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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 of January 1, 2015

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

4.64 | 2547 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.33 | 1961 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.16 | 1061 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.18 | 249 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACCHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.22 | 147 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.14 | 422 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.16 | 248 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.13 | 472 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.15 | 235 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.14 | 168 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.10 | 247 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.30 | 53 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.56 | 27 ratings
LUCAS
Araujo, Marco Antonio
4.04 | 926 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.15 | 97 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz
4.01 | 1100 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.13 | 103 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.24 | 55 ratings
THE COURAGE OF OTHERS
Midlake
4.01 | 872 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
3.99 | 871 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

NYA LJUDBOLAGET
Nya Ljudbolaget
THROUGH THE GATES OF DEEPER SLUMBER
Smell of Incense
GUSLIAR
Pesniary (Pesnyary)
II
Espers

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Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Delicate Flame Of Desire by KARNATAKA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.34 | 66 ratings

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Delicate Flame Of Desire
Karnataka Prog Folk

Review by sinslice

4 stars There is also a time to enjoy this kind of music.

One of those rare gems that I initially heard without much enthusiasm some years ago and grew in importance to go appreciating the compositions and performances, good taste, and the distinctive, warm voice of Rachel Jones, perhaps the main protagonist here .. with some timely flute contributions, and guitars and keys perfectly accompanying emotions to be transmitted.

It´s true that "One Breath Away" is almost irritating, out of place here. "Heart of Stone", which beautifully and with great class closes the work, the title track (with an exciting solo guitar), "After the Rain", "Out of Reach" and "The Right Time", are essential tracks.

From progressive rock standpoint, I understand that it has not generated recognition in general. Still, it contains the required dose for progressive rock lover interest. This is rock, with Folk and Celtic Folk ingredients. A good amalgamation of Iona, Mostly Autumn, Renaissance and Clannad.

 Crest Of A Knave by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.25 | 430 ratings

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Crest Of A Knave
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars I guess this is where I hand in my prog member's card. And metal member's card given that this album beat out Metallica for a Metal/Hard Rock Grammy. And my Dire Straits card...well, you get the idea. A lot of strange press has been generated around this album for some valid reasons. And for many that are not so valid.

The authentic knock against Crest of a Knave is that some of the songs do sound a bit like Dire Straits, at least musically. Anderson has had to resort to a type of sing-speech ala Mark Knopfler due to a deteriorating voice problem. Ian doesn't sound like a third generation copy of Bob Dylan to me, only just subdued. And I agree that She Said She Was A Dancer is the most Dire Straits like song never recorded by Mr. Knopfler's band. But the other songs on this album show Anderson in a relaxed vocal state. He found a medium in which his over stretched voice could work in. And work it does.

While Anderson and Barre have stated for decades that the miserable Under Wraps album from 1984 was the album that they made for themselves, that sounds like an absolute falsehood to me. Who could have more fun then in branching out and having a license to be who or what you're not? Especially when making rock music. Barre gets his screaming Knopfler tones put to the fore along with a heavy dash of ZZ Top thrown in on Steel Monkey, Raising Steam and the heavier sections of Part of The Machine. Anderson writes and, more to the point, is able to sing some of his best lyrics on the moving Farm On The Freeway and the extremely clever Jumpstart.

This album has had many past PA reviews, so I don't want to trod on an overused path, but what simply sells Crest of a Knave for me is that even with the obvious outside influences that permeate this album, all of the songs, save the afore mentioned She Said She Was A Dancer, sound completely organic and unforced to me. And better than that, they are so seamlessly mixed with past Tull influences from stellar albums like Songs From The Wood and Strormcock that Anderson, Barre, bassist Dave Pegg, and occasional drummers Doane Perry and Gerry Conway (a few songs do have drum programming that actually do almost sound like real drums) seem to have performed some kind of rock alchemy. And that is a true rarity. There are a couple of more classic sounding tracks such as Mountain Men, that would not be out of place on Stormwatch and the Celtic tinged bonus track found on the 2005 CD remaster Part Of The Machine, which summons up visions of Songs From The Wood era JT and is a beautiful song in it's own right. I can see why it's deep nod to Celtic prog folk would not seem to fit this album, but it's initial exclusion is still puzzling.

I have to say truthfully that I fell of the Tull wagon after the Under Wraps album and only listened to Crest of a Knave after hearing Anderson passionately defend the album in an interview. He stated clearly that he could not have written songs such as Farm On The Freeway, or the proggy and classically tinged bluesy mini epic Budapest earlier in his career. Even by a just a couple of years.

That may all seem true to Anderson, but true or not, it did get my attention enough to give this album an objective listen, and I loved what I heard. 4 stars for the absolute best JT album of eighties. Metal/Hard Rock or not. (Ok, it's not, but it is very good!)

 Paint The Dark by FARPOINT album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 9 ratings

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Paint The Dark
Farpoint Prog Folk

Review by miketheorganist

4 stars "Paint The Dark" by Farpoint is freaking excellent. The production is the best I've ever heard from this band. There are nine pieces totaling about one hour of very soulful, passionate music. The thing that makes Farpoint hard to pinpoint (did you like that? Farpoint, pinpoint ... but I digress) is that they are out there in a place by themselves melding prog folk, prog rock and prog pop. There is one almost chamber-music idea in the opener "Up to You" that really captivated me, and that song really does rock. Paint the Dark has some elements of almost clubby jazz in it too. Some of the songs have a more formula kind of structure (not TOO typical, mind you) and some are just in a category all their own. The stuff that you want to say is cliche is in fact not, which is almost maddening because I am winding up loving this in spite of itself. In other words, it's like, I've heard that before, been there, done that, but ... not really. So in that respect it's like seeing a familiar place in a foreign land. The playing is just great. Kevin is really a guitarist, quite good especially on the acoustic, but he has almost a Joe Walsh-y "Tend My Garden" approach to the keyboards with a little Wakeman sprinkled atop it. His electric guitar parts are quite intense but in a melodic rather than riffing or shredding sense. Vocalist Abby Thompson is vocalist who brings Annie Haslam to mind, which is of course a very good thing, she is clear as crystal, pitch accurate, and can turn little interpretations as she goes that you are going to really like. Frank Tyson's bass playing is I guess what one might describe as melodically solid. He can use the high register for seasoning but he is best when sitting in the pocket, and some of these pockets are very unusual indeed. The singing is excellent too although Dean Hallal's voice is just slightly too low-pitched for this music IMHO, yet there are spots where he brings tears to my eyes because the songs themselves really penetrate to the heart and there, his voice is very captivating. I am still digesting this disc. It has a uniqueness to it and deserves a serious listen. They can alternate between high energy rock and very subtle acoustic based passages with ease, and every tune takes you to a different place. The lyrics are very spiritual and draw the listener close to God without doing what many dislike, which is to say if you are Christian you will see it, if you are not you will still get that Yes-ish vibe of attempted exploration of ideas that lie just beyond the five senses. Drummer Rick Walker does not overwhelm us with Neal Peartish virtuosity, but he absolutely fits this music and has a number of moments where he shows us what he's capable of in terms of intensity. I wish Farpoint would turn him loose a little bit more. I give this record a solid four stars, really more like 4.5, and only hold back from giving it five because I know a lot of progheads want more complex material than Farpoint gives us here. Let's say if Caravan can get four stars and higher, so can Farpoint. I may come back and revise this review a bit after a couple more listens. One bit of lyrics I would like to share, the last part of Up To You, particularly moved me, dealing with blessing others with our lives, the thing we were made to do. : "One life, made for living, one heart made for giving, All that is true. One choice, a transformation. One voice can change a nation. It's up to you." And so it is up to you, dear reader. Go buy this record. You'll be a happy camper. Oh, and a word to 10t Records: Please do some promoting for this band!!
 Thick As A Brick by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.64 | 2547 ratings

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Thick As A Brick
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nº 5

My first contact with 'Thick As A Brick' was in the middle of the 70's, in the school, where my friends lent me a recording of the album made on a cassette which was taken from the original vinyl disc. When I listen to the album for the first time I became truly amazed. This is a concept album with only one theme. Unfortunately it was interrupted in the middle, because as all we know in those times, the vinyl records were unable to store more information than 30 to 35 minutes, on each side of the disc. However, when we were listening to a copy of a recording on a cassette tape recorder with inferior quality, especially if it was a mono version, like mine, the sound quality was extremely poor. Although those were my conditions at the time and I had to live with them.

In my humble opinion, 'Thick As A Brick' is the best and most progressive release by Jethro Tull and it's the father of all concept albums. Probably, 'Thick As A Brick' is with 'Selling England By The Pound' of Genesis, 'Close To The Edge' of Yes and 'Wish You Were Here' of Pink Floyd, the four best progressive albums of the 70's. It's their fifth studio album and was released in 1972. It reached number 1 on the U.S.A. Billboard Pop Albums Chart. Even on Progarchives, these four albums are always in the top four of the site, as the best four prog albums ever made.

The line up on 'Thick As A Brick' is composed by a quintet and was the line up which lasted longer on Jethro Tull's life, remaining the same until 1975. It was formed by Ian Anderson (lead vocals, flute and acoustic guitar), Martin Barre (electric guitar and lute), John Evan (piano and organ), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (vocals and bass guitar) and Barriemore Barlow (drums, percussion and timpani).

The music on 'Thick As A Brick' was all composed by Anderson. It's an album with a very complex musical structure and where many musical instruments were used. Besides the use of the usual classic rock instruments, already mentioned by me, many others were used, and some of them are very uncommon in rock music, such as harpsichord, xylophone, violin, trumpet and a string section.

The concept of the album was a straight collaboration between the band and an eight years old child, who wrote a very complex poem, that talks about the challenges of to get old, for a contest. It was about a fictional kid (Gerard 'Little Milton' Bostock). In those times, and even today, many believe that Gerald Bostock is a real person. The child was disqualified because the judges considered that his poem was a little bit immoral because it talks about the sexual life of a father and son, and the problems of their relationship. So, the judges preferred to give the prize to a twelve years girl, who wrote a simple essay about the Christian ethical values entitled, 'He Died To Save The Little Children'.

Anderson picked up the child's poem and created a notable piece. The combination of both things is so original and perfect that 'Thick As A Brick' became as one of the most beloved albums by most of the progressive rock fans.

Which is most interesting and surprising is that 'Thick As A Brick' only saw the daylight, because Jethro Tull's previous studio album 'Aqualung', released in 1971. It all started with the controversy between Anderson and the critics. The Critics considered 'Aqualung' a concept album, which was firmly rejected by Anderson. In response he said if they wanted to know what is a truly concept album, they would see on Jethro Tull's next studio album.

The original LP cover was a spoof of a local newspaper with news, stories, competitions, adverts, etc. It was a mock newspaper that satirised the British society of those times and its hypocrisy. The false newspaper, with twelve pages, also included the entire lyrics of the song. References to the lyrics are scattered throughout the articles. Unfortunately, and in many cases, this cover had to be reduced or even completely suppressed because of the printing costs. Fortunately, I'm lucky to have one copy of one of those LP's versions on my vinyl disc collection.

Conclusion: 'Thick As A Brick' is an extremely ambitious and brilliant album. It combines successfully and perfectly well, hard rock, jazz, and folk with great melodies which turn the album into a truly progressive rock opus. The music on this concept album is absolutely brilliant from the first to the last minute. Every single note sounds beautifully. I've always considered it a truly masterpiece, and even now when more than forty years passed, it still sounds great and better than ever. If there are perfect works, this is one of them. If you haven't got it yet, you're losing one of the jewels of the progressive rock music. It's very easy to get into its music, and is much easier to listen to than many other progressive albums. This is an essential album for any progressive fan, and definitely, it crowns the genre of the progressive folk music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Benefit by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.91 | 771 ratings

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Benefit
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars For the first of JETHRO TULL's string of platinum selling albums, "Benefit" tends to be glossed over if not ignored outright, but this has as much to do with the impact of "Aqualung" and "Thick as a Brick" as anything. As those behemoths rocked the sales charts and their tours were greeted feverishly, it was easy to forget where their sound originated, in this collection of folk and psych influenced hard rock that seems to constitute Ian Anderson's only significant nod to the singer songwriter era. This is especially notable in the two brilliant opening numbers, with their idealism meets cynicism within Anderson's typically oblique subject matter. The lilting "Sossity you're a woman" is a template for the best that SHAWN PHILLIPS could muster, and the intriguing "Inside" lyrically and melodically slots in just to the cryptic side of GORDON LIGHTFOOT's socially conscious work of that period. Even the vocal style and placement in the mix seem orchestrated so that the words can be heard if not understood. I can't say I got this vibe from subsequent TULL releases, and I've never heard anyone mention this before, so I thought I would include it as justification for yet another review.

Musically, "Benefit" established the interplay of dreamy and aggressive woodwinds with riffs that defined the era, and keyboards and acoustic guitars that reinforced the often breathtaking melodic basis of the songs. "With you there to help me" and "Nothing to say" are too powerful a one two punch to set things up, and, while the rest may not quite measure up, "To Cry you a Song" comes close, its main guitar figure preparing us for "Cross Eyed Mary" and its ilk, and its lead solo presaging the more succinct phrasings of "Aqualung". "Teacher" is another master statement with an invigorating shift in the verse structure and more flute in a heavy rock setting.

Unfortunately, the album suffers from two weaknesses that would permeate most TULL releases: an over-reliance on Anderson's voice, one that should be savored in short sips rather than furtive gulps, and a tendency to include mediocre plod rock material, some probably in service of appealing to the straggling blues fans, but perhaps just as symptomatic as Anderson being too eclectic for his own good. I'm going to him them the benefit of the doubt and round up to 4 stars.

 Roots To Branches  by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.66 | 376 ratings

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Roots To Branches
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars An oasis in the Prog Folk desert.

Roots to Branches is a probably the most offbeat of later Jethro Tull albums in that Ian and the boys are not reverting back to hard rock or blues rock as was the case with albums such as Rock Island and Catfish Rising, but have jumped deeply into the world music vibe that was almost buzzing as loud as the unplugged bug in the nineties.

Instead, Mr. Anderson crafted extremely melodic tunes that were heavily influenced by Arabic scales, eastern rhythms and other eastern motifs that are supported by some of Anderson's wittiest and, at times, touching lyrics.

What makes Roots to Branches such a wonderful prog fest is the dynamic rhythm section comprised of drummer Doane Perry and bass players Dave Pegg and Steve Bailey, who covered for Pegg on most of the album's songs while Peggy was touring with his other band interest Fairport Convention. Bailey is a hypnotic player with world class chops that was allowed to fly on this album along with Perry, who is also dramatic, dynamic and technical, while somehow not stealing the show. Something that annoyed Anderson to no end with past uber drummers like Barrymore Barlow. These complex rhythmic songs are made all the more interesting by the numerous time and tempo changing turnarounds that seem to twist, entwine, coil and strike like snakes in a battle with each other. These flights of rhythmic and melodic fancy take off briefly into other areas before returning to the songs proper. Martin Barre is even allowed to flash his wares and is right in with time changing mixes as well as doffing some heavy riffs into the song structures. He has rarely sounded better.

The best songs on this album, which to me are almost all of them, are incredibly busy and reward repeated listening as they're a lot to get ones teeth into. Standout tracks, in no particular order, are the title track, Rare And Precious Chain, Out Of the Noise, This Free Will, Valley and the heart rending Beside Myself, along with the tender August Rain and At Last, Forever. Rare and Precious Chain and Valley feature keyboard strings (which I assume were played by Anderson uncredited as the album does not credit a resident keyboard player) that are reminiscent of the strident strings on that dominate Kashmir by Led Zeppelin, without sounding outright derivative and add even more eastern and prog spice to the sound mix, as does some moving uncredited piano (Anderson again?) in the chorus of At Last, Forever.

These songs also suit Anderson's more subdued but cynical vocal style of the nineties to a T, and Anderson's exotic use of bamboo flutes adds more drama to the already dramatic sound mixes.

As I stated, RTB is a busy album, but what great progressive rock album isn't? Root To Branches is not another Aqualung or TAAB or Songs From The Wood. But it's one of the few later day Jethro Tull albums that can stand alongside those giants if listeners will give it a chance to. 5 stars.

 Heavy Horses by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.01 | 872 ratings

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Heavy Horses
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars JETHRO TULL was always the band I should have loved, and, though many individual songs enchanted me over the years, I could never stomach Ian Anderson's vocals for very long, but at the same time an instrumental Tull album would have sounded like...what? In 1977, they released "Songs from the Wood", around the same time I was getting into British Isles folk rock, beginning with STRAWBS, waving at FAIRPORT CONVENTION, and camping out with STEELEYE SPAN. I would soon deduce that, while TULL did an admirable job reproducing that olde Englishe sound, those other bands really lived and breathed it, and they sang a whole lot better too. So TULL continued to inhabit that netherworld, where I should have gaily romped but kept stumbling mid-skip.

I was vaguely aware that "Heavy Horses" was a less wholeheartedly Celtic follow up to "Songs from the Wood", but, with its 40th anniversary fast approaching, and with my not having committed to my quota of 1 new Tull album a decade, I decided to give it a full airing. More muscular, modern, and committed than its predecessor, its songs are at least as appealing, and, apart from in the dreadful "No Lullaby", in full service of a loose thematic concept executed as though it were a lost gospel. Even Anderson's voice seems mixed just right, again apart from "No Lullaby" and the mediocre bonus cuts, which were wisely left off the original. I think one of them is supposed to be a variation on "Hard Times"; do yourself a favor and seek out a version by anybody else, like DE DANAAN for instance.

The rest is uniformly brilliant, and it's nigh impossible to pick out a few highlights, but the vivacious "Moths", the more bluesy "Journeyman", and the intensely melodic "Rover", form quite a sturdy spine, with a plethora of flutes, bass, guitars, The opener refers to the "Mouse Police" as being the country cats, with tails at half mast, and affirm Anderson's love of and respect for the smallest feline. You can also see where bands like the MORRIGAN were taking notes. The title track is a gorgeous epic that begins simply with a traditionally inspired melody sensitively delivered by Anderson, and develops unpredictably from there, owing no small debt to CURVED AIR's Darryl Way on fiddle. Anderson's love of the English countryside and a way of life slowly atrophying is symbolized by the heavy horses being replaced by unfeeling machinery just as surely and grotesquely as HG Wells Martian machines. Yet this is not the cynic of the dreary "Minstrel in the Gallery", but the idealist who pays homage to what he sees and hopes to freeze in time. Mission accomplished.

As the adage goes, better late than never. Please to make your equine acquaintance.

 Los Sueños de América [Manduka - Los Jaivas] by JAIVAS, LOS album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.30 | 21 ratings

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Los Sueños de América [Manduka - Los Jaivas]
Los Jaivas Prog Folk

Review by Hannibal_20

2 stars Manduka was a Young brazilian composer, his style was acoustic, heavily inspired in Brazilian folklore and lightly influenced by the latest currents of the bossa nova, all this with a strong social message, which made necessary to him to flee from his country after the dictatorship established in brazil in 1970, Then, in Chile, he made some important works, including his first album: Manduka (1972) in which collaborated, among others artists, the brothers Gabriel and Eduardo Parra from Los Jaivas, later, after the coup d''tat in Chile in 1973, again he was forced to flee, this time to Argentina. In 1974 with the jaivas makes this album: "Los sueños de America".

The Album follows the same structure of the original version of "Todos Juntos" (La ventana) album, his A side contains formal compositions, and his B side has improvisations. The first song "Don juan de la suerte", althought not prog, is a good Brazilian folk song, full of warm; just guitar and poetry by Manduka, just with light accompaining of piano and güira (metalic scratch percussion).

"la centinela" is another good composition in this album, not really prog but still a very beautiful and valuable folk piece.

The song: "date una vuelta en el aire", its a cueca by los jaivas, played on piano, charango and trutrucas, honestly it is not one of their best cuecas, besides lacking participation of manduka.

"Ta bom ta que ta" is the first theme in the Album when we really see the style of both artists fuzzed effectively, the singing and guitar folk of Manduka with the rich instrumentation of Los Jaivas in a melodic piece with bossa nova flavor, combining great jazzy drumming lines with piano and sweet flute, disemboguing in an good experimental rock demostration.

The second part of the Album seems like an extension of the more experimental period of Los Jaivas.

Traguito de ron, is very psicodelic becoming weird, "el Volantín" album comes to my mind listening this, but this time is not so funny, three years and two albums since that.

"Los sue'os de america" its the longest recording; about 12 minutes, tipically of los jaivas it contains a great variety of instruments, folk and rock ones, trutrucas, sweet flute, charango, tumbadoras, bongoes, rasca de metal, electric guitar, and finally piano and drums, quite boring at first, becoming more interesting later. I think that 12 minutes lenght theme might had more to offer.

The last theme, "encuentro latinoamericano de la soledad"... I really prefer to talk about another songs of Los Jaivas.

I regret to say, I feel that this album could be a masterpiece of bossa nova/experimental folk rock, however, I think that was not carried out in the best way, the first composition is very little Los Jaivas and much Manduka and "date una vuelta en el aire" is much Los Jaivas and nothing Manduka, also "date una vuelta en el aire" is in my opinion one of the least remarkable compositions in the band's career. Just with La centinela and especially in "Ta Bom Ta Que Tà" we see the real potential of the partnership Manduka-Los jaivas, I would wish that this quality would be maintained in the rest of the album, nevertheless the B side of the album contains only improvisations with some good moments, wich are not so significant as the improvisations in the side B of "La ventana" (todos juntos) album.

This Album contain some important songs for Los Jaivas career, "La centinela" would be reedited in in the album "Trilogía: el reencuentro" with the Chilean Andean folk band "Illapu". But as an album, "Los sueños de America" doesn't hold a very good quality. This album is in my opinion just for loyal fans of Los Jaivas.

 Guitar Trek by BRETT, PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Guitar Trek
Paul Brett Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars The final album of guitar virtuoso PAUL BRETT's 3 disk contract with RCA, "Guitar Trek" is by far the most obscure. It was met with a dearth of promotional effort, but it's hard to know whether this was because Brett had already signed on to produce a K-Tel record, its predecessors were fracturing the cutout bins or their day, or it's the least inspired of the three.

Nothing is missing from Brett's technique, which is more focused on acoustic guitar in a rock setting, but most tracks do seem almost like placeholders for exhibits of the man's awesome fretting power. His ability is such that he can overpower pieces that other guitarists might complement better. Here and there we find snippets of what was generally better developed on prior albums; for instance, "In Search of Aztecs" hearkens back to the suite "Interlife" while failing to capture the ensemble effect that really propelled the flow of those 16 minutes flow. "Alternative 12-string" at times approximates works like "Calypso" and "Silent Runner" off "Eclipse" but tries out too many concepts for its own good in under 6 minutes. Gershwin's "Summertime" does not revive the magic of Brett's prior adaptation of Brubeck's "Take Five", but perhaps it is just not as fresh or appealing a number to begin with.

The three tracks that work the best do so for different reasons - "Forever Autumn" succeeds as much because the Jeff Wayne composition is so brilliant as anything, but one must give substantial credit to Brett for treating it sensitively and imbuing it with his own identity, while leaving its spirit intact. "Even when the sun shines" expands upon the courtly folk of "Overture for Decadence" off "Eclipse", but incorporates more rock aspects, consistent with the album as a whole. Finally, the closer "Blood on the Frets" actually parlays the guitarist's prowess into the realm of country, bluegrass and rock and roll all at once, succeeding brilliantly.

I wouldn't particularly recommend this to you unless you are a big fan of PAUL BRETT and acoustic guitar prowess, but, if you do happen upon it smothered in a musty corner by multiple copies of "Interlife" and "Eclipse", you might want to dust it off and go where this man has gone before. 2.5 stars rounded down.

 Avocet (w/ Martin Jenkins) by JANSCH, BERT album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.33 | 11 ratings

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Avocet (w/ Martin Jenkins)
Bert Jansch Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars Saving the best for last.

Well, at least I was, as far as Bert Jansch album reviews. If any album in the Jansch canon could be considered pure Prog Folk, it's Avocet. Yet, I'm only the third reviewer of this incredible work from 1978 that Jansch never bettered, or even tried to.

It is, along with Rosemary Lane from 1971, a Jansch masterpiece. With only multi instrumentalist and drinking buddy Martin Jenkins (who is erroneously stated as this work's co author) and double bass great Danny Thompson from the Pentangle days, Jansch set out to produce his most daring work at a time of punk and other less than artistic genres.

The 18 minute title track is a reworking sparked off by the British traditional song The Cuckoo (the string picking American version), but's it's been morphed into something completely different by Bert and company. All instrumental, as are all of Avocet's songs, Jansch and company create a partially blank canvass in beautiful and dynamic musical suites that requires the listener to interpret the moods and place imaginary or real images inside of the songs. There's no percussion throughout this album as Jansch and Thompson's unorthodox playing styles incorporate string pops, snaps, slaps and all other kind of percussive sounds and supply their own percussion. Not even a bell or a chime is missed from the sound mix. Jenkin's is the melodic glue that hold these songs together with ultra melodic playing on both violin and flute while Jansch and Thompson engage in never ending guitar and bass duels punctuated by melodic contributions of their own.

Being a song suite is what render's Avocet progressive, but it's ultimately a beautiful song in which Jansch utilizes all his playing ability and individual style.

And if that wasn't impressive enough, the following song Lapwing displays Jansch on piano playing a hauntingly beautiful neo-classical piece that sounds like it could have easily been a prelude to an early seventies Turn Of The Cards era Renaissance song. Avocet is that kind of surprise album. The album's other four songs really need to be heard, especially the jazz fest Bittern (a treat for Pentangle fans that relished the deft improvisation of Thompson), and the ultra melodic hook laden Kingfisher, as descriptions by me would only do them a disservice.

The only downside to Avocet is some period sounding low level electric guitar used on a couple of songs to add color. The wah effect (even subtle) is terribly dated, even for 1978. But it's over quickly, just like this album is to the listener, as there's so much going on from and between the three core members including wonderful bass solos from Thompson, along with wonderfully rustic fiddle playing from Jenkins along with his deft mandocello paying that trades off the others on the album's fine closing track Kittiwake.

Avocet was an album made by Jansch on a whim. It's a once in a lifetime progressive rock achievement, and we're the better for having it. 5 stars.

Data cached

Prog Folk bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
0.720 ALEACION Mexico
3 DAFT MONKEYS United Kingdom
A PRESENÇA DAS FORMIGAS Portugal
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
AMANITA Italy
AMAROK Spain
AMAZING BLONDEL United Kingdom
AMBER United Kingdom
AN DRO Germany
ANACRUSA Argentina
IAN ANDERSON United Kingdom
THE ANGELS OF LIGHT United States
ANNAMY Sweden
APARECIDOS Multi-National
AQUAPLAN Finland
AQUARIUM Russia
DAN AR BRAZ France
MARCO ANTONIO ARAUJO Brazil
DAN ARBORISE United Kingdom
THE ARBORISTS Canada
ARIA PALEA Italy
ARMY OF BRIARS United Kingdom
ARTSRUNI Armenia
ASGARD France
ASHADA Japan
ASHTAR Brazil
ASI SOMOS Puerto Rico
ATMAN Poland
AUCAN Argentina
AVALANCHE Netherlands
AVE SANGRIA Brazil
AZAHAR Spain
BABADAG Poland
BABY WHALE Multi-National
BAMBIR / THE BAMBIR Armenia
BANDA DO CASACO Portugal
A BARCA DO SOL Brazil
BARR Sweden
TOMAS BATISTA Argentina
BAYON Germany
BEAT CIRCUS United States
BEDEDEUM Italy
BERNARD BENOIT France
BLACKMORE'S NIGHT United Kingdom
BLOPS Chile
BLUEHORSES United Kingdom
BOULE DE SON Canada
BRAN (BRÂN) United Kingdom
BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS United Kingdom
BRECHE Canada
PAUL BRETT United Kingdom
BRÖSELMASCHINE Germany
BUCIUM Romania
TIM BUCKLEY United States
VASHTI BUNYAN United Kingdom
C.O.B. United Kingdom
CAEDMON United Kingdom
CALIBAN United States
CÁLIX Brazil
CAMELIAS GARDEN Italy
CAN AM DES PUIG Multi-National
CANDIDATE United Kingdom
CANO Canada
CANZONIERE DEL LAZIO Italy
MARCELLO CAPRA Italy
CARMEN United Kingdom
CARNASCIALIA Italy
CAROL OF HARVEST Germany
GIAN CASTELLO Italy
PHILIPPE CAUVIN France
CHAC MOOL Mexico
CHALIBAUDE France
CHERCHE-LUNE France
CHIMERA Netherlands
CHRYSALIDE France
CIRCULUS United Kingdom
CLOGS Multi-National
COMUS United Kingdom
CONGREGACION Chile
CONGRESO Chile
CONNIVENCE Canada
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
ELFONIA Mexico
EMERAUDE France
EMTIDI Germany
ENBOR Spain
ENGEL (MIGUEL ANGEL DE LA LLAVE JIMENEZ) Spain
L' ENGOULEVENT Canada
ROBERT ERDESZ 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
FAUNS Germany
FAVERAVOLA Italy
FEATHERS United States
THE FELLOWSHIP Italy
FERN KNIGHT United States
FIABA Italy
FIELDS BURNING United States
FIORI-SÉGUIN Canada
FLAIRCK Netherlands
FLIBBERTIGIBBET South Africa
FLOR DE LOTO Peru
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
GARMARNA Sweden
GAROLOU Canada
GENESIS DE COLOMBIA Colombia
THE GENTLE SOUL United States
THE GHOST United Kingdom
GJALLARHORN Finland
GLAZ France
GORGO Ukraine
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THE GREEN CHILDREN Italy
LARKIN GRIMM United States
GROVJOBB Sweden
GROWING DREAM Canada
GRYPHON United Kingdom
GUALBERTO Spain
GURNEMANZ Germany
GWERZ France
HAIZEA Spain
ROY HARPER United Kingdom
HAWK South Africa
HAZARI Yugoslavia
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HEXVESSEL Finland
HOELDERLIN Germany
HORIZONTE Argentina
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IBIO Spain
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
BERT JANSCH 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
KEBNEKAISE Sweden
KERRS PINK Norway
KING FISH CROW United States
KLADIVO KONJ IN VODA Slovenia
KOLINDA Hungary
ATTILA KOLLAR Hungary
KONTRABURGER Poland
KORMORÁN Hungary
KOSMOS Finland
BRUCE LAMONT United States
JÉROME LANGLOIS Canada
LAURELIE Belgium
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LI TROUBAIRES DE COUMBOSCURO Italy
LISA O PIU Sweden
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LONG LIVE DEATH United States
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MAGDALENA Spain
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MAGMA Argentina
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NIRGAL VALLIS Mexico
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MICHEL NORMANDEAU Canada
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NUEVO MEXICO Mexico
NUIT CALINE A LA VILLA MON REVE Belgium
NYA LJUDBOLAGET Sweden
GAVIN O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST Australia
O.W.L. United States
OBERON United Kingdom
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OLOFERNE Italy
OMNI Spain
OPEN EYE BAND Finland
ORFANADO Italy
ORPHEUS GHOSTSONG United Kingdom
ORYZHEIN Canada
OUGENWEIDE Germany
P. G. SIX United States
PAN-RA Germany
PARADOX Poland
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PEARLS BEFORE SWINE / TOM RAPP 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
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
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
RITMIA Italy
ROGER RODIER Canada
KARI RUESLATTEN Norway
RUJA Estonia
S VREMENA NA VREME Yugoslavia
SAD MINSTREL Italy
SAGA DE RAGNAR LODBROCK France
SAINT JUST Italy
SAKRE Spain
THE SALLYANGIE United Kingdom
SCAPA FLOW Finland
SCARLET THREAD Finland
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
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
SUBURBANO Spain
SUBWAY Multi-National
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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
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
VIIMA Finland
VOICE OF THE SEVEN WOODS United Kingdom
RILEY 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
ROBIN WILLIAMSON United Kingdom
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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