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Gnidrolog Lady Lake album cover
4.08 | 415 ratings | 42 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Could Never Be a Soldier (11:35)
2. Ship (6:41)
3. A Dog with No Collar (2:08)
4. Lady Lake (8:50)
5. Same Dreams (2:46)
6. Social Embarrassment (6:32)

Total Time 38:32

Bonus track on 2012 remaster:
7. Baby Move On (4:08)

Line-up / Musicians

- Colin Goldring / vocals, rhythm guitar, recorder, tenor horn
- Stewart Goldring / lead guitar
- John Earle / soprano, tenor & baritone saxophones, flute, lead vocals (6)
- Peter Cowling / bass, cello
- Nigel Pegrum / percussion, flute, oboe

- Charlotte Fendrich / piano (5)
- Colney Heath Male Choir (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Bruce Pennington

LP RCA Victor ‎- SF 8261 (1972, UK)

CD RCA ‎- BRC-29212 (1991, Japan)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2326 (2012, UK) 24-bit remaster by Ben Wiseman with a bonus track from 1972, previously unreleased

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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GNIDROLOG Lady Lake ratings distribution

(415 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

GNIDROLOG Lady Lake reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars As to their sound, on the strong and tight rhythm section an alluring high tone vocal is supported by the melody of flute and saxophone. And they seem to put more emphasis on whole band ensemble than each solo playing. Particularly the flute is played with enthusiastic intensity, and the saxophone is rather functioning to lead the ensemble, giving the strong proceeding vector. Guitar also takes some solo part but it is better utilized as an accompaniment with compare to the wind. The ensemble of vocal and saxophone may remind you of the sound of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR but the voice is quite different. GNIDROLOG has very unique and brilliant voice. Another small resemblance to VDGG is the fact that saxophone is more pushed to the front line of the ensemble than guitar. The album has a real variety of musical styles. They are the very melodious masterpiece, the lyrical and acoustic song with good arrangement, and the very aggressive song with some taste of maniac feeling. Some of the songs hint at the sound of KING CRIMSON in their mid era, the lyricism and insecurity that causes your uneasiness. In most of them we may say the color of the music is painted mainly by saxophone ensemble. And in some songs guitar successfully pinpoints it with very good phrasing. Consequently the album is one of the masterpieces of the 70's that give you the feeling of the beauty of destruction. Although there is little amount of playing keyboard (just piano), the sound of ensemble is really colorful thanks to cello, flute and other wind instruments. You must be really impressed with this fact because you may be soaked in the synthesizer sound of the 90's."
Review by Sean Trane
5 stars Superbly interesting second album from a welsh band, yet to be discovered by the vast majority of the proghead. This is a full blown blues-based prog with folk and jazz tinglings , with fairly aggressive ambiances (from VDGG, Flute from J Tull ) . T he voice reminds me of the sadly forgotten prog band named AUDIENCE ( who recorded four album between 69 & 72 for the Charisma label) , and the music is a cross of the above mentioned groups, Blodwyn Pig and KC and sometimes Gentle Giant.The saxes , flutes and cellos parts makes this album rather unusual and rather original IMO, and the art work is rather spooky an aspect also present at times in the music. There is also a newcomer in a second reed player and it increases the musical interplay within the band.

Soldier is a real gem , the title track are immediate pleaser to an accomplished prog addict , Ship taking some time to win you over but one must be patient with Social Embarassment as the finale is probably one of the more violent and weirdest momemt on a prog album and it is the only number not to be sung by Goldring. The two shorter numbers are of the same superb standard, one of them having a piano , the only time you will hear KB in that band. The solid sound and ferocious singing may set back some people, but ultimately , this will satisfy the most demanding proghead. Start with this one as the debut is even more difficult, but just as loveable.

Definitely worth the spin , the hunt and the investment.

Review by The Hemulen
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This 1972 album (a very good year for prog) defines the term "lost classic". Powerful, complex, packed with emotive playing, distinctive vocals, interesting instruments and clever arrangements, it's wuite frankly nothing short of wall-to-wall genius - symphonic prog at it's very very best. Why then, are they never ever mentioned? Lord knows, but they never made it big and as a result will forever remain an obscure footnote in the history of progressive rock. Footnotes don't get much better than this though.

Opening with the powerful (if slightly dated) "I Could Never be a Soldier", the Goldring brothers and their assembled chums proceed to deliver 42 minutes of dark, soulful symphonic prog with touches of folk, jazz and so on. You know the drill. When was the last time you heard a prog album that only had influences from one genre?

With a wide base of instruments (saxophones, flute, oboe, recorder, horn, plus the usual guitardrumsbass combo) from which to weave their compositions, there's a lot of variation in the mix, which is a wonderful boon. Add to that the fact that the pieces are all very original in their style (one can compare to Van der Graaf, Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull if you like, but this was 1972 not 78 so I feel that most similarities are somewhat coincidental) and already you've got two brilliant reasons to seek out this masterpiece. If you really need a third. just look at that cover. F*ck Roger Dean! THAT'S proggy cover art!

I wish I had something bad to say about this album for the sake of balance but I really really don't. Some accuse the two short acoustic pieces of being inferior, or worse "filler". I disagree. I think they're beautiful additions and act as helpful interludes to allow the ears some recovery time before the next onslaught of wailing saxes, pounding drums and aggressive guitars. The only other criticism I've seen levelled against Gnidrolog is the vocals. Yes, they're a little high pitched at times, yes they're somewhat nasal. However, you soon get used to them and in time they become inseperable from Gnidrolog's sound. I wouldn't swap 'em for anything.

VDGG fans, fans of all dark, jazz-tinged symphonic prog - why do you not already own this?

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the most productive things about prog is that it allows bands that assume it more as an artistic attitude for themselves than rather a genre to subscribe in, to explore their musical ideas with more fruition and gull than a conventional approach to rock would generally allow. That was the case with Gnidrolog, a British hard blues-rock band whose major influences seemed to be Uriah Heep and Traffic, yet they stretched out their basic style in order to let enough room for musical freedom to enter and found a solid tendency for expansion. This thing is openly clear from the first two tracks: 'I Could Never be a Soldier' and 'Ship' exhibit the straightforward strength of the early days of hard rock in fluid combination with the bluesy-folkish approach to old-fashioned psychedelic rock that Traffic epitomized so well, yet Gnidrolog takes this envelop to new limits by incorporating a more artsy colorfulness to the instrumentation and arrangements. The progressive trend is further exploited in the elating title track and the cleverly crafted closing number: both of them show wind player John Earle somewhat emulating David Jackson's tenor sax multi-layers and frantic soprano leads, while the dual guitar riffs and raw-edged rhythm section clearly remind us of 70-71 VdGG at their most intense. 'Lady Lake' is, in many ways, the central piece of the album's repertoire, showing the band's roughest side, which really gets creepy for the last passage. Later on, 'Social Embarrassment' leans closer to the realms of jazz-rock, yet Stewart Goldring amazing final guitar solo (he saved the best for the end) and Cowling's pounding bass lines for the hardest sections keep thing quite rocky. Another featured aspect concerning this particular song is the inventive use of interaction between baritone sax, cello and oboe in some passages - this is as orchestral as Gnidrolog allows itself to get. The tender, bucolic 'A Dog with No Collar' and the Cat Stevens-esque 'Same Dreams' allow the listener some room for emotional relief among the whole sonic power constantly incarnated throughout the remaining repertoire. While I don't regard this album as really essential for a prog collection, I truly appreciate it as an effective art rock work. It is very likely to appeal to those who already love Still Life, Catapilla and other rock-blues oriented band with added prog tendencies, but generally speaking, "Lady Lake" might be really interesting for every serious treasure seeker across the land of prog rock's early years. I personally give it a grade between 3 and 3 ― stars.
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Having established their brilliance with the thrilling debut In Spite Of Harry's Toe-nail, Gnidrolog casually upped the ante with their second effort, which was also released in 1972. The multi-talented quartet of Colin and Stewart Goldring, Peter Cowling, Nigel Pegrum was boosted by flautist/saxophonist John Earle for Lady Lake, and the album they produced is a radiant one.

I Could Never Be A Soldier is a brilliant emotional anti-war epic, the zenith of the band's angst-laden lyrical themes as Colin Goldring's character moves from flippancy to an urgent plea for reason. Musically, the evoluation of the piece is astounding, a slow build-up and the volcanic eruption of emotion that coincides with its choruses, brilliant flute turns before a surprisingly brassy finish puts the lid on my favourite Gnidrolog song ever!

It might be my favourite song, but the opener does not quite win the accolade of their most beautiful track ... which goes to the second piece Ship! I defy you not to be moved by the fact that "the sons of the sons of the sons found out that the fire of the stars and the sands go out." Gnidrolog's skill in adding layer after layer of beautiful accompaniment to what might otherwise have been a simple chorus, makes for an outstanding track that thematically recalls VDGG's Refugees.

A Dog With No Collar is a brief but extremely melancholy work that seems to have been borne out of a poem ... with just four lines a powerful picture is painted. The title track is another exquisite, albeit somewhat discomforting epic that provides proof that Gnidrolog could jazz-rock with the best of them, if they so chose. A mass of aching strings and dazzling saxes this one.

My least favourite piece is probably Same Dreams which is a little bit of a glam-rock ballad ... a good enough piece, but far from Gnidrolog's best. Thankfully, order is restored with the concluding Social Embarassment which overcomes the bizarre lead vocals of John Earle to register some truly arresting jazz rock moments and a spectacular conclusion ... if you want to draw a trite comparison, it's almost like Soft Machine meets Gentle Giant!

Gnidrolog made magical music. Two albums worth of it. Track them down. ... 92% on the MPV scale

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Another forgotten masterpiece prooving that the best prog was played in the 70s.Excellent hard-rocky passionate epic "I could never be a soldier" has awesome chorus and a magnificient mid-part jam. "Ship" is very lurical one,once again with strongly melodical chorus. The singer has a unique voice,compareless to anyone you can suggest!!! Such tracks as "Lady Lake" or "Social Embarassment" are closer to the jazzy side or Art Rock(try to imagine Canterbury band going pretty hard!!!).There some similarities to JETHRO TULL ,KC or VDGG,but you CAN NOT use these bands to describe the GNIDROLOG's unique music.Once again underrated band gets its recognition posthumous.

Highly recommended to all prog lovers despite their tastes!!!

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The pacifistic opener of this album called "I Could Never Be A Soldier" really made one of my friend who is a reserve officer to rip his pants. As myself being a reserve soldier too, I personally do not either share the idealism of this beautiful song, but I admire the sincerity and courage and meaning of this statement. It's much bolder to say in a nationalistic society that you couldn't be a soldier than that you could be a one. And the only fault of this attitude is that as everybody else in the world cannot be made to think in similar manner, the violent conflicts will be the harsh reality of our unjust world. The song starts delicately with a flute accompanied with a guitar and a singer, and later the chorus grows up very strong, and the song continues with an interestingly fumbling jazzy rhythm. The further progression including the heavy emphasizing of the verse and strongly bursting flute reminds me the classic works of Jethro Tull, and the singing voice reveals the Welsh origin of this band. The quiet part in the middle of the song resembles then King Crimson's "I Talk to The Wind" quite much.

Following tune "Ship" is my favorite song here. The heavy horn sections replace the standard solution of Mellotron arrangements. The descending chorus makes this sound like one of the golden oldies from the late 60's, truly one of the most touching songs I have heard in a long time. Horns have a very peculiar jazzy rhythm, and the singer has unbelievably strong emotional load in his voice. Sadly the tune ends up with a fade-out, but here this solution works in a similar manner as in Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing", where the song and chorus is suggested to continue forever.

"A dog with no collar" is a short beautiful acoustic minor ballad between the longer numbers, and the following title tune begins with the drums giving us some jazz noise. Powerful bass and horn melodies packed up with sensation of a mystery resembles King Crimson's "In The Wake of The Poseidon" album's overall feeling. Soon the fast rhythm calms down to a wonderful slow ballad, which grows slowly up to a hard shuffle in a manner of the previous band mentioned.

"Same dreams" is then a happier short tune opening up with a piano and a trumpet. This track too proves that the awesome strong melodies are a trademark of this band. The final track "Social embarrassment" fades in from the void with a taunting and chaotic horn driven rhythm, and the song continues as a fast jumping jazzy composition. If the lyrics are listened carelessly, one could hear that they sing about Emerson, Lake & Palmer playing too loud. This song pleased my tastes least of these six song which build this album, but I have heard much worse tracks too. And there are surely good musical parts here too, but the composition as an entity wasn't so great.

I would recommend this album with a very beautiful cover jacket sincerely for the fans of classic prog, like first albums of King Crimson, Genesis and the classic work of Jethro Tull.

Review by hdfisch
5 stars GNIDROLOG's second album has much more to offer for jazz-rock lovers like me I've to say. If their admittedly highly original debut is considered by some people already as a masterpiece this one has to be their definite one. Though vocals (which are the only concern I have with this band) had been performed here still by the same man, Colin Goldring and they're as well still quite intrusive at times I don't find them as much disturbing as on their first one. I've to admit this album had lived a kind of shadowy existence for a long time within my collection and just now after I'd listen as well to its predecessor I discovered its true greatness and beauty. First highlight is certainly "I Could Never Be a Soldier" but already the second track "Ship" isn't inferior to it by any means. And despite its brevity "A Dog with No Collar" is an excellent and beautiful song as well just being followed by the most demanding track on here, the title song with mindblowing free-form brass playing bringing a bit Chicago's more sophisticated early work to one's mind. "Same Dreams" might be the least interesting one of this album and "just" more or less a nice ballad but by no means a failure and a reason to narrow the overall rating for this great piece of art. Needless to say that the closing track "Social Embarrassment" is just another highlight again with awesome brass work and a fierce and abrupt finish.

As a summary I can just say that for me it's quite obvious that "Lady Lake" has been the more accomplished, better and moreover (at least for fans of brass playing) much more enjoyable work of this excellent rather under-estimated band. Usually I prefer to restrict my 5 stars-ratings to truly exceptional albums but I think this one can be considered as such.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. This is one of those rare albums that is both complex and beautiful. Compared with their debut this one is more accessible, melodic and jazzier. Great cover art by the way.

"I Could Never Be A Soldier" is the over 11 1/2 minute opening track that I never tire of. I'm reminded of Peter Hammill vocally and I love the lyrics. Amazing song. It opens with gentle guitar as flute helps out before the Hammill-like reserved vocals come in. Passionate vocals and a fuller sound with guitar after 2 minutes. This contrast continues. A reflective calm with flute, cymbals and bass after 5 minutes. The sound slowly builds until guitar joins in after 7 1/2 minutes. Vocals a minute later. The drums and guitar sort of take off 10 minutes in to the end of the song with sax joining in late. What a song ! "Ship" opens with sax, bass and drums. Vocals and strummed guitar then take over. Sax and more passionate vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. This contrast continues. The guitar 5 1/2 minutes in is great. A special tune.

"A Dog With No Collar" is a sad song with gentle guitar and reserved vocals. Aboe joins in later. Not a fan of this one. "Lady Lake" has this terrific jazz intro. Love the sax. Vocals 3 minutes in are brief. They come back though before 4 1/2 minutes in a mellow soundscape with flute. Sax and bass change that after 6 minutes. This reminds me of VDGG, and the sax gets dissonant late. "Same Dreams" features some guest piano while the vocals are fragile. This is contrasted with the fuller sound that adds bass and drums. "Social Embarrassment" is a GENTLE GIANT flavoured tune with a different vocalist. The vocal style reminds me of GG a lot. Lots of sax too. I like the way they seem to just jam after 5 minutes. Guitar joins in a minute later and lights it up as they start to yell and carry on to end it.

Highly recommended music to GG and VDGG fans especially. A diamond in the rough for sure.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Lady Lake is the second studio album from Welch act Gnidrolog. I enjoyed the bandīs previous album In Spite Of Harry's Toenail, but never found it excellent. Lady Lake is unmistakably Gnidrolog with the Peter Hammill ( Van der Graaf Generator)like vocals from Colin Goldring, the Ian Anderson ( Jethro Tull) and David Jackson ( Van der Graaf Generator) like flute and sax playing and Gnidrologīs conscious choice not to include a keyboard player in the ranks.

Lady Lake consists of six tracks. The opener I could never be a soldier has lots of beautiful flute playing. Itīs an 11:36 minute long track and even though itīs a great track itīs probably my least favorite on the album. In the end of the song weīre introduced to new man John Earleīs powerful and excellent sax playing. Ship is next and itīs a song with great brass arrangements, but itīs a bit repetitive. Great song though. At this point I thought to myself that this was a big 3 star album. Next song is A dog with no collar which is a short beautiful song. If I ever considered giving Lady Lake 3 stars that is not in my thoughts anymore after listening to the title track. What a dark, majestic and wonderful song. Again the sax playing is fantastic. Same Dreams is the only song with piano from guest Charlotte Fendrich. Itīs a short and rather strange love song. Social embarrassment is like the title track a dark and powerful song with John Earle on vocals. Iīm really impressed at this point and couldnīt dream of giving the album 3 stars.

The musicianship is excellent and I have to give a special mention to the new man John Earle. He has really given this album the extra dimension that Gnidrolog needed to make a unique and extraordinaire album. Sax and flute enthusiasts should take a listen to his playing.

The production is great and detailed.

Itīs taken me a while and many listens to appreciate Lady Lake but finally I understand what a unique and excellent album this is. For me this is not a full masterpiece but itīs certainly a sure 4 star album.

Review by CCVP
4 stars Damn Good

And yet another hidden gem of the 70's prog among the top eclectic prog albums. Maybe this is the genre that gives the most credit to unknown bands to the mainstream public (mainstream progressive rock public, in this case), besides, maybe, zeuhl and the avant-garde sessions, but that is another story. The fact is that there are many albums among the top 20 that are not by the genre's big bands (King Crimson, Gentle Giant, VDGG and Peter Hammill) and this album is one perfect example of that because this band is, to this day, pretty underground.

Gnidrolog's Lady Lake was released in the same year as their debut and, no matter how good or bad their debut was, this album is a solid release and sadly remained underground for many years until the prog's resurgence in the early 90's. The probable reason for they being so unknown is probably because in 72 many important and influent albums from important and influent bands were released, like Thick as a Brick, Foxtrot, Close to the Edge and Octopus.

Their music fits quite well in the genre also because, though not being very experimental, at least for prog standards, their incredible mixture of woodwinds, saxes, guitar, bass and the bow string instruments is very good: there is no leading instrument because they keep questioning and answering each other or each takes the lead in one part. the only constant instruments are the drums and the bass, who create a great atmosphere. The only problem here are the vocals. Though the singer sings in tune and does his job well, his timbre is quite obnoxious and the vibrato don't help a bit.

The songs, in general, are very good, but there are two songs that definitely stand out. The opening song of side 1, I Could Never be a Soldier, and the opening song of side 2, Lady Lake, have some great moments, but overall they are very good. However, the album is not very constant and the remaining songs of each side is unable to maintain the same quality as its opening track. In fact, the album, unfortunately, cannot follow up the song I Could Never be a Soldier and the quality drops considerably after it. In my opinion, if the band could make the whole album as good as its opening song the album would have been a masterpiece.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Another great hidden gem of the 70's. Lady Lake is a very good album and deserves to be rated accordingly. It is just a shame that the band disbanded the following year because they had an enormous potential. The problem probably was that they were yet another good progressive rock band from the 70's, what, back then, was nothing special. 4 stars then.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Although it isn't quite as groundbreaking and original as their debut album, Lady Lake by Gnidrolog is an excellent swan song (pun intended), which sees them softening and broadening the idiosyncratic style of In Spite of Harry's Toenail with some influences from the wider prog and art rock world. The combination of Jethro Tull-like flute work and hard rock guitar heroics is still present, especially on opening track I Could Never Be a Soldier, but there's nothing quite as dissonant and chaotic as Long Live Man Dead from the debut - except for the ending of Social Embarrassment, which is otherwise a somewhat Gentle Giant-influenced tune.

Then again, the fusions of styles that Gnidrolog cook up are often highly intriguing. Ship, for example, sounds to me a little like a fusion of early David Bowie solo work (from around the time of The Man Who Sold the World or Space Oddity) and Van der Graaf Generator - make of that what you will! Although In Spite of Harry's Toenail is probably the better album - being a bit more representative of the band's unique sound - Lady Lake is a fine followup. Of course, the best way to grab Gnidrolog's 1970s output is to pick up the two-albums-on-one-CD compilation of this one and the debut, and newcomers to the band are advised to pick that up - it's relatively easy to find, and if you like their first album you'll also want this one anyway (and vice versa).

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Moving Vietnam War-era tune 'I Could Never Be a Soldier' opens the Gnid's outstanding follow-up to their promising debut the same year, the Brothers Goldring tearing a page straight out of Benefit period Tull with the grind of a tin can guitar and airy flutes from the winds of John Earle & multi-talented Nigel Pegrum. More developed than In Spite of Harry's Toenail and with fewer avant garde experiments, Lady Lake is a fully realized album showing a team that was always a few years ahead of everyone else in their vision of where rock was heading, both in their prog aspirations and punky tendencies. A fairly good songwriting unit is also heard and we wonder what these fellas might've done had they not been too far in front of the curve for their own good. Think early Gentle Giant meets Supertramp at an outdoor concert. 'Ship' bobs on the waves highlighting the group's talent for protest folk and is followed by morose ditty 'A Dog With No Collar'. The title cut finally pumps some life into things, lush with traffic jams of horns layered five and six deep, sublime drums from Pegrum and an infectious jazz exploration, and swells to a huge finish. Somewhat whiny 'Same Dreams' quickly moves to the excellent 'Social Embarrassment', an ideal sample of the art of rock in 1972 with a big & bold arrangement and huge energy.

At the time, Gnidrolog's first two albums were cutting-edge rock music, kept the big boys on their toes and looking over their shoulders, and should not be missed by anyone interested in this marvelous and mercurial period in music.

Review by TGM: Orb
4 stars Lady Lake, Gnidrolog, 1972

Gnidrolog's second album, Lady Lake, is slightly better received than the debut. And it's a great album: the increased instrumentation pays off nicely (novus John Earle on saxes + flute fleshes out the sound in a very individual direction, drummer Nigel Pegrum's oboe turns up more prominent, a versatile range of lead guitar sounds are there), there's perhaps an even stronger sense of basic melody here than on the debut. And yet, it's a great album, but it's not as great as its predecessor: first off, a host of reference points (Ian Anderson's flute-work with Tull, a bit of the double-jointed compositional/improvisational blur and weirdness you'd expect from an amalgamation of Caravan and Gentle Giant) are used very effectively, but occasionally feels a bit too calculated... likewise, the guitar sounds are diversified, the guitar use can go either way... always pleasant, but occasionally a bit too cool and bluesy for me, and then, the lyrics only really take off after a couple of false starts. There we go, that's almost everything that annoys me about the album out of the way, and I can kick back and say that Lady Lake is an album any fan of melodic, adventurous and altogether fascinating music should have, but not quite as much as they should have In Spite Of Harry's Toenail.

The opening I Could Never Be A Soldier is a prime example of the band's retained and acquired strengths; the presence of two flautists and a recorder offers a lush woodwind sound, Colin Goldring's sly guitar work echoes and builds themes continually, we have deliciously minimal (driven by the superb Peter Cowling's bass, somewhat reminiscent of what Crimson would be trying to build up a year later with Starless And Bible Black) and folk sections with variously pretty and Anderson-type flute. Lyrically, it hasn't the bite its stereotypically hippy comrades held on Spite, which somewhat hampers the vocal sections. Rounded off by a slightly unconnected but nevertheless superb blues guitar solo, this is a clear success, though not quite a perfect one.

As a slightly impatient type, I have to admit that Ship is not really my thing; stretching out a typically weirded (I like Colin Goldring's voice a lot... but I'm not sure he manages to build this one up as well as he could) chorus beyond its strength... the arrangements are great, the guitar-work is just beautiful, that rather odd horn sound is fantastically quixotic, and there's a bit of spacey guitar-work noone really expected from this synth-free outfit, but the chorus goes on too long, in my view, and there isn't really much of an overall mood to it.

A Dog With No Collar is a bleak acoustic piece with a brilliant four-line lyric and an oboe offering downcast support. Short, but very effective.

Yet more poignant is the title track, opening with a general dark jazz vibe slowly solidifying from its murky horn duel opening and an alternately sharp and ethereal rhythm section into the mystical, horrifyingly bleak and captivating image of our leading lady and the most beautiful cello-sax-bass-guitar background. And the alternation between a classical-type hook and this winding, haunting rhythm is just incredible (even without the spine-chilling lyrics: 'Night, nothing near, nothing said, noone here/Loved once, but ice to tears/Melted slowly, seasons' greetings/somehow turned to fear')... if there's a piece where I'd say Gnidrolog achieved what they aimed to, it's probably this one: the sound is incredible, the solos are astonishing, driving the avant-garde leanings into beauty, the lyrics are superb... just amazing.

And then, Same Dreams, an atypical love song with Colin Goldring's unique voice given a perfect opportunity to stretch out vulnerably, very nice guest piano from Charlotte Fendrich, various backing (oboe from drummer Nigel Pegrum, the occasional dab of bass guitar and an odd bit of warm complimentary guitar), and a striking set of lyrics... ('We shared the same thoughts/The same road/The same line from an old song...'). Mainly, it's the sense of development in this one that gets me... I'm not so sure about whether the bursts of support are even really necessary for what's basically a duet, but it sounds good.

Social Embarrassment takes us onto almost Canterbury-sounding areas, with oddball lyrics, loads of instrumentation (a sax duel, horns,  oboe, flute...), a big, grating, aggressive cello sound, walking basslines, somewhat Caravan-with-bite drumming, snarly guitars, odd ramblings in all sorts of jazz-tinged directions. As you'd expect, great guitar soloing, fun vocals (saxophonist John Earle taking the lead), and a clever general construction for the song... driving it ever towards the end while still leaving the actual content of the moment pretty much free to go where it likes.

Lady Lake is that most awkward of reviews: the great album you don't think is as good as public opinion suggests compared to the available alternatives. So, if given the opportunity (and like me you're a bit strange and not allowed to be DJ any more), I'd make sure you get In Spite Of Harry's Toenail as well (currently, there's a two-in-one-thing and it's serious high-grade under-the-counter prog rock) and remember that, while this is not the cookie, it is, in the words of Bernard Black, 'some sort of delicious biscuit'.

Favourite track: pick one of the last four... nah... Lady Lake Oh, and ratings: Four stars, 12 or 13/15... say 13. I'm feeling nice, today.

Edit: This reviewer is an educated monkey. He probably will say 'oboe' and mean 'sax' on occasions. Blame the copy-paste.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second Gnidrolog album is real gem! Starting from very first song -"I Could Never Be A Soldier" - you are caught by Jethro Tull -style flute soloing ,but the vocal is high and all music is very beautifuly harmonised.

Step by step you are traveling by band's musical space,full of complex harmonies. The sound is warm and well balanced, all listening is pleasant. Even debut album was very interesting, but that,second one, is absolutely their top! More different sounds, more complex arrangements. If the music of first one was a bit similar to VdGG music of that time, there you can hear more tension and breaks in sound, which is more King Crimsonian field.

Rare band from early seventies could balance so beatiful,nice music with complex arrangements, warm, almost polished sound with tension and sound brakes in compositions, vocal harmonies with very non-commercial musicanship. Really very pleasant and interesting album,very recommended.

In total 4,5.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars The second half of a great 70s duology from Gnidrolog. If you're like me and are too lazy to try to hunt down the vinyls or individual CDs, you'll likely be familiar with the recent CD that smooshes both this and HARRY'S TOENAIL on one CD.

In comparison to HARRY'S TOENAIL, this effort is largely of the same mould being that there are four meaty long-winded compositions augmented by two quiet ballads. However, other than the ballads, LADY LAKE is very different from its immediate predecessor in terms of sound. Obviously, newcomer John Earle is given quite a bit of leeway as his flute solo on ''I Could Never Be a Soldier'' and haunting sax lines on the title track automatically certify him of official Gnidrolog status even if this is the only album Earle participated in. However, it's much more than Earle.

To connect this album to HARRY'S TOENAIL is hard. Sure, Colin Goldring's voice is still as sharp as ever, the rhythm section still give the same impression and Stewie gives a solo every so often. But the avant tone of the compositions has gone down in comparison as this album tries for a more melodic, tuneful approach whilst still keeping the same power as before. The title track is the only song that could fit on HARRY'S TOENAIL soundwise, and even then, the production on ''Lady Lake'' is far superior as the rest of the album attests to.

What we get is a great rock jam in ''I Could Never Be a Soldier''. The prog here is not in the sense of virtuoso playing (other than the flute and bass solos) and not a keyboard is played, but the prog aspects are in the building effect of the piece as it starts very soft, builds into a strong chorus, drops again by the flute solo but builds again towards the chorus all leading up to the payoff: an epic guitar riff followed by a guitar solo, a bass solo and a superb sax line that reminds me of Magma.

We also get a slighty weak sea shanty in ''Ship''. Not that ''Ship'' is bad per se but it lacks a lot of oomph for me to get behind it. ''Social Embarrassment'' is a weird experiment. Earle sings the lead vocals here and, depends on how you perceive it, they are either better or worse than Colin's. The avantness of the previous album is here in this song (even if it doesn't exactly fit on HARRY'S TOENAIL), but in a higher octane performance. To describe the last song, think of a 70s punk song with tricky basslines and saxophones.

It's production is better than the one presented on HARRY'S TOENAIL. However, I keep comparing LADY LAKE to HARRY'S TOENAIL because it seems like the compositions were aiming for more melodic acceptance rather than the ecletic avant inventiveness on HARRY'S TOENAIL. Even then, LADY LAKE is still a phenomenal, overlooked prog album that welcomes all those who dare listen to it.

Review by friso
3 stars Gnidrolog was and English progressive rock group with a brass section. Their second album 'Lady Lake' has received some praise over the years and is considered to be one of the bigger 'gems' of the genre. The band is a bit more folkrock than for instance Colosseum, but about as progressive. Perhaps you could name Van Der Graaf Generator as a reference, but that band has a more theatrical approach to songwriting. The whimsical and expressive Welsch vocals by Colin Goldring are both charming and a bit of nuisance at times. The band has some strong song-writing moments, but overal the record suffers from the weight of its own length and repetition. Though this is quite a unique piece of prog from '72, I found myself easily parting from it - despite the beautiful artwork the album has.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars With this album, it sounded more like Gnidrolog should have been ready to break out into the wider world, not fade away into obscurity. Their debut album, the oddly named "In Spite of Harry's Toenail", was already excellent, and on this one, they seem to have focussed their sound just a bit more. Also, the album art was much better ;). Unfortunately, this would be their last album for almost 30 years.

The music is still influenced by blues and a little bit by hard rock. But, in the first half of the album especially, the tracks appear to be more controlled than in their previous albums, the structures more defined. As before, the shorter tracks (A Dog With No Collar, Same Dreams) sit among the quieter side, but are still good tracks.

Lady Lake, the albums title track, shows Gnidrolog incorporating some more prominent jazzy influences into their sound. As far as I am concerned, this is just another reason why the bands demise was a shame - they were releasing great music from the start but also showed a willingness to grow and experiment, and if they had survived longer, they probably would have released some truly amazing music. They never quite released a masterpiece, but I feel confident that they would have. It took Yes five albums before they released a full-out masterpiece, and Gnidrolog started a fair bit closer to achieving this than Yes did on their first two albums. They may have been just one away.

Pointless conjecture aside, Lady Lake does more than demonstrate Gnidrolog's growth as an artist, it is an excellent track in it's own right, featuring everything from the jazzy intro to moody vocals and an extended instrumental section at the end.

It is impossible to mention this album without mentioning the opening tracks, I Could Never Be A Soldier and Ships. To me, these tracks are not quite as experimental as Gnidrolog could be, relying more on the strength of choruses than anything else the band had done, but that does not stop them from being damn good tracks. Each is tinged with emotion and some form of sorrow. I Could Never Be A Soldier reflects on the fallacy of war and the difficulty of viewing another human being as intrinsically evil, while Ships seems to be more about living with the mistakes of ancestors (at least, that's how I interpret it).

Compared to their opening, this album is somewhat more consistent with more high quality tracks, but it lacks anything that's quite as good as Snails off of their debut. Despite this, the album is great from beginning to end, and the fact that the bands career ended here (not counting their eventual reformation) is truly a shame.

Review by stefro
5 stars Like all the very best progressive rock, Gnidrolog's 1972 album 'Lady Lake' takes several listens to completely grasp, making the listener work for their musical rewards, of which there are plenty. The group's second album, after the discordant and oddly-titled 'In Spite Of Harry's Toenail', 'Lady Lake' would also be there last for almost three decades, before Gnidrolog surprisingly reformed for a one-off reunion album called 'Gnosis' in 1999. It's also by far and away their strongest release, sporting a spirited and complex variation on the King Crimson sound, with elements of Caravan, Van Der Graaf Generator and Genesis thrown in for good measure. Stand-out tracks include the anthemic opener 'I Could Never Be A Solider', it's carefully-crafted, elegiac follow-up 'Ship' and the album's epic closer 'Social Embarassment', but the real treat is the militant, symphonic rock of 'Lady Lake', a haunting, eight-minute-plus centrepiece to this excellent album. Fans of progressive rock in the truest sense of the word will find a hard-won treasure chest of proggy delights filling 'Lady Lake'm with the only disappointment being the fact that Gnidrolog would never repeat the trick. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by progrules
3 stars Well, I'm not going to pretend I'm a life long Gnidrolog follower who will tell the world all about this band and album. I just found out about them thanks to PA and noticed this could be prog gem. So time to dive into this near masterpiece (according to PA standards). The band description indicates you'd better be a GG, VDGG and/or Tull fan to appreciate this music. And how right this statement is ! Oh, and intense vocals are another significant aspect, hmm...

For starters, I can't appreciate these intense vocals I'm afraid. Too strident which is unbearable for my poor ears. And as with so many progbands the instrumental handling is a lot better but also here not 100% my preferred style and sound. The compositions are indeed a remarkable combination of the three mentioned bands above. Social embarrassment is a funny combination of Gentle Giant and VanderGraaf Generator whilst the opener I could never be a Soldier could have been one by Tull. Also the other songs are a blend of the famous three.

So a very much eclectic experience and although I start to get used to this bizarre way of making music I will never embrace it as one of my favorite styles. Ok, I could have stayed away from this but in the end I'm always curious how I will digest a band like this when I give them a real chance. Thanks to the opening song and the two short ones I still end up with some respect for Gnidrolog. The other three are too chaotic, dissonant and bizarre to be appreciated by me. But because it is definitely 100% prog and this is after all a prog site I will round up my 2,5* verdict and still give three. Highly recommended for eclectic prog addicts.

Review by Matti
4 stars Gnidrolog is one of the most extraorinary of the numerous early 70's short-lived prog bands who never gained much success. And this (their second and last one - until the year 2000) album is a huge artistic development over their rather disjointed debut In Spite Of Harry's Toe- Nail from the same year, which mixed Gentle Giant -type complexity and Amazing Blondel/ Gryphon-sort of Renaissance music influences. This is not to say that this album is short of anything heard in the debut, but most of all it has maturity in emotional level that was maybe missing earlier. Also the sound is more mature, thanks to a new member on sax & flute. Recorder is a bit less heard this time as the saxophone is used quite a lot, making the music a close relative to Van Der Graaf Generator's, albeit not quite as extreme in progressivity or emotion, though there is plenty of that too. Mostly dark-toned and melancholic.

'I Could Never Be a Soldier' is a magnificent and emotionally powerful prog opus in 11 and ― minutes. The title track is another lengthy highlight, the closest in spirit to VDGG. It's delightful to hear also heartfelt simplicity on a couple of shorter tracks.

As a negative side (and there are only few!), the Goldring brothers are not very talented singers. The voice reminds me of Wishbone Ash. But as a whole this is an all-too-forgotten semi-masterpiece of the era. And with a fantastic cover art!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A gem of an album that definitely flew under the radar in my day and yet the opening epic, "I Could Never Be a Soldier" (11:39) (10/10), was so familiar to me when I first heard this album a few years ago. It must have received some air play on the local album rock radio stations in Detroit to which I listened. (I actually believe that a local cover band played it during the first dance concert that I ever attended in the seventh grade. The band also played "Maggie May" "Aqualung," "Locomotive Breath," and "(I'm Your Captain) Closer to Home.") The band had some very talented instrumentalists--though the flutist and bass player stand out most for me.

Many of the songs have most excellent horn play--often by multiple horns, one or two soloing, and a horn section supporting the rhythm sections.

2. "Ship" (Colin Goldring) - 6:44 (9/10) 3. "A Dog With No Collar " (Stewart Goldring) - 2:09 (9/10) 4. "Lady Lake" (Peter "Mars" Cowling, Stewart Goldring) - 8:53 awesome jazz-oriented song that turns into a Hammill-VDGG-like insidious slow build to crescendo piece. (9/10) 5. "Same Dreams" (Colin Goldring) - 2:49 (8/10) 6. "Social Embarrassment" (Peter "Mars" Cowling, Colin Goldring) - 6:30 a pre-Henry Cow idea of avant-garde craziness? (8/10)

An excellent album that deserves more attention. Great arrangements, great sound reproduction and engineering, with the rendering of some very creative ideas. A 4.5 star album that I'm bumping up for the sake of exceedingly high creativity.

Review by Dobermensch
1 stars I guess this proved to be a watershed in the Gnidrolog catalogue. A leaky one with dead pigeons floating in it if you ask me.

I was so looking forward to this album when I bought it in 2001. After all, it has a great sleeve doesn't it? What more could you want than a great big hand threatening to strangle the neck of a swan? But it's that old saying... 'You can't judge a book by its cover'...

I'm afraid this review is going to read more like an autopsy report than a musical review.

I've literally nothing good to say about this benchmark of awfulness which was recorded in the 'prog peak year' of '72.

Like most folk, I don't know much about 'Gnidrolog' other than that they're Welsh. But I do know what I don't like. And I'm about to listen to it for another 40 wasted minutes...

Everything I hate about 'prog' is carried out with gay abandon on this recording. Overblown sentimentality, feeble wobbly vocals and straight drumming run rampant throughout this nonentity of ineptitude.

Downbeat to the point of torpor, this is prog by numbers - so run-of-the-mill it's beyond belief. Colin Goldring sounds like he's being given car battery electric shocks to his tongue as he wails and whines through interminably hippy-like forgettable tunes.

The intensely soppy "I could Never be a Soldier' - sets the scene where I find a strange shrinkage of my neck - as if my shoulders are in vain reflex trying to cover my ears for protection. I'm left contemplating World War I in my mind as Goldring 'sings' and leaves me furiously thinking that I could have been stuck in a trench in the Somme with this guy whimpering into his hankie. We'd all have been blown to pieces in 5 minutes with characters like this surrounding us. Actually, come to think of it, we were even without him... Damn...

The longer this album goes on the more it sounds like a slow puncture on a bicycle wheel slowly deflating. A woefully run-of-the-mill recording with no merit whatsoever. Musically bereft of originality coupled with a very weak vocalist makes this one of the poorest and most irritating recordings I've ever heard.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Gnidrolog is one of the bands that I really can't get into their music from the first listning. Lady lake issued in 1972 is considered one of the best eclectic prog from ealy '70s. While is ok most of the time this folky jazz/blues type of music doesn't mesh very well to my ears. Something between VDGG eclectic parts with folk passages remind me of Jethro Tull first period around Benefit, horn instruments added in the mix - Lady lake is nothing close to masterpieces as many pretend to be, really, is an ok album with only one great tune, the opening I could never be a soldier, the rest are good but nothing impressive at all. All in all decent and hardly essential, at least to me. 3 stars, nothing more nothing less.

Latest members reviews

5 stars A masterpiece of the definitive year of progressive rock. If there is a band that did not deserve to be forgotten and put out more albums to continue finding its legitimate sound, it was the precious Gnidrolog. The name is very funny as it is a kind of mirror of the singer and rhythm guitarist G ... (read more)

Report this review (#2600327) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars GNIDROLOG were a British Prog-Rock band with a sound that is somewhat hard to define, so they've inevitably found themselves in the Eclectic Prog section of Prog Archives. The band were most notable for not including a keyboard player in their line-up. So, how did they come up with that bizarre ... (read more)

Report this review (#2287537) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Sunday, December 15, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is exactly the kind of progressive rock I like to listen to. Flute, guitar, drums, horns, etc. Reminds me of Gentle Giant, Barclay James Harvest, Jethro Tull, Jezda Urfa, Cressida, Caravan and the likes. Not in the vein of the Canterbury sound, but very eclectic and incorporating many, many ... (read more)

Report this review (#1772144) | Posted by Kingsnake | Thursday, August 17, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Despite Gnidrolog's very sweet approach, I really like their second album, Lady Lake. The easy description of this music is that Gnidrolog sounds like the Wishbone Ash guys singing over (a particularly harmonious and restrained) King Crimson. Although the vocals are a bit too playful at times--t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1082841) | Posted by Zahler | Thursday, November 28, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ESOTERIC 2012 REISSUE with Bonus TRack Blending classical training with folk and jazz influences, Gnidrolog produced this their second album in late 1972. The first striking aspect of the music is how well recorded it is, a fine example of the early 70's studio ethic of dry drums and vocals w ... (read more)

Report this review (#782634) | Posted by beebfader | Friday, July 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is an average album of eclectic, progressive rock has its moments there. However, it did not surprise me. Gnidrolog may sound appealing to fans of Van Der Graaf Generator and bands like that, but as I include myself in that group, then do not see myself in a very comfortable listening to ... (read more)

Report this review (#514796) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, September 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's quite a shame, but not a big surprise, that this band never managed to make it big. This album isn't very easy to listen to. Their music is very hard to describe. High pitched, emotional vocals, combined with great wind sections and guitar solos, all with very audible bass playing. They h ... (read more)

Report this review (#448198) | Posted by Slaughternalia | Sunday, May 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Lady Lake is a fantastic progressive album. The anti-war song I Could Never Be A Soldier is just plain amazing, featuring Jethro Tull-styled flutes, and amazing vocals by Colin Goldring, makes the song a great prog song, and in my opinion, a prog anthem. Ship, is again an excellent track, wit ... (read more)

Report this review (#221262) | Posted by The Runaway | Monday, June 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars An eclectic one..... It has taken me ages and tens of listening sessions to get my head around this album. For a simple minded, slightly braindead man like myself, this album asks a lot. My review of their debut album was also a shallow putdown of that album. I believe I gave it two stars. So ... (read more)

Report this review (#218010) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Surprisingly great. A very original and authentic band. Of all albums recorded on that year of 72, this particular one deserves a place among the top 5. Lady Lake is Gnidrolog's masterpiece and a progressive masterpiece, no doubts 'round here. Every song has a vailed charm and show how rock wa ... (read more)

Report this review (#172340) | Posted by Lucas Naylor | Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8.0/10 Great Lady Lake continues, and improves, the Gnidrolog sound in many ways from it's predecessor, "In Spite of Harry's Toenail". This sound is something I have a very strong liking to, especially the vocal power of Colin Goldring, and the overall intensity and structure of these songs ... (read more)

Report this review (#148239) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My first exposure to Gnidrolog was "In Spite of Harry's Toenail" and the crazy title gives you some indication of the off-beat nature of that work. So when I first listened to "Lady Lake", I was expecting more of the same eccentricities and rough edges found in "Toenail" (and shall we say not a ... (read more)

Report this review (#147498) | Posted by epictetus1 | Saturday, October 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Catchy and memorably, jazzy and folk-y, complex and simple: an extensive recipe, cooked to perfection. Or near so. Gnidrolog, as a band, stand as living evidence that not all excellent music make the mainstream, even in prog. This is a perfect starting point, and a perfect inspiration to begin a j ... (read more)

Report this review (#132777) | Posted by Shakespeare | Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of my favourite albums. I don't know if this is better than the debut. It's slightly different, but still, you can hear that this is the same band. Every track within this lp is great. I have no idea, why I Could Never Be A Soldier wasn't a hit! This track is so much better than the ordinary ... (read more)

Report this review (#104463) | Posted by Deepslumber | Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Believe it or not, this album is probably the best 'previously unknown' recording of progrock of all time. It is really surprising that it is not in the hall of fame of prog rock (top ten) on this site, although it seems that just a few people know this gem. The first album of Gnidrolog (what ... (read more)

Report this review (#84138) | Posted by Hejkal | Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As one of bystanders of prog rock of that time, I can tell that I've never heard of them although I closely followed ongoings on the flourishing prog rock scene. And so it happened that I've discovered this band thanks to this site and immediately acquired an vinyl re-issue of this album as a ... (read more)

Report this review (#80292) | Posted by bsurmano | Sunday, June 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Here was a truly fantastic band that was overshadowed by the success of the prog giants in the 1970's and this is unfortunate both for GNIDROLOG and for those casual prog fans who will never have the opportunity to discover this lost gem. Given the elicit nature of their music, it's hard to dr ... (read more)

Report this review (#79198) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is definitely an overlooked gem in the annals of progressive music. Like many of the reviewers have noted, there are strong comparisons to the sound of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR or KING CRIMSON, but the music does have an identity of its own. Given the fact that keyboards are absent from most ... (read more)

Report this review (#38041) | Posted by Nipsey88 | Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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