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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 | 3444 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.36 | 2730 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.35 | 1362 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIČME SAISON
Harmonium
4.21 | 1487 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.20 | 339 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.22 | 223 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.35 | 92 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.16 | 672 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.16 | 582 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.21 | 227 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.16 | 363 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.15 | 371 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.44 | 51 ratings
LUCAS
Araújo, Marco Antônio
4.75 | 27 ratings
DÚLAMÁN
Clannad
4.11 | 338 ratings
L'HEPTADE
Harmonium
4.78 | 23 ratings
CHRISTIAN LUCIFER
Leopold, Perry
4.15 | 147 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.04 | 1311 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.04 | 1224 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.04 | 1521 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

GUSLIAR
Pesniary (Pesnyary)
THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX
Sad Minstrel
MOTHER TWILIGHT
Faun Fables
STONE ANGEL
Stone Angel

Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Obras De Violeta Parra by JAIVAS, LOS album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.09 | 107 ratings

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Obras De Violeta Parra
Los Jaivas Prog Folk

Review by koresea

4 stars Here we have a nice record. as much people pointed out this album is sort of an tribute to the works of Violeta Parra, using her music as base to insert a progressive feel and create something unique of theirs and at the same time paying their respect to the composer. I should note that I not familiar with the "source" matterial of the album and I will try to review the work only by what is stated by it.

And what I must mention of this work? Well is pretty good, the songs are in majority large and epic compositions with long instrumental sections. I believe that the general sounding of the album can be split in 2 focal points, at one side you have the "folk" aspect of the band, that I must say is a VERY strong trait and can be a down side to some people, but once you get youself confortable with it will perceive this is very nicely done.

In the other side is the prog-rock, which is more oriented to classic prog, with piano and guitar solos and all that stuff (think in early progressive comon records).

I know that normaly these two aspects will be in every "prog-folk" band, but here I feel we are in front of an more Folk then Prog album, in oppositionof other bands of the sub-genre like Jehtro Tull, which is most a Hard Rock band with some elements of Folk.

Anyway, both the two aspects of the band are used in a very solid way, there is some pieces which are more oriented to one or other side but most of the time are a nice mixture of the two. For example the album opener "Arauco Tiene una Pena" starts full progressive untill the middle where the claps starts and the song become folk oriented. "El Guillatún", the follow-up is almost entirely folk. In the middle of the album we have "Un rio de sangre", most oriented to progressive and experimentation.

The musicians here show that are good songwriters most of the time and can compose tracks with variations but maintaining the overrall idea, most of the time...

One of the problems that I have had with this record it is duration, it have 77 minutes and I feel very tired after the middle of it, even if they had plenty of material I think is very hard to mantain a work of this extension consistent, something that the band fails in my opinion.

This could be easily fixed by removing songs or at least reducing the duration of some. "Rio de sangre" have 13 minutes with only intruments, and become very tiring near the end, some tracks after some time start to sound repetive and made me feel the desire to skip it.

In sumary I considerer this to be a great record who could have been a legendary one with some simplification, it is still something that you should listen if want to dig more into prog-folk and hear something who truly makes use of the traditional music of his origin country. 4 Stars

 Secos & Molhados (II) by SECOS & MOLHADOS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.32 | 28 ratings

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Secos & Molhados (II)
Secos & Molhados Prog Folk

Review by koresea

4 stars Secos & molhados second album is a perfect example of how to combine a a large set of alusions to other genres in a reasonable way without sounding pretentious or boring.

The first thing which got my attention is how short the songs are, the most long song here is "Flores Astrais" with only 3:51 minutes (strangely is one of the songs that had less effect on me), the album itself have only 30 minutes of duration. This approach is in fact pretty benefical for the band because it have gived to them the oportunity to try different styles and constantly present us with something new.

The list of influences here is kinda a long one, first you have the brazilian folk music, there is too a spirit of MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) intricanted inside the record but not enough to negate the rock genre to it, who drinks from the roots of classic rock, glam rock and early psychdelic. Besides this we have tango, mambo and some sections with piano who resembles "saloon/cabaret" style.

The instrumentation is pretty good, the acoustic guitars are very harmonical and the eletric ones always throws the listener in a crazy trip that never lasts too long, I find myself pretty impressed by the bass in some sections and there are nice piano segments where the instrument is played in a very energetic way. I dont't think they are virtuosos in any way and most of the songs uses recognizables forms of their genres, for example: The tango parts are the most common way of tango you could think, but this is always provided to us in incredible shape so is not a big deal. I should mention the vocals too, Ney Matogrosso is such a perfect singer and always embelish the music with his voice, that is at the same time beautiful and original (don't just imitating other greater singers, he have it's own distinctive sonority).

But this is not a perfect album in the sense that some songs are pretty simple and almost tiresome, a example of this is "Flores astrais" and "Vôo", both just have one chorus and the melody is not great thing. Due to the short duration of each song they never crosses the line to become boring and have not urged me to skip any track in any of the times that I have sat to listen to it.

Secos & Molhados II are a great example of brazilian rock, it's difficulty to characterize they in just one sub-genre of prog-rock because this album drags with him a huge ammount of stuff of other places without losing it's identity, the work have it's minor flaws that impede him of become a masterpiece but this should not put him away from you radar. Is a good recomendation to any fan of prog rock, especially from early progressive. 4 Stars.

 The Whistler by JETHRO TULL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
3.67 | 27 ratings

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The Whistler
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars -- First review for this single --

Two of my favourite Jethro Tull albums are Thick as a Brick and Songs from the Wood. 'The Whistler' was taken from the latter. It is not among its best songs, or favourites of mine personally, but nevertheless it's a good example of the charming prog folk dynamics gracing very aptly titled Songs from the Wood. The chorus is catchy in its very fast tempo. The tin whistle (in the chorus and in the solo) is frankly too high-pitched to sound nice to my ears, but otherwise it's a fascinating song with fine details such as marimba in the arrangement.

On the backside is 'Strip Cartoon' which was a non-album song. It has appeared as a bonus track of the CD reissue of the preceding album Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, Too Young to Die! (1976), for which I have never really warmed up to. Despite some fine songs, to me it's among the band's least interesting albums. I'm not sure but considering the cartoon design on that album, it seems likely that 'Strip Cartoon' was originally intended for Too Old. It sounds quite similar, especially for the production, as the album's rather irritatingly humorous title track -- which is one of my least fave Tull songs ever. As a song this one probably becomes just as easily worn-out with repeated listenings, because the chorus is repeated too often in the end. A fairly OK, harmless song in the rarities section of the Tull catalogue, but of a minor interest on the long run.

 Musical Witchcraft III - Psalms & Soundtrack  by KOLLÁR, ATTILA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.26 | 19 ratings

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Musical Witchcraft III - Psalms & Soundtrack
Attila Kollár Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Science fiction inspired, instrumentally oriented SOLARIS were Hungary's leading symphonic prog band from the early eighties onwards, releasing magnificent albums in 1984 and 1990. Before their third album Nostradamus (1999), both guitarist Istvan Cziglán -- who died in 1998 -- and flautist Attila Kollár had released a solo album. Attila called his own project Musical Witchcraft. The second part of the trilogy, Utopia, was released in December 2002. I bought the third Musical Witchcraft album Psalms & Soundtrack a few years back when I visited Budapest. I'm not familiar with the preceding albums of the trilogy.

The cover design is a mess, but that's not a big deal. Attila's flute is to a large degree the leading instrument in this acoustically oriented, melodic and slightly jazzy folk-prog, and his male co-musicians play acoustic guitar, bass guitar, percussion and drums. The female collaborator Edina Szirtes plays violin and harmonica and sings wordless vocals. The album is divided into Studio Section and Concert Section. First comes a 4-part "Psalms & Soundtrack Suite", followed by four separate pieces. Each piece is in a fairly regular song length, and symphonic tendencies are sadly rather absent. The folk flavor is strong also on the compositions that contain a good deal of rock elements. That is, the rhythm section is well present, be it a good or a bad thing. I perhaps would have preferred slightly less of drums. There are some sound effects -- alarm clock, bird singing, horses, traffic sounds -- that feel unnecessary, almost irritating, but luckily they're only momentary at the beginnings of tracks.

Without a question the musicianship is excellent. The organic and light-hearted music is enjoyable but doesn't really contain notably impressive highlights that would really stick out of the whole. The pieces on Concert Section are relatively similar than on Studio Section. Due to the nicely spacey live acoustics and the absence of sound effects I enjoy the Concert Section more. 'Hymn No. 200' has a charming melody. The flute sounds superb on it (as on the whole album), and Edina's vocalese fits nicely in.

I can't quite decide whether this is a lovely four-star album of excellent instrumental folk-rock or a mildly disappointing collection of less-than-stellar compositions. Let's say my rating is 3˝ stars and I round it down for minor things such as messy design.

 Imperium by CURRENT 93 album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
4.17 | 11 ratings

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Imperium
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This album, originally very limited, was sort of an experiment for David Tibet's Current 93 project. Previously, the focus was on noisy, industrial heaviness. The project was starting its foray into a more organic neo-folk style, and this album would help usher that in.

Imperium I - It begins with a dark and sinister ambience with Tibet whispering at the start of the track. His vocals slowly build to his spoken/sung style, but stays quite soft, but you can feel the tension building.

Imperium II - This is where the listener can start to hear borrowed harp samples that have been manipulated, bent and looped (the samples come from "Renaissance of the Celtic Harp" by Alan Stivell) which starts to come out of the menacing quietness of the previous track. There is a bit more volume on this track and Tibet's vocals become a tad more intense, but not by much. However, there is more of a melodic bent to this one, and the reverb is used as a very effective special effect to add to the mysteriousness of it all. It is a bit eerie, especially considering the questionable lyric content, but, at the same time, there is a pleasant feel to it all no matter how creepy it sounds.

Imperium III - Now there are some vocal effects with an extremely slowed down vocal sample taking this further into avant-garde territory. Tibet's voice gets further buried into reverb effects, and gets more and more intense as it continues, varying from spoken to sing-song styles freely. If you are not yet feeling uneasy by the time you get to this track, you soon will be. As the volume increases slowly, Tibet's reverb manipulations make it sound more like he is speaking in a large, empty auditorium. By the end of the track, though, the vocals and instrumental manipulation falls back in volume to a spooky ambience.

Imperium IV - This section seems a bit more controlled as the strumming starts and carries through the track, though it get some manipulation to keep things weird, and Tibet sound much more melodic here, but singing a bit out of tune at some points. Tibet also gets some of the Biblical references mixed up, but try not to let it bother you too much since it's all just interpretations of history anyway.

Be - A manipulated echo as Tibet recites one of his lyrical odes with some odd effects and strumming going on. This one is very short.

Locust - This track is much more traditional sounding in a folk-rock sense. It's the first time we hear any percussion which establishes a constant rhythm along with an industrial sounding metal strum while Tibet lightens up a bit on the raspiness and sounds a bit friendlier and melodic at times. The off key sound of his vocals is one of the signature sounds, but it actually starts to grow on you after a while to the point that you might make the mistake of saying its accessible, but it's not. The intensity builds over the course of the track (over 9 minutes), the vocals becoming more frantic and more instrumental loops get added in as it goes along.

Or - Begins with a menacing sounding male choir in the background buried in reverb while Tibet recites in a more oratorical fashion. It comes off sounding almost like a preacher talking as a religious sounding, old, manipulated recording of a hymn plays behind him. Well into the 3rd minute, a slow drum beat and bass replaces the recording. The subject of the preaching seems to be about the horrid signs of the last days which grows in intensity as it goes on. Two competing vocal lines by Tibet split off and start preaching against each other, getting quite loud at points. The drums pound louder and louder and get quite frantic along with chimes and etc as Tibet yells and screams out to a crazy climax.

Alone - A lone bass accompanies Tibet's oratorio and a drone-like sound plays lightly behind it all. Reverb effects surround his voice as the track continues, but the background instrumentation remains the same minimal style, but the droning keys do get a bit more intense. It's actually more interesting than it all sound as it is more like a recitation than anything.

The Durtro version has two additional tracks that were originally released on a 7" split collaboration with Nurse With Wound :

Time Stands Still - Different vocal lines are twined around each other as a march-like dirge plays along behind it all giving it a celtic feel.

Epilogue - A short spoken word piece that wraps it all up.

This is a bit of a strange one, yet it is still attractive in its own way, especially to fans of Tibet's project as it is one of the transitional albums as the project shifted it's focus from noisy music to a more pensive, yet still sinister folk sound. It's not going to be one for the masses, but then, its difficult to say any Current 93 album is for the masses. But it is still well done for those that enjoy this experimental folk sound. It isn't the best one to get started on as far as the project's discography goes, but it's still one that is quite important and even entertaining in its own right. Its folk with an avant-garde edge.

 Divinities - Twelve Dances With God by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.56 | 137 ratings

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Divinities - Twelve Dances With God
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars The main thing about instrumental albums, in any genre, is that the music must, or at least suggest, a story without lyrics. This is done by different means, such as dramatic changes in the music, switching to softer passages before switching back, etc., along with melodies powerful enough to connate moods, feelings, and actions.

Unfortunately, Ian Anderson's venture of combining his flute with orchestral music misses that mark. As the sole lead instrument, a flute is very one dimensional when compared to other instruments, be they acoustic or electric. And only most the profound songs can shine in that configuration. "In the Grip of Stronger Stuff" and "In The Moneylender's Temple" fall into that category. The rest of the songs fall into the category of musak, with pleasant melodies sprinkled with vague world music motifs, that boringly dominate the rest of the album. The lack of rock instrumentation on these songs is definitely a problem, but that is probably a band aid cure. Looking at an all instrumental album like Peter Gabriel's Passion soundtrack, the quality of those songs totally dispenses with the need for rock instrumentation. So, it's the song compositions on Divinities that are really the problem.

Anderson's compositions do better in a conventional rock song format, with lyrics, and that's where he should stay. Charlie may have stolen the handle, but at least we know that he didn't fall off the train.

 Bursting At The Seams by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.59 | 182 ratings

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Bursting At The Seams
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nş 437

"Bursting At The Seams" is the fifth studio album of Strawbs and was released in 1973. It's one of the most perfectly realized Strawbs albums, in spite of its obvious commercial appeal. We may say that "Bursting At The Seams" was the definite break album for the Strawbs because it marked a major musical transformation in the group. It's also the album where the founder member Tony Hooper left the band and was substituted by their new guitarist Dave Lambert.

So, the line up on the album is Dave Cousins (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars and banjo), Dave Lambert (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Blue Weaver (organ, piano and Mellotron), John Ford (vocals and bass guitar) and Richard Hudson (vocals, drums and sitar).

"Bursting At The Seams" has ten tracks. The first track "Flying" written by Dave Cousins is a nice, melodic and well structured song with several contrasting sections. It has also good lyrics, nice vocal work, especially the harmonic choruses, and it has even an instrumental break featuring an interesting banjo and Mellotron combination. This is a delicate song and a great opener for the album. The second track "Lady Fuchsia" written by Richard Hudson and John Ford is a happy and lovely soft song sung by Richard Hudson and John Ford, featuring a beautiful sitar work and a fine guitar work. It's a melodic and well structured song, one of the songs on this album with a strongest folk approach. The third track "Stormy Down" written by Dave Cousins is a kind of a country rock soft song. It's a song with a mix of rock, folk and country and is performed in a style of a ballad. This is a nice and calm song, but represents one of the less interesting moments on the album. The fourth track "The River" written by Dave Cousins is a great song that makes an interesting combination with the next song "Down By The Sea". This is, basically, a folk song, played in a slow rhythm, which gradually develops into a lamenting, dramatic and melancholic track. It's a kind of an introduction to "Down By The Sea". The fifth track "Down By The Sea" written by Dave Cousins is one of the highlights on the album and is one of the best songs made by him. It's a powerful song, very symphonic and with a magnificent and triumphant choir. This is a song with plenty of variations and repetitions of the main theme, which develops in a crescendo, till a great and dramatic final. It's a brilliant and memorable song on the album. The sixth track "Part Of The Union" written by Richard Hudson and John Ford is the most different song on the album. It's one of the two songs released as a single. I agree with those who think this is a very well made and funny song, but that should only have been released as a single and never should be part of the album. Still, I enjoy this song too much, to be disappointed to its inclusion on the album. Lyrically, the song is very satirical and is about the power of the trade unions in the U.K. This is a controversial song that was misunderstood and poorly received by many union activists. The seventh track "Tears And Pavan" is divided into two parts, "Tears" written by Dave Cousins and "Pavan" written by Dave Cousins, Richard Hudson and John Ford. The song is with "Down By The Sea" one of the two best moments on the album. "Tears" is a sad song with some emotional parts and fantastic Mellotron lines. "Pavan" is a dance tune in the vein of the Greek or Spanish folksy dances, with a twin nice acoustic guitar works and a marvellous harpsichord performance. I like really the harpsichord sound on this song, which brings to us a certain medieval atmosphere. The eighth track "The Winter And The Summer" written by Dave Lambert is his first contribution to the band. This is a fine song. Dave Cousins even said once this is the best song Dave Lambert ever written. It's a nice guitar rock ballad, sung by Dave Lambert, with nice and intricate guitar melodies and with a delightful ending. The ninth track "Lay Down" written by Dave Cousins was the other song released as a single. It's a good and strong pure rock song, very enjoyable, well sung, with lots of Mellotron and a good guitar solo too. This is a song made in a more commercial vein to be a big hit. Sincerely, I think this is a real good track. The tenth track "Thank You" written by Dave Cousins and Blue Weaver" is a short and nice song with Dave Cousins singing along with a children's school choir. It's original and nice, but is at the same time an odd way to end the album.

Conclusion: Despite the departure of Rick Wakeman after "From The Witchood" and of Tony Hooper after "Grave New World", and of their substitution by Blue Weaver and Dave Lambert, respectively, "Bursting At The Seams" represents still the classic Strawbs' line up. However, this was the last album with their classic line up. John Ford and Richard Hudson would leave after the supporting live tour of "Bursting At The Seams". "Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curious", "From The Witchwood", "Grave New World", "Bursting At The Seams", "Hero And Heroine" and "Ghosts" are usually considered the albums that belong to their golden era. Still, "Bursting At The Seams" is generally considered the less good. But, I think this is a bit unfair because this is a well balanced album with some great musical moments.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Immortal Bird / Cripple And The Starfish (with Antony And The Johnsons) by CURRENT 93 album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2000
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Immortal Bird / Cripple And The Starfish (with Antony And The Johnsons)
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Here is a very nice split single featuring Tibet's project Current 93 on the A side along with the equally talented and engaging band Antony and the Johnsons. For newcomers to both of these bands, you will hear one song each that really show the best of what these projects have to offer. Antony has also guested on several Current 93 albums and has one of the most memorable voices ever, a very expressive and full mid-range.

Immortal Bird - A nicely accompanied track with guitar, orchestral keys and percussion accompanying David Tibet's usual spoken/sung vocals. This track comes from the Current 93 album "Sleep Has His House" which features Michael Cashmore doing most of the instrumentation, Steven Stapleton on drums and mixing and, of course, Tibet on vocals and composition. It is quite a lovely track, one of the projects more accessible ones even with Tibet's vocal delivery style. But a lot of it is instrumental.

Cripple and the Starfish - The B-side is from Antony & the Johnsons with whom Tibet has worked with on many Current 93 albums. If you haven't heard Antony's voice, just know that he is a lot more melodic than Tibet, though his vocal is definitely unique, if you really listen, you can hear how beautiful and expressive his voice is. Several traditional instruments accompany the vocals, these performers and The Johnson. Their instrumentals always perfectly backup Antony's vocals. There is not percussion, but the music is quite beautiful using cello, sax, clarinet, violin, harp and piano with only a little percussion in this instance. It's also quite a lovely song.

It might be a difficult split single to find, but it is definitely worth your while to look it up as both songs are excellent and should probably appeal to lovers of both bands and even to people that have never heard them before. It's only just over 10 minutes total, but if it appeals to you, then you should explore the music of both bands.

 De L'Autre Cote de la Foret by TANGERINE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.79 | 10 ratings

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De L'Autre Cote de la Foret
Tangerine Prog Folk

Review by Waggy

2 stars In response to the previous reviewer's remark, "the main riff and chorus of the title track sound as if they were lifted verbatim from the 1972 America tune "Sandman" - that's because it IS a cover of Sandman with French lyrics, it's credited to America and is, in no way, 'lifted'. That being said, this is a below-average folkish album that doesn't stand the test of time. Valéry Btesh's voice cannot seem to find its proper pitch, switching octaves in the middle of songs, the musicianship never rises above competent, the arrangements are pedestrian and uninspired, and the production bland. They were clearly influenced by both the 70s West Coast sound and English folk groups like Fotheringay or Fairport, but never come close to the quality of those bands. Nothing to see here.
 A by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.23 | 645 ratings

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A
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Artik

4 stars Time of a big change: huge lineup shift, new sounds incorporated, new sterile visual aesthetic and the end of classic era. How Jethro Tull came out of it? Well, I wouldn't hesistate to say: victorious. And I would love they had stayed on this route a bit longer. It's not my favourite moment in band's discography but it's their last fully enjoyable album untill Catfish Rising, which was nice and pleasant but not as ambitious anymore. They subsequent offerings were more and more simplified, varying from synth flooded synthpop attempts to Dire Strait clones - which was boring and dissapointing. "A" still has an adventurous side, there is plenty of complicated motives and colourfull arrangements, flute parts are brilliant and very prominent, Jobson is great too. The tracks are still smart and energetic enough to please an old Jethro fan in me. The new aesthetic and synth/electric violin elements are intriguing spices and do not dominate over traditional Jethro spirit (which was going to happen soon) while adding something fresh. Three stars for prog collection, four stars for any Jethro collection, so three and a half star rounded up to four for innovation and vigour in those trying times.
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