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Greenslade - Bedside Manners Are Extra CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.60 | 224 ratings

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3 stars The second Greenslade album `Bedside Manners Are Extra' (housed in a wonderful Roger Dean cover) is an easier listen compared to the debut album to my ears, a joyful collection of catchy and melodic symphonic prog with lengthy instrumental passages. The whole album is dunked in a vat of liquid Mellotron that drips over every inch of the LP, the Mellotron cup truly doth runneth over or something like that! Due to no guitars, the money shot of the band is the dual keyboard players David Greenslade (Colosseum) and Dave Lawson (Samurai, The Web), the latter toning down his almost unlistenable vocals from the first album and singing with real warmth, Colosseum bassist Tony Reeves and fleeting King Crimson drummer Tony Mccullock rounding out the band, with all four coming together to offer adventurous yet always accessible progressive music.

With a sprinkling of piano, floating wistful Moog and pattering drumming, the opening title track is a chilled out rumination with a nice pleading vocal from Dave in the chorus, aggressively distorted electric piano, Hammond and flecks of Mellotron. "Have a holiday!" offers the band, and it sounds like fine advice to me! `Pilgrims Progress' sees the band launch into a fast-tempo and upbeat E.L.P-styled instrumental charge full of regal organ pomp, surging bass, fiery drum-work and a nice soothing 'Tron flute and string reflection in the middle. A wicked and delirious electric piano solo just as the piece fades out is enough to make Triumvirat envious! Cool upbeat groover `Time To Dream' has an urgent vocal (I swear Dave's snarling vocal sounds like Pete Nicholls of Neo-proggers I.Q!), sneaky fuzzy jazzy bass, smoky Hammond blasts and electric piano meltdowns throughout, and the band sounds like they're having a ripping time during this infectious and fun number.

While side B's `Drum Folk' is frequently a showcase for drummer Mccullock - booming drum rolls, military beats and soloing insanity galore - it's actually a romantic and soulful class-act. Brooding and chiming electronics, breakneck electric piano runs and scratchy Hammond scorches with a grand triumphant repeated Mellotron theme. Then the second half moves into a lonely and crying flute 'Tron lament with a helping Hammond hand to offer reassurance. Subtly funky verses balance with a frantic vocal truly masterful improvised Hammond and bass run through `Sunkissed You're Not' (oh but you are, album!), then `Chalkhill' is a final race to the finish with the band tearing through a dreamy and feel-good, foot-tapping thrilling final instrumental run.

`Bedside Manners Are Extra' is a really enjoyable and positive album, a lighter prog LP that always makes me smile and puts me in a great mood. While Greenslade were honestly something of a second tier prog band, they've come to be considered a very solid and worthy act, spoken of in revered tones by those that love them, and this second album justifies their devotion. There may be better and more complex prog albums, but not many match the sheer good vibrations this one floats on.

Three and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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