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Aragon Rocking Horse, and Other Short Stories from the Past album cover
3.90 | 78 ratings | 6 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rocking Horse (20:00)
2. Ghosts (studio) (7:48)
3. Secrets (7:06)
4. Touch (4:55)
5. Ghosts (live) (4:34)
6. Changes (5:43)

Total Time 50:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Les Dougan / vocals
- John Poloyannis / guitars
- Tom Behrsing / keyboards

- Rob Bacon / bass (1,3,6)
- Tony Italia / drums (1,3,5,6)

Releases information

Artwork: Willebrord Elsing with Steven Van der Hoeff (photo)

CD SI Music ‎- SIMPLY 23 (1993, Netherlands)

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ARAGON Rocking Horse, and Other Short Stories from the Past ratings distribution

(78 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ARAGON Rocking Horse, and Other Short Stories from the Past reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars A past that tells a story of a future that never was

To fill the gap between 1992's The Meeting and 1995's Mouse, Aragon released Rocking Horse And Other Stories From The Past in 1993. This album contains material that dates from before the band's debut album, Don't Bring The Rain. This means that the material featured here goes back to the band's early days sometime in the 80's. It is unclear to me whether it is the compositions only that date from before the band's debut album and that the present recordings of these songs were made later, or if even the recordings themselves date from before Don't Bring The Rain. Regardless of which, the sound quality of these recordings, though not perfect, is actually better than that of the debut album itself. Interestingly, and this is the important part, the compositions also by far outshine those that actually made it onto Don't Bring The Rain. Indeed, to have such great pieces as the 20 minute Rocking Horse and the haunting Ghosts on their hands and decide not to include them on their first album release cannot be explained by anything else than bad judgment or possibly by pure madness! The songs featured here are generally excellent and certainly include some of the best songs the band ever did.

The song Ghosts appear twice, first in a studio version and then in a live version. This emphasizes the compilation nature of this album and distracts somewhat from its inherent qualities. If I allow myself to dream a bit, I would say that had Aragon released a full-length studio album containing the best songs from the present collection plus good-sounding versions of the very best songs from Don't Bring The Rain and The Meeting, they would doubtlessly have a truly excellent album on their hands. As they stand, however, none of these releases deserve a higher rating. Still, I would say that at least Rocking Horse (the track) is essential listening for any fan of Neo-Progressive Rock.

Recommended, but not excellent all the way

Review by Warthur
5 stars I have to agree with SouthSideoftheSky here in saying that the pre-Don't Bring the Rain demos collected on Rocking Horse are truly excellent, and I'm also baffled that fantastic songs such as Rocking Horse or Ghosts weren't included on the band's debut album. Had these pieces been released in the latter half of the 1980s, when they were originally recorded, the entire history of the band might have been very different and they might have been held in much greater esteem than that they enjoy today.

Combining a Marillion-inspired theatrical neo-prog approach - singer Les Dougan rivals Fish when it comes to emotionally expressive vocals in the neo mould - with more prominent and varied keyboard work, at points drawing more on the progressive electronic genre than on the symphonic prog keyboardists most neo-proggers found inspiration in, the band come up with a truly original and haunting sound which is express perfectly in the songs collected here. It's rare that I feel inclined to give what is essentially an odds-and-sods collection a high mark, but in this case I feel compelled to. The band's decision to hold back this material - only releasing it after the neo-prog high water mark had come and gone - must surely go down as one of the greatest strategic blunders on the part of any neo-prog band.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Aragon seemed to work fine even with the trio of Behrsing, Poloyannis and Dougan and after ''The meeting'' they decided to go on with this reduced line-up.In 1993 a third, now full-length, album of the band came out on the Dutch SI label.Entitled ''Rocking Horse and Other Short Stories From the Past'', this work contains 6 tracks of reworked material that predates even the first album of Aragon.

''Rocking horse'' is actually the track that dominates the album, clocking at exactly 20 minutes, and featuring some very interesting work by the band.Its first part is dedicated to a very lyrical Neo Progressive Rock with limited instrumental parts but a great performance by Dougan on vocals with both sensitive and more aggresive singing.The second part though is exclusively instrumental with floating keyboards, powerful grooves and some more dreamy passages, a bit too long but still decent.The ''Other Short Stories From the Past'' of the title refers to the next sum of tracks, written in mid-80's, and offering catchy and lyrical Neo Prog with good breaks, incredible theatrical vocals, decent keyboard work and an overall nice performance by Aragon.A couple of these though suffer from flexibility with long hypnotic keyboard parts close to Electronic Music and distorted vocals, not what one would expect by the Aussies.

Despite its flaws this album is another pleasant listening experience by Aragon, mainly because of Les Dougan's superb vocals and the deep atmospheres the band could create with ease.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars In my (very) humble opinion, this masterpiece is really worth to include in hypothetic "Neo-Prog Hall of Fame" (along with selected releases of MARILLION, PENDRAGON, IQ, ARENA, etc.). These guys managed to create an atmosphere of old prog-rock, that refers to bands like GENESIS, YES, CAMEL. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#1340111) | Posted by groon | Sunday, January 4, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Masterpiece of Progressive rock! I'll explain why: although the sound can remember Marillion, i think Aragon doesn't have any influences of it, but it's influenced by Mike Oldfield for the keyboards and the vibes that they use, and Genesis and Rush for the theatrical and expressive vocals. The music ... (read more)

Report this review (#376067) | Posted by Aragon | Friday, January 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After 15 years of prog listening, there are a lot of songs that keep coming back into your life from time to time BUT there are a few that always stays with you. Rocking horse is just one of them. Amazing lyrics with a contrasted music (from mildest to most frantic). This song is priceless so if yo ... (read more)

Report this review (#853) | Posted by | Friday, April 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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