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MAGIC BUS

Magic Bus

Canterbury Scene


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Magic Bus Magic Bus album cover
4.16 | 48 ratings | 4 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. City Of Sand (7:26)
2. Magic Bus (4:51)
3. Gods Of The Mountain (7:08)
4. Tucan Pyramid (5:17)
5. Holy Road (5:00)
6. Milky Way (7:06)
7. Back To The Garden (10:54) :
- a) Back To The Garden (7:52)
- b) (silence) (2:18)
- c) untitled (0:44)

Total time 47:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Evans / vocals, rhythm guitar, tambourine, finger cymbals
- Terence Waldstradt / lead & rhythm guitars, ukulele, backing vocals
- Jay Darlington / keyboards, piano, autoharp
- Rowan Day / flute, penny whistle, backing vocals
- Benny Brooke / bass, backing vocals
- Dan Truen / drums, tabla, bells

With:
- Richard Digby Smith / tambourine (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Evans

CD Self-released (2010, UK)

Thanks to historian9 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGIC BUS Magic Bus ratings distribution


4.16
(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
25%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
52%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

MAGIC BUS Magic Bus reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Magic Bus' debut album is an absolutely delightful excursion into mildly Canterbury-flavoured hippie prog. Take Caravan at around the time of In the Land of Grey and Pink and imagine where they would have gone if, instead of taking their sound in a jazzier direction as on Waterloo Lily, they had instead looked back to their psychedelic roots and injected the fairytale tone of Grey and Pink with a bit of West Coast sunshine and maybe a slice of early Steve Hillage; the place you end up may well be along the Magic Bus's route.

This debut album is a charming excursion into a realm of warm, comfy, psychedelic Canterbury-flavoured prog whose benign nature conceals some really neat instrumental chops. It's fantastic to hear some new musicians taking up the baton of this side of prog, and I can only hope there are many more stops for the Magic Bus along its journey.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I had to track this one down after really enjoying their sophomore release "Transmission From Sogmore's Garden" and while I feel this is a step down from that one I still highly recommend this their self-titled debut. Love the cover art on this album by the way. Like the second album I thought of Canterbury with that distorted organ along with GONG and VIOLETA DE OUTONO.

"City Of Sand" opens with spacey atmosphere before a slow but catchy rhythm kicks in then the guitar starts to play over top before it kicks into a full sound with organ. Nice bass before 1 1/2 minutes then the song changes completely after 2 1/2 minutes as we get a calm with vocals and strummed guitar. It does build some with bass and drums but it's still laid back. I like his voice. Back to that catchy rhythm before 5 1/2 minutes then the vocals return.

"Magic Bus" is a song the kept getting stuck in my head this past week. We hear the sounds inside a bus before we get these CSNY-like vocals and harmonies that take over. Love the distorted organ, very Canterbury-like. What a feel good song this is when the vocals arrive along with the harmonies on the chorus. More distorted organ after 3 minutes followed by flute then guitar to the end.

"Gods Of The Mountain" is such a relaxed tune with almost spoken vocals to begin with. A slow beat, bass, keys and guitar in this slow moving start. It picks up after 2 minutes but then settles back with flute as the vocals step aside. It sounds like mellotron before 4 minutes followed by those almost spoken vocals. It picks up with flute then the guitar takes over. It becomes more passionate as well.

"Tucan Pyramid" opens with harp. Did I just say harp? Also relaxed vocals as harmonies and organ follow. It picks up 2 minutes in followed by distorted organ. It picks up even more then the guitar leads followed by organ as they continue to trade off. "Holy Road" is live and it does sound different as the sound quality isn't as good but it's fine. A folky tune with vocals and guitar leading the way.

"Milky Way" opens with nature sounds as this guitar melody arrives and rises in sound. GONG comes to mind with this song. Soon bass, flute and more join in but it's still mellow. It kicks into a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes. That guitar led melody from earlier is back and the vocals return as well. So good! Love the bass here too along with the flute. The tempo speeds up quite a bit surprisingly 5 1/2 minutes in but again check out the bass.

"Back To The Garden" is my favourite but the rest are all fairly consistent and well done so no top three this time. Birds can be heard in the intro as relaxed vocals and harp join in. Vocal melodies and organ follow then it kicks into gear before 2 minutes. Man this is amazing! Nice guitar 2 1/2 minutes in as the vocals step aside. Check out the bass 3 minutes in as the vocals return. Oh my! A nice instrumental section follows with organ before 4 1/2 minutes. A calm with vocals a minute later then it kicks back in again without vocals this time. Great tune!

Another solid album by these Brits and having heard they just released a new one, well I obviously need to track it down and get back on that hippy bus.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Canterbury is back! Wonderful, wonderful fare from Devon's Paul Evans and friends. Nobody but nobody has so well captured the CARAVAN 1970-72 sound so well! And yet the songs are each pure and original (with a few borrowed riffs here and there). Excellent musical composition. Wonderfully quirky, hippyish lyrics and happy-go-lucky singing with outstanding contributions from guitars and flutes. Hailing from "transition town" Totnes, Devonshire, UK, Tim has gathered around him a dedicated crew of accomplished musicians who all have one thing in common: they feel that the spirit of the late 1960s and early 1970s--especially the musical spirit of the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene and the Canterbury spirit of SOFT MACHINE and CARAVAN--is still alive and that they are merely expressing themselves in that same spirit.

The album opens with the innocuous little celebration of Nature and the joyous gift Life, "Sunflower" (3:51). It is very much a piece straight our of the hippy folk scene of the 1967 "Summer of Love." (9/10)

2. "Ballad of Lord Sogmore" (5:15) starts out sounding like it came straight off of the 1972 KHAN album, Space Shanty. The acoustic guitar strumming, electric guitar sound and riffs, and Jay DARLINGTON (formerly of KULA SHAKER and OASIS)'s vintage keyboard work make it a dead ringer for Canterbury Scene music. Even Paul EVANS' voice is quite similar to that of Steve HILLAGE (though it is also quite similar to that of Mont CAMPBELL). Then there is the Indian interlude, to seal the deal, before we kick back into KHAN-mode for awesome organ and electric guitar soli. (9/10)

3. "Cosmic Rays of Dawn" (3:47) opens with a gentle Canterburian soft jazz feel with arpeggiated organ chords and single note electric guitar accents before Evans' Robert WYATT-like voice sings a WYATT-like lyric in that emotionally vulnerable Robert WYATT way. At 2:36 an up-tempo, jazzy instrumental section with its trilling flute play ensues to the song's end. (10/10)

4. "Three Days" (7:32) opens quietly before a "Golf Girl" kind of groove establishes itself and the band and the flute play on about the sun, sunshine and nature. At 2:15 a muted voice sings over a bit of a tired-sounding carnival sound. Then, after a little jazzy bridge, by 2:55 we're back to the perky walk-through-the-park song established after the pastoral opening. At 4:10 we shift into a more somber, slowed down instrumental section that preludes a kind of FOCUS "Tommy" section. Very cool! Great groove and awesome guitar play and sound! Flute takes over the soloing around 6:10--for quite a stretch--before that old friend the Canterbury "buzz saw" organ takes a turn. The band in the background is having some fun with it's syncopated up-tempo, and then it's over! (10/10)

5. "Jupiter 3 AM" (8:37) opens with some very spacey synth washes fly around before Paul starts singing with his slowly-paced and well-spaced acoustic guitar strums. Then the full band joins in and the song slowly builds into a foundation for some jazz noodling--which then rather abruply dissipates into more of an instrumental étude. Then the music shifts into a chord and melody sequence that is quite reminiscent of that of NENA's "99 Luftballons" for about 20 seconds before bridging back to a minor key version of the opening music. At 4:55 a slow-bouncing organ and flute prep us for a full decibel breakout into a hard-rock variation on that NENA chord sequence. This then evolves into a swirling, speeding crescendo before some heavy chords are struck in syncopation before letting the music re-establish that happy-go-lucky NENA theme as it was in the fourth minute. Electric guitar and flute get the most solo exposure as the song plays out the final 75 seconds like this. Nice jazz excursion! I just love Jay DARLINGTON's mastery of the Canterbury organ sounds. (9/10)

6. "Seven Wonders" (5:33) opens like an early PINK FLOYD song before Paul EVANS' gentle vocal enters singing in a sensitive Robert WYATT/Steve WINWOOD/Peter GABRIEL way. Love the interplay of the recorder! Slow, plodding song--again, very much in the PINK FLOYD vein continues until 2:55 when a CSN&Y/AMERICA-like harmonized "la-la-la, la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la" bridges us to a heavier CARAVAN-like instrumental section--which just as elusively fades into a flute with guitar strum part before giving way to the real meat of the song: a full out Mike RATLEDGE-like "buzz saw"organ solo! This song has more trouble establishing itself--establishing a flow and identity, but it is still a brilliant reflection of all-things Canterburian. (8/10)

7. "Morning Mantra" (6:55) returns us to that happy-go-lucky CARAVAN music In the Land of Grey and Pink era, with a vocal very much in the style of the great RICHARD SINCLAIR. Flute solo fills most of the third minute before the vocal returns over a delicate arpeggiated descending chord progression. "I love my life" is the dominant lyric in this lazy song expressing one's slow morning love and appreciation for life and all it has to offer. Nice flute and electric guitar interplay in the fourth and fifth minute instrumental sections. "Love, love, love, love," seems to be the message here. You dig? (9/10)

8. "Earthpod" (4:44) the album's final song opens with fade in Mellotron giving way to a gently strummed guitar to support Paul's vocal about this tiny little planet we live on in a kind of lament for the passing of time (which one cannot help but wonder if his intention is with regards to the listening to this album or since the idyllic days of the 60s?). Organ support and the end of the first verse result in the entrance of the full band and the establishment of a more KHAN/STEVE HILLAGE song sound and melody (like "Hollow Stone"). Beautiful! Return to singing the second verse--this time with full band in subtle support (Mellotron, high-frequency flanged electric guitar, drums and gorgeous b vox!) Jay's Mellotron is actually given a solo in the fourth minute! The album closes with harmonized "Ahh"s and emotional flute solo. Gorgeous! (10/10)

A near-masterpiece of progressive rock music. This album is so upbeat and refreshing--and polished! Truly a resuscitation of much that was once wonderful in the Land of Canterbury! One of my favorites from 2014!

Latest members reviews

4 stars I first came across one of their songs, the dream-like 'Gods Of The Mountain' while I was on this very site. As soon as it was done, I looked up the song, the album and the band, disappointed that so few know about them! The songs on this album move silkily after one another, and for a debut, the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1515941) | Posted by NickArvas | Wednesday, January 20, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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