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GREENSLADE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Greenslade picture
Greenslade biography
Founded in London, England in 1972 - Disbanded in 1976 - Reformed in 1999

After the demise of COLOSSEUM in '71, keyboardplayer Dave Greenslade founded his own band GREENSLADE, featuring Tony Reeves (bass), Dave Lawson (keyboards, clarinet, flute) and Andrew McCulloch (drums), he had left KING CRIMSON. In '73, GREENSLADE released their eponymous debut album, followed by "Bedside Manner Are Extra" ('73), "Spyless Guest" ('74) and finally "Time and Tide" ('75). Then the band call it a day and Dave Greenslade went solo. The album "Shades of Green" ('97) is a comprehensive compilation-CD and "Live" ('99) a live-CD including recordings from '73 and '75. A few years ago Dave Greenslade and Tony Reeves teamed up to re-unite GREENSLADE with John Young (guitar and vocals) and Chris Cozens (drums). They released the albums "Large Afternoon" and "Greenslade live 2001" (same line-up except John Troter on drums).

The first two albums are an excellent blend of classic, jazz, rock, blues and symphonic rock with elaborate compositions and inventive and exciting dual-keyboardplay by Greenslade and Lawson. The omnipresence of the Mellotron is very pleasant with majestic waves of the violin-Mellotron (like early KING CRIMSON) and glorious eruptions of the sumptuous choir-Mellotron. In comparison with the 'progrock-dinosaurs', GREENSLADE played more varied styles, the songs were shorter and it lacked the usual 'progrock self-indulgence' (like ELP and YES), no endless soloing. I'm very pleased with the swinging and powerful sound of the clavinet, an underestimated keyboard within the progrock world (only Rick WAKEMAN was a frequent user). A good start to this unique band is the compilation "Shades of Green" and an even better introduction is the live-album "Live" (with tracks from '73 and '75), containing some spectacular play on the Minimoog (with pitchbend). It's the most keyboard-loaden album with hints from WAKEMAN, MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND and SUPERTRAMP. GREENSLADE is a band to discover and they deserve more appreciation by the progrock aficionados.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

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Buy GREENSLADE Music


Time & TideTime & Tide
Esoteric 2019
$15.28
$15.27 (used)
GreensladeGreenslade
Esoteric 2018
$15.14
$15.13 (used)
Spyglass GuestSpyglass Guest
Esoteric 2018
$12.82
$15.97 (used)
Bedside Manners Are ExtraBedside Manners Are Extra
Esoteric 2018
$16.45
$20.88 (used)
Live 1973-1975Live 1973-1975
ANGEL AIR 2011
$11.20
$17.72 (used)
The Birthday Album: Live Switzerland 1974The Birthday Album: Live Switzerland 1974
Angel Air 2016
$15.94
$31.27 (used)
Large AfternoonLarge Afternoon
ANGEL AIR 2014
$10.88
$8.30 (used)
Live In Stockholm - March 10th, 1975Live In Stockholm - March 10th, 1975
Cleopatra 2013
$11.99
$12.59 (used)
Greenslade & Bedside Manners Are Extra - GreensladeGreenslade & Bedside Manners Are Extra - Greenslade
Demon Edsel 2015
$76.32
$18.00 (used)
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GREENSLADE-THE PENTATEUCH OF THE COSMOGONY 1980 EMI 2 LP BOOK COVER EX PLAY USD $65.94 [0 bids]
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GREENSLADE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.58 | 211 ratings
Greenslade
1973
3.46 | 184 ratings
Bedside Manners Are Extra
1973
3.29 | 124 ratings
Spyglass Guest
1974
2.94 | 110 ratings
Time and Tide
1975
2.29 | 41 ratings
Large Afternoon
2000

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

4.11 | 34 ratings
Live 1973-75
2000
4.11 | 16 ratings
Live 2001 - The Full Edition
2002
3.29 | 9 ratings
Live In Stockholm - March 10th, 1975
2013

GREENSLADE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.29 | 5 ratings
Shades Of Green 1972 - 1975
1997
4.29 | 7 ratings
Feathered Friends
2006
2.57 | 9 ratings
Spyglass Guest & Time and Tide
2011

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

4.33 | 3 ratings
Temple Song
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
Catalan
1975
3.00 | 1 ratings
Gangsters
1976
5.00 | 2 ratings
BBC On The Air
1999

GREENSLADE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Catalan by GREENSLADE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1975
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Catalan
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars "Bona Nit"

Catalan was released as a single in 1975 to promote the Time and Tide album. The single version of Catalan is an edit with a running time of 3:52 compared to the album version's 5:06. The edited version appears on CD for the first time as a bonus track on the 2019 Esoteric Recordings re-issue of Time and Tide. Given that it was always the instrumentals that stood out on Greenslade's albums, it was a good and brave choice to pick an instrumental for release as a single. And Catalan works well as a single a-side.

With Catalan representing the instrumental side of Greenslade, the vocal side of the band is represented by Animal Farm, which is the b-side on this single. Not a bad single, but it adds little of value to the album.

 Gangsters by GREENSLADE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1976
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Gangsters
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Play for Today

Gangsters is an instrumental written by Dave Greenslade for the BBC TV series of the same name which began life as an edition of Play for Today in 1975. The tune was also included on the Greenslade album Time and Tide in the same year, and in 1976 it was released as a single. (There is also a version with vocals by Chris Farlowe that was used in the third series).

The b-side of the single is a non-album track called Rubber Face & Lonely Eyes. This is also an instrumental, and though not as strong as Gangsters itself, works very well as a partner track. It is a very rare track, appearing on CD for the first time as a bonus track on the 2019 Esoteric Recordings re-issue of Time and Tide that came out only last week. In the CD booklet, it is explained that Rubber Face & Lonely Eyes too was done for the Gangsters series.

 Time and Tide by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.94 | 110 ratings

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Time and Tide
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars And now we have reached the ending for Greenslade as a band in the 70's. Ďt was a very intense and exciting journey, providing the prog community with many a gem. Unfortunately we are not leaving Greenslade on a high, looking out over a flourishing civilization. We are, rather, leaving them in some sort of nadir. Wait, I don't mean that they didn't leave us trinkets of worth on "Time and tide", beacuse they did, but the pickninck basket is largely comprised of stale bread and too little sustenance.

There is an understandable and often wise notion to kick off an album with a song that truly packs a punch. I mean, you want to make a statement, no? Sad to say the statement delivered by Greenslade by way of "Animal farm" makes me wave my arms in the air leave us bot in total disagreement. This is simply a horn heavy rock'n'roll song of the kind that leaves my face looking odd from the displeasure I am experiencing. What happened, I wonder. "Newsworth" holds some worth but it's not a fantastic song. "Time" is a short piece, only 1 minute and 15 seconds, but is a small treat. A choir over a cembalo (is it?). Really nice and the next track "Tide" is also wonderful with it's high level of mellotron. And then we recognise Greenslade. They're back with a playful instrumental called "Catalan". This one is probably the best track on the album. Sorry to say the band makes a skip back to the beginning and decide to "rock out" on the pub rock groove of "The flattery stakes". Not very effective. I think "Waltz for a fallen idol" is an okay ballad, "The ass's ears" quite a powerful track partially reminding me of Quatermass and this one I like. "Doldrums" is an atmospheric ballad-y sort of song and works alright with me. The ending "Gangsters" is quite charming little piece with great keyboard sounds and quite a drive.

When the song is over and the album has ceased it's spinning and I'm sitting there, I wonder: What the hell did I just listen to? Well, I listened to an album of sometime reasonably good and accessible prog (albeit with a good dose of pop), a few really misplaced rock songs and a couple of really talented progressive songs. If I was to direct someone through the best pieces on the smorgasbord there aren't very many courses to recommend. "Time" and "Tide", obviously, and "Catalan" are well worth trying. Those are really nice pieces. There are a few other bits and pieces I find tantalizing but overall this is quite a bland, a bit tired and only partially inspired album. I find that quite sad considering that "Spyglass guest" that came before was such an inspired affair. I suppose every band and member there of have their limits. In 1973 they released two abnormally great albums, followed by a third equally brilliant record in 1974. If the well ran a bit dry after that or the bucket just seemed to be full of holes, draining the inspiration out, I can understand that. "Time and tide" isn't a complete loss, not a total disaster. When the critique has been aired what remains is a partially charming, sometime great and occasionally bland album with a stunning cover. "Time and tide" is not the place to start when discovering Greenslade, it's the place where you end up after devouring the brilliance of the first three albums. My rating lands on three stars but I would rather call it "okay" than "good".

 Spyglass Guest by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.29 | 124 ratings

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Spyglass Guest
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars It must be said that I fully understand the sometime dislike and difficulty some people have with the music of Greenslade. I have been there myself. My reltionship with the band have been a long, sometimes ardous, journey. At 21 I got myself "Bedside manners are extra" and failed utterly at understanding what I heard. So, I put the band on hold for a period of five years before buying "Greenslade", the debut. I fell in love with "Feathered friends" but cared less for the remainder of the album. Yet again Greenslade was put on hold and kept outside in the waiting room expecting to be called back in again. This never happened. The re-visitation was always postponed and seemed almost to be an unlikely event. However, after a couple of years something changed. They got called back in for a rendez-vous and chat, this time about their third album "Spyglass guest". Did we click? I dare say we did. Big time. There are those openings in time and space where everything just seems to fall into place. With "Spyglass guest" this window was flung open and yes, there was love in the air. After that I came to love also the first two albums without any reservations.

Greenslade was always a very fullbodied group, soundwise. For the two first albums they had skipped the position as guitarist and instead gone for the straight keyboard approach but on "Spyglass guest" they (at least partially) filled the spot for the six string. Clem Clemson entered and the sound was enlarged, rather than enriched. (Seeing they already filled the soundscape to the max, as I have already stated, just by using keyboards.)

The album is very warm and inviting. Lush and majestic keyboards, gorgeous vocal harmonies and interesting ideas makes this album a very enjoyable experience. It goes through so many genres and nods to musical fancies one stands amazed. The music of Greenslade was always playful and "Spirit of the dance", the opener, is just that. A very playful, almost classical, piece that sets the mode and tone of the album. It is a lovely piece that gallops away and shifts direction and pace through it's five minute duration. The follow up, "Little red fry-up", is a nod to jazz-rock and is quintessentially british in every sense. "Rainbow" is a lovely little thing starting with the presence of thunderous rain and ominous keyboards but is soon transformed into a beautiful ballad-y sort of song. Wonderful vocal harmonies! Brilliant. "Siam seesaw" sees Greenslade rock out a bit and it is a number high in energy and works so well as contrast to "Rainbow" and the next and longest track, "Joie de vivre". This 8 minutes and 30 seconds long opus is the best piece on the album and is quite extraordinary. My only complaint is that the opening chords reminds me a bit too much of "Stand by me", made famous by (among others) the soulsinger Ben E. King. But that is soon over and done with, when a very british sounding melody enters with the whole band adding texture and layers of wonderful music. Just lean back and enjoy. This is masterclass and brilliance in a nutshell. "Red light" is a jazzy, very groovy piece that is followed by "Melancholic race". The latter is a brilliant example of exquisite jazz rock that goes from smooth and soothing to high energy excursions. The last piece is the least interesting and in my opinion the only track that feels out of place. I love "Theme from an imaginary western" but it had and has been done better by others, ironically enough by Colosseum. It's not bad but it's not great either. It's okay and I thank God it comes last, to avoid it crashing the party and disrupting the enormous flow of the album.

I could argue that this album is flawless and I could have held that position come rain or snow, had it not been for "Theme for an imaginary western". It seems out of place. Apparently the band had other material, penned by members of the group, ready for recording but as it all played out they went for this cover song, funnily the only cover the band recorded. But, enough of that. "Spyglass guest" is a wonderful, very british sounding, playful, joyful, adventurous, exciting, fun, highly accomplished, creative, complex, accessible and loving album. One of my favorites, actually, and just as good as the previous efforts. If this sounds thrilling, do treat yourself to a great sitting that lasts a mere 39 minutes but that is a sitting that will keep you amused and leave you with a smile on your face.

 Bedside Manners Are Extra by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.46 | 184 ratings

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Bedside Manners Are Extra
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Most critics and fans alike rate Bedside Manners Are Extra as Greenslades best album. I tend to agree with them. Not that is great, but surely is far superior to their disappointing debut (although the cover did become quite iconic) and everything they put out after that too. The LP has a consistency that no other of their releases had, with the good moments outlasting the mediocre ones, especially on the instrumental parts. The vocals are not bad either, Dave Dawson doesn´t blow things up like he would on 1975´s Time And Tide but once again this CD, like all others by this grup, shows why he is not exactly one of prog´s most loved singers.

Anyway, there is a maturity on the compositions and the arrangements are tasteful most of the time, If you´re a fan of keyboards driven, guitar-less bands, or has a special love those analog, vintage keyboards sounds, this is a nice finding. Unfortunately not even here they find a way to sabotage a nice song with the apply titled Drum Folk. Yes, they recorded a drum solo in the studio. And, believe it or not, the short instrumental middle section has probably the best melody line of the whole disc. its a very fine moment. Then the drums come again and spoiled it all. A real shame, but quite telling. It is no wonder they never made prog´s first league.

Conclusion: Greenslade best, no doubt about it. I guess the only one I can hear from start to finish without skipping a track (even with that very annoying drum solo). If you´re new to this band, this is a good starting point. At least some coherence and an overall good songwriting throughout.

Rating: 3,5 stars.

 Time and Tide by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.94 | 110 ratings

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Time and Tide
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A friend who worked as DJ in a local radio station always got new releases and gently borrowed some to this young, penniless teenager (yes, me). In 1975 one of the LPs I got was Greenslades Time and Tide. And although I tried very hard to like it at the time I was 15, I remember I did not. 40 years after the fact I am now listening to this album again, in a vain attempt to change this view. There were the first line up changes, with the departure of original bassist Tony Reeves, replaced by the equally competent Martin Briley, who also plays some guitar solos. But the problem with this group remains the same as ever: excellent musicians and weak compositions, plus sometimes unimaginative arrangements, even if some bits are really tasteful.

It seems to me that Greenslade tried hard here to sound both more rocking and commercial. Maybe the fact that other double keyboards bands were gaining some degree of success that Greenslade was not, like Supertramp, served as an example to be followed, I don´t know. But I do get the feeling they were trying to sound like Supertramp in some ways (just listen to The Flattery Stakes). Of course it didn´t work. In fact, this CD seldom works. And it is no wonder this would be their last album until some 25 years later. To be fair, not everything here is a waste: The trio of instrumentals (Time, Tide and Catalan) are the best tracks and sounds good put together like a mini suite. Also there are some instrumental breaks where those beautiful combinations of vintage keyboards and excellent rhythm section bring the best of them. But Dave Lawson´s often histrionic vocals ruin it all (he seems to be imitating Geddy Lee from Rush, get the picture?).

Time and Tide is surely Greenslade least interesting album of the 70´s. And considering that they did not exactly took the world by storm in any way, take these words as a warning. If you´re into their first trio of LPs then you should check this out. If you don´t get those first before tackling this one. Because Time And Time is definitely for fans and collectors.

Rating::2 stars.

 Large Afternoon by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.29 | 41 ratings

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Large Afternoon
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I should warn everybody that the only reason I got this CD is because a friend at Prog Brazil raved about it. I was thinking to myself that maybe, after 25 years since their last album, this band could come up with something really interesting. Well, only half of the original band is here: Dave Greenslade himself on keyboards,of course, and Tony Reeves on bass, plus newcomers John Young (former Asia member) taking up the place of Dave Lawson on vocals and keyboards, and Chris Cozens substituting Andrew McCulloch on drums. But upon listening to Large Afternoon all you get is the same as before: the musicians are excellent, but songwriting is simply dull.

Worse still is the fact that what was the best feature on all early Greenslades albums (i.e. the vast array of very organic keyboards like Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes electric piano and mini moog) was replaced by very cheese synthesizers. It sounds more like an 80´s recording than a new millennium CD, with such mediocre timbres. The production does not help things much either. As usual with Greenslade the songs themselves are not really bad: they have some nice melodies here and there, but nothing that really stands. Several tracks, like the opener Cakewalk do have an interesting beginning and a kind of build up that unfortunately goes nowhere. Anthem is the best track on the whole album: it does have the closest of a memorable melody line and an accordion-like solo that is quite moving, but really that can not sustain a whole album.

Conclusion: it is no wonder why Greenslade never really made it. They had the techinique but not the songwriting skills necessary to make them stand out. It certainly did not change my opinion about this band. I wonder what my friend saw about Large Afternoon. I can only recommend this one for hardcore fans and collectors. And this is certainly NOT the album for the newbie.

Rating: 2 stars.

 Bedside Manners Are Extra by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.46 | 184 ratings

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Bedside Manners Are Extra
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by cfergmusic1

3 stars So remember my review of Greenslade's debut album, where I said that they sounded like an alternate version of Yes? I think we can pretty much discount that aspect of their sound entirely with this release. I'm not sure if anyone else in 1973 noticed the similarities that I touched upon in my previous review, but months of touring and rehearsing for this album must have given them some different ideas. Obviously it didn't take long for these guys to develop their sound into something unique, which is not unexpected considering the pedigree of all the musicians involved.

The title track, which is deservedly a fan favorite, is a good example of Greenslade streamlining their sound and eliminating the clutter that sometimes found its way into their compositions. It's a gentle, pop-prog ballad, backed mostly by Lawson's acoustic piano, which avoids sentimentality through the use of several logical key modulations throughout. This is one of the few band tunes where both DG and Lawson have a turn at solos; the first solo section about halfway through features DG's very tremolo-ed Wurlitzer, and the reprise of that section, under McCartney-esque backing vocals, gives Lawson a turn on his yawning, nasal ARP Soloist. (There's no rundown of who plays what, but I think it's safe to assume that DG's and Lawson's keyboard setups remained much the same throughout the band's existence.) Elements of the softer, more melodic side of prog (notably Supertramp) can be found here with good results.

"Pilgrim's Progress" is perhaps the group's definitive instrumental, introduced by Mellotron and eventually giving way to a synth theme that signals the quick shuffle groove that takes up most of the track. In fact, several of Greenslade's most recognizable themes can be found here, alternating between loud and soft, fast and slow, easy and hard listening; remarkably, they are all well developed and the 7-minute track generally does not outstay its welcome. This reminds me of the sort of thing that Styx tried and failed to do for most of their career (in other words, much better musically than DeYoung and crew).

"Time to Dream" is a more straightforward (by Greenslade standards) rock number to close out side one. Strange Tron pads and oblique chord movement outline some of Lawson's more fantastical lyrics, and he also gets to play around with his ARP in the middle, but not before DG's own solo on Rhodes. After some stops and starts, the piece finally ends with some huge keyboard cadences (they just couldn't help themselves).

"Drum Folk," which opens up side two, is sort of the cousin of "Melange" from Greenslade's debut, only this time there's a drum solo instead of bass?and not only that, there's two of them (uh-oh!). Once again, the actual themes are wonderful (including one quick march-like number near the beginning that reminds me of "Karn Evil 9, 3rd Impression"); however, as you've probably guessed, I'm not a huge fan of in-studio drum solos unless they're purely in the jazz realm. I'm still not sure why there needed to be two on the record, let alone the single track, but at least they're short, possibly due to after-the-fact editing. Also, DG sure likes using wah-wah pedal on his RMI, doesn't he? Ah, the 70s.

Thankfully we're back to more palatable territory with "Sunkissed You're Not," another fan fave which shows the band getting down and funky with their bad selves (in 5/4, no less). This one sounds more jazzy than most of the band's oeuvre, highlighted by Lawson's best ever lyrics for the band and a crackling Wurly solo from DG that builds to a very satisfying climax and eventually calms down for the final verses. (Ironic that my favorite tracks in the early days of this band were written entirely by Lawson and not the band's namesake.)

"Chalkhill" is the album-closing instrumental, much in the same vein as "Pilgrim's Progress" but not quite as memorable until the second half, with some great Hammond from DG and a recurring line underneath, played on ARP synth tones that almost predate techno music, some 20 odd years later. The piece ends pleasantly, with Lawson's acoustic piano riding out a gentle ballad theme with DG's Rhodes in the background.

Despite the best songs here being highlights of Greenslade's career in general, and the fact that they didn't just make the debut album over again, the rest of it doesn't exactly measure up quality-wise, and so I've rated it slightly lower than the debut which is more consistent overall. Prog fans will still find plenty to like, though, so make this the second album you hear from this band (after the debut, of course). 3.5 stars out of 5.

P.S. Anyone else get the impression that the black panther on the back cover was pretty much recycled for Yes' Drama album 7 years later? Oh, Roger Dean, you sly fox, you.

 Greenslade by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.58 | 211 ratings

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Greenslade
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by cfergmusic1

4 stars Greenslade was one of the few members of that prickliest of musical aggregations, the prog supergroup (a club which also included ELP and, later on, Asia and GTR). The band's namesake and de facto leader, Dave Greenslade (who I will call DG to avoid confusion), and bassist Tony Reeves both came from Colosseum, 2nd keyboardist and lead singer Dave Lawson was a veteran of the Web and Samurai, and drummer Andy McCulloch was in King Crimson for about five minutes, by which I mean his only credit with Fripp & Co. was the Lizard album from 1971. (Funny how a lot of KC alumni go on to join other bands or form their own.) In any event, the combination that grew out of the players' distinct "jazz-ical" influences was a smooth, somewhat perky two-keyboard sound not unlike the earlier Procol Harum, which also carved out its own little prog niche in the process. (In case you're wondering, DG plays most of the keys including organ, electric piano, Mellotron and clavinet, while Lawson handles the acoustic piano and synth work.)

Probably the main source of people's curiosity about this group (including myself) is the Roger Dean covers on almost every album and accompanying Yes font for the band logo. How well does that translate to the music? Well, sub-consciously or not, I get a very strong Rick Wakeman vibe from this record in particular. DG's slightly grungy Hammond and RMI electric piano remind me of Six Wives in a number of respects, while the Mellotron (of which there is plenty in this band) is redolent of the caped Yes-man's best work on CTTE or Tales. In addition, Reeves' bass work and tone is at times strangely similar to Chris Squire (was he using a Rickenbacker as well?), while McCulloch has the feeling of how Bill Bruford might have sounded if he hadn't left Yes and that band had also kept making Fragile-type albums for another couple of years. For all the quirkier Yes influences they exhibit (instrumentally at least), the band admirably avoids sounding like Starcastle or any other band of that ilk.

"Feathered Friends" gets things off to a rocking start with bluesy Hammond from DG and a solid beat from McCulloch before shifting gears into atmospheric ballad mode. The song proper is taken over vocally by Lawson (who by the way sounds nothing like Jon Anderson, even though he certainly has the range) who sings about? nothing in particular, as far as I can tell. Lawson's vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, although he will have one or two great moments later on. Admirably, the two keyboardists complement each other very well throughout the album, and the lack of a guitar is never noticed.

"An English Western" is the first instrumental of the album, a bit more energetic than most of the previous track. A good portion of it sounds as though Keith Emerson hijacked the session (maybe that's why I love it so?). One of the really cool aspects of this tune is the way that the eighth-note beat is added to or subtracted in certain points, so one could conceivably tap their foot and not lose their place when the opening section repeats (to quote legendary jazz guitarist Jim Hall, "trust means never having to say you're sorry"). Great track, although the random Mellotron chord at the very end didn't really need to be there.

"Drowning Man" is mostly a ballad, starting off with low vocals and rich-sounding Mellotron cellos?actually reminding me somewhat of early Genesis. The minor mode of the first minute gives way to a major-key slow waltz that actually enters chorale/hymn territory in the third verse, before the faster instrumental section which develops themes from the verse sections. DG has most of the solo spotlight here although I think I also hear a bit of Lawson's synth during this part of the tune. Good stuff, in any case.

"Temple Song" has a sort of lounge-jazz feel to it due to McCulloch's vibes doubling the vocal melody, as well as other assorted percussion throughout. It's a dreamy, lilting detour which serves as a nice comedown from the previous tracks. DG also gets to stretch out a bit on Fender Rhodes, which may be doubling the vibes with a tremolo effect in other places. Nice way to close out the first side.

"Melange" happens to be the very first Greenslade track I heard, right here on ProgArchives; this was the track that reminded me of Wakeman and led me to explore this group further. (Hey, if you enjoy the work of a certain band or musician, doesn't it make sense to seek out the people they may or may not have inspired?) In, I guess, typical Greenslade fashion, this one alternates between rocking sections and more atmospheric passages, with interest added by a Reeves bass solo (he gets a partial writing credit here, his only one on the album)?until it becomes apparent that said bass solo lasts for the majority of the track's length and isn't terribly interesting (something I didn't realize originally upon hearing the first two minutes of the tune). The bouncy, Bacharach-esque section about halfway through sounds nice, though.

"What Are You Doin' to Me" may be my favorite track here. Lawson is the sole writer credited, and he gives it his all on this one, with easily his most impassioned vocals on the album. (Must have been teed off about a bad relationship when he wrote it.) The music reflects the struggle in the lyrics as well, alternating from a 12/8 Hammond pattern to a slower jazz-rock section to some of the darkest Mellotron passages I've heard yet from any group. Somehow it all works.

The final track, "Sundance," is also the longest and apparently the one that went through the most changes in live performance, if certain archival performances are to be trusted. It's a rather meandering instrumental, with several really nice themes throughout; unfortunately, it seems to end somewhat abruptly after 8 1/2 minutes, as if the band couldn't think of a way to tie it all together. DG once again gets some nice licks in to close out the proceedings.

My verdict? Well, with a band like Greenslade, it's difficult to point to any one album as being representative because they changed their sound seemingly with every album. Most people point to this and the follow-up, Bedside Manners Are Extra (whatever that means), as generally being the best ones, and it's pretty hard to argue with that. Having said that, this band/album will mostly appeal to keyboard freaks such as myself, since a band with lots of keys and no guitars may be tough to take for some. If you have a craving to hear more obscure prog bands such as this, I recommend starting with the debut and, if you like it, working your way forward through their discography. 4 stars out of 5.

 Spyglass Guest by GREENSLADE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.29 | 124 ratings

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Spyglass Guest
Greenslade Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars What a charming little band Greenslade were! Not exactly the coolest of prog bands (Ha, as if there has even been such a thing!), there's a slightly daggy appeal to Greenslade and their mostly upbeat, infectious and proudly melodic duel keyboard player dominated music. Very easy to listen to and enjoy, full of colourful and joyful instrumental runs and quirky vocal numbers, their third album, 1974's `Spyglass Guest', is not quite as successful as the previous albums, but there's still plenty of undemanding and tastefully played adventurous rock music to discover. Perhaps the song-writing on the vocal pieces isn't as strong or catchy this time around, but the instrumental passages and overall great playing makes it another worthy addition to their run of very decent albums from their vintage 70's peak period.

Opening instrumental `Spirit of the Dance' couldn't be more appropriately titled, because the energetic synth duellings full of movement of Dave Greenslade and Dave Lawson couldn't be more dance-like! A cute keyboard jig with playful Moog spirals, light Mellotron flecks (pretty sure the 'Tron is actually singing in the final minute too!) and glistening electric piano with Andrew Mculloch's urgent snappy drumming, it's almost like a more peppy version of those rollicking Genesis and P.F.M numbers in parts. Odd jazz/fusion groover `Little Red Fry-Up' is almost comical with a variety of loopy vocals with lightly naughty grooves worked through slinking bass, tinkling electric piano and bluesy electric guitar wailing. The slightly melancholic `Rainbow' is full of mystery, eerie electronic drones, ambient synths and creeping electric piano with sighing group harmonies. `Siam Seesaw' might have one of the loveliest and most romantic melodies on any Greenslade album, drowsy acoustic guitar and dazzling harpsichord weaving blissfully together with humming bass and dreamy electric piano.

The almost nine minute symphonic piece `Joie de Vivre' turns out to be quite a jaunty tune, with many frequently whimsical moments driven by stirring violin and joyous keyboard soloing that wouldn't have sounded out of place on any of the mid 70's Caravan albums. `Red Light' is a brief somewhat silly vocal/electric piano piece that appears to be about a prostitute or an obsession with a cheater partner - maybe both! `Melancholic Race' doesn't really develop too well, jumping around from nice sweeping Mellotron fanfare, strolling electric piano walkabouts and outright jazz/fusion rupturing bass explosions. It's a whole mess of ideas, but a glorious and addictive tasty mess all the same! The album closes on a fairly plodding yet smooth cover of Jack Bruce's `Theme For An Imaginary Western', let down by a scratchy endless Lawson vocal that pushes the friendship, but at least Tony Reeves' lovely murmuring bass lifts it slightly higher.

Greenslade remind me of a band like Fruupp in that they released a run of quality albums in their vintage prime and got out before the rot of too much commercial pressure and the changing musical taste of the public led them to making really sub-standard albums. `Spyglass Guest' may not be the most challenging or important prog album, but there's still so much to enjoy about it, performed by a first-rate bunch of musicians, and it probably works best as a pleasing background listen.

Three stars.

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

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