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PROG FOLK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Folk definition

In the wake of the 60's, 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 "Chansoniers" 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 THE 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, THE TREES, SPIROGYRA, FOREST, the superb JAN DUKES DE GREY (all listed in the ProgArchives) but also TRADER HORNE, TUDOR LODGE, FOTHERINGAY, MAGNA CARTA, TIR NA NOG (all of whom could also be in the ProgArchives) 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 77's Songs From The Woods and 78'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, WITTHEUSER & 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 EL CONGRESSO (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 Chansoniers 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 RIBEIRO ALPS, 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

Current Team as at 09/06/2012

ClemOfNazareth
Kenneth Levine
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

4.64 | 2324 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.32 | 1770 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.16 | 969 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.22 | 226 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACCHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.22 | 132 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.14 | 391 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.13 | 437 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.16 | 224 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.25 | 88 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz
4.14 | 212 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.15 | 158 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.35 | 50 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.11 | 231 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.40 | 39 ratings
THE COURAGE OF OTHERS
Midlake
4.03 | 842 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.01 | 1012 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.11 | 107 ratings
HÖLDERLINS TRAUM
Hoelderlin
4.13 | 92 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.00 | 794 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
3.98 | 800 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
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

TALES OF THE RIVERBANK
Dancer
ODGIPIG
Sindelfingen
GUSLIAR
Pesniary (Pesnyary)
FRESH MAGGOTS
Fresh Maggots

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Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 by JETHRO TULL album cover Live, 2004
4.13 | 109 ratings

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Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Isle of Wight festival was held in late August, 1970 with plenty of heavyweights taking the stage including JIMI HENDRIX, MILES DAVIS, THE WHO, THE DOORS, ELP and many more. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded this island no doubt wanting to experience what they had heard about the year before in America at Woodstock. JETHRO TULL at this point had released three albums and were a hard rocking Blues band on the cusp of being known world- wide the following year with the 1971 release of "Aqualung" that many including myself believe would be their best album when it is all said and done.

The band here come across as being very confident and relaxed, no doubt a seasoned live band who could "rock" with the best of them. Ian Anderson is very engaging, charming and humerous as he talks to the audience between songs. Some feel 1978's "Bursting Out" is their best live album but I prefer the rougher, edgier in your face TULL where it's anything but smooth or without it's warts. It's hard to believe this wasn't released until 2004, this is a real find for me. I have to quote some of Anderson's words as the band prepares to play in front of this massive crowd. He says "We're going to do some old songs, some new songs and one or two we've never played before it seems. The first one is a really old one, i've forgotten this one I think." "They're really excited" he exclaims to his band-mates(haha).

"My Sunday Feeling" is an older track from their debut album "This Was". This is a hard rocking tune with the flute and drums standing out. Check out the guitar before 3 minutes. Barre really impresses throughout this show. "My God" was from the forth-coming record "Aqualung" so this was new to even TULL fans here. It opens with intricate guitar and part way through Anderson says "This is actually the beginning". Funny stuff. This along with "Dharma For One" are my two favourite tracks on here. It kicks into gear hard at 2 minutes and the contrasts between the beauty and angst is priceless. Ripping guitar followed by flute and some killer drum work. A flute solo follows including some avant flute and vocal sounds. An incredible performance. "With You There To Help Me" from the "Benefit" record is up next. Beautiful piano and flute melodies to start as the vocals join in. It turns fuller before 2 minutes as contrasts continue. A change 4 minutes in as we get a calm with piano only. Flute joins in around 5 1/2 minutes as they seem to improvise until it kicks back in at 9 minutes.

"To Cry You A Song" from "Benefit" has a very cool guitar melody throughout. Vocals come and go as does the ripping guitar. Great tune. "Bouree" from "Stand Up" is the most laid back tune overall i'd say but check out the bass solo after 2 minutes. The flute and bass work so well together on this one. "Dharma For One" from "This Was" like most of these tracks surpasses the studio versions. Hey we get some organ in this one to start and it turns heavy before a minute as the vocals join in. The vocals and heaviness are the highlights for me. More organ after 3 minutes and a drum solo after 6 minutes to almost the 9 minute mark. "Nothing Is Easy" from "Stand Up" is a good hard rocking song with vocals. Organ as well and man these guys could make some noise. It ends with a medley of "We Used To Know" and "For A Thousand Mothers" both from "Stand Up". The first starts off with a feel-good mood including vocals and then we get a heavy instrumental section 2 minutes in. Barre is almost Iommi-like before 3 minutes to end the first part of the medley. The second section is drum and guitar driven for the most part and both impress big time.

What a show these guys put on! No doubt they gained a lot of fans that day who would eat up their next album "Aqualung". A must-have live album for TULL fans.

 Dressed in Voices by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 79 ratings

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Dressed in Voices
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Finally! I said, 'Finally!'

I began my love affair with Mostly Autumn when they released their magical first album, 1999's "For All We Shared", a highly intoxicating mix of Pink Floyd mannerisms including that whopping guitar sound , celestial female vocals courtesy of Heather Findlay, sprinkled with Celtic ornamentation by using fiddle, Uillean pipes, Tin whistles etc...This exciting formula kept on giving amazing albums, "The Spirit of Autumn Past" and "The Last Bright Light" and I became a devout fan. Then with "Passengers", it really felt like a chapter was being closed, and I started instead gravitating towards the Breathing Space project, a parallel group led by keysman Ian Jennings and featuring Olivia Spannern, who at that juncture was supplying backing voices for Findlay. From 2005 's "Storms Over Still Water" up to 2012's "Ghost Moon Orchestra", a span of five lukewarm albums tempered my enthusiasm for this once glorious band and many commentators noted this dip in stylistics (calling it a poppier diversion). In the interim, Heather left for a still to date invisible solo career, now replaced by the masterful Olivia, who remains a phenomenal voice. This flux period seemed to indicate a certain 'lost in the desert' attitude, Josh somehow losing focus of what made the original concept so attractive. His voice got growly, his guitar playing becoming less attractive and the songs suffered from a lack of emotion, as if formulaic methodology was the best method for success. Many a prog fan despaired but three important elements came to the rescue. Firstly, master keyboardist Iain Jennings ended Breathing Space a few years ago and began improving the raw misdirection by adorning new found melodies with dense keyboard artistry. Secondly, Olivia who literally shone with BS, was finally thrust into the forefront, so much so that the seemingly depressed Bryan Josh saw a relighting of his muse when realizing that the two had fallen in love. I will state this again for the record, nothing is more inspiring than love or , its contrary, separation /divorce to ignite the hidden inner light, the source of so much emotional creativity. Finally, in terms of attitude, I truly suspect that Bryan Josh is ultimately the big difference, his fiery passion and shy sensitivity literally overflowed on the first 3 MA albums, as he was dealing with the passing of his father (a deep pain I also have had to endure), then he got caught up in the business world, should have known it would make him frustrated as well as miserable and then, along came Olivia and boom! The passion is back and it's called love. The single most powerful emotion ever. Josh now deliberately infuses more diversity in his guitar playing, no more an overt Gilmour fan boy. His fret board playing is still inspired by the Gilmour/Latimer camp but there are also slick references to Hendrix, Clapton and even some 'country style' picking a la Knopfler. His tones are way more varied and his soloing is truly earth shaking (as on the dizzying title track), all due to his rekindled inspiration, his beating heart leading the way, writing hugely romantic melodies that are both grandiose and timeless.

As expressed recently by Lazland so eloquently, we fans have been waiting for that return to form that made Mostly Autumn so impressive. I believe that the band members have delivered on all fronts, as this release oozes desire, lust, sweet loving, profound exaltation, giddiness , all side effects from being happily married and still basking in all the euphoria, as well as Mr. Jennings coming through with some inspired melodies and orchestrations.

Each song is an outright jewel, the soft sensual songs are loaded with feeling and delivered with impeccable grace, even Josh has softened his voice to how it once was. Olivia proves once again that she is the current prog female singer queen (Annie Haslam was great but now she is history) and she definitely reigns supreme, as her voice as well as her presence are simply awe-inspiring. While Gavin Griffiths is a phenomenal drummer, Alex Cromarty has a thumping pulse that caught my ear many times in listening to this monster album. Needless to repeat again, Jennings supplies gorgeous and copious piano, subtle organ and sublime synthesizer throughout, providing incredible depth and drama to the arrangements. There are way more "Evergreen"-like moments, soft and elaborate ballads that are overflowing with goose bumping feeling, such as the swooning and stunning "Running", the woozy delight of "House on the Hill" and the intense euphoria of " The Last Day". The rockier songs are razor sharp as witnessed on "Down by the River" and the bombastic disposition of the highly symphonic opener "Saturday Night". Sophistication shows up on the more elaborate prog symphonicity of "First Day of School", a style that has been reported missing since the 'Passengers' album! There are also a fair amount of duets (Bryan and Olivia wrapped around the mike stand) and the results are scintillating! On "Not Yours to Take", the interaction is a pure delight, a sensual fountain of eternal love and unbridled passion.

Not only have Mostly Autumn found their groove but this album just may become the best they have ever done. Love conquers all, the artwork beyond amazing, a true return to form. Stay deeply in love and the music will flow eternally, I am impressed beyond all expectations. Sadly, many prog fans will miss this one and lose out on a sheer masterpiece, easily among 2014's top 5 albums.

Bravo! I wish I was in such delirious love! BTW, this highly romantic review is dedicated to that scintillating artist, our very own Kati.

5 choir gowns

 Kirkastus by PIIRPAUKE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Kirkastus
Piirpauke Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars (I'm not unhappy with the Prog Folk category, but for those unfamiliar with Finnish PIIRPAUKE: the key words are Traditional/World Music and Jazz.) It's not easy or even necessary to fully separate Sakari Kukko's solo albums from the PIIRPAUKE discography, for he is unquestionably the heart and brain of the long-living group. This 1981 album had "Sakari Kukko & Piirpauke" as the performer, and the CD edition includes also the whole 1979 album Kajastus by Sakari Kukko, with another line-up - which does feature members of Piirpauke's early years, guitarist Hasse Walli and bassist Antti Hytti. So let's just skip the question right away.

The opener 'Song of Ostiak' is the longest track (6:41), a slow and melancholic arrangement of an Ostiak traditional. Kantele and guitar both really seem to tell something sad and thoughtful, and later flute joins the conversation. Very beautiful! 'Prelude & Salsa' is a brighter tune starting slowly and getting faster & more lively in the halfway. Flute sings very high notes and percussion sounds African. 'Lamb's Polska' is a Finnish traditional tune from which Kukko has made a peaceful arrangement. This is among Piirpauke's better known repertoire, I think. The Orientally flavoured brief title track makes me think of Zen monks with its avantgardistic, meditative flute sounds and delicate percussion.

'Answer, Friend' should have a Finnish title since it contains Marketta Saarinen's vocals in Finnish. Again flute is in the lead role. This isn't among my favourite tracks, it feels somehow angry. 'Factory' is a jam-like hectic track. 'Cry' returns to the slow, melancholic style of the opener; this time with a saxophone instead of flute. Ilpo Saastamoinen's bass playing is delicious. Nice and deeply emotional music that demands a lot of concentration from the listener. The final tune is from the circus world, the worst track in my opinion.

On to the 1979 album, which isn't stylistically far from Kirkastus, but is weaker with some half- baked tracks that sort of wander aimlessly. Titles are in Finnish, I'll use English for your convenience. (9) 'On the Village Road' composed by someone called Blantez is sung here by two women. (10) 'Longing' is a traditional tune from Inkeri, Karelia, accompanied here with birdsinging. The flute-centred sound is pure Piirpauke. The joyful (11) 'Sunday' is also a Trad. (13) 'Worries Are Not Felt' is written by and features the Lappish vocal artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää. Yawn...

(15) Traditional 'Sitter on the Shore' is among the better tracks on this uneven album. Sax and electric guitar have a melancholic dialogue. On later tracks there are some more natural sound effects, e.g. water. The title track 'Sarastus' (=Dawn's Light) is a beautiful, calm but bright composition by Kukko. On the whole the album gets a bit boring in its lazy approach. Both albums have many numbers from the traditional origins (more Finnish-oriented than cosmopolitan PIIRPAUKE in general) and include many good tracks. Separately they maybe wouldn't be quite worth four stars, but together on a single CD, why not.

 Heartbreak by JANSCH, BERT album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Heartbreak
Bert Jansch Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
4 stars Out of chaos comes a classic.

After reviewing the rather ordinary When The Circus Comes To Town album by acoustic folk guitar maestro Bert Jansch, I felt it was necessary to uncover, and rediscover, one of Jansch's lost gems.

This reissued 2 LP (or 2 CD) set of the remastered 1982 Heartbreak album is a must have for Jansch's fans, and for fans of Folk and Folk Rock/Prog specifically.

This album was recorded in California by two novice brother producers named Jim and Bob Chelew, who captured Jansch at a time in his life that he himself recalled as 'dark' and when his over drinking was at its summit. Contrary to this, Jansch was in fine voice, still a maverick acoustic guitar player and, perhaps not surprisingly, was at the height of his songwriting powers.

Jansch's songs on this album are his most introspective and questioning of his life circumstances and relationships, and were also blessed with great melodicism. This was further enhanced by his passion for this material and for the faith his devoted producers had in him.

First off, Jansch stole back his arrangement of Blackwater Side (Black Mountain Side) from Jimmy Page for the album's first track. Jansch also added back the fantastic traitional song lyrics, along with a wonderful mandolin accompaniment that Zeppelin would have been envious of.

It's on this song that we are first introduced to the fantastic fretless bass playing of Randy Tico, that will become a hallmark of this album and brings Jansch into a more modern sound style for the first time in his career. Also assisting Jansch is Eric Clapton's sideman at the time, Albert Lee, who added electric guitar and the afore noted Mandolin, and acoustic guitar accompaniment as well. Two excellent studio drummers, Matt Betton and Jack Kelly, tastefully help to hold down the bottom end as Jansch, Tico and Lee weave intricate hypnotic melodies and rhythms around Jansch's songs.

The album's second track (this remaster has tracks lined up differently from the originally issued LP) Is It Real? shows Jansch at his most Dylan-like and again showcases Tioc's fretless slip sliding bass lines as Jancsh lyrically inquires if his partner's love is real. Lee supplys restrained but tastetful electric guitar licks for coloring while the drums are almost absent in the restraint that was required for this yearning ballad.

In contrast, the following song Up To The Stars finds Jansch at his most optimistic, while Tico's bass almost sounds like a counter vocal to Jancsh's verse and chorus, while Jansch sings about his love 'taking a shuttle up to the stars'. Lee starts to let loose a little more on this upbeat track without overstepping his limits.

Side one ends with a cover of the perennial folk classic Wild Mountain Thyme that allows for Jansch's real affection for this song to shine through and elevate it from just a filler track.

Side two of the vinyl remaster kicks off with the album's namesake, a cover of Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel. As soon as Janschs's alternately tuned guitar riff starts off the song, you know your in for something a little different as the Rock & Roll standard is covered in almost the same arrangement as Presley's, but Jansch wisely excises the songs original R & B strut for a more straight up rock arrangement that in the tune that results in feeling as if the song owes more to Pentangle then Presley, as a straight up cover would have sounded cheesy. And Jansch is way too classy for cheese. You can clearly tell that Jansch had great fun singing this cover. And he sung quite well at that!

Another heartfelt cover is found on side two, If I Were a Carpenter. Jansch's impassioned vocals again rises the level of the song to something better than a mere filler. As a matter of fact, passion seems to be the watchword for this album, as all involved easily show.

The side two remaster ends with an eight and a half minute jam appropriately titled Not A Word Was Said,. The song is based on a six note blues riff from Jansch and turns into a showcase for both Jansch and Tico. Bert uses every bit of his acoustic guitar skills for numerous bluesy leads that sound like his employs everthing from percussive string pops from his thumb pick to his finger nails and extensive use of hammer ons and pull offs. Tico, by the song's last three minutes has gone into full funk mode and duels with Jansch with finger pops of his own as well as thumb slaps. This jazzy concoction finally winds down with Jansch returning to his original 6 note riff.

The second disc contains a well recorded solo acoustic performance of Jansch from LA's acclaimed music club Gabe's Guitar Shop. There is no details on how this intimate performance was recorded, save for the actual recording date. Jansch is again in fine voice and his guitar skills are a clinic as he was playing to guitar students and was showing off his best skills. The song selection is outstanding and includes such Jansch concert standards such as Jackson C. Franks folk classic Blues Run The Game and, of course, Blackwater Side.

This remarkable sounding solo performance coupled with the original album make this an essential addition for both fans of Jancsh, Folk music and Folk Rock.

The material found on these albums is far from prog, but Tico's fretless bass does give the music a proggy feel. However, I'll keep my rating at 4 stars as it's obviously not an essential album for prog fans. Nevertheless, it's still highly recommended.

Thanks to clemofnazareth for his many Bert Jansch album listings on PA. This made my job a thousand times easier.

 Live from the Wooden Realms by THOBY LOTH album cover DVD/Video, 2009
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Live from the Wooden Realms
Thoby Loth Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars The Finnish instrumental rock band THOBY LOTH released their live DVD the same year with the debut album (reviewed by me yesterday). Understandably then, the track lists are nearly identical. The roughly 50-minute concert shot at the church ruins of old Vaasa begins and ends with a non-album track ('Skymningsdalen' and 'Älvprinsessan'), otherwise it represents the album Lägereldarnas Tid in the same running order. That can be thought of as a theoretical weakness for a DVD because one could expect more from a DVD release, but I must point out that if you were to choose between the CD and the DVD, the latter is the nicer purchase (even if my 3½ stars are this time rounded down). This is very well done, and the music gets extra interest from seeing it performed live. The composer Tobias Tåg is busy playing keyboards, flute, tin whistle and recorder in turns, and all members seem to enjoy the playing.

There are enough cameras to make it lively and nicely balanced between close-ups of the musicians and views of the whole band. The presence of the audience is almost unseen/unheard; this DVD is a total opposite for a seedy bootleg stuff, done so carefully that there's a rick of a little clinical taste to it. There's no fancy visualistic show on stage, but in front of it you occasionally see some fire artists at their work. Between some tracks you get few brief interview cuts of Tobias Tåg, telling about the formation and the goals of the band. And sometimes there's also some outdoor visualization (a forest, a campfire, a stream, etc), briefly at the beginning of a couple of tracks.

What would have increased the interest value is for example some guest performance (vocals or whatever) or otherwise unsimilar versions to the album tracks, or music outside the album, but this is pretty good as it is. For the music itself read my album review.

 Ciclorama by A PRESENÇA DAS FORMIGAS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.34 | 10 ratings

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Ciclorama
A Presença das Formigas Prog Folk

Review by Pieromcdo

5 stars This is an amazing album (but there a collaborator how doesn't think so an decide to Destroyed them ! Well since I rate album before going to see how there are rated ! to be objective I am stunt this is a master piece of Prog folk The amazing voice of the female singer with some great arrangement on the smooth side and sometime more energise bring new inside Prog music should bring a theatrical image that I really see in this Portugal ensemble ( looking for music mcdo@bell.net ) Wen you do a rating you have the power to destroy There may be children that are waiting for that money to eat specially wen it very good Thanks
 Lagereldarnas Tid by THOBY LOTH album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Lagereldarnas Tid
Thoby Loth Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars THOBY LOTH is a Swedish-speaking quartet from Vaasa, Finland, who have released two albums this far, plus one live DVD (also from 2009, consisting almost entirely of the debut's material). All music is composed by flute/keyboard player Tobias Tåg. The title of this debut means The Era of Campfires. That and the titles in general have references to Scandinavian pagan rites and mythology, the nature and especially wild, dark forests being the place where the listener's imagination is directed to. Although the instrumental music doesn't attempt to sound medieval, nor do the band wear such fancy clothes (actually these guys could be mistaken for a metal band for their looks with long hair), the idea is fairly successfully captured in the music, even with a lot of energetic, electrified rock approach in it.

'Faundans' is a perfect opener and gives a good picture of the band's style. The lively, folky melody is mostly led by flute, accompanied by powerful guitar chords, organ and a rhythm section, that quite certainly gives us associations to JETHRO TULL. The flute and its melodies are clearly more Nordic and folky in nature than Ian Anderson's, perhaps influenced by Sakari kukko's flutework in the Finnish ethnic jazz legend PIIRPAUKE. Indeed, decrease the jazziness and world music elements and increase rock, and one could consider PIIRPAUKE as some kind of a forefather to this band too. On the whole it's perhaps easier to find bands with similar approach from continental Europe, Sweden and the U.K. than from Finland. 'Rus' is slightly harder rocking tune. Peter Enroth uses both acoustic and electric guitars and bouzouki very effectively. 'Näcken' (= a mythological creature living in lakes) has slower tempo, and the softly played flute weaves an exciting atmosphere. Maybe the track could have gone deeper into that delicate and gloomy atmosphere, and minimized the rock aspect for change. But not bad at all anyway.

The next three tracks form a 'Trilogi', starting with the title track. By now the band's stylistic repertoire has become quite familiar already, and those expecting more progressivity and variety may feel a bit disappointed. But hopefully the certain degree of narrowness in composing and performance is compensated by the fresh and solid Prog Folk sound. I believe this music will please the ears of those who enjoy the folkiest elements of JETHRO TULL and bands such as KEBNEKAJSE and why not also BLACKMORE'S NIGHT, as they might sound without the sweet vocals of Candice Night and with more flute. So, there may be nothing new under the sun, but THOBY LOTH do what they do with great skill and taste. A very convincing debut worth of 3½ stars.

 Mugur De Fluier  by PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.82 | 38 ratings

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Mugur De Fluier
Phoenix Prog Folk

Review by LetMeRoll

4 stars Magur De Fluier "is an album more mature and put together since its debut , but at the same time is a continuation of the road designated by him . On the second LP fans have been waiting with bated breath for over a year and when it came out , it turned out that the team fully met the expectations . Music contained therein is a beautiful rock flirt with Romanian folklore. These ornaments in the form of the ubiquitous sounds of cello , flute and celesta themselves are miniature works that complemented rock instrumentation gain even more power , without losing their dignity. " Magur De Fluier " presents a rather gentler face of the merger of these two musical worlds , because the songs calm prevail , in which the foreground is often put forward the folk instruments ( the title track , which can be associated , for example . With the achievements of Jethro Tull ) and the choir shouted vocals , seeming slightly to refer to Baroque music ( " Mica Tyganiada ", " ochiie Negri ", " Ochi De Tigan "). The text layer is also a lot of references to the Romanian folklore , of which tried to two new associates team - poets Andrei Şerban Ujică and foarte . One of the strongest points of this album is more than seven-minute " strung " . Preceded by an introduction of the flute beautiful flowing freely, but restlessly ( the drums and vocals !) . Gradually, the listener almost in a hypnotic trance. It is worth mentioning that, in addition , played a little in the style of Uriah Heep song " Andrii Popa " ( telling the story of the legendary Romanian warlord ) , Strung is also a folk adaptation of the text. The most surprising is in my opinion the tip of the album - " Dansul Codrilol ", composed by Iosfa Kappl - pure hard rock with a strong guitar riff , which echoes as heavy bass.

The album was originally conceived as a rock opera after a series of deletions of censorship has lost a bit of such a character , but the system works as well as the overall consistency makes it easily can identify him as a concept album ( do not forget the words of songs were created in such a way as to form a whole) .

 When the Circus Comes to Town by JANSCH, BERT album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.00 | 1 ratings

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When the Circus Comes to Town
Bert Jansch Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
2 stars After hearing so many good things about this album, such as 'this is one of Bert's best albums in years', etc. I have to admit that I was very disappointed by the pedestrian sounding songs on this album. The best that I can say is that the better ones they are relaxing and pleasant and the lesser ones are not offensive, just forgettable. I would highly recommend to those just discovering the genius of Bert Jansch to stick to his late sixties classics (barring his embarrassing pop effort Nicola) and his stellar seventies classics such as Crimson Moon and the exquisite Avocet album from 1979. There are many great Bert Jansch albums worth owning. This is not one.
 40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins by STRAWBS album cover Live, 2010
2.00 | 1 ratings

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40th Anniversary Celebration Vol. 2: Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
2 stars If my review for Vol. 2 of the 40th Anniversary Strawbs album seems shorter when compared to that of Vol. 1, it's because there's less offered to review on this combination CD and DVD set.

Recorded in The Live Room at Twickenham Stadium in September of 2009, this concert of long time friends Cousins and Wakeman takes on an intimate feeling as the The Live Room is a small cozy venue where Cousins and Wakeman can strut their stuff. The concert itself is no more than an hour long and features just 8 songs from the Antiques and Curios/Witchwood era that Wakeman was a part. Wakeman is as elegant a player ever, but Cousins' age weathered voice struggles with many of the belters like The Hangman And The Papist and Martin Luther King's Dream. He does much better on the softer numbers like October to May and Witchwood.

This album does contain one essential track, A Glimpse Of Heaven from the Witchwood album that sounds superb in this stripped down from with just Cousins' vocal and acoustic guitar along with Wakeman's tasteful piano. The tune is much better devoid of the Witchwood version's overproduction that featured a church like choir in the song's chorus.

That's about the sum of the music CD which is devoid of the incredably funny banter between Cousins and Wakeman, and shows just how much love and affection there is between these men. Don't fret because all of this can found on the accompaning DVD.

Wakeman even ventures out into the audience to gather 6 musical notes he needs to improvise his trademark solo instrumental showcase that he used to perform with the Strawbs called Temperment Of Mind (now retitled Temperance Of Mind by Cousins due to Wakeman's new found sobriety).

This CD/DVD is probably essential for diehard Wakeman fans more so than it is for Strawbs' fans. However, no matter how charming it is, better early material exists in this vain from the Strawbs' Antiques and Curios album as well as the recent Witchwood Media release titled Recollection that both showcase a younger, hungrier Wakeman and a more pleasent sounding Cousins. 2 stars as this CD/DVD is not essential for Strawbs's fans. However, Wakeman fans may care to to differ.

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0.720 ALEACION Mexico
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A PRESENÇA DAS FORMIGAS Portugal
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ADARO Germany
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CURRENT 93 United Kingdom
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ELFONIA Mexico
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L' ENGOULEVENT Canada
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ESPERS United States
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