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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 | 836 ratings
Beatles, The
4.49 | 492 ratings
Who, The
4.38 | 763 ratings
Beatles, The
4.33 | 1014 ratings
Deep Purple
4.33 | 871 ratings
Beatles, The
4.29 | 1021 ratings
Deep Purple
4.35 | 480 ratings
Who, The
4.30 | 554 ratings
Doors, The
4.17 | 669 ratings
Beatles, The
4.24 | 417 ratings
Doors, The
4.25 | 365 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.13 | 612 ratings
Beatles, The
4.01 | 389 ratings
Doors, The
3.91 | 592 ratings
Beatles, The
3.92 | 463 ratings
Who, The
3.96 | 321 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
3.83 | 679 ratings
Deep Purple
4.12 | 151 ratings
3.92 | 266 ratings
Deep Purple
3.94 | 245 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi

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Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 Shades of Deep Purple by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.28 | 459 ratings

Shades of Deep Purple
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars What strange beginnings for one of the three unholy trinity bands that together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath would introduce the world to a new universe of music in the forms of hard rock and heavy metal. Despite their contributions they started out much like The Monkees in formation, meaning that members were recruited by Chris Curtis who had visions of creating a supergroup called Roundabout which was to have a rotating cast of musical members. He approached the business tycoon Tony Edwards for funding and the first members he managed to woo into the project were none other than keyboardist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Also fulfilling what is now referred to as the Mark I era of DEEP PURPLE, were Nick Simper on bass, Ian Paice on drums and original vocalist Rod Evans who was definitely no Ian Gillan but did suit the 60s psychedelic leanings of the sound the band were engaging in at this stage.

This album starts off with the groovy instrumental "And This Address" which gives me flashes of partying with Austin Powers in somewhere 60s London which also has slight references to the following track and single "Hush." This single is one of those songs i never dug too much but i have to admit it's played very well and the instrumental exchanges are fairly complex for psychedelic music of this era. It's not really as bad as i've always made it out to be. I have to admit that i've had a change of heart on this debut album. I used to despise early DEEP PURPLE but as i've grown more fond of 60s heavy psych and the sound that surrounds it, i have gained an appreciation for album number one of one of hard rock's most famous offerings. While there are still many things i dislike about this one in comparison to later releases, there is still a lot to like here. This is 60s psychedelic rock through and through and on this one Jon Lord is the star with his classically infused keyboard runs and i can only admit that this music is played extraordinarily well and quite sophisticated for this era in rock history. The musicians gel together beautifully. Nick Simper's bass playing is surely a major factor as he displays a passionate energy that seemingly holds the whole thing together. Surprisingly Blackmore's guitar contributions are quite subdued.

The reasons this album fails to blow me away are manyfold. Firstly, i'm not a huge fan of Rod Evans vocals. Although he gets the job done in tune and all he still fails to be a charismatic lead vocalist and is no Jim Morrison or, you guessed it - Ian Gillan. Secondly, i'm not a huge fan of cover songs unless the band can take the bull by the horns and lead it to strawberry fields forever. While i admire their attempt on this one to conquer huge hits by The Beatles ("Help") and Jimi Hendrix ("Hey Joe") and i quite love the instrumental embellishments, i simply feel these tracks derail the momentum of the album as a whole. Thirdly, while the musical equation of the album is fairly well done, the lyrical contributions have some serious lameness at times. Perfect example is the instrumentally competent "Prelude: " which delivers "Happiness" in the beginning but once it gets to "I'm So Glad" and repeats that phrase ad infinitum, it makes me want to gag myself with a pitchfork and orally excrete my stomacal contents. In the end this is too much of a mixed bag and the bad makes me enjoy the good less than others seem to. For all the positive elements on this debut release, i'd rather just fast forward to the Mark II phase and be issue free.

 Live at the Fillmore East by HENDRIX, JIMI album cover Live, 1999
4.08 | 22 ratings

Live at the Fillmore East
Jimi Hendrix Proto-Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Jimi Hendrix just wanted to play. And through all the accomplishment, extraordinary success among both peers and fans, and a singular artistry that is sometimes mistaken for novelty, it is clear that what he was really interested in was a choice riff and a good time. Hendrix was one of the only guitarists of his era that progressed internally as an instrumentalist, not just via the gifts of a talented ensemble. And yet as a sensitive kid he endured the of pain of troubled parents, a society wherein you could be shot for playing music while black, and the unenviable choice between prison or military service. But he always had an ax. Even when his father refused to buy him one, Jimi rummaged a single-stringed uke until it fell apart, eventually bought a five-buck acoustic and when he couldn't be heard over bandmates, finally tucked-in to a Supro Ozark 1560 S.

But, as is often the case with brilliance, greatness was not evident right away. Jimi Hendrix had to uncover the now all too obvious: The electric guitar and amplifier were tools of sonic art that hadn't even been scratched at with any high amount of gravity, and he began to see and hear what others couldn't seem to. Brits will sometimes facetiously suggest Hendrix was theirs, that somehow because his popular rise was backed by Englishmen the Hendrix legacy belongs to London. Yeah, no; not when his finest moments were with the dazzling if misspelled A Band of Gypsys-- old cohorts Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. Further, the notion that Jimi had been pressured to have an all-black group is specious. It ain't true. The chemistry with Cox & Miles was just better, it always had been, and that counts.

A stickler for being in tune and yet as loose-handed as anyone, a fearless adventurer who, unlike Jim Morrison, could stop leaping into the fire when it burned too hot, Jimi, we hardly knew ye. So I was thrilled to have cornered the long deceased grand legend late one night in a bustling backstage at a Los Angeles nightclub, his first interview with the Living since his death in September, 1970. People of all sorts traipsed back & forth through the narrow backstage anteroom just outside the small greenroom we sat in; frantic roadies, groupies consoling other groupies, nervous managers, the lightshow people panicking over a broken liquid-slide projector, deadbeat vendors getting kicked out, a lone photographer struggling for a good shot, all generating a familiar din that said rock 'n roll. As we began speaking, James Marshall Hendrix took on a warm expression and his eyes widened, bringing me in.

A - Is this all for you?; I mean do they know you're here tonight?

Jimi - I dunno, man, it's just some good energy. It's just happening, y'know --

A - I recently caught some video of you at the Fillmore East shows in '69/'70, video I didn't know existed, taken from the balcony. It was illuminating to see footage of you perform without the florid camerawork that prevailed in concert films then. I noticed how being a left-hander may've influenced your sound, do you know what I mean?

Jimi - Yeah yeah, totally, they say it shouldn't make a difference, left or right, but it does, yeah.

A - Your left hand, the picking hand, was reverse-positioned, almost contorted, much like left-handed people write and draw, and it seemed to allow you a fluidity perhaps inaccessible by other players.

Jimi - Y'know I always kinda noticed that but never put it into words. Right-on, man, now spark that doob in the ashtray.

A - On it. When you add your upside down guitars that were standard strung for a lefty, your hand size with that thumb coming over top to mute an unwanted low E & A, your reach, plus having started on a ukulele, it all must've impacted your style.

Jimi - Yeah it all must have, but, you know, it could've been other things too. We're all so tugged and tapped and moved in life, it all makes a difference. Angles, man, it's in the angles (takes a huge drag on the fattest joint I've ever seen, holds it in, and exhales in a loud tumble of hacking and coughing).

A - The Band of Gypsys project was more than just a heavy blues/funk-rock trio out to fulfill a contract, was it not?

Jimi - It turned into something much more special than the three of us had expected. Our interpersonal connection, the depth of understanding and musical brotherhood we had was unique. You can hear that in our shows. That was a great band.

A - Far tighter and more serious than the act appeared. It was only later when I began to listen carefully to all the shows from New Years Eve 1969, or Berkeley, etc., that I began to hear what you guys were doing and how tight it actually was.

Jimi - I know, some people thought we were sloppy I guess. But no, not for what we were doing. We were all in, baby, a blues revelation, you know? You couldn't stop us, we could play anyone under the table that year.

A - Let's talk about the New Years Eve 1969 material not included on the Band of Gypsys LP, released later as Jimi Hendrix Live at the Fillmore East. I'm sure it's a thrill to see live but If you'll forgive me I'm gonna skip past twelve minutes of 'Stone Free' and jump to 'Power of Soul', a nice sample of the killer riffage that was spewing out of you guys at the time.

Jimi - This should'a opened the record, or I should say we should've opened with this one, 'Power of Soul'. It's a good warmup for us and them, the audience.

A - That modulation up a step, I love that.

Jimi - Yeah see that's the thing; it's just a two fret change-up but because the context is hard blues, it works. It's unexpected. And then this kinda lazy 'Train 'a Comin'. Tone, it's all about tone, brother. Can't do nothin' without tone. It's everything. It feeds, provides, it pulls out. It pulls me out, you know what I'm sayin'?

A - I think so. You were meticulous about being and staying in tune, a near impossibility considering the intense palpitations you put your guitars through. If you'll forgive me, how were you able to do that?

Jimi - 'Cause I had to. And a lot of time performing with electric guitars. You do what you have to; I was reaching here, there, I was tweakin' the bar any way I could, warping the neck, palpating. See-- 'Isabella' better, it sounds better, so we played it better, so it is better.

A - And a beautiful, more concisely powerful version of your classic 'Machine Gun' than appears on Band of Gypsys. Were you happy with this performance?

Jimi - This is the first time I've heard it, this set from those shows.

A - Really? I'm amazed. How does the tone strike you?

Jimi - I like it, it's quieter than the Gypsys album version, more room to work. It's a great tune to reshape, rework, like a living sculpture that's never completely finished.

A - Those divebombs are kick-ass - -

Jimi - (smiling widely) You're a real fanboy aren't you?

A - (blushing) Yeah, sorry. The anti-war message is clear, not so much anti-Vietnam War as almost an embracing of war--

Jimi - Well yeah, I didn't want to run away from it, the combat, the violence, I wanted to show it. To give an abstract impression of war, you know; the sounds, ugliness, it was a heavy time. You had to face it and that's how we did it.

A - And 'Voodoo Chile' -- you correct yourself there at the start, wrong key?

Jimi - (laughs uproariously) I forgot about that, hilarious. I don't know what I was thinking.

A - But you actually do remember that flub?

Jimi - Oh yeah, I wasn't so high that I couldn't hear a mistake. By now the acid was kicking in, though, so you know it was all in fun.

A - So you were tripping that night?

Jimi - F*ck yeah.

A - Syd Barrett told me playing while on LSD is almost impossible. Did you find that as well?

Jimi - That's why I put it under my headband, slow easy release, but yeah he's right. It's a bitch if it hits you all at once.

A - 'Who Knows' from the second set, December 31, 1969, different from the familiar version.

Jimi - Less energy, but it's alright I guess. Not my favorite version.

A - A stylish 'Them Changes', a Buddy Miles tune, a good bopper.

Jimi - Yeah it's a fun track. Why not, y'know?

A - And a massive, nearly 14-minute 'Machine Gun'. Awesome, man, I mean your studio records get all the praise but c'mon, this is magical, dark and wonderful, otherworldly stuff.

Jimi - That's what it was supposed to be, to evoke. Yeah, right on, I hear you. It's a heavy trip with this song. Not even a song.

[ * with this he took another several deep tokes on the now smoldering joint and slowly exhaled through his wide-set nostrils]

A - I swear I hear you say "Obama" several times in this; A premonition?

Jimi - (after several moments of uncontrollable laughter) Maybe, man, maybe, I wouldn't be surprised. A lot of magic that night, that band. Then 'Stop', that's a Jerry Ragovoy tune, good little track. Fun to play, and kind of a nice break after a long set.

A - Which it was: what, four sets over two nights? Pretty intense.

Jimi - Yeah, but we loved it. And we wanted to give the people their money's worth. "Earth Blues" good too. Some nice stuff here. Good to hear after all this time. "Burning Desire" kinda shows how improvisational we could be, but we'd gotten so tight, tight-but-lose, it was hard to tell sometimes what was spontaneous and what we'd planned. But that's cool.

It certainly is.

 Silver Apples  by SILVER APPLES album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.53 | 19 ratings

Silver Apples
Silver Apples Proto-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Two silver apples on the cover, two Silver Apples in the band - Dan Taylor and Simeon team up to pioneer the use of synthesisers in rock music to an extent that was truly radical. Whilst using synthesisers as a component of rock became a big deal over the course of the next days, and synthesiser-dominated ambient-type music and krautrock would likewise be a big deal, it'd be over a decade before very many people (with the possible exception of Sparks) managed to take this sort of stripped-down synth-focused instrumentation and rock experimentation and turn it into something genuinely accessible and catchy with it.
 Pärson Sound by PÄRSON SOUND album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.69 | 14 ratings

Pärson Sound
Pärson Sound Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars PÄRSON SOUND was born out of the fertile 60s cross-pollination of all types of traditional and contemporary musical forms invading every nook and cranny of the world. In this case it was Sweden. After The Beatles and other English bands were successfully delivering their own take on various sounds merging together to the new global audience, some musicians opted to create a deeper, darker and much freakier sound to focus on. PÄRSON SOUND which consisted of Bo Anders Persson (guitar), Thomas Tidholm (vocals, sax, flute), Arne Ericsson (cello), Urban Yuman (violin), Torbjörn Abelli (bass) and Thomas Mera Gartz (drums) who were hugely inspired by the minalmist vision of Terry Riley and took the whole mid-60s psychedelic scene to new levels giving them the oft touted title as the earliest pioneers of Krautrock which wouldn't take off for another couple of years. This band has put out a most confusing track record of their offerings. While beginning as PÄRSON SOUND, they only recorded several demos and live performances under this band name. The tracks on this release range from the 1967-68 years but were never released until this eponymously tilted 2001 compilation hit the market. This is the prequel band to the following International Harvester, Harvester and finally Träd, Gräs & Stenar (of which Bo Anders Perrson, Torbjörn Abelli and Thomas Merz Gartz were the only constant members).

Right from the beginning "Intro" it's easy to tell that this band was pretty much ahead of its time. While contemporaries with The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, these guys really shot off into the trip-o-sphere and took psychedelic escapism to a frightening new level. While artists like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Yardbirds and Love were basically creating a new form of psychedelic rock or pop that was based on catchy rhythms and / or melodic developments, PÄRSON SOUND really was the real heavy psych deal eschewing anything catchy, kitschy and sing-along and instead offered hypnotic chimeric and sound equivalents of a mirage in the desert as the music delivers a steady beat and riff groove that slowly deviates from its intended course as if a sudden bout of sickness has distorted the listener's perception and proffered a new distinct connection to reality. This is the real deal and delivered when all those aforementioned bands were trying to achieve such cosmic lengths, but in reality were only delivering mostly blues oriented catchy pop songs polished in a psychedelic coating.

Everything about this album drips in cosmic unity bathing in a tripped out, psychedelic timelessness as if a shaman from centuries of time travel had intervened and injected the proper rainforest frog licking experience to the whole shebang. The music is powerful as it establishes a cosmic grooviness to the whole delivery system and then adds a fuzzed out guitar extravaganza that contributes alternating patterns in percussive and bass performances. Most of the tracks are long extended instrumental behemoths but there are vocals interspersed throughout the lengthy double album length. This is a double album. Part one on either CD or vinyl consists of lengthy psychedelic jams mixed with drone, minimalism and indo-raga to create long drawn out jams that slowly unfold themselves into slightly different compositions that are simultaneous hypnotic in effect as well as energetic bombastic affirmations to the mushroom gods that alter the perceptions of all entities engaging in the conscious perception of what is unfolding.

Believe you me that no drugs are required to alter your consciousness with this one. It has the full effect sans any chemical altercations but i imagine that booster shots can only take this trip even further. Disc / vinyl side two starts off on a much lighter note. In fact the track "Sov Gott Rose-Marie" which is the album title of the International Harvester album that follows, begins sounding much like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana with a simple chord structure and surprisingly grunge oriented progression a full couple decades before such music would actually hit it big. The track is divided into three parts and after the energetic proto-grunge part it cedes into a very early Pink Floyd sounding part that creates a nice counterpart effect to "Pipers At Dawn's Gate" with its psychedelic guitar riff meets the mellotron and grrrrrroooooviliscious beat which is steady and relaxing. Almost martini music meets acid blotters but creates a jarring juxtaposition of contrasts as it continues. The next track "Skrubba" is the longest track on the entire double album at 28:56 and basically delivers the utmost psychedelic freak out of the time. Although it is basically a repetitive bass line ad infinitum, it nonetheless has enough contrast in sounds and off-beat timings of things to give credence to the proto-prog badge that it frequently acquires. While the mood of the listener has to be in sync with the unfolding and time delivery of the whole thang, it is one of the most satisfying tracks for the hardcore tripper who is craving this sort of thang. This one has a bass line that also reinterprets the early Pink Floyd take on psychedelia only taking a much more hypnotic and repetitive approach to the table.

The rest of the album follows suit with taking the Syd Barret Pink Floyd-isms beyond the albums that they released only to create wild and bizarre escapist passages into another world. Just to be very clear, this is basically minimally melodic in nature and very repetitive in that regard. The majestic magnitude of PÄRSON SOUND is how they embellish the simplicity of it all. The music unfolds in simple measures as would any music of the day but each measure creates a subtle difference enhances the magnitude of the experience ever so slightly after each passing increment of time. The production is quite conducive to the psychedelic experience and although this is not music that a sane person would experience on a daily basis, this is quite the heady wild psychedelic experience everyone wishes that all those 60s so-called psych bands would have produced. This is the real deal-ee-bop and it was created in the actual time, not as a wish-i'd-been-there-and-done-that pipe dream. Personally i really love this album although it does require the proper mindset to totally enjoy and comprehend. However, when the mood strikes, this is the real deal and what a deal it is. Sweden has emerged as one of the leaders of progressive music but many do not realize that this has been true ever since the beginning of the prog scene all the way back in the 60s, even before Germany caught wind and took the bull by the horn and usurped the whole psychedelic scene with their version of Krautrock. Excellent album that should be experienced by every psychedelic music lover who is serious about the PSYCHEDELIC part of the equation and also a big bonafide feel good moment for anyone interested in early noise rock that would eventually lead to bands such as Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and all the drone metal bands like Boris, Jesu, Earth, Nadja and beyond??..

 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.06 | 158 ratings

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by poito

4 stars This is pure Rock history. Probably I must have heard Brown's hit Fire on the radio or on a TV show when I was a child because it is stuck in my head and I feel it somehow unconsciously guided my first musical taste before I become a researcher. It was the time when Iron Butterfly struck over the world with the In-A- Gadda-Da-Vida, Deep Purple was giving birth to the heavy lines of Rock music, and Hendrix changed the guitar playing. Besides all influences that you can find in the reviews on AB, I would dare to add he was a pioneer of high-pitch shouting in the Rock scene (remember Ian Gillan's classic shouting in Deep Purple?), curious because he had one of the deepest baritone voices similar to Kevin Ayers founder member of the Soft Machine, Zappa or Thijs van Leer of Focus. His casual, theatrical, and iconoclastic appearance on stage was also a prelude for many others as Peter Gabriel's, Alice Cooper, etc. And he also was close to Zappa in what is now call Avant-Garde subgenre. Besides the mentioned Fire, there are excellent tracks here dominated by the impressive Hammond of Vincent Crane, such as Come and Buy, Nightmare and Time- Confusion, all gems of protoProg. Even if you are still busy trying to cope with the tons of Metal Prog and derivatives, you may just remember this name for the times when you start digging in the roots of it all.
 Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus by SPIRIT album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.12 | 151 ratings

Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit Proto-Prog

Review by axeman

4 stars

Mostly what you can expect from a psychedelic band. Also, it contains some AOR radio favorites Nature's Way, and Animal Zoo. But after those two, we get our first (what I would consider) prog song: Love Has Found A Way. Then there is the folksy-acoustic Why Can't I Be Free. Next is the 60s boogie number Mr. Skin (think Dr. John). Space Child is a nice psychedelic prog piece, if lounge-lizardy piano with a Moog in the middle.

Then When I Touch You begins with a visit from Sid Barrett's fuzzy things, and then some raw rock guitar, which with keyboards, builds into a sort of atmospheric anthem-paced rocker. This one definitely leaves you with the feeling that you listened to some development. Street Worm rises above its potential as a formulaic rocker. A glam Morning Will Come is notable toward the end, but that about wraps it up.

I'm going to rate this as a fine addition to a collection. Definitely some well-done songs, but it never rises past the level of some good pop/rock. Still rather good pop/rock, and a solid album.

 The Beatles by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.17 | 669 ratings

The Beatles
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Dead musicians can be a handful. Talking to them can be even worse. Stripped of their fame and notoriety but still with the same ego and obsessions that got them to the top of the rock 'n roll food chain, you never know what you'll be in for when taking an interview. But there are some meetings that are just too tempting to pass up. This was one. I can't say the Liverpudlian songsmiths who changed popular music are among my personal favorites. But those albums. Oh those albums. And when things started getting really interesting ~ which is to say tense, messy and painful ~ it became compelling. Though those moments are not this band's best inter-personally, they yielded some of their most challenging, and ultimately successful, music. Tension and the painful wake of traumatic events will often cause conditions that foment creative breakthroughs and the Most Famous Band in the World began showing clear signs of that in 1968. And Yoko wasn't the only upstart one making trouble, either.

I figured George Harrison and John Lennon would want to meet somewhere in their British homeland but, unsettlingly for me, we gathered at the Dakota Apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the place Mr. Lennon was murdered in 1980. As an American, that event has given me terrible guilt ever since. Here was probably the most important rock musician of his time and he couldn't walk home without getting shot. God bless America. The three of us sat in Lennon's old flat he'd shared with Yoko Ono, an airy but comfortable warehouse-like space that reflected Lennon's spartan tendencies mixed with Ono's Nipponese aesthetic. My first question was compulsory.

A - Why did you guys want to talk at the Dakota?

John - This'd been my home for seven years before I died, mate, I luv this city. Me and Yoko spent a lot of great time in this apartment, I wasn't gonna let some dope take that away from me.

A - Of course, I can understand that. So you stayed in New York, made it your permanent home?

John - Yeah man, I already traveled the universe when I was alive, I just wanna relax and enjoy things.

A - But George, you're more active?

George - (grinning) Barmy. I mostly hang-out in Scotland frightening people (both chuckle). And play guitah.

A - Gotcha. If it's alright I'd like to talk about the band's 1968 issue, known as The White Album.

George - Good one.

John - My favorite.

A - What makes it your favorite?

John - (after a long pause) It's closest to what we did best; It's what I thought was the closest we ever got to a truly great piece of work.

A - Why?

John - It makes me smile the most.

A - Word is they were difficult sessions, a lot of turmoil and fallout.

John - Don't believe everything you read.

George - Actually it got to be hellish in there. Peoples' patience was frayed, and nerves.

A - Right. Let's begin with 'Back in the USSR'.

John - What about it? It's just a song. Not even a great one, a bluddy attention grabber 'at was, wunn'it.

A - 'Dear Prudence' was written at Rishikesh during the spring of '68 along with many other cuts that appear on the double record. Mia Farrow claimed that the song was written about her sister, both of whom were at the Rishikesh Transcendental course with you. Is that true?

John - If not, that makes her a liar, dunn'it? And me too.

[* Note to reader: It was moments like this, and there were numerous, when Lennon's infamous temper would show and I would have to summon some patience .]

A - 'Glass Onion', a satire about Beatles popular mythology.

George - I like that one.

John - Made 'o glass, baby.

A - And the increasingly reviled 'Ob-La-Di'-- funny because when I was younger it was sort of a kitschy favorite.

John - It's rubbish but if people like it that's fine.

George - I'd not say rubbish. Bottom shelf maybe.

A - And 'Wild Honey Pie', known as "the greatest piece of filler..."

George - But it's passages like this that set the tone for things. It turned out to be alright.

A - Bungalow Bill was written out of disgust at hunting?

John - It wasn't disgust for hunting as much as for this one knob.

A - And maybe a bit of Ugly-Americanism?

John - Maybe, but English hunters are no bettah.

A - And George, we know a lot about 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', the work Eric Clapton did on it. It sounds like he mainly did the solo work, is that right?

George - Mmm, yes, primarily, but, you know, he really helped with the whole thing, rhythm bits and suggesting an arrangement here or change there. It was almost as much his bit as mine.

A - I remember a rumor that you'd wanted to turn the cut into one hour-long experimental project featuring people weeping. [Both men erupt in belly laughter-- I turn a shade of red just a bit darker than a baboon's ass and sink in my seat]. Okay, alright, and Warm Gun, not about heroin I assume?

John - No, no, that's about guns, mate. Guns. This is what started happening. Everyone assumed there was always some hidden message, some cryptic meaning in things, and there just wasn't.

A - I can see that. Must've been frustrating. Did it turn you off interpreting other artists' work?

George - Well just over interpreting, I reckon.

A - And the nice '50s-style falsetto there. This was a good moment for the band at a difficult time, yes?

George - Yeah, great, y'know, after all the bickering we just all really enjoyed doing it. Working it out.

John - I mean that's what being a band is, playing together and each one giving something. We couldn't seem to capture that anymore, so it was a nice one.

A - Paul said 'Martha My Dear' came to him through his "muse" - -

George - That tune was just Paul recording; (grinning) It was only a Northern song.

A - And 'I'm So Tired'; simply that?

John - Exactly, yeah, why not --

A - Even though it's a Paul song, let's talk just a bit about 'Blackbird'.

George - Ace tune, that is. How can you argue with it, and that guitar, and the metronome. Bit o' genius, that.

John - (making a silly face) Aye, like that wun. It's brill. And then George's tune, I like the piggies, George.

[* At this point an assistant came in with coffee, pastry, bowls of fruit, packs of Gauloises, and a container of fat joints. We ate, drank, smoked, and generally goofed-off before sitting down for more conversation.]

A - It's reported that producer George Martin thought 'Rocky Raccoon' was filler. What's your take on that?

George - Not really fair, I'd say. It's a fun track. You have to remember we were disintegrating as a family and so a bit of fun was a great relief ... and also gave the sessions a sense of the unknown. It'd gotten nuts, we were always expected to write hits. But we'd 'av gone crazy if that's all we did.

John - Same with 'Why Don't We Do it in the Road'. Bit o' trifle that, but actually a nifty little number.

A - And your tribute to your mother, Julia, and the only time you play alone on the record. Any thoughts?

John - I said it all in the song.

A - After everyone's favorite party tune, 'Birthday', is one of my favorites, 'Yer Blues'. Please talk about writing and recording it, and your performance of it with the Stones in '68.

John - We were in India and realized the Maharishi was full of sh*t, so I lost my buzz and wrote it. I was missing rock 'n roll and needed it. The odd rhythms were unusual for a straight rock tune, y'know? And that was a good jam with Mick and everyone.

A - Both 'Everybody's Got Something to Hide..' and 'Sexy Sadie' were inspired by him, the Maharishi?

George - That's right, yeah.

A - "Helter skelter" is of course a kind of skyslide for kids in the UK, and had nothing to do with Hell. Another misinterpretation, this time a deadly one?

George - You can't perceive things through just one lens, otherwise you're capable of awful things. Quite sad, that.

A - Guys, we're about to wrap this up with just a brief discussion of side 4, which seemed to be the most unconventional part of the record. Would you agree?

John - The best part. How could you not have fun with Rev Nine?

A - You didn't care for 'Honey Pie' -

John - Look, we wrote songs, man, that's what we did. It's all we did. We'd come in and put what we had out there; We'd arrange, record and re-record, and George (Martin) would do his thing and eventually we'd have some decent stuff, get an album together. That's it. That's all. We were a rock band. ~~~

 Concerto for Group and Orchestra by DEEP PURPLE album cover Live, 1969
3.21 | 241 ratings

Concerto for Group and Orchestra
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars Jon Lord must've had a monster-sized ego to come up with orchestra and rock group concept. Not that they would be the first (the Moody Blues were the first with Days of Future Passed) nor the last (Procol Harum, Rick Wakeman, The Nice, ELP, even Eloy, if you're wondering what that Eloy album was, it was Dawn) had all tried rock with orchestra concepts with varying degrees of success. Lord had a background in classical so I guess he was familiar with the music. I'm sure at fire Malcolm Arnold, the conductor had his reservations, but then it resulted in him being pleasantly surprised to see a rock and roll musician try classical and had an understanding in classical composition. Ritchie Blackmore thought it was a bad idea and felt the orchestra was rather condescending (the usual rift between classical and rock). This album was the first with the Mark II lineup (Roger Glover and Ian Gillan as the newcomers, as you probably already knew that) and a rather strange way to get started. I was resistant in buying the album because of the mixed reaction, but since I found a used LP for cheap (second American pressing on Warner) I gave it a shot and wasn't all that bad. Certainly there are big glaring obvious flaws that there isn't too much band/orchestra interaction. Usually it seems one of the band members will participate with the orchestra but rarely the whole band, and when the whole band performed, as in the killer jam they do on "First Movement" the orchestra remains silent. "Second Movement" is actually two parts (because of the time constraint of the LP). Ian Gillan does everything to sound like his predecessor Rod Evans, you'd almost think Evans was still a member of the band. He never uses his trademark high pitch screams (a big influence on the likes of Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio and many other heavy metal singers). The second half of the "Second Movement" has some bluesy passages from the band, while "Third Movement" is most notable for the extended Ian Paice drum solo, like they were taking after the likes of "Toad", "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" or even "Moby Dick" (but bear in mind this was recorded in September 24, 1969, LZII was released a month later). The '70s was often considered a decade of excess, and this album is the epitome of '70s excess, even if it was released in December 1969 (originally in the US on Bill Cosby's Tetragrammaton label, yes THAT Bill Cosby, although that pressing is hard to find give the label quickly went belly up shortly after this album's release and no wonder Warner gave that album a second life when the band moved to that label in the States, since it didn't have much a chance on Tetragrammaton).

I have to say it wasn't entirely a success. There could have been more band and orchestra interaction. The Moody Blues's Days of Future Passed wasn't entirely a successful combination of rock band and orchestra, it too suffered problems of lack of band/orchestra interaction (either the band plays or the orchestra), it was a big commercial success, and even a critical success, because at least there the orchestra frequently played themes that the band would often play too, although (I'm not the only one) many had criticized Peter Knight's orchestral style as it veered too close to lite classical (but then to be fair, it seemed lite classical was a big influence on the Moodies). Deep Purple it sounded like the orchestra did not relate to the band, and neither did the band relate to the orchestra, aside from Jon Lord.

It can be easily thought of in many different ways: Rubbish, a rock band/orchestra experiment that failed, 70s excess at its worst, or actually a great example of proto-prog. I am a bit torn about this album, but to my ears it isn't too bad, but this isn't exactly In Rock or Machine Head, and I obviously didn't expect that. There are some brilliant ideas, but there areas either the band or the orchestra loses focus. So I guess three stars it is, because I enjoyed it despite obvious flaws.

 Rubber Soul by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
3.91 | 592 ratings

Rubber Soul
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars

Dec. 15, 1965

Dear Diary,

Just got back from the record shop, I went with Trudy, we had a gas. We got some boss stuff. She bought the Rolling Stones, I think it's called Out of My Head or something. The Stones are realy cool but I like George and John and Ringo and Paul. They are so cute!!! (xoxoxo) I got the new one that just came out with the wierd picture of them on the cover!! It looks like theyr under water or somthing. I'm playing it now on my hifi. It sounds really good.

The first one is called Ive just Seen a face and I like it alot but it reminds me of my dads folk records which he plays which I dont really like that much and the second song is kinda like the first one but a little bitt slower and its pretty cool its called Norwegen Wood. Then comes You wont see Me which is kinda cool but not "Think for yourself" because its slow and it dosn't sound so good, it has a wierd sound. Then The word is choice! But not as choice as Michele because michele is such a wonderful love song I love it! So romantic. I love Paul!! And John!!

Oh but than its Only Love!! Sooooo cool!!!!! I think george has that echoie thing my boyfreind has on his giutar (but we broke up and Im not talking to him so i dont really know) . And then a song called "Girl" which is just so good i dont know how to discribe it. Oh but this song is so good. I love the words they write. I think this is John singing the lyrics but i'm not for sure. And then Im looking throu You-- this album keeps getting better and better and better! Then In My Life which is a very beautiful song which my Mom really likes alot. "Wait" is excellent but Run For Your Life is good but i dont really like the mad lyrics. Oh well, no one is perfect.

All in all me and Trudy had a bitchin day and i love her and the records we got. She is my best freind and I love THE BEATLES so much !

 Walpurgis by SHIVER, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.05 | 2 ratings

The Shiver Proto-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

3 stars Look at the weird art upon the sleeve at first, and keep an ear upon the psychedelic Krautrock prototype next.

This stuff can be called as one of psychedelic progressive / Krautrock legends from Switzerland, veiled in a renowned artistic sleeve drawn by H. R. Giger. Basically non-colourful heavy bluesy rock tinged with dark stoner vibes they launched, but some innovative progressive essence can be heard via such a blues rock authenticity.

The beginning shot "Repent Walpurgis" is awesome indeed. Exactly dark Kraut-ish flavour filled with deep, heavy exaggerate drumming and guitar voltage drives us of surrealism. Psychedelic watery keyboard sound surface is very atmospheric but at the same time very theatrical. Drenched in Satanic majesty like the sleeve painting, this masterpiece enough explains all of their album world, we can mention.

Anyway "Hey Mr. Holy Man" features "Dies Irae" of Gregorian Chant ... I've listened to another Krautrock version of "Dies Irae" by SHANNONDOA, that sounds drier and cooler. "Hey Mr. Holy Man" has notified us of their sticky, depressive appearance covering this whole album. On the contrary other tracks are simply blues rock ones each of which can be listened to at ease comparatively (especially "Ode To The Salvation Army" is impressive, interesting, easygoing).

One of blues rock stuffs "What's Wrong About The Blues" let's us shout the phrases. Old Krautrock, like ACHTZEHN KARAT GOLD or AIR, has exerted such a bluesy texture. Another bluesy kick "No Time" is one of old-fashioned standard numbers that has sung or played here and there (also in Japan ... cannot remember who sings this song in Japanese). Not so special for those days but conventional atmosphere might relieve us I imagine. The last "The Peddle" sounds delicate but cloudy through psychedelic effects ... enough with comfort, reminding us of something like Live Dead.

Totally via the "current" progressive rock guideline it might be a tough call to categorize them as a progressive rock combo, but hey, how do you feel their innovative musical scheme in late 60s?

Data cached

Proto-Prog bands/artists list

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

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