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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

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Proto-Prog definition

The denomination Proto Prog comes from the combination of two words, Proto from the Greek The earliest,. and Prog which as we know is a short term for Progressive Rock, so as it's name clearly indicates, refers to the earliest form of Progressive Rock or Progressive Rock in embryonary state.

These bands normally were formed and released albums before Progressive Rock had completely developed (there are some rare Proto Prog bands from the early 70's, because the genre didn't expanded to all the Continents simultaneously

The common elements in all these bands is that they developed one or more elements of Prog, and even when not completely defined as part of the genre, they are without any doubt, an important stage in the evolution of Progressive Rock.

Generally, Proto Prog bands are the direct link between Psyche and Prog and for that reason the Psychedelic components are present in the vast majority of them, but being that Progressive Rock was born from the blending of different genres, we have broadened the definition to cover any band that combined some elements of Progressive Rock with other genres prior to 1970.

Some of these bands evolved and turned into 100% Prog, while others simply choose another path, but their importance and contribution in the formative period of Prog can't be denied, for that reason no Prog site can ignore them.

Iván Melgar - Morey

Proto-Prog Top Albums

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

4.47 | 934 ratings
Beatles, The
4.50 | 548 ratings
Who, The
4.38 | 853 ratings
Beatles, The
4.34 | 1120 ratings
Deep Purple
4.32 | 1131 ratings
Deep Purple
4.33 | 968 ratings
Beatles, The
4.36 | 532 ratings
Who, The
4.31 | 616 ratings
Doors, The
4.18 | 751 ratings
Beatles, The
4.25 | 468 ratings
Doors, The
4.27 | 409 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.14 | 684 ratings
Beatles, The
4.03 | 436 ratings
Doors, The
3.92 | 666 ratings
Beatles, The
3.93 | 517 ratings
Who, The
3.97 | 359 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
3.99 | 276 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
3.84 | 762 ratings
Deep Purple
4.13 | 167 ratings
3.92 | 310 ratings
Deep Purple

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 Shazam by MOVE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.68 | 48 ratings

The Move Proto-Prog

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

4 stars It's hard to believe well into the 21st century that a band like THE MOVE which was hardly ever a household name outside of the UK, was in fact one of the top pop acts of the late 60s racking up an impressive number of hits, actually 20 in total in a short five year period but found little success outside of their British homeland. Taking a few cues from The Beatles and not just in the musical department, THE MOVE was one of those bands that released many singles that weren't included on the albums themselves and in the beginning the focus was more on the pop singles rather than on fully developed albums, therefore in this same five year period this band originally led by bassist / vocalist Chris Kefford only released two albums and much like the Beatles had transmogrified from a typical 60s beat garage rock sounding band with strong pop hooks into a veritable art rock band that wisely retained the pop sensibilities all the while increasing the complexity and weirdness into a heavy rock and proto-prog territory on their second album SHAZAM! (I reeeeally want to add a lightning bolt after that!)

Five years in, Kefford found his influence overpowered by guitarist / keyboardist / vocalist Roy Wood and in 1968 exited stage right after a nervous breakdown resulting from a liberal fascination, and excessive love affair with LSD experimentation. As Wood took the reins, THE MOVE, well?. moved into new territories and with Kefford's departure Trevor Burton would switch from guitar to fill his bass duties only to depart midstream only to be replaced by Rick Price. Making it even more complicated was the fact that Tony Visconti played bass on "Beautiful Daughter" which resulted in that track being used from older sessions, so while SHAZAM! was recorded in a much shorter time than the long term recording sessions of the debut album, this track in a way connected the band to their Beatles pop influences in the fact that it sounds like a reworked making of "Eleanor Rigby" complete with a exuberant violin and chamber pop backing.

SHAZAM is a few steps up from the eponymous debut, which i really found to be an excellent pop rock album of 1968, however on this sophomore outing Wood and company fine-tuned their overall sound into a veritable art rock band that foresaw many trends that made the 70s so great. This album is a testament to its era. It equally catches the zeitgeist of the 60s hippie vibe that was slowly waning all the while jumping ahead into progressive pastures that were blossoming all around them. The result is electrifying like that lightning bolt from the sky that like Billy Batson uttering the word SHAZAM! becomes the powerful superhero Captain Marvel. While the original album only had six tracks, they are quite diverse and all but "Beautiful Daughter" clock in at the five minute mark or more and despite continuing to hit the charts even in 1970 with singles, none of the six tracks on this album were even released as singles making SHAZAM truly an art rock album oriented musical ride all the way.

"Hello Susie" starts things off with a blistering heavy guitar riff oriented sound for 1970 allowing singer Carl Wayne to wail his vocals in a snarling heavy rock shout-a-thon where he battles to be heard over the heavy guitar, bass and surprisingly sophisticated drum techniques implemented by Bev Bevan. At this point THE MOVE was known for their mixing it up with Roy Wood penned originals and covers of other artists. The first three tracks are Wood's creations whereas the second half of the album is all covers. "Beautiful Daughter" rescued from past sessions and a 2.0 version of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" unleashes a string savvy power ballad as well as the shortest track on the album at a less than three minute running time. Then we come to one of my favorite tracks of the album: "Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited." As the name implies, this one is taken from the first album but perfected in every way. Firstly, the instrumentation is impeccable with guitars, bass, drums and vocals ramping up their respective roles. The stylistic changes suit the music perfectly and the medley type ventures toward the end that incorporate different variations on classical pieces by J.S. Bach and Tchaikovsky is stunningly brilliant and surprisingly amusing.

Side two begins with the other genius track of "Fields Of People," which although a cover of an Ars Nova hippie dippie track from a few years prior is crafted into a bona fide masterpiece of musical pleasure with a marriage of classical music sensibilities with the 60s beat pop rock that THE MOVE made their own. The verse / chorus infectious pop grooves evolve into a veritable Indo-raga finale which takes the entire track to close to the eleven minute mark yet not for one second does this one get boring. The remaining two tracks are sort of the more ordinary of the bunch. "Don't Make My Baby Blue" is a rather Janis Joplin sounding bluesy rocker with heavy guitar riffs and soul gusto while "The Last Thing On My Mind" dips back into the psychedelic pop 60s for a wild trippy guitar rock track that meanders on into the ethers and beyond for a seven and a half minute ride. The album is rather light-hearted as THE MOVE adopted the rather Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band approach of silly narrative between and even with tracks to add a personal touch of mood and situation to add some personal connections.

Wham bam i love SHAZAM! This was a grower and not one that immediately revealed its secrets to me. It was like a worm that embedded itself in my soul and only really unleashed its magic after probably the fifth listen or so. And then i was hooked! While highly accessible upon the first listen, it doesn't really differentiate itself from other contemporary pop music at first at least not for me despite the progressive nuances. This album was yet another crossroads in the band's history. After SHAZAM singer Carl Wayne would part ways and Jeff Lynne would join the band and effectively take control and make THE MOVE a proto-Electric Light Orchestra outfit. And it's no surprise that Lynne had his eye on this band since ELO's mission statement was based on the fact that they wanted to take the classical pop characteristics of The Beatles and take them even further. Well, that exactly what THE MOVE was doing on SHAZAM. Don't let the horrible album cover fool you. This is one of 1970's coolest pop rock albums to have been recorded. It's like something The Beatles should have recorded somewhere down the road had they not broken up and ventured even further toward progressive pastures after "Sgt. Peppers."

4.5 but not quite good enough to round up

 Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix by HENDRIX, JIMI album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1998
3.72 | 18 ratings

Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix Proto-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "The world's most famous autodidact guitar player!"

Little Jimi Hendrix grew up in a family where he was torn between two extreme worlds: a caring but often absent father and an alcoholic mother who frequently beated him up and gave most of her attention to men for sex. She died at the age of 32, due to extreme alcohol abuse, Jimi was 15 years old and had developped a very unbalanced emotional world. A few months later his father gave him a guitar, because many members of the family showed interest in music. Soon Jimi discovered that he could put his rollercoaster of emotions into playing guitar. He practised hours and hours on 'his best friend', imitated all sounds around him and finally turned into professional guitarist in 1961. However, it took a long road before his virtuosic and innovative but also unconventional guitarplay was recognized. Eventually his mindblowing gig at Monterey Pop mid 1967 made Jimi Hendrix a guitar hero who changed the world of rock music. Jimi's 3 albums sold very well and he was highly praised. But how sad that Jimi, like his mother, had a too self-destructive nature. Because without making music he felt increasingly angry, rejected, restless and depressed and numbed himself more and more with sex, drugs and alcohol. This ultimate downward slide ended at the very bottom: late 1970 he suffocated in his own vomit, after taking an extreme overdosis of sleeping pills and died, only 27 years old. But his music is timeless and still inspires many people to let their guitars speak, like Jimi Hendrix did in his unique and unsurpassed way.

This comprehensive compilation CD contains mainly tracks from the three studio albums he released during his life: Are You Experienced? and Bold As Love from 1967 and Electric Ladyland from 1968, the rest is from posthume released albums like Cry Of Love (1971) and the highly acclaimed 1969-1970 recordings compilation Rainbow Bridge (1971).

An important part of Jimi his work is raw, high energetic and steamy rock featuring Jimi Hendrix his screaming, crying, howling and blistering guitar, fueled by a propulsive and dynamic rhythm-section (reminding me of Cream, The Who and Led Zeppelin). We can enjoy this creative powerhouse trio in most tracks, especially in the exciting Purple Haze and Manic Depression (the title points at his own mental condition, that shifted frequently from hyperactive to deeply depressed).

Jimi played a lot of legendary riffs, like in Hey Joe (wonderful melodic guitar work and pumping bass play), All Along The Watchtower (subtle Hawaii guitar and wah-wah pedal and finally fading howling guitar runs), Foxy Lady (fiery guitar solo) and Voodoo Child - Slight Return (exciting blend of rock, blues and psychedelia with heavy and raw wah-wah drenched guitar play). These songs are topped with his outstanding vocals, from tender to powerful, Jimi himself was not very positive about his voice but we know better.

His mellow side can be traced in the wonderful songs The Wind Cries Mary (fragile guitar and warm vocals) and the bluesy Little Wing.

In the swinging Castles Made Of Sand (inspired by his Cherokee bloodline) the vocals sound like 'embryonal rap', very special to hear and another example of his varied musical taste. And as a 'genuine genius' he was ahead of his time.

It's blues time in Bold As Love (sensitive guitar work and in the end a phaser sound and piano), Angel and especially the exciting Red House, an Old School blues atmosphere (his hero was Muddy Waters) by the vocals and guitar and with subtle use of overdubs and echo.

Finally the instrumental composition Star Spangled Banner: how unique, played by Hendrix on stage since 1968, this wide range of distorted sounds, like bombs, machine guns, crashing heli's, crying and screaming people, up to your imagination. It's a great example how creative and innovative Jimi Hendrix was with 'his best friend'.

Enjoy the most progressive guitar player of all times on this excellent compilation!

 The Book Of Taliesyn by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.20 | 496 ratings

The Book Of Taliesyn
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

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

3 stars Recorded only three months after their debut, DEEP PURPLE quickly released their sophomore followup THE BOOK OF TALIESYN which continued all the traits of "Shades Of Deep Purple" with a mix of originals and covers, however despite the basic similarities that include different styles such as psychedelic and hard rock mixed with classical music arrangements interspersed throughout, THE BOOK OF TALIESYN nurtured these ideas even further with more sophisticated compositional approaches that are now regarded as some of the earliest proto-prog archetypes of the late 60s despite the fact that the album was mainly aimed at the hippie crowds in the US where it was released in October 1968. DEEP PURPLE surprisingly was completely ignored in the UK (where it was held back until 69) with their earliest albums until they became so popular in a few short years (with "In Rock") that they could not be ignored any longer.

The album title is a slightly alternate spelling taken from the 14th-century Book Of Taliesin which is one of the most famous of all Middle Welsh manuscripts that were attributed to the bard which was famous for setting a wide number of moods in the Medieval courts in the days of King Arthur in Camelot. Likewise the album THE BOOK OF TALIESYN is a loose concept album attempting to evoke the same sense of diverse mood shifts that a bard would propose in the context of the situation. The album contains seven tracks that range from spunky little blues rockers such as the opener "Listen, Learn, Read On," "Exposition" and other segments in different tracks which all all tinged with a period glaze of psychedelic keyboard embellishments that deviate into fantastic classical musical expeditions which finds Jon Lord dishing out some impressive keyboard playing that was only rivaled by Keith Emerson in The Nice.

The original tracks were composed by Ritchie Blackmore, original vocalist Rod Evans, Jon Lord and Ian Paice making the early episodes of DEEP PURPLE very democratic in nature. Ironically the album cover art (which is my favorite of the DP canon) was created by John Vernon Lord (no relation to the keyboardist). There are three cover tracks as well. The most popular track of this album is the Neil Diamond cover "Kentucky Woman" and the two part track that begins with "Exposition" cedes into a woefully out of place more bluesy rendition of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out." The final cover and in my opinion, the best track on the album comes as the closer and is an excellent cover of Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High" which introduces a new highly developed progressive rock approach to the band's resume as it churns out over ten minutes of satisfying musical changes taken Ike & Turner's funky soul domain into surreal psychedelic and classically tinged progressive rock territory.

At this point DEEP PURPLE was far from a household name and listening to THE BOOK OF TALIESYN these days give few clues to the world class act they would become in their Mark II days. While this album is satisfying on many levels, it feels like they were trying to pull off too many ideas that never feel resolved. The mix of psychedelic bluesy rock mixed with outbursts of classical keyboard segments display veritable exciting ideas gestating in the midst and there are even moments where the chugging of the guitar and riff sound like they are ready to break into such classics as "Highway Star" however for the most part the album soars along in psychedelic blues rock mode and while Rod Evans certainly had the perfect voice for the 60s hippie scene, he lacked the overall powerful effects that Ian Gillan added down the road. Fans of DEEP PURPLE should certainly check out these interesting origins even if all the proper elements hadn't quite coalesced in a totally satisfying way. Not a bad way to get your groove on. The newer remastered versions are quite superior to the original as far as i've heard.

 Live at the Isle Wight Festival 1970 by DOORS, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2018
3.00 | 1 ratings

Live at the Isle Wight Festival 1970
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Here's the last video concert filmed of the band recorded in the context of Jim Morrison's ongoing Miami obscenity trial where the charges were finally dropped many years after Jim's death. This could explain the unusual reserve behavior of Jim during this concert in front of 600,000 fans at 2 am. Maybe Jim decided to perform as professional as he could be, he barely moves during the whole set, but it delivers a strong vocal performance. I suspect that he was not on the effect of some substance. This new footage is a restoration sound and picture of the old footage. Unfortunately, the light show with a constant red light is not the best to upgrade the experience visually. The sound is quite good and I was especially pleased to hear how good Krieger's guitar sound throughout the short 66 minutes set. For the music, it's the Doors usual repertoire of short songs and longer songs showing the band jamming. I never enjoy the song "The End", seems to be an anti-climax for the last song of the show. It's too slow and too long, but I am sure that song was the best way for Jim to communicate his poetry. The 17 minutes documentary is worth watching one time too see new interviews with John, Robby and old interview of Ray talking about the Jim performance. This package of Blu-Ray/CD doesn't contain a lot of material for your money, but it is worth the price for his historical value.
 Out Through The In Door by VANILLA FUDGE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.88 | 14 ratings

Out Through The In Door
Vanilla Fudge Proto-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars The name of this album is a funny reference to the album In Through The Out Door by Led Zeppelin (1979), all 11 tracks on Out Through The In Door are Led Zeppelin covers. This appreciation from Vanilla Fudge for Led Zeppelin started in 1968 when the virtuosic and innovative hardrockers Led Zeppelin did their first USA tour '. as a support act for USA formation Vanilla Fudge. In those days this four piece band was highly praised and got worldwide recognition, due to their international chart topping single You Keep Me Hangin' On. So when in 1968 Vanilla Fudge was already a famous band that had released a serie of pivotal albums, Led Zeppelin was working on a debut studio album and touring around the world to make fans. A year later Vanilla Fudge call it a day while Led Zeppelin stunned the world with their eponymous debut album. And within a few years Led Zeppelin became one of the most famous and pivotal rock bands of all time. In order to tribute their former support-act Led Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge (reunited since 1984) made this album, released in 2007.

After a few listening sessions my conclusion is that Vanilla Fudge have succeeded to incorporate their distinctive late Sixties sound (vocal harmonies, Hammond organ and blending rock with soul and gospel) into the covers, without doing harm to the essential Led Zeppelin sound. I notice lots of inventive ideas: a short and surprising keyboard intro in the propulsive Immigrant Song, wonderful keyboard arrangements (on the Korg Triton synthesizer) and fiery electric guitar leads in the dynamic Dazed And Confused and a funky clavinet sound, wah-wah guitar and swirling Hammond organ in the swinging Trampled Under Foot. The typical, omnipresent Vanilla Fudge Hammond B3 organ sound can be traced in Fool In The Rain, Dancing Days, Moby Dick (excellent job by drummer Carmine Appice who later worked with Jeff Beck) and Rock And Roll (thunderous drums, powerful vocals and biting electric guitar). These elements give the songs a very special flavour. The most Vanilla Fudge sounding Led Zeppelin cover is the final song Your Time Is Gonna Come: it starts with 'churchy' Hammond organ and then a thrilling blend of blues and psychedelia featuring inspired, pretty melancholical vocals.

In my opinion Vanilla Fudge have delivered a strong and interesting tribute to Led Zeppelin (one of my favorite bands), with lots of creative ideas and with respect to the mighty Led Zep sound!

 Scorching Beauty by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.53 | 34 ratings

Scorching Beauty
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by Thenewrider

4 stars In 1975 Iron Butterfly reformed with Erik Braunn and Ron Bushy and released this album. Contrary to the belief of many this album is really good. 1975 Overture provides a great start to this album and Pearly Gates is a highlight of the album. The song People Of The World is the worst of the songs here as it sounds like any other song from the mid 1970's. The other highlights of the album are High On A Mountain Top and Am I Down.

Lots of Iron Butterfly fans dismiss this album and the next album Sun And Steel as mediocre albums. I disagree with that statement. Scorching Beauty is still the lesser of the two mid 70's reunion albums as Sun And Steel is an unsung classic. Despite that this album is still very good. Although it's nothing like In A Gadda Da Vida this album deserves more recognition.

 Help! by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
3.44 | 461 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

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

4 stars By the mid-60s BEATLEmania had taken hold of the entire planet after the British Invasion of the Americas was complete and the Fab Four couldn't pump out enough product fast enough to satisfy a rabid public obsessed with their favorite mop top rock icons. After the film "A Hard Day's Night" proved to be a smashing success, there was little doubt that THE BEATLES would continue their musical comedy-adventures in cinematic form for as long as they could get away with it. The band wasted no time at all conceiving a sequel in the form of HELP! which saw THE BEATLES moving away from the lo-fi antics of their first film into a multi-color high budget blockbuster type of production that was shot in a variety of exotic foreign locations. While "A Hard Day's Night" was based on the BEATLEmania craze that was unfolding around the Fab Four and their reactions around it, HELP! on the other hand took liberties in setting up a contrived plot about an Eastern cult that needed to sacrifice a woman to the goddess Kaili but realized that she was not wearing the sacrificial ring which somehow got sent to Ringo Starr in a fan letter.

The movie unfolds by a series of cartoonish antics revolving around the evil cult following THE BEATLES in order to regain the lost ring so that they can carry out their ritualistic practices. While i could go on about the movie in great length, the subject of this review is the accompanying musical soundtrack which in accord with the year of 1965 varied depending upon which side of the Atlantic you resided, not to mention that the film soundtrack is quite different than the album of the same name. One quick mention about the movie itself is the fact that the film HELP! seems to be the first taste of exotic Eastern musical influences for THE BEATLES and not (as commonly believed) with George Harrison's sitar playing on "Norwegian Wood" on the "Rubber Soul" album. The film goes as far as to include an instrumental version of the song "A Hard Day's Night" played by an Indian band with an exotic Eastern flair and the film itself is peppered with sounds and fashion styles from the Indian subcontinent that obviously permeated George Harrison's senses enough for him to delve deeply into the music and philosophy.

While this review is primarily concerned with the UK version of the album that took only seven songs from the film score and added seven more tracks for a total of fourteen, the differences between the UK album that is seemingly just another BEATLES release and the official soundtrack score that appeared in the US is worth mentioning. Firstly, the US version only included the tracks "Help!," "You're Going To Lose That Girl," "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away," "Ticket To Ride," "I Need You," "The Night Before" and "Another Girl" also from the UK album. The remaining tracks are from the George Martin Orchestra which were primarily used as background music for various events in the movie such as "The Chase," "The Bike Riding Scene" and so on. The UK album (which has rightfully become the official version) contains the aforementioned BEATLES tracks with seven more BEATLES tracks including the huge hit "Yesterday." While the tracks shared between the UK and US versions showcase the powerhouse songwriting skills of the McCartney / Lennon machine (with a Harrison track in the mix), the second set of songs show off lead vocal spots of each member. While the weakest of the bunch (as is usually the case) is Ringo Starr's "Act Naturally," all the other members strut their styles ranging from Lennon's skiffle origins showing in the Larry Williams cover "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," McCartney steals the show with his solo guitar and vocal performance on "Yesterday" that added a symphonic string section.

HELP! was very much a step forward for THE BEATLES by not only cementing their status as film stars but by expanding the band's sound significantly by adding new instruments, richer textures and a more diverse palette of songwriting styles with an extra emphasis on keyboards and acoustic guitar. George Harrison was also allowed to shine again after a two record absence with his tender ballad "I Need You" as well as "Tell Me What You See." As far as commercial success was concerned, HELP! continued to keep THE BEATLES in the number one spot across the globe with a stream of hit singles and a firm declaration of true artistic development. The album cover has an interesting story as well with the Fab Four donning oversized button-up shirts with their arms pointing in various directions. The idea was to spell the world HELP in flag semaphore but because the actual results weren't visually pleasing, the design created a random set of letters that spells out "NUJV" with McCartney's left hand pointing to the Capitol logo. The effort into the music of the days at every angle is quite amazing sitting here in the 21st century.

HELP! possibly may not rank at the top of anybody's favorite BEATLES album simply for the fact that they would only continue to better themselves in every aspect of creativity but HELP! is a vital transitional stage in the Fab Four's career as it proved without a doubt that the band could expand their creative edge beyond the simple pop rock and cover tunes that they had been churning out since their formation. While HELP! also showed the band reaching out into new arenas in the world of cinema, it more importantly created the moment when the East / West cross-pollination ideas were implanted in the band's psyche and would only continue to gestate until the classics that would follow. Standing alone, HELP! is a beautiful assortment of cleverly written pop rock performances with each member shining like never before. While the film itself was a little goofy in its premise, the music that revolved around the film more than stands on its own two feet well over 50 years from its initial release. After the lackluster rush job of "Beatles For Sale" that seemed to show a band having peaked and ready to fizzle into obscurity, the cry for HELP! was answered with this showcase of BEATLES powerhouse melodies and creative prowess. HELP! is a resoundingly excellent batch of classic BEATLES tracks that have aged quite well.

 Love by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
3.02 | 78 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

4 stars This cd was a collaboration between Geroge Martin and his son Giles when they were asked to work for the Cirque du Soleil. They have created this soundscape using any sound from the original Beatles multi-track tapes. The used sound to combine some songs or use the sound of songs to go in other songs. The results are impressive especially in 5.1. It's about an hour and a half medley that can be listened like one song with not much pause between songs. The sound is all over the room and is a new experience to hear those songs that we all know for a long time. I could hear some heavy parts that I never heard on the old versions. This is a soundtrack for a film with a nice choice of songs, the more accessible ones and the more experimental ones from the latest albums of The Beatles. This cd could serve as a introduction to the band and in that case, you can be satisfied with the stereo cd, but if you want to hear the Beatles songs with new arrangements and in surround, you need the DVD-audio. This is more than a simple and easy compilation of the bands greatest hits, it's more than 2 years of hard rock with the collaboration of many people to brings this to the public.
 Who Do We Think We Are by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.00 | 522 ratings

Who Do We Think We Are
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

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

4 stars DEEP PURPLE was always a strange act. A rather random cast of characters starting as a pool of talent arranged in a similar way to pop acts like The Monkees, somehow found its own soul as one member after another built upon what came before and finally beginning with their 1970 landmark album "In Rock", the band had hit upon the perfect chemistry. This was the period that has been designated the Mark II era of the band's long and changing career and was the time when Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitars), Jon Lord (keys, piano, organ), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums and percussion) were one of the most successful bands alongside Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the nascent world of hard rock and early heavy metal. The band sold albums by the millions and couldn't book enough shows to fill the demand of their dynamic live performances. Their success was the envy of musicians far and wide and one of those rare acts that seemed to appeal to all whether they preferred hard rock, prog, soul, jazz or classical. This band simply had a universal charm.

And then there was the negative side of the equation. After the success of their multi-platinum release "Machine Head," DEEP PURPLE became living legends and toured like there was no tomorrow under the management's brutal dictatorship and constant pressure to perform. All was not well with the PURPLE ones after the whirlwind tours across the world had finally come to an end. Exhausted were they and that is exactly when the pressure reared its ugly head. Instead of the sensible idea of allowing the band to recuperate from their enervating and demanding live performances, the record company and all the money grubbing whores who profited dearly from the band's phenomenal success instead pulled out their slave driving whips and put the band immediately back in the recording studio to pump out a followup album which resulted in the very frowned upon WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE which to this day still divides hardcore fans like the DMZ between the Koreas.

As the tale goes, the infighting between management and members resulted in major schisms that led to Ian Gillan jumping ship only a few months after WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE was released. Citing fatigue as the main culprit which led to all the other issues at hand, the band carried on the best that they could although agreeing on tracks to include on the album was one of the major points of contention. The rather short album consists of a mere seven tracks and includes one of the band's most famous tracks "Woman From Tokyo" which narrated the famous Japanese tour that also yielded one of the most celebrated live album recordings of the entire rock era with their hugely popular "Made In Japan." After that famous single, what we mostly get is another six musical compositions that have sort of fell to the bottom ranks within the greater DEEP PURPLE canon, and that is indeed a true shame because i happen to be one of those who actually loves this album although i will readily concur that WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE is indeed one of the weakest releases within the Mark II lineup.

Often cited as nothing more than a series of disconcerting efforts and passionless pits of uninspired drudgery that showed the band playing their older material by the numbers, i see this album from a different point of view. True that this without doubt could have been a better album given all the vital circumstances needed to create a "Machine Head 2," however even taking the album for what it is, this is one excellent album filled with classic PURPLE material. For one, i don't want a sequel of a previous masterpiece but rather a new set of tunes that take a bold new approach to the sound laid out from what came before. WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE does just that with heavy guitar riff oriented bluesy rock in tandem with the excellent keyboard accompaniments and yet more strong vocal performances from Gillan. There is no slacking off here that i can detect.

After the initial "Woman From Tokyo" the tracks continue with an interesting array of heavy rock that is more blues oriented than on their previous albums but not too far off the cuff of other Mark II albums when all is said and done. "Mary Long" is an exception listed below (me no likey) and while "Super Trouper" doesn't jump into the typical heavy DEEP PURPLE rocker, it does however have a unique fragility to it with a very catchy melody and smooth instrumental interplay that is more sophisticated than the average DP track. "Smooth Dancer" is an absolute gem with a heavy emphasis on a nice guitar riff (reminds me of what "Nobody's Home" would sound like on the future "Perfect Strangers) with excellent keyboard interplay in the form of a rather honky tonk sounding piano run. The melody creates one of my absolute favorite DP tracks of their career. The keyboard solo is also quite adventurous as Lord is a relentless madman.

Next up: the phenomenal "Rat Bat Blue." This is yet another masterpiece of music in the band's long career with a heavy blues riff that adds some interesting progressive rock time signature workouts at key moments (albeit brief). Honestly it sounds a tad like "Rock 'n' Roll Hoochie Koo" by Rick Derringer only without the lame cheesiness and elevated to a higher arts position. Brilliant grooves, excellent vocal interplay and one of Jon Lord's most treasured sizzling keyboard performances in his entire career that makes Keith Emerson look like nothing more than a piano student who wants his mommy. "Place In Line" takes the pure blues route that sounds more like a John Lee Hooker track than the DEEP PURPLE the world had come to know, however despite this sidetrack into a sorta "Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues" that sounds a tad Janis Joplin, this track finds resolution as it ratchets up heaviness. A major faux pas for some but for me this merely finds a band paying tribute to a style of music that inspired the members all the while adding their own voice. I find it quite satisfying myself. Last up: "Our Lady." Spacey organ intro is followed by a semi-ballad that maintains a thick organ presence and sounds a bit like a 60s psychedelic band of some sort. Not one of the best tracks of the album and definitely not a wise ending choice but i find this one to have a nice groove and beautifully intricate melody as well.

Here are a few reasons i can detect as to why this album has received such a bad rap. 1) Reputation. Yeah, this album has gotten trashed by everyone over the years to the point that someone who had never listened to this album would assume that the band was trying to record covers of The Partridge Family or something. 2) The album cover and title are admittedly awful and give the impression that all the stale and soulless tunes that have been purported to exist surely must be as such since the cover is about as inspired as a adipose laden ass sitting on a plexiglass coffee table. 3) There are some bad moments on this one although not nearly as bad as one would expect. Unfortunately one of these musical faux pas' s comes as the second track "Mary Long" which is a rather insipid tale doubt a girl losing her virginity and even hosts a major no-no of stealing the riff from Clapton's "I Shot The Sheriff" for certain parts of the track. 4) This is different than "Machine Head" and has a completely different energy. Riffs are varied, solos (both guitar and organ) are more varied. Everything is more eclectic and more ideas are strewn about which makes some people feel uncomfortable i guess, especially when the relativity factor is part of the equation (that being it followed the brilliant consistency of its predecessor.)

A perfect album this ain't. There are so many ways this could've been a better album but i personally love this one a lot and find it a testament to the fortitude of a great band at their absolute worst that is still able to crank out excellent music despite wanting to pull out a semi-automatic rifle and blow everyone else around them away. While i would never tout this album as the pinnacle of the band's career in any way, shape or form, i do find this to be woefully underrated, under-appreciated and misunderstood. While i will probably never convince anyone to the contrary, i cannot find the horrible aspects of this album that i have read about forever. This is an excellent album that only could've been much better with some rearranging of tracks and a few more months of recovery after a lengthy tour. However, as fate would have it, the band would splinter, Gillan would exit stage right and David Coverdale would usher in the Mark III phase. True that we cannot change history but we can alter our misguided perceptions of a great album that's been deemed inferior for too long.

Four stars because the strengths are so much greater than the weaknesses.

 The Who Sell Out by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.52 | 216 ratings

The Who Sell Out
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Mortte

5 stars Plenty of reviews written about this, I donīt think I can say anything new about it, but because I found the last review of it a bit poor, I think I should say something about it. I think the last review is a part of that trend in 2000`s to try to prove sixties music wasnīt as great as it was. I know there are many people, who think 2000`s music is as great as sixties and or/seventies, or maybe even better. I am not saying all the 2000 music is [&*!#], there are still great musicmakers, but in 60-70 specially major record companies hadnīt made their artists that kind of money making products as today. Of course money making has always been their priority, but the artists freedom to make music was much more bigger then, record companies gave them many chances to try to make selling albums before they throw them away than today. And I think that was one reason to the great music of 60-70, not the only.

About this masterpiece, I have listened Who now thirteen years and over a decade this has been the greatest Who album to me. Of course I really love also Tommy, Whoīs Next and Quadrophenia, but I have also always loved the energy of first Who albums. This album has both: energy of first Who albums, but also the more progressive music from the later albums. Only true sixties pop songs in this album are "Our Love Was" and "Canīt Reach You". I find the first side of the album as great as the second. "Odorono" and "Tattoo" are really spiritual, the latter is also very acoustic with great symbal playing from Moon. The side one ending piece "I can see for miles" is the greatest Who single to me, it has that great Who-energy and starting "Armenia City In the sky" too. "Silas Stingy" and "Sunrise" in the b-side are also very spiritual songs. The endind "Rael" is a crown of this album! Towshend used part of this song later in Tommy, as he did also some other earlier songs released later in Odds and Sodds, but I have found this version the best. Rael was also Towshendīs will to do larger entities just like "A Quick One, While Heīs Away" was a year later, but I think it was better although it was only almost six minutes long. There was part 2 of "Rael" that ended only into first album version credits, it was released later in the "Thirty Years of Maxium R`n`B".

About commercialism in music, even the Who had pressures of selling records that time. Their singles werenīt selling much in 1967 and although the Who Sell Out is masterpiece, it didnīt sell well. But what band of today decides to make an rockopera after commercial failings? The Who took a big risk into it, but it was worth of it. Tommy become one of their biggest artistic and commercial success. 1967 was the begin year of concept albums. I think the Who sell out was one of the most genius concept albums of that year. To built up album round the pirate radio channel Radio London was very original and rebellious idea and it still works well.

This is really not prog album, specially if you think prog is the same as Genesis and Yes seventies albums. I listen a lot progmusic, but to me any music genre is not better than the other. To me this Who album is one of the ten best all time albums. Itīs just because itīs genius sad melodies also itīs brilliant idea of concept album. Really have always loved the cover of it. I recommend people who donīt like sixties music generally, doesnīt listen it and really doesnīt write reviews about it. Although Whoīs best years are over, they continue to play their great music. I was really happy about their latest great live version of Tommy. "Endless Wire" from 2006 was also really great new album, to me itīs better than "Who by Numbers" or "Who are You". So I am not sad although most of the new music just bores me. Although I have now listened music forty years, I still found great albums from sixties and seventies that Iīve never heard.

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Proto-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ANDROMEDA United Kingdom
APPALOOSA United States
BAKERLOO United Kingdom
THE BEATLES United Kingdom
BRAINBOX Netherlands
COVEN United States
DEEP PURPLE United Kingdom
THE DOORS United States
EARTH OPERA United States
FLAMING YOUTH United Kingdom
FORD THEATRE United States
GATTCH Slovakia
GILES GILES & FRIPP United Kingdom
THE GODS United Kingdom
H.P. LOVECRAFT United States
JIMI HENDRIX United States
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
THE SHIVER Switzerland
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

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