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Symphonic Prog • United States

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Pre biography
If you ever believed that Kentucky only makes fried chicken, you are wrong, they are also a cradle of a short lived Prog band named PRE.

The quintet formed by Alfred Collinsworth (Acoustic guitar/vocals), Larry Collinsworth (guitars) Brian Paulson on the keyboards, Steve DeMoss (bass, vibes, glockenspiel) and the drummer Dwight Dunlap formed PRE in January, 1973 and disbanded on December of the same year, without ever releasing an album. Luckily for the fans, in 1994 a compilation of music apparently recorded in 1973 but lost in time was transformed by ZNR RECORDS into an almost 60 minutes CD.

Now, lets be honest, this release could be considered important from an historical point of view, because it presents us an almost unknown USA band from the first Symphonic golden era, but musically could only be defined as a YES clone with a lighter edge, an effect that is boosted by the vocal similarity between Alfred Collinsworth and Jon Anderson.

Good for collectors of rarities.

Ivan Melgar Morey :::: Perú

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3.58 | 18 ratings

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PRE Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pre by PRE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.58 | 18 ratings

Pre Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Quite interesting album by this unknown band from Kentucky, who recorded this LP in 1973, but did not released it at the time. They soon broke up after this and the CD only saw the light of day more than twenty years after, in 1994. The first thing that strike me was the pristine sound of the CD, which enhances the performances very much. The label did a very nice job with the original tapes, I guess. But it is also easy to say why Pre was not put in the market in 1973: their sound is way too derivative. While the musicians are very good and the decent songwriting is not bad at all, they still had to work on it a little longer if they really wanted to get as far as they tried to here.

Pre is one of the many bands influenced at the time by two of the biggest groups at the period: Yes and Led Zeppelin (plus hints of Genesis and Uriah Heep here and there too). So the stakes were really high. And while the band had the chops to play the symphonic prog so few could master, they failed miserably to produce anything with a hint of personality here. Most of the songs are carbon copies of Yes around the time of Time And A Word and The Yes Album, but there are also, oddly enough, some parts that spring from Houses Of The Holy too (Whoīs Laughing Now is pure acoustic Led Zeppelin, singer Alfred Collinsworth is even imitating Plantīs wailing and vocal mannerisms). But most of the time this band wanted so badly to be Yes all the way (and, yes, Collinsworth tries hard to be Jon Anderson).

Although I donīt mind that much for originality, a certain degree of a personal identity is necessary to anyone to stand out from the crowd. And this band had none. I guess with time and experience they could and would eventually outgrow their influences bringing out something new and/or exciting, since they were obviously skillful musicians and had the right influences. But, alas, that was not to be.

What is more interesting is that nowadays, with most of the great bands that inspired them long gone, the music here is far more interesting than it would have been during the 70īs. And I guess that any not too demanding classic prog fan will enjoy this album.

Rating: something between 2,5 and 3 stars. Nice, but clearly for the ones that love early 70īs symphonic prog and donīt mind the lack of personality.

 Pre by PRE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.58 | 18 ratings

Pre Symphonic Prog

Review by Jeff Carney

4 stars One could easily dismiss this as falling into the valleys of Yes a bit too often, but there is some damn strong material here.

Recorded in 1973 but never released until 1992, the album quickly works its way into soft, dark acoustic ballad territory with "Who's Laughing Now." This reminds a bit of Zeppelin's "Rain Song" but it is somewhat over the top and frankly might deter some listeners. There is something not quite fully evolved about the sound here and the vocal sounds a bit melodramatic and forced, but don't give up.

By the time we reach "Ascetic Eros" it is clear that this band could have been a real player on the 70s US prog scene. Tremendously effective vocal melodies are all over this one and while Collinsworth is certainly straight out of the Anderson school his delivery is confident and powerful.

Some of the arrangements on the album tend to be a bit on the "busy" side but I think it'll please most Yes fans who aren't uncomfortable with the obvious stylistic lifts which run fairly rampant throughout. From the Wakeman-like organ solos to Howe-inspired leads, this one is tied up pretty tightly with the sounds of Close To The Edge, but somehow it has a certain charm and I think it's down to the melodic content being strong enough to carry the weight of much of the material.

Sonically, what's disappointing is that the tapes were clearly run through what I'm sure would have been Sonic Solutions No-Noise at the time this was mastered for CD. You can hear the hiss gating in and out amidst the quieter sections and the life of the original tapes has been irreparably damaged as a result. Not sure what sort of EQ work was done but the recording often strikes as thin and a bit on the bright side. Shame that these recordings haven't seen a fresh transfer in recent years, as I suspect they could be made to sound better just by letting that hissy goodness of analog exist and eliminating the use of digital "no-noise" alone. But don't let any of this prevent you from tracking this one down. It's absolutely enjoyable and the sound is not a "deal- breaker" by any means. The music is fascinating and something about this band keeps them from being just another Yes clone.

 Pre by PRE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.58 | 18 ratings

Pre Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Yes is surely one of the most influential bands ever. A lot of bands tried to copy their sound too. Pre from USA is one of them and a worthy candidate for the title "The Yes clone". That is, Yes anno Close To The Edge.

Pre did not have Yes studio budget though so the sound is not on par with a Yes album. But the sound is still good enough. Pre's vocalist, Alfred Collinsworth, sounds very much like Jon Anderson. The same can be said for the other instruments which mimicks the mother bands musicians.

What's not on par is the quality of the songs. Only the nineteen long Ballet For A Blind Man is anywhere near anything from Fragile or Close To The Edge. But Ballet For A Blind Man is a very good song though. The rest of the songs are good to OK though.

This album in it's own right is a good album and a must have album for all Yes fanatics. But it does not win (m)any stars on originality though.

3 stars

 Pre by PRE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.58 | 18 ratings

Pre Symphonic Prog

Review by historian9
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars This is an excellent album made in 1973 and don't be fooled by release date, this is genuine 70's symphonic music that everyone was so used to at the time. The closest comparison would be Yes style in the time of Close To The Edge and Yes Album. Sometimes even vocals are so similar, I think you could fool a casual listener that "Ascetic Eros" is a lost Yes song; longer songs are also divided in multiple parts with different themes and moods similar to their fashion. Keyboard work may sometimes remind of ELP, and bowing guitar brings some diversity into the songs.

"Water Meeting", "Ascetic Eros", "Firmer Hand" and 19-minute "Ballet For A Blind Man" are all great songs and while I did compare them to Yes earlier, they are original and melodic enough and they sound refreshing to me, but I don't how more experienced listeners would feel. These outweigh the lesser shorter songs by a truckload so they shouldn't bother you. I did give 4 stars though cause they are mostly acoustic ballad oriented, and when listening to them in the order they don't really foreshadow how great the rest of the album is. But that is probably just nitpicking on my side, I really recommend this one.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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