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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 | 1196 ratings
ABBEY ROAD
Beatles, The
4.50 | 702 ratings
QUADROPHENIA
Who, The
4.36 | 1354 ratings
DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK
Deep Purple
4.38 | 1104 ratings
REVOLVER
Beatles, The
4.36 | 1228 ratings
SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
Beatles, The
4.34 | 1358 ratings
MACHINE HEAD
Deep Purple
4.44 | 701 ratings
WHO'S NEXT
Who, The
4.33 | 810 ratings
THE DOORS
Doors, The
4.25 | 629 ratings
STRANGE DAYS
Doors, The
4.19 | 891 ratings
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
Beatles, The
4.27 | 522 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
Hendrix, Jimi
4.15 | 986 ratings
THE BEATLES [AKA: THE WHITE ALBUM]
Beatles, The
3.98 | 883 ratings
RUBBER SOUL
Beatles, The
4.01 | 664 ratings
TOMMY
Who, The
4.06 | 462 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ELECTRIC LADYLAND
Hendrix, Jimi
4.01 | 593 ratings
L.A. WOMAN
Doors, The
4.02 | 371 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: AXIS - BOLD AS LOVE
Hendrix, Jimi
3.87 | 933 ratings
BURN
Deep Purple
4.14 | 209 ratings
TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS
Spirit
3.97 | 389 ratings
NOW WHAT?!
Deep Purple

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews


 S.F. Sorrow by PRETTY THINGS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.29 | 101 ratings

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S.F. Sorrow
The Pretty Things Proto-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A mature and confident British band with some great ideas and great production team. I didn't realize this was the band's fourth studio album!

1. "S.F. Sorrow is Born" (3:12) the album's opening song sound like Fairport Convention or some other folk band trying out some rock and psychedelic sounds and instruments, not quite sure how to incorporate them into their sound palette. Quite a little feel to some of the early Rolling Stones as well. (8.75/10)

2. "Bracelets of Fingers" (3:41) definitely psychedelic, the band definitely has an acerbic rock edge--as if they are aching to turn up the volumes on their amps and really rock it out. Otherwise, there is just too much in ideas and lyrics and not enough in full or innovative development. (8.66667/10)

3. "She Says Good Morning" (3:23) again the Rolling Stones (and Beatles) come strongly to mind while listening to this straightforward (if lurkingly angry) blues-rock song--more Beatles-lie with experimental voice samples in the finish. (8.66667/10)

4. "Private Sorrow" (3:51) this one has some great production, a nice 12-string guitar chord progression in the opening with some (wooden?) flute accents, and several clever turns of phrases and unusual instrumental hooks, still this one struggles to rise above the mundane, feels constrained and not fully realised. (8.875/10)

5. "Balloon Burning" (3:51) Finally! At 1:25 the band bursts into a sound palette that feels like their true selves! And boy do they fly high! The Byrds, Moodies, Animals, Stones, and Beatles--comparisons to all other bands are put to rest with this truly innovative song. My favorite song on the album. (9.75/10)

6. "Death" (3:05) another song that feels as if the band's unique ideas are finally being fully realized--or at least nearly so. Sitar and weird "trombone-bass." These last three songs feel like a suite--and feel like the band's unique ideas and tremendous potential are finally being exposed. (8.75/10)

7. "Baron Saturday" (4:01) Beatles comparisons are inevitable, yet these vocals, lyrics, instrument choices, and sound mixes are unusually unique. Bravo, Pretty Things! Very interesting. Just wish I liked it more.(8.75/10)

8. "The Journey" (2:46) another innocuous song that perhaps would connect more with me if I were attuned to lyrical content. (8.6667/10)

9. "I See You" (3:56) nothing daring or beyond The Beatles here. My oblique barrier to lyrics may make me miss something, but until the guitar and effected "steps" voice at the end, this is nothing special. (8.66667/10)

10. "Well of Destiny" (1:46) interesting guitar and effects (4.375/5)

11. "Trust" (2:49) a very well-realised pop song with some Baroque psychedelic BEATLES-like sounds and stylings rises to take a place among my top three songs. (9/10)

12. "Old Man Going" (3:09) complex and aggressive MOODY BLUES-like acoustic guitar work opens this one before fuzzy electric guitar, percussion, and hard rock, pre-metal, electric guitar strumming and effected vocal join in. I feel and hear a bit of SYD BARRETT's psychedelic mania here--and a GREAT finish! (9/10)

13. "Loneliest Person" (1:29) finger-picked acoustic guitar with vocal reminds me of folk rock artists like DONOVAN. (4.5/5)

Total time 40:59

This is a very well-engineered album though I feel that many of its "experimental" ideas are under-developed--the band settling for sounding like the Rolling Stones or Beatles when it feels as if they really wanted to go further (I feel strongly that there is a lot of unrealized potential and repressed emotion). Upon learning more about the band and the history of its members, the art school origins and brief tenure of guitarist Dick Taylor with the original Rolling Stones both make total sense. There is tremendous creativity bursting out of these songs yet feelings of pent up energy still seeking to find a way to find full expression.

B/four stars; an excellent addition of beautifully rendered sophisticated song compositions that often feel surprisingly ahead of their time and yet at others feel horribly repressed.

 Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.14 | 209 ratings

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Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars Of all the bands that emerged from the West Coast scene of California's psychedelic 60s, few sounded as eclectic and adventurous as the Los Angeles based SPIRIT led by the excellent songwriting team of drummer Jay Ferguson who infused the band's sound with the more commercial aspects and Randy California who offered the more experimental aspirations. The band never experienced the success they deserved and missed out on an invitation to play at the career boosting Woodstock event, yet has become recognized retroactively as one of the most innovative forces that was steering the world of psychedelically infused rock into more progressive avenues with a style that blended jazz, blues, country, folk and other elements into its proto-prog cauldron.

The band only released four albums with the original lineup of Randy California (guitars, vocals), Jay Ferguson (lead vocals, percussion), John Locke (piano, keyboards), Mark Andes (bass) and Ed Cassidy (drums, percussion) before Ferguson and Andes left the band to form Jo Jo Gunne following a final tour that ended in 1971. After two years of releasing three albums and an unreleased musical score for a film, SPIRIT returned to the studio throughout 1970 to record its fourth album TWELVE DREAMS OF DR SARDONICUS which despite failing commercially at the time, has since been reevaluated and deemed the band's finest hour however personally i still prefer the stunning debut album by a small margin. The album featured 12 tracks that were supposed to represent different dreams and is a loose concept album theme of sort but remains nebulous to the listener as to exactly what it all really is supposed to mean.

The album's title refers to the 1961 horror film "Mr Sardonicus" which strangely told the story of a man whose face was frozen into a horrifying grin while robbing his father's grave. Now how's that for weird? Sort of describes SPIRIT's giddy uplifting sound as they forged ahead into strange unprecedented musical territories only to suffer the alienating effects of the music buying public not really getting it. Like the band's previous releases, TWELVE DREAMS OF DR SARDONICUS embarks on a musical journey that you never know where it's exactly going with dreamy ballad type tracks ("Prelude Nothing To Hide," "Soldier") in complete contrast to boogie rock bluesy numbers such as "Morning Will Come" to trippy psychedelic nuggets such as The Who sounding "Street Worm." Add to that an even more spaced instrumental track in the form of "Space Child." While SPIRIT was gifted in crafting interesting songs with unusual structures and even more unorthodox flavorings, the band never really fine-tuned it all so that the tracks flowed cohesively together without sounding somewhat awkward.

While the music on DR SARDONICUS did successfully compile everything that band had engaged in up to that point, the album still sounded a bit like it was aimlessly drifting around. Likewise the band offered a more complex fusion of their style they had set forth from the debut album. Dr SARDONICUS still offered radio friendly hits in the form of "Animal Zoo" and "Nature's Way" which despite not exactly charting high still were welcomed by FM radio stations that had their pulse on the cutting edge artists forging new paths of creativity. The album was also produced by David Briggs who had helped propel Neil Young's albums to a new level of production savvy and therefore DR SARDONICUS features a warm elegant mix of instrumentation and sound effects. The music had clearly evolved into a totally new grin-bearing beast with some fiery performances complete with a sax solo on "Mr Skin." The band seemed as if it was on top of its game on this album which belies the fact that it would soon splinter apart.

The music of SPIRIT is strange in a way i've never been able to describe but the only word i can come up with is that it's aloof. It seems the talents of the songwriting team never really melded into a seamless whole unlike say The Beatles or The Doors. While the differing members may have reached a truce in terms of musical creativity, they never truly collaborated to merge their styles into one. This gave SPIRIT a rather indecisive feel to its music which was a bit alienating to the instant gratification public who didn't want to think too much about having to work to comprehend music.

Likewise the band wasn't complex enough to break through to the nascent world of progressive rock and therefore straddled the line between the psychedelic 60s and more progressive 70s. Many declare this the band's masterpiece but personally i don't think the band actually delivered a masterpiece but rather four excellent albums that have flaws. For one thing, the band's concept of TWELVE DREAMS OF DR SARDONICUS could have been more streamlined into a cohesive dream sequence of twelve songs that tie together more effectively but rather many of the tracks seem alienated from the others. In retrospect SPIRIT was primarily a band that wrote great songs but didn't deliver them in a classic album form. In this sense they were stuck in the 60s even if their aspirations had the 70s written all over it. Still though, no denying that DR SARDINICUS an excellent album. Lots of great music on here. It's just too bad that SPIRIT never was really given their chance to develop into that tier one band they were clearly capable of becoming. Still though, history has been kind and given them their kudos.

 Clear by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.84 | 79 ratings

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Clear
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars SPIRIT had only formed in 1967 in the ashes of a previous band called Red Roosters and already by 1968 the band had released its first two albums, scored a top 40 hit with 'I Got A Line On You' AND was asked by French film director Jacques Demy to record the soundtrack to his film 'Model Shop' which ultimately would be shelved until it finally saw a release in 2005. The band had also undergone a massive touring schedule yet the pressures of the record labels were to consistently pump out product no matter at what cost to the quality. Having capitulated, the result was the rather disjointed third release CLEAR which pretty much gets panned as SPIRIT's weakest moment during its initial four album run with the classic lineup.

Although CLEAR featured the by then standard mix of songs written by both guitarist / vocalist Randy California and drummer Jay Ferguson, the album felt more like an odds and sods kind of affair with tracks scraped together for the sake of releasing an album's worth of material. The band itself has always expressed a distaste for having to release an album before it was actually ready to do so but nevertheless the album emerged in August 1969 and despite it all doesn't really sound that bad once you know the story behind why it sounds so unusually eclectic. The band delivered its usual 60s psychedelic rock soaked bluesy pop tracks and opens with the instantly catchy 'Dark Eyed Woman' followed by 'Apple Orchard' which showcases California's tasty guitar soloing and the band's excellent vocal harmonies.

While the band starts out in classic SPIRIT form, the album becomes a bit more unpredictable starting with 'Ground Hog Day' which suddenly abandons the 60s pop psych for a blues rock sound as if the band was channeling its inner John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers. Interestingly SPIRIT also seems to have written catchy melodies that others would later borrow and make their own. The rather unremarkable track 'Cold Wind' has an intro that sounds just like the main melody for Bill Wither's 1972 smash hit 'Lean On Me.' Add that to the 'Stairway To Heaven' debacle from the band's debut album track 'Taurus' and perhaps SPIRIT was one of the most plagiarized bands of the entire 60s!

Given the soundtrack score fell through, the band suddenly had a bunch of extra tracks it could pad the album with however given the three tracks 'Ice,' 'Clear' and 'Caught' sound more like something off a Weather Report album in an all instrumental jazz fusion light mode, these tracks totally clash with the brash ballsy blue rock songs such as 'Policeman's Ball' and 'I'm Truckin.' Despite sounding like totally different bands, the jazz rock tracks are actually quite brilliantly performed sounding a bit like 70s Soft Machine at times with beautiful keyboard tones and California's excellent fusion guitar soloing. The rather anachronistic 'Give A Life, Take A Life' sounds as if it was one of the band member's first songs written in the early 60s with a dreamy traditional pop song with pop harmonies right out of the early 60s.

Despite its oddball mix of tracks, SPIRIT didn't really have it in them to craft inferior material. While the album doesn't hold together as a whole, the tracks taken on their own terms hold up pretty well although not all are created equal. For a throw-it-together job, SPIRIT rose to the occasion and piece-mealed a decent selection of tracks that just happen to sound a bit quirky sitting next to each other. Newer remastered versions of the album also feature a number of bonus tracks including non-album singles such as the excellent '1984.' The band would have the proper amount of time to work on its next album 'Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus' which would got down in history as their strongest work. Sure, i concur this is SPIRIT's weakest album of its four album first run but it's not inferior by much. The songs are all decent to downright excellent. A bit awkward in how they hang together but i think the band did a commendable job of making lemonade out of lemons.

3.5 but closer to 4 than 3 so rounding up

 Touch [Aka: 20-20 Sound] by TOUCH album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.02 | 114 ratings

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Touch [Aka: 20-20 Sound]
Touch Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars When it comes to the history of progressive rock it is the English scene that pretty much gets most of the credit for transmogrifying the disparate genres of jazz, psychedelic rock and classical music into a potpourri of innovative art rock that has waxed and waned in popularity over the years but nevertheless elevated the rock paradigm to the same standards as the most highly developed art forms. When one ponders the question of just exactly where ground zero was for the world of prog, it is often cited that King Crimson with its revolutionary "In The Court Of The Crimson King" was spark that set off the explosion of creativity that followed the 1969 game changing album. But things in the world of music are really never quite so black and white of course.

If one were to pinpoint an exact moment of where the seeds of prog were sown, it's fairly agreed upon that The Beatles and its groundbreaking 1967 album "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club" single-handedly raised the bar of art rock for many generations to come and thus was the primary impetus for taking the rock and roll scene into the hi brow sophistication of contemporary jazz and classical music only without eschewing the attributes of what make rock music, well rock and roll! After The Beatles dropped their bomb on the world it became somewhat of an arms race to take rock into strange new worlds never considered and by the end of 1967, The Moody Blues released its classic "Days Of Future Passed" which hybridized its 60s beat music with the classical backing of The London Festival Orchestra. A new era of rock music had clearly begun.

While it would take a couple more years for the prog rock perfection of KC's "Crimson King" to hit the scene, the world of nascent prog rock was by no means solely an English phenomenon. The Swedish Hansson & Karlsson with its emphasis on tricky psych fueled keyboard sophistication is often considered the first progressive rock album while bands like The Savage Rose and Burnin Red Ivanhoe were brewing in nations like Denmark. Even the Eastern European nation of Hungry spawned a band named Omega which dropped its debut "10000 Lépés" in 1969. Despite the fact that prog wasn't exclusively an English phenomenon, the truth is the bands from jolly ole England were the most successful and most recognized internationally having nurtured the world of symphonic prog with The Moody Blues and The Nice as well as the more jazz-fusion oriented Canterbury sounds of The Soft Machine and Caravan.

The United States may have not been on the radar for most but on that side of the Atlantic, Frank Zappa and his Mothers of Invention were hard at work crafting some of the first avant-prog infused jazz-fusion workouts and although the most famous of the American scene was not the only one by far to craft some of the first expressions of fully developed progressive rock. The Los Angeles based TOUCH has remained an underground enigma since it entered the scene in 1968 when it emerged from the prior band The Kingsmen followed by Don and Good Times. The band was led by Don Gallucci (vocals, keyboards) and included the members Jeff Hawks (vocals), Bruce Hauser (vocals, bass), Joey Newman (vocals, guitars) and John Bordonaro (vocals, percussion).

TOUCH existed for only a brief moment in time and lasted barely long enough to record and release its sole eponymously titled album before moving on. Gallucci would become more famous as a producer for The Stooges however despite being virtually ignored upon its 1969 release (some claim this to have been released in November 1968), TOUCH has in many circles become considered to have crafted the first true progressive rock album from the USA since even though Frank Zappa was up to his shenanigans as early as 1966, the earliest recordings are nowadays considered experimental blues rock as opposed to fully developed prog. Same goes for other prog tinged bands like Boston's Earth Opera.

Although emerging from the psych scene that permeated the late 1960s, TOUCH took things to the next level on its sole album with extended compositional grandiosity, virtuosic musicianship and a total disregard for commercial acceptance by nurturing every aspect of over-indulgence. The result was an album that sounded like a direct predecessor of both Yes and King Crimson although admittedly not quite as satisfying melodically speaking. While the elements of prog rock had clearly been established on TOUCH's album, the band was still relying on the aesthetics and zeitgeist of the 60s psychedelic pop and soul rock bands rather than taking the musical approach into the fully mature prog that KC would launch at the 11th hour of the 1960s. Nevertheless, TOUCH's sole album is a beautiful transition album from the proto-prog leanings of bands like Procol Harum and Spirit to the the real shebang with extended compositional fortitude, oddball time signatures and a daring brashness missing from the more pop oriented bands that preceded.

The album exudes sort of a drunken party vibe that was graced by a whopping $25,000 advance by the Coliseum Records label and a celebratory giddiness that embraced as many stylistic approaches as possible. The recording of the album became legendary within the inner circles and even attracted Grace Slick, Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix to the recording studios to watch the band unleash its unique potpourri of early progressive rock. This is one of those albums that really sounds like absolutely nothing else that has ever been recorded. The album was crafted at that unique juncture where the psychedelic rock of yore was quickly evolving into a higher art form that vacuumed up as many attributes as possible from the world of jazz, Western classical and the myriad of ethnic folk flavors from around the world. One minute the album exudes a trippy psychedelic haze and then abruptly and without warning can erupt into a Turtles-like sunshine pop sequence that evokes an early rendering of a rock opera like "Jesus Christ Superstar." At certain moments on the closing track "Seventy Five" vocalist Jeff Hawks is a dead ringer for Jon Anderson and briefly sounds like an early version of Yes.

TOUCH's sole offering is a difficult release to get into at first. The album seems unsure of itself and where it wants to go therefore it simply throws down the gauntlet and indulges in as much excess as possible. While many could consider this a meandering mess, the album has grown on me after really letting it sink in and lapping up the flavors of that unique moment in time when the hippie ideals of the Summer of Love were swerving into a more grounded realism of the nuanced gray colored nature of the world. The music reflects this period and offers a glimpse into how the first ambitious hunger pangs of progressive music were taking their first baby steps into the greater world of hi-brow sophistication that would require the English artists to bring to fully implemented fruition. Sure the album sounds a bit naive and cluttered at times but the beauty of this one is in how utterly unpredictable one moment is to the next. A veritable mix of psychedelia, heavy psych, jazz rock and full blown prog offer mind blowing hairpin turns and exotically crafted jaunts into never never land. A full blown masterpiece? Not really but definitely an excellent display of transitional psych prog that doesn't leave you bored for even a scant moment. The enthusiasm on this one is rather infectious.

 Love Cycle by CROME SYRCUS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.07 | 7 ratings

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Love Cycle
The Crome Syrcus Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars A true 60s obscurity, THE CROME SYRCUS existed from 1966 to 1973 but only released four singles and a sole album mostly in the year 1968. Having formed in Seattle in September 1966 the band featured an eclectic lineup of musicians who shared completely different backgrounds which gave this primarily psychedelic pop based band a completely different approach than most of the bands steeped in the wafting vibes that lingered from 1967, The Summer of Love. The band originally featured three members of the Mystics: Dick Powell, James Plano and John Gaborit however Plano was soon recruited by the military.

While starting out as a typical garage rock band in the Pacific Northwest and then relocating to San Francisco, THE CROME SYRCUS began to take a new form once it recruited jazz pianist Ted Scheffler and bassist Lee Graham who was also well versed in the world of jazz with the Seattle Jazz Quintet. Before the band recorded its first album though the band took a very strange side track into the pop world by convincing a New York City ballet enthusiast to allow the band to adapt a 26-piece original score for "Opus 65" for a new ballet called "Astarte" which the band premiere in New York at the end of 1967.

The band had great management including that of Bill Graham and soon found themselves opening for some of the biggest acts of the day including Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, Iron Butterfly and Lou Reed. The year 1968 is when THE CROME SYRCUS tackled the contemporary world of psychedelic pop rock with its one and only album LOVE CYCLE as well as a string of singles, many of which weren't featured on the album. After its move to San Francisco the band adopted the hippie ethos as clearly displayed on the colorful album cover that reflects the West Coast scene of the late 1960s.

THE CROME SYRCUS though was a different breed and one that consisted of classically trained musicians whose talent was far above the mere world of pop which allowed LOVE CYCLE to interweave various elements of complexity which has heralded it as one of those early proto-prog albums but for the most part what THE CROME SYRCUS delivered was a typical psychedelic pop album of the era with soulful vocals and a few extra touches that placed it out of the norm (other than the side long title track). The A-side consisted of five tracks that took on more guitar oriented garage rock such as on the opening "Take It Like A Man" to the more tender soulful ballad style of "You Made A Change In Me." On the A-side the most dynamic track is "Crystals" which featured a typical acid rock / pop type of construct only with slightly off-kilter grooves and rhythms.

"Never Come Down" took on a Traffic sort of soul pop sound while the super short "Woman Woman" offered more of a honky tonk piano based Paul McCartney vaudeville affair. The B-side consisted entirely of the 17-minute plus title track which is what set this album apart from the competition. At this point very few artists engaged in side long tracks that meandered through various motifs and mood settings. While it starts out with a spoken narrative, it morphs into a flute and organ piece and then a slow plodding almost liturgical vocal performance. The organ sounds just slightly like the organ melody on Pink Floyd's "Saucerful Of Secrets" which actually was released after LOVE CYCLE which itself came out in February 1968. While the track is a bit long and plodding at times and features some clear Beatles worship, the band was clearly onto something by offering a unique slice of experimental rock at a time when such things were only beginning to blossom.

While the band released one more single in 1969 it would never release anything else however existed in one form or another until 1973 at least officially. While not what i'd call one of those long lost classics, THE CROME SYRCUS' sole release is certainly one worthy of exploration for those who are looking to trace the origins of progressive rock or just love to imbue themselves with the lesser known sounds that the 1960s had to offer because after all even these types of albums that weren't consistently perfect still offered insight into how the entire future of more ambitious rock music developed.

Personally i like this one even if it feels more a bit disjointed in how the various tracks are all over the musical map. LOVE CYCLE is a worthy art pop relic from the past that really is as colorful as the album cover suggests even if not executed to its maximum potential. The psychedelic pop / rock sounds mixed with interesting guitar contributions, classical choral music, orchestrations and pastoral flute sequences offer some of the more interestingly diverse offerings from 1960s San Francisco and although not as focused or developed as other contemporary acts such as later Jefferson Airplane or the wild antics of H.P. Lovecraft, THE CROME SYRCUS nevertheless dropped one of the most distinguished and unique expressions of free love in musical form at a time when the Haight-Ashbury hippie scene was in full swing. Sure it sounds dated but that's the beauty of it. It actually transports you back to the era like a musical time machine.

3.5 rounded down

 Deep Purple in Rock by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.36 | 1354 ratings

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Deep Purple in Rock
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

5 stars Few albums can claim to have rewritten history but that's exactly what IN ROCK, the fourth album by the British progressive symphonic rock turned hard rock band DEEP PURPLE achieved with this landmark release from 1970. While the controversy preservers regarding the origins of heavy metal music, there's little doubt that IN ROCK played a pivotal role in ushering in the 1970s with a hefty infusion of energetic drive and virtuosic dexterity that took the harder arenas of rock to a completely new level. The leading up to the classic Mark II lineup of vocalist Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, organist / keyboardist Jon Lord, bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice reads like a soap opera with new members snatched away from another band and the back stabbing act of forming a new lineup behind the backs of current members. Although deplorable in many ways, the tactics paid off and with the release of IN ROCK, the new lineup propelled DEEP PURPLE onto the world's stage and gave permission for bands to get hard and heavy in the 1970s with faster tempos, heavier distortion and an energetic drive that would morph into the world of heavy metal in the latter half of the decade.

Although DEEP PURPLE had formed all the way back in February of 1968, the band led by Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord was a bit aloof and missing some key ingredients in cementing a sound that made them stand out. While going through the proto-prog motions of crafting symphonic rock albums that followed in the footsteps of The Moody Blues, the Mark I era of DEEP PURPLE suffered from inconsistent songwriting, an over-reliance on cover songs and a noticeable lack of vitality that propelled them to the next level. As Blackmore and Glover conspired behind the backs of original members: singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper to secretly replace them, after discovering a band called Episode Six commenced to seduce their singer and bassist over to the PURPLE side of the fence going as far as recording material with the new band members before telling the old ones they have been ousted. Long smitten with the organ infused psychedelic rock created by the US act Vanilla Fudge along with hearing Led Zepplein's debut that delivered bantering tracks like "Communication Breakdown," the band developed its own distinct brand of hard rock and proto-metal. Blackmore and Glover's plot to steer the band in a new direction ultimately proved to be a winning strategy.

After the drama played out and all was said and done, the new DEEP PURPLE emerged and found one of their missing ingredients, a competent songwriter in the form of Roger Glover. The newfound chemistry proved to be one of those magic moments and the band set out to start anew. IN ROCK was the perfect album to welcome the freewheeling 1970s in June of the first year after the 60s faded away. Following the recent groundbreaking albums from Led Zeppelin and early heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath, DEEP PURPLE delivered a complementary proto-metal style that rather than delving into the occult and demonic focused on fast tempo rhythms, tight-knit instrumental interplay, catchy guitar-driven grooves and a focuss on feisty soloing trade-offs courtesy of Ritchie Blackmore's electrifying guitar playing and Jon Lord's classical trained finger gymnastics turned up a few notches. The band forged seven distinct tracks that delivered an electrifying mix of heavy driving rock, gritty yet soulful vocal performances and a delivery system that offered instantly ear wormy hooks fortified with moments of progressive complexities. The recipe proved to be a major hit in the UK and remained high on the album charts for the next year. Ironically the band found success in the USA with their earlier albums but failed to make a dent with IN ROCK.

The new material was as much about improvisation as it was about crafting enduring compositions. "Speed King" for example was an attempt to emulate Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" but took on a life of its own. "Flight Of The Rat" likewise was based on the classic tune "Flight Of The Bumblebee" before morphing into a DEEP PURPLE original through endless rehearsals. The highlight of the album "Child In Time" began by borrowing the simple opening riff from It's A Beautiful Day's track "Bombay Calling" from its 1969 debut and likewise evolved into a completely different beast that would build upon the opening keyboard melody and turn it into a sizzling shredding jam session in the middle before resolving itself as it began. With new lyrics that took an anti-war stand in the time of the Vietnam conflict, the song evolved into a monstrosity that eventually became a de facto anthem for the anti-Communists in Eastern Europe. The track is really the highlight with dramatic crescendos that alternate between slow suspenseful vocal motifs and contrasted by thunderous displays of frenetic heaviness.

IN ROCK in effect played a part in a major evolution in the history of rock music that included inventive intros to songs such as the guitar and keyboard bombast that start the album off before the crushing assault of "Speed King" delivers a bouncy guitar riffing baseline that ushers in the band's unique rhythmic drive and accompanying keyboard counterpoints. The mix was irresistible and DEEP PURPLE had hit the big time and soon would become one of the biggest bands of the entire 70s and influential to a whole new breed of heavier rockers. Newbie Ian Gillan's vocal abilities proved to be the perfect match for the band's unique sound with a wide expressive range all the while providing that hard rock gruff that would develop into the more extreme expression of heavy metal down the road. Each track featured a distinct personality with varying riffs, organ fills, drumming techniques, unexpected elements and diverse dynamics however what tied the album together cohesively was the infectious stylistic approach that was delivered in a high-powered perfection. Jon Lord's extravagant keyboard wizardry added a completely new element to the standard rock paradigm that allowed the classical wankery of the past to integrate brilliant moments of contrast to the more boogie rock guitar riffing.

With an impressive repertoire of tracks that offered varying guitar riffing styles, instantly catchy melodic twists and feisty lively performances, IN ROCK really delivered the goods in giving the world of rock music the upgrade it needed to take the popular musical form into the 1970s and along with Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath, dominated the hard rock sector in the year 1970 and pointed the way to the next level of artistic integrity thus giving the world of rock and roll a much needed bridge from the giddy flower power hippie years to the more cynical years ahead. Not only DEEP PURPLE's finest moment but really one of the best albums ever made and although the band would become superstars and dominated the early 70s hard rock scene, these five musicians never quite rekindled the magic that was displayed on this album. It's true that some of the tracks take a little longer to warm up to. The first side of the album offers a more instant likability but repeated listening sessions have revealed that even what i once perceived as the "lesser" tracks such as "Living Wreck" and "Hard Lovin' Man" offer the same magic in a delayed fashion. In short, IN ROCK is one of the true rock masterpieces of the ages!

 Contact by SILVER APPLES album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.27 | 26 ratings

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Contact
Silver Apples Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars Sometimes it just seems like the universe is conspiring against you. Such is the case of the electro-pop pioneers SILVER APPLES who emerged in the freewheeling 1960s and released two groundbreaking influential albums. The brainchild of sound experimentalist Olive Coxe, SILVER APPLES' early oscillator dominated electronic rock was revolutionary when the band's self-titled debut emerged in June of1968 predating Wendy Carlos, White Noise and the world of Krautrock experimentalists such as Can and Tangerine Dream. Coxe's fascination with a 1940s audio oscillator drove him to incorporate it into his rock group The Overland Stage Electric Band but proved to alienate all but the drummer Danny Taylor. The entire band quit except Taylor and together as a duo forged an entirely new sound.

After amassing a collection of nine various oscillators, Coxe engineered them to cohesively exist as one unit replete with manual controls and telegraph keys which allowed him to alter pitch, rhythm and bass lines with his hands, feet and elbows After adapting his newfound treasure trove of hitherto unexplored terrain to the world of contemporary 60s psychedelic pop rock, he and Taylor crafted bizarre futuristic vocal and drum songs that incorporated the plethora of sounds and rhythms the oscillator generated. This newfound discovery ultimately caught the attention of Kapp Records which was expanding its artist base beyond its usual comfort zone of vocal jazz, traditional pop, country music and easy listening. The band released its debut to little fanfare but the label was supportive in a second album so the band followed with a second release titled CONTACT that followed in 1969.

More adept in the advertising department than managing independent music artists, Kapp found a clever way of guaranteeing a profit margin by pimping out their artist's album covers as a kind of billboard for advertisers. The label connected SILVER APPLES with Pan Am Airlines and a deal was struck that the duo appear in the cock pit of one of their airplanes with a picture of another jet in the background that displayed the label. While not the worst scenario for an indie artist who wants to be heard, unfortunately the final result including drug paraphernalia and on the back side of the album cover a depiction of a crashed airline. This totally freaked out Pan Am who abruptly sued the band and after a judge ruled in the airline's favor, Kapp Records was forced to withdraw all copies of CONTACT from circulation. And adding insult to injury the duo was also prohibited from playing live because that constituted "advertising" of the now banned product. I guess renegade artists and corporate sponsors just weren't a match made in heaven.

What makes this all so tragic is that while in the studio recording CONTACT, the duo happened to meet Jimi Hendrix who was recording his version of "The Star Spangled Banner" for 4th of July events which led to SILVER APPLES opening for Hendrix and opening the door to a receptive audience who appreciated wild and unhinged experimental music. While on the verge of taking it all to the big league, SILVER APPLES was effectively shut down before they ever had a chance to ride the friendly skies. A pretty raw deal for a band that influenced countless acts in the world of Krautrock as well as Stereolab, Portishead and the entire world of electronic dance music. As if they were cursed when they finally decided to reform and reclaim the throne that had been stolen, Coxe was in a serious car accident and broke his neck. After yet one more time in the modern age of trying to rekindle the lost opportunities, the sudden death of drummer Danny Taylor ended the dream of SILVER APPLES from ever materializing. Like total bummer.

So what about the music? CONTACT basically expanded the sounds heard on the debut. While still steeped in 60s electro-pop from the psychedelic rock template, Coxe had mastered his concoction now called "Simeon" and offered a larger swath of oscillating sounds on CONTACT. New to the band's repertoire was the unusual use of a banjo on the two tracks "Ruby" and "Confusion," the first of which featured the banjo accompanying the oscillator while the second feature only a vocal led banjo performance with only the duo's classic proto-motorik type drumming style. While the debut was more focused on a monotonous robotic type effect with Coxe's detached vocals leading the way, CONTACT allowed both the oscillating effects as well as Coxe's vocal deliveries to decorate the album's artistic value with a more diverse pallet. Of course this altered the overall tone drastically as CONTACT in many ways feels less cohesive but is actually the more creative of the two releases.

While CONTACT was the end of SILVER APPLES as an artist on the brink of bigger things, the band's legacy has more remained intact only growing stronger over the decades. What once was thought too be too strange and unviable has now been matched and surpassed in terms of electronic ingenuity and while both SILVER APPLES releases may sound a bit dated by the standards of the 21st century, both albums remain intriguing and relevant even after so many decades have passed. Despite the advances in technology and the explosive interest in pioneering electronic music, really nothing sounds like either of the albums SILVER APPLES released in the late 1960s. While the psychedelic pop hooks may give away their place in the timeline, the innovative use of oscillators and electronic elegance still sound rather ingenious even today. Personally i love both of their albums equally. Both have their retrospective strengths and weaknesses but given the insurmountable complications of releasing music like this in the 1960s, it's totally forgivable.

 A Quick One by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1966
3.07 | 216 ratings

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A Quick One
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars After taking the world by storm as a part of the British Invasion of the USA and abroad, THE WHO didn't lose any traction after a series of singles and its debut release "My Generation" which catapulted the band up to the top of the charts. The band didn't waste any time with a proper followup which came in the form of A QUICK ONE which slipped in the calendar year 1966 in December exactly a year after the debut. The album finds THE WHO moving beyond its mod R&B style of the debut and unusual in that guitarist Pete Townsend who was the primary songwriter stepped down and let the other members contribute songs, presumably due to time constraints resulting from touring schedules.

There are actually two versions of this album. As was the case with all the big acts coming from the UK, this album features a US release that was retitled HAPPY JACK and the original UK release titled A QUICK ONE. The only difference is that the US version featured the top 40 song "Happy Jack" whereas the UK version lacks this song and instead has the unusual cover song "Heat Wave" which was a huge hit for Martha & The Vandellas. Other than that the album pretty much follows the same track order and same quirkiness which found the band stepping out of its streamlined 60s mod pop and started experimenting. While not a full blown art rock album that the band would become famous for, A QUICK ONE certainly is a quirky and unexpected sophomore release from one of the British Invasion's most popular acts.

The album starts innocently enough with the catchy "Run, Run, Run" which implies a return to the same mod pop rock that was the staple of "My Generation" but the album throws a curve ball with the second track "Boris The Spider" which was written by bassist John Entwhistle when he was drunk and wrote a song about a scary spider in his room. The song was so off the wall that it became one of THE WHO's concert staples. The other Entwhistle oddity is the instrumental track "Cobwebs and Strange" which not only reinforces his obsession with the world of arachnoids but also demonstrated how THE WHO could turn a traditional polka into a bonafide 60s psychedelic rock tune. The oom-paa-paa beat along with the trombone and tuba add another layer of absurdity to the album.

Many of the other tracks are more standard in that they could be released as pop tracks or hit singles. The track "Whiskey Man" was released as a single and hit the top 10 and the track "Happy Jack" on the US version also hit the top 40 but other than that A QUICK ONE really didn't generate the hit singles action that would begin with the band's next album "The Who Sell Out." THE WHO also activate their proto-prog instincts on A QUICK ONE with the six movement closing title track which narrates the story of a girl who had gone missing for period of time. The track includes a harmonized a cappella segmented basically a bunch of different songs stitched together. The track exceeded 9 minutes long and was sort of a proto-rock opera that wouldn't be fully realized until "Tommy."

For my tastes this second release by THE WHO is a much more interesting one than the debut. I love the quirky, even silly tracks that just show up when you least expect it. They add a pizazz to the otherwise more standard mod freakbeat style THE WHO was going for at this stage. Really no bad tracks on here except i highly recommend the US version titled HAPPY JACK with its title track rather than the UK version with the ridiculous Martha & The Vandellas cover. That song sounds totally out of place and THE WHO were not even close to sounding like a Motown band from Detroit. Luckily the 60s would see the bigger bands writing all original material with THE WHO being no exception. Sure, this isn't the best that THE WHO ever created but it's an interesting second step in their canon before they hit the big time. Personally i like this one.

 Renaissance by VANILLA FUDGE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.15 | 118 ratings

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Renaissance
Vanilla Fudge Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

5 stars With its surprise hit self-titled debut release VANILLA FUDGE demonstrated its uncanny ability to carve up overexposed pop songs of the past and reconstruct them into a completely new coalescence of steaming hot late 1960s psychedelic rock. The band was riding high after the debut shot into the top 20 followed by a top 10 hit of The Supremes' #1 chart topper "You Keep Me On" only a year after its heavy radio exposure. VANILLA FUDGE probably should have followed up the album with another reinterpretation of classic pop songs or then ventured into self-penned tracks that kept the growing fanbase's attention but instead rocketed helter skelter into the world of avant-garde experimentalism with "The Beat Goes On." While still maintaining enough momentum to sustain a top 20 album, the abstract songless nature of the album's sound collage effect may have prognosticated the wonderful world of rock and roll moving on into a new intrepid era of complete freedom and unthinkable exploration but as a business move in the world of 60s pop music, not exactly a brilliant move.

The band shrugged it off and moved on quickly and in 1968 released not one but two albums. "The Beat Goes On" emerged early in February 1968 and although catching fans and critics off guard did give the quartet of Vince Martelli (vocals, guitar), Mark Stein (organ), Tim Bogert (bass) and Carmine Appice (drums) a new lease on life that propelled them beyond the status of being a mere cover band. By summer, VANILLA FUDGE released what many deem should've been their proper second album. On June 14, 1968 the band unleashed its third album RENAISSANCE, the first of which featured all original tracks and although two covers were employed, their choices were more suitable with the psychedelic acid rock that the band had developed as its primary expressive mode. Yes, the sound that VANILLA FUDGE made famous with clever reinterpretations of classic pop hits such as The Beatles' "Eleanor RIgby" and Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" was back only this time with completely original self-penned cuts that propelled the band into the next arena of competency. VANILLA FUDGE was now a bonafide force of musical creativity to that the likes that the band had become a pioneering force in developing the earliest sounds of both progressive rock and the harder rock and heavy metal sounds that would dominate in the 1970s.

Opening with "The Sky Cried - When I Was a Boy," RENAISSANCE reacquaints its listener with its innovative mix of fuzzy organ ponderosity along with the emphasis on heavier guitar, bass and drum playing. Also making a much needed reprise are all those intricately designed vocal harmonies that propelled VANILLA FUDGE's music to a magical 60s psychedelic universe that had been gestating all throughout the previous two years. It becomes immediately clear that RENAISSANCE really does reflect its titular definition and signifies a rebirth in the band's development. With all aspirations of pop hit stardom extinguished, VANILLA FUDGE instead evolved its distinct style into something much more - that being a veritable art rock band that embodied all the contemporary developments that were steeped in psychedelia, mystique and complexity. The album featured only seven tracks with the opening "The Sky Cried" and the closing cover of Donovan's "The Season Of The Witch" both exceeding the seven-minute mark. RENAISSANCE also was a concept album thus showcasing on the rock's paradigm of focusing on album long listening experience rather than the banality of short catchy singles to lure audiences in. The involvement of producer Shadow Martin helped sculpt the band's new aspirations into a captivating adventurous musical performance.

While the tracks may have been unfamiliar, VANILLA FUDGE's sound was back and firing on full pistons. The band retained its slow and steady pace of developing strong melodic constructs before unleashing its heavier display of instrumental virtuosity. RENAISSANCE also introduced a more cosmic feel to the band's style which allowed brooding keyboard-induced atmospheres to seep into every motif and cadence like a leaky bottle of pancake syrup. The band was essentially carving out an early prototype of keyboard dominant rock that would become popularized by Deep Purple and Uriah Heep just a few years down the road. As the album continues with "Thoughts" and "Paradise," the album delivers a mesmerizing display of ritualistic organ performances, fuzz guitar and rhythmic ingenuity of the bass and drums. Vocal harmonies are accompanied by varying variations including short spoken word narrations and more emotive outbursts.

RENAISSANCE is an amazingly adept and consistent album with the perfect 60s sounds that emerged from the very opening of the album to the excellent cover of Donovan's "Seasons Of The Witch" which takes a rather straightforward pop song and transmogrifies it into a magical display of excess, a trait that would become the hallmark of all that progressive rock to come. The track also wove in interpolations of Essra Mowhawk's "We Never Learn." Mohawk was the first female member of Frank Zappa's Mother of Invention" and was the writer of the track "The Spell That Comes After" thus displaying VANILLA FUDGE's true intent of taking music into the true world of innovation and leaving behind their pop hit origins without hesitation. While stylistically perfect at this point and a totally satisfying display of acid rock, VANILLA FUDGE unknowingly created some of the most accomplished mix of proto-metal that would lead to bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple all the while crafting a proto-progressive sound that would quickly find its way around the world and reemerging as the explosive wellspring of creativity that would erupt the following year in 1969. Wow these guys came a long way from a mere cover band the year before! RENAISSANCE is a true classic of the 1960s.

 Near the Beginning by VANILLA FUDGE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.22 | 68 ratings

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Near the Beginning
Vanilla Fudge Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars VANILLA FUDGE only existed for a mere four years but in that short time developed an extraordinary wide range of expressing itself through its five album run that began with its psych-soaked renditions of classic pop songs and then followed by a leap of faith into the world of the avant-garde. After regaining traction, the band sallied forth delivered a solid masterpiece of 60s acid rock before going off the deep end and sputtering quickly into irrelevance as the sounds it nurtured into creation had been adopted and improved upon by an explosion of fertile talent that really took off in 1969.

NEAR THE BEGINNING was the band's fourth album but in retrospect would've suitably been titled "Near The End" as the band's momentum which peaked on "Renaissance" was clearly derailed leaving the band a victim of its own whims and shortcomings. One of the biggest developments in VANILLA FUDGE's career was the fact that after three albums, the band decided to self-produce and take full creative control into its own hands. While on one side NEAR THE BEGINNING showcases the band's developing taste for harder and heavier rock as showcased on the feisty opening cover of Jr. Walkter & The All Stars top 10 hit "Shotgun" however without a producer who served as an intervening force to keep the band focused, this fourth album emerged as an interesting but highly disheveled collection of tracks.

Clearly restless and ready to jump headfirst into the world of hard rock, NEAR THE BEGINNING opens with an adrenalized hard rock version of "Shotgun," the 1965 hit single that peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and led the way for similar Motown artists to capture the soul market in the 1960s. An unlikely opening track to say the least, "Shotgun" succeeded in showing that VANILLA FUDGE was indeed a multi-faceted band that refused to be pigeonholed into any particular style of music but also displayed a complete disregard for the organ-fueled psychedelic magic that had come to full fruition on "Renaissance." The six-minute track sounds woefully out of place as a VANILLA FUDGE remaking and basically sounds like one of those tracks you throw in as a bonus cut when finding extra tidbits for a re-issue of some sort.

The band surprisingly features two covers as the first tracks, the second being the hit "Some Velvet Morning" recorded by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. The band returns to its expected stylistic approach that featured a slowed down build up fortified with trippy organ runs and the accompanying guitar, bass and drum combo effect. Unlike the traditional symphonic pop style of the original, VANILLA FUDGE transmogrifies this classic song into a veritable slice of psychedelic acid rock which to be honest wouldn't have sounded out of place on the the debut album as it takes the exact same approach topped off with the exquisitely divine vocal harmonies contrasted by the bombast of the crushing organ, guitar, bass and drum rock heftiness. In this process it leaves the song almost unrecognizable in comparison to the original, a knack VANILLA FUDGE was wise to continue since it appears that it was its greatest strength.

After eking out 7 1/2 minutes of a the classic Hazlewood / Sinatra pop hit, the track is followed by the Appice original "Where Is Happiness" which opens with some trippy avant-garde freakery with strange organ noises frenetically conjured from an unseen realm and slowly develops into a melodic musical score that sounds very much like a continuation of the previous track with the same lackadaisical build up, Mark Stein's emotive and emphatically emphasized lyrical delivery and a slow build up as the guitar, bass and drum chomp at the bit to get on with the heavier action to come. That very action emerges as an energetic display of beefed up bass, sporadic jazzy drumming and a sizzling guitar soloing sequence with a tinge of Middle Eastern influences to exude an exoticism unheard of in the band's usual repertoire. Probably one of the best songs of the band's career actually.

The album's second side is another head-scratcher curveball delivers by the band. It consists entire of the live recording "Break Song" which was performed at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The track pretty much just showcases the band's ability to jam, improvise and engage in extended solos. Everyone gets a crack with some nice moments of guitar, others of bass and a rather droll drumming sequence that outstays its welcome. This track really seems pointless and drags down the entire album's momentum, well what there was of it. Also the band jettisoned its trademark build up techniques as well as its vocal harmonizing. In fact this track exudes a sense of the generic and pretty much comes across as one of those type of "milk it for all its worth" performances of a typical 60s blues rock band that didn't have the talent to inject anything innovative. This track unfortunately doesn't highlight the VANILLA FUDGE sound but rather detracts considerably. A studio version was recorded but nixed in favor of this for some reason but personally i like the studio version better. It is featured on the remastered editions of the following album "Rock & Roll."

Basically NEAR THE BEGINNING was a followup album that had just been thrown together without much care for an album experience. There are really only two interesting songs here and a decent if not outstanding Motown cover. The live track is listenable but not amazing or even remotely successful in delivering what you would expect from VANILLA FUDGE. It seems like the point of this album is to announce the band's freedom from any controllers and that it just wants to do what it wants. Unfortunately that didn't translate into a compelling album. In retrospect A NEW BEGINNING signified a transfer of the band's innovation on the first three albums into a quick downfall that would give the baton to a new breed of rock musicians who would take the band's unique approaches and gestate them into some of the most exiting and dynamic sounds of the 1970s. While seemingly the end, VANILLA FUDGE had one more album in them. While highly influential for so many VANILLA FUDGE was indeed "Near The End."

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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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