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Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom

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Big Hogg biography
Founded in Glasgow, UK in 2006

BIG HOGG is an progressive rock sextet led by main songwriter Justin LUMSDEN; he is joined by Sophie SEXON, Richard MERCHANT, Ross McCRAE, Alasdair C. MITCHELL and Nigh GAUGHAN as well as other guest musicians from Glasgow area. The group plays an innovative take on the music of the late 60s and early 70s, predominantly the combination of psychedelic folk rock, blues, brass instruments and British fusion of the time, like a combination of JETHRO TULL and SOFT MACHINE for example. The resulting albums can be recommended to fans of the Canterbury sound which is given an occasional homage not just in musical similarities but also an open dedication in one of the songs to Robert WYATT.

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BIG HOGG discography

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BIG HOGG top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 15 ratings
Big Hogg
3.71 | 24 ratings
3.12 | 11 ratings
Pageant of Beasts

BIG HOGG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BIG HOGG Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BIG HOGG Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Early Birds 2010-2012

BIG HOGG Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BIG HOGG Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pageant of Beasts by BIG HOGG album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.12 | 11 ratings

Pageant of Beasts
Big Hogg Canterbury Scene

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars One of the things which makes Big Hogg stand out from so many bands is their heavy use of brass and woodwind, so much so that I am sure this is the first time I have ever seen anyone listed as playing second flugelhorn. This Canterbury- style band produce music which probably sounded out of place by the mid-Seventies, let alone in 2021 when this was released. For this their third album they have now brought Martin Beer into the band, and this is inspired as his touch on both electric and double bass is sublime, often holding the melodic line together and providing that crucial lynch pin with the drums. The sextet all have multiple roles, and then they have used another six musicians, and with this there is the impression that something got lost in translation.

It feels somewhat smothering at times, as if there is just too much going on for anyone to really make sense of it, with different elements over-riding others as opposed to enhancing them. This makes it quite a dense album to take in, and the vocals are not as good as they might be, sometimes quavering and missing pitch which combine to make this often quite a difficult listen. There are times when the music is genuinely interesting and inspired whereas at others I found myself wondering just how much longer it was until the end of the album, which is never a good place to be. This is the first Big Hogg album I have come across so cannot comment if this is better or worse than the others to date, but for me the overall result is something which is listenable as background music but not one to which I can see myself readily returning.

 Pageant of Beasts by BIG HOGG album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.12 | 11 ratings

Pageant of Beasts
Big Hogg Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I'm a bit surprised to see this album--from a modern "Canterbury"-style band--receiving no reviews yet. This is the (I thought) popular band's third album since their debut in 2015.

1. Golden Beasts (0:30) horns like Chicago or Frogg Café! Nice album intro (though might've been better as an interlude). (4/5)

2. "Here Come the Moles" (4:55) funk with horns! Tower of Power, the JBs, or Billie Preston. But then female vocalist Sophie Sexon (or is it Lavinia Blackwell?) joins in in the third minute displaying her pretty but very pitchy voice. (8.5/10)

3. "Man Overboard" (3:46) light, fun, and melodic like the fun side of Canterbury--with horns. Sounds most like Dutch band SUPERSISTER. A top three song. (9/10)

4. "Smoking Again" (3:51) raspy male vocalist reminds me more of a blues-rock singer like Dr. John or What is this? (7.75/10)

5. "Willow's Song" (3:33) never thought I'd hear this song from anyone other than DOVES. Though an okay arrangement, the song put on display the flaws in female vocalist Sophie Sexon's pitch-imperfect voice. (7.75/10) 6. "Red Rum" (3:03) horns with bluesy guitar and rhythm section. Once again, I'm reminded of FROGG CAFÉ-- without the vocals. (8.5/10) 7. "All Alone Stone" (5:24) gorgeous flugelhorn, trumpet and Fender Rhodes-led intro leads into sensitive KHAN/MAGIC BUS-like song. Very nice piano chord progressions and fuzz bass/space guitar. A top three song for me. (8.75/10)

8. "Magistellus" (4:17) jazz-rock (with background horns) and double female lead vocalists makes for a pleasant song. The compositions are showing signs of greater sophistication. (8.5/10)

9. "Wyverns" (4:31) sounds like a wild stage jam with several riffs and themes starting and shifting seemingly unbeknownst to the other players. Somehow, it all kind of works. (8.25/10) 10. "Bouffant Tail" (1:12) should have been titled something like "male soloists jizz on a chalkboard." (2/5)

11. "Cat Fool" (3:20) the song Burt Bacharach and Daevid Allen never recorded together (or apart). Now we know why. (8/10)

12. "Too Much Belly Not Enough Paw" (0:45) very nice cinematic outro. (4.5/5)

Total Time 39:07

C/three stars; some nice music to try out for yourselves.

 Big Hogg by BIG HOGG album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.35 | 15 ratings

Big Hogg
Big Hogg Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Sounding as if they've been hibernating near a Scottish Loch for the last 40 years suddenly emerges what sounds like everything contemporary of all the 70s Canterbury favorites such as Soft Machine, Caravan and Hatfield and the North. Hailing from the extremely un-Canterbury Celtic northern city of Glasgow, somehow the members of BIG HOGG had found an affinity with the lovely whimsy of the jazz, psychedelic rock and folk all having a little love affair with each other. Well, it seems the slumber is over and after many decades a few bands have decided to join the ranks of the geographical specific style of bands that never ruled the roost but have since become cult icons in the fringe world of progressive rock revival. BIG HOGG not only displays their worship of everything Canterbury on their self-titled debut album but display a stealthy command of all its different aspects although on the mellow down home type of style as heard on the earlier 70s bands.

So, add all the ingredients of Caravan, early Soft Machine and a healthy dose of blues rock, English folk and even jazz pop and then six band members playing guitars, trumpet cornet, tenor horn, trombone, flute, bass and percussion, oh and then add a few more extra helping hands to receipt spoken word poetry, play a little alto sax, hammond organs, Rhodes piano and skronk baritone and you have all the ingredients for a hugely fat sounding album that proves that the little scene by the River Great Stour is hardly dead at all and increasingly more explored as the 21st century progresses (think The Winstons and Amoeba Split) and what we have here is a stellar example of retro-prog that despite wearing more than a few influences on its sleeves, still finds enough differentiating vectors to create a nice fresh take on things.

It all starts with 'When We Were Young' with a quirky rock guitar riff finding a Robert Wyatt type vocal style punctuated by jazzy instrumental counterpoints. Proving that their no one trick pony, the second track 'Dog People' takes a jazzier approach for a while before reeling into a psychedelic free jazz frenzy accompanied by a spoken narrative delivering a poetic prose before a thumping bass and horn section steal the show and create a full-fledged Canterbury-tinged rocker fortified with jazz-pop sensibilities and then changing vocal styles to a more Captain Beefheart type of schizoid blues man mode. While the music seems to be a little too serious at times to qualify as a full-fledged candidate for Canterbury inclusion, the humor is more subtle as the boogie-rocker 'Turn To Prayer' explains in the situation with a few curse words interspersed nicely. 'Rabbit Plateau' changes gears into acoustic folk territory with sensual flutes on valium mode but joined by a distinct Caravan-esque guitar riff complete with echoey psychedelic atmospheres. Another notable track includes the frenetic 'Bad Salad Boogie' with it's Ornette Coleman sax freak outs accompanied by a more tamed bass and horn groove with all those jazzified time signature jumps so beloved by fans of National Health or Gilgamesh as the track mellows out.

Perhaps my main complaint about some of the newer Canterbury worshippers is that they try overly hard to be too faithful to the original sounds of the 70s and perhaps out of respect never venture too far into experimental realms however as heard on the first Picchio Dal Pozzo album, it has been proven that extreme originality with shocking results can be yielded from these influences. In the end BIG HOGG plays it a little too safe on their debut even if they pay all their tributes with technical precision in the proper Canterbury playfulness. A beautifully designed album that seems to fall just a tad short from competing with the heavyweights of yestercentury. Still though, if you're seeking some freshly constructed retro-prog of the mostly Caravan type branch, then BIG HOGG will not disappoint although with all the instruments on board here, i keep wishing they would expand their sonic tentacles a bit.

3.5 rounded down

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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