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PROG FOLK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Folk definition

In the wake of the 1960s, a Folk revival started on both sides of the Atlantic, and got quickly linked with a protest movement, not always, but often linked to more left-wing tendencies, which did not sit well with the authorities. BOB DYLAN, JOAN BAEZ, WOODY GUTHRIE, JOHN DENVER, BUFFY STE-MARIE, but also the FARINA couple Richard and Mimi for the US and SHIRLEY COLLINS and EWAN McCOLL (mentor of BERT JANSCH, JOHN RENBOURN ) for the UK and HUGUES AUFRAY in France. In Quebec, there was the "Chansonniers" phenomenon among which CLAUDE LEVEILLE and FELIX LECLERC were the most popular, waking up the sleepy "Belle Province" and stand up for itself from the English rule. The English part of Canada also brought up JONI MITCHELL, LEONARD COHEN (although he was from Montreal) and NEIL YOUNG.

As DYLAN turned electric with his Highway 61 Revisited album, much to the dislike of purists who yelled for treason, Folk Rock was born, opening the floodgates for younger artists to turn on the electricity. As DYLAN soon abandoned to style to create Country Rock with his next album, his British equivalent Scotsman DONOVAN stayed true to Folk Rock. In the US, THE BYRDS were the main promoters of the style by now, culminating with the superb "Eight Miles High" track with a lengthy (for the times) guitar solo of almost one minute. But countless other bands on the west coast, such as LOVE, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (and later its spin-off HOT TUNA), GRATEFUL DEAD, QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, and TIM BUCKLEY all started in the folk rock realm. Even San Fran's SANTANA with its Latino traditional music and, on the east coast, NY's THE LOVING SPOONFUL had folk roots. Notwithstanding the immense popularity of SIMON & GARFUNKEL and their delicious harmonies, Folk Rock was appealing only to the rock public as the older generations turned their backs in folkies.

In the UK, following on their countrymen DONOVAN, many Scotsmen were very influent in exploring new grounds for folk rock: INCREDIBLE STRING BAND (led by Scots Palmer and Williamson) with their two highly influential albums "5000 Layers Or The Spirit Of The Onion" & "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" and THE PENTANGLE (led by other Scots Renbourn, Jansch and McShee and their superb bassist Danny Thompson) and its incredible fusion of folk, blues and jazz style were very instrumental in developing the style to the same extent as FAIRPORT CONVENTION and STRAWBS who by that time were still more conventional US "west-coast folk rock". The single artistes in folk rock became known as Folk Troubadours were also numerous and often presented a more progressive side of folk: AL STEWART, NICK DRAKE, ROY HARPER, TYRANOSAURUS REX (actually a duo of Steven Took and Marc Bolan) , JOHN MARTYN etc.

However, the real angular album that will lead to further change of Folk Rock is FAIRPORT CONVENTION's "Liege & Lief" album, that proved to be highly influential for another generation of groups: this album concentrated into electrifying seminal English traditional folk and retained that quaint Englishness taste. It is interesting to see that both leaders of FAIRPORT quit the band after this success to go their respective way: Sandy Denny to a solo folk songwriting career and Ashley Hutchings to a very traditional folk rock. By this time, most connoisseur were talking of Acid Folk, Psych Folk, and Progressive Folk, all having limited differences and no particularly drawn-out limits or boundaries, but all relying on experimental or groundbreaking adventures and good musicianship but not necessarily of an acoustic nature.

Groups like THE THIRD EAR BAND and QUINTESSENCE relied on eastern Indian music influences and, sometimes, medieval tones. Other groups like the weird COMUS, TREES, SPIROGYRA, FOREST, the superb JAN DUKES DE GREY but also TRADER HORNE, TUDOR LODGE, FOTHERINGAY, MAGNA CARTA, and TIR NA NOG were out to break new ground but with less commercial success as their predecessor. By 1972, all of the glorious precursors bands were selling fewer records and had problems renewing themselves and a newer generation of groups was relying in a more Celtic jigs or really traditional sounds. Such as HORSLIPS, DANDO SHAFT, STEELEYE SPAN, AMAZING BLONDEL, ALBION DANCE BAND and SPRIGUNS OF TOLGUS. Although JETHRO TULL had some definitive folk roots right from the start, their only albums that can be regarded as Prog Folk are 1977's Songs From The Woods and 1978's Heavy Horses. Ian Anderson (another Scots) was very keen in acoustical traditional songs. Some Folk Troubadours such as TIM BUCKLEY and JOHN MARTYN started turning records more and more axed towards fusing jazz and folk (a bit in what THE PENTANGLE were doing) , others became more and more electric and they started to be referred to as Singer Songwriters especially those with country rock influences.

In Germany, HOELDERLIN (and their fantastic debut album), EMTIDI, OUGENWEIDE, CAROL OF HARVEST, WITTHUSER & WESTRUPP were exploring German folk while KALACAKRA , SILOAH and EMBRYO were indulging with Indian music. In South America, most notably in Chile, LOS JAIVAS (very bent upon Andean Indian music) and CONGRESO (more Spanish-Latino folklore) were using folk in their rock, so much that some press talked about them referring it with the hateful term Inca Rock. In Quebec, the progressive movement exploded with the cultural identity and the Chansonniers tradition and this was carried out with LES SEGUIN and HARMONIUM and so many more. In France, many groups were out for folk rock such as CATHERINE RIBEIRO AND ALPES, TANGERINE, and ASGARD. In Spain, Flamenco playing a dominant role as well as Basque folk, TRIANA, ITOIZ and HAIZEA were the head of the movement once the Franco regime fell apart after his death.


There is also a very important medieval music influences dimension in some groups as the term Medieval Folk was also mentioned for a while but apparently dropped by musicologists. Among the UK groups are obviously GRYPHON, GENTLE GIANT and THIRD EAR BAND, in France: MALICORNE and RIPAILLE and in Scandinavia: ALGARNAS TRADGARD and FOLQUE.


Hugues Chantraine
with hyperlinks and updates by Ken Levine December 2017

Current Team as of December 2017

Bob Moore aka ClemofNazareth
Ken Levine aka Kenethlevine
Sean Trane

Prog Folk Top Albums


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

4.63 | 2982 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.34 | 2329 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.18 | 1266 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.27 | 178 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.42 | 70 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.21 | 288 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.15 | 551 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.14 | 489 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.19 | 191 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.16 | 290 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.15 | 294 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.05 | 1107 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.08 | 267 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.03 | 1035 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.20 | 87 ratings
I A MOON
North Sea Radio Orchestra
4.15 | 119 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.43 | 38 ratings
LUCAS
Araujo, Marco Antonio
4.16 | 108 ratings
BASKET OF LIGHT
Pentangle, The
4.03 | 1074 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull
4.02 | 1310 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull

Prog Folk overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Prog Folk experts team

II
Espers
STONE ANGEL
Stone Angel
VALHEISTA KAUNEIN
Scarlet Thread
MOTHER TWILIGHT
Faun Fables

Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Gnos Furlanis Il Timp Dal Sium by REVERIE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Gnos Furlanis Il Timp Dal Sium
Reverie Prog Folk

Review by EnriqueD

4 stars Up to now this is the best album made by this Italian ensemble.

According to the booklet (written in Italian only, but Google translator helps!) it is a concept album, based on the evolution of the relationship between Man and Time. The ensemble set to music some poems in Friulian (a language spoken in northeastern Italy, quite similar to Italian and as beautiful to hear as well) by several writers, among which the well-known Pier Paolo Pasolini.

There is an intrumental track as intro, three "chapters" and a majestic "a cappella" choir as coda.

Each chapter contains also an instrumental track, one of which has the same title of the cd (Gnos furlanis: Friulian nights).

Lots of percussions and acoustic instruments (flutes, clarinet, piano, guitars, mandolin) and electric instuments (mellotron, hammond, synths, here and there distorted guitars and drums) create an impressive range of sounds.

The lead singer (Fanny Fortunati) has a beautiful and expressive voice. If you love singers such as Annie Haslam and Loreena McKennitt, you will surely like her as well. Also the other musicians seem to be very skilled, being poli- instrumentalists able to shift from folk/ethno/jazzy/rock/symphonic mood even in one song-

There is also a real choir performing on two tracks, adding depth and a mystical and baroque feel to the album.

Not much known, but a treasure for lovers of the most symphonic side of "Rock Progressivo Italiano".

Highly recommended!

 Minstrel In The Gallery by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.03 | 1074 ratings

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Minstrel In The Gallery
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars "Oh Officer-Let me send her to a cheap hotel. I'll pay the bill and make well."

After setting up a down and out scene of a female drunkard, Ian Anderson's lyrical concern, in the third suite to to the prog epic "Baker Street Muse", still brings a lump to my throat. Why it does after all these years is a mystery, but I find that it sends this well written and expertly played album into a higher Jethro Tull realm. Minstrel In the Gallery is the only Anderson creation with the power to do that. As a matter of fact, it's Anderson's brief but autobiographical clues and allusions that brings so much to Minstrel In The Gallery that can't be found in any Tull album before or after.

It's not that Anderson is spilling his guts here but allusions to infidelity, deceit, and duplicity in songs such as "One White Duck" seemed to have brought Ian's other feelings out on to his sleeve. Anderson is never overtly confessional. It's just his unique mixing of cynical lyrics and sardonic wit with human emotions that frees Minstrel In The Gallery from a clinical grave.

And six feet under it could have been. But I digress. Mixed with an instrumental concert romp from the brain of guitarist Martin Barre, the title track is both a pleasure and an aural showboat. Anderson's deft lyrics dance around or weave and deflect the pulsing bass of Jeffrey Hammond, who somehow manages to anchor the busy playing of uber drummer Barrie Barlow, without ever sounding overly busy himself all the while goose stepping around like a six foot metronome.

Long gone is the loudly played, recorded and mixed "Aqualung guitar" of Barre. A quieter, dryer but excellently toned unrelenting guitar assault by Barre removes himself from the rock wars and places him squarely in the heart of prog rock. There is more great Barre playing to come, especially on the "Cold Wind To Valhalla", "Black Satin Dancer" and the above mentioned "Baker Street Muse." Good old John Evan's piano and B3 organ seems a bit forced on most songs, especially on the album's title track, and a bit redundant on other songs that feature a string quintet arranged by David Palmer. Indeed, it's Palmer's strings and Anderson's over dubbed acoustic playing on song intros and featured on "Requiem" and "One White Duck/0^10=Nothing At All" that has made many people forget themselves and regard Minstrel In the Gallery" as some kind of bizarre unplugged acoustic based concoction. I wonder what Barre, Hammond and Barlow would have felt about that? Its easy to guess that they would not been amused.

The penultimate album cut on the original vinyl LP was the fantastic 16+ minute four part epic suite "Baker Street Muse." I don't know what I can say about this fantastic piece of prog rock music that hasn't been said many times before, except that when the song starts with Anderson flubbing the first take of his acoustic intro and calling for "take two", I actually believe that "take two" was the actual mix master for this complex song. So great was the playing of all mentioned, so great was the lyrics of Anderson, so great was the string arrangements by Palmer, so great were Anderson's vocals, on this and every other song on Minstrel In The Gallery, that the record could have come off as some clinically cold creature that could have easily resembled the reanimation of Frankenstein's monster. But it didn't. Anderson, for the once and only time in his career, breathed some real life and emotion into this work and turned Minstrel In The Gallery into a 5 star masterpiece. Bravo. I'm only sad that there was never an encore.

 Hontz Gaua by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.99 | 35 ratings

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Hontz Gaua
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars With co-founder and co-lead vocalist Txomin Artola departed, Haizea recruited Xabier Iriondo to assume flute and guitar duties, leaving Amaia as the principal voice of HAIZEA. The two years since their psych tinged folk debut were clearly spent listening to a few of their Basque compatriots, among them the influential and later commercially successful ITOIZ, as well as the woodwind and guitar led fusions of MAGDALENA and LISKER. In particular, "Arnaki" largely improves upon the better offerings of those bands, a frothy jam that offsets the tranquility of the other tracks, which nonetheless easily eclipse virtually everything on the prior album. It also sounds like they fell asleep listening to both CLANNAD and ALAN STIVELL simultaneously, and played "Argizagi Ederra" upon awakening!

"Hontz Gaua" scores higher in just about every category imaginable, but chiefly in their abandonment of the earnest folk schtick in favour of much less predictable prog folk, embellished by acoustic and even traditional instrumentation. This organic shift is most pronounced on "Egunarn Hastapena" and the 14 minute title track, which translates to "Owl Night". Officially bifurcated, the epic appears to include at least 4 elegant movements that bow to each other, from a cappella to pastoral flute and guitar duet to free (ish) form nature sounds to haunting ballad. The end result is a delicate yet robust ode to the living night, and the closest HAIZEA would come to divulging their unique voice. Highly recommended.

 Weekdaze (as Principal Edwards) by PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1973
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Weekdaze (as Principal Edwards)
Principal Edwards Magic Theatre Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars This second single appeared two months after the debut single 'Captain Lifeboy' of Principal Edwards (well, debut if you exlude the albums and singles of the earlier and quite different phase of the group, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre). Now the producer was Nick Mason who would produce the album Round One in 1974.

'Weekdaze' starts as a nice melodic rock song slightly resembling The Who or Hudson Ford (of Strawbs). The instrumentation is less folky than on 'Captain Lifeboy' single, more emphasized on the electric guitar. Vocal harmonies work well behind Nick Pallet's lead vocals. At the 1/3 spot of the 3-minute song there's a lovely "bommm bomm bomm bomm bo-oo-oo-oomm" section in which Belinda Bourquin's vocals shine. As a whole this song is not quite as great as 'Captain Lifeboy' or its B-sider 'Nothing', but it has a nice, catchy rock energy in it, and the production is pretty good.

'The Whizzmore Kid' was the only 7" song that ended up on the album. It's a good example of the album's cheerful and playful nature that here and there gets a bit irritating, in my opinion. Sadly the folk element decreased after the "first" single, as well as the vocal contribution from Belinda Bourquis, and Nick Pallet's vocals get a bit over-theatrical. This is fast-paced, mildly psychedelic rock between 10cc and The Who. [Strange if 'The Whizzmore Kid' is as long (5:10) on the single as it is on the album - at least there's no separate single edition on the re-issue, nor information on the liner notes. A little editing would have improved it anyway.]

 Captain Lifeboy (as Principal Edwards) by PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1973
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Captain Lifeboy (as Principal Edwards)
Principal Edwards Magic Theatre Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Between 1968 and 1971 there was Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, an eccentric and rather unique collective (featuring as many as 14 people) of Exeter University students that made performances of theatre, music, poetry and light show. The group also recorded a couple of albums, before inevitably collapsing due to the lack of money. Three members of the original group joined forces with three new musicians and formed a more cohesive folk/psych rock band called Principal Edwards. This single - produced by Nick Tauber, whose name I remember from Marillion's early releases - was their fresh start in June 1973. I listened to these tracks (as well as the A-side of the next single, 'Weekdaze', released two months later) as bonuses on the Esoteric Recordings' re-issue of the album Round One (1974) which remained the last release of the band.

I haven't heard Magic Theatre's albums, but compared to Round One, I actually prefer the music on this single. 'Captain Lifeboy' features lots of recorders and mandolin, and the female member Belinda Bourquin adds her vocals to a greater degree than on the album. The song is lively but not silly like some album songs. Basically their combination of rock and folk is not very far from e.g. Steeleye Span, only with a notable role on the mentioned recorder and mandolin. A slight reminiscense to the folkiest Jethro Tull can also be sensed in the overall atmosphere.

On the B-side is another delightful non-album song, which simply makes this single easily worth at least four stars. The first bars of 'Nothing' reminds me of the beginning of Jethro Tull's 'Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, Too Young to Die', but only briefly. The pretty progressive instrumental intro ends with a nice recorder solo just before Nick Pallet starts singing. The composition shifts dynamically between relaxed, dreamy sections (a bit like a Caravan or Hatfield & the North ballad) and more energetic moments. And again, the recoder makes its magic on the sound.

If you're willing to get the Round One album, make sure it contains the 7" songs too, they really are a great bonus.

 Haizea by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.63 | 14 ratings

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Haizea
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars In this first of 2 disks released during Basque group HAIZEA's attenuated existence, two founding members Txomin Artola and Amaia Zubiria actually share lead vocal duties, both solo and together. The largely acoustic arrangements project like a hybrid of slightly stoned Anglo and American folk rock (guitars and vocals) with a measured take on Latin American folk (flutes) and a dollop of campfire oriented Krautfolk (distorted, jammy guitars and bell-like percussion). Without your handy Basque English dictionary this could be derivative, albeit well played folk rock from anywhere. Not surprisingly, interest spikes on the closing 10 minute number where the group half senses that it's time for a bit of a breakout. But a bit is all you get. Pleasant but as ephemeral as the wind. 2.5 stars.
 Itri by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Itri
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars In between CORDE OBLIQUE's "Per la Strade Ripetute" and "I maestri del colore", the Riccardo Principe-led "ethereal folk" group made 3 new tracks available for download which effectively mark the subtle but significant transition.

The title track is the most vivacious, with Annalisa Madonna's voice fronting a compelling blend of acoustic guitar with violins and imaginative percussion by Alessio Sica. The arrangements become more wistful in the instrumental parts but are energized anew when Annalisa reappears. It is fully aligned with the newer direction of the group, while not likely to alienate long time fans.

"Momenti senza nome" is a throwback to the earlier and more dramatic period, and the one I prefer, with its haunting and suspenseful melody sung by Francesca Cacciatore, with succinct violin and voice in duet, the wistful strings later carrying the day. It could have easily appeared on "Volonta D'Arte", their 2007 near masterpiece.

The third track is just Principe on classical guitar, well played but focused on the technical sound more than the heartstrings. The transition, at least to this point, was completed on the ambitious but dry "I maestri del colore" the next year.

Due to its temporal and evolutionary position, "Itri" is recommended to fans of any of CORDE OBLIQUE's work, or to newbies wanting to cut their teeth on unplugged neo folk Italian style without sacrificing a lot of cash or time.

 Hinsides by TUSMØRKE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.75 | 15 ratings

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Hinsides
Tusmørke Prog Folk

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars What's up with Tusmørke? While Wobbler makes us wait for years for a brand new release, Tusmørke rarely keeps us waiting for more than two years for a new release. This time around, about a year since the last release Ført Bak Liset. Hinsides is the first of two albums they released in 2017, the other the unusual children's album Bydyra released in November. Hinsides is probably their most complex and ambitious album they have done so far. The lineup is pretty much the same as before: Krizla, Benediktator (the Momrak brothers who founded Tusmørke), HlewagastiR (Martin Nordrum Kneppen, the drummer for Wobbler), and The Phenomenon Marxo Solinas (Lars Fredrik Frøislie, also of Wobbler, as well as White Willow and others). It might not start that way, "Hjemsøkte Hjem" starts off rather lightweight and upbeat, in fact rather lightweight by Tusmørke standards, but still a great piece. "I Feel Like Midnight" is more heavy, but they unexpectedly break into Latin music, before returning back to their more typical sound. "En Rykende Ruin" is shows a more complex part of the band, but it unexpectedly ends up more lightweight. "Lysskydrøm" has a more lullaby feel to it, it has a familiar sounding melody like I've heard it somewhere else. At first I didn't care for it, but it started to grow on me. It was only because I wasn't used to this group doing such a lightweight piece as this. The piece suddenly breaks into a bit jazzy piece, closing it off with a krumhorn. But then they do something far more doomy and gloomy sounding with the 23 minute "Sankt Sebastians Alter". This is truly amazing and really weird piece, by far the most complex and ambition piece these guys have ever done. This really blew me away and worth the price of admission. With Hinsides I notice the band covering new ground but continuing to retain that wonderful prog/folk/psych feel. I took me a little to get use to the more lightweight parts of this album, but they deliver another goodie worth having!
 Raindance by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.26 | 173 ratings

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Raindance
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Gryphon becomes a (progressive) rock band.

This is the album where Gryphon morphs from playing progressive medieval music while using both medieval and modern instruments, to a rock band playing progressive rock that also includes medieval instruments. As other reviewers have noted, the album contains a mix of styles, and if nothing else, this presents issues of flow and continuity. Thus, while everything on 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three' was written in the same eclectic progressive-medieval style and flows exceptionally well from track to track (and from section to section within the tracks), on this album the transitions can feel jarring and certain tracks sound very out of place. Saying this, the underlying music is still quite good. The best track here (competing for the best track in their entire catalogue) is the 16-minute "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben". This is the track that provides the most continuity with 'Red Queen', with a very similar compositional style and sound. It is more structured around the rock instruments though (with prominent electric guitar solos, etc) than the medieval instruments, although the latter are still all present and sections of the piece definitely get back into the medieval sound. This is an awesome 5-star piece, and takes up more than a third of the album. The only other two tracks that have a medieval feel are "Le Cambrioleur est dans le Mouchoir" and "Wallbanger" but even these are more 'modern' than medieval, and both are brief. The rest of the tracks are a different story. Indeed, no one versed in the first three albums would probably even recognize the rest as Gryphon - they are very much of various rock genres. "Don't Say Go" is totally Canterbury-flavoured rock, and very catchy, much like Caravan, but I like it. "Down the Dog" and "Ormolu" have a Gentle Giant feel (not at all medieval), while "Fontinental Version" sounds (to me) a bit like the last track on the Quiet Sun album (thus also a bit of a Canterbury flavour, although less so than 'Dont Say Go'). The title track, "Raindance" should have been the last track on the album - it is basically just a mellow outro. Indeed, when I made up the tape of this album, I re-arranged the tunes, with (Ein Klein) Heldenleben first, and Raindance last. I think the album works better in that order. Actually, I would say that the order of the tracks on the original album is one reason why the transitions are jarring for the listener, and perhaps why this album gets some poor reviews. This is easily fixed with a bit of re-arranging. The only track I don't like here is the cover version of the Beatles' "Mother Nature's Son" - it feels too out of place, and there is no better order for me that includes it. Other than that, I think all the music here is good, and Heldenleden is really excellent and worth the price of the album alone. All together, this gets 8.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.

 Red Queen To Gryphon Three by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 551 ratings

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Red Queen To Gryphon Three
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

5 stars Truly Unique and Innovative, and Musical.

This is Gryphon's masterpiece, the one that everyone should have in their collection. Indeed, this site almost needs a new category "progressive medieval" to classify it, or something, it is so unique. The basic medieval-influenced song structures are still there, as are the crumhorns etc, but now as the basis for a truly new sound. Taking a cue from their extended epic "Midnight Mushrumps" from the previous album, but clearly making a conscious decision to keep the pace up and the transitions between sections as seamless as possible, the band fashions four distinct roughly-10-minute tracks, each with an original and memorable main theme and various sub- themes. On this album, they add electric guitars and basses, and a full rock drummer, although the vast majority of the music is still written around acoustic guitar, piano, flutes and the horns. But the complexity is much higher, and the musicality is clear. The most medieval-sounding track is the second ("Second Spasm"), and for me this is the weaker one, although it is still very good with some excellent middle sections (on par with the best on Mushrumps). The first track ("Opening Move") has a very memorable melody, and the crumhorns here really add to the sonic feel. Really musical. The third and fourth tracks move around a lot, and have slower sections. I really like the middle section in the third track, with the droning organ and the slower horn lines ("Lament"). The fourth track ("Checkmate") contains probably the most progressive-rock-sounding music on the album, with prominent electric guitars, keyboards, drums and the like, and while it veers in and out of more medieval sounding themes, it is almost like math rock as it progresses through part of its middle section, but returning to the main theme for the ending. In terms of a rating, this album sits right on the 8.9/9.0 mark for me (on my 10-point scale). I will say 9.0 as there is really nothing like this album, and thus I would say it is essential. Thus, 5 PA stars.

Data cached

Prog Folk bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
0.720 ALEACION Mexico
3 DAFT MONKEYS United Kingdom
AALTO Finland
RABIH ABOU-KHALIL Lebanon
ACCOLADE United Kingdom
ACCOLADE United States
ADARO Germany
AFFORESTED United Kingdom
AFION Croatia
AGAPE Canada
AGINCOURT United Kingdom
AIGUES VIVES Germany
AKTUALA Italy
NICU ALIFANTIS Romania
ALMÔNDEGAS Brazil
ALVA Multi-National
AMANITA Italy
AMAROK Spain
AMAZING BLONDEL United Kingdom
AMBER United Kingdom
AN DRO Germany
ANACRUSA Argentina
IAN ANDERSON United Kingdom
THE ANGELS OF LIGHT United States
ANNAMY Sweden
APARECIDOS Multi-National
AQUAPLAN Finland
AQUARIUM Russia
DAN AR BRAZ France
MARCO ANTONIO ARAUJO Brazil
DAN ARBORISE United Kingdom
THE ARBORISTS Canada
ARIA PALEA Italy
ARMY OF BRIARS United Kingdom
ARTSRUNI Armenia
ASGARD France
ASHADA Japan
ASHTAR Brazil
ASI SOMOS Puerto Rico
ATMAN Poland
AUCAN Argentina
AVALANCHE Netherlands
AVE SANGRIA Brazil
AZAHAR Spain
BABADAG Poland
BABY WHALE Multi-National
BAMBIR / THE BAMBIR Armenia
BANDA DO CASACO Portugal
A BARCA DO SOL Brazil
BARR Sweden
TOMAS BATISTA Argentina
BAYON Germany
BEAT CIRCUS United States
BEDEDEUM Italy
BERNARD BENOIT France
BIG LOST RAINBOW United States
BLACKMORE'S NIGHT United Kingdom
BLOPS Chile
BLUEHORSES United Kingdom
BOULE DE SON Canada
BRAN (BRÂN) United Kingdom
BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS United Kingdom
BRECHE Canada
PAUL BRETT United Kingdom
BRÖSELMASCHINE Germany
BUCIUM Romania
TIM BUCKLEY United States
VASHTI BUNYAN United Kingdom
C.O.B. United Kingdom
CAEDMON United Kingdom
CALIBAN United States
CÁLIX Brazil
CAMELIAS GARDEN Italy
CAN AM DES PUIG Multi-National
CANDIDATE United Kingdom
CANO Canada
CANZONIERE DEL LAZIO Italy
MARCELLO CAPRA Italy
CARMEN United Kingdom
CARNASCIALIA Italy
CAROL OF HARVEST Germany
GIAN CASTELLO Italy
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