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Styx - The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings CD (album) cover

THE COMPLETE WOODEN NICKEL RECORDINGS

Styx

 

Prog Related

3.35 | 23 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars On average, I have only given three stars on the first four albums of Styx. Don't get me wrong here with this remastered of their first four albums I give full four stars rating. The main reason is that this complete recordings packaged beautifully with excellent sound production and original artwork of the album. That brings special value for those who knew the band since its debut album. For those who know Styx for the "Come Sailaway" or "Babe" or "Show Me The Way" era, this compilation might not rate that high. But that's okay, I fully understand.

Excellent Recordings of First Four Albums

As far as prog concern, debut album by Styx can be considered as prog as some compositions have the music that characterized prog e.g. tempo and / or style changes. The opening track that serves like an epic with four parts has all the ingredients of what prog band usually offer. One part "Fanfare for The Common Man" (Aaron Copland) is a famous part where Emerson Lake and Palmer (ELP) also played. "Movement For The Common Man" even though sounds like disjointed between parts it still offer a good style of music that most proggers might enjoy. Another song that has become one of my favorite Styx songs is "What Has Come Between Us" - it offers great vocal harmony and excellent melody. One of the band's key strengths is their choir comprising members of the band's voice. The debut album gives you a cohesive stream of Styx music that later became well- known with its unique style. At first glance, you might hear the influence of Uriah Heep especially on guitar parts that resemble what Mick Box typically plays. But Styx has its own brand name that sets apart from any other rock bands. This is a good addition to any prog (rock) music collection even though the music tends to be a hard rock one.

Styx II might not be a seminal album to consider; and it's not truly a prog album in conservative way . or something that in the past called it something as "art rock". In a more open mind way, this album does have some prog elements as well, even though not symphonic. However, in subjective judgment from my point of view this album has been very critical to develop me further as prog lover and it has been part of my life. The opening track "You Need Love" (3:44) might not be something that catches your attention at all when you hear the song at first time. But if you look this song into deep, you will find that all key characteristics of Styx sound was built through this track. Look how the choirs are performed and how Dennis De Young handles vocal department. The music grooves as well as guitar solo confirm the characteristics of Styx music which will carry forward into later days. "Lady" (2:56) was a major hit and is still now being played by FM radio because its pop orientation.

"A Day" (8:19) is a very melodic song with mellow opening, powerful singing style. The music is characterized by percussion as rhythm section augmented with keyboard and good bass guitar. I love this song the whole thing for an 8 minute duration! "You Better Ask" (3:54) is a jazzy-pop style which is quite catchy. "Little Fugue in G" (1:17) is basically a very nice organ work. The organ work is so catchy and memorable, it serves as great opening for the next great song: "Father O.S.A. " (7:08). It starts beautifully with excellent drumming right after the organ sound fades out, followed with nice guitar riffs that become critical elements of this excellent track. The music is nice, combining great guitar work, soaring organ work and good drum work.

The fourth album Man of Miracles was my first introduction to Styx. This is definitely NOT a prog album as the music is a straight rock music. However, this is an excellent rock album. Christopher, Mr. Christopher was then a hit in my country in mid of 70s. It's a very nice pop rock song with good keyboard and guitar works. The song itself is very melodic especially the song ambience at intro part where the guitar and drums work together beautifully. The other tracks of my favorites are: A Song for Suzanne (nice intro part), Lies, Evil Eyes (this is really great track! Especially on the melody and vocal line, combined with music ambience which supports the song), Man of Miracle (great organ work) and Southern Woman (energetic rock), Golden Lark (mellow track with an excellent piano). Styx strong point is in its vocal.

This complete recordings of Styx first four albums is highly recommended for those who love Styx. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Gatot | 4/5 |

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