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Psychedelic Paul View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2019 at 16:29
CANTERBURY GLASS - Sacred Scenes and Characters (Recorded in 1968 but not released until 2007)
 
Album Review #21:- 5 stars British band CANTERBURY GLASS' one and only album "Sacred Scenes and Characters" was due to be released in 1968, but for various reasons, including lack of interest from the record companies, this long-lost album treasure wouldn't see release for nearly 40 years. The album contains four long tracks, and one bonus demo track, with a unique combination of Psychedelic Rock and religiously-inspired choral music, in keeping with the spirit of the band name and album title. The album is notable for featuring Steve Hackett of Genesis fame on Track 4: "Prologue" - an unusual title for the final track on the album. Prepare to Tune In, Turn On, and Drop Out with some devotional, heaven-sent psychedelic music. Unless you're familiar with the two devotional albums released by the Electric Prunes in the same year of 1968, then this music may be quite unlike anything you've ever heard before. It's time to settle down now and take a pew and listen to the hymnal music playing from the pulpit.

On hearing the album opener "Kyrie" for the first time, you might believe you're in church with the sound of a delicate church organ and a choir gently singing. This first impression doesn't last long though when the song bursts into full psychedelic life, with the organist going on a wild keyboard spree and playing his heart out. This is no quiet country church organist playing to his Sunday parishioners - this is a full-on psychedelic jam, hopefully without the aid of any psychedelic substances. The guitarist is no shrinking violet either. Imagine Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane playing in church and you won't be too far off the mark. There's no way he's going to let the parishioners sleep through this rousing number with his pounding guitar riffs. The church choir are in full voice too, which gives the song it's religious devotional feel, as they repeatedly chant "Kyrie Eleison" with no small amount of spiritual passion. The second song "Nunc Dimittis", also known as the Song of Solomon, features the familiar multi-part vocal harmonies of the choir at the forefront with more psychedelic showmanship from the church organist, who sounds like he's auditioning for a place in Deep Purple in the style of keyboard wizard Jon Lord. He's so fast and nimble on the organ keyboard, you can almost picture steam coming out of the organ pipes. If every church organist sounded as good as this, then church congregations would soar. In fact, you'd still want to go to church and listen to this psychedelic five-piece ensemble even if you happen to be an atheist. It's time to open your hymnbooks now to Song No. 3 "Gloria". Be prepared for some more keyboard histrionics and much religious chanting of "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" by the resident choir. If you're not in a religiously devotional mood by now, then you must be a confirmed atheist, although that shouldn't put you off enjoying this powerfully energising number. The song comes with a nice pleasant interlude too, which gently lulls you into a false sense of security before playing out in a rising crescendo of sound for the dramatic finale. On the subject of finales, the curiously titled "Prologue" closes out the album. There are no pretensions of religiosity in this song, as it's a really wild and fast-paced psychedelic jam right from the beginning. This is where Steve Hackett is given the chance to demonstrate his prowess as a psychedelic guitarist, several years before he became famous in Genesis. Imagine the Moody Blues cranked up to eleven, and that'll give you some idea of the tremendous power of this final song.

If you're familiar with the two religiously-inspired albums from the Electric Prunes in 1968, "Mass in F Minor" and Release of an Oath", then this album will resonate with you. Otherwise, this might be like nothing you've ever heard before. It's a religiously-themed psychedelic concept album which should appeal to fans of organ-driven Proto-Prog. This is what Sunday church services SHOULD be like - a religious mass to entertain the masses with massive appeal for all the ageing hippies out there who love a good dose of late-1960's psychedelia with a spiritual twist. You can even picture the Archbishop of Canterbury himself rocking in the aisles to this stunning album from Canterbury Glass.



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - November 23 2019 at 04:20
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FIRST+AID - Nostradamus (1977)

 
 
Album Review #22:- 4 starsThe British band FIRST+AID got together  to record  their one and only album "Nostradamus" in 1977. I prophesise that if you like the sound of some overblown Symphonic Prog, then this memorable ELP-style album may be just the prescription you need. Let's open the medicine cabinet  now and see what the prog-nosis is. Will the album require medical care and attention or will it be given a clean bill of health? Well, let's find out.

"Visions"  opens the album in dramatic style and starts as it means to go on with the sombre voice of the narrator announcing, "When the two great powers of the world unite, Their greatness will be seen to grow, But their power brings fear to the East, And the man of blood is angered, Then it will begin!" ........ I don't know what it all means, but it sounds ominous. The spoken word prologue precedes the doom-laden sound of a swirling solo synth before launching into an ELP-style free-for-all where two manic keyboardists appear to be competing with each other to see who's the nimblest keyboard wizard of them all. Shades of Keith Emerson vs. Rick Wakeman. Now we come to the title track, the 6-minute-long "Nostradamus". Play it loud! This song is full of  pomp and ceremony in the best traditions of classic  Symphonic Prog in all of its glorious splendour. It's everything you'd expect, including a powerful singer, a male chorus, and two sonorous synths competing with full orchestra, which is guaranteed to reverberate around the room and rattle the windows.  If Phil Spector was a Prog-Rock producer, then this is what it might sound like. It's the prog equivalent of the "Wall of Sound". Now comes "The Awful Truth" where the listener is given a bit of a  breather when the keyboard player displays his classical credentials with this pleasant little piano interlude. The next brief tune "By Royal Appointment" lives up to its name as it sounds like the kind of dramatic fanfare that might herald the announcement of the arrival of royalty at some historic occasion. "Catherine" closes out Side One. It's an emotionally appealing and  heartfelt tribute to  Catherine de Medici, the Queen of France (1547-1559), back in medieval times when France still had a royal family.

Opening Side Two is "Two Brothers", a 6-minute long  instrumental piece with the uplifting sound of two  swirling synths playing along side by side. When the full orchestra emerges, it feels like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds and  bathing you in its warm glow.  Who needs lyrics anyway when the music sounds as good as this. Now follows an orchestral reprise of "Visions", a gloriously beautiful piece of music which would make a marvellous film score. This orchestral piece is full of dramatic flourishes which wouldn't seem out of place gracing the screens of a Hitchcock thriller. To round off the album in impressive style comes  the 13-minute-long opus "The Shape of Things to Come". The song title sounds dramatic and so it proves to be with the music. It's a suitably rousing song to end an epic Symphonic Prog album, with sudden shifts in tempo and time signature, so you never know quite what to expect on the first hearing. Prepare to be impressed though, because this long epic really grows on you and it's worth hearing for the stirring chorus and dramatic finale with voices from the pages of history, including Adolf Hitler and John F. Kennedy. Pretentious? Au Contraire!

This album may sound like an overblown Symphonic Prog effort to some ears, but if you like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, then this album should appeal to you. An interesting album from a historical perspective, released at a time when punk was just emerging and prog was accused of being overblown and pretentious by the snooty music press, but what do they know? Not that this album was  even noticed by many people at the time of its release. It's not an essential album, but it does have impressive power and symphonic majesty and it's definitely worth a listen. A good dose of Symphonic Prog is the best medicine. It's just what the doctor ordered!



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - December 04 2019 at 15:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 24 2019 at 11:48

DUNCAN MACKAY - Chimera (1974)

Album Review #23:- 4 starsDUNCAN MACKAY (born 1950) is a British keyboard player who's worked with several well-known artists over the years, including Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel (1975-1977), 10cc (1978-1980), and also with Kate Bush on her first three albums. This album "Chimera" (1974) is his first solo album. Four further albums followed, "Score" (1977), "Visa" (1980), A Picture of Sound (1993), and his most recent album, "Kintsugi" (2019). Duncan Mackay provided vocals on the "Chimera" album and his brother Gordon Mackay also featured on the album, playing violin and keyboards. The album features two long pieces of music  occupying Side One and a long 20-minute suite taking up the whole of Side Two. A bonus track was included in the 2009 CD reissue of the album.

The album opens impressively with "Morpheus", an 11-minute-long symphonic opus. The sonorous sound of the synth hits you right between the eyes from the first few opening bars. As you'd expect, there's plenty of intricate keyboard noodling and dramatic changes of pace to keep the listener entertained, with a few classical motifs thrown in for good measure. Duncan Mackay could certainly give Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson a good run for their money with the keyboard skills displayed here. He's a pretty good singer too, which is just as well with him performing vocal duties on all of the songs contained within. The second of the three long suites on the album, "12 Tone Nostalgia" is another dramatic piece and it certainly does have an air of nostalgia about it. It's enough to make you long for the halcyon days of the 1970's when superb prog albums like this were being released on an almost weekly basis. This 9-minute-long epic might be described as overblown, pompous and pretentious by the snooty music press, but who cares!? To true blue aficianados of Symphonic  Prog, this is prog heaven! Side Two of the album is fully occupied by the 20-minute-long suite "Song for Witches." A clap of thunder announces the dramatic opening of this epic song. Again, there are alternating fast and slow keyboard passages, combining synths and piano, and it even features a church pipe organ. It's grandiose, it's triumphant, it's magnificent, but above all, it's a marvellously entertaining 20 minutes of classic Symphonic Prog, and you can't ask for anything better than that. As Duncan Mackay announces with some satisfaction right at the end of the album, "I think that might have been it."

A "Chimera" is described as anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling, all of which could apply to this complex album. Just as one would expect from such an accomplished keyboard player, this is a very keyboard-oriented album, but it's none the worse for that. It's very much in the style of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Rick Wakeman, with fast arpeggios, complex keyboard runs and constant changes of tempo.  You never know quite what to expect on first hearing the album, and it's worth giving the album several listens to truly appreciate what an accomplished work this is. It's classic Symphonic Prog with long extended pieces that YES or any other prog band of the era would be proud of. It's definitely worth a listen, especially for fans of Symphonic Prog generally.



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - November 24 2019 at 11:50
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NEKTAR - Journey to the Centre of the Eye (1971)
 
 
Album Review #24:- 5 stars Achtung! NEKTAR are NOT German, despite the band being formed in Munich at the tail end of the 1960's, and despite them being based in Germany for much of their career. No, this band are as British as tea and crumpets and a game of croquet on an English summer lawn. Nektar have had a long and illustrious career, with many changes of line-up along the way, and it all began with this spacey album, the intriguingly-titled " Journey to the Centre of the Eye" (1971). The band are still going strong 13 albums and nearly 50 years later with their latest album "The Other Side" due for release in 2020. This album consists of 13 tracks, although it's really just one long spacey suite of music as there are no noticeable breaks between the songs. Let's travel back in time now to the halcyon days of 1971 and take a "Journey to the Centre of the Eye."

The album opens appropriately enough with "Prelude". This brief 1-minute prelude features spooky, swirling sound effects and mysterious noises to put you in the mood for some classic Space Rock. We're in Hawkwind territory here, so hold on tight and prepare for an ""Astronaut's Nightmare". Strangely, the opening to this song reminds one of a Beatles' number, but that first impression doesn't last for long. This is pretty impressive stuff with the keyboard player going hell for leather on the Hammond organ and with the singer sounding like he's on some far-out psychedelic acid trip. The guitarist is no slouch either as he fires off some stunning guitar leads, not to mention the drummer, who's pounding away on his kit in true Space Rock tradition. It's freaky, it's spacey, it's mysterious, but most important of all, this is great music. Prepare to be amazed! If you can't "Countenance" that, then how about this, because this is Track 3: "Countenance". The pace is now slowed down somewhat with some very pleasant and laid back organ playing. Don't be fooled though, because that was just the opening and there's a wild psychedelic guitarist on the loose and he's here to show you what he's made of with some good solid riffing. The song ascends triumphantly into a tremendously uplifting crescendo of sound to take you into Space Rock heaven. We now arrive at "The Nine Lifeless Daughters of the Sun" which is presumably about the nine planets of the solar system, although there's nothing lifeless about the Earth, or indeed this instrumental rip-roaring organ-driven number. Onwards now at Warp Factor 5 to Track No. 5 "Warp Oversight". There are lots of spacey plinky-plonky noises to be heard in this eerie number with a Hawkwind-style spacey rhythm phasing in and out of the mix. It's all very atmospheric and mysterious, but no less than you'd expect from a classic Space Rock album. We're now almost halfway through our journey as "The Dream Nebula I" closes out Side One. Just lie back and enjoy because this is beautiful music, and there's more to come too as "The Dream Nebula II" continues on the opening of Side Two of the album. "It's All in the Mind" is up next, although it's not all in the mind that this is a great song and a superb album overall. And now onto "Burn Out My Eyes", the longest track on the album, running at nearly 8 minutes long. Again, this is another song that's designed to carry you into orbit on a rocket- propelled blast of Hammond organ, wild guitar riffs and a powerful singer soaring on a wave of emotion. Onwards now to "Void of Vision", a manic free-for-all as the Hammond organist takes off on a flight of fancy, throwing caution to the wind. Track 11 "Pupil of the Eye" gallops along at impressive speed, firing on all cylinders with a pounding rhythm and the vocalist giving it his all and more besides, in the style of David Byron of Uriah Heep. "Look Inside Yourself" now for the penultimate song on the album with our fantastic journey nearly at an end. It's a short 1-minute barnstormer of a song which takes us into "Death of the Mind" to close out the album. The grand finale to the album is a bombastic and grandiose song full of triumphal pomp and ceremony to conclude this superb album in fine style. The journey ends, but this was just the beginning for Nektar!

This marvellous album of classic Space Rock has really stood the test of time and it's sure to delight fans of Hawkwind. The album sounds as fresh today nearly 50 years on, as it did at the time of its release when Space Rock was just taking off, way back in 1971. "Journey to the Centre of the Eye" deserves a treasured place in any Prog-Rock/Space Rock music lover's collection. With a debut album as impressive as this, Nektar's later albums have got to be well-worth a listen too.



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - November 25 2019 at 15:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2019 at 13:03
ITHACA - A Game for All Who Know (1973)
 
Album Review #25:-4 stars ITHACA (a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, featured in Homer's Odyssey) is a collaboration between John Ferdinando & Peter Howell, and sweet-voiced female vocalist Lee Menelaus. Ferdinando and Howell worked on several Psych-Folk albums together, although "A Game for All Who Know" (1973) was the only album released under the Ithaca name. The English trio had previously worked together on the Agincourt "Fly Away" (1970) album. The first release from Ferdinando & Howell was "Alice Through the Looking Glass" back in 1969 followed shortly after by "Tomorrow Come Someday" in the same year. In 1974 they released another album together under the pseudonym of "Friends" for their final musical partnership. Peter Howell later worked for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop - famous for the Doctor Who TV theme - during the 1970's and he went on to record a couple of New Age albums, "Legend" (1984) and "Aquarius Rising" (1991) on the New World Music label. The Ithaca album consists of six songs with three bonus songs included in the 2004 CD reissue. If you have a copy of the original LP album, then you're a very lucky bunny indeed as there were only 99 pressings of the album at the time of its release.

Time now to see whether Ithaca is a Greek island of musical treasures or whether it's as dodgy as a Greek bearing gifts. Our journey begins with "Journey" appropriately enough. Shhhhh! It's a VERY quiet beginning. Prepare to be taken on a magic carpet ride with some lovely harmonising from the three singers, because this is beautiful English Folk music at its melodic best, with a slice of prog thrown in for good measure to spice things up. If you're familiar with the trio's previous Agincourt album from 1970, then you'll know you're in for another real treat. Our journey continues with "Questions", and there's no question that this is sublime English Folk music. Just let the music gently carry you away to a land of dreams as you listen late at night in bed with the lights turned down low. Don't forget to let the cat or dog out before you go to bed though, because this gorgeous pastoral Folk music will put you in such a relaxed frame of mind that you won't feel like getting up again. Now we arrive at "Times", the longest song on the album at over 8 minutes long. It's really two shorter songs in one though, as there's a complete change of pace midway through, beginning with a gentle ballad and emerging like a butterfly into a bright and breezy poppy number. This lovely music is enough to make you long for the warm summer days again, especially if you're listening to this album on a damp and dark November day. And now we come to "Feelings", another 2-part song, combining a ballad and a lively up-tempo number. This beautiful song is sure to inspire feelings of joy that you were lucky enough to discover this long-lost album treasure, nearly 50 years after its release. Onwards now dear friends to "Dream", with the charming and delightful lead vocals of Lee Menelaus. What a voice! Her sweet and gentle voice is perfectly suited to this charming music. And now we come to the final song on the album and the title track "A Game for All Who Know" (subtitled "Journey - Part II). The song begins intriguingly with the sound of pages turning and a swirling synth and acoustic guitar. It's a song full of mystery and imagination. There's the sound of a rocket taking off and then a reprise of the opening number of the album with the hauntingly atmospheric sound of an organ carrying the song through to its conclusion. It's idyllic, it's bucolic, and it may even be soporific, but not in a bad way. At 7 minutes long, it's a song of almost epic proportions, or as epic as a Prog-Folk song can be. It might not have the pomp and bombast of a blast of Symphonic Prog, but it's none the worse for that. After all, you may have drifted off into a sleep of blissful dreams by this stage, so you don't want to be woken up with a start, although the song does end rather abruptly, so be prepared!

Thanks to ProgArchives, YouTube & the Internet, this long-lost album treasure is now gaining some of the recognition it truly deserves. It's a charming pastoral Folk album with timeless appeal that you can come back to again and again. It's not essential if you're into Prog-Rock, but it IS essential if you want to hear a sublime slice of 1970's English Prog-Folk at its absolute best.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2019 at 14:17
Some interesting obscure things there..I have the Ithaca, (Agincourt), Nektar, and have heard the others....meant to buy the Canterbury Glass thing but never did.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2019 at 14:36
Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

Some interesting obscure things there..I have the Ithaca, (Agincourt), Nektar, and have heard the others....meant to buy the Canterbury Glass thing but never did.
 
I'd love to buy every album I've reviewed, including all of Nektar's albums, but you just can't get hold of them in the shops, even when you try to order them. The only albums I have out of those I've reviewed so far are:-
 
TOMORROW - Tomorrow (1969)
MAGNA CARTA - Lord of the Ages (1973)
HAYWARD & LODGE - Blue Jays (1975)
THE GODS - Genesis (1968)
ANDROMEDA - Andromeda (1969)
ARCADIUM - Breathe Awhile (1969)


Edited by Psychedelic Paul - November 26 2019 at 14:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 27 2019 at 06:15
FUCHSIA - Fuchsia (1971)
 
Album Review #26:- 5 stars FUCHSIA were a British Prog-Folk band who released just one self-titled album in 1971 and then promptly disappeared from the scene, in common with many other one-album bands of the era. The album has now come to be regarded as a lost classic and their music has been compared with the Psych-Folk of Comus. If you like the music of Comus, then you're sure to like this album too. The band were a six-piece outfit, featuring a male lead vocalist and guitarist (Tony Durant), a bass guitarist, a drummer, and a mini-choir of three female vocalists providing backing harmonies and playing various instruments. Although the original album virtually disappeared without trace in the early 1970's, the band re-emerged in 2013 with another studio album "Fuchsia II - From Psychedelia to a Distant Place" with Tony Durant still there at the helm. This second studio album has also now become something of a rarity. There's also a compilation album available "Fuchsia, Mahagonny & Other Gems", released in 2005. A CD reissue of the original Fuchsia album in 2018 contained enough bonus tracks to make it a double album. Let's have a listen now and see whether Fuchsia are a rare flowering beauty or whether they're going to wither on the vine.

The album blossoms into life with "Gone with the Mouse", a very proggy-sounding song which sounds like Fairport Convention with bells on. One wonders what a song with such an obscure title could possibly be about. Well, it's a tale of derring-do in a medieval kingdom with gallant knights battling to defend a maiden's honour, in time-honoured tradition. The song is abounding with the sound of acoustic guitars, violins & cellos and lovely vocal harmonies from the 3-part girl choir. This song is as English as strawberries & cream at Wimbledon with the charming English accents of the singers very much in evidence. It's traditional English Folk with a progressive twist, and very good it is too. This album promises to be very special indeed if this opening number is anything to go by. Once more into the breach dear friends with "A Tiny Book", one of the two long songs on the album with a running time of just over 8 minutes. There are cellos and violins galore on this song, giving it something of a classical feel. The Prog-Folk elements are all there though, with fast-paced drumming, dextrous guitar riffs and constant changes of pace. It's compulsive, it's progressive, and above all, it's very impressive. Onwards and upwards now with "Another Nail", another tale of nefarious goings-on in medieval times. There' a long 3-minute instrumental intro in this entertaining fast-paced number. It's a real humdinger of a song, guaranteed to get the feet tapping with its sprightly rhythm. In keeping with the medieval theme of castles & kings and gallant knights, the song opens with these lyrics, "Is that your daughter, Drinking some water, Laid on an altar, Selling a king for his crown?" ....... It's another 7 minutes of pure Folk-Prog joy and delight. The intriguingly-titled "Shoes and Ships" is up next. The cryptic lyrics are a mystery wrapped in an enigma, but who cares when the music is this good!? If you like the conventional Folk-Rock of Fairport Convention, and you'd like to hear it given an unconventional progressive twist, then this is the album for you. We come to "The Nothing Song" now, although this 8-minute wonder has everything! It's a lively and stirring number that proudly wears it's English heart on its sleeve. It's all about a day in the life of a typical Englishman, going out on a Saturday night, and having a long lie-in on Sunday - and what better way to spend a Sunday morning than lying back and listening to this wonderful album. And now for the penultimate song on the album "Me and My Kite", a jolly little tune with whimsical lyrics to lead us onto the seventh and final song, "Just Anyone," to play out the album. It's a brooding and mysterious song with enigmatic lyrics and it's a marvellous ending to a superb album overall.

For any fans of Prog-Folk out there who are looking for something fresh and original in the style of Fairport Convention & Fotheringay stirred into a progressive cocktail, then look no further than this compelling album of English Prog-Folk at it's very best. Fuchsia are blooming marvellous!



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - December 11 2019 at 15:04
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JON LORD - Gemini Suite (1971)
 

Album Review #27:-5 stars British Keyboard wizard JON LORD needs no introduction. Oh Lordy-Lordy, where do we begin with such a legend of the keyboards. He was born in Leicester in 1941, where he studied classical piano from the tender age of five. He moved to London in 1959-60 and joined his first band, The Artwoods, in 1964. Jon Lord is of course best-known for being the co-founder of Deep Purple in 1968, but he's also been a brief member of Whitesnake, Paice-Ashton-Lord & The Flowerpot Men at various times. He also composed the music for the first Live Deep Purple album in 1969, a Symphonic Rock opus recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Jon Lord played on all of Deep Purple's albums from 1968 through to 1998. This album "Gemini Suite" (1971) is Lord's first solo album in a long and illustrious career spanning five decades with ten solo albums to his credit. His most recent album "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" (2012) was released the same year as his untimely death from cancer at the age of 71. "Gemini Suite" consists of six fairly long orchestral pieces of music with a soloist featured on each song, including Ian Paice and Roger Glover of Deep Purple, blues guitarist Albert Lee, and singers Tony Ashton and Yvonne Elliman. The six suites have such imaginative titles as "Guitar", "Piano", "Drums", Vocals", Bass Guitar" & "Organ", but at least you're left in no doubt who the soloist is on each piece of music. Renowned composer Malcolm Arnold conducted The London Symphony Orchestra in this magnum opus of Symphonic Rock.

"Guitar" opens the album in grand triumphant style with the London Symphony Orchestra playing in all of their full symphonic glory and splendour. Guitar legend Albert Lee is the soloist given a chance to showcase his talents here. This uplifting piece of celebratory music alternates magnificently between orchestral parts, solo electric guitar and also the two combined together for some magnificent Symphonic Rock. It's a tremendous 9-minute opening piece designed to impress with the power and the glory of the music. It's orchestral, it's magisterial, and it's worthy of being played in a cathedral. Jon Lord is the powerhouse behind Deep Purple, and this marvellous  music is the Deep without the Purple. In other words, it  has the Deep driving force and resonance of a Deep Purple number, but without the Purple Hard Rock element. Onwards now to "Piano", where Jon Lord plays his heart out as if his life depends on it, in a stunning piece of musical virtousity. Wow! Can a solo piano really sound that LOUD! Jon Lord displays his classically-trained credentials here with some dextrous keyboard runs, playing both solo and combined with the orchestra. Even a full orchestra can't overwhelm the sound of a piano though when Jon Lord is running rampant on the keyboard. This is where the Lord of the Keyboard really stamps his mark on the album and announces his presence in full bombastic fashion. And now we come to "Drums", and no surprise that this features Ian Paice, the bandmate of Jon Lord in Deep Purple. Obviously, Ian Paice isn't going to let this track go by without embarking on an impressively long 3-minute drum solo to demonstrate why he's one of the most respected drummers in the world. Finally, When the orchestra re-emerges after being awestruck by the pace of Ian Paice's drum solo, the music sounds like a triumphal marching theme, along the lines of what might be heard as an army goes marching off to war. To paraphrase Mr Bachman, Mr Turner & Mr Overdrive though, you ain't heard nothing yet, because along comes Track 4: "Vocals", a glorious symphonic epic, combining the vocal talents of Tony Ashton (of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke fame) and Yvonne Elliman (best known for the song "If I Can't Have You"). This is a full-blown symphonic masterpiece, guaranteed to awe-inspire you with the power and the passion of the music. Another one of Jon Lord's Deep Purple bandmates, Roger Glover, is given the chance to display his  virtuosity with the bass guitar on Track 5, which comes as no surprise as this track is titled "Bass Guitar". This leads us on to the sixth and final number, the 12-minute epic, "Organ". This marvellous piece of music is epic in every way. Jon Lord's colourful musical feathers are in magnificent plumage here as he demonstrates his prowess on the keyboards in truly dramatic fashion with some stunningly powerful blasts from his Hammond organ, which will be oh-so-familiar to fans of Deep Purple. A glorious and spectacular end to a symphonic extravaganza!

A magnificent masterpiece of Symphonic Rock!

 



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - November 28 2019 at 10:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2019 at 04:23

CAEDMON - Caedmon (1978)

Album Review #28:- 4 stars CAEDMON (named after the 7th Century Father of English verse) were a Scottish five-piece Prog-Folk band, featuring a female
lead vocalist and four male musicians.  They got together in 1978 to record this one self-titled and self-released album at their
own expense after playing a few local gigs in their native Edinburgh. Only 500 copies of the original album were pressed,
which were probably given away to friends and relatives of the band members. Not surprisingly, the original LP has now
become a real collectors item, selling for prices in excess of 1,000. A CD reissue of the album was released in 1994, and this
long-last album treasure is now gaining some well-deserved recognition, thanks to the modern wonders of the Internet. It
seemed as if that one self-titled album from 1978 might be the only album ever released by Caedmon, but they re-emerged
32 years later with another album, "A Chicken to Hug", in 2010.

Cometh with me deare friends as we travel back to Ye Olde Worlde days of yore in Olde Britannia with some traditional Folke
given a modern progressive twist. We begin with "Ten Maidens Fair" which sounds as traditionally British as Morris Men
looking faintly ridiculous waving sticks, swords & handkerchiefs as they prance around the Maypole. Don't be fooled though,
because when you hear the sound of a very untraditional electric guitar rudely bursting into the Olde Worlde Folke
proceedings, you realise this album is going to be something a little bit different. We're in Psych-Folk territory here. Track
2 "Maker Man" ambles along nicely with some laid-back electric guitar riffing and with the percussionist evidently having a
good time pounding away on the bongos. It's a jolly and uplifting little number, with much shaking of tambourines, which
should keep the Folkies happy. The sweet-as-honey vocalist, Angela Naylor, deserves a mention too. She has a charming
English accent, despite Caedmon being a Scottish band, and her lovely voice is as soft as velvet. Onwards to Track 3
and "Death of a Fox" - a fast-paced song with Angela Naylor stretching her vocal chords to reach those high falsetto notes. The
song has the feel of a traditional sea shanty, only this is a sea shanty with some extra progressive oomph added. Avast, me hearties to Track 4 "Sea
Song", which opens with the delightful sound of the harpsichord and with a male singer taking over the vocal duties. It's a gentle
ballad about a life on the ocean wave. Angela Naylor joins in with the singing to provide some beautiful harmonising. The
electric guitarist is in his element too, with some really wild psychedelic guitar riffing to liven things up. This is wonderful stuff!
Onto Track 5 now and "Aslan", another impressively stirring Psych-Folk number which reaches the parts that traditional Folk
songs fail to reach. It's uplifting and emotionally appealing and it's real foot-tapper too. The guitarist is in a Folk band, but he
sounds like he would be right at home riffing in a Hard Rock band with the power and passion he displays on this album. We
now reach the halfway stage with Track 6 "Beyond the Second Mile", the longest track on the album at nearly 7 minutes long.
This is beautiful music in the style of Sandy Denny singing "Who Knows Where the Time Goes". A song to savour, which right
from the first hearing, will have you hooked with its lovely harmonising and the ever-present electric guitar riffing at the
forefront. It's the highlight of the album so far. Track 7 "Living in the Sunshine" is an up-tempo number with much rattling of
tambourines and a happy-go-lucky feel to it, just as the song title implies. It's enough to make you feel like going out into the
garden and throwing caution to the wind by dancing around in the sunshine with gay abandon. Who cares what the
neighbours might think!? We come now to Track 8 and the 6-minute-long "Storm". This is another hauntingly-beautiful ballad,
guaranteed to charm and delight the senses. There's also a long instrumental interlude thrown in for good measure with a
vocalise segment in the style of Annie Haslam of Renaissance. Track 9 "Columba's Song" is a lively number which gallups along
nicely. It's like Fairport Convention fired up with an extra burst of adrenaline. It's fast, it's furious, but it's still rooted in
folkiness. Onto Track 10 now and "Smile on Your Face", where the electric guitarist announces his presence right from the
opening. This uplifting song is bright and breezy and abounding with joy and happiness and it's sure to put a "Smile on Your
Face". Track 11 "Caedmon's Hymn" brings us down from the spiritual high of the previous song with a sad and mournful,
melancholic lament. It's a beautiful song though and  there are shades of Renaissance to be heard if you listen carefully. Onto
the final song now and "Give Me Jesus", an unashamedly religious song, which comes as no surprise as the clue is in the title.
Hallelujah! It's happy, it's clappy, but it's also very catchy.

This wonderful album has the recipe for success. Take some traditional Folk-Rock and stir in a liberal dose of psychedelia and
progressiveness  and that's the stunning album you have here. A rare album treasure that you can return to again and again
and never tire of listening to. Caedmon's one-off album is worthy of being a Desert Island Disc, assuming you can find a 3-pin
socket on a desert island to plug your stereo in to.



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - December 03 2019 at 11:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2019 at 11:38
MOGUL THRASH - Mogul Thrash (1971)
 
Album Review #29:- 4 stars The six-piece MOGUL THRASH were a short-lived, brassy and bluesy, heavy Jazz-Rock band from London. Who knows where they came up with the bizarre name, but maybe Mogul Thrash refers to the powerful drumming on the album. The band were originally known as James Litherland's Brotherhood, which sounds like an Easy Listening MOR group, so perhaps the change of bandname was no bad thing. Singer/guitarist James Litherland was previously a member of Colosseum. Mogul Thrash also features John Wetton on bass and vocals. Wetton is best-known as the frontman of Asia, as well as being a one-time member of Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music and Uriah Heep during his long and distinguished career. Sadly, John Wetton is no longer with us, having passed away in 2017 at the age of 67, but he'll be long-remembered for many years to come, gaining the musical equivalent of immortality. This one and only self-titled album by Mogul Thrash was produced by renowned Hammond organ maestro Brian Auger, who also played piano on Track 5: "St, Peter". The 1999 CD reissue also included the single "Sleeping in the Kitchen." Are you ready to Rock!?? Well, Let's Go!!

The album opens with the bright and brassy number "Something Sad", but something sad it definitely isn't! This music will invigorate you, exhilarate you, and maybe even rejuvenate you with its raw energy and power. It's brassy and bold, which is just what you'd expect from a Jazz-Rock band. The heartfelt plea contained in the lyrics tell a story of a relationship gone sour:- "Where is the love, That you said you would bring me today?, Nothing is left, Of the debt that I had to repay, 'Cause when you get to making your mind up, When you get to telling your lies, There's one thing that will always deceive you, The look of something sad in your eyes." ..... It's bluesy, it's brassy, it's gutsy, but above all, it's great music! Onwards now to Track 2, the 10-minute-long epic "Elegy". This is a re-working of the classic Colosseum song that originally appeared on the "Valentyne Suite" album. This song features a wild and extended psychedelic jam to stimulate and delight the senses. If you're in the mood for a hefty slice of Psychedelic Rock, then you'll be in seventh heaven with this song. As the song title implies , it's another moody blues number, but sounds nothing like THEE Moody Blues. No, this is bold and brassy blues with an attitude. It's another sad tale of lost love with these mournful lyrics:- "Baby don't you leave me in this world alone, We'll go and see somebody who won't shake his head and moan, Doctors can do anything, it is said today, I'll do anything, yeah I'll even pray, But don't you leave me alone like this, I couldn't stand it without your kiss, So don't go, Oh don't you go." ..... It's another good old-fashioned slice of British blues, spiced up with some loud and brassy horns. The intriguingly titled "Dreams of Glass and Sand" is up next. What's it all about, you may ask? Well, maybe the lyrics will enlighten you:- "Lost in the answers, Under the sea, Trapped, staring outwards, Waiting for me, You can stay with me, You hold the last scars of light in your hand, Stay with me, In the dreams of glass and sand." No, I'm STILL baffled, but who cares about the lyrics anyway when the music is this good!? It's another upbeat and lively Jazzy number with brassy horns in abundance, and who could ask for anything better than that when it comes to classic British Jazz-Rock!? We come now to the longest song on the album, "Going North, Going West", with a running time of 12 minutes. This is one long extended jam session without vocals. The brass section sound like they're having the time of their lives on this energetic number, not to mention the wild guitarist who goes off on one hell of an acid trip with some freaky psychedelic riffing. This is where the musicians really get to strut their stuff and show what they're made of. Prepare to be amazed! It's All That Jazz and a lot more besides. And now we come to the penultimate song on the album, "St. Peter", another energetic song that's as bold as brass with the spirited horn section sounding like they're having a blast. And "What's This I Hear?" Have we come to the final song already? Yes, indeed we have, because "What's This I Hear?" is the sixth and final song on the album. The singer gets down and dirty with this raw bluesy number, with lyrics that are too rude to be re-printed here, so I'd better leave them to your imagination. This is a powerful Jazz-Rock number to close the album in memorable style with the sonorous brass section in solid form again. This album Rocks!

If you're in the mood for a good old-fashioned dollop of classic British Jazz-Rock, then this might be just the album you're looking for. This one-off album is bound to appeal to fans of the bright and brassy sound of Colosseum and other bands of that ilk. It's very heavy, but not so very humble. Play it loud and proud, but try not to annoy the neighbours.



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - November 30 2019 at 11:23
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ROBERT JOHN GODFREY - Fall of Hyperion (1974)
 
 
Album Review #30:- 5 stars He may have the appearance of a college professor with his long beard and studious expression, but ROBERT JOHN GODFREY is the main driving force behind THE ENID, the Symphonic Prog band that's been around now for well over 40 years. Although this album, "Fall of Hyperion" (1974), is billed as a Robert John Godfrey solo album, it's really an album by The Enid in all but name, and presumably, that's why this album is included at the beginning of The Enid albums roster on Prog Archives. Most importantly though, this album SOUNDS like The Enid, with all of the symphonic pomp and ceremony you might expect from such a distinguished Prog-meister as "Professor Godfrey". His first album release as The Enid, "In the Region of the Summer Stars"was released two years later in 1976, followed swiftly by the humorously-titled "Aerie Faerie Nonsense" album in 1977. This solo album "Fall of Hyperion" features vocals, although the first four albums by The Enid proper were all orchestral pieces with no lyrics. It wasn't until the release of the band's fifth album, "Something Wicked This Way Comes" in 1983, that lyrics were featured for the first time. Robert John Godfrey worked with Barclay James Harvest in the early 1970's before deciding to go solo. Godfrey and The Enid have 20 studio albums to their credit, and despite him being diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2013, The Enid still continues to this day with many changes of line-up along the way. Although Robert John Godfrey has had to retire from touring due to his illness, he IS The Enid, because without keyboard maestro Godfrey ever- present at the helm, the band would never have existed.

The album opens in grand symphonic style with "The Raven". This anthemic piece of music is so extravagantly ostentatious in in all of its glorious pomp and splendour, that you may feel the patriotic urge to stand up and give a rousing rendition of "Land of Hope and Glory", or maybe the "Star Spangled Banner" if you're an American. Yes, it really IS that anthemic. It's booming, it's bombastic, and it's fantastic! You really have to hear it to believe it. This grand stentorian, orchestral symphony would have been equally at home as a magnificent finale to the album. And so, how do you follow up such a marvellous 9-minute album opener? You follow it with "Mountain", a 7-minute-long, energetic and euphonic piece of music with classical glissandos galore. Even classical music buffs couldn't fail to be impressed by this flawless fugue. This theatrical and emotionally uplifting music is like Renaissance with knobs on, where the dynamic and dramatic classical influences are even more in evidence. This is masterful Symphonic Prog taken to even more powerful extremes of classical greatness. Sailing onwards now on a patriotic wave of glory, comes the 6-minute "Water Song". You can expect to hear a profusion of grand- sounding keyboard runs on the piano with the ever-present full orchestra there in all of their magnificent power and glory. Side Two opens with "Isault", an emotional powerful song with all of the grand theatrics of a BBC costume drama. It's grandiose and spectacular and just what we've come to expect by now from such an accomplished keyboard maestro as "Professor Godfrey". And now we come to "The Daemon of the World, a 15-minute long 6-piece suite to round off the album in grand style. Listen in awe and be prepared to be swept away by the magnificent grandstanding on display here in this powerful symphonic opus. It's melodious and triumphal with constant changes of tempo, staccato breaks, and sparkling fast and slow keyboard runs. This marvellous finale is sure to delight fans of The Enid and the whole Symphonic Prog genre generally. There's even the stentorian sound of a pipe organ thrown in for good measure. What more could you ask for!?

A gloriously powerful album of passionate majestic anthems that's guaranteed to astound and delight fans of classically- inspired Symphonic Prog. This album might be described as overblown and pretentious (just like this review) by those who aren't in the know, but to prog aficionados, this is prog heaven! Let Robert John Godfrey carry you away to a Land of Hope and Glory in this unashamedly pompous and sonorous extravaganza. It's an absolute must-have album for connoisseurs and collectors of classic British Symphonic Prog.



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - December 02 2019 at 03:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Hrychu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2019 at 04:38
These are some deep cuts.
AI-generated prog album covers are utter shіt
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2019 at 04:42
Originally posted by Hrychu Hrychu wrote:

These are some deep cuts.
 
Thanks! I hope you find something you like. It's been great fun trawling through the prog archives, looking for long-lost album treasures of classic British prog.  Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2019 at 03:28
FIELDS - Fields (1971)
 
 
Album Review #31:-4 stars FIELDS isn't the most inspiring of names for a heavy Prog-Rock band, but this British band were named after their keyboard player, Graham Field, a founder member of Rare Bird. This self-titled album is another rare bird as it's a one-off album. Another album was recorded a year later in 1972, but their record company CBS shelved it and the album wouldn't be released until 2015 with the title, "Contrasts: Urban Roar to Country Peace". A remastered CD of the original Fields album was released in 2010 with two bonus tracks added to the original ten songs. Let's take a wander through the Fields now and have a listen.

The album opens in fine booming and bombastic style with "A Friend of Mine", a rollicking song driven by the sound of the powerful Hammond organ. As Ozzy Osbourne would say, "It's Rock & Roll!", and very good it is too. The song has something of a baroque feel to it, with the organist throwing in a few classically-inspired fugues for good measure. Onwards now to "While the Sun Shines", an uplifting number which you can feel free to enjoy while walking through Fields of golden barley in the warm sunshine. "Not So Good" is next, but it IS good! It's an emotionally appealing song designed to pull on the heartstrings. It's a deep and meaningful lyric with the dulcet tones of the singer giving it his all in an impassioned plea. We're getting all Folky now for the next song, "Three Minstrels", but this is Folk with a rockin' attitude. These guys could liven up any laid-back Folk-Rock convention with this very unconventional slice of rumbunctious Folk music. "Slow Susan" is next, and slow it is, but in a good way. It's always good to slot in a slow number every now and again in the middle of a rocking and rolling album. The organ soloist is in church fugue mode as he takes us on an inspirational journey in this lovely instrumental number. It's enough to make an atheist get all religious. If only all church organists were this good, parishioners would be flocking to church in their droves.

Side Two opens with "Over and Over Again", a rollicking song with it's powerful throbbing rhythm. It's another keyboard-driven ELP-style number, but without the stage antics and keyboard histrionics. It's just a good solid slice of heavy British Rock. There's a change of pace now with "Feeling Free", a rousing and uplifting song full of joy and happiness, just as the song title implies. Next up is "Fair-Haired Lady", a mournful but beautifully romantic ballad with the silver-toned singer pouring his heart out. It's a song which Uriah Heep might have recorded in one of their quieter reflective moments. Onto the penultimate song on the album and "A Place To Lay My Head", a nice solid slice of bluesy and soulful British Rock. And now we come to the final song and the highlight of the album, "The Eagle". The organist displays his classical credentials in fine style here with what sounds like a Bach cantata, before embarking on an impressive display of keyboard dexterity on the organ and then bringing the album to a close with a soothing and sophisticated piano piece. A beautiful piece of music to put the icing on the cake of a great album.

A good solid album full to the brim with the sound of powerful, organ-driven, heavy British Rock. If you're in the mood for some pile-driving, take-no-prisoners Rock, with a liberal helping of mellifluous melodies thrown in too, then this is the album for you. These are Fields of Gold!



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - December 02 2019 at 07:12
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FRUUPP - Future Legends (1973)
 
Album Review #32:- 5 stars With a bizarre name like FRUUPP, you might imagine this five-piece band are some obscure Krautrock outfit from deep in the heart of Germany, but no, they're some obscure Belfast-based outfit from deep in the heart of Northern Ireland. They have four albums to their credit with this album "Future Legends" (1972) being their first. Later albums were "Seven Secrets" (1974), "The Prince of Heaven's Eyes" (1974), and "Modern Masquerades" (1975). A fifth album was planned for 1976, but due to poor record sales and the emerging Punk/New Wave movement, Fruupp were consigned to the prog history books when they broke up at the end of the year. Progressive Rock has triumphed over the shortlived Punk-Rock era in the long run though, because Fruupp have gone on to become "Future Legends" in their time, with their marvellous brand of mellifluous melodic prog experiencing a well-deserved resurgence of interest on the Internet. The 2009 CD remaster of "Future Legends" includes the bonus track, "On a Clear Day", which classical buffs may recognise as being a proggy reworking of "Jupiter" from Gustav Holst's "Planets Suite"

"Future Legends" opens with the title track, a short classical piece of music which acts as a prelude to "Decision", a lively and rumbunctious number that gallups along nicely with a pounding rhythm and builds up to an impressively rousing finale. An awesome opening to the album. "As Day Breaks with Dawn" follows next, with a melodic classically-inspired opening, which breaks out into a powerful thrumming Genesis-like number with the singer sounding remarkably like Peter Gabriel. Yes, we're definitely in Genesis territory here, with a somewhat heavier sound, and very good it is too. Onwards now to Track 4 and "Graveyard Epistle", a song which begins as a melodic ballad before breaking out into some very proggy, heavy and intense riffing. In true prog fashion, there are constant changes of tempo, staccato breaks and a few key changes thrown in too, to keep the listener entertained and enthralled. We're halfway through the album now and this is sounding very good indeed!

Side Two opens with "Lord of the Incubus". It's a grand-sounding title and the music is impressively grand too, Again, it sounds like a song Genesis could have recorded in their classic prog years. There's a thumping rhythm section and the guitarist is really in his element here as he demonstrates his virtuosity with some masterly soloing. Track 6 "Olde Tyme Future" has a more sedate pace, with some beautifully melodic keyboard motifs. The cryptic lyrics are shrouded in mystery but with music this good, who cares about the lyrics anyway!? And now we come to the penultimate and longest song on the album, "Song for a Thought". It's a seven and a half minute long magnum opus which opens in fine rollicking style and then transposes into a laid-back mellow and melodic groove in the middle section. before the resounding and reverberant grand finale, which might just blow your socks off. It's melodic, it's dramatic, and it'll leave you feeling euphoric. The final song is a brief and gentle vocal reprise of the classical title track which opened the album. It's a perfect ending to a magical album full of proggy tales of mystery and imagination.

This is a very impressive debut album from this Northern Irish band that's likely to appeal to fans of the classic Peter Gabriel years of Genesis. It's hard to pick out a highlight of the album, because "Future Legends" is full to the brim with great songs. If you're looking for a band with the musical talent and melodic finesse of Genesis with a somewhat heavier edge, then you'll be in prog heaven with this superb album. This prog masterpiece is such a delight to listen to that you may be inspired to give Fruupp's following three albums a spin too. A must-have album for any discerning collector of classic British prog.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2019 at 05:23
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH - Horizons (1970)
 
 
Album Review #33:- 5 stars THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH were a short-lived, eight-piece Jazz-Rock band from Great Britain who released two albums in 1970 on the specialist Prog-Rock label, Harvest Records, a branch of EMI. The band consisted of two singers/guitarists, a keyboard player, a bassist and drummer, and a three-piece horn section. Their music has been described as similar in style to the Jazz-Rock of early Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. This 1970 album, "Horizon", was their debut album and they followed it up later that same year with "The Going's Easy", shortly before their break-up. The striking artwork for this album cover was designed by Hipgnosis, a specialist art and design group who produced many famous album covers of the classic Prog-Rock era. Let's have a listen now and see if this band really ARE The Greatest Show on Earth.

"Sunflower Morning" opens the album like a beautiful flower blossoming in radiant sunshine. The song title perfectly matches the ebullient mood of the music. It's a powerful organ-driven sunburst of classic prog. It's atmospheric, it's anthemic, and it's terrific music. It's a feel-good opening number designed to brighten up the dullest of days. Just take a look at the positive message in these uplifting lyrics:- "To wake up one day, Find that my eyes can't believe, All the good things around, That keep happening to me, And the world is filled with love, On a sunflower morning." ..... Now that we're in buoyant spirits after such an exuberant opening to the album, let's have a listen to Song No. 2: "Angelina". No, it's not about Angelina Jolie. This is a bright and breezy Jazz-Rock number about a lady in an old folks home, reminiscing about days gone by and longing to be young again. Take a look at these heartfelt lyrics:- "Angelina remembers the pleasant days When she was young, But doesn't seem realized these pleasant days are gone." ..... It's another sassy and brassy, cheerful-sounding number, despite the sad message contained in the lyrics. Onto Song No. 3 now and "Skylight Man". What's it all about you may well ask. Take a look at these enigmatic lyrics:- "Tells me if you try to run with a skylight man, It could put a strain on your eyes, 'Cause the stage is set for a whole life, Trying to take your line to the sky." ..... No, I haven't a clue what it all means either, but it's great music. The singer sounds remarkably like Peter Gabriel on this particular song, which has to be a good thing. It's another lively Jazz-Rock number that's as bold as brass with the horn section in fine fettle. On we come now to the closing song of Side One and "Day of the Lady". It's another emotionally appealing tale of a lady longing for times gone by with these touching lyrics:- "Through the recalling she has longed in calling, For days of diamonds and lace, Victorian springs nights, Banquets by gas light, Now neon light shines on her face." ..... This charming little Jazz-Rock ditty is carried along nicely by the dulcet tones of the singer and the pleasing cadence and cascade (to quote King Crimson) of the music by this talented eight-piece group of musicians.

And so, what's next on the "Horizon" as we delve into Side Two. Song No. 5 is "Real Cool World", which was later released as a single. It's a rollicking rock & roll number brimming with energy and vitality. The single did well in Europe although it didn't make much of an impact in the U.K. The music certainly packs a punch though with the pounding rhythm and the guitarist embarking on a wild riffing spree. This song rocks!! "I Fought for Love" is up next. The keyboard player is in his element here, displaying impressive dexterity with some amazing keyboard runs in the style of keyboard maestro Ken Hensley, of Uriah Heep fame. This is Jazz-Rock with an uncompromising take-no-prisoners attitude. You're bound to be impressed by this powerful piece of music. And now we come to the epic title track, the 14-minute long "Horizons". This is where the eight musicians really get to demonstrate their individual prowess, taking it in turns with some very impressive soloing. There's a long drum solo, a sonorous keyboard solo, a flute solo, and a stunning wild guitar solo. What more could you ask for!? It's booming and bombastic and it sounds fantastic! The musicians sound like they're having a real blast here. How can you possibly follow that!? You follow it with "Again and Again", that's what. It's the closing song on the album and it's a rousing and uplifting romantic ballad, only this is no gently lilting romantic ballad. No, this is a powerful ballad going full steam ahead with the power and energy of a runaway train. Make no mistake, this is a Power Ballad with full locomotive power!

This terrific Jazz-Rock album really DOES sound like The Greatest Show on Earth, or at least it would be if you could see this album performed Live. This is bright and breezy British Jazz-Rock at its best. The music is very much in the style of early Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears, so if you like those bands, then you'll love this album too. If you haven't heard this stunning album before, then you're in for a real treat. We never know what wonderful music awaits us just over the "Horizon".



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - December 04 2019 at 05:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Psychedelic Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2019 at 05:31
Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

Some interesting obscure things there..I have the Ithaca, (Agincourt), Nektar, and have heard the others....meant to buy the Canterbury Glass thing but never did.
 
We have very similar tastes in music, so if you want to recommend any other long-lost British Prog-Rock,  Prog-Folk, or Symphonic Prog album treasures for me to review, I'd love to hear from you. Smile
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RICHARD WRIGHT - Wet Dream (1978)
 
 
Album Review #34:- 5 stars RICHARD WRIGHT (1943-2008) is of course best-known as the legendary keyboard maestro with Pink Floyd. He's appeared on all but one of Pink Floyd's albums, including a posthumous appearance on "The Endless River" (2014), which was released six years after his untimely death from cancer at the age of 65. The only Pink Floyd album Richard Wright didn't appear on was "The Final Cut" (1983), which was really a Roger Waters solo album in all but name. This album, Wet Dream (1978), was the first of two solo albums, with his second album "Broken China", following 18 years later in 1996. Wright also released a New Wave album as one half of a short-lived duo called Zee in 1984. The band line up for the "Wet Dream" album consisted of Richard Wright (vocals, keyboards), Mel Collins (saxophones, flute), Snowy White (guitars), Larry Steele (bass guitar) & Reg Isidore (drums & percussion). All ten songs on the album were written by Richard Wright and the album cover design was by Hipgnosis. The album passed by virtually unnoticed at the time of its release in the late 1970's, but it's now gaining some well- deserved recognition, thanks to Prog Archives, You Tube, and the Internet. Let's plunge into a "Wet Dream" now and see what this rediscovered album with the rather risque title has to offer.

Many of the songs on the album have a watery theme, hence the title "Wet Dream", and so we begin with "Mediterranean Sea", an instrumental opening number which has all of the musical elements we've come to know and love over the years from Pink Floyd. There's the pleasing sound of a piano and synth combined together in perfect harmony and a gorgeous saxophone solo from Mel Collins (of King Crimson fame). It's as close to the sound of Pink Floyd as you can get without actually BEING Pink Floyd. This beautiful piece of music wouldn't have seemed out of place on the classic "Dark Side of the Moon" album. We hear the sound of Richard Wright singing solo for the first time on Song No. 2 "Against the Odds" - no relation to the Phil Collins song of the same name. The song is another pleasingly harmonious and melodious song that would be worthy of a place on any Pink Floyd album. In time-honoured tradition, where the singer wears his heart on his sleeve, it's a romantic ballad about love's mysterious ways and the sad break-up of a relationship. We're used to hearing the sound of Richard Wright's harmonising vocals on many of Pink Floyd's albums, but this is where he gets the chance to take centre-stage and really stretch his vocal chords. He sounds pretty good too as a lead vocalist for someone who's better known as a keyboard player. Returning to a watery theme again for "Cat's Cruise", another Floyd-esque instrumental number with a wonderful and mellifluous saxophone solo. Just bask in the glow of this beautifully warm piece of music and imagine yourself out on deck in the sunshine on a sea cruise. It's the kind of feel-good music that's enough to brighten up anyone's day. Sailing onwards now, we come to "Summer Elegy", an uplifting and euphonious piano number that floats over you like a warm breeze. Despite the uplifting and inspirational feel to the music, the lyrics tell a different story:- "Something's gotta give, We can't carry on like this, One year on and more, Unsure where do we go from here?, Many nights and many days I've spent with you, Talking about what we should do, I can't say, Nothing's clear to me no more." ..... Yes, it's another sad tale of love gone sour. To close out Side One, comes "Waves", another watery-themed instrumental number. It's a magical piece of music combining keyboards and saxophone in true Pink Floyd fashion. This soothing and sophisticated melody will leave you feeling like you're sailing on the crest of a wave.

Sailing onto Side Two now and we arrive at our "Holiday" destination, the longest song on the album, running at just over 6 minutes long. "Holiday" is a powerful and passionately uplifting ballad with these heartfelt lyrics:- "It was meant to be a holiday, Building castles by the sea, Another way to live for you and me, Time to pause, Consider what we've done, The wind is blowing, So come, Let's take a holiday." ..... It's a song guaranteed to pull at the heartstrings, and if this song doesn't move you, then you must be a statue. The curiously titled "Mad Yannis Dance" is up next. I've no idea what it's about as it's another instrumental piece. It's not particularly mad and you can't dance to it, but it's a pleasant-sounding number all the same, sounding like a slow plodding march. We're into funky Jazz-Rock territory with "Drop in from the Top", a lively instrumental piece with an upbeat feel to it, which leads us into "Pink's Song", another emotionally appealing ballad. This sad song continues the theme of a broken relationship with these touching lyrics:- "Patiently, you watched us play parts you'd seen before, Even then, We sometimes asked, Would you keep us all?, Caught between the tangled web, You helped set us free, Sadly, then, you lost yourself, so you had to leave." ..... It sounds like Richard Wright is writing from personal experience, straight from the heart, with those heart-wrenching and melancholic lyrics. And so, we come to the end of our wonderful musical cruise now with a lively and Jazzy instrumental number, "Funky Deux", and funky it is too!

Richard Wright has really struck gold with this masterful album of uplifting and emotionally appealing tunes. It's bound to appeal to fans of Pink Floyd, as the album has basically the same Floyd-esque sound we've come to know and love over the last five decades, the only difference being that this album has more of a Jazzy feel to it. Prepare to set sail on the musical cruise of a lifetime with "Wet Dream", a maritime delight from beginning to end. This music is just sublime!

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AUDIENCE - Friend's Friend's Friend (1970)
 
Album Review #35:- 5 stars AUDIENCE were a four-piece, London-based Jazz-Rock outfit. This album "Friend's Friend's Friend" (1970) - released on the Prog-Rock Charisma label - was the second of four albums released between the years of 1969 and 1972. Their first album, the self-titled "Audience" (1969), failed to gain much recognition, so they did comparatively well to release four albums in total, considering how many other bands have quickly fallen by the wayside after releasing a debut album with poor album sales. Audience followed this particular album with "The House on the Hill" in 1971 and a final album "Lunch" in 1972. A bonus track was added to the original eight songs on the "Friend's Friend's Friend" album on the 1992 CD reissue. Let's join the Audience now and have a listen.

We begin with "Nothing You Do", a rip-roaring, toe-tapping, Jazz-Rock number, designed to really lift the spirits up into the "progosphere". It's a bright and brassy song, with the horn section in full flow. One of the best features of the song is the uplifting vocal harmonising in the style of some of Uriah Heep's uproarious songs. The lead vocalist deserves a word of mention too, because on first hearing, his voice does sound somewhat nasal and high-pitched, but once you become accustomed to his nasal twang, then you may come to love it. Despite the uplifting nature of the music, the lyrics tell the sad story of a broken relationship:- "Nothing you do could make me feel towards you, What you obviously feel towards me, Nothing I hear from you is more than a mere excuse, Confirming my every fear." ..... It's a bittersweet ballad with attitude! Onwards now to Song No. 2 and "Belladonna Moonshine", another rumbunctious brassy number with a jaunty and jazzy rhythm. There's a quick-tempo honky tonk shuffle in the mid-section which really livens things up. It's insouciant, it's vibrant, and it's very pleasant too. Take a look at these playful lyrics:- "Jeremiah Cade though a singer by trade, He couldn't sing a note without the liquor he made, He could never make it big 'til the night he took a swig, From his homebrewed Belladonna Moonshine." ..... Who needs moonshine anyway, or any other alcoholic spirits, when you can have your spirits lifted by listening to this joyfully intoxicating piece of music. Next up comes "It Brings a Tear", a song more likely to bring tears of joy with its happy vibe. It's an impassioned power ballad, opening with a delightful flute solo and with the sound of those uplifting vocal harmonies in full flow again. It's a song full of radiant energy as warm and bright as a hot summer's day. If you could SEE this music, then it would be shining in full Technicolour brilliance! We've reached the halfway point now with "Raid", the longest song on the album at over 8 minutes long. This epic song opens with a relentless pounding and pulsating rhythm, followed by a sensational and sophisticated saxophone solo in the middle section. It's a tale of barbarous Vikings rampaging, pillaging and ..... Well, we won't go into that, but you can guess the rest.

Side Two open with "Right on Their Side", another sonorous and thunderous burst of British Jazz-Rock going full steam ahead. Song No. 6 is "Ebony Variations", an instrumental, classically-inspired number, as the song title implies. It's a jolly and joyous piece of music, where the saxophonist really gets to play his heart out and demonstrate his musical mettle in no uncertain terms. He's really having a blast here. On now to Song No. 7, and "Priestess", an impassioned and impressive 6-minute song featuring a gorgeous flute solo. Don't have nightmares though, because it's a dark satanic tale of nefarious goings-on in the middle of the night as these lyrics reveal:- "Bathed in moonlight, Devil worshippers chanting, Throughout the night, Music grew ever haunting. High on her throne, Satan seated beside her, Face cold as stone, Prince of Darkness to guide her." ..... Yes, it's that kind of a song, but try not to let that put you off, because this is great music! You may want to sleep with the lights on though after hearing it for the first time. And so, we come to the final song on the album dear friends with the title track, "Friend's Friend's Friend", a melodic and gently lilting saxophonic ballad which closes the album in salubrious and symphonious style.

This amazing band deserves to be heard by a much wider Audience. "Friend's Friend's Friend" is a bold and brassy rejuvenating album that's guaranteed to brighten up the dullest of days with its vibrant spirit and rollicking attitude. Audience represent one of the finest exponents of classic British Jazz-Rock. Tell all of your friends about this superb album, and tell your friend's friends too!



Edited by Psychedelic Paul - December 06 2019 at 08:38
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