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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 | 2666 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.33 | 2054 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.16 | 1121 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.18 | 260 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACCHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.42 | 55 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.22 | 154 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.13 | 494 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.15 | 259 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.12 | 432 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.14 | 251 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.16 | 177 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.58 | 28 ratings
LUCAS
Araujo, Marco Antonio
4.04 | 965 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.07 | 254 ratings
THE HAZARDS OF LOVE
Decemberists, The
4.14 | 107 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.02 | 1156 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.14 | 98 ratings
EZEKIEL
Itoiz
4.01 | 905 ratings
HEAVY HORSES
Jethro Tull
4.00 | 926 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull
4.09 | 119 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

THE WATERS OF SWEET SORROW
Midwinter
MOTHER TWILIGHT
Faun Fables
AMETSAREN BIDEA
Errobi
GENTLE SOUL
Gentle Soul, The

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Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Nuevo Mesias by FLOR DE LOTO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.82 | 18 ratings

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Nuevo Mesias
Flor de Loto Prog Folk

Review by poito

3 stars Short and easy. Here the band finally did a move. The sound is different, less folk flavor, rock almost gone, slower pace, some keys going to the front, it is definitely for a different audience, I would say the band has grown old, and a bit lazier, they took a mainstream detour if you like. Again, you won't find much new, the music is still well crafted, but there is a general feeling of deja vue, not in the band's production, but from out there. Contrary to the balance of its predecessor IMPERIO DE CRISTAL, there are some fillings here, but there are also some highs, check Creados del Fuego. These good themes are a bit better than before, but there is no homogeneity in the creative work and, well, skipping themes while listening is not good. Three and half rounded down.
 Imperio De Cristal by FLOR DE LOTO album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.85 | 31 ratings

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Imperio De Cristal
Flor de Loto Prog Folk

Review by poito

4 stars Short and easy. From its debut album the band has evolved little musically, probably because they began recording late, when they had already a long road in their shoulders. Prog-rock with a small traditional Andes touch (no more celtic bits, good!). But here they finally sound mature (production?) and display instrumental mastery, plus, they venture with more complex compositions than in former albums. The ideas come out more fluent and the musicianship is so good. Maybe, this is the first album in which the flute stops doing what is expected in a folk-prog band and dares adding music to the ensemble. There are no highs, but at least half a dozen themes are great (check Mar Amargo, to mention one), easy listening, you may play them back and again without bore. There is nothing extraordinary, but the music traps you, it is moderately fast, rocky, varied and highly spirited.
 Kauan by TENHI album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.53 | 18 ratings

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Kauan
Tenhi Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Eclecticism can woo you with best of breed haunches where every cut offers its own distinct flavor, like the vildebeest, or it can tuck you in under its uniform quilt from which you are both unwilling and unable to emerge until its promise is consummated. Of course, even though each panel absorbs you a little more, before you can be released you are primed for another night of staring emptily at the stars from beneath it. Such is the effect of this mammoth debut release of Finnish neo folk group TENHI.

Simply arranged with strummed acoustic and electric guitars in generally slow tempos; drearily resigned vocals lurking beneath an already sombre surface; occasional morose violin effected in a Northeastern European style, and elegant synthesizer washes, the austere and stark beauty of "Kauan is a triumph of resiliency. It scratches several itches at once, in places that may have been ignored for years, nay, millenia. While nothing here could be said to be entirely distinctive on its own, its 52 minute bearskin nuzzle imparts what poseurs haven't dared to dream, let alone live. It might be facile to attribute this authenticity to the bleak wintry cycle of far northern climes, but if the snowshoe fits....

Influences like PINK FLOYD are in evidence in the more plodding sections, but the sound is closer in spirit to bands like PROMETHEAN from Norway, especially on the almost vivacious "Revontulet" and the symphonic low wattage power ballad "Hallavedet". I suspect the band is also versed in local traditional folk. Smigeons of doom and metal lurk but without the growls and decibels, leaving an essence that few have distilled, and I hear echoes of early medieval tinged Goth a la "Tears" by STRAWBS or "When I was on Horseback" by STEELEYE SPAN. The last couple of tracks are more brocaded and unstructured, which might appeal more to some here but come across as a few ideas that turned into pumpkins even though such transformation was not stipulated in the original bargain.

I have listened to the subsequent TENHI albums and find this to be by far their best, as it's a unified work that is adventurous, accessible, and infused with the sage melancholy of the elders.

 Minstrel In The Gallery by JETHRO TULL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.00 | 926 ratings

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Minstrel In The Gallery
Jethro Tull Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review Nş 53

The title of the album refers to a minstrel performing in a gallery. A minstrel was a medieval troubadour who performed songs whose lyrics told stories about distant places and about real or imaginary historical events. They created their own tales or memorized and embellished the tales of others. A minstrel's gallery is a great hall of the castles or manor houses where the minstrels sung. So, the dominant theme on this Jethro Tull's album was an Elizabethan minstrel piece of music with electric and acoustic sounds in a rock and a folk musical context.

Relatively to the line up of the band it's the same of their last albums. After the end of this Jethro Tull's musical period, the bassist Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond will quit the band and be replaced by John Glascock. As Ian Anderson wrote, he returned to his first love, the painting. On the other hand, for the 1975 live tour, David Palmer, who had long been the band's orchestra arranger and, in my humble opinion, he did a great job on this album, officially will join the group on keyboards and synthesizers. So, the line up on the album is Ian Anderson (vocals, flute and acoustic guitar), Martin Barre (electric guitars), John Evan (piano and organ), Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (bass guitar and string bass) and Barriemore Barlow (drums and percussion).

After a failed attempt to pander to the critics, Jethro Tull returns doing what they know to do better, which is playing progressive rock music. The Anderson's lyrics show an introspective and cynical air, possibly due to the Anderson's recent divorce from his first wife and the pressures of touring, joined with the frustrations of writing for this new work and recording the album in Monte Carlo.

'Minstrel In The Gallery' is their eighth studio album and was released in 1975. It has seven tracks. The first track is the title track song 'Minstrel In The Gallery'. It's a very beautiful musical composition which combines acoustic and hard rock music in a very balanced way. It's one of the two stronger and most energetic songs on the album. The second track 'Cold Wind To Valhalla' is a song that transports us to the Viking medieval imaginary. It's a more acoustic song that combines the acoustic and the electric parts very well. It's one of my favourite songs from the album. The third track 'Black Satin Dancer' is a very romantic song with a very original tune. It's, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful songs on the album and represents one of the best examples of the superior Palmer's musical orchestrations. The fourth track 'Requiem' is a slow acoustic ballad, featuring only Anderson's singing and playing acoustic guitar, Hammond's bass and a small string orchestra backing them. 'Requiem' is an emotional song, beautiful and sad at the same time, which doesn't surprise, due to its name. The fifth track 'One White Duck/Nothing At All' has some similarity with the previous theme 'Requiem'. It's a very beautiful and light acoustic piece of music, very well orchestrated and with great acoustic guitar working. Both are really two great songs. The sixth track 'Backer St. Muse' is the epic song on the album and is divided in four parts: 'Pig Me And The Whore', 'Nice Little Tune', 'Crash Barrier Waltzer' and 'Mother England Reverie'. It's the second stronger and most energetic song on the album, after 'Minstrel In The Gallery'. 'Backer St. Muse' reminds me very much 'Thick As A Brick' and 'A Passion Play', not only in its musical structure and in some of their musical passages, but also because it's quite extensive with slightly less than 17 minutes. Probably, this is one of my three favourite songs of Jethro Tull. Only 'Thick As A Brick' and 'A Passion Play' are better than this one. The seventh track 'Grace' is the shortest song on the album. It's a very pleasant and short acoustic song, which despite be short, ends the album with a great style.

So, we may consider this album divided in two distinct parts. The first and the sixth tracks, which correspond to the lengthiest tracks, are more electric and heavy than the rest of the album. They definitely can be considered the two best tracks on the album. The remaining five themes are more acoustic but they maintain also a very high quality level.

Conclusion: 'Minstrel In The Gallery' has all the classic elements of a great Jethro Tull's album. It has good lyrics, the inimitable Anderson's voice, wonderful acoustic and electric parts and finally the sophistication and the lush orchestration of Palmer. 'Minstrel In The Gallery' isn't for sure the best Jethro Tull's album but is undoubtedly one of their best and the most peaceful too. For me, it's also without any doubt, the most beautiful piece of music released by them. 'Minstrel In The Gallery' is the most acoustic Jethro Tull's album and is also, in my humble opinion, one of their most progressive albums too, into all their musical career. So, we are again in the presence of another masterpiece of the group. If you don't have this album yet you're missing out one of the cornerstones of the progressive rock music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Carol of Harvest by CAROL OF HARVEST album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.98 | 61 ratings

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Carol of Harvest
Carol Of Harvest Prog Folk

Review by fudgenuts64

5 stars I was first recommended the album on Steve Hoffman's music forum a few months ago. Upon first listen I knew this was something special, and I like to try to review albums that might not be particularly well known. Anyway, this is a prog folk album similar in vein to Renaissance, Camel, and Fairport Convention meshed into one. Beate Krause was 16 years old at the time of the recording, and sounds very mature for age and being German. On a track by track level, we've got two prog epics, a psych folk pop song, and two more pure folk songs. The album starts with Put On Your Nightcap, a dark, dreary piece that begs attention from the listener, but at the same times can easily wash over you due to it's length. With that said, it's a rather well constructed epic that goes through multiple mood changes while keeping the overall feeling very dark. The other musicians here can play very well, each getting to show off what they can do with their respective instrument on this track. Great track overall.

Next up is You and Me, a regular folk song. It doesn't do much for me, but it's so short and sounds okay enough it doesn't hurt the album. After that, we get the second "big" song on the album, Somewhere At The End of the Rainbow. This one is very much a psych pop track, with a catchy hook but that brooding mood captured earlier still is here in full force. Which leads nicely into Treary Eyes, a stripped down folk piece that succeeds in retaining the records mood and gives a feeling of depression that lingers through the album the entire way through. Fantastic song and shows that this band could definitely work with the less is more mentality well.

The last one, Try A Little Bit, is a 10 minute epic that almost feels like the cycle being broken. It's still dark, but Beate is rather confident in her singing and the refrain is almost a cry for breaking the cycle, to "try a little bit" as the title says. It all builds up to the symphonic closing section which is perfect for all the tension and sadness from the prior tracks. A very dreary album, depressive, but incredibly beautiful folk prog written by Axel Schmierer. A shame we didn't get any more records from this group (well, not with this lineup anyway) but as it is this is a long forgotten gem of progressive folk that needs to be in your collection. Maybe closer to psych folk, but that's a good thing. Five stars.

 Mice And Rats In The Loft by JAN DUKES DE GREY album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.16 | 177 ratings

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Mice And Rats In The Loft
Jan Dukes De Grey Prog Folk

Review by MyDarling95

5 stars Well hello! The first time I listened to this record I swear I was freaked, you know this thing is strange, challenging and complex. After some listens I could really see what it was. Most people compare this one to Comus' First Utterance, but the only reason they do that is because neither Mice And Rats nor First Utterance can be compared to any record. They are completely unique, there is not even an exact genre or label that could describe them (apart form prog folk, many people call them "acid folk"). Man they cannot be even compared with the other albums of the same band. But hey we are talking about Jan Dukes de Grey isn't it? I adore this album. I simply love the way this album is made. I mean, we get to experience and know the band in three different styles, and the three of them are amazing! Sun Symphonica is the more symphonic side of the band. Just see the instruments they use on it: flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, I could swear I also hear a bassoon and a cello. Derek Noy's voice is dreadful, but I think this spices the record up, just like Comus vocals (could Noy sing as he does on purpose?). I love the last part with vocals, is like an intense reprise of the first instrumental part. This 19 minute suite predates Supper's Ready, Close To The Edge and Thick As a Brick, so we get a plus! And so we move on. Call Of The Wild is their folky song, and what a song this is! Acoustic guitar is at the top, there are not so many voices and drums arrive late, but still this is another mindblow, such playing skills, and there is nice flute at the end. This could be my favorite song on the album. The title track is the last one, and it is their "heavy" psych side. We get more electric guitar on this one, the song repeats a theme on and on, but this is really good! Vocals arrive periodically, and some different parts arrive to cut the theme for a while, but still returns, mand I could listen to this all day! This is something you have to get now.
 Tales of Power by MAGICFOLK album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Tales of Power
Magicfolk Prog Folk

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars When trekking through the various labyrinths and mazes that litter the progressive sub-genres scene, the weary musical traveller can easily get lost among all the different styles, even within a specific group, let alone the entire cosmic prog universe. Thousands of bands to choose from worldwide, many espousing their own experimental take on traditional music. As I have mentioned before, the tradition of haunting music from Celtic, British, Norse, Breton, Hungarian and Slavic sources have shaped classical and modern music since the dawn of time, often legendary (read: fairy) tales of love, courage and magic. Thanks to my admiration and adulation for British musician Colin Mold, whose albums have soothed many a sad night's pains, as well as always have an affinition for medieval- tinged folk music, I was tempted to explore Magicfolk, a loose group of merry musicians that Colin often plays with. The reward was 'Saltarello', a rather stunning release, which ended up #2 on my top 30 prog album list for 2015, not exactly a poor way for prog by any stretch, actually quite the contrary. A thoroughly exhilarating voyage into the folky marshlands, windswept torrential rains, opaque and dense rolling fog and the sweet smell of nature's virtue. Yes, bands like Norway's Shine Dion, British band Iona, Germany's Ougenweide, Italy's Gian Castello as well as Malicorne and Seven Reizh (France) are just some names of incredible prog-folk that begs to be adored.

The distinctively unique 'Call Time' with its tilted meter, barking dog, growly guitar riff and suddenly exploding chorus 'a beautiful day to say goodbye', a dash of guileless flute from Amber Curtis and Michelle Glover's distinctive voice, all in all a prefect wake up call. A lovely and breezy electric folk intro to more great stuff.

'Nagual' is where things get really serious, a nearly 7 minute romp that exudes passion that stretches to both extremes, sweet redolence on one end and raunchy rock guitar to finish off the unaware listener. The delicate flute weaves simplicity and beauty once again, daring one to 'never leave'. Michelle breathes passion into her sweet lament , telling another story to keep dreaming, cascades of mellotron come through the valley, bursting forth with unescapable abandon, as the sizzling 'eyes like a snake' guitars scorch along in its overtly bluesy tone, I thought it was Eddie van Halen for a sec, what a surprise! Thoroughly impressive.

Sounding like a bloody traditional tune where elves dance ,'The Faery Ring' is your typical British folk song, pastoral and colorful, a kaleidoscope of emotions expressed by both the lyrics, narration, the hushed voices and the intense instrumental display. Male and female voices duel for the spotlight, ever so convincingly, flute dabbling once again, as the story unfolds. Pastoral, medieval and ethereal music.

Piano takes over the stage with ornate delicacy and bravado, hints of romanticism and a slight bluesy feel, the arrangement evolves with voice and rhythm section gently pushing along a deliriously celestial chorus. 'Lion Tamer' hypnotizes and enthralls, Michelle in particular coming through with conviction. A strident guitar solo from lead soloist Lee Morant, who shines brightly throughout the disc.

Another lovely piece is 'the Desert Song', where the mystical female voice is hauntingly mysterious and vaporous, loaded with forlorn melancholia and simple structure where massive acoustic guitars, flute and gentle percussion shuffle that languorous voice along. The shrill guitar hits all the nerve endings, nothing too technical but heavy on emotion and buzz. Swooping orchestrations dominate and a certain feeling of arid escapism pervades the whole. Amazing!

'Into the Blue' is a shocker, harmonica bellowing a more countrified air, something American-sounding that the Brits do traditionally very well, a burping Matt Gamble bass , honky-tonk piano, and shuffling beat from drummer extraordinaire Geoff Charlton.

The crowning track is the amazing 'Dragonspell', another 7 minute affair that exudes all the essential ingredients that make Magicfolk, well, magic! , complex simplicity, instrumental elegance, classic folklore standards punched along by buzzing rock guitar duel, another barrage of succulent solos, full of energy and pace, tortuous and audacious. An acoustic mid-section quietens down the mood, gently windswept and pensive, giving Michelle her chance to shine. A masterful piece of prog-folk, this is.

'Wiccan's Dance' suggests a wider variety of assorted instruments, such as sax, accordion and violin and featuring Colin Mold on smoking lead guitar, a nice little jam fest where everyone gets to burn down the barn door and have a jolly good time! Jazz, rock and folk blowout that is just plain fun.

The tempestuous 'Death & the Maiden' is a shorter rocker, almost gothic in inspiration, very haunting and driven, guitars abuzz with little restraint, until a docile flute calms things down albeit only briefly as the storm then rages on once more. Axemen Stephen Scott and Lee Morant carve hard, slashing furiously.

Inspired by a poem 'the Last Oracle', the swirling symphonism of 'Winged Bull' is glaringly attractive and keyboard 'laden, narration, harp all combining to elevate the arrangement, giving Colin the opportunity to shine on lead guitar with a positively spiraling solo spot. Guest violinist Dorothea Bergman also gives a dazzling performance, a real sensorial expression of devotion and passion. Definite highlight!

Finale comes in the form of the diminutive folk ditty 'Dweller', another chance for Colin to show off his violin skills, the flute also takes on the bulk of the melody before gently fading into the mist. A wave of hand and see you again.

There is little doubt that 'Tales of Power' show the building blocks of what would become their next album, the afore mentioned 'Saltarello', which at the price of repeating myself is a true prog-folk masterpiece. Variety, short and epic tracks, a truly nice mix. I would urge fans to hunt down Saltarello and if enchanted like I was, move on to purchase their back catalog.

4 stories of energy.

 Gryphon by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.31 | 157 ratings

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Gryphon
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by Replayer

4 stars Gryphon's eponymous debut album is not rock, and is technically regressive rather than progressive. This is due to the fact that the music is played on acoustic instruments and largely consists of traditional English Renaissance/folk songs.

The album finds Gryphon as an acoustic quartet, consisting of Royal College of Music classmates Richard Harvey (recorder, crumhorn, organ, harpsichord, mandolin) and Brian Gulland (crumhorn, bassoon, recorder, vocals), together with Graeme Taylor (acoustic guitar, recorder, vocals) and David Oberle (drums, percussion, vocals). Oberle used an ingenious combination of toms, bongos, gongs, cymbals and even a kettle instead of a standard drum kit.

Despite the band's reputation as medieval-prog band, much of the album's music originates from the Renaissance and Baroque era: Kemp's Jig is a 17th century tune named after Shakesperean actor William Kempe (died 1603), The Three Butchers is a 17th century ballad, Pastime With Good Company is a well-known song composed by a young Henry VIII. Three Jolly Butchers with its references to shooting also seems to be a Renaissance song. Actually, all songs with vocals use modern English.

All songs are rather short, with only The Unquiet Grave surpassing five minutes in length, but this also means that none of the songs overstay their welcome. About half of the songs are instrumentals, interestingly including Pastime With Good Company, which does have lyrics. The songs with vocals range from melancholy (Sir Gavin Grimbold and The Unquiet Grave) to amusingly raunchy. Save for three original instrumentals (two of which are very short), the album is comprised of cover songs.

As such, this debut is more of a showcase of the band's instrumental prowess rather than its compositional abilities. Estampie, in particular, reaches an impressive tempo. Nevertheless, the band's own composition Juniper Suite is very strong and foreshadows Red Queen to Gryphon Three.

Whether you will enjoy this album depends on your appreciation of Medieval/Renaissance/Baroque/acoustic folk music. For my part, I enjoy it very much, leading to a solid four star rating.

 Medusa: En vivo en Buenos Aires by FLOR DE LOTO album cover Live, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Medusa: En vivo en Buenos Aires
Flor de Loto Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars I learn that this band is a notable Peruvian Prog-Folk group with six studio albums since 2005; when I received the CD/DVD to be reviewed (elsewhere), I thought FLOR DE LOTO to be a relatively new hard rock act from Argentina, as I tried to read the texts in Spanish... Medusa offers a 71-minute concert from Buenos Aires, dating from November 2014.

The music heard here is mainly hard rock with some slight folk nuances and even slighter prog elements. I'm not much into hard rock myself, so the whole set sounds pretty much the same from start to end into my ears. The song-oriented compositions are averagely rather fast and heavy with the usual wall of electric guitar. There's also a female [background] vocalist on stage, but her role is amazingly minimal. Even in the one and only track ('Desapareciendo') to feature her "voz principal", the totally unspectacular voice of frontman Alonso Herrera pushes forward.

The sonic quality is quite good while the visual side of the DVD is somewhat modest, concerning both the lights and other stage settings and the camera work. The six bonus videos feature the same songs, either as regular, amateurish gig clips or being more or less ruined by clumsy editing with colour and mirror image effects. I bet the studio albums reveal the band's progressive and folk music leanings much better. The flutes and charango guitar played by one member are colouring the sound very nicely here and there while the songs themselves are basically all too commonplace Western hard rock. 2˝ stars rounded up for good digipak design.

 Whistling Jigs To The Moon  by FLIBBERTIGIBBET album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.50 | 6 ratings

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Whistling Jigs To The Moon
Flibbertigibbet Prog Folk

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There is something magical and surreal with folk music. Spanning across ages, both in time and mind, it feels like the past is speaking to you. I have been an avid fan of folk since early days and continue to be enthralled by the genre. I should make it clear that I am mostly talking about british folk, though I appreciate the genre of whatever origin. It's just that I, by way of bands such as Kinks and The Who and that lot, have a certain undying love of all british. It's history, culture and in particular musical expression.

From those rain and wind beaten isles comes great albums from Steeleye Span, Pentangle (and all who participated in that group), John Martyn, Fairport Convention, Barry Dransfield, Nigel Mazlyn and the list could go on forever. Sort of. I suppose what I like the most with folk is the sombre, historic tales of events, not seldom quite violent, such as in the classic 'Matty Groves'. Having now laid bare my love of the genre I need to get on with the album at hand.

The sole album by Flibbertigibbet is one of rarity. The name is wonderful and the cover makes you want to crawl inside it and live there. The album has everything going for it. But once again obscurity rears it's head and let's out not a great roar but a somewhat muffled belch, preceded by what could be understood as a yelp of triumph. On the surface there is really nothing wrong. The musicianship is competent and the vocals are very fine indeed. It all comes down to the material itself and how it is interpreted. 'The blackleg miner' is played in blindening speed, which takes the edge of this dramatic song and that is a shame. The remaining tracks are good, especially 'Mariner blues' which really is a top notch song. One could summarize this album as being good but not outstanding in any way. There are so many other, greater albums to invest time and money in.

Musically it can be likened to Trees, Fairport, Steeleye and many of the classic folk groups of the era, that is the 1970 's. Flibbertigibbet never reaches the heights of any of those groups finest moments. Instead it simmers more than boils with excitement. Nothing out of the ordinary, good but not the least essential.

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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
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
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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
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BRECHE Canada
PAUL BRETT United Kingdom
BRÖSELMASCHINE Germany
BUCIUM Romania
TIM BUCKLEY United States
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CÁLIX Brazil
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ESPERS United States
ETERNIDAD Argentina
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WATER INTO WINE BAND United Kingdom
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WERWOLF (WEREWOLF ART ROCK) Germany
ROBIN WILLIAMSON United Kingdom
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WOVEN HAND United States
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