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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Unprogged album cover
3.86 | 3 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Thunder in the hills - Dawson-Moody Project (4:04)
2. Golden eye - Dancing on stones (3:32)
3. At the crack of dawn - Wishbone Ash (3:12)
4. I will give my love an apple - Iona (4:26)
5. This changing face - Jadis (4:01)
6. Requiem for Cyril - Ezra (5:01)
7. Home grown - Damian Wilson (4:15)
8. Tap on top - Iris (4:35)
9. Hold on - Adam Wakeman (5:15)
10. I don't love you since you ate my dog - Barbara Cartland (3:54)
11. Take these tears - John Wetton (5:47)
12. Empire of lies - The Wishing Tree (5:28)
13. Walk on water - Clive Nolan (3:40)
14. Exordium (Abridged version) - Mike Stobbie (5:06)
15. Half way home - Faith (5:35)
16. Buffalo man - The Flower Kings (5:25)

Total Time: 73:16

Line-up / Musicians

Per track listing

Releases information

CD Voiceprint records HUDROK 001CD (1996)

Thanks to easy livin for the addition
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(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Barbara Cartland doesn't love you since you ate her dog

"Unprogged", as the name might suggest, is an unplugged project sponsored by the Classic Rock Society. This was their second release, the first being a live recording from the society's home in Rotherham, UK. The sleeve notes record that the idea for an unplugged project came from a performance by Gary Chandler and Martin Orford of Jadis of that band's song "This changing face". The performance, which took place at a progressive rock festival at Whitchurch in Hampshire, UK was part of an acoustic set by the duo. By all accounts, the unplugged version was an outstanding success. Martin Hudson of the Classic Rock society (who's Honorary president is Rick Wakeman, and who also wrote the introductory sleeve notes to this album) decided there and then that the society's next project should be an "Unprogged" album.

The album consists of a cross section of established bands and musicians, and other virtually unknown artists. The opening track is by one of the latter, the Dawson Moody Project. "Thunder in the hills" is a fine showcase for the undoubted talents of this duo, but it is rather lacking in direction or a decent hook.

"Golden eye" by Dancing on Stones was written as a submission for use in the James Bond film of that name. Although it has has a passing similarity to the Tina Turner song which was eventually chosen, its appearance here seems to be as far as it got. While the band name will be unfamiliar, the line up is on paper almost identical to that of Strangers on a Train. Closer inspection however reveals that Clive Nolan is in charge of orchestration, his place at the keyboards being filled by Dave Sparrow.

The Wishbone Ash contribution came about largely in order for Andy Powell to fulfil a commitment he gave to the album's compiler. It is a pleasant but disposable acoustic guitar instrumental, along the lines of "Leaf and Stream". The following "I will give my love an apple" by Iona maintains the soft acoustic mood, Joanne Hogg's vocals being somewhere between Judy Collins and Sandy Denny.

The song which led to the album, "This changing face" by Jadis, or more specifically Gary Chandler and Martin Offord of the band (at the time) is a favourite of fans of Jadis. The acoustic version here contrasts perfectly with the harder band version which originally appeared on their second EP.

Ezra's "Requiem for Cyril" is a strange mixture of ambient instrumental and Gregorian chant, a bit like the music of Enigma but without the harsh dance beat. Damian Wilson's name may not be familiar, but he has worked with Rick Wakeman, Threshold, Arjen Lucassen's Stream of Passion and Shadowland among others. "Home grown" which is included here predates his first solo album (released on Arena's Verglas label) by several years. Anyone familiar with the work of Ayreon will recognise the voice straight away.

French guitarist Sylvain Gouvernaire teams up with Ian Mosley and Pete Trewavas of Marillion for his project named Iris, the track "Tap on top" being taken from their album "Crossing the desert". The song represents the instrumental project well, the emphasis being very much focused on the guitar skills of the Frenchman.

Damian Wilson returns to provide vocals on Adman Wakeman's "Hold on". To Wakeman's credit, he avoids simply mimicking his father here, but the song is prosaic and dull. The wonderfully titled "I don't love you since you ate my dog" by Barbara Cartland (no not the novelist) features IQ and Jadis bassist John Jowitt. The song itself cannot hope to match up to its billing, but it's a pleasant if surprisingly downbeat humourless piece.

The legendary John Wetton contributes the non-album B side "Take these tears", a working man's touching conversation with his son, which could have fitted in well on an early Asia album. If this album is worth obtaining for one track, this is it, one of Wetton's great compositions. Incidentally, the sleeve notes list the many bands Wetton's has been a member of, which I was surprised to see included Wishbone Ash.

"Empire of lies" is listed as being by The Wishing Tree but is effectively a Steve Rothery (Marillion) solo project. Vocals are provided by Hannah Stobart, immediately distinguishing the music from Rothery's day job. The song is taken from the project's only album to date "Carnival of souls". It is slightly darker than the other tracks on that album, with some fine if brief instrumental passages.

The prolific Clive Nolan pops by with a rare solo offering entitled "Walk on water". Closer examination however reveals that it was in fact first recorded by his pre- Shadowland project The Cast, which included in their line up Karl Groom who has worked with Nolan on various projects and Fudge Smith who went on to work with Nolan in Pendragon. The track is a bland upbeat pop rock piece, of historical interest only. Mike Stobbie is said in the sleeve notes to have been a founding member of Pallas, although by the time of this album's release 1996 he had not actually recorded with them. Although the notes go on to state that "this will be corrected in 1997" history appears to contradict this. The keyboards instrumental "Exordium" which appears here indicates that Stobbie could have made a major contribution to the music of Pallas, his classically influenced piano and synthesiser piece showing that his talents have been criminally under-recognised.

Guitarist Karl Groom appears to be involved in nearly as many projects as Clive Nolan. Here he turns up again with Faith on their power ballad "Half way home". While the track highlights the talents of singer Tina Riley, Groom finds space to add one of his distinctive solos. The inclusion of a track by the Flower Kings to close the album may seem surprising, even out of place. "Buffalo man" is an otherwise unavailable song written by Roine Stolt in 1987, and recorded by the band around the time of their "Retropolis" album exclusively for the Classic Rock Society. Even with their notoriously diverse range of styles it is not really typical of the band, having a funky beat and a Doobie Brothers feel.

In all, this is a wonderfully diverse and interesting collection of songs. The fact that so many bands and artists have willingly contributed to the compilation, sometimes offering rarities from their catalogue, speaks volumes for the status of the Classic Rock Society.

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