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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

4.49 | 1069 ratings
ABBEY ROAD
Beatles, The
4.50 | 633 ratings
QUADROPHENIA
Who, The
4.39 | 987 ratings
REVOLVER
Beatles, The
4.36 | 1248 ratings
DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK
Deep Purple
4.35 | 1112 ratings
SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
Beatles, The
4.33 | 1249 ratings
MACHINE HEAD
Deep Purple
4.42 | 632 ratings
WHO'S NEXT
Who, The
4.33 | 719 ratings
THE DOORS
Doors, The
4.18 | 876 ratings
THE BEATLES [AKA: THE WHITE ALBUM]
Beatles, The
4.27 | 479 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
Hendrix, Jimi
4.23 | 552 ratings
STRANGE DAYS
Doors, The
4.17 | 793 ratings
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
Beatles, The
4.01 | 510 ratings
L.A. WOMAN
Doors, The
3.99 | 604 ratings
TOMMY
Who, The
3.95 | 775 ratings
RUBBER SOUL
Beatles, The
4.03 | 420 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ELECTRIC LADYLAND
Hendrix, Jimi
4.02 | 332 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: AXIS - BOLD AS LOVE
Hendrix, Jimi
3.88 | 854 ratings
BURN
Deep Purple
4.13 | 189 ratings
TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS
Spirit
4.08 | 200 ratings
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
Brown Band, The Arthur

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews


 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.45 | 252 ratings

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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Take acid rock, mix with some vintage garage rock, add plenty of psychedelia with a pinch of tribal music and you will still be far from the definition of In A Gadda Da Vida. The name derives from the phrase in the garden of eden which, crippled, was so pronounced by the drunk singer Doug Ingle on the stages of their concerts (there are various versions of this anecdote, but only the details vary, never the substance).

Their first album, "Heavy" (1968), was decidedly groundbreaking, but nothing exceptional. The great success came with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", also published in '68. The album opens with "Most Anything You Want"; the song, starts with a good electric guitar riff, followed by a nice organ tune played by Doug Ingle. It is the same Ingle who sings this and all the songs, with his particular style, much changed from the previous "Heavy". Immediately after the three full minutes of this song, we move on to "Flowers And Beads"; the text is once again a love theme, but this time the rhythm is softer and is well accompanied by Ingle's voice. "My Mirage" has a decidedly more dark and mystical atmosphere, especially thanks to the excellent melody of the organ.

The new guitarist Erik Brann is positively noted for his technical skills and sudden but delicate style changes. The fourth track is the only one not written by Ingle, in fact "Termination" is the work of bassist Lee Dorman and guitarist Erik Brann. The introduction is done with a great scratchy guitar riff accompanied by Ron Bushy's constantly moving cymbals. The song continues with a serene atmosphere characterized by some beautiful guitar- organ-bass chase. At this point comes "Are You Happy", a pleasant pop track that will make the audience exalt a lot in the lives of Iron Butterfly (just hear the screams in "Live" of '70 ...); thumping drums and distorted guitar dominate in this song that starts with "Are you happy?" almost shouted by Ingle. The guitar solo followed by the small interruptions of organ solo is beautiful.

Well, a good album so far, but it is the very last track that will make Iron Butterfly famous, making them sell millions of copies of the aforementioned work and placing them for life in the Olympus of rock. The title track "In-A-Gadda- Da-Vida" is the real masterpiece. A 17-minute long song that will feature one of the best known tunes, and one of the first drum solos of that length ever performed. It all starts with the Ingle organ that immediately intones the main tune. Following him we hear the drums arrive, and then guitar and bass. And here is the voice that will sing with a fantastic style all the lyrics of the song; Ingle seems almost drunk while singing and demonstrates it with continuous ups and downs of his voice. The effect is divine. And here in the middle of the twelfth minute we hear the initial melody that returns, and then it explodes in a crescendo, with Erik Brann's guitar that is initially lost, as if in convulsions. Immediately after there is an interruption of only drums, immediately followed by a pounding bass ... and here is again that guitar that scratches, even more than before. A minute and a half from the end we return again as we started, with Ingle who seems to have almost recovered, as he sings louder than before! After 17 minutes, this masterpiece ends in the same way it started, with the organ alone to intone a melody.

The group also stands out on stage, in front of their large audience, so much so that the other absolutely inevitable CD is Live (1969), which contains the best songs from the first three studio albums. Even if they have had little to say since 1970 (again), this milestone remains, fundamental piece of rock.

 Made in Japan by DEEP PURPLE album cover Live, 1972
4.51 | 704 ratings

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Made in Japan
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Deep Purple is an institution of hard rock, the ones that have made it, a genre famous in the whole world. They are one of the longest-lived but also one of the most unstable groups. Born in '68, dissolved in '76, reformed in '84 and still active today, they underwent various training changes during their long journey. The most famous is the one with Blackmore on guitar, Lord on keyboards, Paice on drums, Glover on bass and Gillan on vocals: the so-called Mark 2.

With this lineup they lived their heyday: they sold records like hotcakes and their live performances were overwhelming. The best testimony of this moment of grace is immortalized in the double LP Made In Japan, one of the greatest live albums in rock history, documenting their summer tour in Japan. It is said that on this record there were no overdubs, that all the charge of those performances was recorded and released as it was. Those in Japan were nothing short of magical evenings, in which the five musicians found a harmony and cohesion that they could not, by their own admission, never repeat. It is above all a test of their technical skill, combined with a great energy.

There are practically all of their classics from the period. The first three follow and improve upon the studio versions. Highway Star is simply fantastic: the organ and guitar solos, the powerful voice at the right point and a rhythm section that turns in a thousand, make the song one of the masterpieces of hard-rock. It is virtually impossible to stand still in front of this overwhelming wall of sound. Child In Time is brilliant, the voice of Gillan enters the scene, who first whispers and then explodes in all its power; in the middle Blackmore proves to be really a great guitarist and plays a long and amazing guitar solo, then returns with the resumption of the initial theme. The third track begins with the most famous riff in rock history, that of Smoke On The Water, as usual energetic and enthralling and more known in this version than in the original one. The Mule serves as a showcase for Paice's prowess, who performs in a long and engaging solo. In Strange Kind Of Woman, Paice and Blackmore put on a show, engaging in an epochal challenge. Here the singer manages to perfectly imitate the high notes of the instrument. In Lazy, on the other hand, Paice has little space: the organ and the guitar take care of it to embellish it with valuable virtuosity. Space Truckin 'is the song that gets the most upset. From a simple hard-rock piece it turns into a real suite of almost twenty minutes, where Lord enjoys mistreating his hammond.

Deep Purple showed how a live version of a song could be incomparably superior to the original. It was the life force of the live album: five people on a stage, a certain number of spectators freaking out, only seven pieces pulled beyond belief, and played with incredible virtuosity, a live album that is and always will be one of the best achievements in the history of music.

 The Who Live (Golden Age serie) by WHO, THE album cover Live, 1993
3.00 | 4 ratings

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The Who Live (Golden Age serie)
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Prog123

3 stars The world of budget compilations is truly a world that can be very interesting. But it is also a risky world. Many budget compilations are only of modest quality. Others end up being real bootlegs. Other times they allow you to listen to songs in live version with not always good quality. And, in the latter case, it is not uncommon that given the success they have, they end up obtaining a restoration and a 100% official publication. With the arrival of the CD or, better still, CDs for everyone (late 80s / 90s), these budget compilations multiply. Often because the rights on the recordings expired or because certain labels decided to sell off their catalogs. Other times it happened that there was no interest on the part of the labels for certain artists who, however, were in great demand. Thus were born several labels that bought the recordings of those artists or had new versions of famous songs recorded and put them on the market. This budget live compilation is at the limit of legality since there are recordings of Leeds 1970 that are already contained in the official live of The Who and because the others are from 1968 and 1969 and, therefore, at the limit of exercising copyright on the recordings. In any case, if you were lucky enough to find it, I would recommend it. After all, there is no Progressive here, just Hard Rock (they are all 60s songs) but very valid also for a Progressive lover, given that Hard Rock, at the time these songs were written and recorded, was an innovative genre and played the role of the Progressive of the following decades. Some (I think of "Boris The Spider", for example) have a certain appeal to a Progressive lover for the structure of the writing, for example. But, in general, you can hear great Hard Rock and Proto Metal here.

What to say, to conclude? That this budget live compilation is a good example of what The Who was like at the time. But don't look for a (live) compilation for audiophiles or true Progressive lovers here.

 Andromeda by ANDROMEDA album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.83 | 57 ratings

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Andromeda
Andromeda Proto-Prog

Review by Prog123

5 stars When we mention John Cann (or Du Cann) (guitars & vocals) we always mention Atomic Rooster and never Andromeda, a trio formed together with Mick Hawksworth (bass & vocals; then in the fantastic Fuzzy Duck) and Ian McClane (drums & vocals) who in 1969 (for RCA) released an album that is described as Psychedelic Progressive but which has interesting Proto Metal moments, judging with today's eyes.

The best thing to understand this album is to dive into the music. That starts with "Too Old". "Too Old" is a bloodthirsty piece ... Proto Metal and Jazz, to understand. A piece a la Jimi Hendrix (to describe it as they would have described it at the time) but with a more European air, as more elaborate and endowed with a melody that, at times, is close to a psychedelic Folk which, however, also presents a neoclassical arrangement due to the band's musical background. If Progressive Metal had existed at the time "Too Old" it would have been a worthy example of this subgenre. "Day Of The Change" is a great piece with funky bass and lysergic atmosphere, played on choir and a really engaging folk guitar. As a rhythm it is a mid tempo with almost Free Jazz accelerations that create a really interesting controlled confusion. "And Now the Sun Shines" is a psychedelic Jazz Folk that can remember certain things more Folk than Rock and demonstrates an ability to create songs with an uncommon atmosphere, especially for the arrangements of the vocal parts. Nonetheless we are faced with a truly remarkable and not at all easy piece that is very poetic and emotional. "Turn To Dust" is a suite divided into 3 parts. The first part ("Discovery") is a great emotional Hard Rock that I would put in Garage Rock. However it gradually transforms into an extraordinary Progressive Rock piece a la ELP to lead to the psychedelic "Sanctuary" which is a soft Jazz score with Folk atmospheres and a sublime (and neoclassical) guitar. Finally, "Determination" is the opposite: a psychedelic guitar solo a la Vanilla Fudge or Iron Butterly (to understand, in terms of style) which takes up, in the finale, the main riff of "Discovery". "Return To sanity" is also divided into three parts and starts with "Breakdown", a gothic march at the beginning which, however, becomes more and more colorful and airy that leads to "Hope", a long section with psychedelic elements, Jazz Folk, Blus Rock and Hard Rock / Garage metal / Proto Metal played on an emotional vocal score and changes of rhythm and non-trivial atmospheres, so much so that, even if it is very complicated, easily assimilated, so much so that it can easily be hummed after one or two plays. "Conclusion" is an avoidable psychedelic outro. "The Reason" is a Hendrixian piece even if more shifted towards a Hard Rock but in some moments also neoclassical and, in any case, more Folk and Jazz with the usual emotional singing which, in hindsight, I could also define Beat. "I Can't Stop The Sun" is a psychedelic folk song that can remind you of certain things from the very first David Bowie. "When To Stop" is still a three part composition. After a Hard Rock start "The Traveler" (the first part) becomes a great Psyichedelic Folk piece with quiet and melodic parts and Hard Rock accelerations. Overall it's more of a psychedelic than Progressive piece, despite being Progressive, as a genre. "Turning Point" is the umpteenth tribute to Jimi Hendrix (good guitar solo) and "Journey's End" is the long western movie finale dominated by the acoustic guitar and it is really exciting, so much so that, at least I, I wish it would never end.

After this album Andromeda disbanded when John Cann joined Atomic Rooster and Mick Hawksworth joined Fuzzy Duck, who recorded an album closer to progressive Hard Rock than Progressive. Thus ended the brief existence of one of the most brilliant bands of the period. Unfortunately.

 Renaissance by VANILLA FUDGE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.07 | 111 ratings

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Renaissance
Vanilla Fudge Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars After the adventure "The Beat Goes On", Vanilla Fudge returned to more 'conventional' material. The songs of "Renaissance" had been worked on before the recordings of "The Beat Goes On", until producer Shadow Morton came around the corner with just that idea. So now the recordings have been completed and perhaps the most ambitious work in Vanilla Fudge history has been published. The declared goal was to build on the success of the debut album. One was already a favorite of the critics, one wanted to become a favorite of the public. It starts with the idiosyncratic cover artwork, which shows the four protagonists carved out of stone, still scaffolded, scurrying around with the stonecutters. A rogue who sees this as the source of the idea for the "Purple in Rock" published a year later. Musically, you should no longer rely solely on strange, strange cover versions, but on your own material. Five of the seven songs on "Renaissance" were composed by band members.

Vanilla Fudge released their third album, a cross between the debut album and the next one. Raw rock increases and some original songs written by the four members of the group begin to appear, with a consequent decrease in the covers. The work always comes out for ATCO and immediately stands out for the evocative, depressed and dreamy cover that perfectly matches the sound spirit proposed on the disc. The album begins immediately with an original, dreamy and lysergic composition, with an acidic and penetrating guitar and the usual superlative keyboards. The song continues with extremely captivating sounds until its closure and you immediately feel that the record will be better than the previous one. The dilated and ecstatic moments also continue with the next song, Thoughts, also dripping with hammond and a convincing melody The sky cried / when I was a boy, which immediately channels itself towards Paradise atmospheres accentuates even more the dreamy images of the group with a magical introduction of keyboards and almost ethereal, spiritual, timeless atmospheres, also embellished by the tolling of bells. That's What Makes a Man closes the first side beautifully with convincing melodies brazenly imbued with psychedelia, but also with a very pleasant rock.

Finally, turning the disc we reach the first cover - two in the whole disc - a reinterpretation of The spell that comes after by Essra Mohawk. Immediately after we find what he writes is one of the vertices, if not the highest point, of the entire album: Faceless people, an exceptional mixture of psychedelia, rock and lysergic visions punctuated by a ghostly hammond, Arabian guitar arpeggios that create a mix emotional depression and suggestion. Soon a blind, brutal, savage fury of intricate guitar and organ distortions. And in the meantime, almost half of the piece has gone, which continues in the remaining minutes with acid guitar digressions and very convincing sounds. Immediately after we have another apex of the album, the second (and last) cover, a very dilated Season of the witch by Donovan, made almost mystical, spiritual, with a dreamy atmosphere that close the album in an almost melancholy way. In fact the work ends here, but in the excellent Sundazed reissue there are also b-sides and tracks not present on the disc, such as the excellent dazed reinterpretation of The look of love by Burt Bacharach and the original Where is my mind. A pleasant disc then, a natural continuation and evolution of what was the debut album, which alternates moments of heavy rock with others that are much more imaginative and evocative. Despite the high originality of some songs and the high quality standard, once again Vanilla do not end up at the top of the charts, as they never were in their short career, but this record gives a bit of serenity to the band that gives soon he will start working on "Near the beginning".

With "Renaissance" Vanilla Fudge find their way back to their old strength after the curious excursion "The Beat Goes On" and shine brighter than ever in the Psychdelic firmament.

 Near The Beginning by VANILLA FUDGE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.35 | 63 ratings

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Near The Beginning
Vanilla Fudge Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars The versatility of Vanilla Fudge is demonstrated by the first self-titled album, full of excellent covers ranging from the Beatles to "Bang Bang" to the famous "You Keep Me Hangin 'On". The chameleonic "The Beat Goes On" of the following year, 1968, re-proposed other covers of the Fab Four explained in an unpredictable way and even the sensational remake of "Fur Elise". The dawn, even in some cases unripe, of the progressive era. In the period of the dispute there is also the first work containing all songs signed by the quartet, indeed no, there is "Season Of The Witch" to raise the level (also redone by Bloomfield, Kooper & Stills). The sound proposed by the band in this "Renaissance" is enhanced by Mark Stein's Hammond and Tim Bogert's imponderable bass, which inaugurates the raids of Hugh Hopper's four strings. But let's not forget the blows of Carmine Appice, who in the next "Near The Beginning" will have his consecration.Together with Procol Harum and Moody Blues is the group that inaugurates the first sound complexities of rock, beat, psychedelia. However, the Vanilla set-up and stylistic features will certainly influence compatriots Uriah Heep. The ecstatic choirs that float on the otherworldly, hidden suspension of the Hammond is the trademark of Stein and his companions. But they make it clear that you have to hit hard especially in live shows.

"Near The Beginning" is the 1969 album that closes the band's golden age, before dissolving the project with the "caciarone" "Rock & Roll". With "Near The Beginning" you have more freedom of individual elements, more individuality and the experience it takes to churn out a masterpiece with four tracks.

The opening of the disc is by far the most rock song proposed by the group. Shotgun instantly fires rock high- density cartridges and a raw, low-fidelity sound. Almost a turning point compared to previous works, which in fact it will be. Immediately after we have perhaps the apex of the entire record, a dilated and rarefied reinterpretation of Some Velvet Morning by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. Some velvet morning will be their highest moment, and never reached again, which in 7 and a half minutes fascinates the listener with persuasive instrumental melodies and delicate vocal whispers. Without pauses, immediately after the end of the piece, Where Is Happiness begins which will close the first side. Noises, distortions and creaks, dreamlike atmospheres, lysergic visions, perhaps their whole ego is condensed here. A beginning not exactly in high fidelity, which for more than a minute leads the listener to unexplored shores and visions. A very valid facade closure. The other side of the vinyl is entirely occupied by the extraordinary Break song, a long improvised song played live probably under the effects of LSD, so the chronicles tell. Psychedelia, blues, rock, improvisation, talent: everything is here. Musically the piece contains four improvisations by all the members of the group. Martell's acid guitar opens the dance as it wanders along shores full of saturated and harsh sounds. Bogert's turn who gives us a bass solo, which is rare to see and not very common at that time, which, when combined with Martell and his guitar, gives life to an incredibly dirty and distorted passage: despair, almost a lament , a lysergic trip that angrily comes out of its four strings. Now it's up to Stein who with his glorious hammond organ gives us jazzy moments of excellent taste. Closes the extraordinary performance of the group Carmine Apice, who performs in a 6-minute long solo.

An album, therefore, much more traditional than the three that preceded it: a much more assimilable, more classic and more canonical work, more in line with the classic standards of rock. Practically it will also be their commercial summit that will no longer touch the sales levels of Some velvet morning, since the subsequent Rock n 'roll will begin the decline that will lead them to disappear from the scene for several years.

 Deep Purple in Rock by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.36 | 1247 ratings

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Deep Purple in Rock
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars After three less than convincing studio albums, the British Deep Purple changed radically by replacing vocalist Rod Evans with Ian Gillan and bassist Nick Simper with Roger Glover. With the new formation, known as Mark II, in December 1969 they created Concerto For Group And Orchestra, a live progressive rock album, together with the London Royal Philarmonic Orchestra; a real union between classical music and rock; a Jon Lord's dream finally realized.

But it was in June 1970 that the new line up released their first studio album entitled In Rock which can be defined in no uncertain terms as a milestone in rock music. The cover of the disc is very interesting and among the best known ever: the faces of the band members are depicted carved in the rock imitating the famous work of Guzton Borglum who carved the faces of four American presidents on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota (Washington , Jefferson, Roosvelt and Lincoln).

After a few moments a deafening din comes out of the stereo speakers: guitars and keyboards "twist" in a frenzied chaos, then the sudden stillness of a light organ and finally we start at full speed: "Speed King" is one of the pieces with which I think we can better shape the concept of "rock "; snappy and irreverent, it tears the listener out of the chair and gives him an invincible charge: very tight from start to finish. The dirty and hot blues of "Bloodsucker" with the elegant solos of Blackmore and Lord that cross: Deep Purple knows how to "hit" like few others, but they always maintain a notable taste for refined melody. The first side ends with the famous "Child In Time": a blues ballad in continuous growth thanks to the vocal and instrumental progressions that made it famous, in which the band launches into long solo parts; lots of energy and watts, but also a lot of class. Simple and direct riff starts "Flight Of The Rat", an airy, typically hard-rock song, which allows all musicians to stand out with always well-designed solo parts. "Into The Fire" and "Living Wreck" are perhaps the least inspired pieces, but they slip away with pleasure. It ends in style with "Hard Lovin 'Man": it is a psychedelic and decidedly experimental song, but played with prodigious fury, so much so that many thrash-metal bands of the 80s must have drawn more than a few ideas from it.

With Deep Purple In Rock, the British group stands as a milestone in the heavy metal of the time and in that of the following decades. While bands like Free and Led Zeppelin, each in their own way, enhance their blues inspirations, and while Black Sabbath almost casually arrive at a dark, sulphurous, heavy riff-based sound, Deep Purple benefits from the various influences of the band's members, to create something indefinable and completely new. In particular, it is the classical tradition of Lord and Blackmore, the rock & roll tradition of Ritchie himself and Gillan, the great experience of Paice in dance orchestras and Glover's passion for country and folk to mix in the musical cauldron of the Mark II formation. A must have.

The sound for the entire duration of the album remains very raw and rough almost primordial but always supported by the remarkable technical ability of the musicians, there are also more classic moments to the point that the press of the time even classified this release as "progressive rock"!

 Burn by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.88 | 853 ratings

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Burn
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars To review this album I could write just one sentence: Rock masterpiece to absolutely own. But if I did that I would be just a lazy scoundrel and would take away the taste and privilege of writing about this milestone. Deep Purple in 1974 were already veterans of the scene, with seven albums. Pioneers of what would later be baptized as "Heavy Metal" like other legends such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest, the DP had already left their mark with records as beautiful as they are fundamental such as, for example, "In Rock" , "Machine Head" and one of the quintessential live albums "Made in Japan".

"Burn" is the first work of the band in its third incarnation (nicknamed "Mark III") born after the departure from the group due to more character than musical quarrels of singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover (who will return to the band several years later). The reins of the group therefore remain in the hands of the grumpy as well as brilliant guitarist Ritchie Blackmore assisted by the phenomenal Ian Paice on drums and Jon Lord on keyboards. Blues-Funk- Soul both with the 4 strings and with the vocal cords: Master of the groove with the instrument and endowed with a high-pitched voice with such a high and intense timbre. Blackmore's intentions were to give Hughes the role of frontman by turning the band into a quartet. It was the management of the record label who insisted on having a fifth element in the band and so, after numerous unsuccessful auditions for various singers, the young David Coverdale joined the ranks of the group, unknown talent who was noticed by pure chance during a live with his previous band, amateur level, from an Ian Paice wandering around beer houses. Coverdale's voice contrasts with Hughes's and gives its best on mid-bass tones with a typically bluesy "scratch" capable of becoming a roar when the song requires it. A warm, dirty and inspired voice that alternates and completes with the sharp and clean one of the bassist. This possibility of having two vocal styles in their arsenal instead of just one allows the band to give their compositions an interesting variety and a greater sound spectrum than they dared in previous records.

The disc opens with the title track "Burn" and it's fantastic guitar riff. The rhythm section completes it with a tight and dynamic groove. Based on the catchy guitar riff of the great guitar hero, the song is carried on by Coverdale's aggressive singing, Hughes' treble, Paice's drums gait, the two guitar solos and above all the great keyboard interludes including medieval themes. The text speaks of a crowd in revolt against a woman judged "devil's sperm" and who is being burned at the stake. With Might Just Take Your Life the initial tension subsides. Definitely sweeter but once again very intense rhythm, with a refrain that, after the first listen, will immediately remain in your ears. Lay Down Stay Down is supported by the as usual great Paice, with a performance that should be among the basic exercises of any new drummer. In any case, the song, sung more by Hughes than by Coverdale, and this confirms that the bassist is absolutely not a second-voice, is an excellent Rock 'n roll, complete with a repetitive saloon keyboard and a great solo by Blackmoore , perhaps driven by a new charge, he lets himself go more than ever throughout the album. "Sail Away"- The piece opens with the fabulous main riff, a healthy bearer of a sick groove, with Blackmore's Stratocaster that takes on an acid and cutting tone so much that it merges with that of the organ that comes in to accompany it. On the martial pace of the song, Coverdale's voice stands out with an enveloping blues melody. The warm and calm timbre of the frontman sings a few phrases to give way to that of the bass player and then return, first crossing harmoniously with that of the bandmate in the bridge, then resuming the solo role in the chorus. An almost liquid melody that slides on the walls of the listener's heart, leaving a trace that can hardly dry out in a short time. A sort of pasty and refined blues psychedelia supported by a precise and imaginative rhythmic work. The central instrumental break is of rare beauty: first Lord's keyboards weave long and variegated notes, as if to sonically paint an open sea, then Blackmore's guitar with a simple and well-chosen harmonized melody. Fabulous. As well as the slide guitar passages in the final to fade. The text tells a story of personal maturation and reflection exposed through maritime metaphors (life like an ocean, personal revolution like setting sail for the open sea), a symbolism dear to David Coverdale so much that he will re-propose it years later in the wonderful "Sailing Ships "of his Whitesnake. Turn up the volume and set sail for your dreams, sisters and brothers. "You Fool No One". The boogie rock guitar riff fits together perfectly and the fun starts. The whole verse is sung in perfect harmony by the two singers with long notes that complement and counterbalance the dynamism of the instrumental sector. Only in the chorus do the voices perform alone, first Coverdale, then Hughes. The instrumental parts after the second and third chorus keep the dynamics high and show once again, as if it was not yet understood, how much all the musicians of the group are at a very high level. Next we have "What's Going On Here". Boogie and Rhythm & Blues are evident in the DNA of this composition. The piece travels on very 60's coordinates both in its gait, as in the use of the guitar and, above all, for the use of the electric piano in a very "groovy" and rhythmic way. The text is a humorous chronicle of a hangover, the subsequent delusional hangover and the ensuing troubles with women and police. The song is definitely of high quality even if compared to the other pearls of the disc perhaps it tends to take second place.

Almost at the end of the album we find one of the absolute highlights, for me, of Deep Purple's career: "Mistreated". It is the only Blackmore Stratocaster to introduce us to the journey that will accompany us for the next 7 or more minutes. A rereading of the Blues canons of rare intensity. A martial, obsessive, sexy, dramatic, angry song. The role of singing the drama of loneliness after the loss of a love is left to Coverdale alone who plays his role with a passion and determination. This is the only song on the record in which there is no alternation of role as a solo singer and the vocal harmonies are practically never used (except in the final part, but more than anything else to enrich the base for the guitar only). Wise choice and in line with the theme of the piece, which would have lost its communicative power if sung with several voices. It closes with the very particular but, for an expert ear, a very successful instrumental duet sinth and guitar of A 200, where Paice closes his excellent performance with a military march rhythm, and Blackmoore leaves us with a real rocker solo (if listened to in speed in my opinion this solo has been plagiarized at least 100 times by various metalheads), one of the best of his career.

Only flaw, in my eyes, is the questionable cover: five candles with the appearance of the members of the group, at least that was the intention. Certainly not a captivating or successful image. This certainly does not detract from what it is and will always be one of the most beautiful, varied and inspired Hard Rock records in history. An emblem of how a band can reinvent itself and how not setting limits of genre and musical influences is a weapon of those who truly love and know how to write and play Great Music.

The next world tour will have a lot of luck, as evidenced by the legendary California Jam (also available on video), and will be one of the last testimonies of the sound evolution of this band that probably will not reach the top like this anymore.

 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.35 | 1112 ratings

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars When they started working on their eighth album, "Sergeant Pepper", they were already extremely popular. They then concluded that there was no point in further performing in front of a crowd of hysterically screaming teenagers. That is why they could record an album, the content of which did not have to be repeated later on stage. Such a concept album seemed unusual at the time. Indeed, an unbelievable work has been created! Although exactly 54 years has passed since its premiere, it is still widely regarded as the best album in the entire history of rock music, which surpassed all artistic and formal barriers that existed at that time. For its implementation, the label gave The Beatles unlimited time in the Abbey Road studio, and the latest technological wonder, four-track Studer tape recorders. For them, however, four tracks were just a drop in the ocean of needs, so when they filled them, they threw the recorded material onto a second tape recorder and added further ideas.

The whole material was worked on for a very long time, the recordings lasted less than half a year and were completed on April 21, 1967.

This effort was not in vain, because "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" turned out to be another inspired and inspiring work of the legendary four. First of all, it was one of the first concept albums. The whole concept came from Paul McCartney, who suggested releasing an album filled with music played by a fictional group of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Orchestra. It was related to the different image of the group and the complete stylistic separation from the first achievements. The guys were constantly looking for new means of expression (not only musical), and the rest of Paul's idea seemed interesting enough to be put into practice.

Longplay continues the psychedelic direction taken on "Revolver" and partly on "Rubber Soul" (although it's definitely not worth closing this material within one genre). This is evidenced by both the text and music content, as well as various hidden flavors. This release is a testimony to unfettered imagination, both in terms of arrangement, composition and production (once again, the invaluable help of George Martin). Even though the lyrics are not too interconnected according to the concept of the album, we are dealing with a fully conscious work. McCartney, Lennon and Harrison were at the peak of their creativity at that time, and this CD is a testimony to this statement.

First of all, the very concept with the fictional Sergeant Pepper Orchestra is fascinating, which manifests itself in an intriguing envelope, not only musical, but also graphic (both constitute one whole). It is about all the gadgets associated with this album or an amazing, very colorful and colorful cover, again according to Paul's idea. You can see the title orchestra appearing in the surroundings of its audience. Of course, the roles of musicians were played by the Beatles, wearing specific costumes and holding wind instruments, and the audience consisted mainly of famous characters. The designs of these characters appear to be drawn, but a different trick was used - photos of individuals were enlarged to their natural size and then glued onto a stiff cardboard (to avoid legal problems, a request was sent to living people to lend their image).

The photo session was organized in the studio of the photographer, Michael Cooper. It took place on March 30, 1967, after two weeks of preparation. This project draws attention to a large number of details, so in order to catch many of them it is worth getting a vinyl edition. Among the audience of the orchestra, there are personalities such as Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Oscar Wilde, Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis and Albert Einstein. There are also images of the Beatles in a younger edition (which was probably supposed to show how much of a road they went in a few years). Initially, it was planned to take into account the presence of Jesus or Adolf Hitler, but it was concluded that their presence in the photo would be too controversial and could cause disgust in some listeners. The title of the work was inscribed on the drum in front of the line-up, and the name of the band, filling the bottom part of the cover, was arranged in an ingenious way out of colorful flowers and green leaves. Many people call this cover the best band ever, and it's hardly surprising. In the context of the release, one of the interesting innovations was the printing of all the texts on the back cover.

It starts with the eponymous "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". As the name suggests, this is a text preview of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Orchestra's performance. You can hear the richness of the sound right away, which still sounds quite good and not so archaic today. The track itself was largely based on the hard work of the guitars (sometimes interrupted by brass section inputs). As a result, Jimi Hendrix himself appreciated this number and sometimes started his concerts with it. In turn, the calmer "With a Little Help from My Friends" is a very cute song with a hit melody, great (yes!) Ringo's singing and thoughtful input of vocal harmonies. This is the only case of a piece sung by Starr, which is not only not the weakest in the set, but even the best. It fits perfectly with the carefree pieces he performs, but does not fall into banality or trash.

Although when it comes to catchy melodies, it is unrivaled in this respect, inspired by the preschool painting by Lennon's son Julian, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", with an instantly memorable chorus. It is one of the most psychedelic and hypnotic compositions on the longplay, with mixed time signatures (3/4 for the verse and 4/4 for the chorus) and a polished arrangement of deeply processed guitar and organ sounds. Interestingly, the first letters of the nouns in the title form the abbreviation LSD, but musicians have always admitted that they did not notice it at the time of writing, and the theory that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" had a textual reference to the abbreviated drug was invented by fans. In such an environment, "Getting Better" sung by the McCartney-Lennon duo makes for a filler, although you can boast of a pretty good bass line from Paul. Interestingly, both in this and the previous recording, George plays the tambourine. "Fixing a Hole" doesn't bring much improvement either and belongs (despite the sonic splendor) to the least distinctive moments on the album. Both tracks are closest to the average, which makes them slightly different from the rest.

As Paul wrote the weaker "Getting Better" and "Fixing a Hole", then he rehabilitates himself with another composition. "She's Leaving Home" is instrumentally easy to associate with the older "Eleanor Rigby", as only a string quartet and a harp can be heard from among the instruments (thanks to which a woman played for the first time in The Beatles recording). And although the older piece was much more interesting, "She's Leaving Home", flowing at a lazy pace and with an interesting vocal part (accompanied only by Lennon in the chorus), can be classified as successful. In turn, "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" it is irresistibly associated with the background for a circus performance (and was indeed inspired by a poster of a circus show). It is worth emphasizing the work of the organ, because we are dealing not with an ordinary batch, but with an exquisite plywood made by George Martin. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" it may be pleasing in terms of composition, but it is the producer's work that makes the hands applaud by themselves.

Despite all the advantages of the vinyl A side, the beginning of the second side looks more interesting, that is Harrison's only composition - "Within You Without You", another one in the spirit of Indian music. The guitarist was inspired by the aforementioned stay in India with Ravi Shankar. Apart from the author, no other member of the band played on it. In return, we get the collaboration of George (playing the sitar and tambour and responsible for the vocal part) with Indian musicians (without Shankar) and people playing the strings. Harrison and Martin have worked hard to get the producer's string arrangement in sync with the rest. The effect was really amazing. Using exotic (mostly) instruments, the musicians create a very soothing and extremely pleasant atmosphere, which is a kind of musical meditation. This work contrasts in an interesting way with the next one, associated with pre-war music of the 20s or 30s, "When I'm Sixty Four", dedicated to Paul McCartney's father. The author reportedly finished writing on his father's 64th birthday, hence the meaningful title.

Compared to many of the suggestions here, I find little interesting in the already quite good "Lovely Rita". Probably the most prominent aspect of it is the vocal layer that can catch the listener's attention. Crazy "Good Morning Good Morning" is an arrangement miracle. It lasts less than 3 minutes, and a lot is happening in it. The sound engineers decided to have fun playing animal sounds (obvious inspiration from "Pet Sounds", especially the final "Caroline, No") or mixing the sounds of guitars and wind instruments. In the middle there is a really good, though unfortunately short guitar solo by McCartney - one of the most interesting points of the song. A lot of energy was also found in the reprise of the title recording, with heavy, hard rock guitar sound. This is the shortest piece in the set, lasting about 80 seconds (and the simplest in terms of arrangement), but adding a lot of consistency to the whole. The sounds of the audience reappear, inaudible for a long time (does that mean that the audience is listening to the performance with full concentration?).

The final "A Day in the Life" deserves a special mention. It was created by combining two different compositions by Lennon and McCartney. The beginning is a melancholic ballad inspired by the headline of a car crash with the emotional vocals of the first one. After this fragment, you can hear the orchestral playing, followed by a shorter, more cheerful part of Paul. Immediately after that, we return to the part of John, kept in the same convention as before. After the vocal lines are over, the orchestra begins to play again in an increasingly intense way, and the last piano chord sums it all up perfectly. When, after a few seconds of silencing, we think it's over, we get several dozen seconds of strange, looped noises.

"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" testifies to the evolution of the music and image of the Beatles. In some respects, it is an exceptional and unique work, but unfortunately not outstanding or without defects. The pampered and unusual arrangements do not hide the fact that in terms of composition, the album is weaker than the previous "Revolver". It certainly doesn't have so many great melodies, but many of its moments definitely stand out as a plus (with "A Day in the Life" and "Within You Without You" at the fore). Besides, this release - along with "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" - at one time clearly showed how much production and sound mean when it comes to recording albums. The breakthrough it has made in the music industry cannot go unnoticed and underestimated, so even if someone (like me) does not consider "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" a masterpiece, this album deserves respect.

 Get Back by BEATLES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
4.13 | 28 ratings

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Get Back
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Paul McCartney wrote and The Beatles recorded 'Get Back' in January 1969. It was released as a single in April 1969, and another version of the song appeared on Let It Be (1970). The single was a No. 1 hit and sold over two million copies. 'Get Back' is a simple, back-to-basics rock'n'roll song, slightly similar to 'Lady Madonna' (1968) which had marked a stop to the band's more experimental psychedelic phase. Although John Lennon later described 'Get Back' as a better version of 'Lady Madonna', I find the earlier song more charming. Ringo's drumming rarely gets as central, but overall 'Get Back' is rather half-baked as a composition.

Paul's original lyrics were a parody of the anti-immigrant views of Enoch Powell, a member of parliament, whose racist speeches had recently gained media attention. Because the song would have been too easy to misinterpret as racist, Paul re-wrote all the lyrics apart from the chorus. Now the song deals with two persons from Tucson, Arizona, and the story is not developed further.

On the B side there's a non-album John Lennon song 'Don't Let Me Down', which I unpredictably like a lot, for all its bluesy and soulful rawness. John notoriously was afraid of being emotionally hurt and let down by the loved ones (think of his earlier songs such as 'Help' and 'If I Fell'). Naturally Yoko Ono was the muse for this passionate and lyrically very bare song, which also has a certain humorous or ironic feel to it, especially on John's vocal expression ("ooh she done me / she done me good"). Billy Preston's keyboards were an essential part of the song's delicious groove.

The prog aspect completely taken aside from the rating, I think this is among the most interesting singles by The Beatles in their later years (despite 'Get Back' being a bit too monotonous), and my four stars are also in line with given ratings here.

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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
THE ECLECTIC MOUSE United States
FLAMING YOUTH United Kingdom
FORD THEATRE United States
GATTCH Slovakia
GILES GILES & FRIPP United Kingdom
THE GODS United Kingdom
THE GUN 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 United Kingdom
LES MALEDICTUS SOUND France
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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