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PROG FOLK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Folk definition

In the wake of the 1960s, a Folk revival started on both sides of the Atlantic, and got quickly linked with a protest movement, not always, but often linked to more left-wing tendencies, which did not sit well with the authorities. BOB DYLAN, JOAN BAEZ, WOODY GUTHRIE, JOHN DENVER, BUFFY STE-MARIE, but also the FARINA couple Richard and Mimi for the US and SHIRLEY COLLINS and EWAN McCOLL (mentor of BERT JANSCH, JOHN RENBOURN ) for the UK and HUGUES AUFRAY in France. In Quebec, there was the "Chansonniers" phenomenon among which CLAUDE LEVEILLE and FELIX LECLERC were the most popular, waking up the sleepy "Belle Province" and stand up for itself from the English rule. The English part of Canada also brought up JONI MITCHELL, LEONARD COHEN (although he was from Montreal) and NEIL YOUNG.

As DYLAN turned electric with his Highway 61 Revisited album, much to the dislike of purists who yelled for treason, Folk Rock was born, opening the floodgates for younger artists to turn on the electricity. As DYLAN soon abandoned to style to create Country Rock with his next album, his British equivalent Scotsman DONOVAN stayed true to Folk Rock. In the US, THE BYRDS were the main promoters of the style by now, culminating with the superb "Eight Miles High" track with a lengthy (for the times) guitar solo of almost one minute. But countless other bands on the west coast, such as LOVE, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (and later its spin-off HOT TUNA), GRATEFUL DEAD, QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, and TIM BUCKLEY all started in the folk rock realm. Even San Fran's SANTANA with its Latino traditional music and, on the east coast, NY's THE LOVING SPOONFUL had folk roots. Notwithstanding the immense popularity of SIMON & GARFUNKEL and their delicious harmonies, Folk Rock was appealing only to the rock public as the older generations turned their backs in folkies.

In the UK, following on their countrymen DONOVAN, many Scotsmen were very influent in exploring new grounds for folk rock: INCREDIBLE STRING BAND (led by Scots Palmer and Williamson) with their two highly influential albums "5000 Layers Or The Spirit Of The Onion" & "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" and THE PENTANGLE (led by other Scots Renbourn, Jansch and McShee and their superb bassist Danny Thompson) and its incredible fusion of folk, blues and jazz style were very instrumental in developing the style to the same extent as FAIRPORT CONVENTION and STRAWBS who by that time were still more conventional US "west-coast folk rock". The single artistes in folk rock became known as Folk Troubadours were also numerous and often presented a more progressive side of folk: AL STEWART, NICK DRAKE, ROY HARPER, TYRANOSAURUS REX (actually a duo of Steven Took and Marc Bolan) , JOHN MARTYN etc.

However, the real angular album that will lead to further change of Folk Rock is FAIRPORT CONVENTION's "Liege & Lief" album, that proved to be highly influential for another generation of groups: this album concentrated into electrifying seminal English traditional folk and retained that quaint Englishness taste. It is interesting to see that both leaders of FAIRPORT quit the band after this success to go their respective way: Sandy Denny to a solo folk songwriting career and Ashley Hutchings to a very traditional folk rock. By this time, most connoisseur were talking of Acid Folk, Psych Folk, and Progressive Folk, all having limited differences and no particularly drawn-out limits or boundaries, but all relying on experimental or groundbreaking adventures and good musicianship but not necessarily of an acoustic nature.

Groups like THE THIRD EAR BAND and QUINTESSENCE relied on eastern Indian music influences and, sometimes, medieval tones. Other groups like the weird COMUS, TREES, SPIROGYRA, FOREST, the superb JAN DUKES DE GREY but also TRADER HORNE, TUDOR LODGE, FOTHERINGAY, MAGNA CARTA, and TIR NA NOG were out to break new ground but with less commercial success as their predecessor. By 1972, all of the glorious precursors bands were selling fewer records and had problems renewing themselves and a newer generation of groups was relying in a more Celtic jigs or really traditional sounds. Such as HORSLIPS, DANDO SHAFT, STEELEYE SPAN, AMAZING BLONDEL, ALBION DANCE BAND and SPRIGUNS OF TOLGUS. Although JETHRO TULL had some definitive folk roots right from the start, their only albums that can be regarded as Prog Folk are 1977's Songs From The Woods and 1978's Heavy Horses. Ian Anderson (another Scots) was very keen in acoustical traditional songs. Some Folk Troubadours such as TIM BUCKLEY and JOHN MARTYN started turning records more and more axed towards fusing jazz and folk (a bit in what THE PENTANGLE were doing) , others became more and more electric and they started to be referred to as Singer Songwriters especially those with country rock influences.

In Germany, HOELDERLIN (and their fantastic debut album), EMTIDI, OUGENWEIDE, CAROL OF HARVEST, WITTHUSER & WESTRUPP were exploring German folk while KALACAKRA , SILOAH and EMBRYO were indulging with Indian music. In South America, most notably in Chile, LOS JAIVAS (very bent upon Andean Indian music) and CONGRESO (more Spanish-Latino folklore) were using folk in their rock, so much that some press talked about them referring it with the hateful term Inca Rock. In Quebec, the progressive movement exploded with the cultural identity and the Chansonniers tradition and this was carried out with LES SEGUIN and HARMONIUM and so many more. In France, many groups were out for folk rock such as CATHERINE RIBEIRO AND ALPES, TANGERINE, and ASGARD. In Spain, Flamenco playing a dominant role as well as Basque folk, TRIANA, ITOIZ and HAIZEA were the head of the movement once the Franco regime fell apart after his death.


There is also a very important medieval music influences dimension in some groups as the term Medieval Folk was also mentioned for a while but apparently dropped by musicologists. Among the UK groups are obviously GRYPHON, GENTLE GIANT and THIRD EAR BAND, in France: MALICORNE and RIPAILLE and in Scandinavia: ALGARNAS TRADGARD and FOLQUE.


Hugues Chantraine
with hyperlinks and updates by Ken Levine December 2017

Current Team as of December 2017

Bob Moore aka ClemofNazareth
Ken Levine aka Kenethlevine
Sean Trane

Prog Folk Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Prog Folk | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.63 | 3047 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.34 | 2396 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.18 | 1303 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.26 | 186 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.21 | 298 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.38 | 76 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.14 | 566 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.20 | 198 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.14 | 506 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.16 | 304 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.15 | 307 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.44 | 41 ratings
LUCAS
Araújo, Marco Antônio
4.05 | 1136 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.21 | 91 ratings
I A MOON
North Sea Radio Orchestra
4.16 | 113 ratings
BASKET OF LIGHT
Pentangle, The
4.08 | 272 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.03 | 1067 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.14 | 122 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.03 | 1103 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull
4.02 | 1342 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
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

GENTLE SOUL
Gentle Soul, The
THE WITCHING HOUR
Yoke Shire
TALES OF THE RIVERBANK
Dancer
A CANDLE FOR JUDITH
Way We Live, The

Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Underjordisk Tusmřrke by TUSMŘRKE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 46 ratings

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Underjordisk Tusmřrke
Tusmřrke Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was the debut for this Norwegian band released in 2012. Quite a vocal dominated affair really but with some killer instrumental work throughout. If it wasn't so heavy on the vocals I would be considering a higher rating. Still I went from being kind of amused with what I heard after the first couple of listens to not being able to wait to play this album once again. Very melodic and catchy throughout. This band formed from the ashes of LES FLEURS DU MAL who never released an album but we do get a 17 1/2 minute bonus track by them that is the best song on this recording and it doesn't sound much like the same band as we get Andreas the current vocalist for WOBBLER singing and a much more Swedish sound in my opinion with the mellotron, guitar, upfront bass and melancholic sound. I agree with Andy from Planet Mellotron that this bonus track is almost worth the price of admission alone.

I don't usually even comment on bonus tracks unless they are exceptional and there's another one by TUSMORKE called "Singers & Swallows" that would be second favourite track on here, go figure. The main album features plenty of vintage keyboard work from WOBBLER's own Lars Fredrik Froislie as he brings in mellotron, spinet, chamberlin, clavinet, organ, synths, glockenspiel, musical box and the kitchen sink. He also produced and recorded it. Again the main album has lots of vocals, harmonies and catchy choruses which usually isn't my thing but I was won over fairly quickly. The album's title means "Subterranean Twilight" and this is a mellotron album for sure.

"Fimbul" is catchy with flute over top then the vocals join in. Shades of mellotron and chamberlin too along with synths. I like when it calms down after 2 minutes with mellotron, bass then flute. Reserved vocals join in along with keys. It all kicks back in around 3 1/2 minutes. Another calm with vocal melodies after 4 1/2 minutes which sounds really good.

"Watching The Moon Fall Out Of The East" has this excellent melancholic intro with flute, mellotron and more as these relaxed vocals join in. This is a top four track for me. Reminds me of SINKADUS and ANGLAGARD actually during the more laid back sections. Love when it picks up as well 4 minutes in especially that rickenbacker bass. We get flute, guitar, drums and more. It picks up even more late with vocals and vocal melodies. What a song!

"The Quintessence Of Elements" has melancholic flute to start as bass, drums and more take over with vocals. Catchy and melodic and we get organ on the chorus. A beautiful instrumental section starts after 2 minutes then it picks up before the vocals return. "Young Man & His Woman" is very uptempo and vocal led with plenty of flute and organ. I like when it settles down after a minute without vocals. It kicks back in and we get vocal melodies here and some passion in those vocals too. Themes are repeated.

"A Nightmare's Just A Dream" is laid back to start with flute, prominent bass and a beat as the vocals join in. It turns fuller a minute in, in fact it gets quite intense really. It settles again as contrasts continue. Check out the mellotron before 2 1/2 minutes and that incredible section starting before 6 minutes instrumentally. Love that bass!

"Hostjevndogn" features vocals in their native language and this is a top four song for me as well. It's more relaxed with drums and flute standing out to start then reserved vocals join in. Man that instrumental section sounds so good beginning 3 minutes in and ending around 4 1/2 minutes. This song reminds me of SINKADUS. "Singers & Swallows" one of the three bonus tracks is a top four. A chilled tune really with flute, a beat, upfront bass and more. Such a beautiful track. Some nice vocal melodies along with mellotron too.

"Ode On Dawn" is a classic and as I said in the intro I want more! Hopefully there is more archival material from this early incarnation of the band under the name LES FLEURS DU MAL. The percussion gallops along early on with the sound of wind as the flute arrives. The percussion ends but not the wind or flute. Vocals from Andreas before 1 1/2 minutes along with mellotron, bass, guitar and some brief spoken words. Flute, a beat and mellotron kick in too and what a great sound as it builds with that in your face bass. Vocals are back 5 minutes in as it settles with lots of mellotron and bass. A calm with wind before 7 1/2 minutes as the drums and bass build. Guitar joins in along with flute. So good! Vocals are back before 13 minutes but again like the first two times they don't last long as the guitar, bass and drums lead. So Swedish sounding with that mellotron. The percussion gallops away to end this stone cold classic.

So not counting the bonus tracks a solid 4 stars and an enjoyable release.

 LAShTAL by CURRENT 93 album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.42 | 5 ratings

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LAShTAL
Current 93 Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Technically the second release by David Tibet's CURRENT 93 as the first one was a split called "Mi-Mort" with Nurse With Wound, although Tibet only carried one of the four tracks so for my money, i'd call the LASHTAL EP the true debut. While CURRENT 93 has become known for their unique take on progressive neofolk, in the beginning they very much in the industrial ritual ambient world. This one was only released as a vinyl 12" in the 80s and has pretty much fallen into obscurity, dwarfed by CURRENT 93's prolific canon.

Straight out of Nurse With Wound and Psychic TV, Tibet's solo project which he called CURRENT 93 was a collective that was designed to focus on Tibet's obsessions, such as Christianity and Thelema, the organization started by Aleister Crowley and the earliest sounds of CURRENT 93 are constructed to honor the ritualistic sex magic that was a part of his practices. The electro-industrial pioneers Coil also sprang from this same wellspring of early experimental artists and John Balance participated in this EP and other the early dark tribal ambient albums of CURRENT 93. Fritz Hääman of 23 Skidoo is on this one.

LASHTAL (or more stylistically written LAShTAL) is a short mini-EP that only consists of three short tracks. The title track is a startling noisy affair with a screeching something beginning the chilling blood curdling-fest that continuously morphs into a collage effect of tribal drumming, ambient synthesizers, nonsensical or at least unintelligible vocal conversations and shrill noise loops that jump in and out of the scene. This particular track sounds a lot like what Coil would utilize on their freaked out noise trips so i would suspect that John Balance was the main mastermind behind this one.

"Salt" also enters a screeching noise and what follows is similar to the title track. A steady tribal drumbeat and some ambient noise. There is a faint flute in the background and more devilish vocalizations that occasional jump in. Although much like the title track, a little colder and detached with a collage effect of noise, disparate musical scatterings and the shrill industrial loop that pierces the soul like an ice pick.

"Caresse" is a detached drone noise and some "chirping" sounds with some irregular percussive beats. A random detached feel brings a darkened chamber devoid of hope to mind. Cold and sparse like the farthest reaches of space. LASHTAL is more like a 90s Coil album than what CURRENT 93 would become and not as sophisticated as the industrial collage soundscapes created on "Nature Revealed" or "Dogs Blood Rising" but certainly an entertaining listen if you are interested in the connecting material from Tibet's Psychic TV and Nurse With Wound days to his own CURRENT 93 project.

 Sunshine Day by JETHRO TULL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
2.71 | 17 ratings

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Sunshine Day
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is a very hard to get single, the debut single by the band. Unfortunately, this was accidentally credited to Jethro Toe and printed on the single as such. The A Side of the single was "Sunshine Day" which is a poppy song with Ian Anderson singing lead vocals and Mick Abrahams, who was Tull's original guitarist, singing background vocals. It was Abrahams that actually wrote the track. It's easy to tell that it is Ian's distinctive voice, but other than that, there isn't much semblance to the sound that Jethro Tull would later be famous for. No flute whatsoever. The same holds true for the B side called "Aeroplane". This is a slightly more interesting song, and it leans more towards a folksy-bluesy sound, but still remains on the pop side of things. Both songs are underwhelming and not memorable.

This is before JT had become well known and I don't believe the single did very well. Both songs are available on "20 Years of Jethro Tull" collection on Disc 1 as the last two tracks. Unless you are a collector, and probably want to spend a lot of money, you would be better off getting the collection which has many other rare gems on it. This single remains as only a curiosity or a collector's item, but the songs really aren't worth the time and expense unless you collect rare recordings and are willing to pay upwards to $900.00 for it. 2 stars....collector's only.

 Troll by LUMSK album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.94 | 9 ratings

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Troll
Lumsk Prog Folk

Review by wiz_d_kidd

4 stars It's funny how you can stumble across new music. Not long ago I was researching Hungarian bands after listening to Korai Orom and I came across the band After Crying. One of their tracks, Bevezetes, got me enamored with Gregorian chants and beautiful operatic vocals used in a prog setting. That led me to discover a genre referred to as Prog Viking Metal. Who knew there was such a thing? (Obvious answer: not me!)

The Viking Metal genre led me to the Norwegian band Lumsk, and their Troll album (among others). Troll is by far my favorite album of theirs, as it has a nice balance of metal, vocals, prog, and Norwegian folk influences.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a big fan of metal, but its usage on this album is not far from what can be found on many hard rock songs. It is largely absent from many tracks, but when it appears, it's not too harsh or overbearing. Enough, perhaps, for the metal enthusiasts, but not so much as to turn off those who shy away from it.

The vocals, all sung in Norwegian, include both female and male singers. The female vocals, provided by the classically trained, award-winning soprano, Stine Mari Langstrand, are soaring and operatic in some instances, softer and folksier in others. Absolutely engaging and beautiful, her vocals are the highlight of the album.

Male vocals are provided by Andreas Kjerkol Elvenes and Steinar 'rdal. They have a deep, dark characteristic, which at times reminds me of Deluge Grander (August in the Urals), but more melodic.

Throw in some Mellotron and Hammond organ here and there, good splashes of violin, and some interesting arrangements, and the music pushes into prog (folk) territory.

The songs on the album tell different stories about trolls and spirits in Norwegian folklore. A lyrical excerpt from the first track (translated to English) reads: "The N'kk, he sits a-playing. Can you hear the fiddle go? From the river you hear the melody. It's the evil that here reigns."

The track entitled "Allvis", in my opinion, is the best on the album. At one point, a Norwegian story teller (Stian Hovland Pedersen) chimes in, and I immediately picture a rugged, sea-faring Norwegian salt with a well-weathered face, replete with tattered cap and homemade pipe, relating a story of a troll he's encountered on one of his harrowing journeys. The whole piece is an addicting drug that I can't stop listening to. But that's just me...

This is an totally engaging album. Whether you like a little metal in your prog, or enjoy drop-dead gorgeous vocals, you're sure to enjoy this performance. A good starting point if you're unfamiliar with Lumsk, or Prog Viking Metal, I give it 4-1/2 stars (rounded down because I can't give a half-star, and I don't dole out perfect 5's very often).

 Picasso Portraits by MARTIN, JUAN album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.93 | 8 ratings

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Picasso Portraits
Juan Martin Prog Folk

Review by TenYearsAfter

5 stars My review # 150 : flamenco meets prog, goose bumps!

When traditional flamenco guitarists are breaking the rules and start searching for a musical adventure, it's high alert for those who are interested in exciting and captivating encounters between flamenco and prog. Just listen to Paco the Lucia and his trio with John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola, and his awesome prog folk with The Paco De Lucia Sextet. Or flamenco legend Sabicas with Joe Beck, featuring a young Tony Levin. But this review is about Juan Martin, a flamenco player who wanted to broaden his musical horizon and moved to England. He wrote books about the flamenco guitar technique and played with a wide range of rock musicians. The album Picasso Portraits is one of his many musical projects and in my opinion a masterpiece. In 1981 it was released on vinyl and in 1994 as a CD reissue, it sounds excellent, more clear and more depth than the LP, but unfortunately no bonustracks. And the booklet is very simple, with only the original information and a list of CD's you can buy from Juan Martin.

On this record Juan Martin has invited an impressive list of guest musicians, including drummer Ian Mosley (Trace and Marillion), bass player John Gustafson (Quatermass and Roxy Music), Simon Phillips (one of the best session drummers of all times) and keyboardist Tony Hymas (with Simon Phillips on the splendid Jeff Beck albums Wired and There And Back). The result is an exciting meeting between the world of the flamenco guitar and the progressive rock, like the Rock Andaluz.

You can enjoy awesome musicianship and captivating atmospheres.

Great interplay between the quick flamenco guitar runs and a dynamic rhythm-section, embellished by the typical flamenco handclapping (palmas) in Harlequin.

A sensitive duet from the flamenco guitar and the Memorymoog synthesizer and halfway there is a sensational break featuring sweeping drums, spectacular synthesizer sounds and rattling castannettes. This is followed by a mid-tempo beat with splendid runs on the guitar and a fine colouring by the keyboards in Desire Caught By The Tail.

A swinging and catchy rhythm with a funky bass, powerful drums and exciting rasgueado play (quick downward strokes from the nails on the guitar strings) in Three Musicians,

An exciting blend of typcial flamenco elements (based a 'bulerias', one of the more complex flamenco rhythms) and the technical sound of the progrock: handclapping and quick flamenco runs blended with a funky bass and pitchbend-driven Moog flights in The Aficionado.

My highlights are two very special sounding compositions.

First Girls Of Algiers (based upon a 'zambra mora', the most Arabian-influenced flamenco rhythm): it starts with swelling keyboards, drums and bass, then great interplay between the flamenco guitar, keyboards and rhytm- section, very dynamic. The tension between the spectacular Moog flights from Hymas and the quick runs on the flamenco guitar delivers a captivating climate, in the end there is a magnificent duel, goose bumps!

Second The Picador: a cheerful climate ' malaguenas - with catchy and powerful interplay from the flamenco guitar, rhythm-section and keyboards featuring sensational Moog runs, halfway the music slows down and then goes faster and faster until an abundant atmosphere.

On this album also a wonderful, very sensitive solo flamenco guitar piece (Weeping Woman) and a short but sparkling version of Asturias by famous Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz, entitled Self Portrait (great interplay between the flamenco guitar and the drums and bass).

A masterpiece, in every way, and how exciting: a virtuosic and adventurous flamenco guitarist plays with oustanding progrock musicians who joined Trace, Marillion, Jeff Beck and Roxy Music, the best of two contrasting worlds, you can't beg for more. So highly recommended, especially to the fans of jazzrock, Rock Andaluz and progressive folk.

Thanks to Hercules for his helpful PM!

 El Viaje by SUPAY album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 18 ratings

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El Viaje
Supay Prog Folk

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars The progressive folk rock formation Supay from Peru is a fascinating musical encounter between the world of the Andean folk with its soaring ethnic flutes and cheerful acoustic guitars and progressive rock, with its sumptuous keyboards and powerful electric guitars. Between 2004 and 2013 Supan only released three studio-albums, and one EP. I am delighted about their debut CD entitled Confusion from 2004, this review is about the successor El Viaje, from 2007. On El Viaje one of the two Andean woodwind instrument players (Alex Valenzuela) left and a second bass player named Renzo Danuser is added.

Despite the changes in the line-up Supay still sounds like a captivating blend of ethnic music and progressive rock. With players on the distinctive Andean woodwind instruments like the 'quena' (high pitched traditional flute), the 'zampona' (panflute) and 'quenacho' (lower pitched 'quena'), and with hot rocking guitars (on this album a bit more than on Confusion), often accompanied by a swirling organ. What an unique tension between these two worlds: the one moment you hear a mellow atmosphere with Andean flutes featuring that melancholical undertone, the other moment it's fiery and heavy electric guitar work with hints from Ritchie Blackmore. How thrilling, that British rock guitar legend, adopted by Andean progheads, on Peruvian heights!

The most exciting blend of folk and rock is the composition Resurreccion: an intro with Mellotron choirs and organ in combination with electric guitar, then Andean flutes with strong bass play and in the end fiery wah-wah drenched guitar and bombastic keyboards, what a breathtaking chemistry!

I hope this kind of 'harder-edged version of Los Jaivas' will be discovered by the progressive folk rock aficionados, it certainly deserves more recognition and attention (only two reviews in 11 years). To be honest, I still have to order their third album entitled Senales, from 2013 (only 9 ratings and no reviews).

 Secos & Molhados by SECOS & MOLHADOS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.21 | 26 ratings

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Secos & Molhados
Secos & Molhados Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I'm rating this the same as their followup but I slightly prefer this one, more consistent even if my favourite song by them is on the second album. Both albums are in the same style with lots of acoustic guitars along with male and female vocals. Again plenty of short tracks and a folky vibe but the songs are so meaningful and well done, I just love their sound. A three piece but with seven guests filling out their sound.

"Sangue Latino" opens with bass and drums as strummed guitar and female vocals arrive. She has such a nice voice. "O Vira" has some distorted guitar to start as it kicks into an uptempo, catchy sound with male and female vocals. Hard not to move to this one but it's far from a favourite. We get a guitar solo after a minute and accordion late.

"O Patrao Nosso De Cadia Dia" opens with bells ringing out before some warm acoustic guitar takes over then female vocals. Flute after a minute as the vocals step aside. Contrasts continue then bells end it. "Amor" has strummed acoustic guitar before the bass and drums kick in. Multi-vocals follow. Great sound! Love that bass too. Harmonica before 2 minutes followed by vocal melodies. The bass continues to be upfront. Nice.

"Primavera Nos Dentes" is one of my favourites. The piano tinkles away as the bass supports before the drums join in then guitar. They seem to jam here in a relaxed manner. Male vocals 3 minutes in. So good! "Assim Assado" opens with drums and percussion as the bass and flute join in with fuzzed out guitar. Female vocals then multi-vocals. It picks up after 1 1/2 minutes instrumentally as the vocals stop. It settles with female vocals. Flute and percussion end it.

"Mulher Barriguda" features drums and upfront bass before the piano and vocals kick in. A festive mood here as female vocals lead the way. Harmonica will come and go. Some vocal melodies late. "El Rey" has strummed acoustic guitar and female vocals. What a beautiful sound and we get some flute as well. "Rosa De Hiroshima" is mainly flute, acoustic guitar and female vocals.

Prece Cosmica" has a catchy sound with male and female vocals. Violin a minute in as electric guitar follows. A cool tune. "Rondo De Capitao" has these vocals and flute that almost trade off but they do overlap as we also get some picked acoustic guitar. "As Andorinhas" opens with rolling drums followed each time by outbursts of sound before female vocals and piano take over.

"Fala" is such a good closer with piano, female vocals, bass and a beat. I like the vocal melodies. Some adventerous sounds too with that violin, synths and orchestral movements. A great way to end this fantastic record.

Yes I am so into their sound that I forget I'm not into short tracks and folky music. What can I say, this must be magic.

 Secos & Molhados (II) by SECOS & MOLHADOS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.35 | 18 ratings

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Secos & Molhados (II)
Secos & Molhados Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Buoyed by the unprecedented success of their first album and subsequent tours, SECOS & MOLHADOS quickly entered the studio to record a follow up. Unfortunately, several rifts over finances emerged and the band split before the album was even released, never to reform in its classic incarnation. The album also sold very well and, even more remarkably, is vastly superior to the debut, with a more punchy production, an engaging breadth of styles, and complaisant playing and singing all round.

From the opening notes of "Tecer Mundo", with its lyrical clarity and succinct plucked guitars, the listener is captivated. A somewhat liberal borrowing in the vocalise section from CAT STEVENS' classic "Wild World" is discernible and comforting to those weaned on the singer songwriter era. "Medo Mulato" evinces an Eastern European flair, with lively piano and even accordion for a street wise ambiance. "Voo" is quite a departure, with furiously strummed electric and acoustic guitars, spacey keyboards and harmonica over irresistible Brazilian rhythms, guaranteed to appeal to fans of conventional "world music". Its abrupt ending is part of a pattern here, which seems neither intentional nor effective, almost as though conflicts in the studio cut the sessions short and the production guys and gals spliced together what they could. Still, this is a minor quibble. Even songs like "Angustia", not in a style I generally care for, are handled with restrained panache lacking on the earlier release.

Unlike on the first album, a series of diminutive cuts towards the latter half is wholly compelling, with "Caixinha De MĂşsica Do Joao", "O Doce E O Amargo" and "Preto Velho" cumulatively totaling barely 4 minutes while deserving of epic status, reflectively arranged with flutes, acoustic guitars, and piano, and intensely melodic. I might have kept them together as one but that is easy enough to arrange with today's technology.

Most reviews floating about the web seem to rate both original SECOS & MOLHADOS albums about equally. Given the unprecedented buzz generated less than a year earlier, I would argue that this effort had to be better just to avoid being stamped with the sophomore jinx, and that it is, by far. I'm glad I gave them a second chance.

 Secos & Molhados (II) by SECOS & MOLHADOS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.35 | 18 ratings

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Secos & Molhados (II)
Secos & Molhados Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Secos & Molhados' second album was much the same as the first in approach, with the major distinction being a little extra polish and sophistication in the mixture of traditional Spanish and Brazilian folk sounds with glam-art rock music. Ney Matogrosso takes vocal duties once again. It's only about 28 minutes long, so if you are after a long listen you may be disappointed - though if you wanted to listen to the debut and this one all in one sitting that's decidedly viable. Those who value quality over quantity will, in general, be quite pleased with what's on offer here, so long as they don't have something against foreign-language vocals (and I'd say that's more a problem with the listener than the music).
 Macalla by CLANNAD album cover Studio Album, 1985
4.32 | 15 ratings

BUY
Macalla
Clannad Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Macalla came out at the height of Clannad's commercial success - hence Bono's appearance here on the duet In a Lifetime. That song is, to be honest, a bit of a clunker, Bono's vocal approach not really suiting the more ethereal atmosphere of Clannad's music, but the rest of the album is a decent bridge between the pop world and the Celtic New Age material they had become known for. Essentially, synth-heavy 1980s soft pop takes the place of folk in the Clannad formula this time around, but it's soaked in enough New Age atmosphere and ancient spirituality that the end result still feels satisfying.
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