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Needlepoint - Walking Up That Valley CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.09 | 99 ratings

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5 stars Refreshing psychedelic folk from Norway that brings back nostalgic feelings from 1967's Summer of Love--when love and optimism were still at the center of the Hippie/Flower Power movement--before the tragic death of cult icon John Griggs in 1969.

1. "Rules of a Mad Man" (5:11) reminds me of The BYRDS, The ASSOCIATION, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and Sweden's The AMAZING. (8.75/10)

2. "I Offered You the Moon" (7:51) an intricately woven Summer of Love like pop psychedelic song that has an unexpected jazzy feel. Amazing Pat Metheny Group/RTF/Chick Corea-like instrumental passage in the fifth and sixth minutes. Love Erik Nylander's congas! And then the bass, Fender Rhodes, and drums really get to shine over the final 90 seconds. Wow! (14/15)

3. "Web of Worry" (3:34) As if Paul Simon wrote and sang a Stevie Wonder song. At the two minute mark, during the instrumental passage, it turns full Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. So cool! (9.25/10)

4. "So Far Away" (3:11) could be acoustic LED ZEPPELIN, BREAD, CELESTE, or PAUL SIMON. And then it goes Massive Attack unplugged at 2:20! Just brilliant. (9/10)

5. "Where the Ocean Meets the Sky" (4:25) more complex, sophisticated jazz-tinged pop psychedelia that sounds like it comes straight out of a California Pop Festival of 1968 or 69. Again, strongly reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young from this era--especially the front-and-center bass play and perfect vocal harmonies. Brilliant and beautiful. Again, great hand percussion play to go with the gorgeous drumming and richly nuanced instrumental tapestry. (9.25/10)

6. "Carry Me Away" (3:56) has a very Brian Auger's Oblivion Express and, less, Santana feel to it. The guitar solo over the is so straight out of Eumir Deodato's 1973 world-wide jazz funk version of Ricard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" as inspired from the 1968 classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey. (9/10)

7. "Another Day" (4:45) despite its interesting instrumental palette (including harpsichord), this one drags a little too much. (8.25/10)

8. "Walking Up That Valley" (10:44) opes like it's going to break into "Hair" by The Cowsills. But with the appearance of the vocal we can see that it is a true folk song--a gorgeous one at that. Simple guitar with solo voce, gradually joined by other guitars and Hammond. At 4:30 we transition into a uptempo, more jazz-rock instrumental passage. The sound palette of guitars, bass, and snare drums and cymbals is very cool thought the flanged lead guitar is nothing too exciting. I'm quite reminded of Gadi Caplan's masterful jazzy Prog Folk album from 2016, Morning Sun. As a matter of fact, this entire album has a similarity to that wonderful album. The guitar solo over the zoom-along AMAZING-like passage in the ninth minute is astonishing! What an amazing passage! Some of Al Stewart and Donovan in the gorgeous next session. The way we're cut off from the continued jam at the end feels like robbery! One of the best prog epics of the year--maybe the best. (19.75/20)

Total Time 43:37

A collection of sophisticated, deeply layered folk psychedelia that issues new and pleasant discoveries with each and every listen. Wonderful. Each and every song seems so lovingly created--from composition, lyrics, and performance to recording and mix. An absolute treasure. One of my favorite albums of 2021.

A-/five stars; clearly a masterpiece of retro-psych Prog Folk; an album that any prog lover will surely appreciate and love--especially the old-timers who were alive in the 1960s.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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