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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 | 2784 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.34 | 2150 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.17 | 1168 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.20 | 267 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.14 | 454 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.13 | 515 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.18 | 184 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.15 | 270 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.34 | 63 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.18 | 166 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.15 | 265 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.05 | 1018 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.49 | 32 ratings
LUCAS
Araujo, Marco Antonio
4.07 | 257 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.14 | 110 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.16 | 97 ratings
BASKET OF LIGHT
Pentangle, The
4.02 | 1209 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.02 | 948 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.13 | 101 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz
4.10 | 129 ratings
HÖLDERLINS TRAUM
Hoelderlin

Prog Folk overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

II DEJANJE
Sedmina
FRESH MAGGOTS
Fresh Maggots
THE WITCHING HOUR
Yoke Shire
THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX
Sad Minstrel

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Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.92 | 5 ratings

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In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a bit of a side-project for Current 93, with David Tibet stepping back to the dark ambient territories that the project had begun in but had largely drifted away from for the past decade. The inspiration for this was a chance to work with Thomas Ligotti, the legendarily reclusive horror author; the four pieces here are composed as a soundtrack to a clutch of four stories that accompanied the original release. (They have since been reprinted in Ligotti's excellent collection Teatro Grottesco).

Interestingly, going away from ambient music and coming back seems to have allowed Current 93 to produce a rather different piece from they once would have; there's a bit more drone to it and much less abrasiveness, the atmosphere - in keeping with Ligotti's style - being more of a slowly and gently developing dread than a sudden shocking terror. It shows more restraint and subtlety than, say, the all-out assault of Nature Unveiled, and on that level I find it an interesting and worthwhile exercise in returning to the old stomping ground with several years' worth of experience and growth away from it.

 Lucas by ARAUJO, MARCO ANTONIO album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.49 | 32 ratings

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Lucas
Marco Antonio Araujo Prog Folk

Review by crimson_smoog

4 stars Fourth review.

Introduction: Arguably one of the best instrumentalists that Brazil had the pleasure of having. A man that dedicated his soul and body to the music by studying musical composition and by loving classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Genesis. Sadly, his life ends with a premature death in the pinnacle of his career.

Album (General) - Lucas: The last album produced by this incredible musician and dedicated to his second son, Lucas. A great synthesis of Symphonic Prog rock and Folk Prog Rock. In Brazilian Prog Rock from 70's and 80's, I believe the composition level that he reached with this album is only comparable with Bacamarte's Depois do Fim, Terreno Baldio's Terreno Baldio and O Terco's Criaturas da Noite. Definitely, a good album to your collection.

Songs:

Lembrancas - Longest song. The intro is great. It begins with sounds that reminds me of a tide and soon after a flute and, possibly, a synthesizer, which sounds like an electrocardiogram, appear. The song's title is "Memories" and the album is a homage to his second son, therefore we may conclude that the intro is about the birth of his child. The song is highly flute oriented. Piano gives a good classical flavor in the mix. The electric guitar sounds are very original - I just can remember a little of Steve Hackett because of the classical influences. Good cello sounds. It ends with the tide of the beginning.

Caipira - As the song's title says, "Redneck/Hillbilly/Countrified man" (Language barriers, sorry), is like the song is. Obvious folk roots. As the Prog Rock generally does, synthesizers do a great work to provoke a resemblance with classical music.

Lucas - There is some creepy vibe in the beginning. Song's title is the name of the child, therefore a homage. However, I found strange the melancholic feeling of the song. Great acoustic guitar, though.

Para Jimmy Page - A tribute to Jimmy Page. Only Marco Antonio plays. Yes, it seems like Jimmy Page playing. Although, I remember Howe too. I really hope that Page listened to this song.

This is the review of the original album. I will do the CD one, with the bonus tracks, as soon as I get it.

 Untamed by ILL WICKER album cover Studio Album, 2016
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Untamed
Ill Wicker Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

— First review of this album —
5 stars A very welcome addition to the 2016 catalog of prog releases because this is a sound that is, unfortunately, all too rare in prog world today. This is true Prog FOLK music. The band uses a lot of acoustic instruments and multi-voice vocals weaving in and around each other in a manner that is quite reminiscent of the original folk bands who tried electrification, who tried "progressive" experimentation--and especially those bands that used more complex and idiosyncratic instrumental weaves, like THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, SPIROGYRA, and COMUS. From Sweden, this is the band's second release after the encouraging debut of 2014's Under Diana. The band's sound and lyrical choices are the closest thing I've heard to Germany's pagan folk masters, FAUN, yet singing mostly in English as opposed to Faun's German and many old and ancient language explorations.

1. "I Was Here When The Sea Was Young" (2:40) is a fast-moving upbeat tune with some very complicated weaves of both instruments and vocals. A great opener and my favorite song on the album. (10/10)

2. "The Charm On Your Chest" (8:07) opens with a brisk pace but then turns into an exercise in subtlety and beauty. Throughout the second, third and fourth minutes I am filled with feelings of walking alone in an enchanted and beautiful woods. At 4:10 when the percussion hits intimate a change, I envision coming out of the woods to the vision of a beautiful lake below me and mountain hillsides beyond. But then the music makes feel as if I need to run--as if I am being pursued and need to escape. Violin, mandolin, and acoustic guitar shine above the organ and percussion as the pursuit becomes more intense in the seventh minute. Horses! closing in! Is it me they're after? The voice of a spirit enchanter asks me what I'm experiencing--why I'm choosing this adventure. And I stop--all sources of terror and fear disappear--they were all of my own creation. Nice journey. (9/10)

3. "Untamed" (6:29) opens with the instruments establishing a perky pace like a ballad, but then, surprise!, when the vocals (presented in multiple voice harmony) take their turn the instrumental support becomes quite sparse and quiet. This pattern continues, somewhat, though the instrumental support becomes more prominent ver the course of the song. The instrumental section that begins at the end of the third minute is quite nice, with some surprise chords thrown in beneath the soloing violin. And then, at the beginning of the fifth minute, the vocals return in a joyful and unusually constructed four- or five-part harmony. The collective instrumental and vocalise play to the songs end is rather steady and beautiful. Great song. (9/10)

4. "Silent Impulse" (7:13) starts out as a slow song with kind of eery, drawn out multilayered vocals singing over some simple instrumental accompaniment (acoustic guitar and violin). But the second half of the song--about the time the singers finish their work--turns into a jam with a build up of slowly increasing speed and dexterity. (8/10)

5. "Earth Child" (7:59) opens with quite a medieval feel and sound as hand drums and acoustic instrumentation repeat a brief little pattern a few times. The song then develops into more of an instrumental jam until, surprisingly, at 1:19 some very playful, festive (drunk?) vocals (led by a bacchanalian male) enter and follow along with the jamming instruments. Just as quickly and surprisingly, the music slows to a crawl at the two minute mark. The music and ensuing vocals sound almost ritualistic, give cause for a little fear and trepidation. But then the forward march signal is given and the band returns to cantoring along the path. Definitely the most COMUS-sounding song I've heard on the album. The mandolin soloing at the end of the fifth minute is refreshing. The wild orgy continues until at the end of the seventh minute everything slows, quiets, like the calm after all of the drunken regalliers have fallen asleep and the fire's flames begin to die down for lack of attention. Cool musical story tellling! (9/10)

6. "The Trials Of Madame Dillner" (5:11) opens as a kind of traditional folk song with standard accompaniment, single vocalist (male), and brief bridges of instrumental soli (mostly violin) between the vocal verses. In the second half of the second minute female background singers mirror the lead vocalist and mandolin joins the violin's melody making. AT 2:45 there is a shift in the foundation to more broadly fill the bass end (congas, bass, organ, lower register violin play). The vocals begin sounding so Dylan-cum-Judy Dyble-esque! Nice traditional folk song. (8/10)

7. "Min Levnads Afton" (6:36) a gorgeous MEDIĆVAL BĆBES-like rendering of a traditional Swedish folk song. My second favorite song on the album. (10/10)

These are very polished and professional folk musicians, people! Well worth checking out. And this, their second album, shows much improvement in composition, performance refinement, and sound engineering. An album that deserves to be heard--and one that deserves to be ranked among Prog Folk's classics!

 Homo Erraticus by ANDERSON, IAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.58 | 180 ratings

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Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson Prog Folk

Review by CapnBearbossa

4 stars Is liking this album a sign of my being an ageing Tull fan? Probably....

When Mr Ian Anderson of JETHRO TULL fame was presented the "Prog God" award in 2013 (proclaiming "Prog is Fun!") , fans of his colorful stage persona and unique musical talent already knew he had promised a "progressive folk metal" album for the next year. I think anyone could have predicted that reactions and reviews would run hot-and-cold, as they do for any new progressive music long past the era in which this kind of thing was fashionable, and anyway wasn't the controversial Rock Island the last overt attempt at folk-metal on Tull's part? But prog fans are as odd as they are fickle, and seeing this album appear in April of 2014, I gleefully scooped up a copy and immediately spun it the three or four times it took to really understand it, and really like it. (After all, hasn't this always been the way on that rocky roller coaster of Tull/Anderson fandom?)

It's an undeniable testament to Ian's enduring talent -- and spirit -- that he is still driven to produce this kind of multilayered, melodic, folksy rock music. I don't know if it is rightly "metal" however, nor does it seem a proper attempt at such; and, here again, the detractors of Crest Of A Knave (of whom I am not one) might say that's a good thing. No, if metal is meant to seriously kick your a** the way Tequila does on a wild friday night, Homo Erraticus is more of a fruity, late vintage wine enjoyed in moderation ... long about a relaxed and studious saturday evening.

And now how about a little something of the meat of this album, to go with that wine?

Mr Anderson hits us right off with a song in the best of Tull traditions, namely "Doggerland." It struck me immediately as one of the more likeable tunes, but with that caveat I must also say that the album gets better from there, once you have learned to appreciate it on Ian's terms. What he is actually doing is relating to us - musically - the history of Great Britain and, in a way too, a good portion of the rest of the world. With tunes such as "Heavy Metals" (referencing the blacksmith and his trade) and "Meliora Sequamur" (treating monastic and priestly endeavors), he applies the sort of light musical touch you might expect from his two solo albums just prior to TAAB2. And with" Puer Ferox Adventus" (the story of Christianity, more or less) and "The Turnpike Inn" (an ode to the kind of nightly respite, pleasant or otherwise, our species has historically found when travelling potentially dangerous territory), things get a bit roudy in the libretto -- with some amazing flute interludes to match. It certainly sounds, in places, a lot like the Tull of old times, although by now we've learned that Florian Opahle's lyrical electric guitar passages remain the singular opiate to soothe our longing for those spectacular, searing blues-metal solos Martin Barre was so keen on delivering.

Oh well, you can't have it all, can you? On that note I will say that this is more of a love letter from Ian, thanking his worshipping throngs of long-time devotees for voting him "Prog God", than anything that will win converts. As one of that cohort of Tull fanboys-of-old, I will also promise that Homo Erraticus has rewards for those who care to listen for them. How's that for treading the safe middle ground?

 All the Pretty Little Horses by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.42 | 14 ratings

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All the Pretty Little Horses
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After a transitional phase following his artistic parting of the ways with Doug Pearce, David Tibet led Current 93 to another storming success on this album. Having already taken the group's neofolk style in a more gentle direction on the previous album (Of Ruine Or Some Blazing Starre), Tibet and his musical collaborators (including guest vocalist Nick Cave and horror writer Thomas Ligotti) work in more variation, ranging from childhood lullabies to aspects of the drone and ambient styles of Current 93's pre-neofolk days. The end result is one of the group's richest musical concoctions yet, with even Tibet's lyrics taking in a more diverse range of moods and styles than before.
 Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.03 | 10 ratings

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Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a rather transitional album for Current 93, being the first album since David Tibet parted ways with Douglas Pearce of Death In June infamy. The duo had been close musical collaborators for almost a decade, but would not work together again. Pearce claims that he ended his friendship with Tibet because Tibet and Steven Stapledon (of Nurse With Wound, and Tibet's longest-standing and most consistent collaborator in Current 93) had begun working with, of all people, the classic eccentric ukelele-master Tiny Tim, Peace claiming to have been offended by Tim having homophobic views.

It may well be true that Tiny Tim said some hurtful things, but Pearce's reason for his musical divorce with Tibet doesn't ring true with me. For one thing, both before and after this Pearce was happy to work closely with Boyd Rice, who has expressed a range of vile opinions over the years and cultivated relationships with a range of noxious people (including numerous neo-Nazis and even, no [&*!#]ting, Charles Manson), many of whom have proven to be far more overtly and violently homophobic than Tiny Tim ever was... and indeed, Boyd Rice cultivated his own close friendship with Tiny Tim and regularly praises him, so the excuse rings rather false.

Moreover, there were signs on the preceding Thunder Perfect Mind that Tibet was beginning to become unsettled by Pearce's longstanding fascination with fascism and Nazi Germany, with A Song For Douglas After He's Dead being fairly unambiguously directed at Pearce and raising severe questions about Pearce's various obsessions. In addition, and bringing things back to the music here, David Tibet had also by that point brought into the mix a new musical collaborator in the form of Michael Cashmore, an intensely talented multi-instrumentalist, and part of me wonders whether Pearce felt that his place in Tibet's coterie was threatened, since Cashmore's gentle guitar playing - a major highlight of this release - puts Pearce's rudimentary strumming into the shade. (It's notable that, whilst Cashmore did guest on Death In June's 1992 album But What Ends When the Symbols Shatter? along with most of the other Current 93 lineup at the time, he was conspicuous by his absence from the sessions for Rose Clouds of Holocaust, the last Death In June album that David Tibet and many of his allies would participate in.)

Whatever the truth of the matter, the departure of Pearce manifests in a shift in musical style here; the harsher and spookier directions that the preceding albums had regularly indulged in are dialled back, and Tibet's poetic lyrics and the musical backing from Stapledon and Michael Cashmore taking a somewhat gentler and more personal bent, of the sort which had begun to flower on Thunder Perfect Mind. Because of the reduced ensemble, it is a cozy and intimate affair, and due to its transitional nature it doesn't quite hit its predecessors heights, but its interesting excursion into gentleness suggests a new direction in Tibet's thinking which would lead to further fruit soon enough. Cashmore's influence is in fact especially strong, and in some aspects the album feels like a development of the sound pioneered on Cashmore's personal project Nature and Organisation.

 The Unreleased Early Songs by BRETT, PAUL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Unreleased Early Songs
Paul Brett Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars With the PAUL BRETT SAGE albums being the only ones from Brett's extensive back catalog to be readily available in digital form, a mini resurgence in interest in the legendary prog-folk-psych band which he fronted from 1970-1972 should not be surprising. Apart from a solid comeback album, "Emergence", in 2014, and a 2016 single entitled "Bullet", the vaults have been cracked open just enough to allow 5 early recordings to escape, which form the subject of this review.

From the title, and from the instrumentation and mood, I would estimate that at least a few of these tracks herald from the first incarnation of Sage, graced as it was by the seductive flutes of Nicky Higginbottom. The melodies, arrangements, and vocal style and harmonies of the prototypical early 1970s songs "Ulysees the Traveller" and "Queen of my Day" would have fit perfectly well on Sage's debut, where they would have been among the more erudite offerings. They compare to early STRAWBS, and are the most progressive samples here. "The Time isn't write for your loving" is notable for its impressive riff and psych guitar solo, while "Love is a Four Letter Word" recalls AMAZING BLONDEL's first album's poppy side. The only weak link is the repetitive "Ragman", which exhibits the traits of the less memorable cuts on the SAGE debut.

If you are intrigued by this unjustly obscure artist, I would recommend picking up the first SAGE album and then circling back to this archive recording, although I suppose reversing those steps might save you both time and money. Not quite 3.5 stars.

 Horsey by CURRENT 93 album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Horsey
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Horsey is an expanded edition of Horse, which was originally issued as part of a three-disc set in 1990 with Lex Talionis by Sol Invictus and Lumbs Sister by Nurse With Wound. Unlike in some cases, where David Tibet's addition of extra tracks to an album doesn't offer much, here the two additions (the two parts of Broken Birds Fly) actually fit in nicely, since they were recorded in the same jams between David Tibet and Japanese session musicians that yielded the title track.

The first side of the album consists of a number of pieces recorded with a lineup broadly similar to that responsible for the Swastikas for Noddy/Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God era, and are decent pieces in that general vein. (Notably, there's a near-unrecognisable cover of Diana by Comus). The second side consists of the aforementioned Japanese jams. The first side tracks and the parts of Broken Birds Fly are decent enough, but the real highlight of this album - a five star track in three-and-a-half star surroundings - is the epic Horsey, in which David Tibet begins talking about some (hopefully fictional) character's alarming heroin consumption ("horse", geddit?) and then runs wild with the horse = heroin motif, working in his ideas about spirituality to depict a life and mind in freefall under the influence of a drug habit that they can no longer control.

Like the titular horse, it begins at a deliberate, plodding pace... then it trots... then it launches into a full gallop, the backing closer to flat- out psychedelic rock than anything on a Current 93 album preceding these sessions. Finally, the tune collapses into chaos, a powerful musical evocation of the horse's legs crumpling underneath it as the hapless rider is thrown into oblivion. It is a true masterpiece, and one of the best things David Tibet has ever done.

 Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God by CURRENT 93 album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.94 | 9 ratings

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Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Current 93's Swastikas for Noddy had gone for an incredibly sparse, stripped-back production style, perhaps the barest and starkest release the band had put out up to that point. Much of the audio wizardry on previous Current 93 had come from the hand of Stephen Stapledon, the man behind Nurse With Wound, and whose presence was barely felt on Swastikas aside from some cello contributions.

For Crooked Crosses, David Tibet and Stapledon absolutely run riot on Swastikas, remixing parts, reconfiguring others, and outright rerecording some bits. The end results are remarkably transformative. Some of the tracks - typically the more traditional songs - are not changed that much, but gain a very different atmosphere with the textures that Tibet and Stapledon add. (Their cover of Blue Oyster Cult's This Ain't the Summer of Love - retitled The Summer Past here - gains some of the blood and thunder of the BOC original, for instance, and their tribute to Bobby Beausoleil, whilst still repetitive, is a bit less irritating than it was). Other parts, however, are radically transformed; for instance, Tibet seems to distance himself a bit from the rabid Social Darwinism espoused by Boyd Rice in his little speech on Swastikas for Noddy by truncating it greatly and turned it into the distantly-heard snippet "From Boyd's Bunker".

On balance, I think this is an interesting experiment in taking some very bare-bones raw ingredients and cooking something spicier out of them, and I'd give this a solid extra half-star over its predecessor.

 Red Queen to Gryphon Three by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.13 | 515 ratings

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Red Queen to Gryphon Three
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by poito

5 stars This is the first Gryphon album I've listened to, but I'm quite familiar with early 70's prog and I can't think of any other group doing this kind of music marriage between rock and baroque at that time. Of course there were many bands particularly from the Italian Prog scene with a notable classic formation and influence, but this is no doubt one of the first bands that succeeded in the mixture. You'll get here an extraordinary variety of instruments, with some beautiful contributions at the bassoon and flutes, in perfect harmony with modern instruments. You'll notice the influence by countrymen YES in some passages reproducing the bass sound and style in FRAGILE, and some keys from Wakeman's SIX WIVES work. The album has four 8-10 min long tracks hard to describe, such is the extraordinary richness and variety of the composition. Few albums can rival this RED QUEEN in this aspect. I bet not even Gryphon's hardcore fans can reproduce by heart this album. Even if baroque may get wearying by the narrow range of music motifs, Gryphon uses them wisely here not to shoo occasional listeners. There are some burlesque excerpts that could well fell in the category of the RIO/Avant prog, plus many others. You'll get a new hint on every turn. Endless. Great.
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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
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