Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Argent - Encore: Live In Concert CD (album) cover

ENCORE: LIVE IN CONCERT

Argent

 

Crossover Prog

3.51 | 31 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SteveG
3 stars After reading an excellent review from ExittheLemming, I decided to dust off this celebrated live recording from Argent and give it a fresh spin after being away from it for some 30 years. The two biggest gripes that people had with the proceeding Argent studio albums was their louder than loud production and schizoid musical styles, with Rod Argent penning the proggier songs and the rock and rollers penned by Russ Ballard. The latter aspect of the group's albums never bothered me, and even an album recorded at Abbey Road Studios using former Beatles' recording engineers made it hard for Argent, and co producer Chris White, to completely sabotage it's sound production.

But this live concert recording eliminates the producer's flights of fancy and helps to place the focus solely on the songs and the band's performance. Starting off with the prog infused instrumental "The Coming Of Kohoutek", in which Argent discovered the merits of the Moog synthesizer and jumped squarely on the Emerson/Wakeman train and stole the handle. Not a favorite of mine as it's sounds as derivative as anything concocted by Emerson, including his synth tones. If there was one thing that set seventies synth wizards apart, it was a personally unique synth sound, but that's a minor quibble. "Kohoutek" is the best song you will here on this album until Russ Ballard sings his lovely ballad that he had written especially for former Zombies' front man Colin Blunstone titled "I Don't Believe In Miracles." Ballard's emotive and reserved vocal on this stripped down version of the song, along with Argent providing touching mellotron strings, is absolutely beautiful and far surpasses the myriad versions recorded and re-recorded by Blunstone either solo or with the revamped Zombies. So much for slamming the group for eclectic song styles.

But what of the songs in the middle? Well, Russ Ballard's "It's Only Money" parts 1 and 2 lacks anything like a musical or vocal hook, and his semi celebrated "God Give Rock and Roll Too You" tries too hard to sound like a drunken beer hall sing-a-long. Let's face it, when a group like Kiss can take someone's best song (at the time) and make it sound better, something is desperately wrong. "Thunder And Lightning" somehow keeps me awake while "Music of the Spheres" does just the opposite. And that was real the problem with Argent. Not the loud stereo panning studio album productions or their eclectic song styles. It was simply poor songwriting or poor song arrangements and singing that resulted in a majority of their material just coming up short. And unfortunately, that is also brought into sharp focus on Encore. And what was the reason for the band's lapse in taste? Well, it's not beyond reason to assume that Argent and White were quite confused and baffled by the poor reception to their fantastically produced and recorded Zombies' swansong album Odessey (sic) and Oracle, and that the duo maintained a scattershot approach to both songwriting and song arranging, resulting in the up and down song quality of Argent's output.

But all is not lost. What also works works well on Encore is "I Am The Dance Of Ages" which shakes off it's Spinal Tap vibe found on the studio album All Together Now and really rocks out. What doesn't rock is a sped up version of "Hold You Head Up" with Argent injecting boring improvised (I hope) melodies from his new synthesizer which is no match for his original organ solos. A ragged version of "Time Of the Season" is the album's actual encore and I'm quite glad that they didn't do another. Can you imagine "Tell Her No'" done in 5/4 time with a synth solo? I didn't think so. 3 stars out of 5, which seems quite apropos for a band that was always stuck between extremes.

SteveG | 3/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this ARGENT review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives