Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
The Flock - The Flock / Dinosaur Swamps CD (album) cover


The Flock


Eclectic Prog

3.61 | 8 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 396

"The Flock/Dinosaur Swamps" is a special compilation of The Flock that was released in 1972. This is an economic package that includes their eponymouos debut studio album "The Flock" released in 1969 and their second studio album "Dinosaur Swamps" released in 1971. It's a very interesting compilation because it includes the two debut studio albums released by The Flock. These are, in general, considered the two best studio albums released by The Flock.

Lasting only three years, The Flock might have ended up as nothing more than a footnote on the creative rock scene between 1965 and 1975. But, this guitar trio with a horn section was the first sighting of violinist Jerry Goodman, who'd go on to greater fame as a member of Mahavishnu Orchestra. So, Mahavishnu Orchestra fans might be interested in this double album reissued of the group's two first studio albums solely on the strength of the violinist's involvement.

Maybe not as impressive as Chicago, who emerged around the same time, The Flock was still an impressive band. But, this may explain why The Flock never achieved the commercial success of some other horn sectioned bands of the time. The eclecticism of The Flock meant that it was hard to pin down just what they wanted to be. Between their debut and the follow-up "Dinosaur Swamps" there's a lot of territory covered, often within the confines of an only single track.

As I've already reviewed these two albums previously on Progarchives, in a more extensive way, I'm not going to do it again. So, if you are interested to know, in more detail, what I wrote about them before, I invite you to read those my both reviews. However, in here, I'm going to write something about them in a more short way. So, of course, I'm not going to analyze them track by track, as I made before, but I'm only going to make a global appreciation of both albums.

"The Flock": "The Flock" is a great album from 1969, the year of the "horn band" explosion. The Flock is really a big band with the violin, the horns, the rhythm section and nice lead and backup vocals. Yet, this adept music is never overcrowded and never flashy. They actually make their tracks sound less complex than they are. This stuff will grab you in a first listen, but listen more. Listen to how good these guys were, in those times. The writing, arrangements and performances are viscerally punchy and while unequivocally dated, the music is fun in a guilty kind of way. And even if Chicago is more consistent songwriting rightfully led to them notching all the chart hits and raking in all the dough, The Flock deserves some credit for having carved a more unique, if significantly less successful style which remains largely without equal. The music is one huge melting pot, varying between rock, classical, jazz, blues, and even soul, often within the same song. Lyrically, "The Flock" has a lot of counter-culture stuff. The music is well planned no matter where they go. The vocal harmonies are well constructed. The songs are not jams, but spotlights that rotate over the members of the band. This is a great album indeed and I still listen to it, even in our days. So, this is great classic stuff.

"Dinosaur Swamps": "Dinosaur Swamps" shows the band more at home with their prog and jazz sensibilities, than its predecessor debut studio album. It's perhaps even more progressive, and completely bewildering. This is a very dense sounding album. Usually, Glickstein using both guitar and keyboards and Goodman playing at the same time, frequently the horns as well, both get a larger role effect into the album. The songs are in general very good. Still, the band seems to have too many musical ideas at the same time. I confess that I like very much of "Dinosaur Swamps". It represents a good surprise to me. It's better than I thought after my first listening of it. This is an album very fun despite it sounds too much to the 60's. I'm not really a great fan of the 60's, in general. By the other hand, it also has too much influences of country music, of which I'm not a great fan either. Still, the album is full of playful music. I'm sure these guys seemed to have fun doing what they do, which is a great thing. I think "Dinosaur Swamps" ranges several styles of music, probably too much on the same album. And maybe it even sounds too much dated too. However and despite all I said before, I think the final result is a very good album, a great collection of great songwriting and performances.

Conclusion: This reissue of The Flock's first two albums shows a band searching for an identity, at times finding it, and others coming up a bit empty. "The Flock" is ultimately a more successful album than "Dinosaur Swamps" is. It suffered from ultimately too ambitious and self-indulgent for its own good. And if "The Flock" was more eclectic, "Dinosaur Swamps" was positively more schizophrenic, with tinges of bluegrass/country, psychedelic musings with electronic treatments, flat-out funk, higher octane blues/rock and hints of Zappa-esque absurdity. However and despite the writing, arrangements and performances being perhaps dated, the music is fun in a guilty kind of way. Goodman may be the drawing card, but this reissue rescued from the obscurity a group that may not have achieved the success of its contemporaries, but over the course of this two albums they produced a diverse and interesting body of work.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this THE FLOCK review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.