overall effect is dark and intense but also elegantly intriguing, with a vaguely oriental tinge.

The album opens with "Blankman Cries Again", which provides a link with the previous record's heavier, darker sound. The band's trademark interplay between violin and guitar is still there, though along more sophisticated, clearer lines. The aggressive electricity of the debut is toned down, as in "The Joke", featuring an acoustic coda in which the sound of Simon House's violin assumes an almost lyrical quality. The album's closer, the epic "Saneonymous", starts with a magnificent, virtuosic dialogue between guitar and violin, underpinned by pounding, intricate bass lines, before Tony Hill's evocative voice kicks in - wistful and romantic; then it's time for an extended, distorted guitar solo, which stops almost abruptly and changes into another vocal interlude, accompanied by some beautiful violin playing.

Though the four musicians are all very accomplished, the violin is still the undisputed protagonist of the band's sound: Simon House gets too easily overlooked (in favour of more famous musicians such as Eddie Jobson or David Cross) when discussing prog violinist - which is a pity, as both High Tide albums show what a superb musician he is.

The album's stunning cover artwork is pure '70s, in a way describing the musical content perfectly: a riot of colours and crazy shapes on a black background. Call it proto-prog, art-rock or proto-prog-metal, this great record may fall short of a true masterpiece, but it is nonetheless almost essential listening to any dedicated prog fan. Very highly recommended.

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Split Personality

This incarnation of High Tide has two distinct characters: on one side we have some classic melodic Prog songs; while on the other are largely free-form instrumentals. Each is enjoyable in its own way but the marriage is not entirely successful. This disparity of styles suggests they were a band in search of direction. Had they persevered with the symphonic Prog of the core songs I feel they could have become major players to rival Genesis or Yes, but they needed to focus on that and reduce or refine the improvisational elements.

The songs central to these three tracks are very good, excellently arranged and performed albeit in a somewhat rough-and-ready manner, worthy additions to a song-based Prog collection. Tony Hill's multi-tracked singing voice is an essential ingredient as it adds a delicious sense of melancholy, though the sparser treatment in The Joke is less successful, not helped by his struggle to reach some notes. Lyrics about the inner self, search for enlightenment etc, are suitably enigmatic and obtuse though at least they sound 'right'.

The remainder is instrumental, mostly centreing on improvised solos/duets from violin and guitar during free-form jam sessions. Inevitably, some works better than others. To my ears, Simon House's violin runs are far more enjoyable than Hill's guitar, mainly because Hill often takes little notice of what is happening around him whereas House performs sympathetically with drums and bass. Generally, I find Hill's guitar work is best when working within an arranged structure either as a harmony pair with House, or as a foundation for House's solos. But, each to his own!

These two elements - song and instrumental - are crudely stitched together into tracks. For example, the instrumental part of Blankman Cries Again starts very abruptly, while in Saneonymous each part reaches an end before the next part begins. In other words, there is no attempt to flow one section into another, to make us believe they belong together [like, for example, Supper's Ready]. This is perhaps a symptom of the band's relative innocence.

The two part Blankman Cries Again opens the album in fine style. The first part is a lovely perky sub-three minute song infused with pathos by Hill's multi-tracked vocals. The longer [perhaps too long!] second part is a hypnotic space jam based on a simple two-chord riff overlaid by violin and guitar improvisations.

The Joke is in three parts. Part one is a cluttered mixture of instrumental bits-and-pieces: some scales; some jazz-inflected twiddly-dee; changes of tempo; and nice melodies. Pretty good going for barely over two minutes! Part two is an excellent song with big majestic organ chords in a nice flowing verse, slow and stately yet slightly psychedelic in places before developing into a superior jam session. Part three is a cute but irrelevant unplugged folky tune led by violin on a bedrock of acoustic guitar.

Saneonymous is in four parts but constructed so that in reality it is two parts which repeat. Part one is an instrumental workout, beginning with a structure from which the soloists progressively deviate before returning to the theme. Finally a change of key heralds a rather stuttery bridge before it comes to a halt. Part two is another excellent mid-paced song, with spacey organ, acoustic guitars, pounding drums and more of those rich multi-tracked vocals and omni-present violin. This is perhaps the most accomplished song of the three on this album. Part three repeats part one, while part four repeats part two with different vocals and some effective wah-wah guitar soloing on an extended intrumental coda.

Overall this is a good Prog album, a product of its time yet in some ways ahead of its time, with echoes (or pre-echoes) of Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Cream and Hawkwind all wrapped up in an endearingly loose late '60s production. It has its merits, but for me, there is not enough substance and too many flaws for an unqualified recommendation, especially considering a short running time.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars In my opinion this is a huge improvement over their debut. They have added acoustic guitar, organ and piano. Also the bass now stands out perhaps due to the much clearer sound as the production is much better. This is a short record though with 3 songs worth about 33 minutes. This is a much more progressive offering as well when compared to "Sea Shanties".

"Blackman Cries Again" has some good lyrics that are sung in an almost mechanical way.They're good as the violin and guitar melodies tastefully play. Actually the last 6 minutes of the song are pure instrumental music. "The Joke" opens with some nice intricate guitar work as the violin joins in. The song stops 2 1/2 minutes in and restarts with guitar, vocals and organ. I really like this section. A good guitar melody follows with some throbbing bass lines 6 minutes in.The violin is back 7 1/2 minutes in to end the song. "Saneonymous" sounds like the DIXIE DREGS for 4 minutes until it stops and restarts with acoustic guitar and some powerful pipe organ.Then we get some vocals 5 minutes in with some mournful violin. Another change 7 minutes in as we are treated to a guitar / violin melody. 10 1/2 minutes in it changes again to a beautiful mellow passage to end the song.

Short but sweet you could say, and well deserving of 4 stars.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars High Tideīs self titled second album from 1970 continues the great jamming heavy prog rock tradition that they initiated with Sea Shanties from 1969. Personally to me Sea Shanties is one of the greatest heavy and dark prog rock albums of the late sixties. A real hidden treasure. This album is almost as good yet a bit more jamming and unstructured.

The album consists of only three tracks: Blankman Cries Again, The Joke and Saneonimous. All three songs are pretty long ( ranging from 8:28 to 14:30 minutes) and contains short dark vocal sections and long jam sections where violin and heavily distorted guitar almost dual for a place in the solo spotlight. These jam parts are very enjoyable and remember this comes from a man who is not particularly excited about long jams. Here the jamming is done with great skill and variation and even though the jam parts are pretty long they still seem partially structured.

The band consists of great musicians. Tony Hill has a very dark and intriguing voice which reminds me of Jim Morrison at times and his distorted guitar playing is excellent and with lots of finesse. Simon House who plays electric violin and organ is also an extraordinaire musician. The rhythm section of Roger Hadden on drums and Peter Pavli on bass are also adventerous and tight.

The sound quality is very good for the time. Dark and intriguing.

The cover art is not as beautiful as on their debut but itīs still an excellent psychadelic cover.

This is a great sophmore album from High Tide. Itīs really a shame they are not more famous as they really are an excellent band. This would be their last studio album in quite some time ( the follow up Interesting Times was released in 1989), but a lot of archive recordings from the seventies have been released in the early nineties. I havenīt listened to them yet but I intent to do just that very soon. 4 stars is well deserved for this brilliant dark and heavy album.

Review by The Whistler
3 stars (Smile When You Say 3.5)

Okay, who took the heavy away? Also, who cut the track list in half?!?

High Tide's second, eponymous, album is not quite the gut-busting, speaker-destroying treat that its predecessor was. Evidentially by 1970, Tony Hill was scared by Black Sabbath or jealous of King Crimson or something, so he decided to shift gears, trading Sea Shanties' heavy bleakness for something a little more lush...and artsy, that's for sure. There are KEYBOARDS this time around!

But the lads haven't totally lost it. "Blankman Cries Again" opens with some gorgeous, and nicely complex, violin riffage, and some depressing lyrics about dying in snow and all that. The riff replays a couple of times, and then, the whole affair turns into a lengthy jam all backed by a sturdy, if unimaginative, organ riff. I'm kind of sad that it's not so much a showdown between Hill and House as it is a "violin plays now...okay, segue into guitar...perfect!" Still, it's an enjoyable track, and the entire band plays brilliantly within and throughout, right up until the blistering end.

Unfortunately or not, that's the best song on the album; neither of the following two tracks live up to it. However, unfortunately or not, both of them contain little sparks of genius, so I can't condemn anything! Damn it... "The Joke" opens up with some "spooky atmospheric" jamming that really doesn't do too much for me. It is interesting, however, that when Hill starts singing, he once again drops his Morrison deadpan, this time singing in a much brighter voice. All in all, it just ends up with some more jamming, not terribly memorable, and would be largely lost on me...were it not for that wonderful ending! After slogging through all the evil jamming, we get this beautifully charming folksy finish, where House's violin...damn it, it reminds me Family it does.

The final track is the sidelong "Saneonymous," which has a brilliant name, and not much else. Okay, not true. For the first four minutes or so, it's just this aimless jamming exercise (seems that, along with Crimso's dark heavy guitar/violin interplay, High Tide also predicted their atonal jamming). But when it all calms down, there's a much more focused, almost gorgeous, heavy violin-led medieval folk melody, with lyrics that touch at chilling. Then, it's back to the jamming, and the medieval folk melody once more (plus a cool guitar solo tacked onto the fade) before High Tide clocks out.

You know what? I do believe that Simon House has become my favorite violinist is progressive rock. And, yes, that's including a bunch of guys: David Cross, Daryl Way, Eddie Jobson, that...that guy from Gentle Giant. Somehow, Simon's got 'em beat. He's a very skilled, adaptable musician, and it's really him that saves this album's butt.

And we have no one to thank other than Tony Hill for the album's butt being in the fire in the first place. I can only assume, as High Tide is his baby, that it's Hill who made all the conscious decisions for it. There are still plenty of choice riffs lying around, and he IS trying to diversify the sound (there is a decidedly folksy air to this one, which almost outshines the medieval/classical side of High Tide; it pretty much replaces the Gothy side though, that's for sure). Unfortunately, that's where it sort of falls. In trying to diversify the sound (read: ADD KEYBOARDS! The bastard...), Hill pretty much dropped the whole "unbearably heavy" sound of Sea Shanties.

But, by some bizarre fluke, there IS enough songwriting/atmospheric genius in this thing for it to still float. Of course, were it not for the folksy coda to "The Joke" or the slower, depressing vocal melody of "Saneonymous," I would gladly condemn them both to prog rocker hell, so it's a sometimes amusing "skin of their teeth" moment.

Musically, it IS a more solid album. Even with the lamer melodies and riffs, the band still chugs along towards the apocalypse with reckless abandon. Hill and House are certainly able to breathe impressive jams into the poor songs, if you're willing to totally let yourself go. The rhythm also seems much more...awake this time around; perhaps it's just the improved production values.

If you're looking for another "Futilist's Lament" or "Death Warmed Up," you're in the wrong place (although, do I not detect some of "Nowhere" in "Saneonymous?"). If you're just after more jamming ala Hill and House, you'll be satisfied. Hell, if you let yourself go, you might even be pleased. I know that for all my complaining, the album can still do it for me sometimes; where else am I gonna find more High Tide?

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars In a year's time, the band has matured quite a bit. Their second album also benefited of a much better production work which was not a difficult task when compared to their debut.

Simon House is still grandiose on the violin and vocals from Tony Hill are as close from Morrison than on their debut album. The opening track Blankman Cries Again is mostly instrumental and it is a showcase for Simon. He is really good in his play. The song is somewhat repetitive but it remains a very good piece of dark and heavy music.

Most of this album is made of instrumental parts which at times are rather jam oriented. It is the feeling I had with The Joke even if the final section features good violin (again) and sounds almost as a folk track.

The closing song (yes, only three tracks on the original album) Saneonymous that clocks at almost fifteen minutes, is more a collection of different songs than a one and only epic. Several parts (4) can be easily identified (there is a blank between each of them).

The first section is instrumental (as most of the album as I have already said) and is well in line with the heavy terminology. It last for about four minutes of pure violin joy. But not the classic and symphonic one: it is wild throughout. At times this sound reminds me Flock (even if both bands played in different categories).

The second one features fine vocals and is smoother, more polished and even mellow. Needless to say that the sustaining violin is superb. It is a great contrast with the following part which is very much like an improvisation. Great drumming and strong bass overall. And guess what: the forefront is 100% dedicated to the sublime violin. Even if it sounds more chaotic, this section is not shy of the other ones. The fourth and last part which lasts for about four minutes is the more melodic and catchy one. It develops a great melancholic feeling, the finale is just a wonderful and bombastic

In all, this album sounds less heavy than their debut and the prog feeling is more prominent. The first two albums from High Tide are available on one CD (but without bonus tracks).

This guy (Simon) really needs a standing ovation. He IS the heart & soul of this band. Without him, these two releases wouldn't have had the same appreciation, that's for sure.

Three stars for this second High Tide album.

Review by Warthur
4 stars High Tide's second album feels like a bit of a step down from Sea Shanties. With the flowering of the progressive rock movement, the band seem to deliberately tone down the heavier side of their music in order to present a more sensitive and artsier image, and in doing so accomplish only the watering down of their material's power. Simon House's violin is still an important presence in the music and on the whole the jams here are pleasant enough, but there aren't any passages which leap out and grab me by the throat in the same way the best portions of Sea Shanties did.
Review by stefro
3 stars A truly singular British outfit formed during 1969 who fused the shrieking tones of Simon House's electric violin with a crushingly-heavy rhythm section, High Tide can genuinely be called pioneers. One of the first truely heavy groups, the quartet of future Hawkwind violinist House, guitarist-and-vocalist Tony Hill, drummer Roger Hadden and bassist Peter Pavli produced some of the most primal and powerful music of the progressive rock era. Perhaps due to both the aggressive nature of their sound and the prevalent musical styles of the late- sixties, High Tide would struggle to find an audience, yet despite eventually splitting after less than two years together they did find the time to produce two exciting studio albums, with 1969's debut 'Sea Shanties' followed by 1970's eponymous follow-up. Both albums were issued by Liberty and marked High Tide out as a talented group with a distinct sound, though time has seen 'Sea Shanties' take most of the accolades with its starker, darker and heavier overall style perhaps seeming fresher first time around. By the time of 'High Tide', various folk ingredients had crept into the group's sound, though all three of the album's tracks still feature plenty of raw bluster, with Simon House and Tony Hill getting particularly wild on the epic, fourteen-and-a-half minute bruiser 'Saneonimous'. Although the lesser of the two, 'High Tide' still features its fair share of gritty moments, and all three extended tracks feature some breathtaking instrumental interplay. However, seeing as this was the heady days of the late 1960's, people just simply didn't know what to make of of this brash and aggressive new outfit, and after a fast start their once promising career stalled. Early pace-setters, even for progressive rock, High Tide would sadly become unable to continue, the deteriorating health of founding member Roger Hadden and the lack of commercial success leading to their decision to split during the latter half of 1970. Eyebrows were firmly raised, however, when nineteen years after splitting, two of the original members - Tony Hill and Simon House - formed a new version of High Tide, issuing the unimpressive 1989 'comeback' album 'Interesting Times' on cassette-only. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
Review by Matti
3 stars This British quartet was one of Heavy Prog's more interesting and pioneering bands. Please note that it's a genre I'm not very much friends with. But despite I didn't enjoy this album much, there were special things that help HIGH TIDE to stand out from the masses of Zeppelin/Purple followers. Most notably it's the electric violin of Simon House, who later appeared in the ever-changing line-up of HAWKWIND (e.g. the excellent Hall of the Mountain Grill). Also the compositions are relatively progressive within the sub-genre's early years, I suppose. Here there are only three of them. The front man is Tony Hill who reminds me of Jimi Hendrix, both as a guitarist (not that virtuoso, of course) and as a vocalist with a stiff and stuffy expression. Luckily the vocals are not very dominant. The dark-toned music is based on the guitar/violin interplay with folkish psychedelic flavour.

'Blankman Cries Again' (8:28) is rather boring to me even if it has a lot of heavy power. It feels too long. Also the final track 'Saneonimous' (14:30) left me cold. I enjoyed 'The Joke' (9:29) the best; especially on that track House's violin gets more space, and there are stronger contrasts whereas the two other tracks feel quite monotonous in their heaviness. The debut Sea Shanties (1969) didn't have keyboards at all as far as I know; here they enrich the sound but I wish there were more organ and piano (even if three members play organ, they don't get very notable status). Not my cup of tea exactly, but definitely worth checking out for all Heavy prog fans.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Late Sixties British hard rockers High Tide dropped a much-praised debut `Sea Shanties' in 1969 that has come to be regarded as an early example of heavy metal, and a ballsy attack of grinding guitars and battery of drums it proved to be! Much less appreciated is their self-titled follow-up from a year later, but if anything it actually adds more variety and has a refreshing rough-around-the-edges and shambling dirty quality that reminds of what some of the more adventurous German bands of the era would offer. `High Tide' grafts violin (courtesy of future Hawkwind and Third Ear Band member Simon House), alongside little touches of organ, piano and more acoustic guitar flavours this time around, and the LP offers fleeting moments of folk, raga-rock and acid elements woven to the relentless mud-thick sludgy guitars.

Scratchy electric violin intertwines around tricky twisting electric guitar runs throughout opener `Blankman Cries Again'. There's nothing in the way of the punishing obvious riffing of the first album here, instead it's replaced by a plodding slab-like stoniness and overwhelming heaviness that has more in common with Amon Duul 2's defining classic albums, with a wild freedom permeating the whole track. Guitarist Tony Hill's vocals don't hold the same Jim Morrison/Doors-like purr of the debut here, instead they have a more wasted lethargic groan with just a pinch of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour in brief moments.

There's teases of a classier violin sound in the introduction of `The Joke' but it's quickly all crunching drums and serrated guitar slivers, and a dustier raga-rock hypnotic hold takes a firm grip. Almost resembling a more ambitious Message, a more reckless Frumpy or a drowsier Pink Floyd, it culminates in a warmer embracing folk-flecked acoustic finale with very spirited and lightly swooning violin.

The ragged and wild second side `Saneonimous' is packed to the gills with a wonderfully grating and searing tone to the violin, sweetly murmuring bass and snarling acid-rock electric guitar wailing. The piece is constantly anchored by reprising themes and a slurred vocal refrain in between bouts of near-jazzy improvised jamming, making for a cool closer that somehow perfectly balances nicely shambling and energetic abrasiveness - all part of its charm!

Particular listeners will find some of the pieces overlong and repetitive, yet others will perhaps grumble that the disc is only thirty-two minutes long, but the production helps the music avoid being overly clean and helps it retain a grit, and there's a delicious acid-fried toughness that makes it easy to place the album alongside plenty of Krautrock discs. `High Tide' may not enjoy the belated reputation that the debut holds, but there's still much to recommend about it.

Four stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The TIDE comes in, the TIDE goes out. Such is the lesson of the UK's most promising prog rock band of 1969 with the phenomenal "Sea Shanties" where the heavy prog band HIGH TIDE that consisted of Tony Hill (electric & acoustic guitars, organ, vocals), Simon House (electric violin, organ, piano), Peter Pavli (bass) and Roger Hadden (drums, piano, pipe organ) lived up to their moniker and delivered a stunning display of musical fusion that delivered an intense interplay of early heavy metal, progressive rock and psychedelia with jazzy chords that focused on the folky of Simon House's violin screeches that traded off with Tony Hill's hard rock bombast and weirdly designed guitar solos. Debuting in the year 1969, HIGH TIDE was one of the premier prog rock bands that developed a unique style from the getgo that sounded utterly like no other, mostly due to the ample use of violin as a primary instrument in the context of a rock band.

However, all TIDEs must recede and that's exactly what happened with the sophomore release which was unexcitingly simply titled HIGH TIDE. The quartet tamped down the guitar heft of the debut and instead replaced it with an artier mix that included more piano, organ and acoustic guitar however the main combo pack punch of the guitar and violin were still in firm command of the musical processions. HIGH TIDE's second eponymous album originally consisted of a mere three tracks that was just shy of the 33 minute mark with each drifting past the 8 minute mark. While "Sea Shanties" delivered scorching proto-metal performances wrapped in progressive rock compositions, this self-titled debut takes a few cues from Tony Hill's previous psychedelic rock band The Misunderstood and lightens things up on this one in which the organ added the proper psych atmospheres to give this second coming a much spacier feel but make no mistake about it, Tony Hill still delivers some stellar guitar workouts as does Simon Hill on the violin. Overall the album focuses less on hairpin turns and progressive time signature frenzies and engages in long sprawling jam sessions most evident on the opening "Blankman Cries Again."

The opening track signifies an immediate stylistic shift from the debut as the compositions are more accessible. The violin has more of a folky sound and at the jazzier times evokes a sense of the future sounds of Jean-Luc Ponty in the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The album is primarily string based with the guitar, bass and violin all sharing more less equal turf as Hill's guitar dominion of the debut had clearly waned. While it could be argued that the three string sections along with the drums and organ touches deliver a more balanced approach to HIGH TIDE's unique sound, in the end it sounds a little lightweight in the shadow of the debut's sheer perfection. "The Joke" while exhibiting the classic HIGH TIDE touches also presents verses that sound a lot like early King Crimson which finds the band incorporating influences from the great KC that dropped their debut bombshell on the world and not so subtly announced that progressive rock was in town and was taking over the music scene for a while. Tony Hill's vocals are quite distinct but at times he's a dead ringer for Greg Lake's slower singing style.

I find the third and longest track "Saneonimous" to be the most interesting and the one closest to the debut's decked out progressive rock freneticism. While the track engages in the jamming sessions of the previous tracks, it's allowed a bit more freedom in changing up the dynamics as well as tempo changes and more time signature shifts and at nearly 15 minutes long manages to remain engaging helped greatly by the instantly addictive melody and Tony Hill's vocal style that fits perfectly in between the squealing violin runs and guitar and bass. Roger Hadden also deserves plaudits for a stellar percussive performance that manages to punctuate the busy polyrhythmic counterpoints of the strings. The atmospheric contributions often take a back seat but do add an artier mood during quieter passages.

As with "Sea Shanties," the second HIGH TIDE album also has a much better remastered release than the original album. Not only is the production sharply improved but it includes a monstrous essential bonus track in the form of the near 16 minute "The Great Universal Protection Racket" which equals anything else on this album and while the remaining three bonus tracks that include two alt versions of "The Joke" and "Blankman" along with the short "Ice Age" are of lesser value, they are not throwaway tracks either. While the TIDE was HIGH on "Sea Shanties," the sad truth was that all TIDEs must recede and therefore the second coming of this unique band was more like a LOW TIDE in comparison to the startling brilliant debut. While this second album may not be as immediate in its presentation and initially disappointing, many subsequent listens have substantially raised my opinion of it. It delivers an excellent mix of intricately designed prog rock only with the guitar heft of the debut tamped down. Unfortunately this marked the end of HIGH TIDE as Tony Hill, Peter Pavli and Roger Hadden moved on to work with Rustic Hinge as well as other acts. The band would reform in 1990 and release more albums but would never catch the magic of the early years. While the debut is superior, this is still an excellent release.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Although a little bit less heavy than their first album, Sea Shanties, their second album is undoubtably the most versatile release in the band's catolouge. There are some very many changes to High Tide's sound on this album, considering that they sort of left behind their signature guitar vs ... (read more)

Report this review (#404230) | Posted by Prisonburg | Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I have to agree with those who say that the second album of High Tide is a step down from their debut. The main problem here is that ALL of the songs are overlong. That was not really a problem on Sea Shanties, as that album had a sharper focus than this one. Blankman Cries Again starts off o ... (read more)

Report this review (#292938) | Posted by tired_feet | Sunday, August 1, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If I claimed Sea Shanties to be an essential prog album and that HIGH TIDE's second, self titled, album was even slightly better than it must be beyond essential. It is an abomination that this band isn't more well known. They brought with them a sheer force of musical power nearly unheard of ... (read more)

Report this review (#186943) | Posted by manofmystery | Sunday, October 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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