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Logan View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2016 at 15:34
The Egg album is my fave from that list, but I also really that Supertramp album (my fave Supertramp album).

That Renaissance album does sound very different to later ones as it was yet to have Annie Haslam as singer and instead had Keith and Jane Relf on vocals.

Edited by Logan - November 21 2016 at 15:35
The first step on the road to wisdom is the recognition of one's own ignorance.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2016 at 08:27
So those are the main bands - there were others of course, but I have chosen not to feature every one of them - that got together this year although most if not all of them would not have an album released for at least another year. As for the albums we're going to look at for 1969...

From Genesis to Revelation - Genesis

If I followed my own rules then this should not be featured at all, as although it was Genesis's first album, it was far from being a progressive rock one. It's certainly more in the gentle folk area, and what's more, it doesn't even feature Steve Hackett or Phil Collins. But then again, it was the first anyone had heard from Genesis, so, like they say, suck it.Wink

Uncle Meat --- The Mothers of Invention

Frank Zappa, isn't it enough that you haunt my dreams, skulking through my sleeping hours like some sort of spectral bogeyman waiting to assault my ears with nonsense and atonal sounds? Must I listen to an album of yours every year? It seems I must. This was another strand of the “No Commercial Potential” project Zappa created, of which we've heard already We're Only in it For the Money.

On the Threshold of a Dream - The Moody Blues

Another concept album from a band who were fast becoming one of the flag-bearers for the emerging progressive rock movement, this was the album that lifted the Moody Blues into the heady heights of number one position for their album, and into the top twenty cross the pond, though its only single failed to create even a ripple (geddit?)...

Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band

If there's one artiste I look forward to listening to less than Merzbow, it's this. I've already suffred through it once, but not here, so I'll have to take another crack at it. Brr! Anyway, supposedly a very influential album on the genre, and surely a lot of business to analysts and therapists years later.

Yes - Yes

Not to be confused with The Yes Album, this was the debut from a band who would go on not only to define progressive rock, but the more bloated excesses of it.

Abbey Road - The Beatles

I have my doubts about this one. I know it's seen as a seminal Beatles album with an iconic cover, but did it impact upon the prog rock scene? I'll leave it here for now, and await the judgement of those of you who can answer this question better than I.

The Nice - The Nice

Third album from The Nice. I'm not too certain about this one either; was it important? Have we heard all we need to of Keith Emerson's first band?

Volume Two (The Soft Machine Album) - Soft Machine

Second album from Soft Machine.

The Aerosol Grey Machine - Van der Graaf Generator

Debut album from Van der Graaf Generator

In the court of the Crimson King - King Crimson

An album that would go on to have a profound effect on prog rock, introduce the world properly to the genius of Robert Fripp, and become a classic of the genre, how could we not feature King Crimson's seminal debut?

Hot rats - Frank Zappa

Just can't get away from this guy, can I?

Ummagumma - Pink Floyd

Double album by a band who would go on to become one of the most important in the genre. Half of it is live, while the rest is made up of solo work from each band member. In case anyone's wondering, I've left out More as it's a film soundtrack and I don't think needs to be visited. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

To our children's children's children - The Moody Blues

Yes, they had two albums released this year. We'll be taking a look at both.

Renaissance - Renaissance

One of the only bands formed this year to put out an album that same year, this is the debut album from Renaissance.

Phallus Dei - Amon Duul II

Often cited as the first real Krautrock album, this was the debut album from Amon Duul II.

When I began this journal I admitted I mentioned it was, and is, a work in progress, and will be for a long time. The format is more or less generally set, but I can and will add to and change it as I see fit, or as ideas occur to me. An idea just occurred to me. As you can see, the amount of albums released by 1969 far outstrips those released in the previous year, and as we move into the seventies and beyond this will only increase. While not every one of them is important, essential or even relvant to the progressive rock movement, I'm trying to cover all those that are. But there are others that, while they bear no real importance, are still worth listening to and talking about. These I'll be looking at in two separate sections, titles yet to be decided but possibly “ProgWorthy”, “On the Fringes” or “We are not Worthy!”, which will feature albums that deserve not to be ignored, but are outside the main thrust of the journal, and something I may call “A bit of fun” or something similar, which will be albums that are, basically, just fun to listen to. Within those banners, these are the ones from 1969 that I intend to feature.

Liege and Lief - Fairport Convention

Said to be the first British folk rock album. We'll see.

Brainbox - Brainbox

An album that came with a serious warning about causing serious psychological damage if listened to? How could we not grasp that nettle?

Catherine Ribeiro + 2 Bis - Catherine Ribeiro

Must listen to this, if only because its title gives the impression it was recorded with two lesbians!

Dracula's Music Cabinet - The Vampires of Dartmoore

I've heard so much about this I have to take the opportunity to review it! Wink

It's a beautiful day - It's a beautiful day

Because why not?

So that's our list for 1969. Obviously, there's a whole lot to get through so this is going to take a lot longer than 1968 did. I'll begin reviewing albums soon, as we move into the realm of what I would term more actual prog albums than just ones that influenced the genre. And Zappa.

Trollheart: as Irish as losing a 3-0 lead in a must-win fixture!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 23 2016 at 09:39

Note: obviously, I'll be writing lengthy articles on the bigger bands in the genre, Genesis being among them, but to be fair I'll wait till about the mid-seventies or later, so that by then we'll have listened to and reviewed most of their at least better known albums.

Album title: From Genesis to Revelation

Artiste: Genesis

Nationality: British

Label: Decca

Year: 1969

Grade: A

Previous Experience of this Artiste: Total; Genesis are/were my favourite band. I have all their albums.

The Trollheart Factor: 10

Landmark value: One of the major driving forces in progressive rock, Genesis became a byword not only for lengthy and deep songs, weird stageshows with odd costumes, but light shows and effects, as Peter Gabriel had always been interested in stagecraft and showmanship. Although their sound evolved through the decades, up to the time of their disbanding - and since - they have remained one the darlings of the prog rock movement and one of the first names one thinks of when speaking of prog rock.

Track Listing: Where the sour turns to sweet/ In the Beginning/ Fireside song/ The Serpent/ Am I very wrong?/ In the wilderness/ The Conqueror/ In hiding/ One day/ Window/ Limbo/ Silent sun/ A place to call my own

Comments: I only got to hear this album long after I had devoured most of Genesis's discography up to about Abacab, and to say I was disappointed is an understatement. What I didn't understand of course at that time was that the band were still finding their feet, honing their sound, learning to play with one another and more to the point, the movement which would be known as progressive rock was only very embryonic at that stage, so there wasn't a lot for them to emulate or even influence. Even one of Peter Gabriel's later heroes, Peter Hammill of Van der Graaf Generator, had yet to come onto the scene. Add to that the fact that they were all still at school at the time of recording, most of them being only seventeen years old while Anthony Phillips was a mere sixteen, and that both the names Genesis and Revelation were taken by other bands, that they were under the strict, almost dictatorial control of Jonathan King, and you can see how they wouldn't exactly have been on fire with enthusiasm for their debut album.

A note on the back of the CD cover sighs, in a typically what-can-you-do apologetic English way, “We were Genesis, then we learned there was a band with that name, so we changed our name to Revelation, only to find that name was also taken. Now we are the band with no name, but we still wish you to enjoy our music”. That's not an exact quote - I looked for the CD but can't find it - but it's close enough. It does, however, allow you to see that this is hardly going to be the kind of band, should it last, that will sing about rockin' all night and dirty women! Far more esoteric and genteel subjects would colour Genesis's lyrics, making them a target for ridicule and leading to accusations of snobbery, some of which may have been justified.

But if there's one word that characterises all of the music here it's gentle. There are none of what would later become Peter Gabriel's trademark snarl (copied mostly from Hammill) or the sarcasm that would drip from titles on their next album, their first progressive one. If this album belongs anywhere, it's with the like of The Byrds and Simon and Garfunkel and Gordon Lightfoot: soft, inoffensive, restrained music with a very poppy tilt. And yet, there are certainly pointers towards the kind of music Genesis would compose in later years, in tracks like “Fireside song”, “In the wilderness” and “One day”.

Pastoral is another word that fits the album, and it's a style that would continue through at least their early albums, although the opener is perhaps a little more in-your-face and uptempo than most of the rest of the album, with a sort of psychedelic/blues feel to it and Gabriel's distinctive vocal shines right away and grabs your attention, even at the tender age of seventeen. Given how Genesis would become known for long, convoluted and epic songs, this album has none over five minutes, with most coming in around the three or four-minute mark. That spacey, psychedelic feel continues through to the next track, “in the beginning”. You know, Wiki tells me that Jonathan King had the band record an album based loosely around the Bible, but I don't see it here. Sure, the odd track, one called “The Serpent”, “In Limbo”, could be seen to refer to the Bible, but it's nowhere near a concept album based around the Holy Book. The themes are varied, mostly concentrating on nature, man's need for conflict, and women.

The first real standout comes in the gentle “Fireside song”, where for the first time you can hear the band come together and really write what could be called a proper song that could have been heard on the radio, though of course it was not released as a single. Soft, comfortable, safe, it's the perfect title for the song, and slides in on a lovely piano line from Tony Banks, taken up by Rutherford on the acoustic guitar as the song gets going. The first time I really sat up and took notice of this album when I initially listened to it. The strings accompaniment really helps too. “The Serpent” has a much bluesier, hard rock vibe to it, not one of my favourites, some good organ work certainly, then “Am I very wrong?” is quite gentle but has a hard piano line to it, sort of reminds me of some of Nick Cave's later work. The next great standout is “In the wilderness”, with a great hook in the chorus and a strong vocal from Gabriel, presaging the kind of presence he would create on later albums.

“The Conqueror” is okay I guess, but it's nothing special. “In hiding” is nice, has a kind of jangly rhythm to it but very rooted in the sixties for sure. Another great song is “One day”, which, while naive to the max is still very endearing with its tale of the man living in the forest and hoping to bring his lover to live there with him. It's driven on a rippling piano line from Tony Banks, and powerful percussion from John Silver. “Window” is a gentle little ballad with a very low-key vocal from Gabriel, while there are horns and a sort of Beach Boys vocal harmony to “In Limbo”, but the song chosen as their only single (which flopped of course) is just very pedestrian and you can see how King was trying to make them into a pop group, something they were at the time very much not suited for. The short closer is very nice, and bookends the album well.

Favourite track(s): Fireside song, One day, In the wilderness, Window, A place to call my own/

Least favourite track(s): The Serpent, Silent sun

Overall impression: Were this the first time I was hearing Genesis I would have thought they probably had no real future. There's little on this album that really stands out or marks this band as being destined to lead the progressive rock revolution, but then in fairness a lot of that is down to the almost iron grip Jonathan King exerted over the band, and once they parted company with him they were free to explore their own, more intricate and daring compositions, and a legend was born. But apart from diehard Genesis fans like me, and completists and collectors, you can get by without having to listen to this album at all.

Personal Rating:

Legacy Rating:

Final Rating:

Trollheart: as Irish as losing a 3-0 lead in a must-win fixture!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 16 2017 at 06:40
Using albums solely as the arbiter of what happened is being on the wrong 'track'. As was mentioned already, many of the important bands did not record till later, though their influence and prior impact was considerable. Both Will Romano, Bruce Thomas (of the Attractions) and many others have pointed out that the proper place to begin is with 1-2-3/Clouds. To quote Bruce Thomas, "Without Clouds, there would be no Yes, ELP, or King Crimson". Sky TV's recent documentary "Trailblazers" researched the subject and came to the same conclusion.
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