Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

VARIOUS GENRES

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Various Genres definition

Albums or CD's where more than one artist is featured either as a SAMPLER or a TRIBUTE to a particular band. Examples: - Peter and The Wolf - Prog Fairytale - 1975 / The Reading Room - 2000 / Leonardo - The Absolute Man - 2001 / Best Prog Rock Album in the World... Ever - 2003 / Un Voyage En Progressif Volume 1 to 8 / Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic.

Various Genres Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Various Genres | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.19 | 223 ratings
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.24 | 107 ratings
ODYSSEY - THE GREATEST TALE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.29 | 60 ratings
LA BIBLIA
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.20 | 95 ratings
INFERNO - THE DIVINE COMEDY, PART 1
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.15 | 88 ratings
DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS (PART 1)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.17 | 63 ratings
THE SPAGHETTI EPIC 3 - THE GREAT SILENCE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.12 | 71 ratings
THE STORIES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT - A SYNPHONIC COLLECTION
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.14 | 63 ratings
REWIRING GENESIS - A TRIBUTE TO THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.71 | 13 ratings
VISIONS OF AN INNER MOUNTING APOCALYPSE (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA)
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.03 | 96 ratings
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK ALBUM)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.09 | 58 ratings
PURGATORIO -THE DIVINE COMEDY, PART II
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.02 | 59 ratings
DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS (PART II)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.35 | 16 ratings
LEADER OF THE STARRY SKIES: A TRIBUTE TO TIM SMITH, SONGBOOK 1
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.01 | 51 ratings
THE 7 SAMURAI
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.00 | 40 ratings
MARSCAPE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.33 | 12 ratings
MORE ANIMALS AT THE GATES OF REASON - A TRIBUTE TO PINK FLOYD
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.93 | 42 ratings
GIALLO ! (ONE SUITE FOR THE MURDERER)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
3.88 | 56 ratings
DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS (PART III)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
3.92 | 33 ratings
RETURN TO THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.82 | 54 ratings
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER: VARIATIONS
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

Latest Various Genres Music Reviews


 Sumer Is Icumen In (The Pagan Sound of British and Irish Folk 1966-75) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Sumer Is Icumen In (The Pagan Sound of British and Irish Folk 1966-75)
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Grapefruit Records is a label that has released a lot of retrospective Various Artists box sets during the last ten years or so, covering many more or less marginal styles of popular music. I have especially enjoyed their boxes representing Folk Rock, Dust on the Nettles - A Journey Through the British Underground Folk Scene 1967-72 and the all-female selection Milk of the Tree - An Anthology of Female Vocal Folk and Singer-Songwriters 1966- 73. This time the focus is on the so called pagan folk, which term is approached quite open-mindedly. Quite a few included artists can be thought of as pagan rockers per se (like COMUS without a doubt is), but I don't see any trouble in that. The music itself is what matters. Anyway, now there are pretty many artists from the ProgArchives database, so I took the opportunity to add this set here, which naturally would be questionable for the mentioned Folk Rock sets, despite surely being interesting for several of us.

The editing of both the musical contents and the 38-page, lushly illustrated booklet in this the clamshell-shaped box is very good, I only have two minor complaints: the track times are missing, and the font is a bit too tiny for comfortable reading. Like in every respectable box set, each track is accompanied by brief but highly informative liner notes on the chosen artists. Here's an example:

STRAWBS - Canon Dale (alternative version) Not originally issued, recorded 10/70.

"The nearest thing we have these days to the wandering minstrels of the Dark Age", was how one music journalist described Strawbs in October 1970, shortly after the recruitment of keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman and former Velvet Opera rhythm section Richard Hudson and John Ford had given the band a broader musical palette. A performance on John Peel's Top Gear show that October saw them premier a new Hudson song called 'Canon Dale', drenched in his expansive sitar work. The band's next studio album, the May 1971 release From the Witchwood, continued that mystical theme, with Dave Cousins' terrific 'Witchwood' and a slightly more restrained rendition of 'Canon Dale' firmly exploring territory defined in 1969 by pop pundit Lillian Roxon as "acid folk".

It would be too worksome to even try dealing with the entire contents of 60 pieces. Instead, here's a quick and probably incomplete list of the other PA-included artists, in the running order and with a few track namings along the way: Third Ear Band, Traffic ('John Barleycorn'), Steeleye Span, Amber, Synanthesia, Mike Oldfield ('On Horseback'), Fairport Convention (Tam Lin'), Chimera, The Sallyangie, Dr. Strangely Strange, Jan Dukes De Grey ('Sorcerers'), Oberon, Fresh Maggots, Tea & Symphony, Principal Edwards' Magic Theatre, Pentangle ('Cruel Sister'), Incredible String Band, Mellow Candle, Curved Air ('Elfin Boy'), Spriguns of Tolgus. This list alone shows how much information on vintage Folk Rock, both household names and obscurities, one gets from this set.

 Vesa Aaltonen Prog Band: Studio Live by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Live, 2022
3.95 | 2 ratings

BUY
Vesa Aaltonen Prog Band: Studio Live
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vesa Aaltonen is undoubtedly Finland's most legendary prog drummer. His memoirs were released in 2019 when he had already founded the project Vesa Aaltonen Prog Band to play live the music of the prog acts he was involved in. This "studio live" album contains new recordings of compositions originating from the albums of Tasavallan Presidentti, Pekka Pohjola, Made In Sweden and two more.

The versions are pretty faithful to the originals (I believe you can better tell them by the clean production rather than the musical interpretation itself, but I admit I didn't make concentrated listening comparisons), so the most notable differences concern the vocals. This 12-track album is roughly half sung, half instrumental. The prog maestro Jukka Gustavson -- who also plays the organ on the first piece -- sings on the vocal tracks of Tasavallan Presidentti (originally sung by either Frank Robson or Eero Raittinen). Seemingly Gustavson's vocal credits are mistakenly marked also to the instrumental fusion piece 'Vapour Trails' (from Pekka Pohjola's Visitation, 1979). Ella Tepponen sings on two tracks originating from the album Where Do We Begin (1976) by Made In Sweden, where the vocalist was Tommy Körberg. For me the addition of female vocals is the most welcome fresh detail.

The compositions of Tasavallan Presidentti get the lion's share on the set list. My favourites from them would have been quite different, but generally this album functions very well as a coherent collection of the 70's prog/fusion of the artists in question. For the older generation who experienced that original prog era (or who have found it retrospectively decades ago like me), this project is surely filled with nostalgia, but this music itself is timeless, and this album may open new paths for the young prog-friendly generation to explore further. I'm hesitatingh between 3 and 4 stars; let's say it's 3˝ rounded upwards.

P.S. Of the "two more" artists mentioned earlier: The Group was a mid/late-70's fusion group of seasoned prog/jazz musicians. 'Gado-Gado' from their sole album sounds very good and dynamic here. The final piece is 'Peaches En Regalia' originally from the Frank Zappa album Hot Rats (1969). No, Vesa Aaltonen didn't play on Zappa's albums; I suppose this choice refers to Pori Jazz 1982 where Aaltonen momentarily played with Zappa. [This is my educated guess regarding the CD label, sadly it's not easy to affirmate it by googling.]

 Mappa Zappa EP by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2019
4.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Mappa Zappa EP
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mappa Zappa EP was the follow-up to the LP of the same name (2018). Curated by IdiotBastard.com for release by Cordelia Records, both compilations cover Zappa material that has something nominally to do with geography. You can see a bit more context on the above orgs. respective websites, or check out my review of the aforementioned LP for further details. This EP certainly proves concentrated is [often] best.

This Mappa Zappa begins with an apparently extended version of the already-covered "Been to Kansas City in A Minor" as [already] performed by Fred Handl (this recording is nearly 3 minutes longer than their same submission to the LP). Now, if that 7-minute version was way too Blues for way too long to be all that enjoyable to me, how else am I to greet a nearly-10-minute version?... I believe this angry monologue is the same as from the first release. Low and slow, it starts with an acoustic piano solo. Still the saving graces to this track are the later solos, first via mallets, then a crunchy and apparently greatly improved guitar solo. I just don't recall enjoying the latter, at least, as much that first listen. Either way, the song itself is still quite meh to yours truly. Up next is the Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra's more hurried, modernist take on the Over-Nite Sensation (1973) classic: "Montana Revisited". I'm really enjoying it! Perhaps comparable to some of the renditions by Dweezil's earlier Zappa Plays Zappa group. Their outright embrace of synths in particular, I will add, is extra fresh here. They use an interesting tone approaching the middle that sounded like early-70s Todd Rundgren. Lovely. This is followed by a not-so-extended guitar solo, played most 'Frankly'. I feel this version is an absolutely wonderful addition to Zappa's legacy; and it's not like they did anything way out there, either.

Up next is a very unique version of "Aybe Sea", from the wonderful Caballero Reynaldo. This is such a happy departure for me from the already-fun and -quirky Burnt Weeny Sandwich original (1970). The melody is entirely sung, group-style! Just some fun. And finally, starting off most reminiscent to me of Zoot Allures at large, "Bognor Regis" is most jammy, performed here by the only group not present on the previous LP (though I recognize them from other Cordelia releases), Jerry Outlaw and Friends. I think they kept with the general Zappa plot: plenty of interest herein, from delicious little trills on what I assume synth to the horn arrangement throughout. And then we get this absolutely searing guitar solo, made duet with an equally fiery sax. Fantastic stuff, and a helluva closer! These are true Zappaheads, as this was released later this same year for the first time in the Zappa catalog on The Hot Rats Sessions (2019).

True Rate: 3.75/5.00

 Mappa Zappa by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2018
3.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Mappa Zappa
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Time for another Zappa tribute(!!!) released by Cordelia Records, and, from what I've surmised, so thankfully compiled and curated by the good people at IdiotBastard.com. This LP and their subsequent Mappa Zappa EP were apparent companion pieces to Amaretto Mick Zeuner's The Zappa Tour Atlas, an apparently remarkable and, to quote them directly, "most comprehensive listing [ever] of every concert date and venue". Semi-Zappa-Band-frontman and multi-instrumentalist Bobby Martin provides the Atlas's foreword. For me, this is the third Idiot Bastard release I've heard, following a smattering from 2004's Lemme Take You To The Beach (I didn't realize R. Stevie Moore covered "Cruising For Burgers" and that's just amazing) and their 2015 full-album cover Weasels Re-Ripped. Numerous bands and artists from those return for this geography-based compilation.

We're purportedly taken to Romania with our opener, "Transylvania Boogie" as performed by The Todd Grubbs Group (originally on Chunga's Revenge, 1970). And this is a markedly heavy rendition! This is a song that Frank would play frequently live until his last tour, and of course, if you know as I do, those '80s bands would go hard at times on this'n. What's brought to the table more prominently here is a more directly Metal approach to lead guitar. It's married with some fantastic, fresh drums and what sounds like a Hammond organ. To follow, originally on YCDTOSA 5 (1992) and later on Buffalo (2007), "Dead Girls of London" is covered by Gabba Zappa Hey!, with a distinctly Punk sound (I frankly don't remember this one by title). To say the least, I can do without. Unsurprisingly, I'm truly haunted and disturbed by the next [thank god], a clattering avant-garde rendition of the already-eerie "Wolf Harbor" by Evil Dick. The song was originally released on the not-much-earlier Dance Me This (2015). And no one can do this better, in my experience. Evil Dick rules. Fantastic.

Another well-known for its original live performance, "The Purple Lagoon" (orig. Zappa In New York, 1978) as covered by Hans Annellsson follows. Great, natural juxtaposition from "Wolf Harbor" in its avant nature, though switching then to a Synclavier-Zappa-inspired electronica (is this Midi?). If their name didn't inform and prepare you, Tante Tofu ('Aunt Tofu' auf Deutsch) have a very German delivery, offering an equally reverent Doo-Wop version of the certainly-more-famous title track "Tinsel Town Rebellion" (orig. 1981). Happily changing hands to not only an apparently live-recorded group, but also a sizeable group, at that, Bogus Pomp covers another live favorite, "Let's Move to Cleveland" (performed as early as '76, see FZ:OZ; orig. available via its solos on Guitar, 1988). Just a very nice, straight-ahead cover of a great song. Another I'm not quite familiar with (randomly Country-Western Zappa isn't exactly the side I'm most well-versed), "Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" as performed by Muffin Men next--and naturally featuring Mother Jimmy Carl Black(!)--was originally on Bongo Fury (1975), played live with Captain Beefheart, and the vocals here are well-befitted.

Another on the obscure side, though one I'd defend as Zappa Essential to the grave, next is "Phyniox" as performed most acoustically by String Trash. This is another more recent addition to the overall, readily available Zappa catalog, then-just-released in 2014, opening Joe's Camouflage. Frankly, what they do with the track is shockingly boring [Obviously check out the original]. Onto a definite essential, Action Zappa covers "Village of the Sun". All's fairly well-performed, yet these vocals are just... not ideal. Kinda yuck?... Sorry. Though significantly too soft for my tastes, they did manage to get a guitar tone quite resembling of Frank. Regardless, I'm a bit disappointed. A rare acoustic guitar strums along, met with folksy viol on Spannertate's "Cucamonga" (another from Bongo Fury). I like these vocals (even when they get a little... dissident haha)! Anything over that "Village" cover... Still in questionable territory if you're looking for my recommendation (although best of the mid-album 'meh's).

And a thankful turn to the dark and the electro, Fuchsprellen performs "Outrage at Valdez", a return to eerie tune, this time from his overtly Classical catalog (orig. The Yellow Shark, 1993). Highly minimal. Back into the rarer tracks, Fred Handl covers the seemingly-only-available-via-Imaginary-Diseases (2006) "Been to Kansas City in A Minor", starting off with a very aggressive monologue. We cool on down as the instruments come on in, chill and groovin'. This is the Blues, maybe you've heard. It's this purely American phenomenon that's really sweeping the nation /s. The one saving grace to me is the midsection mallets solo. This is followed by the crunchiest guitar solo you might ever done hear. Not bad, but one that's a little too boring-old-Blues for my taste.

Coming to the close, "D.C. Boogie", another title I'm actually unfamiliar with first glance, is performed most excellently by Guranfoe; a sorta soft, post-progressive thing, perhaps? Another rarity of rarities, this instrumental is also only available on Imaginary Diseases. I do recall that being one of the strongest posthumous Zappa releases I've heard (and I've heard most, to gloat, obviously). Coolest thang on the release since... track 6, "Let's Move to Cleveland". Yee... haw... One I'm frankly shocked to hear acoustic, made more folksy-old-timey plus a lil Latin influence, is "San Ber'dino" as performed by Caballero Reynaldo (orig. One Size Fits All, 1975). To me, this is quite fun. And its production is distinctly better than much on the album. Finally we have "What's New in Baltimore?", one of the most satisfying Zappa compositions out there to me, covered by Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra. And they are being so true to the Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention original (1985). Delicious stuff. They embrace more synthesized sounds here. And likewise of great interest is the special feature of a much older Ike Willis(!). True indeed. Stick around for the surprise, and surprisingly fitting Yes lift from the ending of their song "The Fish" off Fragile! Color me happy.

And that's it! I would warrant this album overall is decent, certainly worth hearing by fans of Frank Zappa, with or without his Mothers. When you have various artists coming together, you're going to have some highlights, and you're going to have some skips.

 Hispasónicos: Berlin School by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 3 ratings

BUY
Hispasónicos: Berlin School
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Berlin School is that kosmische cousin of Krautrock that jettisoned the rock aspects of the scene and was the precursor of ambient electronic music unlike the rhythm focused Düsseldorf School scene that spawned Can, Cluster, Kratwerk and Neu! and would become the precursor to synthpop and techno. The style has remained popular throughout the decades with Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottsching serving as veritable gods in the genre.

It was sad to lose one of the pioneering legends, Mr Klaus Schulze in 2022 but while he may have joined the great Cosmic Jokers in the sky, it's quite a honor to find a release like this one emerging in the same year as a tribute to his legacy and the music he helped bring to fruition. HISPASÓNICOS: BERLIN SCHOOL was released in September 2022 a mere few months after Schulze's passing to the great kosmische party in the afterlife. This compilation provides the perfect celebratory mood lift that honors his musical contributions although i don't think this was actually intended for that purpose.

This massive album that features 15 tracks, each done by a different artist was the result of a Berlin School music contest that was held at the website hispasonic.com and is available on Bandcamp to be downloaded digitally and the best part about it is that it is totally free if you are too stingy to make a contribution. This collection of retro enthusiasm exceeds the 125 minute mark takes more than a few cues from the legends of the past and adds various modern interpretations of the classic Berlin School scene without losing all the magic that keeps it in its own little nook of the electronic music world.

Each track features the classic ambient elements combined with the squiggly sequenced runs of notes accompanied heavy use of mellotron and familiar tones and timbres based in spacey tripped out repetitive clusters of sound. An all instrumental album except for what sounds like synth-created angelic choir sounds projecting wordless vocalizations, HISPASÓNICOS: BERLIN SCHOOL unleashes the youthful creativity of the modern age while paying tribute to the past masters. The result is a surprisingly excellent album's worth of original Berlin School music interpreted by electronic musics from Spain.

Going into this i wasn't exactly thrilled to check out over two hours of Berlin School music but once i pushed play i actually sat through the entire thing in one go finding myself enthralled by the modern takes on a retro sound. The music on here is very much steeped in all the Berlin School elements that keep the genre well defined but liberally uses the building blocks to construct hitherto unheard musical edifices. The album's range shifts from the spaced out abstract trippiness of tracks like "Angular Momentum" and "Dark Matter" to more melodic numbers such as "Jane Apocalypse" which are more in the vein of Jean Michel-Jarre.

Overall i am blown away by the music on this one as there is not a single bad track on board and it was all done by students who were simply competing in an online contest. It is clear that the Berlin School branch of electronic music is in no way in danger of going extinct now that Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottsching have left this Earthly plane and the fact that Tangerine Dream's days are numbered as well. The thing most striking about this one is the perfect balancing act of keeping it all traditional while adding new elements and ways of putting it all together. No matter what the intention of this one was, it turns out to be the ultimate tribute to the entire Berlin School scene just as Klaus Schulze checked out. Well worth checking out and as a free download you will definitely get your money's worth!

 Music from Free Creek by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.15 | 9 ratings

BUY
Music from Free Creek
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars MUSIC FROM FREE CREEK is one of those strange releases that only could've come out in the free spirit era of the late 1960s / early 1970s. This various artists album went under the fictitious band name FREE CREEK but in reality was a collection of session recordings from 1969 that included dozens of musicians including the famous names Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Keith Emerson, Buzz Felten, Mitch Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt and Dr. John.

This album featured 18 tracks, each with a different set of musicians basically performing jamming sessions on various themes and sometimes cover songs from famous bands such as The Beatles' "Mother Nature's Son" which inadvertently caused a logically nightmare concerning copyrights and other legal wrangling. The sessions were recorded in 1969 but wouldn't find an actually release until 1973 in England on Charisma Records and in the US on Buddha Records as a double-vinyl set. Lake Eerie Records finally rereleased a remastered CD in 2006.

This is basically a show up and let loose set of material here. All these impromptu showcases a diverse set of musicians in the moment with no worries or pressures from record company execs. Given the rather spontaneous nature of the whole thing, these tracks turned out pretty damn good i must admit with particular kudos to Keith Emerson's amazing adaptability to craft keyboard solos around virtually anything. The album is mostly instrumental but a few vocal parts do occur.

Most of the tunes are based on a bluesy rock style with soloing and period organ sounds but Linda Ronstadt offers some country rock tunes which have been universally deemed as sounding out of place and break's the otherwise seamless flow of the album's constant nature. I tend to agree with these although for country rock songs Linda does an amazing job and the musicians are quite competent as well. My favorite tracks are more of the boogie shuffle styled ones such as "Earl's Shuffle" featuring Harvey Mandel on lead guitar and Jimmy Greespoon playing a mean organ while augmented by an excellent slide guitar.

Tracks like "Getting Back To Molly" exemplify the free spirit mood on this release. With a jamming bluesy groove of Eric Clapton on guitar with Dr John joining in as a second guitarist, the baritone vocal deliveries of Earl Down and the backing Free Creeks Singers offer the perfect glimpse into the sounds of an undisclosed bayou in Louisiana as if Parliament, Three Dog Night and Taj Mahal had secretly gotten together to record. There are also rumors that many other artists participated in these sessions but due to legal reasons remained anonymous. Such names that are brandished about in Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan.

Apparently the then 19-year old organist Moogy Klingman provided an interview for the booklet on the reissue recounting the tales of working in these projects. This is certainly one of those albums that gives a glimpse into a less controlled aspect of the music industry for the era it was crafted since by 1969 rock music had become the dominant music form and controlled by the record industry with an iron fist. I wouldn't call this album essential by any means but it is a much more brilliant and pleasing to the ears experience than i expected it to be. Well worth checking out despite the rather ridiculous album cover art of a chained young Tarzan(?) waiting to be consumed by a bird of prey! Definitely one for the anomalous release in the history book!

 Losing Our Virginity: The First 4 Years '73-'77 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2013
2.10 | 2 ratings

BUY
Losing Our Virginity: The First 4 Years '73-'77
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Virgin Records was founded in 1972 by [the future millionaire] Richard Branson and three other fellows. The prog oriented label got a wonderful start with the unexpected success of its first release, Tubular Bells (1973) by Mike Oldfield, but it's definitely the challenging musical nature of that seminal album, not the commercial success, that laid the ideological groundwork for Virgin. The first few years embraced far-from-mainstream artists such as German Krautrockers Tangerine Dream, Faust and Can, the psychedelic space rock act Gong and other artists familiar to progheads from the Canterbury scene, plus some even more marginal and unorthodox artists like Ivor Cutler. To cite Paul Sexton's liner notes on this three disc set, "These were the days of unfettered, maverick artistic expression, before the words 'music' and 'business' were superglued together". Like several other prog oriented record labels (Vertigo, Harvest, Charisma, etc.) Virgin truly deserves a retrospective multi-disc compilation to be reviewed on a prog site.

Have to say that absorbing this set (borrowed from library) was not as inspiring as the various artists compilations on a specific retrospective theme can be at their best. Especially on British folk-rock I've come across many highly delightful and educative compilations. Much of the appeal has directly to do with the way the compilation is edited and represented, and in this respect "Losing Our Virginity" is disappointing. What's interesting is the outlining of the background and the birth of the company which "took its baby steps in the business of selling gramophone records via the Royal Mail". But when it comes to representing the music on offer here, the 5-page liner notes leave a lot to be desired. A minus also from the omission of track lengths and album sources. The music samples are put in a chronological order in a month's precision, which I find unnecessary and somewhat problematic for the overall reception. The miserable-looking booklet has 16 pages in total; the diminutive illustration consists of a b/w Mike Oldfield photo and four page-size album covers: Tubular Bells, the V.A. release Manor Live, Steve Hillage's L and Faust's Faust IV, not even very exciting ones from a visual point of view. For example by placing four album covers on one page there would have been 16 of them within the same space.

It is of course obligatory to start the set with Tubular Bells, but since the album is surely familiar to the listener, a 13˝-minute excerpt is a useless exaggeration. MIKE OLDFIELD returns on the third disc with the less heard 'First Excursion'. FAUST is represented by 'Krautrock' and 'Giggy Smile', GONG by 'The Pot Head Pixies' and 'I Never Glid Before'. Other artists on CD 1 include STEVE YORK's CAMELO PARDALIS - never heard - , KEVIN COYNE, HENRY COW ('Teenbeat Reprise'), LINK WRAY, CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and KLAUS SCHULZE ('Some Velvet Phrasing'). Since the musical styles change very radically between the tracks -- as well as the unmarked track lengths --, one cannot speak of any coherence or consistency in the listening.

CD 2 happens to include several Canterbury artists: ROBERT WYATT ('I'm a Believer', 'Yesterday Man'), HATFIELD AND THE NORTH ('Let's Eat', 'Fitter Stroke Has a Bath') and EGG ('Wring Out the Ground'). Interesting samples from COMUS, DAVID BEDFORD, TOM NEWMAN and others. The lack of album information is a pity really, and especially for the more obscure bands such as MALLARD and BOXER one would wish to have information in an articulate artist by artist approach. The liner notes do speak a little of the represented artists, but not in a user-friendly way. Also, I find the small white font on pale green tiring to read for my middle-aged eyes.

By the time you've arrived to the third CD it also becomes a little frustrating how the same artists keep reappering, and the strictly chronological running order also results as a lack of any coherent flow in music. As a Finn I'm pleased to mention that WIGWAM's 'Freddie Are You Ready' (1975) sounds lovely amidst the less accessible stuff. IVOR CUTLER's 'The Dirty Dinner' is actually a story-reading, not music. The set is finished by two pieces from CAN, 'Silent Knight' and 'Don't Say No', the latter strangely being the only 1977 recording.

So, instead of being a delightful, informative, cultivated, ear & eye opening journey into the colourful output of Virgin's first five years, "Losing Our Virginity" sadly turns out to be a frustrating mess and a missed opportunity.

 Weasels Re-Ripped by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.73 | 2 ratings

BUY
Weasels Re-Ripped
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I can no longer recall how this album came to my attention, but I'm glad it did. This is a full-album multiple-artist cover of the great (truly) Avant-Rock album Weasels Ripped My Flesh. That album, released in 1970, following its sister-album Burnt Weeny Sandwich (also 1970), was the final recorded statement by the original lineup of The Mothers of Invention. In addition to Avant-garde stylings mixed with Rock (for a classic and popular example, see "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama"), Weasels was a statement of early Jazz-Rock Fusion and even Free Jazz (see the hilariously named "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue").

Our first two tracks are performed by Spanner Jazz Punks, the opener, "Didja Get Any Onya?" having an immediately very interesting approach to the song. Unique is their utilization of the violin here, as a solo instrument. There are quirky group vocals, very jazzy elements (nearing minute 3, it swings hard, for instance). It is refreshing hearing this track I've heard many times before done in a unique and more modern way. To quote the original Mothers: "MOO-AHHH!" Interestingly enough, it was the spacy reed(?) solo in the latter half and other elements that reminded me here of Gong. And just as I said, Spanner Jazz Punks continue on, violin of course at the ready, with "Directly from My Heart To You". I can't say I'm anywhere remotely a fan of the Blues as Frank was, but with Sugarcane Harris' vocals and especially his Blues violin solo (Who's heard of such a thing?!), "Directly" is one of my favorite Zappa tracks, end of the day. The vocals in this cover are distant and weird, and... my mind is going there once again with Spanner (apparently the vocalist here)... he sounds like Daevid Allen (again, of Gong)! Like... you can't make this up, right? Then again, who knows? Perhaps another notable influence for them. There isn't a wild solo on this one and the overall accompaniment is just par-worthy to me, but there's some interesting ideas and effects that were used here.

Up next is "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" as performed by Inventionis Mater. Very minimal, this song starts off with arpeggiated acoustic guitar and a soft, distant clarinet. It's really quite beautiful, though minimal throughout. At most, it picks up and then comes right back down. Two vocalists then perform the ridiculousness to follow. Ya know, all the crazy sh*t Roy Estrada did originally. The homage deepens, as they thank the guest vocalists "for the voices inside the piano". We couldn't have a more rightly stark juxtaposition than in Gumbo Variation's rendition of another favorite of mine, the unspoken Conceptual Continuity of "Toads of the Short Forest". This is quite the cacophony! The lead guitar work is quite nice, performed against the loud, wall-to-wall booming from the rest. This ensemble blast dies down around minute 3. We seem to be back into spacy territory on this one, too. Really lovely track, but I was bummed it didn't feature the seemingly Proto-Metal insanity of the original's second half, a favorite Zappa moment, for sure.

First off, until I heard the next, "Get a Little" as performed by Jerry Outlaw and Friends (feat. Todd Grubbs, I had no idea what in the hell Motorhead was saying in the beginning. Oh me, oh my... As for the song, this could almost be a Zoot Allures-era rendition. It's booming and metallic (certainly modernized, in the very least). And then... Evil Dick does "The [aforementioned] Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" and... this sh*t is weird!!!!! Very electronic, and done so in a way I feel Frank would have really been honored. Some of the underlying rhythms (like in minute 1) are almost trance-like. The keyboards play in stride with the mallets (whatever they are specifically). Then we have some... really wildly effected vocals and some... spacy farts? haha. I'm very entertained. What the original Mothers accomplished here was a certain feeling of unsettled, but here, this at times can be downright frightening. Well done.

An even less expected comparison was made in my mind when Fuchsprellen's version of "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" came on: Gentle Giant?! Around minute 1 it reveals to be more Zappa- brand maximalism than theirs, but the feeling is definitely present (which I love). Wait! Is that an actual sample of Frank's voice I just heard? They really brought a lot of special out of this composition. And there is a lot to take away from and hear out of this cover. Impressive end product, especially as your ears might latch onto the wild multi-performer soloing at one moment and then onto the underlying bluesy rhythm section the next. I really got brought back to reality on the straight playin' of "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama", an interesting and unique rendition by Muffin Men, the first band (with two others) here I had heard of prior. Perhaps this is more inspired by the later bands' plays on the song or performances from alums such as Steve Vai. Hard to say. It's slowed and real cool. If I can say anything at all, I'm not sure I feel this version needed to exist, but, like the others, they did manage to pull interesting elements from the original.

Up next is The Zappatistas' performance of one of the greatest Zappa compositions ever, "Oh No". And right off the bat, totally unlike the original, as a solo and deeply reverberating guitar--performed by the great John Etheridge of Soft Machine Legacy(!!!)--plays on into oblivion. Piano enters in before minute 1 and the theme is continued on the guitar. I'm surprising myself by saying it, but I could go for more minimal Zappa covers like this. Like a stripped down Guitar Fusion (no wonder). Stripped down, that is, until 3 minutes, where percussion enters in and the piece lifts and quickens to a rhythm more discernibly "Oh No" than before. Man, though... I really could have gone for more of what they had there at the end. Either way... And wow!!! The vocals thereafter, on "Son of Orange County" (from Roxy and Elsewhere), are sung in a classical style over the slower ("original") "Orange County Lumber Truck"! A great song, and the version here by Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra is lively and modern and exciting. I am soooo about this. The drums, I was excited to see, are performed by the excellent Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Journey, Todd Rundgren). Absolutely loved this one. Finally, Zappatika covers the NOISE of our title track, "Weasels Ripped My Flesh". And I honestly love what they chose to do here. Where there was very little to latch onto on the original, they add apparently found-sounds, for instance, to wonderful effect.

I am pleased to report Re-Ripped is a very well performed and fresh take on a wonderful album. I think they all did a great job in honoring the man, Frank Vincent Zappa, here. And I look forward to digging just a little bit (right now, actually) into some of the bands featured here.

True Rate: 3.75/5.00

 Marscape by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.00 | 40 ratings

BUY
Marscape
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars I am delighted that this album was finally reissued as a CD.

While the album was produced & written by and released under the names of Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley, it has the distinct sound of Brand X. Actually, this album was recorded in the same studio, and released shortly before Unorthodox Behavior, and is performed by the entire original members of Brand X (Lancaster played on one track on Unorthodox Behavior). Among the remaining band members on this is Morris Pert as well.

So yes, this sounds very much like Brand X, but somewhat moodier. One of the main themes that pop up throughout the album reminds me very much of a theme on one of the later Brand X albums.

The album does a good job of assigning different musical emotions to the staged of traveling to Mars. All of it in the style that we have come to love from Brand X.

And, like a Brand X album, all of the musicianship is spectacular.

I'd say, give it a listen alongside Rick Wakeman's recent album The Red Planet.

 Visions Of An Inner Mounting Apocalypse (Mahavishnu Orchestra) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.71 | 13 ratings

BUY
Visions Of An Inner Mounting Apocalypse (Mahavishnu Orchestra)
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Very glad I read up on this so I, too, could be enraged by this false advertising haha. Good God. They really were like, "Oh yeah, the excellent Allan Holdsworth, one of the greatest guitarists of all time, is on this album" and he straight up wasn't... Woof. Fortunately, here is a tribute to Mahavishnu Orchestra (and specifically to John McLaughlin) featuring, still, some of Holdsworth's (and McLaughlin's) peers. Released in 2005, the main band throughout features the impenetrable Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and I can't think of a better person to also honor both Billy Cobham and Narada Michael Walden; a giant to fill the shoes of fellow giants. Vinnie's consistent bandmates on this effort are Jeff Richman, a notable fusion guitarist in his own right, bassist Kai Eckhardt (associated with McLaughlin, Cobham and Vital Information), and Mitchel Forman (associated with McLaughlin and numerous other Jazz greats, including a feature here, Mr. Mike Stern... and Wayne Shorter!). And from song to song there are some phenomenal features, some of the most notable and greatest guitarists of Jazz Fusion (and other Rock idioms, interestingly specifically from Jam bands), as well as Mahavishnu violinist Jerry Goodman on 4 of the 10 tracks. So exciting. Couldn't miss this one.

Our first track is the forever Fusion classic "Birds of Fire" with Steve Lukather... And from the start... this is, indeed, fire. Lukather is of course the guitarist of Toto, likely understating his outstanding ability and expertise on the instrument for those unaware. This track is, unsurprisingly, a refreshingly modern Guitar Fusion take on the original; blazing, beefy and excellent. Crazy good drum solo over the main underlying riff from Vinnie... yeesh... Followed by another low blaze from Forman on synth. Oh f*ck! Goodman's solo to start off "Can't Stand Your Funk"... What am I supposed to say?... This is a much groovier rendition (yes, slinky as hell haha), so therefore, being an excellent song anyways, super fresh! Even still, as to be expected, Goodman's second solo, if you wouldn't have known, straight up sounds like a guitar... Honestly though, Mike Stern, the guitar feature here, plays what I feel is frequently less than inspired...

A much more metal, well-rounded guitarist is up next on "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters", Dixie Dregs' Steve Morse (also of Kansas, Deep Purple and Prog supergroup Flying Colors). This is another funkier rendition compared to the original. The whole rhythm section (of course) is just... crazy haha. And also meeting my expectations, blazing soloing from Morse here. The second half is more of a blues thang, with laxed rhythm and widened organ. Super cool syncopated playing toward the end! Very nice! Super spacy on this version of "Meeting of the Spirits", this'n featuring Jimmy Herring, whom I know (yet don't quite know) from Southern-Fusion Jam giants Widespread Panic. He plays an impassioned solo here... like... wow... I must check out his solo stuff (and... whatever else!). Always great, as McLaughlin did originally on this one, when performers bring out the absolute potential of something that would be otherwise slow and merely 'feeling'. Another one where Vinnie, even in quietness, is just on fire. And then this Hammer-worthy, though super-effected solo from keyboardist Forman! Everyone is matching his energy perfectly during this section... My word...

"Jazz" is actually the first track that I was utterly unfamiliar with, released on the significantly later album Mahavishnu (1984), which originally featured our keyboardist here, Mr. Forman (worth a mention every time) alongside Cobham and the great Jonas Hellborg. This is more explictly a track to more prominently feature the main band member here, guitarist Jeff Richman. Great performances all 'round. Back into exceeding prominence with Frank Gambale on "Dawn". Super upbeat intro here, they get right down to business. And here we have Goodman's next feature (what an awesome opportunity to perform these tracks again afresh). And it's here I must say, excited to dig deeper into Gambale's material. I know very little still. He and Jerry are such a great match. And also here, another opportunity to the rhythm section to shine bright over something low, slow and sweet. Then we're in for the groove and of course more soloing on the backend (freakish soloing). How could I forget?! God, Mahavishnu was something so special.

Next we have "Lila's Dance" featuring latter-day Allman Brothers' Band and Gov't Mule's own Warren Haynes (our second predominantly Jam Band feature). Such a beautiful song, I always wish Visions of the Emerald Beyond didn't feel so unsung. Love it. I find this Goodman feature super interesting as for that album it was the equally untouchable Jean-Luc Ponty on violin originally [I believe this is one of 3 tracks with Goodman playing what were Ponty-features]. This track is... perfect for Haynes. Soulful, feeling and groovy. And yet another honor for him, I'm sure, to play alongside Vinnie and Jerry. I can't imagine it. Excellent performance, excellent soloing. One of the first tracks that feels super true to the original. "Faith" is a little less true, and yet just as great [if not significantly greater], a feature of guitarist David Fiuczynski, one of the youngest performers here, of Screaming Headless Torsos and Hasidic New Wave. I'll be rectifying my ignorance thereof as soon as possible, as this guy is incredible. I mean, this is what I think of when I think 'Guitar Fusion'. Contemporary to guys like Garsed and Helmerich. Excellent, excellent rendition. Everyone is bringing their A(+++) game. One of the many absolute must-hears here.

Coming to the close of the album, Greg Howe is ablaze on "Dance of Maya", and good Lord!!! He is matched with Goodman on his final feature of the album... Again, goodness gracious... These guys... One of the most prominent featurings of bassist Kai Eckhardt. Greg Howe is yet another of the now-renowned, younger players here. Fantastic stuff. To close things out, we have one of my favorite guitarists ever, John Abercombie on "Follow Your Heart", the second track I [thought I] didn't know before. It was originally released in 1970 off the excellent must-hear Jazz release Joe Farrell Quartet, also featuring Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette! If you're a fan of Mahavishnu, and you somehow don't know Abercrombie, highly recommend his debut Timeless, featuring Jan Hammer(!) and DeJohnette (1975), the first Gateway album (1976), Crosswinds (Billy Cobham, 1974), and Lookout Farm (Dave Liebman, 1974) for some of the greatest (earlier) Fusion albums ever. Anyways, a grooving, feeling song to end things out. Overall, a phenomenal tribute. I can't recommend it enough.

A rare, but more legitimate round-up from my True Rate of 4.5/5.0. [I believe I calculated it as ~4.65.]

Data cached

Various Genres bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Various
VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) Various
VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) Various

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

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.