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DAVE GREENSLADE

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Dave Greenslade biography
After the break-up of COLOSSEUM in '71 and then GREENSLADE in the mid-70's, keyboard player Dave Greenslade decided to go solo. As such, he has somewhat strayed from his prog roots to move into a gentler territory, abandoning his organ and electric piano for a vast array of synthesizers, creating intensely surrealistic sounds that permeate his albums.

The best of his four solo efforts are unquestionably the first two, "Cactus Choir" (76) and "The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony" (79). On the first, he dishes out everything from waltzes to classical to blues and throws in odd rhythms, fascinating progressions and a few other goodies, in a style often reminiscent of VANGELIS or Mike OLDFIELD. The second release, a fantasy-concept album often referred to as simply "Pentateuch", may be less aesthetically pleasing but is still a monumental triumph of surrealism. All 21 tracks feature rich, imaginative synth explorations; Phil Collins and John Livingston each play percussion on a few tracks and Dave G. himself throws in some church organ and even tubular bells. However, the last two releases, "From the Discworld" (94) and especially "Going South" (99), are quite disappointing: highly digitalized, unimaginative and a sad waste of talent - the latter album features only synths except for bits of piano on a couple of tracks.

Fans of both COLOSSEUM and GREENSLADE are advised to stay clear, but the first two albums could be of some interest if you're into heavily synth-oriented prog.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Dave Greenslade official website

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Cactus ChoirCactus Choir
Import
Angel Air 2014
Audio CD$10.93
$25.17 (used)
From the DiscworldFrom the Discworld
Import
EMI Import 1995
Audio CD$45.96
$30.25 (used)
The Pentateuch of the CosmogonyThe Pentateuch of the Cosmogony
Import · Remastered
Bgo - Beat Goes on 1994
Audio CD$13.54
$12.57 (used)
Routes/RootsRoutes/Roots
Import
ANGEL AIR 2011
Audio CD$10.28
$15.04 (used)
Going SouthGoing South
Import
Mystic UK 2003
Audio CD$17.98
$12.49 (used)
PentateuchPentateuch
EMI
Vinyl$9.18 (used)
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DAVE GREENSLADE discography


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DAVE GREENSLADE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 45 ratings
Cactus Choir
1976
2.37 | 31 ratings
The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony
1979
3.21 | 11 ratings
From The Discworld
1994
1.85 | 11 ratings
Going South
1999
3.00 | 3 ratings
Routes - Roots
2011

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DAVE GREENSLADE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cactus Choir by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.46 | 45 ratings

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Cactus Choir
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Singing Plants and Disarming Wizards

There's a picture of Dave Greenslade and Andy McCulloch playing chess on the inner sleeve of Spyglass Guest that always makes me chuckle i.e. try NOT inferring that musicians who play complex music, rarely shave and would have us believe they pursue board games between takes rather than wanton hussies ain't erudite and intellectual critters. Delve a little deeper however, by glancing at any proffered lyric sheet and it's erm... checkmate mate:

You left me a nut when I wanted a screw You left me a crossword with only one clue I fell out with love babe when I fell out with you

OK, I admit it's cherry-picking to quote a poetic gaffe that's a bit s.h.i.t (and ain't even on that album) plus ignore the fact that Dave Lawson's lyrics were actually rather good by the relatively gauche standards of Prog

If Cactus Choir truly represented an opportunity to launch Dave Greenslade's solo career and draw a line under the Greenslade 'band', why then reprise the Roger Dean artwork (almost) intact, use Tony Reeves on bass for four tracks and continue to plough the same Progressive Rock furrow that makes this tantamount to Greenslade II?. The only discernible difference is that shorn of Lawson and McCulloch, the music is more synth heavy, less blues and jazz inflected and maybe slightly pared down and/or simplified

I reckon that Lawson, for all his polarising qualities, represented the only real chance Greenslade had of achieving the 1st division crossover success that always just eluded them. His pedigree as evidenced by previous stints in Web and Samurai proved that he was capable of writing material that dispensed entirely with Prog's stock fantasy footage of Conan the Librarian astride a mythical beast in his lunch break while cradling a rescued and swooning damsel. (Morag, from 'Accounts') In many ways Lawson could have played the Greg Lake, Russ Ballard, John Wetton or Jon Anderson role in Greenslade as representing a more accessible and conventional lyrical style of song-writing that might have lured the inquisitive sailor onto some more erm...progressive rocks. (and here's me giving Prog wordsmiths a hard time...)

There is however a semblance of concept status about the whole undertaking. The colonisation of America seems to be the gist but although the author's angle on this topic is clearly admonitory, his reasons are seldom expanded upon and ambivalent throughout

Rolled upon the ground like sawdust So began the game they called get rich or bust

Clearly a lament for missed opportunities, paradise lost and the inevitable triumph of greed when unclaimed natural resources and the resultant stratification reveal themselves. The USA gets beaten with the unfulfilled 'American Dream' stick so often that even a Brit like me is starting to find such gleeful flagellation plain vanilla tiresome. Like Uncle Sam monopolised bespoiling a potential green and pleasant land? Enlarge thy countenance and forehead y'all citizens of Golders Green.

Pedro's Party - It's remarkable how prevalent the humble shuffle beat is in much Prog from around this time and it's revisited here a la Spirit of the Dance on a Spanish/latin tinged tune that takes it's inspiration from classicists Villa Lobos and Lalo with a tiny sliver of Alberto Ginastera's maverick modulation DNA thrown in to keep everyone's throat dry right to the end.

Gettysburg - the instrumental departure sounds uncannily like Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might be Giants (who knows what messrs Flansburgh and Linnell were listening to in their formative years that they might now readily disavow?) Steve Gould's excellent vocal melody is on a par with anything that either the Alan Parsons Project or Mike Oldfield might have hatched in their more inspired moments. Very strong compositional rigour throughout this and it's one of those unusual instances where lyrical immediacy is not intruded upon by instrumental flights of fancy. (A rare bird indeed)

Swings and Roundabouts - love that wurlitzer piano through a big whooshy whirring thing that Dave has exploited to great effect over the years. (I think it's actually a Leslie cabinet and/or a chorus/phaser device) but anyways, it's almost tantamount to the Greenslade 'brand' calling card. Listen to the Simon Phillips/Dave Markee drum and bass performance here and take note that as fine and lyrical a player as Tony Reeves is, he seldom glues the bottom end on any Greenslade tune as effectively as Markee does here (by playing less and allowing the other parts of the music space to breathe accordingly) I've always felt that much Greenslade material benefited from Reeves' unique 'singing' melodic bass style but also suffered from him sometimes 'over playing' and neglecting his less glamorous anchor role. It seems I'm not alone in having these reservations:

He (Dave Greenslade) is the only one who can put up with my playing! Not everybody wants a bass that is upfront a lot of time, though in some ways over the years my playing has matured and I'm not as upfront as I used to be. Somebody sent me through the Net a pirate recording of a gig that we did with COLOSSEUM in Sweden? the first part of it is alright and it's all quite nice, but then we do the whole of "Valentyne Suite", all three movements, and my playing on that is frankly terrible. It's all over the place, too intrusive, too clever, it's actually embarrassing. I can't believe now that I played that way! I went too close to the edge of the cliff, and fell off. (Tony Reeves 2003)

Time Takes My Time - like Keith Emerson and everyone's favourite inebriated Uncle, Dave makes a decent stab at singing but those present merely wish prohibition could be reintroduced pretty damn quickly. A perfunctorily bluesy and dreary guitar solo ensues which takes the song precisely nowhere. A lump of very grey glacial rock but it does at least reveal it's author as a time served jobbing R'n'B veteran and carries one of the very few pointers to his previous band Colosseum on the whole album. Would have been charming at three minutes but encroaches narcolepsy at six. Full marks to Lissa Gray whose wordless harmony vocals try their best to inject some energy into this otherwise sleepy dawdle.

Forever and Ever - Redolent of something that European film score composer Francis Lai might have concocted with a couple of Synths, Vangelis as a house guest, a wet bank holiday afternoon to fill and half a case of Merlot to empty. Rather 'airy' and it smacks in places of nondescript library music or the sort of bijou cosmos that keyboard players somehow get lost in when left to their own knob encrusted devices (see Pent Up Teuchters of the Cosmic Agony for uber s.h.i.t.e variations of this tomfoolery). Spoiler alert: the obligatory cathedral organ ego massage moment is contained herein for posterity.

Cactus Choir - perhaps the most fully realised and successful piece on offer and given that it features Dave's signature keys palette plus Tony Reeves on bass then yeah, it does sound a LOT like early Greenslade albeit stripped of Lawson's idiosyncratic lyrical twist. The sung sections remind me in places of (good and memorable) Barclay James Harvest (cf flouncy bouffant forgettable BJH). Plenty of variation and effective exploitation of dynamics can be enjoyed plus the individual sections all segue together very smoothly. Rather disappointing ending though, kinda just fizzles out like an imposter's graduation speech.

Country Dance - no gingham orgy hereabouts mercifully, but given the subject matter to hand, which country is being referenced is at best obscure and very un-American sounding. Not sure if Dave is playing the lead here via an electric piano timbre coaxed through a fuzz/wah pedal or if it's an uncredited guitarist? Either way, there's plenty of distinctly ordinary musical mud being thrown at a precarious wall hereabouts that resolutely refuses to stick. Such 'mopping up' exercises on Prog albums, are somewhat akin to a retirement home for ideas not even out of short pants. Once again, a more modestly gifted bass player than Reeves shows how it should be done (this time one John Perry, who even throws in a few short lead breaks but in all the RIGHT places..)

Finale - Rather mournful synth melody over some elegiac little chords until circa three and a half minutes in when the whole band gatecrash this funereal party and Greenslade reciprocates with an exuberant organ solo over an boisterous Reeves/Philipps groove in 'six' that the rhythm section, once locked on, conspire to blow their target into smithereens. Towards the end we get to hear an excellent but faintly disquieting orchestral arrangement of the previous thematic materials by the late Simon Jeffes, whose huge talent was wasted on the Sid Vicious atrocity My Way.

Speaking of talentless, overdosing little parasites who are now celebrated as cultural icons, I can't help but think Mr G unwittingly prescient with his title here i.e. Cactus Choir: the massed spiky voices of dissent were looming on the horizon circa 1976 in the shape of nascent 'Punk'. This must have made the anticipated career path of virtuosos unharnessed from their respective Prog bandwagons a rather daunting one. It appears that solo success for keyboard wizards (with but two arms) consisted of their ability to come up with conventional song formats to appease their anxious post-Punk paymasters. All that instrumental clever s.h.i.t was never going to provide the desired crossover to the skinny tied masses. Like Rod Argent, Jon Lord, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz et al Dave Greenslade eventually gravitated towards film, TV and documentary music once it became painfully apparent that without the radio friendly lyrical and vocal hooks provided by his previous collaborators, he was always destined to inhabit a strictly niche market. All the Prog heavyweights, despite their complex pyrotechnics had recourse to tried and trusted traditional song forms and 'top drawer catchy' melodic hooks in their locker e.g. ELP, Yes, Tull and Genesis while the likes of Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and maybe Greenslade did not or even cared less? The Tarkus album by ELP is the embodiment of this phenomenon i.e. would Emerson's intense, dissonant and challenging instrumental title suite alone have propelled the album to No 1 status in the UK in 1971 without Greg Lake's spoonful of conventional sugar to help the medicine go down? (I really don't think so)

What happened next - bassist Tony Reeves is now managing director of a very successful pro-audio equipment manufacturing and hire company while Dave G somehow tunneled free from the prison of his own backside a.k.a. Penteuch of the Cosmogony and embarked on a very distinguished TV and documentary music career before resuscitating Colosseum for some very well received live shows in the 90's and beyond

It's a pity that the 3 star rating has come to be perceived in many quarters as PA's version of 'damning with faint praise' as this is a very robust and enjoyable album with a few forgivable flaws but it's also not dissimilar to that chick you met at college who smoked roll ups, drank pints, liked footie, laughed at all your jokes and dug your kind of music but... you just didn't want to f.u.c.k her....(unlike Morag from 'Accounts')

Footnote: The little hooded wizard had four perfectly good arms on the Greenslade debut album cover but only a paltry three here. Roger Dean, you are a one arm bandit.

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 Cactus Choir by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.46 | 45 ratings

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Cactus Choir
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 star really

Dave Greenslade is to me one of the most unnoticed and unfairly forgotten keyboard player in prog music. What he done with Greenslade is absolutely great to my ears, I'm a big fan of this band, not to mention his contribution with Colloseum in his early career. After disbanding Greenslade in mid '70 after 4 superb albums he decided to go solo under his full name Dave Greenslade. The first offer coming in 1976 named Cactus choir, the album graced but one of the best Roger Dean art works ever made on an prog album. With this release Mr. Greenslade move into a more gentle, surrealistic teritory then on his previous band, but aswell keeping a progressive attitude on entire album. Helping hand here is offered by omni present excellent drumer Simon Philips, world renowed bassist John Perry and few more names. The music as I said is gentle, delicate smooth and elegant, he uses vast array of synthesizers, mellotron, moog, etc to create a pleasent atmosphere full of catchy moments. Sometimes he sounding like Rick Wakem around same period. Besides some vocal oriented pieces, the beautiful instrumental , one of the instrumental from the album is definetly Forever and Ever, great and catchy. This debut under his full name is by no means a masterpiece or something close, and for sure is not so inventive as Greenslade albums, but I think is more then pleasent with delicate keyboards arrangements that I think any prog fan can enjoy. I like what I've heared here from start to finish and because of that for me is 3.5 stars album, 3 stars for the music with another half star for the excellent art work.

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 Going South by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1999
1.85 | 11 ratings

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Going South
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

2 stars This CD was originally released by Mystic in 1999 when it was credited to Dave Greenslade, not Greenslade the band (which is how it is stated on the Angel Air 2004 reissue). I think if anyone approached this thinking that they were going to discover some of the presence of that great outfit then they will be sadly disappointed. It was only when thinking about the title that it got me thinking and I looked through some old issues and lo and behold discovered that I reviewed this album in #56. I pretty much damned it then, and hearing it again years later hasn't done much to change my mind. This is an ambient New Age album from a keyboard player who has produced some stunning work in the past, both with Greenslade and with Colosseum, but this isn't it. Angel Air have some live Greenslade albums available and they are both much better than this which can only ever be viewed as background music.

Originally appeared in Feedback #80, Sept 2004

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 Going South by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1999
1.85 | 11 ratings

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Going South
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Miles away (from Prog)

Going South is a relaxing keyboard album that may perhaps be categorised as New-Age. There are many albums of its kind made by progressive Rock heroes like those albums Steve Howe did with Paul Sutin or many of the albums in Anthony Phillips's Private Parts & Pieces-series. However, there are also here some parts that are in a more jazzy vein, soft Jazz that is.

All the sounds are created by Dave himself on his keyboards and the programmed rhythms and he even produces and mixes the abum himself. Hence, this is a solo album in the true sense of the word and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Greenslade (the band).

It is a pleasant listen, very easy on the ear, and never offensive. However, it is also totally lacking in anything remotely progressive and as such is of very limited interest even to people on this site. I works well as background music, but I would recommend it only to fans and collectors of everything Greenslade.

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 The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.37 | 31 ratings

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The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by Joćo Paulo

3 stars A boring album of Dave Greenslade. A electronic not good realization that don't have nothing special. Small tracks without context, that made we sad when we listen some very good albuns of greenslade band, and listen this work of one principal musician that made some of very good progressive music. All electronic that remember Tangerine Dream in some moments but with a ordinary quality. If you are a electronic fan and whant have a album of a great music, yes you can made this adiction in your collection, but for all that like first albuns of Greenslade, this is a palid picture of his music. If they made a guitar adiction I think that Dave made a good album, but only with keyboards i think that it's hard. Just a excelent keyboard player and lots of imagination can made a good work. I give 3 stars because I like very much Greenslade but this work deserve only 2

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 The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.37 | 31 ratings

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The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars The music is as weird as the title and the cover art!

This strangely titled album is the absolute low point of Dave Greenslade's long musical career. Anyone expecting an album similar to his first solo album, Cactus Choir, or to the Greenslade (the band) albums is in for quite a surprise. The nature of this music is radically different from those earlier efforts. The keyboards used here do not have any Greenslade's previous signature sounds; here we have only synthesisers! Well, there are actually drums and percussion on some of the tracks, some of which are played by the great Phil Collins. But without the warmer tones of guitars, bass, vocals or any "natural" instrument, this music comes across as cold and barren, much like the scene depicted on the cover. And after listening to the whole album in one session - it runs for almost 80 minutes! - you might very well feel a bit like the being on that picture.

In many ways, The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony can be thought of as the "dark side" of Rick Wakeman's Rhapsodies album and sometimes it reminds of some of Vangelis lesser works. The synthesiser sounds chosen do not always fit the melodies and some times they sound very immature. There are some pleasant parts too, but they do not make up for the many bad parts. The album is almost entirely instrumental but there are some vocals, mostly done with the help of that awful thing the Vocoder!

Further, there are many passages that come across as totally directionless. You often wonder what the overall musical idea was, if there was any! Most probably this is the result of Dave's playing around with his new synthesisers rather than actually composing music.

I can recommend this album only to Dave Greenslade's most devoted fans and followers (and even for them it is likely to be just a curiosity and collector's item rather than an enjoyable listen).

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 Cactus Choir by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.46 | 45 ratings

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Cactus Choir
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars File under 'Greenslade'

Cactus Choir was released as a Dave Greenslade solo album, but (unlike subsequent solo efforts) it is really a Greenslade (the band) album in all but name. Just like the first two albums by the band, Cactus Choir features gorgeous Roger Dean art work and a keyboard-dominated sound.

Dave is accompanied by a number of "guests" contributing bass, drums, guitar, vocals, and more, while Dave himself plays all the keyboards (of course!).

I like Greenslade, but I don't love them. All of their albums are good, but none of them are really great. The same goes for this "solo" album from Dave.

Recommended in addition to the albums by Greenslade, but not essential

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 Going South by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1999
1.85 | 11 ratings

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Going South
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars I have never been an overwhelming fan of "Greenslade". Being the band or the man during his solo career. What I do feel though is a profound respect for his work throughout so many years. But I always have felt that the band /the man was short of ideas in terms of song writing.

This album is no other for sure. Some decent (but repetitive) tones during "Chasing The World" might well be the best stuff available on this album. Although the start of "Slipstream" was promising; its development is just good as any supermarket or elevator music. Press next.

This album Is not a good one. Some moments from past ages ("Flying V") are there to remind us that the man was quite a great keyboards player. He should have been a brilliant asset if he would have been only part of a band; but not the "leader". As such he was just average IMHHO.

Some Supertrampish mood (thanks to the good sax but also keys work during "Miles Away" are welcome, although not very personal. But at this time, anything favourable is welcome.

I am really scratching my head to find a good reason to avoid the one star rating for this work, but to tell the truth; I can't see one. Even if some Andalusian mood can be felt while "Crane Dance" is performed, it is soon all ruined with orchestrations. To try and find one single good song on this album is quite a difficult task, I'm afraid. I have tried, but failed. The jazzy "Piano Flamingo" is of course no exception.

The hotel piano bar oriented "South Revisited" only shows that Dave is a gifted keyboards player, but lacks so much in the song writting.

This album is best avoided. And even if I could express my respect for the work of this man, this effort is quite difficult to swallow and in my musical scale, it is only worth one star.

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 From The Discworld by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.21 | 11 ratings

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From The Discworld
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It is quite difficult to review an album from this great keyboard player: IMHHO, none of his work could have been related with a great album (being as a solo artist or with his good "Greenslade" work).

This work is no other. Some good keys items, for sure. I have already told that the man was gifted (who can tell the contrary) but passion is truly alien from most of his music ("Shades Of Ankh - Morpork").

Still, there are magical moments as the awesome "Wyrd Sisters" which is just a superb electronic musical partition. But very few of these items are available on this album. As if the man decided to get rid of most of his fans (since his latest efforts were quite simple).

Still, this album holds much more interesting and complex movements than any of his prior efforts. Of course, when the poor vocals enter the scene ("Wizzard"), there is only one feeling that prevails: kick them out of course (or just press next).

When one listens to the jewel "Dryads", there is only one question available: why the hell didn't this great musician produce such a fantastic number earlier on! To be honest: it is a truly moving track (little short to be honest) which deserves a separate spot for sure. THE highlight.

I can't really tell that this album is some sort of genuine prog effort. This and was quite a hype in the middle seventies, but couldn't hold on high their flag (which was a dreadful task to be honest).

To be faithful, there are little passion to be felt from this musical album. Little fantasy, little grandiose parts as we ought to expect. Just a collection of fine pieces of music. As such, I will be a delicate fan and bloody hell describe " Holly Wood Dreams" as indescribable and gorgeous song by all means.

Three stars. Thanks to some great passages.

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 The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony by GREENSLADE, DAVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.37 | 31 ratings

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The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony
Dave Greenslade Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The stage has been set brilliantly by Easy Livin who depicted the story quite good (as Joolz did as well). In terms of music, there are some good moments on this concept album, but out of seventy eight (!) minutes of music, these are just too short unfortunately.

My remarks regarding his first solo work are still valid: great musical skills but limited song writer. Even if the scenario was written by an external source for this project. I always have had some difficulties to link an all instrumental concept album with its storyboard and this one is no other.

The listener also needs to share some weak tracks, totally uninspired like "Three Brides". Sometimes, this album flirts with ambient music as well, and I have to say that these are probably what suits me best ("Nursery Hymn"). Some folkish atmosphere (accordingly) for "The Minstrel" isn't too bad either. Some sort of "Oldfield" derivative.

The attempt on "vocals" during the weird "Barcarole" clearly indicates that the choice for an (almost) all instrumental effort was indeed a good choice. This reggae oriented masquerade is probably the worst moment available. Press next. As soon as you can (same sort of feeling prevails for "Vivat Regina").

This is not a good album, I'm afraid. I respect the man as a musician, but he couldn't really thrilled me during his career (being with his band or as a solo artist). This effort is waaaaay too long to be interesting.

I'm lacking fine melodies, lyrical beauty, and inspired solo. Nothing as such unfortunately: just a succession of average tracks (at best, like "Mischief"). My fave is the TD oriented (no wonder) "The Tiger & The Dove" which is a clear mark in their musical territory. I'd like to have more of this excellent music here. But it's the closing number?When you reach this one, there is only one feel: damned! I've made it!

Two stars for the skills of the man.

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