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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 | 3565 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.36 | 2823 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.35 | 1403 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIÈME SAISON
Harmonium
4.21 | 1552 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.23 | 350 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.18 | 606 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.23 | 232 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.34 | 97 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.22 | 232 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.16 | 699 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.70 | 35 ratings
DÚLAMÁN
Clannad
4.16 | 376 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.15 | 386 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.45 | 55 ratings
LUCAS
Araújo, Marco Antônio
4.11 | 357 ratings
L'HEPTADE
Harmonium
4.79 | 24 ratings
CHRISTIAN LUCIFER
Leopold, Perry
4.16 | 154 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.05 | 1373 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.04 | 1578 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.04 | 1334 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
GEOFFROY
Émeraude
VALHEISTA KAUNEIN
Scarlet Thread
ODGIPIG
Sindelfingen

Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Burning for You by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.60 | 60 ratings

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Burning for You
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 570

"Burning For You" is the eleventh studio album of Strawbs and was released in 1977. As with the two previous studio albums "Nomadness" and "Deep Cuts", all tracks are short and timed with less than five minutes, their folk/rock roots and their progressiveness has gone, the line up is the same and also continue the absence of a full time keyboardist.

So, the line up on the album is Dave Cousins (vocals and acoustic guitars), Dave Lambert (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Chas Cronk (backing vocals, bass guitar and acoustic guitar) and Rod Coombes (drums). The album has also the performance of two of the guest musicians who participated already on their previous studio album "Deep Cuts", Robert Kirby (piano, electric piano, synthesizer, Mellotron, clavinet, acoustic guitar and orchestral arrangements) and John Mealing (piano, harpsichord, synthesizer,Mellotron, organ, tubular bells and orchestral arrangements).

"Burning For You" has ten tracks. The first track "Burning For Me" written by Dave Cousins and John Mealing is, without any kind of doubt and by far, the best song on the album. This is a great opening track and the only highlight on the album. It's a very emotional song, very well constructed, very calm and very enjoyable to listen to. Sincerely, I think there had been already some time the group hadn't been so musically inspired, indeed. The second track "Cut Like A Diamond" written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk although isn't as good as the opening track, it still is a great song. And it's also, in my humble opinion, the second best song on the album. It's a very catchy harder rock song, very well constructed and very well arranged. This is, probably, the most aggressive song ever composed by the band with great distorted guitar sound and fantastic aggressive vocals. The third track "I Feel Your Loving Coming On" written by Dave Lambert is a good and pleasant song to hear, well composed and performed. It's a mellow ballad, very pop, very simple and with very conventional musical orchestral arrangements, but with great backing vocals. This is a very decent song. The fourth track "Barcarole (For The Dead Of Venice)" written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk is almost an acoustic song with nice and calm vocals. It's also one of the few songs on the album that includes a touch of Mellotron. Like the previous song, this is also, in my humble opinion, a very pleasant and decent song to hear. The fifth track "Alexander The Great" written by Dave Cousins and Dave Lambert is, for me, the first really weak song on the album. I don't have the same opinion of some of you who consider it a good song. It's true this is a rocking electric song with an energetic tune, but sincerely, I think it doesn't represent a good musical and creative moment of them, but above all, it hasn't anything to do with the usual musical vein of the band. The sixth track "Keep On Trying" written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk is, in my humble opinion, a vulgar and uninspired song with a very oriented pop tune. It represents another weak point on the album, disconnected, and with nothing interesting to add to this album. The seventh track "Back In The Old Routine" written by Dave Cousins, Chas Cronk and Dave Lambert is another weak song on the album that represents, unfortunately, more of the same. It's a song composed and performed in the cabaret style, and it's also like the previous song, a vulgar an uninspired song, really. This is probably the worst song on the album. The eighth track "Heartbreaker" written by Dave Lambert isn't, fortunately, a bad song. It's like their first song "Cut Like A Diamond", a harder rock song and despite isn't as good as that song is, it still is a very decent and interesting song. This is also a very well constructed and very well arranged song, and it's also one of the most aggressive songs ever composed by the band. The ninth track "Carry Me Home" written by Chas Cronk, represents, unfortunately, another weak point on the album. This is a very vulgar pop ballad, once more with nothing positive to offer to the album, and it's also completely out of the musical style of the band. The tenth track "Goodbye (Is Not An Easy Word To Say)" written by Dave Cousins doesn't represents, unfortunately, a very good way to end this album. It was usual and traditional Strawbs finish their albums with great songs. From what I can remember this is, probably, the weakest end of a Strawbs' album. Although it isn't a bad song, isn't enough to satisfy. It represents, without any doubt, a very weak way to say goodbye to the album.

Conclusion: I decided to rate "Burning For You" with the same 3 stars of "Nomadness" and "Deep Cuts". For me, "Nomadness" is an album that deserves 3 or 3,5 stars and "Deep Cuts" is an album that deserves only 3 stars. "Burning For You" is, in my humble opinion, the weakest Strawbs album from the three. So, as a question of personal coherence and because of that reason it only deserves 2,5 or 3 stars. So, my first impression was to rate it with only 2 stars. However, I think it has some good and interesting musical moments. It has an excellent song "Burning For Me", a great song "Cut Like A Diamond" and it has also some other good songs, such as, "I Feel Your Loving Coming On", "Barcarolle (For The Dead Of Venice)" and "Heartbreaker". However, this isn't definitely a good introduction to the band. To can be introduced to the best and great music of Strawbs, you must check their albums from 1970 to 1975.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Benefit - 50th Anniversary Enhanced Edition by JETHRO TULL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2021
4.40 | 21 ratings

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Benefit - 50th Anniversary Enhanced Edition
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Presenting the Steven Wilson remix of the studio album, plus associated songs from the era, plus the usual host of extras we've come to expect from these deluxe editions, this anniversary release of Benefit includes not one but two live performances, both from the US. First there's the Live In Tanglewood set from July 1970; Tull were opening for The Who on this one, so deliver a boisterous and energetic rendition of their material, perhaps playing up to the expectations of Who fans; it ends up working a treat.

A month or so later sees Tull in Chicago, playing a similar setlist. This one's sourced from the soundboard; somewhat suffering from tape his, it perhaps is emerging as a "beat the bootlegs" measure, but it does at least show that the storied Tanglewood performance was no fluke - the band really were on fire at this time.

Both live shows are notable for early appearances of My God, which would feature on the coming Aqualung - more evidence that Tull's creativity was really coming to the boil here, with classic new material coalescing rapidly.

 Stand Up by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.05 | 1373 ratings

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Stand Up
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Progexile

5 stars This was (no pun intended) my first Tull album, bought soon after its release. Whereas their debut LP "This Was" was bluesy this follow-up is a showcase for Ian Anderson's songwriting and goes beyond the bluesy feel on many songs. Martin Barre makes his debut as lead guitar because Mick Abrahams didn't like the less bluesy approach.

The album opens with "A New Day Yesterday" a bass-driven tune that is followed by "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square" a short ditty on which Barre plays flute.

Both nice songs but the first gem comes next as they play "Bouree", an instrumental (apart from Anderson's breathy flute style) that's Bach-inspired and was originally my fave. A concert staple for years and needs no intro to Tull fans.

"Back to the Family" follows and the side ended with, for my money, its best song "Look Into the Sun", a lovely ballad.

But side 2 has come to the fore in time as its subtleties grew on me. It opens with "Nothing is Easy" an up-tempo tune that's followed by "Fat Man" originally my fave on this side. Anderson, a natural multi-instrumentist, plays a lively tune on balalaika here.

Now we come to the two real gems - "We Used to Know" a song about nostalgia giving Barre a chance to wah-wah a tasty solo and "Reasons For Waiting" a love song which starts with a lightly strummed acoustic guitar but develops with a string arrangement behind Anderson's voice. Two great tunes beautifully arranged and performed.

The faster "For a Thousand Mothers" closes the original album with style.

The 2001 remaster includes bonus tracks including Tull's 2 early singles "Living in the Past"and "Sweet Dream". They have completely different sounds to them as the first is jazzy, the second feels "big".

All in all, a great set of songs but not really prog as we know it. Nothing longer than 4 minutes(ish) but rather some proto-prog moments. The album is class rock through and through.

Tull's great epic "Thick as a Brick" was just a few years away and tops this one but "Stand Up" is still my second favourite in Tull's discographhy and deserves 5 stars (as does "TAAB").

 Stand Up by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.05 | 1373 ratings

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Stand Up
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars My mind follows strange paths: this morning I woke up with "A New Day Yesterday" in my mind, from an album that I've likely listened to 30years ago for the last time if not more. So it urged me to go back to it trying to understand why. I'm back to my original vinyl copy, so no bonus tracks, remixes and their likes.

Of course, the main riff of "A New Day YesterdaY" is catchy and being it repeated so many times it's like it has been designed to find its place inside my few neurons, but I don't know if it would have had the same effect without Ian Anderson's voice and harmonica. Bluesy, some may say, but even if this a progressive rock site, I love the blues.

Said so, let's see what else this album has to offer. First of all, Jethro Tull in 1969 are still a sort of blues revival band with strong British folk influences. Later folk will put the blues out of focus, but the path is already clear: the medieval atmosphere of "Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square", with bongos instead of drums and the flute marks the beginning of a trademark.

J.S. Bach "Bouree" arrangement combines baroque with a jazzy reinterpretation. It will become a constant presence in the live gigs as it gives Ian the possibility of improvising his flute performance. Anyway, it's mainly Glenn Cornick's bass line that makes the job.

"Back To The Family" is on the bluesy side but with a vibe that reminds a bit to Van Morrison and Donovan. The fact is that we are all very familiar with Ian's voice and flute, so he could even play the qua-qua dance and be still recognizable as Jethro Tull. Well, relistening to it after all those years I don't hear so much blues as I was remembering. Great instrumental riffs but, I would dongrade the rating for the fade-out. Something that was going on so well, truncated in that way. I hope an integral version has been published on the various re-release/remixes, but as I have said I'm basing on the original vynil only.

"Looking To The Sun" has again that late 60s feeling: acoustic, with folk influences with a touch of psychedelia enhanced by Martin Barre's guitar. Unfortunately this fades out, too.

Side B now... "Nothing Is Easy" opens it and is a full Jethro Tull track: signature changes, Ian's flute and a very interesting chord progression. Ok, there's a sort of chain of 5th, but it ahs also a jazzy bass, drums solos, and of course Ian's flute plus a very good but short (bluesy) guitar solo before the coda.

Percussion open "Fat Man". This is not too far from what Pentangle where actually doing. The bongos give it a hippy feeling.

"We Used To Know" has by coincidence the same chord progression of Hotel California and to my years sounds like the grandpa or the father of Aqualung. It also came out 7 years before the Eagles. Curiously, it may be the chord progression but some guitar passages seems to have been reused by the Eagles. In the 80s a similar progression will be used by Andy Latimer on Stationary Traveller.

Clean flute on "Reasons for Waiting". An acoustic song with just some organ in the background. The easiest way to describ it is "a british folk song". Not a traditional one, but in that vein.

A rock track closes the album. "For A Thousand Mothers" wouldn't be misplaced on Aqualung and the 5/4 signature will become typical of this kind of Jethro Tull songs. Heavy with some blues influence.

Is this an excellent addition? Yes, it is. Not yet a masterpiece but an excellent album, and two years after it we'll have Aqualung.

 Soundtrack/The Asmoto Running Band by PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
2.50 | 5 ratings

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Soundtrack/The Asmoto Running Band
Principal Edwards Magic Theatre Prog Folk

Review by sl75

2 stars I may get around to writing separate reviews of the two albums later. In the meantime, I just wanted to record my disappointment at discovering this this compilation leaves off one of the lengthier tracks from the second album, "Autumn Lady Dancing Song". I found the missing track on Youtube, so I haven't missed out on hearing it altogether, but I have missed out on owning it in a physical format, and being able to listen to the whole album through as originally intended. So if you're looking to own the full discography of Principal Edwards Magic Theatre (or at least their first two albums), look for another edition and avoid this particular combination. Star rating based on that disappointment rather than the quality of the music, which is excellent.
 Sweet Child by PENTANGLE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.64 | 59 ratings

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Sweet Child
The Pentangle Prog Folk

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Simply for the purpose of avoiding listening to "Alternate Takes", this will be a review for the original double album, sans all bonus material. [Not to mention this is the first review in too long for my tastes. Gotta take my rightful place here haha.]

Sweet Child is the second album by famed British Jazz-Prog-Folk[-Rock] group Pentangle, so famed that, despite my own ignorance of them, I recognize most everyone's name performing here. A year before producing the cover for this'n, artist Peter Blake had designed the cover to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper. Much different art direction, not that that's any surprise, comparing these two bands. Funny to me, as I didn't realize this was a now- classic/archetypal half-studio, half-live album. Anyways, especially for ones second ever album, it's pretty remarkable to release a live album, but in their case it is a chance to truly show off their individual and collective chops. Mad respect.

Onto the album, "Market Song" is a relaxed yet upbeat, jazzy number. Wonderful vocals and phenomenal instrumental performances. Again, in my ignorance, this also feels like a stylistic platform for the great Joni Mitchell (to come), culminating in her albums The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975) and Hejira (1976). In a less definitive way, the sweet yet full vocals of Pentangle's Jacqui McShee--heard most fully at first with the next track, "No More My Lord"--may strike you as Joni-esque, if you, like me, are a Folk ignoramus (more interestingly, I heard similarities to The Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan in her vocal inflections). That number, "No More", by the way, is indeed lovely and meditative, but nothing more to my ears, unto my tastes.

"Turn Your Money Green", having been writ by Country Blues songwriter Furry Lewis, strikes me as an at times dark Rock n' Roll number. Even in my general disfavor for these two popular modes, this was a head-bopper for sure, and again a showcase of their known talents via the 6-strings specifically. The first of two Mingus compositions, "Haitian Fight Song" begins with a solo upright, joined slowly and quietly by brushed drums; the second is the classic "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", performed most quietly and soulfully. The mid-section of "Goodbye..." ramps up, crescendo'ing to a delightful guitar solo section. The crowd certainly liked that one quite a bit (they must have had an enthusiastic and avid following, for sure).

Folk, more or less straight-up, untethered by the likes of Rock or even Jazz, is represented in "A Woman Like You"; the Southern-folksy "Watch the Stars"; the hauntingly beautiful, a capella "So Early in the Spring"; the eerie tale of murder, "Bruton Town"; our first track on side 2 and the title track, "Sweet Child", a number with full instrumentation and a rolling rhythm and a great solo showcase (and later one of the rare moments of Folk Rock); "I Loved a Lass"; "Sovay"; "In Your Mind", which is rightly Psych-light to my ears; and the story of... pedophilia(?!) by way of arranged marriage (I think?) on "The Trees They Grow High".

The "Three Dances Medley" (tracks not so strung together seamlessly, but performed simply one after the other) is a return to the fresh and at times brilliant mish-mash of Folk and... Third Stream(?), featuring Terry Cox on glockenspiel. This in particular, especially the third piece ("The Earle of Salisbury"), should appeal well to fans of Anthony Phillips. Another of this general feel is the near-Medieval "Three Part Thing".

Big Blues continues later down the road on the jammy "No Exit" [Pentangle were Fates Warning fans?! /s] and the instrumental closer "Hole in the Coal". Mingus-adjacent Jazz-Folk can be found on "The Time Has Come", a delightfully bright number; "In Time", with some more cool, bluesy soloing; and "I've Got a Feeling". One of the more interesting songs of the whole is "Moondog", simplistic in its wild hand drums-vocal duo, purportedly an homage to the iconic composer of the same name.

I wasn't too much impressed with much of anything on the album. It lacked the overly, overtly or daringly experimental or progressive to my ears, though the band certainly offers much here on a (more than) basic musical level (as opposed to my more specific sights on "Prog"). If any highlights can be found, they'd be "Market Song", "Sweet Child", and "In Time".

True Rate: 2.75/5.00

 Horslips and the Ulster Orchestra at the Waterfront, Belfast by HORSLIPS album cover Live, 2011
3.58 | 6 ratings

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Horslips and the Ulster Orchestra at the Waterfront, Belfast
Horslips Prog Folk

Review by fenman

5 stars I missed this when it first came out. Coming from a suggestion by Declan McGovern, then BBC executive producer of music, this really did turn out to be good night out. A concert which focusses on Horslips two most revered works, The Tain and The Book Of Invasions, is very well orchestrated, played and recorded.

The setlist, where tracks from each album are interspersed, works well and demonatrates that the pieces are good enough in their own right to sound convincing outside of the concepts of the two albums they come from. It avoids the dull patches that sometimes occur when bands play entire albums from start to finish.

The final four pieces, from elsewhere, round to proceedings off well. I can't fault it. Five stars. It should appeal to both fans of the band and also new listeners. The BBC did well on this one, as did Horslips.

 Lore by CLANNAD album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.77 | 18 ratings

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Lore
Clannad Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The ratings (and the initial review) claim Lore to be a weaker Clannad album than the preceding one, Banba (1993), but I disagree. These two albums sound pretty much the same in their cleanly produced combination of English-language pop and Irish world music sung in Gaelic, and Banba had a hit in 'I Will Find You (Theme from "The Last of the Mohicans")', but in the end Lore has finer highlight moments for me.

The opening track 'Croí Cróga' has a bit mysterious atmosphere. Máire Brennan's harp is almost buried under the low- note choirs. Because of the dominance of the chorus, 'Seanchas' is among my least faves here, although the arrangement is sophisticated in a Peter Gabriel-like way, except for the unnecessary sax of Mel Collins. 'A Bridge (That Carries Us Over)' is a beautiful serene song, a perfect platform for Máire's ethereal lead vocals and the breathy vocal harmonies.

'From Your Heart' is a slow and sensitively calm song, sung half in Gaelic, half in English. Perhaps it's slightly overproduced with a rhythm-centred ENIGMA flavour. The lively and folky 'Alasdair MacColla' resembles the early days of Clannad. 'Broken Pieces' is a fresh-sounding, melodic song, among the nicest ones on the album. I agree with the previous reviewer that 'Tráthnóna Beag Aréir' is unnecessarily extended in length, as pretty as it is.

I'm fairly fond of 'Trail of Tears', even though it has became clear by now that the album offers mostly more of the same in its soft, nocturnal calmness, and this feeling is further underlined by the following slow track in Gaelic. But then comes my personal highlight, 'Farewell Love'. The melodies are emotionally deep and the harp brings lovely brightness to the sound. This is among my favourite Clannad songs ever. The album closes with the serene instrumental 'Fonn Mhárta'.

My copy had a bonus disc compiling six tracks of Clannad's commercially strongest output, e.g. 'Theme from Harry's Game' and 'In a Lifetime', and 'Something to Believe In' which I like very much. I'm rating Lore 3½ stars but I guess it's more logical to round it down since it's mostly just offering more of the same and perhaps lacks some spark as a whole.

 The Green Man by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.35 | 16 ratings

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The Green Man
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by bertolino

5 stars Sad faith is the one of our musical heroes of the 70's forgot by most, who happen to drive their road since then to a diminishing audience. Case in point, the one and only review at this point in time for this lone first decade of the 2000's studio album of a once celebrated folk prog singer. At this stage of his career, Harper probably had no thought of even riddling the airwaves anyway. As he spend his nineties in trying to adapt his sound to the times with no effect, why not come back to basics? Helped on all sort of strings by Jeff Martin of one Tea Party canadian alternative band which always was on the frindge of prog, this is an all acoustic affair bringing back fond memories of his beginnings but informed by his experience, in life and music. A return to Stormcock as mentioned by the other reviewer, just a more concise affair, and all the more efficient for that. In all honesty, i write as i listen to it for the very first time, stunned by the majesty of one of the very few album of his i ignored. And i thought i knew nearly all his significant work! What i loose in matter of reflection is of no importance, as the essential is to point that The Green Man is truly a "chef d'oeuvre" within an abondant discography. And thus double the amount of reviews...
 Music Inspired by The Lord of the Rings by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.19 | 107 ratings

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Music Inspired by The Lord of the Rings
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 557

"Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is the fourth studio album of Mostly Autumn and was released in 2001. In contrary as its name indicates, the music of the album wasn't inspired by "The Lord Of The Rings", the book of the famous trilogy of J. R. R. Tolkien, but it was based because of the first film of the Trilogy cycle, "The Fellowship Of The Ring", when it was filmed and announced. Curiously, the recording of the album took only a fortnight to be recorded.

The line up on the album is Bryan Josh (lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitars), Heather Findlay (lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitars, tambourine, bodhran and recorders), Iain Jennings (keyboards), Liam Davison (rhythm, acoustic guitars and slide guitars), Angela Goldthorpe (backing vocals, flute and recorders), Andy Smith (bass guitars) and Jonathan Blackmore (drums). The album had also the participation of Duncan Ryson (keyboards and programming), Marcus Bousefield (violin), Marissa Claughan (cello) and Che (djembe), who were invited as guests.

"The Lord Of The Rings" is an oeuvre very well known all over the world. It's an epic novel divided into three volumes which was written by the English writer and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's also fantasy novel "The Hobbit", but developed into a much larger scale. The novel was even more immortalised by the three epic films directed by Peter Jackson, "The Fellowship Of The Ring", "The Two Towers" and "The Return Of The King".

Relatively to the album, the least we can say is that this is truly an unexpected album, which was what Mostly Autumn called it. They said that "The Lord Of The Rings" has long been a source of inspiration to them. The general idea was to present a whole set of songs based around the literary work. But, the most interesting and impressive thing was that Mostly Autumn made the album only in fourteen days in order to coincide with the world premiere of the first film of the series. So, and as the band wrote, this album is the final result of fourteen days and nights in November 2001. But as they said, it was never intended to be their fourth studio album but only wanted to be a tribute to a great literary work.

"Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is somehow a bit different of their three previous albums. Here we are in the medieval era with great flavours. All kind of instrumentation confirms that. The music is really great and the sound is more epic, sounding like a big performance. The guitars are more electric and powerful, the wind instruments are here a great element and also the percussion. This is a powerful and spectacular presentation of their much known formulas.

"Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" has twelve tracks. The compositions are all different of each other. We find huge instrumental pieces mixed with soft and acoustic vocal ones. "Overture - Forge Of Sauron" opens the album powerfully and very dark. It's a great epic piece with a prog structure. "The Sauron" theme, which occurs several times, is introduced here. "Greenwood The Great (Shadowy Glades)" starts off rather folksy and then it kicks into high gear with loud guitars and drums. "Goodbye Alone" is a calm and melancholic piece, with a good instrumentation and nice guitar solo at the end. "Out Of The Inn" has a nice medieval environment, starting out light and airy and then lurches into an increasing sounding rocker. "On The Wings Of Gwaihir" is an instrumental that follows a steadily repeated riff, but works through several key changes to keep it interesting. "At Last To Rivendell" keeps its Celtic flavor throughout, even as its tempo hastens. It's almost a pure short and sweet folk music. "Journey's Thought" has a meditative mood and is another calm and sweet piece that rambles a bit, but maybe that's the point. "Caradhras The Cruel" is a bit short, but is a powerful song with a strong guitar, and it's very well arranged. "The Riders Of Rohan" is an uplifting and joyful rolling piano melody, sung in a friendly voice by Heather Findlay. "Lothlorien" is very delicately played and sung and despite its strong lyrics it's one of the most subtle tracks on the album. "The Return Of The King" is one of the most spectacular pieces on the album with a powerful guitar power chord sequence. "To The Grey Havens" is an acoustic and beautiful ballad. It's just a little bit sad, but the guitar and sparse violin confirm that this is a good end to the album.

Conclusion: "Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is an excellent album. I enjoy it very much. It's a big surprise due to many of the things I've read on Progarchives. Recording an album only in fourteen days includes many risks such as repeating melodies, some inconsistency and music with low quality level. But, Mostly Autumn hasn't fall too deeply into those problems, really. This was largely compensated by some stunning tracks like "Overture ? Forge Of Sauron", "Out Of The Inn", "At Last To Rivendell", "Lothlorien" and "The Return Of The King". By the other hand, I don't agree with those who say that "Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is an album too much inspired in Pink Floyd's music. Besides, I can't see anything wrong with that and I sincerely think that no harm can come to the world because of that. So and concluding, "Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings" is an excellent Mostly Autumn's album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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