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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 | 3381 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.36 | 2683 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.35 | 1343 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIÈME SAISON
Harmonium
4.20 | 1446 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.23 | 217 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.19 | 328 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.16 | 574 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.15 | 661 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.21 | 221 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.16 | 348 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.15 | 358 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.44 | 48 ratings
LUCAS
Araújo, Marco Antônio
4.11 | 331 ratings
L'HEPTADE
Harmonium
4.24 | 88 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.77 | 23 ratings
DÚLAMÁN
Clannad
4.15 | 142 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.04 | 1276 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.04 | 1194 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.03 | 1229 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull
4.29 | 60 ratings
UM HIMINJǫÐUR
Tirill

Prog Folk overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX
Sad Minstrel
TALES OF THE RIVERBANK
Dancer
AMETSAREN BIDEA
Errobi
THROUGH THE GATES OF DEEPER SLUMBER
Smell Of Incense

Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Avaric by AVARIC album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.98 | 3 ratings

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Avaric
Avaric Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Like the bastard child of TRI YANN and MALICORNE that was aborted in the 5th year of it's 4 year pregnancy, Celtic folk group AVARIC appears to have achieved sufficient notoriety in its locality of Bourges to string together an impressive run between 1979 and 1983 at a time when folk rock and prog rock were in steep decline. Here the band is a quintet but my understanding is that they were eventually known mostly as the trio of Frank Lopez, Lionel Baillemont, and Jean-Marie Noël. Combining warm harmonies with earnestness, they managed the challenging feat of adapting medieval texts to traditionally inspired music while sounding as intimate and idealistic as their protest brethren of the long past decade. This debut is arrestingly mature yet playfully innocent.

The primary instruments are acoustic guitar and flute, with shards of dulcimer, and, oh, the voices, everywhere the voices, sometimes suffusing even otherwise weaker numbers with an ecclesiastical tone, or at least an impression that they were recorded in a church. Speaking of which, the production, while doubtless of limited resources, is entirely sympathetic. Most tracks are sung in French with a couple in Spanish, perhaps reflecting some of the early roots of that region. The only English number is "Out in the Garden", in which the shy fellows opt to bury their accents in the jangly folk rock mix and, like most everything here, it glitters. But for me the show stopper is "Tres Morillas", with the sweetest repeated guitar motif and near a capella verses. "Nous Etions Trois Camarades" skillfully deploys the calling card call and response of the best Breton traditions with hollow percussion and flutes. Their obsession with the number 3 culminates with the adventurous "Balladilla de los Tres Rios" that even includes eerie and portentous organ accompaniment.

Apparently this debut has not yet seen CD re-release, which has motivated asking prices to heights that the quality may not justify, but then again....Highly recommended for fans of a more studied less rambunctious take on Celtic inspired folk rock.

 Kite by CAMELIAS GARDEN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
3.15 | 9 ratings

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Kite
Camelias Garden Prog Folk

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Kite is the second album by Roman band Camelias Garden and it was self-released in 2015 with a largely renewed line up featuring Valerio Smordoni (lead and backing vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar), Simone Contini (drums) and Alberto Cari (bass) plus the guests Manolo D'Antonio (electric and acoustic guitar, backing vocals) and Gian Marco La Serra (piano, keyboards, backing vocals). It was recorded between 2014 and 2015 at Kate Creative Studio, LRS Factory and Studio Nero (Rome) and confirms the good qualities of their debut album from 2013 entitled You Have a Chance, with its light harmonies and refined arrangements mixing echoes of sixties psychedelia and pastoral atmospheres. The artwork by Isabella Latini in some way depicts the musical content...

The opener "Rise" is a short acoustic ballad with strummed acoustic guitar, a slightly pinch of psychedelia and soaring harmony vocals that could recall The Beatles. It describes a new dawn, a peaceful moment to start a day full of expectations and leads to the following "Making Things Together" veined of West Coast influences and positive vibrations that tells about a love story on the road... The long, evocative title track has a slow pace and a dark, romantic mood. It describes in music and words a strange meeting in a cold starry night conjuring up visions where dreams and reality melt like if they were following the flight of a kite with its ups and downs: blind, light, beyond the limit of what's real on a frame of subtle skies...

The soft, dreamy "Red Light" is about a kind of psychedelic trip through a beautiful place full of flowers and trees where a charming girl could drive you mad playing with colours and blending the red light of the rising sun with the magic of the surrounding nature.

"The World Inside You" is another ballad with strummed acoustic guitars and percussions in the background that could recall the Beatles, especially in its final part. It's about a kind of spiritual rebirth and evokes the inner power that everyone owns and that can heal the injuries of life... Then the closer "Useless" mixes a touch of electronic, modern sounds and filtered vocals with a pinch of spirituality and oriental philosophy.

Although defined as a simple EP the album reaches almost half an hour length and it's longer than may albums from the sixties or the seventies. All in all, a pleasant listening.

 Avaric by AVARIC album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.98 | 3 ratings

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Avaric
Avaric Prog Folk

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

4 stars A true example of the 1970s French underground, the folk band AVARIC emerged in the city of Bourges and existed from 1979 to 1983. This band blended a unique mix of melancholic medieval folk mixed with contemporary styles and added a touch of symphonic and progressive rock elements. The name of the band was taken from a place called Avaricum from Roman times. The name of the band is a clue for its medieval folklore and sounds that stretch back several centuries. The band consisted of Patrick Aubailly (vocals, dulcimer, flute, psaltery), Franck Lopez (vocals, dulcimer, flute, acoustic guitar, psaltery, cromorne), Eric Milhiet (vocals, flute, organ), Lionel Baillemont (guitar, bass, vibraphone, synthesizer, metallophone) and Jean-Marie Noël (bongos, percussion, cymbals, triangle).

The band released four albums during its short run with this self-titled album being the first. This is really a French experience through and through as the lyrics are sung in the mother tongue and the references of the content relate to French history. The exception is the sole track "Out In The Garden" which features English lyrics but given that they sound clumsy, it's far better to hear AVARIC perform in their native tongue rather than sound goofy. The tracks are all extremely melodic with acoustic guitar, tribal percussion and lots of flute sounds as there are three flautists on board although they don't necessarily play in a blitzkrieg attack.

The tracks vary in their emphasis with some such as the opening "En Mes Pays Quand Me Trouve En Repos" featuring prominent acoustic guitar, whereas others like the traditional "Bell Qui Tiens Ma Vie" showcasing a tight harmonic interplay of the vocalists, all three of them. While described as folk rock, the latter genre is nearly absent but progressive rock compositional elements give this album a more sophisticated edge over much contemporary folk of the 70s. The tracks are all colorful and fueled with a fiery passion for an era long gone but updated for a modern take that adds contemporary elements of prog and all things French.

This band's albums are true obscurities and there is virtually no info out there about the band or its albums however if you can't get enough of music that incorporates Medieval music into modern folk settings then AVARIC won't disappoint. In a way this band is sort of the French version of Gryphon without the harshness of the crumhorn and doesn't drift as far into progressive folk as did its British counterpart. All in all this is a rather unique sounding album given that i'm not really familiar with the style of French folk that is presented here given that France is divided into many regions with radically different traditions. AVARIC certainly did a decent job of crafting a nice memorable album of catchy tunes fortified with electro-rock instrumentation.

 The Moon Is a Dry Bone by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.98 | 4 ratings

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The Moon Is a Dry Bone
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Riccardo is stepping way outside his usual sound and style palettes with this panoply of "nufolk" songs, most of which contain layers of heavily-treated (electrified) instruments. Even some of the vocals are more rollicking and quirky than anything I've ever heard from a Corde Oblique album before.

1. "Almost blue" (3:01) I was not ready for this heavily-effected instrumental, but I like it! (8.75/10)

2. "La strada" (4:24) aside from the male vocal in the lead, this could come from any other Corde Oblique album. Great song base, violin display, and background vocal. (8.75/10)

3. "The moon is a dry bone" (3:04) She was a momur! Factor in some cabaret Burzaco and you might get what it is I feel I'm hearing. I like it! (9/10) 4. "Le grandi anime" (3:48) discordant guitar chords somehow conveying a very familiar Corde Oblique melody. I swear: Caterina Pontrandolfo could sing the clothes off of a monastery of monks. A wonderful addition to the great Corde Oblique catalogue. (9/10)

5. "Le torri di Maddaloni" (4:12) opens with 90 seconds of lute-like guitar play with subtle accordion in the background. Then it switches to hand drum over which a coven of witches led by Rita Saviano chant their pagan chant. At the end of the third minute after nylon string guitar enters, there is a lull and tehn an evening out and beautification of the music. Feels deeply antique. (9/10)

6. "Il figlio dei Vergini" (4:30) classical guitar and accordion (beautiful!) with the one and only Caterina Pontrandolfo singing a over the top. In the second minute there is an awesome wordless vocalise and b-vox chants as the guitar and accordion dance beautifully with each other. Then, in the third minute, there is a amped up fast rhythm (led by hand drum) over which Caterina returns to the original melody. The song then finishes with an an unusual right turn with Sergio Panarella lending his vocal talents to sing wordlessly over first a bare-bones section and then a full band. Interesting--and very different--song. (9.25/10)

7. "La casa del ponte" (5:39) like a film soundtrack with spoken word vocal and both fast and slow dynamics and moods. At 3:40 the coven of witches returns to sing their curses or dirges (in Italian, of course) over the band (with some damned fine drum and bass play). Another interesting and wonderfully fecund song. (9.25/10)

8. "Temporary peace" (4:58) Another Riccardo interpretation of an ANATHEMA song from the 2001 album, A Fine Day to Exit). Lead vocal (in English) from Rita Saviano and piano from Luigi Rubino. (8.75/10)

9. "Il terzo suono" (2:14) another off-beat m'lange of styles that is very unlike anything I've heard from Riccardo before. All-male vocals, performed by Miro Sossano. (4.5/5)

10. "Herculaneum" (3:18) any chance to hear the sublime voice of Caterina Pontrandolfo--here with accordion, strummed acoustic guitars, and hand drums--is welcome, a highlight. Lovely to hear the accordion expressing itself so fully and prominently. (8.5/10)

11. "Almost Blue part two" (3:41) a multi-guitar instrumental with effects rendering a kind of shoegaze sound to it. Pretty, melodic, but nothing very new or exciting here. (8.5/10)

Total Time: 42:49

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of Progressive Folk music--one that truly spans the full spectrum of Prog Folk, musica antica to modern NuFolk.

 Acoustic Strawbs: Baroque & Roll by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.65 | 25 ratings

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Acoustic Strawbs: Baroque & Roll
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 390

"Acoustic Strawbs Baroque & Roll" is the fifteenth studio album of Strawbs and was released in 2001. "Acoustic Strawbs Baroque & Roll" is really an acoustic Strawbs' album. This is an album with a very interesting and curious story. All began by accident when Dave Cousins and Brian Willoughby, a British guitarist that worked with many musicians, were booked to perform as a duo in Twickenham in 2000. Unfortunately, Cousins damaged his wrist and Dave Lambert stepped in to cover him, while he was singing. The format was very successful and tours were arranged.

So, the line up on the album is Dave Cousins (lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, dulcimer and banjo), Dave Lambert (lead and backing vocals and acoustic guitar) and Brian Willoughby (acoustic guitar). The album had also the participation of Howard Gott and Ruth Gottlieb on violins, Sophi Sirotia on viola, Sarah Wilson on cello, Andy Waterworth on the double bass and Robert Kirby on the string arrangements.

"Acoustic Strawbs Baroque & Roll" has fourteen tracks. Of all those fourteen tracks, eleven of them were released on the several studio albums of the band, until then, while the other three tracks were solo songs of the band's members.

About the tracks previously released on the several Strawbs' studio albums we have: "The Flower And The Young Man" and "Benedictus" from "Grave New World", "Tears And Pavan", "The River" and "Down By The Sea" from "Bursting At The Seams", "Remembering", "You And I (When We Were Young)" and "Ghosts" from "Ghosts", "The Golden Salamander" from "Nomadness", "Evergreen" from "Don't Say Goodbye" and "There Will Come The Day" from "Blue Angel". About these tracks, Strawbs was able to perform excellent interpretations of the tunes from Strawbs' catalog. Occasionally, they're embroidered with string arrangements by Robert Kirby, famous for doing arrangements for Nick Drake, Strawbs and several other British folk-rockers. While this might lack the sense of fire and adventure in their best work, which is compreensive since we are talking about of an acoustic performance, the songs do lend themselves well to spare, unplugged settings, particularly due to their somber lyrics, bittersweet melodies, and weathered, longing vocals. Many albums that combine remakes of the old songs with a new format are grotesque failures, destroying what made vintage material special and inadvertently highlighting a deceleration of songwriting acumen by placing superior efforts from the past next to inadequate ones from the present. However, this is a very welcome exception to that syndrome, proving that it's perfectly possible to present an integrated vision of the old material with grace and dignity.

About the remaining three tracks, the solo songs of the band's members, "Not All The Flowers Grow" is a very old song written by Dave Cousins and is a very powerful and emotional song that only was sung twice in public before and which was performed live on a very few occasions. It was written about the Aberfan tragedy, which was a catastrophic disaster of a colliery spoil tip in the Welch village of Aberfan on 21 October 1966, killing 116 children and 28 adults. This is a song that clearly shows Cousins at his most emotional side. "Inside Your Hell Tonight" is a song written by Dave Lambert and where he does the vocals on his own composition. Lyrically, it's a song about how things are permanently left on our conscience so deeply scared that they can never possibly has been removed. The verses are about different things but it's mainly about our own conscience. Musically, it's probably a song that musically breaks up a little bit the general musical ambience of the album. "Alice's Song" is a song written by Brian Willoughby and Cathryn Craig and appeared for the first time on Brian's 1998 solo studio album "Black And White" and it was sung by Cathryn. It's about Brian's then seven year old niece, Alice who sadly suffers from problems of autism. It's a song with nice banjo work and a beautiful string musical arrangement. This is, in reality, a very beautiful and a very emotional song. It was also released by Strawbs as a single. The "Alice's Song" CD music contains a single disc with three songs, with "Alice's Song" as the A side and "The Golden Salamander" and a previous unreleased bonus track "On My Way" as the B side.

Conclusion: "Acoustic Strawbs Baroque & Roll" represents basically an acoustic revisit of Cousins and friends to some of the classic musical studio material from Strawbs catalogue, with some new material in the same mood. Many albums that combine remakes of old songs are great failures, destroying what made so special the superior musical efforts from their past. With "Acoustic Strawbs Baroque & Roll" isn't the case. I wish more bands would acoustically re-invent themselves if that is what it takes to highlight their strengths. And that is exactly what Strawbs have done on this excellent album. Songwriter Dave Cousins along with Brian Willoughby and the original band's member Dave Lambert have produced an album that shows a breath of fresh air and an improvement on my recently chart assaulted ears. It's really a testament to the worthiness of the underlying composition of Strawbs as a prog perennial with their folk roots.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Christian Lucifer by LEOPOLD, PERRY album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.75 | 21 ratings

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Christian Lucifer
Perry Leopold Prog Folk

Review by bartymj

5 stars Christian Lucifer was recorded between 1971-1973 before the studio went bust, but the master tapes were kept and eventually found their way to a label in 1999. Thank god/lucifer for that.

With the world of 90s "prog" quite dominated by metal, a slightly obscure acid folk record is a welcome change. I am in no way a deep thinker, so don't feel I can do this album justice at all, but even I have visions of wandering lost a desert, stumbling onto a crossroads at a dirt track and finding Perry Leopold sitting with his guitar on a rock.

Simplest way to describe it is Jethro Tull with an element of darkness. But that's not really giving it the recognition it deserves. Just kick back and have a listen. Quite brilliant.

 Dancing on a Cold Wind by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.71 | 71 ratings

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Dancing on a Cold Wind
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Not necessarily much worse than the debut album, this one has less memorable songs, is also a bit more derivative of other bands in the prog-space but has the same instrumental quality. "Viva mi sevilla" keeps vocals to the minimum and displays strong keyboard, guitar and rhythmic skills by the band. After that, the flamenco influence is diminished until the final suite arrives, while progressive and folk elements remain. Anyway, I can't help myself thinking that Jethro Tull was listened to by the band members. The long suite at 23 minutes is a bit of a letdown due to low compositional and not exactly the depth that a progressive rock suite would be expected to bring. On a positive note, there are female vocals and a good melody.
 Fandangos in Space by CARMEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.83 | 119 ratings

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Fandangos in Space
Carmen Prog Folk

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The music has more unique and interesting sound that it has its compositions. Very original blend of flamenco, folk rock and progressive rock. Singing is of acquired taste with average voice colour and not big range but harmonies save it quite often. The focus is on the feeling and flow more than on instrumental prowess and that is good so because the sound keeps its folky spirit and warmth. Rhythmically, especially the first track makes you want to dance and it certainly provide quite some dynamics - Bulerias with its Spanish lyrics is one of the highlights. "Bullfight" has some hard riffing but great folk harmony vocals and finally also a decent keyboard solo. The vocal intensity reminds a bit of Ian Anderson, we can all this track a true prog-rock work.

But then we get a simplified and poppy song like "Stepping stone" which create an obscure feeling. "Sailor song" has a perfect blend of folk charm, vocal harmonies and gorgeous melody. This is a well constructed track. "Lonely house" is a good ballad. "Tales of a spain" is quite a unusual signature - adventureous development of the composition but takes repeated listening. "Retirando" is a beautiful lyrical song that only goes for two minutes - they could have kept in instrumental. The title track is one of the most complex compositions but for me not particularly a stand-out.

Worth listening, maybe even a repeated one ;)

 Stories of Strangers by GRUMBLEWOOD album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.24 | 6 ratings

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Stories of Strangers
Grumblewood Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This collaboration of some mature folk rockers will entice lovers of the old stuff of bands like Horslips, Jethro Tull and even Uriah Heep.

1. "My Fair Lady" (7:30) good folk rock sound with fairly simple structure and performances (especially from bass and flute) and passable vocals. The second, almost-parenthetical section, beginning at 4:50, is great--very HORSLIPS-like. The sea-shanty section in the seventh minute, too. (13/15)

2. "Picturesque Postcard" (4:42) though mandolin and acoustic guitar and pacing giving this a kind of CARAVAN and MAGIC BUS feel, the song drifts cleanly onto the tracks of JTULL paths during the heavier (electrified) chorus sections. Nothing new or too exciting here. (8.25/10)

3. "Castaways" (5:17) again, I am distracted by hearing so much of other bands in the Grumblewood sound: MAGIC BUS, CARAVAN, JETHRO TULL, HORSLIPS, and even THE ANIMALS in this one. Lead singer Gav Bromfield tries to be powerful and emotional, but it just doesn't feel authentic. (8.25/10)

4. "Fives & Nines" (4:35) The compositions and instrumentation are competent but lack flair and flourish (except, perhaps, the drummer's cymbal work). Even the flute is too tight and conservative. (8.5/10)

5. "The Sheriff Rides" (6:02) feels/sounds like a fairly sedate and conservative rehashing of an old folk song--though the frail lead vocal in the verse sections is, to my mind, the most effective of the album. I like bass being front and center but I'm not feeling the connection of his lines to the subject matter. The drums are dull and the guitar work is totally supplemental. The chorus sections weaken the song considerable. I love the subtle "cave"-like background vocals lurking in the background like ghosts--very cool. I find myself wondering what this song would sound like without any bass or drums! (8.5/10)

6. "Ex Memoriam" (3:07) More and more I'm hearing the standard blues-rock chord structures of URIAH HEEP in these songs. Sounds like a Jethro Tull rehearsal. (8.25/10)

7. "The Minstrel" (8:00) More URIAH HEEP construction with a great deal of VAN MORRISON flair. This song is by far the most adventurous and polished song on the album. As it ventures into the meat of the song--the chorus and instrumental section--there is far more of a JETHRO TULL force on exhibit. But then it turns all VAN MORRISON. The bass holds down the rhythm and flow, the guitars and drums do Van Morrison-like jazz-scatting around, and the flutes and vocals provide some nice melodic threads into the overall weave. The vocal after this actually reminds me of a cross between ERIC BURDEN and Magic Bus's PAUL EVANS. Easily the best song on the album. (13.5/15)

8. "Stories of Strangers" (5:27) reminds me of a Colin Tench or Guy Manning song--though still retaining the vocal strains and stylings of Eric Burdon. The song drags a little--like a C&W ballad or song by THE BAND. During the mandolin solo in the middle it sounds like everyone wants to launch into a rolicking uptempo jam, but just can't figure out how to do it. The entrance of electric guitar power chords helps to initiate the move--and this pace feels much more appropriate for this palette of instruments. Even when the background vocalist-supported vocal returns, this is a much better pace, though still not perfect. It just feels, with repeated listens, that this song could have used a lot more practice and polishing--so that all of the band members could feel confident enough to add little ideosyncracies of personality. (8.25/10)

Total Time 44:40

Overall, the reverbed and often doubled-up vocals of lead vocalist Gav Bromfield are just not strong or emotive enough to carry this band into the realms of top-tiered Prog Folk sound.

B-/low four stars; recommended for you to try for yourself but it is my opinion that if this album "rocks your world" then you haven't heard enough early Jethro Tull, Horslips, Van Morrison, or Uriah Heep.

 Hourglass / Theme from Harry's Game by CLANNAD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Hourglass / Theme from Harry's Game
Clannad Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars 'Hourglass' is a non-album single track that has appeared on a couple of Clannad compilations. The song was inspired by the life and poetry of Debbie Barben, but a quick googling didn't reveal more about the person in question. The music video and the lyrics ("Then four gray walls come tumbling down / And just because her skin was brown") deal with a young black woman. This is a fresh-sounding, beautiful, peaceful and fairly typical, cleanly produced folk pop ballad by Clannad. Moira Brennan's ethereal voice is as nice as always and she plays a lot of harp on this song. Surely the song would have been a very good addition on a studio album such as Anam (1990).

The CD single also features the Irish band's well known TV series theme song that gave them a wide international stardom in 1982. A great, classic song, no doubt of that, but its re-appearing once more in this single feels a bit unnecessary.

[ P.S. Sadly racism still exists in our world, but hopefully it will become more and more irrelevant which colour one's skin is. Right now I'm very happy that the United States is having a new president after Trump who's still being a total asshole and doing his best to divide the nation in two. ]

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
MARCO ANTÔNIO ARAÚJO Brazil
DAN ARBORISE United Kingdom
THE ARBORISTS Canada
ARCH GARRISON United Kingdom
ARIA PALEA Italy
ARMY OF BRIARS United Kingdom
ARTSRUNI Armenia
ASGARD France
ASHADA Japan
ASHTAR Brazil
ASI SOMOS Puerto Rico
ATMAN Poland
AUCAN Argentina
AUTUMNAL BLOSSOM Germany
AVALANCHE Netherlands
AVARIC France
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
DIDIER BONIN France
BOULE DE SON Canada
BRAN (BRÂN) United Kingdom
DAN AR BRAZ France
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
PHILIPPE CAUVIN France
CHARLIE CAWOOD United Kingdom
CHAC MOOL Mexico
CHALIBAUDE France
CHERCHE-LUNE France
CHIMERA Netherlands
CHRYSALIDE France
CIRCULUS United Kingdom
CLANNAD Ireland
CLOGS Multi-National
COMUS United Kingdom
CONGREGACION Chile
CONGRESO Chile
CONNIVENCE Canada
CONSTANTINE United States
CONTRALUZ Argentina
CONVENTUM Canada
CORDE OBLIQUE Italy
DAVE COUSINS United Kingdom
CREMATORIUM Russia
CRYSTAL PHOENIX Italy
CRYSTAL THOUGHTS Greece
CURRENT 93 United Kingdom
DAEMONIA NYMPHE Greece
DANCER United Kingdom
DARNAKES Greece
DAWNWIND United Kingdom
DEAD CAN DANCE Australia
DECAMERON United Kingdom
THE DECEMBERISTS United States
DEMI-HEURE Canada
DETEKTIVBYRÅN Sweden
DIEGO DE MORON Spain
DODSON AND FOGG United Kingdom
DR. STRANGELY STRANGE Ireland
DULCIMER United Kingdom
DUN AENGHUS Multi-National
DUNWICH Italy
JUDY DYBLE United Kingdom
EDEN Germany
ELANE Germany
ELDS MARK Norway
ELECTRIC DESERT Israel
ELFONÍA Mexico
NANCY ELIZABETH United Kingdom
ÉMERAUDE France
EMTIDI Germany
ENBOR Spain
ENGEL (MIGUEL ANGEL DE LA LLAVE JIMENEZ) Spain
L' ENGOULEVENT Canada
RÓBERT ERDÉSZ Hungary
ERGO SUM Chile
ERROBI Spain
ESPERS United States
ETERNIDAD Argentina
LA FAMIGLIA DEGLI ORTEGA Italy
FARAWAY FOLK United Kingdom
FARPOINT United States
FAUN Germany
FAUN FABLES United States
FAVERAVOLA Italy
FAVNI (FAUNS) Germany
FEATHERS United States
THE FELLOWSHIP Italy
FERN KNIGHT United States
FIABA Italy
FIELDS BURNING United States
SERGE FIORI Canada
FIORI-SÉGUIN Canada
FLAIRCK Netherlands
FLIBBERTIGIBBET South Africa
FLOR DE LOTO Peru
FOLKLORE Australia
I FOLLI DI DIO Italy
FOLQUE Norway
FORENINGEN TIL LIVETS BESKYTTELSE Denmark
FOREST United Kingdom
FORSETI Germany
FRACTAL (CHILE) Chile
FRAGUA Spain
FRED United States
FRESH MAGGOTS United Kingdom
FUCHSIA United Kingdom
FUREKÅBEN Denmark
GAIA CONSORT United States
GALADRIEL Australia
GALAHAD Germany
GALLERY United Kingdom
GALLEY BEGGAR United Kingdom
GARMARNA Sweden
GAROLOU Canada
GENESIS DE COLOMBIA Colombia
THE GENTLE SOUL United States
THE GHOST United Kingdom
GJALLARHORN Finland
GLAZ France
GORGO Ukraine
GRAAL France
THE GREEN CHILDREN Italy
LARKIN GRIMM United States
GROVJOBB Sweden
GROWING DREAM Canada
GRUMBLEWOOD New Zealand
GRYPHON United Kingdom
GUALBERTO Spain
GURNEMANZ Germany
GWERZ France
HAIZEA Spain
HARMONIUM Canada
ROY HARPER United Kingdom
HAWK South Africa
HAZARI Yugoslavia
HEAVEN & EARTH United States
L' HERBA D'HAMELÍ Spain
CARY HEUCHERT Canada
HEXVESSEL Finland
HOELDERLIN Germany
HORIZONTE Argentina
HORSLIPS Ireland
IBIO Spain
ILL WICKER Sweden
ILOUS & DECUYPER France
BRIAN IMIG United States
IN THE LABYRINTH Sweden
THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND United Kingdom
INDACO Italy
IONA United Kingdom
IRAKLIS Greece
ITHACA United Kingdom
ITOIZ Spain
ITZIAR Spain
IZUKAITZ Spain
JACK O' THE CLOCK United States
LOS JAIVAS Chile
JAN DUKES DE GREY United Kingdom
JESTER United Kingdom
THE JESTERDAYS Greece
JETHRO TULL United Kingdom
NIGEL MAZLYN JONES United Kingdom
JOX France
JUSTINE Multi-National
KAAMOS Finland
KADWALADYR France
KARNATAKA United Kingdom
CHRIS KARRER Germany
KATALENA Slovenia
KEBNEKAJSE Sweden
KERRS PINK Norway
KING FISH CROW United States
KLADIVO KONJ IN VODA Slovenia
KOLIBRI Germany
KOLINDA Hungary
ATTILA KOLLÁR Hungary
KONTRABURGER Poland
KORMORÁN Hungary
KOSMOS Finland
JUHA KUJANPAA Finland
BRUCE LAMONT United States
JÉROME LANGLOIS Canada
LAURELIE Belgium
LEAFBLADE United Kingdom
PERRY LEOPOLD United States
BENITO LERTXUNDI Spain
LI TROUBAIRES DE COUMBOSCURO Italy
LILY & MARIA United States
LISA O PIU Sweden
LISKER Spain
LONG LIVE DEATH United States
LOT LORIEN Bulgaria
LOUDEST WHISPER Ireland
CLARE LOUISE France
LSA Poland
LUCCI MARSOLA TATINI AND BURANI Brazil
LUMSK Norway
MADDEN AND HARRIS Australia
MAGDALENA Spain
MAGICFOLK United Kingdom
MAGMA Argentina
MAJA DE RADO & PORODICNA MANUFAKTURA CRNOG HLEBA Yugoslavia
MALICORNE France
BRIAN MALONE United States
MANGEUR DE RÊVES Canada
MARLBORO MAN Hungary
JUAN MARTÍN Spain
JOHN MARTYN United Kingdom
MARY JANE United Kingdom
MASHMAKHAN Canada
LE MATCH Canada
SHELAGH MCDONALD United Kingdom
ME AND MY KITES Sweden
MELIMELUM Argentina
MELLOW CANDLE Ireland
THE MERLIN BIRD Australia
MESSENGER United Kingdom
MIDLAKE United States
MIDNIGHT CIRCUS Germany
MIDWINTER United Kingdom
MIRANDA SEX GARDEN United Kingdom
DRAGO MLINAREC Yugoslavia
MOĞOLLAR Turkey
COLIN MOLD United Kingdom
MONSEIGNEUR Switzerland
MONTREAL Canada
THE MOON AND THE NIGHTSPIRIT Hungary
MOONSTONE Canada
MORMOS United States
THE MORRIGAN United Kingdom
MOSTLY AUTUMN United Kingdom
MOTIS France
MOULETTES United Kingdom
MOURNING PHASE United Kingdom
MOVING HEARTS Ireland
MR. BROWN Sweden
MR. TOAD Israel
MUNDI DOMINI Canada
MUSHROOM Ireland
NIRGAL VALLIS Mexico
THE NOCTURNES United States
NOMADS OF HOPE Sweden
MICHEL NORMANDEAU Canada
NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA United Kingdom
THE NOVA PROJECT United States
NUEVO MEXICO Mexico
NUIT CALINE A LA VILLA MON REVE Belgium
NYA LJUDBOLAGET Sweden
GAVIN O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST Australia
OBERON United Kingdom
OCTOBER PROJECT United States
OF WONDROUS LEGENDS (O.W.L.) United States
OFFA REX Various
OLOFERNE Italy
OMNI Spain
OPEN EYE BAND Finland
ORFANADO Italy
ORPHEUS GHOSTSONG United Kingdom
ORYZHEIN Canada
OUGENWEIDE Germany
P. G. SIX United States
PAGAN HARVEST United Kingdom
PAN-RA Germany
PARADOX Poland
EMMANUELLE PARRENIN France
PARZIVAL Germany
PASTORAL Argentina
PATANGA Germany
JEAN LUC PAYSSAN France
PEARLS BEFORE SWINE United States
THE PENTANGLE United Kingdom
PERERIN United Kingdom
LINDA PERHACS United States
PESNIARY (PESNYARY) Belarus
PHOENIX Romania
PIERROT LUNAIRE Italy
PIIRPAUKE Finland
PLANKTON WAT United States
POSITIVE WAVE Finland
A PRESENÇA DAS FORMIGAS Portugal
PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE United Kingdom
PROVIDENCE United States
PRUDENCE Norway
PTARMIGAN Canada
THE PUDDLE JUMPERS United States
QUICKSAND United Kingdom
QUINTAL DE CLOROFILA Brazil
QUINTETO ARMORIAL Brazil
RABBIT RABBIT (CARLA KIHLSTEDT & MATTHIAS BOSSI) United States
RAD ORCHESTRA United Kingdom
RADA & TERNOVNIK (THE BLACKTHORN) Russia
RAGNARÖK Sweden
RAMASES United Kingdom
RASPUTINA United States
REBEKKA Germany
RED JASPER United Kingdom
REIFROCK Germany
REVERIE Italy
RIPAILLE France
RISE (TALITHA RISE) United Kingdom
RITMIA Italy
ROGER RODIER Canada
BERNARDO RUBAJA Argentina
KARI RUESLATTEN Norway
RUJA Estonia
S VREMENA NA VREME Yugoslavia
ILPO SAASTAMOINEN Finland
SAD MINSTREL Italy
SAGA DE RAGNAR LODBROCK France
SAINT JUST Italy
SAKRE Spain
THE SALLYANGIE United Kingdom
SANGRE DE MUERDAGO Spain
SCAPA FLOW Finland
SCARLET THREAD Finland
NATE SCOBLE United States
SECOS & MOLHADOS Brazil
SECRET GREEN United Kingdom
SEDMINA Yugoslavia
SERPENTYNE United Kingdom
GILLES SERVAT France
SHANNON France
SHAVE THE MONKEY United Kingdom
SHIDE & ACORN United Kingdom
SHINE DIÓN Norway
SILMARIL United States
SINDELFINGEN United Kingdom
SINTESIS Cuba
JIMI SLEVIN Ireland
SMELL OF INCENSE Norway
SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS United Kingdom
SOLARFERENCE United Kingdom
SORNE United States
SPARIFANKAL Germany
SPIRES THAT IN THE SUNSET RISE United States
SPIROGYRA United Kingdom
SPRIGUNS (OF TOLGUS) United Kingdom
STACKRIDGE United Kingdom
VLATKO STEFANOVSKI Macedonia
ALAN STIVELL France
STONE ANGEL United Kingdom
STÓRSVEIT NIX NOLTES Iceland
STRANGE DAYS United Kingdom
STRAWBS United Kingdom
PEKKA STRENG Finland
STRING CHEESE United States
STRING DRIVEN THING United Kingdom
STUMARI Georgia
SUBURBANO Spain
SUBWAY Multi-National
SÜNDENFALL II Germany
SUPAY Peru
SUR PACIFICO Chile
SUSSITA Israel
SYNANTHESIA United Kingdom
TALAMASCA United States
TALITHA QUMI Romania
TAMALONE Netherlands
TAMARUGO Chile
TANGERINE France
TARENTULE France
TARUJEN SAARI Finland
LOU MAXWELL TAYLOR United States
TEA AND SYMPHONY United Kingdom
TEMPEST United States
TENHI Finland
TERRA MYSTICA Slovenia
BOB THEIL United Kingdom
THESE TRAILS United States
THE THIRD ESTATE United States
THISTLETOWN United Kingdom
THOBY LOTH Finland
THORK France
THURSAFLOKKURINN Iceland
TIR NA NOG Ireland
TIRILL Norway
TORNAOD France
TRADER HORNE United Kingdom
TREES United Kingdom
THE TREES COMMUNITY United States
TREMBLING BELLS United Kingdom
TRI YANN France
TRIO DAG Yugoslavia
TROCARN Switzerland
TROISIÈME RIVE France
TROISSOEUR Belgium
TUATHA DE DANANN Brazil
TUDOR LODGE United Kingdom
TUIMA Finland
TUNEFISH Germany
TURQUOISE Poland
TUSMØRKE Norway
TYRANNOSAURUS REX (NOT T. REX) United Kingdom
U I BLUE United States
UDRAYA France
UNCLE DIRTYTOES United States
UNGAVA Canada
UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Ireland
STEVE UNRUH United States
UQBAR Argentina
US AND THEM Sweden
VEGA Spain
VERMICELLI ORCHESTRA Russia
VIIMA Finland
VOICE OF THE SEVEN WOODS United Kingdom
RYLEY WALKER United States
JUNE WALLACK Canada
WATER INTO WINE BAND United Kingdom
WATERTOUCH Sweden
THE WAY WE LIVE United Kingdom
LEAH WAYBRIGHT United States
WERWOLF (WEREWOLF ART ROCK) Germany
WITTHUSER AND WESTRUPP Germany
WOVEN HAND United States
WURTEMBERG France
WYRDGENES United Kingdom
GABRIEL YACOUB France
YAVANNA Germany
YGGDRASIL Germany
YOKE SHIRE United States
YOU AND I Hungary
ZAGUAN Spain
ZARTONG Armenia
ZAUBER Italy
ZEIT Italy
ZLYE KUKLY Israel
ZRNI Czech Republic
ZYWIOLAK Poland

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