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PROG FOLK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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

4.63 | 2944 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.34 | 2289 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.18 | 1244 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.21 | 281 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.14 | 475 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.14 | 535 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.35 | 67 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.15 | 277 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.18 | 188 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.15 | 284 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.18 | 173 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.04 | 1085 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.43 | 38 ratings
LUCAS
Araujo, Marco Antonio
4.07 | 264 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.16 | 107 ratings
BASKET OF LIGHT
Pentangle, The
4.03 | 1013 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.14 | 117 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.02 | 1052 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull
4.02 | 1284 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.14 | 108 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz

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
GEOFFROY
Emeraude
TALES OF THE RIVERBANK
Dancer
THROUGH THE GATES OF DEEPER SLUMBER
Smell of Incense

Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Galley Beggar by GALLEY BEGGAR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Galley Beggar
Galley Beggar Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars This self titled release is actually the second by GALLEY BEGGAR, a characteristic that seemed more common in the 1970s. Only 2 years had elapsed since "Reformation House", but they ushered in a 50% changeover in personnel and a decidedly more rock attitude to admittedly very folk based selections. New lead singer Maria O'Donnell is well suited to the harder edged delivery, and new fiddle player Celine Marshall adds moxie. The purity of the mandolin remains central to their sound, but much more electric guitar rides the arrangements. This still isn't quite in the realm of TREES but is trending in that direction. The primary creditors are still FAIRPORT CONVENTION/STEELEYE SPAN.

The album opens well with "Willow Tree" which borrows a bit from early CLANNAD in meter and gentility until the lead guitar bust out for the last couple of minutes, dialing up the urgency. Several other traditional oriented pieces are not only well chosen but, most importantly, arranged in a manner that pays respects to prior standards while establishing their own brand in the lexicon. "Two Magicians" will be difficult to displace from your musical memory, and, while it can't quite approach the perfection of the IAN ANDERSON-produced STEELEYE version, it's nonetheless a triumphantly told tale of conflict, and ultimately, loss. "Nottamun Town" is iwisely most faithful to that of FAIRPORT which was one of that band's best ever performances, and, while "John Barleycorn" is revved up in comparison to TRAFFIC's standard, it's far rewarding than the STEELEYE version. They even manage the unthinkable, a chorus that does little more than chant the title a few times and somehow augments the impact of this pre pre pre prohibition treatise.

Once again, though, it's an "R" song that snatches the prize, the energetic "Rendall", with a near a capella chorus of exquisite male and female harmonies, that shifts away from the narrative of the verses; glistening mandolin bridges, and finally an accomplished lead guitar outro over bubbling percussions like something out of early HORSLIPs.

While "Lady Grey", "Hymn to Pan", and "Birds and Fishes" all occasionally approach the above standards, overall they seem less stimulating and dynamic, while "Daverne Lamb" is in the vein of "Matty Groves" or even "Byard's Leap" by DECAMERON off their debut, but lacking their epic qualities. As a result, the heavier instrumental breaks don't sprout organically from the roots of these song, instead spread at the end like a 5th coat of paint in a different color.

While about half the tracks point the way to an ever more exultant future, this album lacks the consistency and balance to tip the scales into the "excellent" zone. Still, I recommend it to most fans of the above bands. 3.5 stars it is, rounded down.

 Secos & Molhados by SECOS & MOLHADOS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.85 | 17 ratings

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Secos & Molhados
Secos & Molhados Prog Folk

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The supernova that destroyed, reshaped, shone impossibly bright, and died right after: 10/10

(note: SECOS & MOLHADOS = album, SECOS E MOLHADOS = band)

I want to clarify that I the album and its context are deeply intertwined, it is impossible to evaluate the first without the latter. How the music sounds and what it represents are fruits of its setting. Of course, without knowledge of its background the album will still be enjoyable, but perhaps not nearly as fascinating as it truly is.

And so, to claim SECOS & MOLHADOS is a revolutionary album is an understatement. Released in 1973, during the worst period of the military dictatorship in Brazil, its eclectic variety and daring nature captivated Brazilians in a way never seen before; they became a hit so monstrous they threatened to dethrone the nation's Elton John, Roberto Carlos, from the top. The album's style was built over the structure of the psychedelic "subversive" (but culturally enrichening) Tropicália movement. Nurtured by those roots, SECOS outputted something equally meaningful and audacious. Rather than doing so through a multifaceted effort that required numerous artists, all SECOS needed was thirty minutes, androgynous makeup, and lush songwriting. After those thirty minutes, the deed was done: they defined the direction of a nation's pop music on a way done before only by Sgt. Peppers, and broke so many paradigms - musical and socially speaking - that the Brazilian society would never be the same anymore. The album (& band) name is a term used to define bazars that sell all sorts of stuff. Alternatively, as spoken by bandleader Joăo Ricardo, "a name that doesn't determine anything, [a name] which is open to all genres". He believes (rather fairly) the album is engrained on popular music, and consider the band (but not its music) rock - their libertarian, paradigm-breaker attitude.

As we can attest, SECOS E MOLHADOS' manifesto was indeed to be open to all: ranging from glam rock to Brazilian folk, from Latin to Portuguese folklore and music. This eclecticism was a way to be appealing & please all distinct tastes: [politically] engaged would enjoy Primavera nos Dentes and Mulher Barriguda; Rosa de Hiroshima would become pacifists' anthem; Prece Cósmica was rapidly adopted by hippies; Rondó do Capităo pleased the infant public; Vira was a sensation to the massive public of the radios, and lastly, the music poems brought a (non-pompous) erudite tone for the delight of the scholarly. Highly emblematic, the lyrics (especially the music poems) are more often than not vastly lavish, "offering a lyrical richness seldom seen in Brazilian popular music (MPB)". Joăo Ricardo's songwriting skills are laudable, especially if you consider he composed roughly all songs. Ney Matogrosso's feminine, delicate tenor vocals fascinate listeners from its first appearance. The musicianship isn't in any way excelling (aside from Ney), but the innovating blend of electronic devices (such as distortion or synthesizers) with traditional instruments to play folksy Brazilian music makes up for that.

Some tracks deserve highlight. Sangue Latino (Latin Blood) opens with a bassline whose arrangement "is marked by the characteristics of the epoch's pop music" whilst the lyrics alluded to "the Latin American condition of waywardness and resistance". Nonetheless, the way they used rattles and guitar makes it an allegoric Brazilian folk song. O Vira (The Turn) refers to the Portuguese folkloric choreography dance with the same name, except that on SECOS E MOLHADOS' version it has an electronic and distorted rock sound, which later changes to traditional accordion-driven melody of the gaúchos or nordestinos, (regional) peoples from Brazil. O Patrăo Nosso de Cada Dia ("Our Everyday Employer") is a melancholic acoustic song, with a strong performance by Ney and sweet pastoral flutes sweeps that reminds me of STORIA DI UN MINUTO. Assim Assado is the "progressive rock" properly said, using heavy guitar distortion, 7/8 time signatures and generous amounts of bongo and flutes. The title and lyrics feature wordplay between the words "Assim Assado", which is a popular term that means "like this and that", but if taken literally, can mean "Cooked like this" as "assado" means cooked. Last and not least is Rosa de Hiroshima ("Hiroshima Rose"), acclaimed poet Vinicius de Moraes' poem, musicalized. The title might be self-explanatory: an antiwar, anti-nuclear cry, "The Hiroshima rose / the hereditary rose / the radioactive rose / stupid and invalid / the rose with cirrhosis / the atomic anti-rose".

SECOS & MOLHADOS' biggest achievement was not flirting with various genres nor its beautiful lyricism, though; it was slipping through violent censorship. Their creativity and insolence managed to overcome repression and signified a scream of victory for freedom. Inadvertently, they reinvented how music would sound like in the future, a reason that makes it an authentic progressive record.

Rather obviously, the only way they could influence society as profoundly as they did was if they harnessed immense support - which they did. Although slightly popular since its roots, their devastating fame was achieved after appearing on national television. Used to the same-old musicians, the masses were enthralled, to say the least, when they first watched the trio, ornate with profligate face paint, playing that strange uncommon music. Dumbstruck, then, when they watched Ney Matogrosso's sweetly feminine vocals singing Sangue Latino while rhythmically belly dancing. On the following days, curious hundreds of thousands checked vinyl stores looking for those weird "Secos e Molhados" dudes, who then sold almost 300,000 albums in 60 days, setting a record for the Brazilian phonographic industry.

I always dismissed Brazilian music as "too folksy" or "uncreative", while praising other nations' folk bands? after meeting SECOS & MOLHADOS I realized how wrong I was. Brazil offers true masterpieces just like any country. For me, the album is an illuminating epiphany, in a certain way similar to what it originally was forty years ago for so many others. For as much as I recommend this to everyone (check YouTube for a sneak peek), from folk lovers to prog lovers to Brazilian music lovers, I need to warn you: this is not your average progressive rock, as it lacks rock. This is just progressive. Pure, distilled, progressive.

 Reformation House by GALLEY BEGGAR album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Reformation House
Galley Beggar Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars It's probably not that uncommon for two members of a LED ZEPPELIN tribute band to decide to go rogue, and I'd even wager that it's not terribly rare for them to parlay their love of a particular LED ZED style into their own mashups. But the seeds of GALLEY BEGGAR were nurtured by a love of one particular track, "The Battle of Nevermore", which cued Mat Fowler and Paul Ellis to dwell in the shrouded moors and epochs of British psych folk for the last 7 years and release 4 albums in that span. Now that's kinda weird amiright?

"Reformation House" is the first of their efforts, self produced and released, with a slapdash blend of the traditional, the covered, and the original. The requisite tales of often supernatural woe, offering female vocals (Francis Tye) generally backed by clean mandolin, acoustic guitar, and violin, evoke the distant works of FAIRPORT CONVENTION, STEELEYE SPAN, and PENTANGLE, in a format far tighter than any of those bands ever were, and perhaps wanted to be. This tightness is as much in the hips and lips as in the ensemble interactions, and, while only the repetitive "Sir Richard" and the lethargic "farewell Nancy" really fall short, I should also add that only the traditional ballad "The Outlandish Knight", with its marvelous fiddle work particularly in the coda; the haunting SALLY OLDFIELD like "Rowan", with its glorious chorus and flutes; and the urgent and more relatively contemporary"Arise Arise!" which closes the disk really step up and announce that GALLEY BEGGAR is here and now, and more just than another form of tribute band.

While at this stage GALLEY BEGGAR has not found its unique voice, "Reformation House" is a more than competent debut from an embryonic lineup that nonetheless establishes the group's key credentials and keeps them out of the reformatory long enough to fight another day.

 Horslips and the Ulster Orchestra at the Waterfront, Belfast by HORSLIPS album cover Live, 2011
2.09 | 2 ratings

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

Review by SteveG

2 stars This is an odd curio from the revamped Irish band Hoslips. Accompanied by the Ulster orchestra, the band takes on material from their two most progressive albums, The Tain and The Book of Invasions, first released in 1973 and 1977 respectively. However, this is not straight run through of both albums performed live from beginning to end, but a mix up of the songs with the Ulster Orchestra fleshing out the many flute, whistle, fiddle and keyboard sections of the songs.

This all quite pleasant and puts a touch of highbrow into the songs, but it's only when the band takes over and plays their original instrumental parts does Horslips' music really come to life. Especially on the hard rocking Dearg Doom, the majestic Sword Of Light, and the incredible guitar and flute interplay on Trouble With A Capital T.

Horlips were never even close to being any kind of orchestral or symphonic based rock group and adding an orchestra does not bring out any nuances hidden in the music of a straight up rock band. Even one with heavy Celtic influences. Very well recorded with clear, detailed sound, but it is still only worthy of 2 stars.

 Picasso Portraits by MARTIN, JUAN album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.95 | 6 ratings

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Picasso Portraits
Juan Martin Prog Folk

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I found this marvelous album in 1982 and I had to have it! Juan Martin is a spanish flamenco guitar virtuoso who decided in 1981 to record some songs he had written inspired by Pablo Picasso´s most famous paintings with a prog rock band background. He also adapted two popular tunes (a short version of Albeniz Asturias, here titled Self Portrait and an adaptation of Lecuona Malaguena, probably the most famous flamenco song, here renamed as The Picador) for this LP. For this work he recruited some of the finest studio musicians available: Simon Phillips (The Who, 801) and Ian Mosley (Trace, Marillion) on drums, John Gustafson (Roxy Music, Quartermass) and John C. Perry on bass guitar, Tony Hymas (Jeff Beck, PHD) and Rod Edwards on keyboards.

The resulting album is one of the most interesting mix of authentic Flamenco music and prog rock that I have ever seen, and heard. It´s a totally instrumental CD that shows not only Martin great technic on the guitar and his tasteful arrangements but also his talent as a songwriter. The album is a bit short (only 37 minutes of music to be more precise), but absolutely marvelous all the way through, with not a single weak moment to be found. Tony Hymas does some fantastic keyboards/guitar duels/solos that sends shivers down the spine, specially on The aficionado, with its strong arabic influences. The combination of John Gustafson bass lines and Phillips artsy drumming is pure joy on tracks like Harlequin and Desire Caught By The Tail, but they are all fantastic. Martin was right to look for prog musicians who could handle the many tempo and mood changes that this kind of music has and the result is nothing short of a masterpiece.

The production is excellent for the time

It´s really a shame that Juan Martin did not release another album within this musical format. But he left one of the best instrumental albums of all time and is surely recommended to anybody who likes great music in general and the flamenco style in particular.

Rating: this is a essential CD, a masterpiece of progressive rock music. 5 stars with honors.

 Saat by EMTIDI album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.53 | 49 ratings

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Saat
Emtidi Prog Folk

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Emtidi were a duo made up of Maik Hirschfeldt from Germany and Canadian Dolly Holmes, who initially presented a rough-around-the-edges acoustic folk album for their debut all the way back in 1970. Two years later, and the pair not only gave their folky tunes an acid-twisted working over, but they introduced Mellotron and other trippy electronic enhancements to take their music a gentle step closer to some of the sounds that the harder rocking underground German bands were experimenting with, even offering two ambitious extended psychedelic suites, and `Saat' now holds a quietly spoken of place among so many other notable `Krautrock' works from the early Seventies.

There's a quirky and slightly bent edge to opener `Walkin' in the Park', an alternatively melancholic and spirited hippie folk ditty with dreamily chiming electric guitar strains and frantic runaway soloing in the manner of Manuel Göttsching and the Ash Ra Tempel. In fleeting moments Maik and Dolly sing in unison over lethargic acoustic guitar strums, the pair sweetly murmuring an amusing and playful repeated refrain of `Don't sit on the grass, it's too cold for yer ass...'! The crystalline `Träume' is a pretty and spacey keyboard interlude with Dolly cooing over the top, and the twelve-minute `Touch the Sun' is a wild blur of eerie keyboard drones, approaching/retreating shimmering synth ripples, regal scratchy Mellotron veils, ethereal siren cries and dazzling symphonic reaches. It ends up reminding of everything from Dom's `Edge of Time', the male/female proclamations of Brainticket and Amon Düül II, as well as the fuzzy atmospheres of early Tangerine Dream and even Deuter's schizophrenic `D'.

The B-side's `Love Time Rain' is a vibrant and catchy folk tune sung by Dolly over strident country-flecked guitar strumming, and the title track `Saat' is a stark folk meditation with a plaintive vocal, the acoustic backing again reminding of those gentler reflective passages off the early Deuter albums. The ten minute `Die Reise' closes on a delicious mess of noises and splintering musical fragments that take on a maddening intensity! A blur of ebbing electronics, huffing flute, jazzy electric piano slices and ragged acoustic guitars constantly growing more purposeful and intimidating, Maik barks out a harsher German vocal amidst spectral organ bleeding delirium, and the piece is almost as mischievously deranged as it is delightfully devilish!

While `Saat' holds some similarities to Hoelderlin's much-praised debut `Hölderlins Traum', some listeners may find a few of the vocals a little shrill, and the unpredictable direction changes crudely implemented and poorly developed. But it's that exotic blend of pastoral acoustic naivety and electronic experimentation that makes it so fascinating, and there's little traces of that scuzzy danger that permeates all the classic Krautrock discs. Ideal for those who wants a further reaching folk album or a softer Krautrock experience, `Saat' is simply another precious psychedelic gem from the vintage era well worth rediscovering today.

Four stars.

 Fuchsia by FUCHSIA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.67 | 55 ratings

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Fuchsia
Fuchsia Prog Folk

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Taking their name from Lady Fuchsia Groan of the 1940's novel `Titus Groan', Fuchsia were a British progressive-folk group made up of students who delivered a single cherished little album that has since picked up quite a legendary underground status over the last few decades. Comprised of charming and sprightly folk tunes with lush orchestrated instrumentation and keen pop melodies, it almost sounds like a cross between early Pink Floyd and the Syd Barrett solo albums, Electric Light Orchestra and a pinch of Gentle Giant, Caravan and Fruupp, making for a whimsical, energetic and sweet psych-lite folk gem.

The group is directed by lead singer and guitarist Tony Durant, who fleshes out Fuchsia's acoustic/electric sound with a predominantly female band on violin, cello, viola, harmonium and piano. Opener `Gone With The Mouse' is softly energetic and lively, propelled by forcefully jangling plugged-in guitar strums, sighing plaintive backing vocal longings from the girls and lightly proggy orchestral-like violin interludes that soar gently with confidence.

`A Tiny Book', one of the more ambitious pieces at eight minutes, is a mini-suite of subtle reprising passages that seamlessly move in and out of each-other, darting through everything from frantic electric bursts, wearily wistful ballad ruminations and regal-flecked pomp in the finale that would make Gentle Giant green with envy! Pay close attention to this track - Tony's likable voice here often sounds like the results of a lovechild between the Floyd's Syd Barrett and the nasally Steven Wilson of the early Porcupine Tree works! But moving on, `Another Nail' is bookended with violin-fuelled whimsy that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Caravan albums like `For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night' before crashing into a politely wilder vocal psychedelic runaway rocker with a touch of Pink Floyd/`The Piper at the Gates of Dawn's `Astronomy Domine' to it!

The B-side's `Shoes And Ships' is one of the strongest tunes on the album, a fragile yet elegant folk-popper with frequent orchestral reprises in place of a vocal chorus and a longer instrumental acoustic guitar outro, and it almost sounds like a template for a million indie-pop/folk bands ever since. The playful and loopy `The Nothing Song' practically screams Syd Barrett and his `Madcap Laughs' and `Barrett' albums, and along with some darker little traces locked in, there's a deliciously bent and slightly `off' quality to it all! It's a psychedelic romp that throws in everything from big percussion crashes, rumbling drums, dramatic orchestration, with shambling acoustic guitars alongside manic and mischievous electric guitar soloing.

`Me And My Kite', a favourite amongst fans of the album and group, is a gorgeously twee pop-charmer with a sweet and achingly simple chorus, and the dreamy bluesy guitar bends of closer `Just Anyone' again reminds of the earliest Floyd works.

Sadly, sparse advertising and failed touring opportunities lead to the premature demise of the group soon after, until a compilation of unreleased and related pieces entitled `Fuchsia, Mahogany and Other Gems' emerged in 2005, and more excitingly a revamped modern line-up assembled by Mr Durant, now based in Australia, delivering a well-received proper follow-up `Fuchsia II: From Psychedelia...To a Distant Place' in 2013. But for over forty years now, this charming self-titled work has been Fuchsia's defining musical statement, one that holds an effortlessly melodic crossover quality that would also likely appeal to non-folk fans, and it has retained its infectious and precious charm ever since.

Four stars.

 777 by RED JASPER album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.00 | 14 ratings

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777
Red Jasper Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars The retooled RED JASPER really had its origins in "Anagramary", the last release before the long hiatus, as this marked the moment when they dispensed with the more overtly folk aspects of their character and plunged into the sea of samey neo prog. They handled it quite well, and even improved upon it when David Clifford stepped out from the shadows and replaced the inimitable Davey Dodds on "The Great and Secret Show" just a few years ago. Their penchant for melody with a dramatic flair was rekindled and they have now extended the sample size to 3 with "777".

This release is a logical extension but flawed in several key areas, chiefly in its garrulousness, a common neo prog ailment against which they seem to have forgotten to be vaccinated this time around. Moreover, many of the themes are overly repetitive, and, even where sudden shifts occur, the listener quickly learns to anticipate them which sabotages much of the enjoyment. Both "She Waits" and "The Gathering" are guilty of this laziness, while "Reaching Out", notwithstanding some enjoyable synth soloing, and "Nothing to Believe" are even more generic and predictable, with choruses that stumble out of and back into the recycle bin.

The album's best moments are at the very beginning and towards the end. "7" recaptures some of their folky past while being catchy and edgy. "Dragonfly" is more reflective and pastoral, contrasting with most of the directness of the remainder. "Paradise Folly" slyly re-purposes the balladry of the Sonnets from their long ago classics but only adds to the sense of meager inspiration elsewhere. A fine bonus track is added, the haunting "October and April" originally performed by THE RASMUS, handily adapted and made their own in a live setting.

I'm not suggesting that RED JASPER wait another 15 odd years for another offering, only that "777" may have been allowed to escape prematurely and breached the thin red line between British prog folk and generic neo prog. 2.5 stars rounded down.

 Saivo by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.50 | 19 ratings

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Saivo
Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I tend to consider Maaäet to be the high water mark of Tenhi's dark folk output, and Saivo doesn't do anything to overturn that impression - it's quality dark folk material of the standard we've come to expect of them, but it's at their usual (but consistently decent) level rather than going above and beyond like Maaäet did.

That isn't to say that the release is entirely interchangeable with what came before, mind. There's a certain epic sweep and a sense of the cinematic here - like this is the album Tenhi really, really hope some Hollywood producer notices so that they can get some soundtrack work going. It isn't enough to push the album into mercenary sellout territory, but it is enough to give it a distinct flavour of its own which at least reassures the listener that Tenhi's musical development has not altogether ceased.

 Hontz Gaua by HAIZEA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.00 | 33 ratings

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Hontz Gaua
Haizea Prog Folk

Review by Juan K

3 stars I am from Spain, North West in particular: Galicia, a country with strong Celtic influences. Because of that I was not very keen on flamenco styled music until very late in my life, when I learned to appreciate the best of it. So my preferences always had gone with Northern Spain prog bands, and of course Haizea is one of them. I really like the album, but in my view they are one step behind Itoiz (another Basque band). As for the language, well, yes, Euskera is a weird language, if you research about it you'd find it isn't likely to any other language in the world (by the way, the title translates as "night bird"), but ... hell, I like bands that sung in Japanese, Swedish and so on, so how could not like a band from a brother Spanish country singing in their language?
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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
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
BIG LOST RAINBOW United States
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
CLANNAD Ireland
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
DETEKTIVBYRĹN 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
ELECTRIC DESERT Israel
ELFONIA Mexico
NANCY ELIZABETH United Kingdom
EMERAUDE 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
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FIORI-SÉGUIN Canada
FLAIRCK Netherlands
FLIBBERTIGIBBET South Africa
FLOR DE LOTO Peru
FOLKLORE Australia
I FOLLI DI DIO Italy
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FORENINGEN TIL LIVETS BESKYTTELSE Denmark
FOREST United Kingdom
FORSETI Germany
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FUCHSIA United Kingdom
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GAIA CONSORT United States
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GARMARNA Sweden
GAROLOU Canada
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GUALBERTO Spain
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GWERZ France
HAIZEA Spain
ROY HARPER United Kingdom
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HEXVESSEL Finland
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IBIO Spain
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ILOUS & DECUYPER France
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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
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LOS JAIVAS Chile
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JESTER United Kingdom
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JOX France
JUSTINE Multi-National
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MICHEL NORMANDEAU Canada
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NUIT CALINE A LA VILLA MON REVE Belgium
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OMNI Spain
OPEN EYE BAND Finland
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ORYZHEIN Canada
OUGENWEIDE Germany
P. G. SIX United States
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A PRESENÇA DAS FORMIGAS Portugal
PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE United Kingdom
PROVIDENCE United States
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THE PUDDLE JUMPERS United States
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RAGNARÖK Sweden
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S VREMENA NA VREME Yugoslavia
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SAINT JUST Italy
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SHANNON France
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ALAN STIVELL France
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PEKKA STRENG Finland
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TANGERINE France
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STEVE UNRUH United States
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US AND THEM Sweden
VEGA Spain
VIIMA Finland
VOICE OF THE SEVEN WOODS United Kingdom
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JUNE WALLACK Canada
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WATERTOUCH Sweden
THE WAY WE LIVE United Kingdom
LEAH WAYBRIGHT United States
WERWOLF (WEREWOLF ART ROCK) Germany
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