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PROTO-PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Proto-Prog definition

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

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

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

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

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

Iván Melgar - Morey

Proto-Prog Top Albums


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

4.48 | 1009 ratings
ABBEY ROAD
Beatles, The
4.50 | 589 ratings
QUADROPHENIA
Who, The
4.38 | 930 ratings
REVOLVER
Beatles, The
4.34 | 1177 ratings
DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK
Deep Purple
4.34 | 1049 ratings
SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
Beatles, The
4.33 | 1187 ratings
MACHINE HEAD
Deep Purple
4.41 | 582 ratings
WHO'S NEXT
Who, The
4.31 | 682 ratings
THE DOORS
Doors, The
4.28 | 458 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
Hendrix, Jimi
4.24 | 519 ratings
STRANGE DAYS
Doors, The
4.17 | 822 ratings
THE BEATLES [AKA: THE WHITE ALBUM]
Beatles, The
4.15 | 741 ratings
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
Beatles, The
4.02 | 484 ratings
L.A. WOMAN
Doors, The
3.98 | 557 ratings
TOMMY
Who, The
4.03 | 399 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ELECTRIC LADYLAND
Hendrix, Jimi
3.94 | 725 ratings
RUBBER SOUL
Beatles, The
4.02 | 312 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: AXIS - BOLD AS LOVE
Hendrix, Jimi
4.12 | 181 ratings
TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS
Spirit
4.09 | 187 ratings
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
Brown Band, The Arthur
3.85 | 809 ratings
BURN
Deep Purple

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews


 Les Maledictus Sound by MALEDICTUS SOUND, LES album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.91 | 3 ratings

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Les Maledictus Sound
Les Maledictus Sound Proto-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

5 stars Sounds like German electronic pioneer Harmonia meet a Japanese funk commune Inomata Takeshi & Sound L.T.D. It's surprising and beyond expression such an experimental creation has been released in 1968, just before 'rock spirit was gone'. Without any suspicion the spirit of experiments was sincerely alive upon this album created mainly by Paul BAILE and Jean-Pierre MASSIERA in collaboration with lots of session musicians. Their phantasmagoric funk soundscape, blended with jazz, electronic, psychedelic, or avantgarde, could be attached via a French multi- instrumentalist and composer Jean Guerin, I guess. And of course crazy amazing they introduced melodic pop and anti-pop into their madness. Every single track is 2 or 3 minute long but simultaneously has impressive construction of sound / noise / melody line / rhythmic background.

This innovative sound collective can be heard through the first track "Kriminal Theme", one of their masterpieces. Mystic psychedelia filled with electronic footprints and jazzy percussive drum procession is followed by loud funky saxophone explosions plus downtempo melodic hollowness. Infernal shouting via their deep throat sounds exaggerating rather than serious. "The Whistler" is kinda acceptable funk song with dramatic piano phrases and kinky synthesizer tones. Hotchpotch sound mixture drives you into another dimension. In "Inside My Brain" fuzzy heavy guitar growling dominates melody lines all around. Texture like "Love's Theme" seasoned with irony brass launch is definitely in "Concerto Genocide". Contrary to examples above all, "Heathcliff Y Cry Your Name" is a dramatic tragedy flooded with psychedelic organ sounds and weird mourning.

Basically their musical attitude sounds more of pop than purely avantgarde or psychedelic. But do not be deceived, not so simple really. Colourful atmospheric variation via the whole album can notify you of their sound diversity and eclectic intelligence of music. Again let me say, it's quite incredible this album was released in 1968 just before rock dies.

 The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp by GILES GILES & FRIPP album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.10 | 97 ratings

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The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp
Giles Giles & Fripp Proto-Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

3 stars GILES, GILES and FRIPP were brothers Michael Giles and Peter Giles and Robert Fripp. Presumably, they were lacking inspiration in coming up with an original name for the group, so they used their own names for the bandname, which unfortunately ended up sounding like a city firm of legal eagles. They formed in Bournemouth, Dorset in 1967, when King Crimson was just a twinkle in Robert Fripp's eye. The line-up featured Michael Giles on drums and vocals, Peter Giles on bass and vocals and Robert Fripp on guitar. Their peculiar brand of music can best be described as Psychedelic Pop. Their one and only studio album "The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp" (1968) sold poorly on its initial release, but it's now gaining some well-deserved recognition, thanks to the Internet. There were plans for a second album with Judy Dyble (of Fairport Convention) on vocals, but sadly, the album never came to fruition. A compilation album of 1968 demo sessions was released in 2001 as "The Brondesbury Tapes." Robert Fripp & Michael Giles wisely decided to change the name of their firm of solicitors after the release of their sole studio album, when King Crimson emerged to take the prog world by storm. Let's step into the cheerfully insane world of Giles, Giles & Fripp now and give the 13 songs on their 1968 studio album a listen.

It's an album of two halves, with "The Saga of Rodney Toady" occupying the whole of Side One and "Just George" taking up Side Two. The opening song "North Meadow" is nice and cheerful, but definitely not insane. It's just a bright and bubbly, fizzy Pop song that's as refreshing as a glass of lemonade. It also sounds very English in a quaint late-1960's way, with guitar maestro Robert Fripp providing some intricate Jazzy flourishes. There's some cheerful insanity in the opening to the second song "Newly-Weds" with a spoken word introduction to "The Saga of Rodney Toady", featuring some very silly Monty Python- type voices. As for the music, "Newly Weds" sounds as quirky and offbeat as some of Syd Barrett's weird and wonderful Psychedelic Pop excursions with early Pink Floyd, such as "See Emily Play" or "Arnold Layne", for instance. The cheerfully insane spoken word Python-esque intros are a recurring feature of most of the songs on the album and "One in a Million" starts the same way. The music is another cheap and cheerful Pop song to while away a warm and pleasant day spent in an English country garden. It's time to take a pew for the next song "Call Tomorrow", because the music has a rather dour and mournful air to it, with the organist conjuring up an image of a solemn occasion in church. You can really dig the next song though, "Digging My Lawn", because it's a groovy Jazz number, featuring some lovely laid-back drumming and playfully light keyboard and guitar accompaniment. It sounds like the kind of groovy 1960's song you might hear featured in an Austin Powers movie. Next up is "Little Children", a lovely honey-sweet Pop song, featuring some truly gorgeous vocal harmonising from the all-female vocal trio, The Breakaways. It's the highlight of the album so far. Coming along now is the discordant "The Crukster", which is not really a song at all as it's a spoken word poem which has a slightly unsettling and menacing edge to it. The closing song on Side One "Thursday Morning" sounds very Beatle-esque, which is always a good thing in a 1960's Pop album. It's very reminiscent of some of the Beatles' sadder songs, such as "Eleanor Rigby" or "Hey Jude".

Side Two opens cheerfully with "How Do They Know", an upbeat and Jazzy Pop song guaranteed to brighten up the dullest of days, and there's more cheerful insanity on the way with the spoken word "Elephant Song", which is more of a frivolous childrens' novelty song than a serious piece of music. It's time to rub some suntan lotion in now for our next song because "The Sun is Shining". It's a charming song with old-fashioned music hall appeal, featuring the lovely three-part girls choir The Breakaways adding some delightful harmonies to this playful little ditty. We're taking flight next with the classically- inspired "Suite No. 1", which sounds like a Jazzed-up version of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumble Bee. The music has the same kind of manic intensity to it. Finally, we come to the last song on the album "Erudite Eyes", which sounds like a pastiche of the Olde Englishe song "Greensleeves" in the opening, but then quickly transposes into a Jazzy Psych-Pop jam session with all of the musicians going off on an improvisational free-for-all.

This late-1960's novelty album of cheerfully insane English Pop songs won't be to everyone's taste. The album is very much of its time and it's not likely to appeal to Prog-Rock fans generally, because it's not Progressive and it's not Rock. It's more of a curiosity item for inquisitive King Crimson fans who are interested to hear the early musical frivolity and Frippery that Robert Fripp got up to before he ventured forth into the Court of the Crimson King.

 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.44 | 13 ratings

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WHO
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Mortte

4 stars I have been huge Who-fan almost my whole life! It was not long ago, I was thinking there will not be new Who-album anymore. In 2018 they didn't even tour. I didn't hear anywhere, that in the begin of this year Towshend had said, they were going make a new album. So I was really suprised, when in this autumn hearing, there was coming new album! First single 'Ball And Chain' was promising. So I went to the Who- store and ordered three vinyl version, where the vinyls are from Who-logo: blue, white and red. This album was named just Who. It's not the first time, in 1966 'A Quick One' was released in Germany and some other countries in the name 'the Who' with a little bit different songs. But I quess there is some self-irony, in these days there are young people, who never have heard about the Who and will ask 'Who?'. Anyway Towshend has always been those, who want to follow the time, but he's always managed to do it with style. So is it in this new album. This is the first album that I've heard, where is used autotune without any irritation to me.

Album starter 'All This Music Must Fade' really also has self-irony with it's lyrics: 'I don't care I know you're gonna hate this song. And that's fair, we never really got along. It's not new, not diverse. It won't light up your parade. It's just simple verse'. Anyway it starts album really well, in a very typical, energetic Who-way. 'Ball And Chain' is also very good song, reminds a little 'Who Are You', but is lot better than that many times heard piece. 'I don't Wanna Get Wise' is again very positive, energetic Who song. When 'Detour' starts, you may think, are they made their first glam rock song. But gladly there are softer parts, that make song really great! In 'Beads On One String' direction starts to go little bit mediocre, but it has still great melodies. In 'Hero Ground Zero' strings and energetic playing keep your interest on.

Second vinyl starts with 'Street Song' that I think is the most mediocre song in this album. But then direction changes totally in 'I'll Be Back'. When that eighties Steve Wonder reminding soft harmonica intro comes, you don't know what to think. This song is the only song sung by Townshend and I think it would have fit more into his solo album. 'Break the News' is another oddball in this album, but I like it as it`s innocence. But the greatest is yet to come: 'Rockin` in Rage' could have been in Quadrophenia with it's powerful, but dark chords. Also acoustic spanish-influenced piece 'She Rocked My World' is just great! In my vinyl version there is one 10' vinyl with bonus song 'Sand' that is unreleased demo-track from the sixties. Although I can understand, why they didn't released it in the sixties, it's now sounding really great in it's sixties production and young energy!

When 'Endless Wire' came in 2006, I was totally suprised how great it was! And have to say for that reason I got lot of expections of this new album, but they didn't fulfill fully. Anyway this album is my 10 best album list of this year. I really loved in 'Endless Wire' how songs change between fully acoustic and really energetic. This new album is sounding like they've tried to make it radio friendly. Also there are any as great songs as 'Fragments', 'Mike Post Theme' or 'Black Widow's Eyes' and really not mini-opera. But I am glad only thing that connects this to 'Face Dances' is art director, this album is just so much better. All you Who-fans, who think 'Quadrophenia' was the last great Who album, I think you should at least have a chance to this new one and also 'Endless Wire'. All you who never listened the Who, do begin from 'Who's Next' or 'Quadrophenia'.

 Slaves And Masters by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.69 | 315 ratings

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Slaves And Masters
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars Released in 1990, 'Slaves and Masters' is Deep Purple's 13th studio album. With all of DP's albums, this one holds the distinction that it is the only album released by the Mark V line-up of the band, even though the line-up was active from 1989 to 1992. The Mark V line-up was exactly the same as the famous Mark II line up with one exception: Ian Gillan had been fired from the band (again) and Joe Lynn Turner, former lead singer for 'Rainbow' from 1981 to 1983 and then later for Yngwie Malmsteen. Ian Gillian is the lead singer most recognized from DP, and previously, he had been replaced by David Coverdale in 1973, then readmitted to the band in 1984, only to be fired again in 1989.

For 'Slaves and Masters', Turner definitely brought his 'Rainbow' influence with him as many fans think this album sounds more like an album from that band even though the other members, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice were all regular members of DP. Apparently, the other band members considered hiring Jimi Jamison (Survivor) to sing on this album, but he, thankfully, was not available. However, even with Turner, the critics panned this album calling it too lightweight and weak, more AOR than anything else released by the band. Jon Lord says that he never recognized this album as a DP album, while Turner says it was the last great DP album.

Turner's vocals definitely don't have the power and emotion that are often present in Ian Gillian's vocals, and in reality, there just isn't any comparison as Turner definitely sounds more radio friendly than DP ever sounded. His vocals also don't have any distinct sound to them, so with this more accessible sound, the album could have easily been from 'Rainbow', 'Europe', or 'Bon Jovi' as much as it could be from DP. It sounds like pretty much most of the pop-metal that came from the 80 and early 90s.

It's not all a wasteland of middle of the road blandness however as 'King of Dreams', the opening track, proves with a good amount of Lord's organ, and the appearance of some organ solos throughout some of the tracks also help one to hear shades of DP from before, but its never enough to raise it to a higher level. Blackmore gets in a few good guitar licks and riffs here and there, but again, most of the punch is gone as the songs are filed down to near-pop music levels. The fast boogie does shine through on the instrumental break of 'Fire in the Basement', but the fire from the instrumental breaks gets doused by the vocal melody. Nothing else much happens on the rest of the album until you get to the last track 'Wicked Ways' which, during the instrumental break, the tempo slows down and you get some nice strings and guitar similar to the work on 'Perfect Stranger', but by now it is too little too late.

Turner would remain for the tour for this album, but DP was pressured to bring back Gillian for the Anniversary tour that was coming up, so they nixed Turner and Gillian returned, this time to stay. Unfortunately, DP was left with this rather deadweight album as a stain on their discography. Yes, they had released some mediocre albums in the past, but this one is just too boring and AOR sounding, an album where DP sounds like they are trying to be inspired by 80s and 90s pop-metal when they should have been showing them how it should be done.

 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.44 | 13 ratings

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WHO
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars The Who's studio output has, of course, been rather spotty since 1982, and after several breakups and reunions, has only resulted in two studio albums; "Endless Wilre" in 2006, and more currently "WHO", which was released in November of 2019. All that remains of the band is Roger Daltrey doing almost all of the lead vocals, and Pete Townshend on guitars, background vocals and lead vocals on "I'll Be Back" and all three of the deluxe edition's bonus tracks. All other instruments are performed by guest musicians and these guests all perform on different specific tracks. Of course Keith Moon died in 1978 and John Entwistle died in 2002, or course each death had a lasting effect on the band and it shows in the lack of new output.

On this album, both Daltry and Townsend provide the consistency of this album, and they still provide that same The Who signature sound, however, both of them recorded their parts separately and the other parts were added by various musicians. As far as the bass parts; most of them are provided by Pino Palladino who has been in The Who's line-up since 2002 and has also performed with John Mayer. Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) has also been a regular drummer for The Who since 1996 and performs on 4 of the tracks. Benmont Tench from Tom Petty's band "The Heartbreakers" plays keyboards on 3 tracks and Joey Waronker (session musician for Beck and "R.E.M.) also plays drums on 3 tracks. Everything else is done by various other artists.

One of the most interesting things about the album is the cover which is a series of photos that represent influences to The Who's music along with different notable symbols and things that pertain to the band's history, including the word "Detour" which not only references one of the more catchy tracks on this album, but also is a nod to the name "The Detours", the name the band used before becoming The Who.

As Daltry is lead vocalist on almost all of the tracks on the regular album, so is Townshend the songwriter on all of the tracks except "Beads on One String", The Who's version of a nice ballad (where Daltry even tempers his vocals accordingly), which Townshend shares with Josh Hunsacker, and "Break the News" which is written by Simon Townshend, Pete's younger brother.

The music on this album is definitely interesting enough in that it really reflects the trademark sound of The Who's music through the years. "Ball and Chain" is the first single off the album, yet it really lacks anything interesting. However, as mentioned previously, "Detour" is the first really memorable song up to this point (which is track 4) with a nice catchy hook and rhythm pattern. After that, "Beads on One String" is a definite highlight as a more ballad-like track, and "Hero Ground Zero" features some great orchestral (mostly strings) effects that go uncredited on the album, and that gives it a sweeping feeling that helps it stand out.

Daltry's vocals haven't suffered or changed much over the years, and that is mostly a good thing. I do believe he has more restraint and control most of the time on this album, maybe a bit mellower at times, however, he still proves he has plenty of strength when he needs it, and most people might not even detect a difference in his vocals. In most cases, it has been proven that more restraint never hurt Daltry's delivery, and in this album, even his outbursts are timed quite well. There is still a bit of over-the-top dramatics from time to time, but it works well here.

Townshend's guitar work is still quite similar to his past work also. He doesn't do anything that stands right out, but still performs as he is expected to, which is where his strength has been. His other strength is in songwriting, and, even though there isn't nothing as amazing as "Baba O'Riley", "Won't Get Fooled Again" or even close to the amazing rock opera albums "Tommy" and "Quadropheia", it's definitely much more interesting and varied than most of the songs on "Who Are You" and "It's Hard". Townshend still has his voice also, as shown on "I'll Be Back" which has the help of vocal effects to keep him on target, and unfortunately, this makes what might have been an interesting song turn into a schleppy sounding song that rips off Stevie Wonder complete with harmonica drenched instrumental support.

These songs are varied, which is really the best thing The Who could have done to try to bring in new listeners. I don't think anyone expected to hear any rock operas or amazing rocked out tracks that the band was famous for in the past. But the good thing here, is that they didn't revert to the post-"Quadrophenia" style of songs that sound all the same or heavily soaked in 80s style synth beats. They did keep things organic here, for the most part, and they give the songs more personality by giving a large amount of variety among the songs. The place where it all suffers is that most listeners would love to hear more of a rock edge among the mellower, more radio-friendly tracks. But even that gets some fulfillment especially in tracks like "Rockin' in Rage" and "All This Music Must Fade". But again, don't expect anything that will get your blood boiling and you might be able to see how they use variety to their advantage here.

Are the 3 bonus tracks sung by Pete Townshend worth getting the deluxe edition for? Well, personally, I have liked Townshend's vocals better in the past that were effectively used to smooth out the roughness of Daltry's vocals, but he doesn't always have the strength to carry off a full album as some of his solo work has proven. In the case of this album, "This Gun Will Misfire" is much better than the track that is used on the regular album where Pete sings, and should have been used. "Got Nothing to Prove" has a really cool retro vibe that will make you think this track came from "The Who Sell Out", with strings and a definite pre-1970s sound to the production. Cool. "Danny and My Ponies" is okay, but it uses the annoying auto-tune effect again. I'd rather hear his real voice. So, two of the bonus tracks are great and the last one gets ruined by electronics.

It's not a bad album, but its not excellent either. It's just nice. It's no "Quadrophenia" but its also better than "Face Dances" and "It's Hard", and as such, it stands out in the group of later albums. Still, there is not much in the way of progressive music here, but things aren't necessarily boring either. In the end, it comes off as a little better than average, but not quite enough to be considered excellent.

 Tommy by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.98 | 557 ratings

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Tommy
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Just Because

5 stars "1969 was going to be a good year"

Is this album better or worse than 'the Wall' , 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'The Lamb'' ? I do not care. They all are great. However 'Tommy' influenced them. Funny that a listener can feel the contrast between tragic plot and exhilarating music. I would like to mention some songs of this masterpiece.

'Overture'. Bang, bang, bang ' And it flows nicely and represents main themes in a great way. It is a huge emission of energy. Keith`s drumming is awesome. John Entwistle`s brass instruments are more than appropriate and strengthen solemnity of the moment. Pete proves again that he is a master of rhythm guitar.

'1921'. Great ballad with nice vocals.

'Amazing Journey'. Very nice psychedelic piece.

'Cousin Kevin' and ' Fiddle About'. Two interesting yet controversial songs by John Entwistle. The latter has some hints on Pink Floyd of Syd Barret period.

'The Acid Queen'. A hard rock composition with tight chorus which reminds me of Sweet Wine by 'Cream'

'Underture'. Very good instrumental piece, however, overlong. IMHO Pete should have halved it.

'Pinball wizard'. Very catchy song. This melody keeps turning in my mind.

'Go to the Mirror'. It takes us back to Overture. Rhythm section is splendid (check especially the beginning and the last seconds of this song).

'I`m free'. Exultant voice of Roger expresses Tommy`s feelings when he got healed.

'Welcome'. A sweet song. Roger and Pete are as good here as in '1921'

'See me, feel me/Listening to You'. An uplifting song. The closing number is synergy of sublime and vigorous music and great lyrics. By the way, I recall the final scene of the movie: Tommy standing in the rays of the rising Sun . There was no other way to present visual and sonic equivalent of majesty.

 The Soft Parade by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.90 | 283 ratings

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The Soft Parade
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars The Doors 4th album "The Soft Parade" came after an extensive tour, and with pressure from the record company to produce another album left the band members little time to compose new music. Their producer, in the meantime, wanted the band to try out a new sound, while pushing into a popular sound and style. Thus, The Soft Parade was born out of this. However, I don't believe it was a big failure, even though the albums longevity in sales wasn't quite as long as previous albums.

The "new sound" of The Doors would end up incorporating tracks with a lot of orchestral backing. It might have been a bit shocking at first to the masses of The Doors fans, but listening to it all of these years later, it doesn't seem as shocking as it did then. It almost seems like a natural progression. And, for being pressured into creating new songs, they ended up sounding pretty decent anyway.

Keyboardist Ray Manzarek and drummer John Densmore had already discussed bringing in some horns and strings, and the idea to do something different only allowed them to try it out. Besides, Densmore and Manzarek both had jazz backgrounds and welcomed the idea. Morrison, in the meantime, wasn't necessarily opposed to the idea, but his own songs didn't go in that direction, which ended up giving the album more of a variety.

"Tell All the People" and hit "Touch Me" were both written by Robby Krieger, and they start off the album with that upbeat and pop jazz sound, and it starts things off the right way. The next 4 tracks were penned by Morrison, and these see little or no orchestra or horns, but rely more on the rock, blues and psychedelic styles that Morrison felt were his stronger suit. On previous albums, the entire band had been credited for each song, but Morrison decided that he didn't want to be associated as having writing credits for "Tell All the People" because of the lyrics telling people to "get your guns", so mainly for this reason, it was decided to list the specific writing credits to the appropriate band member. As the album continues, "Runnin' Blue" and "Wishful Sinful" are both penned by Krieger, and the "new sound" is apparent again, however, with the former track, there is a bluegrass style chorus to it, which was definitely a surprise for fans especially with it also being the first time Krieger would sing on a Doors album, and the latter track has the string drenched arrangements that turn the song into a track that could have been written by Neil Diamond, and is probably my least favorite on the album.

The thing that does weaken the songs a bit on this album is not so much the inclusion of heavily orchestrated tracks, but because of so many shorter and lesser developed tracks. The spirit is there, for sure, but most of them are over before they have a chance to get into the listeners head. That is the case with all of them except for the title track, which is the one that originally finished this quick album off. It is another Morrison penned track. It is also the most progressive song on the album with several different meter and style changes throughout its 8 minute run time. It also ends up, along with "Touch Me", as being the most memorable things about the album, and the song that would keep the fans happy with the feeling that this new direction would probably not be permanent.

The 40th Anniversary Edition of the album continues on with 6 extra tracks. "Who Scared You" was written by Krieger, and was a non-album b-side for "Wishful Sinful". It is also another track utilizing the orchestra and horns, though it does have more of a blues inflection than the other Krieger tunes on this album. This is followed by two different versions of "Whiskey, Mystics and Men", a non-album track recorded in 1970 (Version 1) and overdubbed by the surviving members of the band in a different key (Version 2). The song is definitely a classic-sounding Morrison track, with a barroom feel and an accordion providing most of the instrumental backup. "Push Push" is a rare Doors jam that follows a Latin style drum beat with Manzarek doing most of the work on piano and the band singing "Push Push Push" in the background. The track is a bit too long without much of a change for over 6 minutes. Next is "Touch Me (Dialogue)" with is a short track and just has some banter by the band as they prepare to record a take of the named song, and then this is followed by "Touch Me (Take 3)", which is a nice alternative take on the popular song that still retains the horns but accents the harpsichord and strings more.

The 50th Anniversary Edition has 16 additional tracks, but only repeats "Who Scared You" from the 40th Anniversary Edition, plus it has all of the orchestral tracks in versions that are performed only by The Doors, some alternative versions of other songs, like "Roadhouse Blues" and "(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further", both sung by Manzarek, a short track called "I Am Troubled", a different version of Morrison's preacher vocal from The Soft Parade track called "Seminary School", the full 60+ minute version of "Rock is Dead" and a track called "Chaos". This edition is probably more interesting to die-hard fans than anyone else. I find the 40th Anniversary Edition to be the better one as it adds to the album without adding badly done demos that weren't meant to be released.

So, overall, the album isn't as bad as some might make it out to be, but for an album by The Doors, most of the songs lack development, and that is the biggest drawback, and that is a pretty big one. The addition of orchestra and horns actually works well for the most part, and the title track is probably worth purchasing the entire album for. But there are better Doors albums, so it's one that you might want to check out after you have already made yourself familiar with some of their better albums. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

 Everything I've Got by ECLECTIC MOUSE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Everything I've Got
The Eclectic Mouse Proto-Prog

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

— First review of this album —
3 stars Classically trained Steve Forman spent his early years learning the art of the symphony but also was very influenced by the 60s jazz legends such as Don Ellis, Miles Davis and other rock crossover acts such as Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. THE ECLECTIC MOUSE was Forman's nickname who was deemed a master percussionist by the age of 22. He was approached to record a contemporary album that mixed rock, jazz and pop. The result was a band that took THE ECLECTIC MOUSE as its moniker and hosted a whopping number of musicians that included Jerry Manfredi (bass), Rick Felix (tuba), Barry Downs (trumpet), Billy Gonzales (trumpet), John Renner (tenor saxophone), Ernie Santos (alto saxophone), Ben Harvey (trombone), Joe N. Corral (flute), Tim Downs (drums), Dennis Lynde (guitar), John Smart (French horn), Kristen Engstrand (piano, organ), Harry Anglum (vocals) and Jack Wilkerson (vocals).

Brass rock was quite popular at the tail end of the 60s with bands like Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago finding the biggest success. THE ECLECTIC MOUSE released one album titled EVERYTHING I GOT (subtitled 'Suite for Voice, Wind Ensemble, Percussion and Electric Instruments') and a corresponding 45 single titled "Everything I've Got Belong?" in 1969. The album was recorded in Phoenix, AZ and resulted from a few weeks of rehearsal and very few live takes with no overdubs. While many record labels were interested in the band's rich full sound that took the psychedelic pop of the 60s and mixed it with big band jazz sounds and woven into an interestingly unique form of progressive pop, the majority backed out after learning how expensive it was to support a band that consisted of 15 musicians on a tour. Capital Records finally signed the band but after it's release nothing really came of the album and the project folded shortly thereafter.

EVERYTHING I'VE GOT is a veritable slice of proto-progressive jazz rock that is heavily based in classical music as seen from six tracks that are all movements of an album's listening experience. The album is interesting in that it delivers a wild display of so many instruments playing rock music with a swarm of brass instruments accompanying the guitar, bass and drums. The two vocalists Harry Anglum and Jack Wilkerson deliver almost identical earnest lyrics that remind me of Broadway plays in that the lyrics sort of lead the way for the rest of the band to follow and the entire project comes off as an early rock opera although i don't think it's officially designated as such. The music is fairly bouncy with some more sombre passages adding some contrast. Despite the hideously amateurish album cover courtesy of the record label, THE ECLECTIC MOUSE project was definitely a labor of love with a team of seasoned musicians who could tackle the immensity of so many chefs in the kitchen without anyone stumbling over each other. The music comes off as perfectly designed although it doesn't resonate as ECLECTIC as the name implies.

Compositionally the tracks tend to follow the same pattern with very few variations and the lack of vocal range gives the album a rather compressed feel. The clear standout is the second track "Where Do The Hounds Go" which delivers the most sophisticated compositional flair and also differentiates itself from the rest of the album that tends to sound a bit samey by the end. While the musicianship is top notch, the compositional skills are only mediocre. Due to the lack of sales and instant cult status the project was soon dropped and a reissue of the album has never appeared making this one a true collector's item. Foreman would reinvent himself and become a recording percussionist and perform as a session drummer for many other artists. He also moved to Scotland where he successfully completed his PhD in music composition. THE ECLECTIC MOUSE delivered an interesting artifact from the late 60s with EVERYTHING I'VE GOT but the project clearly needed more time to create more memorable compositions. It's a good album but not really much more.

 Message From The Country by MOVE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.51 | 41 ratings

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Message From The Country
The Move Proto-Prog

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

4 stars The fourth and final album MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY signified the end of THE MOVE as in the very same year of release in 1971, Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood were also recording the debut album by the Electric Light Orchestra which would debut in December 1971, a mere six months after the final MOVE album. Given that the three remaining MOVE members, Wood, Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan would be the core of the new ELO it's no wonder that with their sights on the new project that the final MOVE project was only taken as a contractual obligation which is exactly what it was.

MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY is a completely different beast than the previous MOVE albums. This one really sounds like the band morphing into the soon to be ELO with those unmistakable melodic grooves that are the clear signature sound of guitarist / vocalist Jeff Lynne. The band members have recalled that the album was a lot of fun to make because they weren't taking it too seriously. They simply explored any idea that fancied them and let it go wherever it led. Musically it is still very much steeped in the harder edged power pop that THE MOVE had become well known for only the album eschewed the more progressive touches on albums like 'Shazam!' and opted to follow in the footsteps of pop hits like 'Brontosaurus' from 'Looking On.'

This final chapter of THE MOVE also proved to be the most democratic of the bunch as it allowed all three band members to participate in the songwriting duties which gives the album the most diverse feel of all of them. The fourth musician bassist Rick Price is only credited as a session musician. There is also a clear indication of what the first ELO album would sound like as Roy Wood was already experimenting with his plethora of musical toys which included unorthodox rock instruments such as recorders, clarinet, bassoon as well as saxophones and his usual guitars and bass. This is most evident on tracks like 'It Wasn't My Idea To Dance,' while Lynne penned tracks like 'The Minister' prognosticate some of the future stylistic features of ELO's later career.

Also apparent is Lynne's fascination with The Beatles. Tracks like 'My Marge' are clear references to Paul McCartney's broadway influenced tap-dancing tunes like 'My Michelle' only sung with a goofy Ringo Starr voice. 'No Time' displays a clear John Lennon influence. Perhaps the funniest track on board is the country slide guitar drenched silly song 'Ben Crawley Steel Company.' In addition to the 60s Beatles flavors, the ELO tradition of implementing good old fashioned rock and roll into the heavier mixes has completely taken over at this point and although the debut ELO album went off in a strange direction, would be the main staple of the ELO sound beginning with the second release. 'Don't Mess Me Up' is the perfect faux Elvis Presley tribute. While the 'Ella James' track was released as a single it was quickly shelved as the Harvest label wanted to release only non-album singles.

As the final chapter of THE MOVE, this probably won't go down as the most remembered album of their career however even til the end the band retained popularity in its native UK. Even the members have stated they were just playing around but after all is said and done, it doesn't really need to be taken that seriously. MESSAGE FROM THE COUNTRY is another excellent album that crafts super-catchy pop hooks wrapped up in heavy guitar riffs, bizarre instrumental accompaniments and a sneak peak into the future world of what would become the Electric Light Orchestra. This is one of those albums that hits me differently depending on the mood i'm in but ultimately it comes off as nothing more than an excellent slice of early 70s power pop rock and that's good enough for me.

 Genesis by GODS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.07 | 32 ratings

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Genesis
The Gods Proto-Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars THE GODS featured an impressive line-up of musicians. First and foremost, there was keyboard wizard Ken Hensley, the powerhouse and driving force behind Uriah Heep. And then there was legendary guitarist Mick Taylor, a member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (1967-69) and the Rolling Stones (1969-1974). Lee Kerslake played on drums, who later went on to achieve success in Uriah Heep with Ken Hensley. Greg Lake, of Emerson, Lake & Palmer fame, was also a member of THE GODS for a brief time. The line-up for this first album "Genesis" consisted of:- John Glascock (bass, vocals); Ken Hensley (keyboards, guitar, percussion, vocals); Joe Konas (guitar, vocals) & Lee Kerslake (drums). THE GODS released a second album in 1970 "To Samuel a Son" before disbanding. As might be expected from a band led by keyboard maestro Ken Hensley, the "Genesis" album is a keyboard driven Heavy Prog album of impressive driving power, very much in the style of early Uriah Heep. If this was a Uriah Heep album, then it would surely rank as one of their finest albums. There were four bonus tracks included in the 1994 CD reissue of the album.

This album ROCKS!! "Genesis" is an album that's meant to be played LOUD and proud, so fasten your seatbelts, lock up your daughters, and prepare to hear some impressive, rip-roaring keyboard histrionics from Mr. Ken Hensley! Music maestro please! The album opens in powerful take-no-prisoners style with "Towards the Skies", with the heavy keyboard sound of Ken Hensley very much at the forefront. The singer has a powerful emotional urgency to his voice and there's some wild guitar riffs thrown in to the mix too, All in all, it's a magnificently powerful album opener which really means business and hits you for six with its raw power, The listener is given a bit of a breather with the slower-paced "Candles Getting Shorter", although the song still maintains the band's heavy rock credentials. Just when you thought it was safe to lie back and relax though, "You're My Life" hits you with its pounding drum rhythm and freaky guitar breaks with the vocalist going hell-for-leather and giving the song everything he's got and more besides, very much in the style of David Byron of Uriah Heep. And if you thought that was good, you ain't heard nothing yet (to paraphrase Mr. Bachman, Mr. Turner & Mr. Overdrive), because along comes "Looking Glass", a real highlight of the album with soaring vocals and the keyboard-heavy sound that Uriah Heep fans have grown to know and love. The impressive singer really reaches those HIGH notes on this song, without the aid of helium, and you really have to hear it to believe it! Next up is "Misleading Colours", a heavy bluesy number of impressive power. Side Two opens with "Radio Show", an all-out rocker to get the feet tapping and set the heart pumping. If you heard this for the first time in the late 1960's, you might even have been inclined to do some head-banging before head-banging had even been invented. "Plastic Horizon" is Song No. 8 which sounds like one of Uriah Heep's slower-paced numbers, although no less impressive, especially for Uriah Heep fans who will surely love it. Next up comes "Farthing Man" a bright and breezy upbeat Pop song, which is undoubtedly the least-heavy song on the album. It's the kind of catchy late 1960's Pop song that might have done well in the charts, had it been released as a single. The penultimate song "I Never Know" is the longest song on the album at over 5 minutes long. It's a moody and atmospheric number where Ken Hensley and guitar player Joe Konas are given the chance to stretch their musical muscles with some truly outstanding keyboard and guitar motifs, not to mention the singer, who always puts all of his emotion into every song on this outstanding album. As might be expected from an album of such impressive majestic power, the closing song of the album "Time and Eternity" is another powerhouse performance from the combined might of four very accomplished musicians at the top of their game.

This impressively powerful and awe-inspiring keyboard-driven album will appeal especially to fans of early Uriah Heep. The "Genesis" album gives a superb foretaste of the powerhouse keyboard-driven sound still to come from Ken Hensley, who would go on to delight fans during his legendary Uriah Heep years. If you're looking for the Best of British late-1960's Proto-Prog, then look no further. "Genesis" is an outstanding album for Heavy Prog fans everywhere!

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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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