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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

4.63 | 2798 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.34 | 2162 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.17 | 1173 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.20 | 269 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.14 | 460 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.13 | 516 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.18 | 186 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.15 | 272 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.34 | 63 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.18 | 167 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.15 | 265 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.49 | 32 ratings
LUCAS
Araujo, Marco Antonio
4.05 | 1024 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.07 | 259 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.15 | 98 ratings
BASKET OF LIGHT
Pentangle, The
4.14 | 110 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.02 | 1215 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.02 | 955 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.13 | 101 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz
4.01 | 990 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

THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX
Sad Minstrel
THE WITCHING HOUR
Yoke Shire
THE WATERS OF SWEET SORROW
Midwinter
II DEJANJE
Sedmina

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Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Trips Und Traume by WITTHUSER AND WESTRUPP album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.80 | 29 ratings

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Trips Und Traume
Witthuser and Westrupp Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars It's starting to become difficult for me to distinguish one stoned German prog folk duo from another, but, as one of the better known and respected, WITTHUSER AND WESTRUPP deserve at least equal time. It seems that every recording in their early 1970s run offered a distinct perspective, from barely rehearsed noodling to schlager music. "Trips und Traume" includes aspects of both, with an accent on ostensibly dream like workouts for which neither the journey nor the destination are exhilarating or even satiating. It doesn't impress as meditative music because it's not hypnotic enough, while it doesn't deliver as an active listen because, well, it's a bit too hypnotic. When I do hear the message, or at least the portion that I am able to grasp, the occasional blissful moments on zither, flute and guitar are marred by excessive repetition of themes that were barely supportive the first time.

The only superlative piece is "Illusion 1", which hugs a sparkling guitar/zither melody, for a wondrous 4:47. While "Trippo Nova" and "Orienta" both offer appealing passages, particular the latter, they are overall overlong. It's telling that the opening and closing tracks, closer in spirit to OUGENWEIDE, are probably the other real highlights. In contrast to this energetic excursion, "Karlchen" is annihilated by irritating spoken segments courtesy of Renee Zucker, while the backing acoustic riff, pleasant for 20 seconds, barely shifts in 9 minutes.

Trips und Traume plays like last night's dream, you know, the one you tried so hard to remember, because you were so sure it held something sacred for you to learn from and grow. Unfortunately, when your recollection is triggered by a mundane event at the office, you discover that the dream was not even that interesting. Maybe that's where the drugs come in.

 Crimson Moon by JANSCH, BERT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Crimson Moon
Bert Jansch Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars The first of the "appreciation of Bert Jansch by younger fans" albums, Crimson Moon, recorded at Bert's new digital home recording studio in 2000, is a warm, mellow, and extremely atmospheric album that conjures up images of Scotland (Caledonia), lovelorn ex lovers (Crimson Moon and Looking for Love) and a few good old tales of murder (the traditional song Omie Wise). There's even a rare comment from Bert about the ecology on the song Neptune's Daughter, about a mermaid-like woman who relates the tales of her dead relatives that were killed by a black plague (an oil slick that poisons their ocean.)

What makes Crimson Moon different from other later era Jansch albums is the more liberal use of electric guitar played by Jansch himself along with guests like Johnny Hodge and Bernard Butler. There's no "shred fests" going on here, but it is a welcome change from Jansch's amazing run of acoustic guitar based albums up until this point. The electrics help to add mood and texture to the ever present acoustics. As others have stated, Jansch has nothing more to prove in regard to his guitar playing skills, but has focused on his songwriting, which has always been his strong suit when he's been inspired. And it seems that the appreciation of younger artists like Johnny Marr and Beth Orton has done just that with his compositions on Crimson Moon. Not an essential for Jansch fans, but Crimson Moon is quite an enjoyable and easy listen. 3 stars.

 Midnight Circus by MIDNIGHT CIRCUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Midnight Circus
Midnight Circus Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Apart from Krautrock, electronic/space rock and symphonic prog, Germany in the 1970s was home to a surprising number of folk acts. Some, like HOELDERLIN, eventually evolved to sound more like GENESIS, while others, like OUGENWEIDE, retained a distinct connection to their roots. MIDNIGHT CIRCUS was a duo that bridged the psychedelia, pastoral folk rock, and symphonic prog that closed out the 1960s. They sadly released only one album and haven't reunited like so many others, at least not yet.

The overall mood is ponderously pastoral, driven by strummed acoustic guitar, recorder, and at times soaring vocal harmonies. The opening track "The Light" encapsulates all of these qualities, with a mystical melody that successfully sidesteps cliches. "I Had a Dream" starts as a vivacious HOLLIES/KINKS mix before the tempo moderates dramatically and mellotron strings assert themselves. Ultimately, it's on the pulpit of "November Church" that MIDNIGHT CIRCUS stakes its claim to any notoriety beyond mere obscurity. Almost 9 minutes of Gothic bliss, it's a deranged Teutonic "California Dreamin", complete with morose choral parts, shrill trumpet, martial guitars and drums, and even a segment dedicated to the sermon of the month. Not quite a suite and not quite an epic, it's an exemplary piece of prog folk that is both adventurous and accessible.

Other highlights include the ballad "Disappointed Love" that turns more aggressive in the breaks, and the Latin American inflected instrumental "Indian Impression". "Meditation" is another showcase for Christian Bollman's pulmonary prowess, presaging the work of artists like R CARLOS NAKAI by some years. Only "Mr Clown" and the two bonus tracks find the artists adopting hippy pop conventions, if you will.

It's still gratifying to discover worthwhile artists from so long ago and to illuminate their names in neon if only for a proverbial quarter hour. While most everything on the original release hovers between 3 and 4 stars, I am going to round up for the preeminent "November Church", and also because this act manages to be both "out there" and balanced without really trying.

 Black Ships Ate the Sky by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.90 | 13 ratings

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Black Ships Ate the Sky
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Current 93's most artistically substantial mid-2000s release finds David Tibet and crew charting a course back through the neofolk territory of their peak years, offering an apocalyptic narrative with the recurring image of the titular black ships sailing in and out from it. A wide range of guest musicians appear on here from across Tibet's career, from Marc Almond (who like Tibet was a contributor to early Psychic TV releases) to Anohni of Anthony and the Johnsons, an act that Tibet actually discovered originally. A little overlong and not quite of the stature of classics like All the Pretty Little Horses or Thunder Perfect Mind, but still another intriguing trip through David Tibet's deeply personal and idiosyncratic view of the apocalypse.
 Eulenspiegel by OUGENWEIDE album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.17 | 18 ratings

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Eulenspiegel
Ougenweide Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Named after a legendary German trickster folk hero, Eulenspiegel finds Ougenweide in much the same position as the little jester on the cover - namely, walking a tightrope between modern and medieval influences, and doing it with acrobatic deftness. As with their other, earlier 1976 (Ohrenschmaus), it's a sunny folk-rock album with a mingling of modern and medieval influences that sits favourably alongside the more progressive works by the likes of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, or perhaps the folkier moments of Gryphon. Of the two albums from this year I think this one has the mild edge, but there's not much between them.
 Sleep Has His House by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.96 | 8 ratings

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Sleep Has His House
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For the most part, Sleep Has His House sees Current 93 returning to the neofolk style whose last major excursion was on The Inmost Light, though taking into account both the softer ballad style of Soft Black Stars and the renewed interest in droning ambient music that David Tibet had exercised in his Thomas Ligotti collaborations. The latter are indulged mostly on the 24 minute title track, a mournful, funeral tribute to Tibet's passed father, which feels a little overlong for the ideas it comprises but otherwise represents an interesting experiment in creating space in one of the project's neofolk albums for an ambient excursion reminiscent of their early days.
 A by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.20 | 496 ratings

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A
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars JETHRO TULL was never one to rest on their laurels even when a formula such as the megahit "Aqualung" proved to be an irresistible sound that probably could have been replicated and recycled to infinity. However Ian Anderson was in it for the passion of it all. He was a true forward thinking musician who had the urge to evolve into new arenas and take serious risks along the way. While a few duds were dropped along the way (do you hear me "War Child" and "Too Young To Rock?"), most others were surprisingly cohesive and brilliantly composed. Originally slated as the very first Ian Anderson solo album hence the title of the album, A (for Anderson), it was released under the name JETHRO TULL upon request of their record label Chrysalis wanting to increase record sales. Sounds familiar, huh? In the end, it really doesn't matter because everyone knows JETHRO TULL is Anderson under the guise of a band anyway. What really matters is the music and what a surprise A is for me. This is one i had simply not been exposed to for the longest time and never really had the urge to seek it out. It turns out it is quite the catchy and well-crafted album that may not excite those who only limit themselves only to the most complex offerings of the band but for those who find the songwriting and melodies to be Anderson's most seductive force in the music, then A will not disappoint.

While this could never be mistaken for anything other than a JETHRO TULL album with Anderson's signature vocal style accompanied by the expected folk rock display of Martin Barre wailing one catchy guitar riff after another, the rest of the band is completely different from the heyday of the early 70s and after 1979's "Stormwatch" the band literally imploded leaving only the two original members carrying the musical torch. Barriemore Barlow had left the band due to severe depression, bassist John Glascock left to start his own band and keyboardists John Evan and David Palmer were simply fired for unknown reasons. In the wake of the big change was the addition of bassist Dave Pegg who only appeared on a couple tracks on "Stormwatch" now on board full time, new drummer Mark Craney who added a totally new percussive style to the mix and the most noticeable differences of all with the inclusion of Eddie Jobson who not only added Keith Emerson type symphonic pomp and new wave keyboards to the mix but contributed his sophisticated electric violin skills as well. The result is that A is simultaneous more symphonic prog sounding at times, more folk infused at times and even dips into bluegrass all the while maintaining the catchy folk rock catchiness in the songwriting department. It also takes the modern era into mind and seamlessly weaves new wave type keyboard melodies into the mix. Anderson's vocals are still top notch and this album excels in extreme progressive time signature work outs, more frenetic and demanding than almost any album before or since.

For me the progressive qualities of JETHRO TULL have never been their greatest attraction. Yes, they managed some serious progressive behemoths in their days with albums like "Thick As A Brick" and "A Passion Play" but for me the true magic lies in the simplistic beauty of the songwriting where even the simplest albums are fun fueled trips into their folk rock playground. The album A is absolutely no different in that regard. True that it will never compete with the progressive crowd's expectations of such complexity but this album has plenty of satisfying progressive time sig workouts while never for a moment sacrificing all the addictive folk rock melodies that made this band the superstars that they were. With all the new musicians on board delivering new experimentations especially with Eddie Jobson's excellent keyboard and violin contributions, this album displays the full maturity of a totally new sound for the band and one that should have steered throughout the 80s. Personally i find this album to be quite exciting and definitely the best thing released under the JETHRO TULL moniker of the entire 80s. This is quite the really brilliant album that not only takes the folk rock aspects of what came before but seamlessly fuses them with Emerson type symphonic prog, new wave type rhythms, bluegrass and touches of adventurous and complex progressive workouts. It more than works for me.

 I Maestri Del Colore by CORDE OBLIQUE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.17 | 4 ratings

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I Maestri Del Colore
Corde Oblique Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars So much modern popular music these days is prepared and packaged for the download "industry", with the unfortunate result that art too often imitates life, becoming convenient and disposable. This is a far cry from the early 1970s when the gatefold sleeve ruled supreme, and more time was spent fondling it than would be considered appropriate today. But every so often a CD, yes, a CD, is released that recaptures that visionary spirit. CORDE OBLIQUE's Riccardo Prencipe utilized crowd funding to consummate "I Maestri Del Colore", the band's 6th release, and the result is as much a tribute to his fans as to bygone eras. To experience this recording merely as a download is to infer beauty from the skin out.

The meticulousness in the booklet extends to the citing of venerable sources of inspiration, dedications to loved ones and friends, and the acknowledgement of musical collaborators ranging from the more commercial side of neo folk (ARGINE) to Bulgarian kindred spirits (IRFAN) to venerable elder statespersons AKTUALA (actually on progarchives), to Neapolitan bands dedicated to the resurrection of ancient music (MICROLOGUS) among others. The alliances that CORDE OBLIQUE has forged, with both audience and contemporaries, appear to have quite dramatically affected the mood and approach musically.

While still operating in the realm of "progressive ethereal folk", and still recognizable as CORDE OBLIQUE particularly in the vocal sections, this eminence extends the more contemplative and less "pop oriented" trajectory of "Per Le Strade Ripetute". Vocals are much sparser, and Prencipe unchains the electric guitar, generally for acoustic styled plucking, but for a couple of heavy rhythms. Conventional drums are also deployed here and there. Yes neither of these traditional rock instruments do more than color the ancient sounding rhythms and melodies. More noteworthy is the inclusion of trumpet on a number of pieces, which can be hard to discern unless one is looking for it, utilizing long held notes rarely to the fore, and promotes the overall languid, mournful ambiance. Strings have never been second fiddle with CORDE OBLIQUE, and they continue to inject profundity and occasional vivacity. This is music to lose oneself in, and perhaps find one's older self connected more with the ancient sages.

The difficult arises when one evaluates this for a modern prog rock audience. Yes, prog fans do enjoy some of the self conscious but unsentimental instrumentals like "Papavero e memoria" and "Blubosforo", or the robotically chanted liturgy of "A fondo oro". The more folk oriented listener will appreciate Prencipe's inclusion of dramatic and gorgeous songs like "Il cretto nero", which were more plentiful on earlier albums. Few would deny the overall beauty of the sonic palette which does justice to the visuals on which it is based. Overall, though, I think that the rock quotient, minimal in earlier recordings, is almost non existent at this juncture, and the folk aspect is not as immediate as it had been, which is a bit of a failing, since folk music thrives on some degree of immediacy. As a result, I sometimes do lose myself herein, but perhaps not for the right reasons. That all does change in the last minute of the album, which I'm still puzzling over, a mashup of heavy rhythm guitar and drums hitherto unimagined in this group's lexicon of tranquility.

"I Maestri Di Colore" is a difficult album to rate, and I would almost prefer to just leave you with a review and call it a day, but that's not possible or even advisable. For its creator, It is a work of profound self respect and respect for all whom he has touched and been touched by. For its listeners, that respect is apparent and earned. I just wish it were a bit more engaging more often. 3.5 stars, reluctantly rounded down because, like all uncompromising art, it is forever engaged in a search for that elusive perfect match.

 Benefit by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.90 | 864 ratings

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Benefit
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars Before Jethro Tull had truly hit the mainstream with "Aqualung" and "Thick As A Brick", there came "Benefit".

There's really not a whole lot to say about this album, since not a whole lot goes in within. At its core, what we have here is a blues rock album with folky acoustic sections. No more, no less. This isn't a progressive rock album by any means. There are no virtuosic pyrotechnics, no elaborate song structures, no Khatrus or foxes on the rocks to be found. This isn't an inherently bad thing, of course.

That being said, there's more to my lackluster perception of "Benefit" than just its complexity. After all, some of my favourite albums are very minimalistic or compositionally simple. The thing with "Benefit" is that it just doesn't really gel into anything that flows. The music is very riff-based, with plenty of power chords chunking their way along, sometimes interspersed by uninspired flute flourishes. Ian Anderson's drab vocals don't help, failing to add any extra colour to an already dreary palette.

Having said that, the album isn't a total write-off. There are some really good songs on it, notably the dark, Whipping Post-like "With You There To Help Me" and the more spirited "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me". So while some of the songs are enjoyable to listen to in isolation, this isn't really an album to be experienced 40 minutes at a time.

As such, I'll give "Benefit" a 2 star rating, since I believe it's a record that established Jethro Tull fans will really dig. But if you have only a passing interest in their later works, there's no real reason to listen to this.

 Dragonfly by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.05 | 75 ratings

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Dragonfly
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars [My 900th review.] The second album by the STRAWBS offers pastoral, elegant folk rock with charmingly personal, in a way "worn-out" sound. It was produced by Tony Visconti (before his fame as a top producer), who had made some arrangements for the band. He favoured for more stripped down approach in the studio and encouraged Dave Cousins to compose in a classical style to fully utilize the cello playing of Claire Deniz, a full member who sadly departed before the album even came out. That noble instrument is central right from the beginning, on the intimately calm songs such as 'The Weary Song' and 'Dragonfly'. The latter features Visconti on recorder. One could compare the rurally folky sound to bands like FOREST or INCREDIBLE STRING BAND.

The beautifully melancholic 'I Turned My Face into the Wind' was familiar to me from the 2CD compilation Halcyon Days. 'Josephine, For Better or Worse' continues the general calmness of the album, and the cello really sounds nice. 'Another Day' has a happier, almost sing-along kind of spirit, and one could think it dates from the 60's folk era. Acoustic guitar and cello blend harmonically on the next pretty little track. 'Young Again' gives vocal duties to guitarist Tony Hooper and has some recorder but remains unremarkable as a song. Isn't there any edge coming on this album, one may wonder at this point. Is it just lame prettiness?

The prog appeal of this album would be radically smaller without the nearly 11-minute epic 'The Vision of the Lady in the Lake'. First and foremost it is "epic" in the folklore meaning of the word, ie. the lyrics are long and story-like, but the listener's patience is rewarded. On the fifth minute the rock drums enter and the whole performance suddenly has unexpected electricity and energy. Cousins shows his blooming ability to load his vocals with passion (comparable to the likes of Fish and Peter Gabriel). On keyboards: Rick Wakeman, before his virtuoso stardom. Well, the key parts could have been more 'Wakemanesue' in this intensive composition.

Delicate, acoustic miniature 'Close Your Eyes' ends the album. My cd (2008) contains four bonus tracks. The cheerful 'We'll Meet Again Sometime' (from 1969) has vitality that is quite absent on Dragonfly album. 'Forever' is a very nice single A-sider with orchestral arrangement and vocal harmonies, reminding of the late 60's Moody Blues. And finally BBC / John Peel radio recordings dating from September 1969, 'Another Day' and 'We'll Meet Again Sometime'.

Three stars without any doubt for the pastoral charm, but remember, this album is still very far from the progressive grandness that Strawbs were gradually heading at.

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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
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
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
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