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Fields - Fields CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.64 | 119 ratings

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AJ Junior
3 stars English Progressive Rock band "Fields" has an interesting eponymous debut record here. On paper, this lineup is a big three of Andrew MuCulloch (KC, Greenslade, Manfred Mann), Graham Field (Rare Bird), and Alan Barry (who worked with the Giles brothers), but they were shortlived, and thus only released this sole record in 1971. They ended up recording their entire second album, but CBS shelved it and eventually released it as a compilation in 2015. This is a pretty proto-typical heavy prog album, with some really good moments and some very meh moments.

Immediately from the opening Hammond organ notes of "A Friend of Mine," you can tell the Jon Lord-esque playing style of keyboardist Graham Field. I'd say this song is one of, if not my favorite on the album. Although it is a bit cliche, I enjoy the lyrics and medieval progression, and Alan Barry's voice is not bad either. "While The Sun Still Shines," follows up the nice opener, and it's nothing special. It's one of the weaker moments on here. I haven't read much praise about this ballad, but "Not So Good" is quite nice and a great contrast to the often "over the top" organ and heavy interludes on the rest of the album. The tribal beating of the talking drum opens "Three Minstrels," which is a very old English-sounding anthem. Alan Barry pulls his weight here, contributing powerful vocals, piercing guitar, and bass. The side closes with "Slow Susan" which is just easily the worst song on here in my opinion, and a very obvious throwaway by the band.

Side 2 opens with one of my favorite songs from this album: "Over and Over Again." It's the longest track on here at almost 6 minutes but the Hammond work on here is irrefutably amazing. After the awesome organ intro, Alan Barry starts belting out his lines over some nice progressions to make for a very enjoyable listen. Andrew MuCulloch's drumming rounds out the song and fills the gaps, to create an extremely tight sound. After this track, there is a basic track "Feeling Free," which is less than remarkable, and the very mediocre "Fair-Haired Lady" which is one of the weaker moments on this album once again. "The Eagle," closes the album on a great note, as this is a very strong, progressive, and mellotron-filled track with classical influence. I would've loved to see the band try more tracks like this throughout the LP, but alas we were left with this sole example of what Fields was truly capable of.

The sheer musicianship and raw talent of this group of guys playing together is off the charts. Although this effort isn't very refined, it has its moments and I think, had this group been seen out, they could've meshed into something much greater. That being said I think this is a solid completionist album, with some nice cuts, and I would recommend this to Uriah Heep and Kansas fans.

AJ Junior | 3/5 |


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