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Argent - In Deep CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.44 | 84 ratings

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4 stars Argent were a second division Prog band who never quite managed to break through to the major league, though during the year-or-so period 1972-73 they threatened to do so with 3 charting singles and a couple of strong albums. This is the second of those 2 albums - All Together Now being the first from 1972 - which was originally released in 1973.

This album has always been a favourite of mine, but listening to it again now after all these years I think I can understand why they didn't achieve wider acceptance: they were a band of 2 halves. One half is bluesy rock-n-rolling - sounding not unlike early Uriah Heep maybe - led by Ballard's lead guitar playing with fairly minimal input from Rod Argent, examples being the 3 main Ballard written tracks here - the successful single God Gave Rock And Roll To You, and the 2 parts of It's Only Money with their lovely riffing (a fourth track - Rosie - is a bit of an indulgence).

The other half is steeped in classic melodic Prog, led and dominated by the various keyboards of Rod Argent - full of Hammonds and pianos, and an odd Tron too - complete with time and key changes: Losing Hold is a big ballad; Be Glad is a nice little rocker which goes off at a tangent for an extended Hammond and piano led instrumental central piece; Christmas For The Free is a simple ode to peace-and-goodwill sung by Rod Argent and is the song I am most likely to fast-forward over; Candles On The River is the Prog masterpiece here with some lovely extended Hammond and guitar soloing over riffs pushed along by bass and drums. This last track particularly is alike to BJH with a bluesier singer! My CD re-issue has, as a bonus track, probably their best song Hold Your Head Up (actually taken from their previous album) which still stands up today as a Prog classic, another Hammond-fest with understated, yet hypnotic, riffs followed by those classic powerchords on guitar and organ. Wonderful stuff!

This album is very much of it's time - few overdubs, and a very straightforward production with just the 4 members playing along together more-or-less as they did live (that's how it sounds to me anyway!). At around the same time in 1973 Pink Floyd were moving the goal-posts as far as sound quality and recording methods were concerned, but this is relatively rough and raw, and all the better for it. The sound on my copy could be seriously improved with a re-mastering program. Packaging is OK I guess - no lyrics, but there are liner notes giving a short band history in addition to track credits.

Overall, I re-iterate that this is a personal favourite, and I have long thought the band, and especially Rod Argent, are not given enough credit. Heartily recommended to lovers of early 70s Prog but perhaps not quite a classic.

Joolz | 4/5 |


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