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PROTO-PROG

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

4.48 | 869 ratings
ABBEY ROAD
Beatles, The
4.50 | 512 ratings
QUADROPHENIA
Who, The
4.39 | 793 ratings
REVOLVER
Beatles, The
4.33 | 1047 ratings
DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK
Deep Purple
4.34 | 902 ratings
SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
Beatles, The
4.30 | 1057 ratings
MACHINE HEAD
Deep Purple
4.35 | 500 ratings
WHO'S NEXT
Who, The
4.31 | 575 ratings
THE DOORS
Doors, The
4.18 | 700 ratings
THE BEATLES [AKA: THE WHITE ALBUM]
Beatles, The
4.24 | 436 ratings
STRANGE DAYS
Doors, The
4.26 | 379 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
Hendrix, Jimi
4.13 | 632 ratings
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
Beatles, The
4.01 | 407 ratings
L.A. WOMAN
Doors, The
3.92 | 617 ratings
RUBBER SOUL
Beatles, The
3.93 | 485 ratings
TOMMY
Who, The
3.96 | 335 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ELECTRIC LADYLAND
Hendrix, Jimi
3.83 | 702 ratings
BURN
Deep Purple
3.99 | 256 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: AXIS - BOLD AS LOVE
Hendrix, Jimi
4.13 | 155 ratings
TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS
Spirit
3.92 | 281 ratings
NOW WHAT?!
Deep Purple

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews


 Metamorphosis by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.38 | 65 ratings

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Metamorphosis
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars Every time I've seen Iron Butterfly's history, their profile has a whole, and the music they've created, I've always thought of them as steadfast. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, for all intents and purposes, should not have been as successful as it was. An 18-minute long acid trip jam? Many others at the time tried to achieve the same thing and failed, but these Californians somehow managed to turn such a product of the times into a product that stands the test of time (and made a boat-load at that). Something as miraculous as this is hard for anyone to followup, let alone a half-stoned [&*!#] rock band like Iron Butterfly was. They managed it though, the following album Ball (1969) charting even higher than it's predecessor in the U.S.

Iron Butterfly managed to make magic happen twice. I guess the obvious question that should and was asked was: "can they do it again?" Yes and no.

There's a difference this time around. Metamorphosis, released the following year after Ball, charted at 16 in the U.S. Now, in any other circumstance this would be laudable, because obviously it's not easy to whip up a record that charts in the first place. But for Iron Butterfly, this was practically dismal. Granted, 'Easy Rider' did chart 66 on Billboard, being I.B.'s biggest hit since 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida', although I personally owe this more to the success of the latter and name recognition as opposed to song quality (who knows, the 70's were easily pleased). So, financially-wise, Iron Butterfly were sort of able to hit the gold once more. However, musically-wise, Metamorphosis is different from all of it's predecessors, even including Heavy. What I was saying about Iron Butterfly's seeming fragility comes into play here, because the band slowly started going downhill after their monster-hit, and Metamorphosis was the last album regarded at least decently by critics. On this particular album, the original line- up is broken, with guitarist Erik Brann parting ways due to band conflicts. Replacing him, flatteringly enough, was four different session guitarists. Mike Pinera of Blues Image and Alice Cooper (as well as Ramadam, a supergroup formed with Mitch Mitchell of Jimi Hendrix Experience), Larry Reinhardt (future Captain Beyond along with Dorman), Bill Cooper, and even producer Richard Podolor on the twelve-string.

Metamorphosis is really the culmination of Iron Butterfly's slowly building up musical consistency since In-A-Gadda- Da-Vida. This applies for musicianship (because honestly they weren't the greatest players), production, and songwriting. The production is much higher, and allows for a more dynamic sound in both the experimental and traditional departments. Speaking of experimental, critics tend to refer to Iron Butterfly post-Vida as being more and more musically adventurous, and I would tend to agree. Metamorphosis puts a much greater emphasis on the progressive/space rock side of the band, something I've always found remarkably endearing when it comes to them in particular. Mostly this is on the smash epic 'Butterfly Bleu', a masterpiece of proto-metal and prog music that rivals even I-A-G-D-V (except is much more structured and, dare I say, intelligent?). Still retaining a spaced-out, pseudo complex attitude, 'Butterfly Bleu' manages to be heavy, emotional, and eclectic all in on package. It also funnily enough features one of the earliest uses of a talk-box (yeah, that thing Bon Jovi used on 'Livin' On a Prayer' to make his guitar go "rwoworwowrwow") during a gritty section on the latter half of the epic. Of the traditional we have 'New Day', a Steppenwolf-esque song headed off by a disarmingly good catchy riff. 'Shady Lady' is, at times, your standard brand of funky blues-rock, but it delves into extremely dark tonal shifts at certain areas. The rest of the album is rather expected of Iron Butterfly, being basically cheesy rock n' roll tunes molded by quasi-hippie zeitgeist ('Soldier In Our Town'), but I suppose the big single 'Easy Rider' has it's moments as well.

The band itself does very well for itself on this particular album. As aforementioned, four different multi-talented guitarist make themselves well-known on Metamorphosis. Mike Pinera's (presumably) part on 'Butterfly Bleu' with the talk-box always makes me smile ever time I hear it. It really makes the song have a bigger personality (of course his vocals on the rest of the song is good as well, putting on a zealous, emotional performance). The Iron Butterfly themselves are nothing to scoff about of course, But it's clear that the talents of Ingle, Dorman, and Bushy are not without merit. The band's made their abilities clear ever since 'Vida' in '68, and here they meld almost perfectly with their session musicians.

Some may get turned off by Iron Butterfly's material, but for me Metamorphosis is nothing short of a wonderful surprise. People wanted the Butterfly, and they got the Butterfly.

 Made In Japan by DEEP PURPLE album cover Live, 1972
4.50 | 619 ratings

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Made In Japan
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by LadyScarlet

5 stars This is without doubt the best live album made by anyone, and the most worn out LP of mine. Made in Japan shows Deep Purple at their peak, and the album contains many interesting parts. The album starts with the perfect show-opener "Highway Star". It contains of simple and effective riffs, mixed with virtuostic solos, beautiful arpeggios and Ianīs screaming vocals. The Made in Japan version of this song is also a perfect example of how tight Deep Purple was back then. "Child in Time" is the next song, and it is also one of my Purple favourites. On this version, you hear epic dynamics, unmatched singing from Gillan, a great organ solo by Jon Lord, extended and rapid guitar improvisation by Blackmore etc. As a whole, incredible song and performance! "Smoke on the water" isnīt the most known riff in the world for nothing. Killer riff, and great energy througout the song. As usual, unique and great solos by both Blackmore and Lord, and also the lyrics tells us a funny story. "The Mule", with its snakecharming theme, is the showcase for the amazing drummer Ian Paice. With that said, I tend to be inpatient with drum solos, so this is not my favourite track on the album. But I really like the way the band starts playing those rapid, unison licks after a long drum solo, and Paice just keeps going, drumming like a maniac! "Strange kind of Woman" is another favourite of the album. Very simple, swinging rock song, and then the guitar solos come! this song may contain the best guitar improvisation ever recorded with the two extended solos by Blackmore. The solos contains technique, melody, feeling, creativity and energy, just about everything you could wish! Strange kind of Woman also includes the interesting vocal/guitar battle between Gillan and Blackmore, which shows off Gillans incredible vocal range, and how good the two of them worked together musically. "Lazy" is in a way very basic, and in a way not basic at all. It starts off with a crazy organ intro, where Lord show us every possible way of playing a hammond. The song is simply a 12-bar, but heavily modified with Purple charachteristics. Fantastic soloing, great energy and pace, a break were Blackmore is quoting a swedish tune called "Midsommarvaka" and then the band get together again and finish the song in a classy way. Stunning performance! "Space Truckin" is the last song of the album, and covers a whole side on the LP. Itīs a classic Purple song, and in this version it includes endless improvisations by the band, primarly by Lord. Not my favourite, but still a cool way to end an album. Five stars on this one without doubt, it belongs in everyones record collection!
 Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/1969 by HENDRIX, JIMI album cover Live, 2016
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/1969
Jimi Hendrix Proto-Prog

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
3 stars Contracts, conflicts and confusion. This pretty much sums up the Band Of Gypsys (Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox) first set performed and recorded on December 31, 1969 at the now legendary Fillmore East. As many Hendrix fans know, this was the premier live outing of Hendrix's new vehicle that is claimed to have put him back into the arena of black music after two years of Hendrix vehemently dodging the long held stereotype that black guitarists could only play the blues and R&B. Both genres in which Jimi cut his teeth both on an amateur and professional level, before skyrocketing to international stardom playing feedback drenched acid rock and psychedelic with an accessible pop vibe as part of the famous Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Experience also featured white British cohorts in the form of bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchel. These four Fillmore concerts recored in two days were also a means for Hendrix to honor a contract dispute and eventual settlement to deliver a album to PPX/Capital Records as part of a court settlement.

Hendrix's motivation to go into a soul, R&B, funk, and blues direction is manifold and frankly, quite speculative. However, it's the 1969 Band Of Gypsys album that has solidified his long time standing as a blues guitarist of renown, regardless if the capricious Hendrix had possibly not intended to keep pursuing that musical direction had he not perished.

This first set on the first night of the Fillmore New Year's Eve concerts is basically a run through of Hendrix's newer, if not brand new songs, and the introduction of Buddy Miles as an R&B force, both vocally and musically, in the newly formed Band Of Gypsys.

With out a doubt, this first set is subpar to what has been officially released on either the Band Of Gypsys LP and the additional material released much later on Live At The Filmore East in 1999. Sticking out glaringly is that the magnificent solo on the song "Machine Gun", recorded the second night and released on the Band Of Gypsys album, is nowhere to be found on this first night's jittery performance and that Buddy Miles, as rock steady as is his drumming is, is a bit over the top with his "soulful" backing vocals on songs such as "Power Of Soul." In fact both "Power of Soul" and "Message to Love" would be both be better performed on the Band Of Gypsys album. Another glaring omission is any form of the powerhouse song "Who Knows", which was not to be performed until the second set of the first night's shows and done better on the following day's sets. Songs featured on this first set such as "Hear My Train A Comin' and" Isabella" are perfunctionary at best.

Where the confusion comes in is on the part of the subdued audience, their unfamiliarity with Hendrix's new material and his refusal play past well known hits like "Purple Haze" and "Foxy Lady." He would do so shorty later on the second of the night's set as more than likely, it was in reaction to Hendrix's own startled response when a member of the subdued crowd wished him a Happy New Year. It's seems that Jimi forgot.

Imagine that. New Year's Eve in NYC and the Band Of Gypsys sounded like they just finished playing at a wake. Stick with the Band Of Gypsys album form 1969 and seek out the now out of print Live At The Fillmore East CD from 1999, as both feature far superior performances. And keep Machine Gun: The Filllmore East First Show only for it's historical value. If you're of a mind to.

 A Collection Of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies !) by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1966
2.30 | 9 ratings

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A Collection Of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies !)
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars A Collection of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies!) was released in 1966 and is quite rare as a result as one of the first of their infinite compilation releases. The problem is it now has outgrown its value apart from the rarity of having it on vinyl. As for any CD release it is pretty much worthless as there are more compilations that offer better production and value, so this one may never be released as a CD making it even more valuable to collectors.

Having said that the album still has some curios that are not often found on other compilations. The addition of Bad Boy is a delight, one of my favourite Lennon tirades about a boy who cant do nothing right, with such wonderful lyrics as He put some tacks on teachers hair, butchers all the little girls hair... ah that's classy writing. All the other tracks on virtually every compilation. She Loves You "Yeah Yeah Yeah" we heard it already fifty times. From Me To You, We Can Work It Out, Help! They are everywhere. Michelle is here too but I hate the song so not welcome to my ears. Yesterday is quintessential and I always have time for I Feel Fine, Day Tripper, A Hard Day's Night, and Paperback Writer. There's not much prog apart from some innovative musicianship on Eleanor Rigby, but its not a bad album for its day. The vinyl is the only way to get hold of this. Collectors only.

 20 Greatest Hits by BEATLES, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1982
3.19 | 7 ratings

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20 Greatest Hits
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars If you are in the mood for some Beatles you might want to look elsewhere as there are better compilations available, but this is Ok for a slice of The Beatles greatness. The usual standards are found here such as Love Me Do, From Me To You, She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand. For me I prefer the later tracks where The Beatles became more innovative but I can still listen without skipping to A Hard Day's Night, I Feel Fine and Ticket To Ride.

Side 2 is superior though with brilliant Beatles such as Paperback Writer, such a great track well sung by Paul, and an awesome guitar riff. I always love to hear Eleanor Rigby and All You Need Is Love, with their more complex structures and studio trickery. Get Back is another highlight and it ends with The Ballad Of John And Yoko.

Overall not too bad as a small detour from other bands you might be into, but The Beatles have so much more to offer and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

 The Last Puff ( Featuring Mike Harrison) by SPOOKY TOOTH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.29 | 35 ratings

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The Last Puff ( Featuring Mike Harrison)
Spooky Tooth Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This album sounds to me like it maybe was recorded to fill contractual obligations with the record label. Maybe Iīm wrong. But at that time SPOOKY TOOTH was a trio of remaining original members Mike Harrison (vocals), Luther Grosvenor (guitar) and Mike Kellie (drums), after Gary Wright (keyboards, vocals, and main composer of the band) and Andy Leight (bass) left the band after the release of the "Ceremony" album, which was recorded with French Avant Garde musician Pierre Henry. For this "The Last Puff" album, which was released as "SPOOKY TOOTH FEATURING MIKE HARRISON" in July 1970, they had Chris Stainton as producer. He also was the keyboard player / bassist for the GREASE BAND, a band which accompanied singer Joe Cocker in some of his early albums and tours in the late sixties and early seventies. So, maybe it was Stainton who brought some of the other members of the GREASE BAND to help SPOOKY TOOTH to record this album (guitarist Henry McCullough and bassist Alan Spenner). So, this album obviously sounds somewhat influenced by the sound of Joe Cocker, Chris Stainton and the Grease Band. Maybe one connection between SPOOKY TOOTH and Chris Stainton and The Grease Band was Mike Kellie, who previously appeared as session drummer on two tracks of Joe Cocker's successful "With a Little Help from My Friends" (1969) album.

This "The Last Puff" album starts with a cover of THE BEATLES's "I am the Walrus". A very well arranged heavy version, with some uncredited female backing vocals (like in other songs in this album), good guitar solos and generally very well played by the band. This song is maybe the most known song from this album, even being played a lot on the radio. It even was played by another very different line-up of SPOOKY TOOTH during their tour in 1974 (Gary Wright, Mike Patto, Val Burke, Bryson Graham and Mick Jones) with a similar musical arrangement!

The next track is Gary Wright's "The Wrong Time", also with some uncredited female backing vocals. I don't know why a song composed by a former member of the band was recorded for this album. Maybe it was played by the band before Wright left the band, so they decided to record it for this album.

The next track is Joe Cocker's song titled "Something to Say", a song which he was going to release in his album titled "Joe Cocker" (or titled as "Something to Say" in the U.K.) from 1972. Maybe SPOOKY TOOTH was the first band to record this song.

Two other covers of songs, "Nobody There at All" and "Down River" (both from less known songwriters, at least for me) sound good but maybe more far from the bandīs original musical style, both sounding a bit like Pop Rock / Blues / Soul songs from the U.S.

"Son Of Your Father" is a song composed by Elton John and Bernie Taupin which is good, too.

The album ends with Stainton's "The Last Puff", which is a slow Blues / Jazz musical piece without vocals. It sounds good, too, but I think that they only recorded it to have more material to finish the album.

In conclusion: this album is good, but, as I wrote before, it sounds more like a record contract obligation album than anything else, with a lot of influences from Blues, Soul and Heavy Rock music, obviously influenced by the presence of three members of Joe Cocker's backing band led by Producer Chris Stainton. The band even toured a bit to promote this album in late 1970, but with John Hawken on keyboards and Steve Thompson on bass (there is a short video from this tour on youtbe), and without Stainton, McCullough and Spenner, before they split until 1972, when the band was reformed by Harrison and Wright with some new members.

 Ceremony (Feat. Pierre Henry) by SPOOKY TOOTH album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.09 | 42 ratings

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Ceremony (Feat. Pierre Henry)
Spooky Tooth Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The first time that I listened to this album was in the late seventies in an AM Radio station's broadcast . That AM radio station from my city was called "Radio Capital" (I don't know if it still exists) and it had a then famous radio programme called "Vibraciones", which some days of the week broadcasted some albums by some bands at night.

For this album, the original bassist of the band Greg Ridley (who went to form HUMBLE PIE) was replaced by Andy Leigh. The album's full title is "Ceremony - An Electronic Mass", and it was released as a collaboration by SPOOKY TOOTH / PIERRE HENRY, but in France it was credited as being an album by "PIERRE HENRY AVEC SPOOKY TOOTH".

This is an Experimental / Avant Garde / Rock Music collaboration between French Electronic Music composer PIERRE HENRY and the English Rock band SPOOKY TOOTH. I don't know how this collaboration was agreed and done, but it really sounds more like HENRY recorded his electronic music parts after the band recorded their musical parts. It really gives the impression that both parts were recorded separatedly and later mixed together song by song, which each song credited to be composed by HENRY with GARY WRIGHT (the main composer in the band). The sound mixing in my opinion is not very good, because HENRY's parts are more at the front of the mixing, and the music of the band is more in the background, with HENRY's parts sometimes sounding more like "interferences" to the band's music. This album has very good musical parts played by the band with the added electronic effects, noises and voices by HENRY. But, as a whole, it really wasn't a very successful collaboration. It has some interesting musical parts, but, as WRIGHT said in one interview, it really wasn't an album done in SPOOKY TOOTH's typical musical style, and it wasn't considered by him and the band as a SPOOKY TOOTH album, but the record label anyway wanted to release it as an album by SPOOKY TOOTH with PIERRE HENRY, against the band's wishes

Considered by Wright as a "failure" that "ended our career then", I think that this album has some interesting moments, even if I am not very much a fan of Experimental / Avant Garde music. Wright and Leigh left the band after this album was released, and the remianing members of the band (Grosvenor, Harrison and Kellie) remained together for a short time to record their next album titled "The Last Puff" (1970).

 Other Voices by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.76 | 85 ratings

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Other Voices
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars This has been the era of the Doors I've been hesitant to buy. I constantly see these two LPs used, so I picked up Other Voices. There are many reasons I've been hesitant, like how few bought these albums when they came out because they felt the Doors were through without Jim Morrison. I met quite a few people who didn't even realize the Doors didn't quite throw in the towel after Jim Morrison's passing! To be fair, they're younger listeners (my age or younger, that is Gen X and Millennials, I belong to the former) so they didn't have the benefit of being there when it happened. Other Voices is the first of two post-Morrison efforts. This album was actually recorded with the hope Jim would return from Paris back to LA to have him lay down the vocal tracks, but as of July of that year (1971) that was very much out of the question. So that left Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger to do the vocal duties. Hence the Other Voices title. It's not the first time they sang. Manzarek was apparently forced to sing occasionally live when Jim was just too far gone to perform or didn't even show. Krieger shared a lead vocal on "Runnin' Blue" off the Soft Parade (that funny little Dylan vocal during the country/bluegrass break), to be fair, that was Robbie's song to begin with.

Is Other Voices really that bad? Well I'd be lying if I state this stuff stacks up very well to anything they did with Jim Morrison. Of course that's not true. No rock critic thought so, and none of the few buyers who actually bought it thought so. But there really is nothing on here I found offensive or truly cringeworthy. The music doesn't have that gloomy atmosphere of Morrison-era albums, sometimes it's pretty upbeat. This is what you get when Krieger and Manzarek do the songwriting. The first two songs, "In the Eye of the Sun" and "Variety is the Space of Life" are as I describe, not exactly bad, not great. "Ships w/Sails" can show that the remaining Doors can record a great song if they wanted to. Manzarek does his best Morrison, but you can tell he's no Jim. Imagine what would happen had Jim sung this! I really love this song, it's a big standout. "Tightrope Ride" was released as a single, wasn't exactly a chart stormer, and you can see why. Like most of the album, not bad, not great, but perfectly listenable. "Down on the Farm" has a more folk feel, sounding like Peter, Paul & Mary gone electric with all male vocals. "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned" is Krieger's song, and I really have a blast listening to this! Sounds so not like the Doors, here it's just a plain silly song, they weren't taking themselves seriously. Perhaps because they realized that the Doors with Jim Morrison took themselves way too seriously, and they knew it. Although I have to admit "Runnin' Blue" from The Soft Parade is the only Morrison-era song that didn't take itself seriously (with that Dylan-like vocal part from Robbie Krieger), but then that song is credited to the same person as "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned". "Wandering Musician" is another one that isn't bad or great, but I really love the last piece, "Hang on to Your Life". It's a nice jazzy Latin-influenced song with some great passages that are almost proggy, especially with all those electric pianos. This song even gets help from Afro-Cuban percussionist Francesco Aguabella.

Listening to this album it's very hard to believe this was released only six months after L.A. Woman. Nothing on Other Voices reaches such mindblowing heights as "Riders on the Storm", but on the other hand that's not what I expect when it's all the work of Manzarek, Krieger, and Densmore (and some extra help when needed). To me there's three songs that stand out, one of them for being funny (I'm referring to "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned", which I'm sure won't be to everyone's liking). While this album isn't likely to visit their turntable (or CD player) as frequently as the Jim-era albums, I am happy to state that I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't have high expectations and come out finding it not bad, but hardly a classic. I can give this a three star rating because nothing here is cringeworthy to my ears (although I'm sure "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned" may be to some).

 Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.78 | 41 ratings

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Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by doompaul

4 stars Occult rock seems to be pretty decisive. You either dig it or are put off by it. There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground. I fall into the "dig it" camp. I can appreciate it for what it is. A bit of cheese. DMARS is no different. Is it an amazing symphonic masterpiece? Oh, god no. It is a not too serious bit of fun, very much of its time, that shows a subculture that is only well documented in dime store novels and seedy magazines.

Jinx has a light fun voice that fits in well with the rest of the bands adequate playing. Jumping from acid folk to hippy wig-out sessions to staged black masses the songwriting is fairly solid and even leaves you with some songs that will stick in your mind like the White witch of Rose Hall.

The black mass it surely a bit of fluff, but is is fun to listed to the first few times. Shame it is so long as it does not bear repeated listening.

So, in summation, Is this technical wizardry? No. Is it a lot of spooky fun? Absolutely.

 The Soft Parade by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.80 | 241 ratings

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The Soft Parade
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars The Soft Parade is by far the least liked of the Morrison-era albums. It's because they took on a more blatantly commercial pop-oriented direction, and a grander production by including horns and strings. Is the album really that bad? This time around the album does state who actually wrote each song, where on previous albums it stated it was written and arranged by all four members, unless the song was a cover (like "Back Door Man"). Let's look at the opening cut, "Tell All the People". My jaw was in total disbelief on the song and the nature of it. What is this? Vegas lounge pop music? Were The Doors trying to be in the same league with Frank Sinatra? Jim Morrison croons this song like a Vegas singer, complete with cheesy horns straight out of Vegas. Looking at the songwriting credits, you notice it was Robbie Krieger. You know Jim Morrison would never write lyrics that seem straight out of Vegas. Next song, "Touch Me" was already released as a single at the end of 1968, and easily the most recognized song on the album. Again a bit on the Vegas side, but I'm used to this song having heard it on the radio plenty of times throughout my lifetime. Horns, strings, cheesy sax solo, at least Ray Manzerek gives his trademark organ playing to let everyone know this is the Doors. I bet you at the end of 1968 many Doors fans must have been horrified hearing "Touch Me", wondering if their next album will be like that. Once again Krieger was responsible for this. Luckily, for the rest of the album the rest of the songs Krieger are credited to aren't as so lounge-y, and the Morrison penned ones are more close to traditional Doors songs. Things really improve greatly with "Shaman's Blues", a great song with some nice harpsichord playing, more in tune with the older Doors sound, and it's a Morrison penned song. "Do It" is credited to both Morrison and Krieger, not nearly as good, due to the embarrassing lyrics, but not bad. "Easy Ride" and "Wild Child" are bit more bluesy, while "Wishful Sinful" has a bit of that lounge again, but not full-on "Tell All the People" territory. The title track is without a doubt the album's highlight. If there's a reason for the Doors being included here, this is the reason. It's more like a multimovement suite than a standard song, as it goes through several changes. Note how a bunch of Jewish guys from Brooklyn naming themselves Sweet Smoke and relocating to Germany had did a partial cover of this song off their 1970 debut album Just a Poke. This song is still not full-on prog, but proto-prog it is. Well, I have to say, this album isn't as bad as its frequently made out to be, to me "Tell All the People" is easily the worst thing on the album (my jaw dropped in that similar fashion I did seeing obviously rubber frog costumes seeing the 1987 movie Hell Comes to Frogtown starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, if MST3K could spoof music, "Tell All the People" would be a great one to spoof, if that was possible). The album does have its flaws, but still has enough worthy material to make it worthwhile, if you get beyond "Tell All the People" and perhaps "Touch Me".
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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
THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND United Kingdom
THE COLLECTORS Canada
COVEN United States
THE CROME SYRCUS United States
DEEP PURPLE United Kingdom
THE DOORS United States
EARTH OPERA United States
FLAMING YOUTH United Kingdom
GATTCH Slovakia
GILES GILES & FRIPP United Kingdom
THE GODS United Kingdom
H.P. LOVECRAFT United States
HANSSON & KARLSSON Sweden
HAPSHASH AND THE COLOURED COAT United Kingdom
JIMI HENDRIX United States
IRON BUTTERFLY United States
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY United States
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE United States
KALEIDOSCOPE / FAIRFIELD PARLOUR United Kingdom
MÁQUINA! Spain
THE MASTERS APPRENTICES Australia
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
PAN & REGALIZ Spain
PÄRSON SOUND Sweden
THE PRETTY THINGS United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
THE SHIVER Switzerland
SILVER APPLES United States
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA United States
VANILLA FUDGE United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

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