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KIT WATKINS

Crossover Prog • United States


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Kit Watkins biography
Keyboardist Kit Watkins was the child of two classical piano teachers. After learning to play the piano at a very young age, Watkins played keyboards in cover bands, progressing up to songs by ELP and Rush. In college he met guitarist Stanley Whitaker, who introduced him to even more of the prog rock world. In 1973 Watkins joined Whitaker's band Happy The Man.

In 1979, after only releasing two albums (more would be released later), Happy The Man broke up. Watkins then joined Camel, and recorded I Can See Your House From Here with them. Since then Watkins has released numerous keyboard based solo albums, as well as albums with Coco Roussel and Brad Allen. His solo work ranges from Happy the Man style progressive rock to ambient music to electronic variations of classical pieces.

Many of Watkins' albums are available for free downloads from his website under a Creative Commons license.

Kit Watkins official website

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KIT WATKINS Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy KIT WATKINS Music


SunstruckSunstruck
East Side Digital 1993
Audio CD$6.99
$2.76 (used)
Holographic TapestriesHolographic Tapestries
One Way Records Inc 2000
Audio CD$342.50
$29.90 (used)
Thought Tones, Volume 1Thought Tones, Volume 1
Linden Music
Audio CD$6.99
$6.99 (used)
Wet, Dark & LowWet, Dark & Low
East Side Digital 1992
Audio CD$29.49
$7.75 (used)
In TimeIn Time
Linden Music
Audio CD$3.99 (used)
LabyrinthLabyrinth
One Way Records Inc 2000
Audio CD$107.08 (used)
AzureAzure
Import
Audio CD$105.79
$12.93 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Kit Watkins - Frames of Mind USD $15.00 [0 bids]
2h 43m
Kit Watkins : SunStruck (1990) CD USD $11.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Kit Watkins Sunstruck CD USD $11.30 Buy It Now 2 days
CAMEL+Kit Watkins "I Can See Your House From Here" Arista #AB 4254 (USA press) USD $15.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Kit Watkins Self Titled S/T vinyl LP 1982 prog/jazz EXCELLENT Azimuth Records USD $12.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Kit Watkins Labyrinth USA vinyl LP album record AZ-1001 AZIMUTH RECORDS 1983 USD $53.08 Buy It Now 4 days
KIT WATKINS - "Labyrinth" LP 1981 1st US INDY PROMO + PRESS - Azimuth - No UPC USD $24.88 Buy It Now 5 days
Dream Music featuring Quiet Force Kit Watkins Megabyte Peter Seiler frank Fische USD $5.00 [0 bids]
6 days
HAPPY THE MAN (2 CD LOT) - CRAFTY HANDS / DEATH'S CROWN > KIT WATKINS / CAMEL USD $24.99 [0 bids]
6 days
Bruce Stephens/Kit Watkins-1983 magazine advert USD $7.80 Buy It Now 6 days
Kit Watkins "Frames of Mind album, sealed, AZ 1002 Azimuth records, from 1982 USD $19.45 Buy It Now 7 days
Kit Watkins - Wet, Dark And Low CD 2000 One Way Records, OW 35162 USD $11.21 Buy It Now 8 days
KIT WATKINS & COCO ROUSSEL In Time CD USD $9.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Kit Watkins-Azure 1994 CD edition USD $8.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Kit Watkins - Early Solo Works 1980-82 CD 1991 Linden Music 14trk USD $18.59 Buy It Now 11 days
Kit Watkins - Azure CD MINT RARE OOP ESD 1989 Cheap! Out of Print USD $9.99 Buy It Now 12 days
HAPPY THE MAN- BETTER LATE (3rd) (SHM-CD) (Kit Watkins, Stan Whitaker) USD $35.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Kit Watkins-Azure 1989 East Side Digital ESD 80242 1st CD edition Happy The Man USD $12.99 Buy It Now 15 days
KIT & COCO IN TIME LP SEALED HAPPY THE MAN KIT WATKINS COCO ROUSSEL1985 AZIMUTH USD $12.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Kit Watkins Holographic Tapestries CD USD $3.40 Buy It Now 17 days
Kit Watkins Frames Of Mind vinyl LP album record USA AZ1002 AZIMUTH 1982 USD $53.08 Buy It Now 17 days
Kit Watkins SunStruck CD USD $3.25 Buy It Now 17 days
CD* Thought Tones Volume 2 - KIT WATKINS *** BRAND NEW *** USD $29.99 Buy It Now 18 days
Kit Watkins Kit & Coco In Time LP M- '85 Ambient Jazz Azimuth AZ-1004 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 22 days
Dream Music featuring Quiet Force Kit Watkins Megabyte Peter Seiler frank Fische USD $3.50 Buy It Now 23 days
Kit Watkins Sun Struck CD East Side Digital USD $3.99 Buy It Now 23 days
KIT & COCO In Time Flexi Sampler PROMO RECORD Kit Watkins HAPPY THE MAN USD $10.00 Buy It Now 25 days
Camel:Breathless Empty Promo Box [Japan Mini-LP no cd caravan kit watkins QA USD $103.50 Buy It Now 26 days
Camel: s/t [1st] Empty Promo Box [Japan Mini-LP no cd caravan kit watkins QR USD $67.50 Buy It Now 27 days
KIT WATKINS WET DARK AND LOW ESD EAST SIDE DIGITAL ORIGINAL1992 CD Happy The Man USD $11.25 Buy It Now 28 days


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KIT WATKINS shows & tickets


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KIT WATKINS discography


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

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

3.22 | 4 ratings
Labyrinth
1980
1.50 | 2 ratings
Frames Of Mind (with Brad Allen)
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
In Time (with Coco Roussel)
1985
3.95 | 3 ratings
Azure
1989
3.10 | 2 ratings
Sunstruck
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Thought Tones - Volume 1
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Thought Tones - Volume 2
1991
3.95 | 2 ratings
A Different View
1991
3.90 | 2 ratings
Wet Dark And Low
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Circle
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kinetic Vapors
1993
3.90 | 2 ratings
Holographic Tapestries
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
Beauty Drifting
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
This Time And Space
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
SkyZone
2006

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Music For The End
2001

KIT WATKINS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

KIT WATKINS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Frames Of Mind (with Brad Allen) by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.50 | 2 ratings

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Frames Of Mind (with Brad Allen)
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars A frame of mind I'd rather not be in

After having played with American Prog band Happy The Man and then briefly in the legendary Camel in the late 70's, Kit Watkins recorded his first solo album Labyrinth in 1980. While continuing to tour with Camel in the early 80's, Watkins teamed up with someone called Brad Allen to create the present album. Unlike the wholly instrumental, light Prog of Labyrinth, 1982's Frames Of Mind is a vocally dominated, quirky Pop album. This music is actually not very far away from the least good, least memorable, and most poppy songs from Camel's 1979 album I Can See Your House From Here (on which Watkins played). There is absolutely no sign of Prog here, but instead a rather eclectic and quirky mixture of New Wave, Synth Pop, and World-Music. Not really my cup of tea.

The first two tracks are absolute embarrassments and the worst of the lot. What follows is rather incoherent and disjointed, but with occasional decent moments. Watkins is a good musician and I'm sure he would have been capable of making a better album, but as it stands Frames Of Mind is aimless and occasionally even downright tedious.

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 Labyrinth by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.22 | 4 ratings

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Labyrinth
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars I can see your Camel from here

I am both a very big fan of Camel and a fan of the solo albums of keyboard players in general, so I guess it was just a matter of time before I would check out Kit Watkins. Watkins was recruited to replace original Camel keyboardist Peter Bardens in the late 70's and he appeared on the 1979 Camel studio album I Can See Your House From Here. Before that he played in the American Prog band Happy The Man.

Labyrinth was Watkins' first solo release and even if it is a bit too much on the easy listening-side for my tastes, it has a few traces of the late 70's/early 80's Camel sound. Even if Watkins did not appear on Camel's excellent 1981 studio album Nude, he did appear on the writing credits (together with Andy Latimer) on one instrumental piece called Docks. This same composition also appears on the present album, here under the different title of Mt. St. Helens. I recognized the tune it immediately, but I have to say that the Camel version is much better and more powerful. This version comes across as a bit lazy by comparison.

The album as a whole is actually rather lazy for the most part, though it is not New-Age music by any means (with the exception of the final three tracks). The music is entirely instrumental and strongly keyboard dominated. For me it is a pleasant listen, but not anywhere above that. There is very little to grab my attention, and this is not an album I would play more than once or twice.

For fans and collectors only

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 Labyrinth by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.22 | 4 ratings

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Labyrinth
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by Dreamer of Pictures

4 stars Kit's old band, Happy the Man, recorded both Labyrinth and While Chrome Yellow Shine for the band's third LP. Their label Arista cancelled the contract, and the third album eventually was released on plastic by Kit's homebrew label Azimuth, and (much later) on CD.

The version of Chrome here really captures the essense of the subtle, even haunting mood of the song, omitting the guitar-centric middle verse with the upbeat tempo in the HTM version.

I especially admire the pair of tune Two Worlds / 4 bars 1 unit, which I believe are a homage to Genesis, the band that the HTM members most admired and sometimes covered.

The Song Spring 1980 is a simple tone poem, wonderfully melodic and a welcome change from the more fully instrumented other pieces.

The song Labyrinth was inspired by Watkins' rides on the Washington DC Metro subway system, and the cover photo collage was taken in a DC Metro station by Watkins.

Also on my iPod are just about all the other tunes on the CD, excepting the spooks and the three Cycles tunes.

Note that Kit now provides from his web site a free download of this entire album as MP3 files.

Full disclosure: I have been shooting photos of HTM and the Wyatt/Whitaker successor Oblivion Sun for 11 years. Some of my photos are on the band web sites.

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 Holographic Tapestries by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.90 | 2 ratings

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Holographic Tapestries
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars This album follows the sound Kit Watkins devoloped on "Wet Dark And Low". The songs here, and there are a lot of them, have lots of rhythm in them. And, like most of Watkins' previous work, plenty of odd time signatures as well.

Like the previous album, Watkins uses a harmonized trumpet sound on a few track. This along with the treibal rhythms, sounds quite a bit like some of Jon Hassell's works. But that's only a few of the songs here. The real joy here come in the synth sounds Watkins uses. While not sounding strange, each synth patch seems perfect for the music he's written.

The songs are not terribly complex. Watkins lays down the main tracks, and instead of soloing, he has other short synth sound dance in and out around the music. It's very nice, and often mesmerizing.

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 Wet Dark And Low by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.90 | 2 ratings

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Wet Dark And Low
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars On this album, Kit Watkins pays tribute to Robert Bly, the author of the book Iron John (I think it has something to do with a metal toilet - it must be very cold in the winter). And it is uplifting. Here Watkins finally veers away from his descent into ambient (new age) music.

The songs are energetic. Most are driven by percussion. And on a few songs, particularly Brave Water and Slinky, he uses a harmonized trumpet sound, that gives the music a strong resemblance to Jon Hassell's works.

Another great track is Funky Duty, sort of a honky tonk blues in 7 and six.

The only disappointing piece is Setting Iron John Free, a softer song that doesn't come close to evoking freedom. But it's good to hear Watkins playing more complex music again.

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 A Different View by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.95 | 2 ratings

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A Different View
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars Both of Kit Watkins' parents were classical piano teachers. And (surprise!) he was taugh to play at a very early age. On this album, Watkins pays tribute to his parents with this set of mostly relatively obscure classical pieces, played Watkins style on an array of keyboards.

The album is very compelling, and extremely interesting, although I do question Watkins' choice of opening and closing the album with different versions of Erik Satie's 1st Gymnopedie. This piece, a perennial favorite of new agers, is one of the most boring soporific pieces ever written. And on top of that, those of us old enough to remember will forever associate the piece with an awful old Geritol commercial ("My wife, I think I'll keep her").

That song aside, the album is an excellent selection of classical works played mostly electronically. And it can be played at dinner parties.

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 Sunstruck by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Sunstruck
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars Throughout the nineteen eigties, Kit Watkins seemed to be moving steadily away from progressive rock and toward new age. And this album, with it's lighness, continues on that path. Luckily for us, despite the new age inclinations, Watkins has at this point still retained his affinity for odd time signatures and experimental sounds.

As light as this album is, there are plenty of moments that catch the ear and make you want to listen. And the long airy tone poem pieces toward the end of the album are nice for introspection.

But I hope this path is not one that Watkins stays on for too long.

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 In Time (with Coco Roussel) by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.00 | 1 ratings

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In Time (with Coco Roussel)
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars Kit Watkins' first solo album, "Labyrinth" was performed by himself and Coco Roussel, a drummer he had worked with while in Happy The Man. This album is more of a true collaboration, with both musicians sharing compositional duties.

The music, while considerably lighter than in "Labyrinth", still has ties back to the HTM albums. There is plenty of work in odd time signatures, and the song structures are mostly progressive for their time.

There are a few songs where Watkins begins to stray toward the new agey style that he would venture into on later albums, but at least these tracks are few, and reasonably short, and Roussel's percussion tends to keep them from becoming too bland.

While I wouldn't call this a great album, it has plenty of nice points, enough to make it worthwhile.

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 Frames Of Mind (with Brad Allen) by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1982
1.50 | 2 ratings

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Frames Of Mind (with Brad Allen)
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

2 stars This album displays some of the worst tendencies of the New Wave era. Here we have Kit Watkins, the superb keyboardist that most of us know from Happy the Man, team up with a singer/guitarist named Brad Allen. Together, they appear to be serving up an imitation of New Wave electronic pop. Allen even goes out of his way to imitate the thin, off-key vocals of New Wave darlings Ric Ocasik and David Byrne.

The songs are highly forgettable, and even Watkins' keyboards aren't enough to save the album. On the last few tracks of the album, the style trends toward the acid dance music of the day: upbeat, beat heavy, highly repetitive rhythms with not much inside.

This one is really for the Watkins' collectors. Available for free download from his web site.

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 Labyrinth by WATKINS, KIT album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.22 | 4 ratings

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Labyrinth
Kit Watkins Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars This early Kit Watkins solo album is a must for Happy The Man fans. The first nine out of the thirteen tracks sound like they could have come from one of the HTM albums (While Crome Yellow Shine was actually written by Watkins and Frank Wyatt for Happy The Man). They are all fabulous pieces of keyboard driven symphonic prog, showing off Watkins' keyboard skills and love of odd and changing time signatures.

The album drops a bit toward the end. The last three tracks, the Cycles pieces, are new agey noodling. It's closer to some of the music that Watkins would explore in sone of his later releases. But at least these tracks are all short, and don't really reduce the value of the album.

4.5 stars.

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Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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