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WALLY

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Wally biography
A couple years ago while adding bands to Symphonic database, we received a proposal for an early Prog band named "WALLY", despite the long search we couldn't find almost any information, much less get an album, but lately and thanks to a former member of the team, the information appeared.

WALLY is a strange band, they started playing some sort of Symphonic Country, which wouldn't be strange "per se" if they were from USA, but this guys were British and their debut album was produces by Rick Wakeman, so it's kind of unusual.

The band was formed in the early 70's by Singer Songwriter Roy Webber, the original lineup that was completed by Pete Cosker (Electric and acoustic guitars), Paul Gerrett (Fender Rhodes, harmonium, grand piano, harpsichord, mellotron, Hammond organ and vocals) Paul Middleton (Steel guitar and bass), Roger Narraway in the drums and Pete Sage playing electric violin, bass and Mandoline.

The band was discovered in 1972 when they reached the finals of a contest organized by the Melody Maker Magazine which was won by another band named DRUID. But they caught the attention of a judge of the contest called Bob Harris, who got them a contract with Atlantic Records, and with the support of Rick Wakeman co-produced their debut self titled album in 1974.

This album has a clear Symphonic sound, specially in the excellent "The Martyr" and the twelve minutes epic "To the Urban Man" with great Mellotron, but a good deal of Country music influence, more evident in songs as "I Just Wanna Be a Cowboy" that mixes some EAGLES sound, not an outstanding album, but solid enough, sadly it was a commercial failure.

Before they released their second album in 1975, Paul Gerrett leaves the band is replaced by Nick Glennie-Smith, with whom the release "Valley Gardens" in which they leave the Country sound behind and contains the best track they released, the epic "The Reason Why" which covered all side "B" of the LP.

Little is known after this release, but most people remembers them for their participation in the 1975 Reading Festival where they did a strong performance, despite playing with bands as YES, CARAVAN, WISHBONE ASH, SOFT MACHINE, etc.

As I said before, not the best band ever, but they were very good and deserve more recognition for being owners a unique sound.

Iván Melgar Morey

Wally official website

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WALLYWALLY
CREEP RECORDS 2010
Audio CD$10.63
$5.99 (used)
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WALLY JUMP JR. /CRIMINAL ELEMENT - Jummp-Back - ELECTRO US $9.99 Buy It Now 44m 13s
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Wally Fowler & The Oak Ridge Quartet US $5.00 [0 bids]
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LE ROY AND WALLY ROCK A DOODLE REVEILLE /IT'S PARIS 45 CARLTON US $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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Wally Fowler all-nite singing Georgia Style US $5.00 [0 bids]
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Best Of Wally O Productions-Toxan/Womar labels-Soul CD-Philly Northern Soul US $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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CUSTARD WALLY 2004 DAZE OF SWINE AND HOSES CD SEALED US $9.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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VA "Dad I Can't Breathe" LP EX OOP Boy Sets Fire Plow United The Boils Wally US $24.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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GEORGE CARLIN-AN EVENING WITH WALLY LONDO.LP LITTLE DAVID RECORDS 1975 US $4.99 [0 bids]
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Patti Austin,Evelyn King,Frankie Kelly,Wally Badarou - Blues & Soul Nov 1985 - U US $10.29 Buy It Now 1 day
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Wally Scott(Vinyl LP 1st Issue)The Best Of Scott Volume 1-UK-Ex/Ex US $35.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Leave Them A Flower Minus One/It's Me Mom - Whyton,Wally (1998, CD New) US $22.79 Buy It Now 1 day
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WALLY Self Titled S/T LP Sealed 1974 SS US $35.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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VINYL LP Duran Duran - Seven And The Ragged Tiger Wally Traugott US $12.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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QB Finest - Oochie Wally (Drum & Bass Remixes) 12" US $13.87 Buy It Now 1 day
Leave Them a Flower Minus One/It's Me Mum Wally Whyton CD US $28.23 Buy It Now 2 days
Renata Tebaldi Otello,Tosca,Madame Butterfly,La Wally (CD, London) USA US $3.99 [0 bids]
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Polka Party With Li'l Wally Lil Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer PBR Rare Advertisement US $19.99 [0 bids]
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WALLY FOWLER sings a Tribute To Elvis Presley ~ LP w/ J.D.Sumner US $3.75 [0 bids]
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AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. 1974. Wally Wood Cover Art. Sweet Little Find US $2.00 [0 bids]
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20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. 1974. Wally Wood Cover Art. Sweet Little Find US $2.00 [0 bids]
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THOMAS DOLBY THE GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS 1983 VINYL LP MASTERED BY CAPITOL WALLY US $3.99 [0 bids]
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Rose,Wally - Ragtime Classics [Vinyl New] US $15.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Trucker Wally - Truck Driving School [CD New] US $13.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Wally Brill Covenant CD US $11.81 Buy It Now 2 days
Traditional Christmas Vol 2, Petula Clark, Wally Stott, Black Dyke Mills Band US $4.75 Buy It Now 2 days
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WALLY shows & tickets


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WALLY discography


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

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

2.94 | 24 ratings
Wally
1974
3.00 | 24 ratings
Valley Gardens
1975
3.08 | 13 ratings
Montpellier
2010

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

4.50 | 4 ratings
To The Urban Man
2010

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

4.50 | 2 ratings
That Was Then
2009

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
That Was Then
2009

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

WALLY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Valley Gardens by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.00 | 24 ratings

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Valley Gardens
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A curious and sadly little-remembered outfit, Wally produced a sophisticated yet slightly odd sound that mixed Yes-style symphonic grandeur with country-tinged West Coast rock. However, this was no North American act; far from it. Instead, Wally were in actual fact a Yorkshore-based British group with a collective love for Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Byrds et al, marking them out as one of the more adventurous groups bracketed under the far-reaching 'progressive rock' banner of the early 1970's. However, despite their bold musical brand, the six-man group would produce just two full-length studio albums during their initial burst of activity, their Atlantic-issued self-titled debut of 1974 succeeded by the following years superior 'Valley Gardens'. However, despite modest album sales they did enjoy a fairly strong live following, and would would often open for label mates Yes, sometimes at large venues. For some, this, and the fact that Wally were looked after by Yes' long-term manager Brian Lane, was proof that the Northerners were Yes' heir apparents; sadly it wasn't to be. Despite this strong backing, Wally had simply joined the progressive rock party a bit too late-in- the-day; Punk-rock exploded throughout Britain less than a year after 'Valley Gardens' was issued and the rest, as they constantly say, is history. But was it? Thankfully, one of the many wonderful advantages of both the CD and digital ages is that music that was once forgotten can be rediscovered, reissued, restored and remastered. Issued by the impressive reissue imprint Wounded Bird Records, 'Valley Gardens' can be now be fully experienced by those potential fans intrigued by the prospect of mixing early-seventies symphonic-style progressive rock with the dreamy sounds of the late-sixties Californian West Coast. Unsurprisingly, the former style dominates - 'Valley Gardens' features just four tracks, two of which take up more than two-thirds of the album's running time - though the addition of hazily-strummed acoustic guitars, slide whistles and violins makes for an almost cinematic overall quality, best exemplified by the lengthy and rather wonderful instrumental sections adorning the epic, nineteen-minute closer 'The Reason'. Overall, 'Valley Gardens' does prove an impressive and highly- melodic listen, almost an orchestral wall-of-sound experience. The album's country elements help to produce a gentle, breezy atmosphere that juxtaposes nicely with the faster symphonic sections, whilst the individual playing is carefully-restrained-yet-powerful. Exactly what fans of the West Coast sound make of Wally's second album should make for some interesting discussions; the fact remains, however, that classic-era progressive rock fans should find much to enjoy on this singular mixture of moods and styles. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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 Valley Gardens by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.00 | 24 ratings

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Valley Gardens
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars We have here the second album from a decidedly interesting band whose first album was memorable (if very flawed) for its rather unique "country prog" sound. While a bit of that sound remains, this album sees Wally streamlining their sound quite a bit, moving towards space rock in a Pink Floyd and generally trying to come off as a more explicitly "prog" band. That's the impression I got, anyway, and unfortunately I don't feel that this approach works out for them very well. The first album was flawed but charming enough in its strangeness to be a rather enjoyable listen, while this one, on the whole just comes off as bland despite an early high point.

That high point is "Valley Gardens," which starts off the album with an intro that sounds like it easily could have come from Yes if you didn't know better. The sound quickly changes, however, into a guitar led melody that sounds like Dick Dale mixed with Pink Floyd. It's an incredibly promising instrumental opening that blends styles from many bands without coming off as a direct clone of any of them (with the exception of the first little bit, which sounds exactly like Yes). When the vocals come in the track takes on an even more Floydian sound, with languid delivery and spacey guitars that are spot-on for Dark Side era Pink Floyd. The track again shifts gears at around the 6 minute mark, bringing in a bit of the "country-prog" sound that made Wally's debut album sound so unique. As a whole, the title track here is a bit disjointed, but it's also a very, very good song and one that sets the bar very high for the rest of the album.

Unfortunately, it immediately becomes clear that the rest of the album is not going to reach the same heights. "Nez Perce" is a shorter tune, very much in the style of the first album, with Wally's rather unique blended style of folk, country western, and spacey progressive rock returning in a characteristically languid way. Violin plays a prominent role in the song, drawing possible connections to Kansas, though in general Wally's style is far more country than Kansas ever was. Excellent vocal harmonies that are at times reminiscent of CSN(Y) also feature prominently. Overall, "Nez Perce" is a pleasant little song, but not remotely proggy and a pretty big letdown after the excellent opener.

"The Mood I'm In" follows in a similar vein, starting off with some some ethereal keyboards and psychedelic guitars and adding in vocals in much the same vein of "Nez Perce." Languid delivery and lush backing harmonies are the name of the game here, and like the title track there are obvious comparisons to be made to the sound of Dark Side of the Moon, though this is done with far less subtlety. In fact, given the sound of the track it's not too hard to imagine that Wally was going for intentional imitation, especially given the remarkably similar use of saxophone in the track. With a spacey atmosphere and some pleasant (but not particularly noteworthy) solos, "The Mood I'm In" is again a decent song, but not a particularly original or spectacular one, which prompts me to ask myself if I wouldn't just be better off listening to a band that pulled off the style better.

"The Reason Why" sees Wally trying its hand at a sidelong epic. The epic "To The Urban Man" from their previous eponymous album came off as a wandering, aimless affair, and I was curious to see whether they would be able to pull it off better here. Unfortunately, after several listens I am forced to conclude that the answer is "no." It seems that the band tried very hard to make a progressive epic, with various motifs, solos and instruments darting in and out; however, the track simply meanders on with no sense of purpose and even kills a good two minutes with a pseudo-ambient section that sounds kind of cool but doesn't fit into the track as a whole at all. There's no real sense of drama or pacing, and even the solos feel bland and phoned in.

Thus, unfortunately, Valley Gardens is an album that starts strong but ultimately fails to deliver. The title track shows that Wally's compositional abilities had obviously begun to improve, but unfortunately the rest of the album has been so homogenized that it lacks even the idiosyncratic charm of the first album. Beyond the first track there's really not too much reason to check this one out, as there are a multitude of other bands who can do what Wally does here, but better.

2/5

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 Montpellier by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.08 | 13 ratings

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Montpellier
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Review originally posted at www.therocktologist.com

Wally is a band from the United States who had released a couple of albums in the seventies. After a long gap, they came back with new material in 2009, and in 2010 released this album entitled "Montpellier", which consists of eight songs that make a total time of 54 minutes. The songs duration range from 6 to 8 minutes each.

The album kicks off with "Sailor", a track with a great atmosphere that let us imagine the trip of precisely, a sailor. The first introductory minute is interesting, with environmental landscape. Later the voice enters and creates with piano a delicate and ballad-like sound which later is progressing and creating a kind of soft neo-prog sound, very light, if you ask me. A couple of minutes later it changes and the rock element is much more evident here, with also an extra amount of energy and a more interesting sound.

"Sister Moon" starts again with the environment sound, like being in the ocean. Then just like in the previous track, a soft, charming and ballad-like song starts.. Later it progresses and adds new elements that give it the entrance to the progressive rock realm, to its lightest side, actually. The lyrics are cool and in moments easy to sing. After four minutes there is a good guitar riff which is greatly accompanied by the other instruments.

"Thrill's Gone" has a very 80s sound, reminding me of some hard rock bands. The song is pretty catchy, with nice keyboards and a great implement of female vocals as back. A guitar riff comes later, but the rhythm and the structure are the same all the time. Nice if you want to move your body for some minutes. "Surfing" has a nice introductory minute with organ and soft vocals; later drums and a "tick-tock" sang appear and the song begin to build up a new structure. After two minutes it explodes and becomes rockier and more emotional due to the vocals, but also to the higher volume of the instruments. I cannot help but remembering Dire Straits here (and actually in previous tracks also), they have a very alike flavor. Later there is a brief but worth mentioning instrumental part where a delicious violin is implemented. Then the song returns to its original structure and finishes like that.

With "In the Night", the soft, pop and dreamy atmosphere comeback. But well, what I like of Wally is that their songs are not plain at all, because they are always changing in rhythm and mood, creating a nice mixture of sounds and emotions. In this track that can be perceived when it changes from that soft ballad to a rockier tune, where guitars make a great work accompanied by constant drums, accurate bass and a good keyboard background; the vocals are not memorable to be honest, but they are good enough to complement the music (both, the front male, and the back female).

"Human" starts with guitar and then the other instruments join. Here we can listen to a soft progressive rock, in the neo-prog side. The best of it is the addition of the violin because it adds a beautiful texture to the already good atmosphere created by keyboards. At minute three where the guitar solo appears we receive a charming hug, I mean, the music is so gentle that one can only be happy with it. Later where the vocals return they put a more emotional sensation, producing the sense of freedom.

"She Said" is one of my favorite tracks here, and I dare say one of Montpellier's finest moments. The music has a slow tempo, a delicate piano perfectly accompanied by the soft and mellow voice and delicious percussion. Through the minutes they are adding new elements such as nuances produced by keyboards and sweet guitars. The mood is pretty peaceful, and though the sound is like a ballad (like a combination of Tears for Fears and Roger Water's Amused to Death), I really like it. After some minutes the intensity increases a little bit, drums are added instead of the sweet percussion and a (once again) light rock is presented here. Back female chorus can be also heard in the last minute.

And the album finishes with "Giving" which is the longest composition here. It starts with a distant and atmospheric violin that produces a calm sound. Half a minute later drums enter along with acoustic guitar and nice keyboards. A smooth sound is produced in the whole track, where we can perceive the band's emotions and charm.

Well, the album is good without a doubt, cool for some few listens when you want something calm and relaxing, but that's it. I honestly cannot say I love it, but I enjoyed some parts nonetheless.

Enjoy it!

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 Montpellier by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.08 | 13 ratings

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Montpellier
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Crossover and E&O Teams

3 stars As I can imagine, many Progsters would not like such marriage of Symphonic bride and Country broom, but not me. I like them (maybe even more because I know they are rather underdogs in terms of popularity). So after enjoying boxset album, first two albums from first generation of Wally, I was craving for more. Thus came Montpellier. However, to put it bluntly, I don't like it. Sounds here are more or less adequate, but something doesn't add up. It's as if this music didn't work there and feeling that I cannot relate to these tracks, that they fail to attract me doesn't help at all. Yet I'm not exactly sure why this album fails. More mainstream sound perhaps (in a ballad way), even more than their first two, lack of "strong" song, or perhaps epic of some kind. She Said sounds like half soloing, half Coldplay for example.

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 Wally by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.94 | 24 ratings

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Wally
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well, this is an interesting one. Some have described this group as "Progressive Country," which is an interesting categorization for a British band whose first album was produced by Rick Wakeman. However, I think it's apt enough, as this band takes some decidedly country influences (especially in the vocal delivery and the instrumentation) and creates from them an at-times folky, at-times proggy album.

"The Martyr" kicks things off, and really sets the tone for where this album is going to go. A very laid back track (as are most of the tracks on the album), it features a very nice violin part that reminds one of some of Kansas' softer moments. The lyrics, while certainly not great, are probably at their high point here, as the band will deliver some truly horrendous ones later on.

Speaking of which, the second track is "I Just Wanna Be A Cowboy." Despite the title and the almost painfully twee lyrics, the song really isn't that bad. It's a nice song that combines some country sounds with English folk sensibilities to create an interesting blend. It's value as a prog track is extremely debatable, however.

"What to Do" is next, and is actually one of my favorites on the album. It's a slow, somewhat depressed sounding track, but the combination of country sounds and prog mentality is used to its best effect here, and the result is very good. This song I think really shows that less can be more when it comes to prog: there are no instrumental gymnastics here, but it's well arranged and the resulting ambience is very nice.

"Sunday Walking Lady" is the shortest song on the album, and I think it could have fit in perfectly on the first Crosby, Stills, and Nash album, as the vocal harmonies sound very similar (to my untrained ears at least). It's not remotely prog, but it's pretty much the only uptempo song on the album so it's a good change of pace.

"To The Urban Man" is the obligatory epic, and on my first listen of the album I was curious to see how Wally would take their sound and make a longer track out of it. Well, it appears that their approach was to write another 4 minute song and then meander for 10 minutes. It's pleasant enough, but it doesn't really go anywhere and I can think of much better ways to spend 14 minutes musically.

"Your Own Way" closes the album off in an aurally pleasing but ultimately forgettable way. This is one of those songs that sounds nice enough while you're listening but as soon as it's over you can't remember a single melody or theme from it. It has a passable, suitably laid back guitar solo toward the end, though, so if you're only half listening to the album it's a nice enough closer.

Overall, this is an interesting album, but not much more. There aren't any truly awful songs, but there aren't really any that are much better than "decent" either. The fusion of influences, though, I think makes this album charming enough to warrant a listen or two.

2.5/5, rounded up

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 Valley Gardens by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.00 | 24 ratings

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Valley Gardens
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The sophomore album by Wally, and their last album for +30 years, is a little different than their debut. It's much more space rock and psychedelic influenced, though all the country elements are still present, which I consider a good thing because that is what makes this band stand out (otherwise they would just be a sub-par symphonic prog group).

While listening to the first song it became apparent that this album was going to be a little bit more dynamic throughout. I usually don't care much for psychedelic music, but I really enjoy Wally's take on the genre. The music on this album is much more progressive than that on the debut, including more alternating in tempo, time signatures, and mood. This album still includes a country-rock ballad song, "Nez Perce", but the songwriting and musicianship seems much stronger than on the debut album's ballads. The strong Pink Floyd influence is very strong on the last two tracks, "The Mood I'm In" and the epic track "The Reason Why", the latter being moderately eclectic but too long for it's own good. The middle of the song just drones endlessly, which isn't what I want to hear in my progressive psychedelic country.

One thing that I really like about this album is the tone of the bass. I don't really play bass that well, but I love when the bass stands out on an album. The playing and songwriting as a band on the whole is much better than on the debut, which is fantastic, and I love that they kept their signature country sound intact while adding more elements to the mix. This is another interesting listen from Wally, and I'd suggest it to people who are fans of both Pink Floyd and John Denver.

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 Wally by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.94 | 24 ratings

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Wally
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After discovering this band by a recommendation by a fellow reviewer on this site, toroddfuglesteg, in a forum topic I started regarding my lack of knowledge of any progressive country ever existing. Well, here it is. Wally is symphonic progressive country from the UK. Odd, right? That's what I thought, so I decided to give the debut album a listen.

It's definitely unique, and I actually enjoyed it even though it seems kind of dry.

The music on this album is Genesis/Yes-esque symphonic country, and even though there are some lengthy compositions on this album, the songs don't come across as being very progressive. There are a lot of sentimental country-rock type melodies that sound nice, but not much more than that. There is some electric violin playing throughout this album that really sticks out, but the playing isn't really extraordinary as much as it just adds another country element to the music. The musicianship by everyone else on this album isn't incredibly extraordinary either, but it is simple and soothing music in a very different kind of style.

"The Martyr", to me, sounds like a longer and more countrified version of Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4", and it's a decent song for relaxing, though it sounds kind of melancholic.

"I Just Want to be a Cowboy" is a song about being some kind of pacifist cowboy game playing, and I don't really understand it too much, but it does sound nice. This is a very non- progressive country-folk song in the vein of bands such as America or The Eagles. It's still soothing.

"What to Do" starts off with the dry electric violin that I mentioned earlier. I always want the violin to take off in a Jean-Luc Ponty style, but I'm always let down. The vocal melody in the chorus is very nice, especially the part where "all I need is music..." is sung, but after the first couple of minutes the song gets kind of boring. And the steel lap guitar is annoying, but I've always been an avid hater of that instrument. This song is more of a psychedelic country style.

"Sunday Walking Lady" is another short country-folk song. It's got a nice melody but it ends too soon to actually develop anything else notable.

"To The Urban Man" is the longest track on the album. It starts off slow, electric country ballad but soon picks up momentum after a cue from a brief and ghostly choir sound, still maintaining it's country-rock style. It drones aimlessly for the next couple minutes in what seems to be an ambient-psych attempt, but it just comes off as a boring we-don't-know- what-to-play improv session. After an avant-garde country klang of instrument sounds, the main chorus motif ends the song. I honestly hoped of more from a song that was +13 minutes in length, but whatever; it's a debut album, and lots of times bands need more time to perfect their style.

"Your Own Way" starts off with absolutely beautiful acoustic guitar picking, and soon reveals itself to be another country-folk ballad. Twangy steel guitar solo ensues, not once, but twice.

This is a strange album to listen to. I like it, but at the same time I don't like it. I'd say it's not a very good progressive rock album, but it is miles above any country music I've ever heard. I definitely enjoy it and I'll definitely listen to it in the future for it's novelty qualities. Very soothing and serene most of the time. I'm not sure who this album is aimed towards, but I'd suggest it to anyone looking for something different, or for someone looking for a slightly more progressive version of country, as I was.

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 Valley Gardens by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.00 | 24 ratings

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Valley Gardens
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars A sensitive artist, deafened by our endless noise of opinions, has questioned the value of amateur music criticism. Frankly Mr Shankly, I don't know if I should give one jot for the opinion of an artist I'd never heard of until yesterday. In spite of my bias, ignorance and inability to make a critical evaluation, I'm going to keep on crawling out of my dunghill to write ''so-called'' reviews for ProgArchives. If it wasn't for this website I wouldn't be aware of bands like Wally, or Porcupine Tree for that matter.

''Valley Gardens'', released in 1975 and named after the area of Harrogate where most of the band lived, was Wally's second album. They split up following the album's release due to a lack support from their record company, although they have recently reformed and released a DVD of their comeback concert and a CD of old demos and new material. Whereas the band's debut album is a curious hybrid of country and progressive music ''Valley Gardens'' is pure symphonic, although extremely light in weight and still featuring the prominent use of traditional instruments.

Nick Glennie-Smith, who had replaced original keyboards player Paul Gerrett, ploughs straight in with a fitful synthesizer flurry on the title track before it settles into a gossamer space rock groove of intertwining Mellotron and steel guitar. ''Nez Perce'' features guest vocals by American soul singer Madeline Bell, probably most famous for her work with Blue Mink. The Nez Perce, a tribe of Native Americans, got their name from the French term for pierced noses. Among the traditions of the Nez Perce is the legend of the Wallowa Lake Monster, often referred to as Wally. This song artfully combines the band's pop sensibility with Pete Sage's ethereal electric violin, and it even managed to achieve some airplay back in the day.

''The Mood I'm In'' is a fairly nondescript West Coast ballad with a bit of saxophone tagged onto the end for interest, but it's ''The Reason Why'' that grabs the most attention here. At over 19-minutes it takes up the entire second half of the album and is based on Lord Tennyson's anti-war poem ''The Charge of the Light Brigade''. It's an ambitious, moving piece and no mistake, with a lengthy improvised instrumental section.

''Valley Gardens'' neither sucks nor rules. It will obviously have more appeal for fans of mellow progressive music, but others might even enjoy something along the way. Wally are sadly over-looked and I wonder if they would be whining if there were more than half a million reviews of their output online?

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 Valley Gardens by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.00 | 24 ratings

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Valley Gardens
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Wally´s second album is considerable better than their debut. Their odd mix of symphonic rock and country music is much more even here and although it is hardly great, it showed they were developing their very own sound and maturing. Unfortunalty, they disbanded soon after this album was out and their truly potential would remain as one of rock´s many unanswered questions

There are nice pasages all over the album, even if nothing really spetacular. Their songwriting was still in the early stages, I believe. Nevertheless, they were able to come up with a fairly good prog rock CD that has some Yes influences here and there, plus very good harmony singing. I liked the guitar and violin parts as well. The only real downside on the instrumental field are some pointless noodlings on the epic The Reason Why.

In the end I found Valley Gardens to be an interesting album, with a sound that promised more than they delivered by the time the band broke up. A real shame, I guess, since they at least had something different from most prog bands at the period. If you´re into both prog and country, this is an album to look for. But don´t expect too much . 3 stars.

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 Wally by WALLY album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.94 | 24 ratings

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Wally
Wally Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I had never heard of this british band before and upon hearing their debut CD it was easy to understand why. While those guys were good musicians and could write some nice tunes, they laked two critical qualities: personality and a strong sense of direction. They were labeled as symphonic prog and the fact that it was produced by Rick Waleman may lead to some misinterpretations. They are far from being symphonic, at least most of the time.

The album starts very well, with The Martyn a song that reminds of Kansas (more specific, that group´s The Wall). Fine symphonic piece, with some good keys and violin lines. The next is the very country-ish I Just Wanna Be A Cowboy (the title tells it all!), a song that would fit very well in any Eagles or Poco early LPs. Both tunes are very good, although completely different between themselves in the matter of style. From then on things are not as smooth: What To Do is another try on the country field: ok, but a bit too long. Sunday Walking Lady is more folky and reeks of Wishbone Ash harmonies, but add nothing in its short time.

Then comes their ´epic´ The Urban Man, an almost 14 minute suite that should be the highlight of the album. But clearly, Wally was not up to the task. The first part is ok, a nice ballad with good harmonies and decent guitar and keyboards lines, but it just drags after a while and the instrumental break after that is not exactly convincing with some boring noises at the end. It seems it would be better if they used 3 different smaller songs instead, I don´t know. the album closes with a typical early 70´s ballad Your Own Way, that seems to mix the styles of bands like Bread and Poco

Conclusion: more interesting than good. If you´re into country rock you might enjoy this album. I certainly don´t recommend it to symphonic prog lovers, because they will be disappointed. Maybe their second album shows some improvement on that field, I´ll have to listen. This one is little more than a country rock CD, even if it was made by british musicians. 2,5 stars.

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