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THE FLOCK

The Flock

Eclectic Prog


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The Flock The Flock album cover
3.36 | 49 ratings | 9 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Introduction (4:50)
2. Clown (7:42)
3. I Am the Tall Tree (5:37)
4. Tired of Waiting (4:35)
5. Store Bought - Store Thought (7:00)
6. Truth (15:25)

Total Time: 45:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Fred Glickstein / electric & 12-string acoustic (3,5) guitars, lead vocals
- Jerry Goodman / violin, guitar (2,5), vocals
- Rick Canoff / tenor saxophone, vocals
- Tom Webb / tenor saxophone, flute (5), harmonica (6), maracas (4)
- Frank Posa / trumpet
- Jerry Smith / bass, vocals
- Ron Karpman / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Constantin Astori with Don Hunstein (photo)

LP Columbia ‎- CS 9911 (1969, US)

CD Epic ‎- 469443 2 (1992, Europe)
CD Music On CD ‎- MOCCD 13057 (2013, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE FLOCK The Flock ratings distribution


3.36
(49 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
12%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
55%
Good, but non-essential (22%)
22%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

THE FLOCK The Flock reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Signed on the CBS brass-rock craze after BS&T's mega success, than Chicago Transit Authority's much more prog success, Columbia signed also the eclectic Illinois Speed Express, the psychedelic Aorta and the brassy The Flock, all three also from Chicago and releasing their debut album the same month as CTA did as well. Apparently a marketing plan to create a Chicago scene, this ploy actually worked since three of the four albums recoded two albums (not going further than that, but we all know what a monster Chicago became. Alas, CBS wouldn't enjoy the same brassy success than with BS&T and CTA, even if both their albums sold quite well at the time.

Opening on the judiciously-named Introduction, a slow-developing instrumental violin feast, actually Jerry Goodman's worst moment IMHO (he was the latest addition to the group), as he's just not deciding whether he's playing a violin or a fiddle. After such a non-representative start, TF comes with the much more Flock-ish Clown, which sounds very BS&T brassy, but the middle section is full-blown prog and ends up in a mad bluesy outro. Tall Tree seems more like a good Vanilla Fudge track, at least until Goodman's violin entrance (leader Rick Canoff's sax and vocals being the main other attraction and brings this VF dimension), but the track is over-staying its welcome. Tired of Waiting starts again on Goodman's fiddle but once the group is in swing, we're in a totally different world, although the violin accompanies the group through the verses but not the VF-like choruses, where Glickstein's fuzz guitar works well.

The flipside is made of only two tracks, the first of which Store Bought where TF's other leader Fred Glickstein's guitar pulls a real show with his guitar fighting off the brass squad, the track fading into a jazzy-blues intermezzo, gradually picking back up speed enough (Goodman is also on guitar, and I believe he's the one playing in the break), and once the energy gathered, the band returns to its funky soul-beat. The 15-mins-monster track Truth is a slow blues where Glickstein and the boys go through the motion rather convincingly, but they're still going from one cliché to another. It holds some real best-forgotten meanders, most notably the violin gradual build-up, going way over its welcome. Once the build-up is complete,the band resumes unsurprisingly to the groovy blues that had opened, but first talking a few unnecessary meanders more.

Actually most of the doubts one could have about Goodman's real belonging in the group is a bit real: his contributions are often so different than what the rest of the band is doing, that it often feels that it was just stuck or wedged in the rest of the group. Part of the reason why I think this is that Goodman's violin recording sound choice are irksome for me. While TF developed an honest brass rock, it's clear they were Flocking an almost dead horse, with CTA and BS&T and Electric Flag saying whatever there was to say and that many of the much more inventive British counterparts couldn't bring to attention

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a classic album featuring violin master Jerry Goodman whom later joined Mahavishnu Orchestra. I also owned his solo album "Ariel" that sounded differently than The Flock. One thing that triggered me to purchased this album was the use of violin, especially in progressive rock. This album may favor those who like or can appreciate fusion music and may NOT favor those who like progressive metal or even symphonic progressive. The music of The FLOCK reminds me to bands like CHAZE, CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY (before it later became CHICAGO only) or BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS. They are not closely alike but they same to be in the same family, I think. So, if you only love Genesis like or Dream Theater like, forget about this CD - it will be a waste for you. But, if you like brass rock or fusion or bands like I mentioned above, yeah man . this one is for you!

The album kicks off with "Introduction" (4:50) that basically introduces you to the sort of music they play - well, not really because it contains an exploration of violin solo and guitar fills in quiet passage. It flows to "Clown" (7:42) in exactly the same vein like CHAZE - the band whom all the members died tragically in a plane crash - or CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY. Oh man, this track is so powerful in compositions: solid bass lines, excellent improvisations, great solos and good melody that projects an image of classic rock tunes. The third track "I Am the Tall Tree "(5:37) continues with a mellow style vocal and guitar / violin at opening part and it flows with some influence of blues and jazz music. It reminds me to the music of BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS.

"Tired of Waiting" (4:35) gives an opportunity for violin to do long solo during opening part. It flows to classic rock style with great violin and guitar solo. The fifth track "Store Bought - Store Thought" (7:00) is one of my favorite as it has stunning guitar solo - relatively long - during opening part accompanied with excellent brass section and seventies singing style.

"Truth" (15:25) concludes the album with some blues touch - nice one - that reminds us to blues-based rock bands like BLIND FAITH, CUBY + THE BLIZZARD, LIVIN' BLUES, KEEF HARTLEY band PLUS great violin and brass section. I love the singing style as well as the combination between violin, guitar solo and brass section that make up this excellent composition. The exploration of trumpet and tenor saxophone in the middle of this track is truly excellent.

Recommended! (for those who like Chaze, Chicago Transit Authority, BS&T and sort of jazz/blues music. For those who like only music like Dream Theater or only Genesis, forget this album!). After all ..keep on proggin'!!!!

Progressively yours,

GW

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As I already said before in a Darryl Way's Wolf review, bands who play simultaneously electric violin and electric guitar are rare; The Flock belong to this select group. As if it was not enough, a very inspiring Zappa-esque mini-brass section garnishes furthermore the melodies, often falling into a refined fusion style: because of all that, The Flock remains a very unique band, capable of being hard rock, big band, bluesy, psychedelic, fusion or even folk: that's why we can classify them as an art rock artist, since they can borrow different musical styles. The Hendrixian & Zeppelin-esque restless running bass patterns contribute to make catchy rhythmic tracks easy to follow. There are absolutely NO keyboards involved on this record. The violinist Jerry Goodman here has a pretty similar style to Stephane Grapelli. The drums & bass free "Introduction" track is absolutely unique & progressive for 1969!
Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It is very bizarre that this album ended up in my home in 1972 because jazz-rock and brass were not my cup of tea (and still aren't).

Actually, I first came in contact with The Flock in 1971. I got a CBS sampler album on loan ("Fill Your Head With Rock") and one of the tracks featured was "Tired Of Waiting" which is featured here as well. I liked it and while I was lying in my bed in 1972 (the whole year actually), I used my mail order system to buy this album.

Since my eldest cousin was doing his military service in Germany, he could purchase record at half price. Needless to say that I used this option substantially during this year.

So, the first time I listened to this album, I was a bit disappointed since there was a lot of sax and an overall jazzy mood. But I kept on listening to it (I had basically nothing else to do since I couldn't walk for more than ten months) and I managed to even like this album (although moderately).

Music here is diverse : the great violin play especially during "Introduction" but not only is definitely a highlight of this album. The great jamming capabilities of this band being another one (the instrumental section of "Clown" for instance). Subtle music and beautiful vocal ("I Am The Tall Tree") adds another string to their bow; that's a given.

Their style is very unique. Remember, this was recorded in 1969. To have a full time violinist was not common in those days. And this introduction was rather successful. But to be honest, I had not listened to this album for a very, very long time. I did it some three years ago as well as today for the purpose of this review.

I have to say that my opinion about "Tired of Waiting" has changed a bit. Not as great as I thought. Vocals are excellent and as usual, Jerry Goodman is fabulous. Not bad a track at the end of the day. And the same impression prevails about S"tore Bought.". Even if there is a good guitar section, the brass parts are too much in here.

This album closes on "Truth", the epic track of the album. Over fifteen minutes of a heavy bluesy mood. This one has always been difficult to listen to. Even if there are some cues, this seems widely improvised style; brass being over dominating. Great violin solo again, but you have been used to this by now. It ends up as a complete chaos.

I have been brought back some thirty-six years ago. A souvenir of my youth. I guess that it is always nice (even if '72 was rather painful for me as far as health is concerned). I will rate this work with three stars, sentimentally. An original and different album.

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Columbia Records seemed to have a hankering for these brassy rock bands with complex arrangements and jazz-fusion arrangements back in the late sixties and early seventies. Among the biggest were Chicago and Santana (San Francisco), as well as Weather Report, Steely Dan and Blood, Sweat & Tears from New York, most if not all of them inspired by the likes of Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie but with a firm grounding in rock sensibilities and showmanship as well. The Flock never achieved the same level of recognition as any of these bands, but managed to crank out a couple of pretty decent albums before fracturing with the departure of violinist Jerry Goodman for Mahavishnu Orchestra.

This debut album is rather brief compared to some of the more grandiloquent and lengthy early releases by some of their peers, particularly Chicago and BS&T. And Goodman's electric violin overshadows most of the music, with the brass section playing a complementary role but not dominating as did the horns of the other brass-rock bands of the era. In fact, the first two tracks on this album ("Introduction" and "Clown") are virtually primers on how to employ a violin on a rock album, with "Introduction" being nearly a Goodman solo save for mellow percussion rhythm and a bit of guitar.

The other interesting tracks here are the pompous cover of the Kinks "Tired of Waiting" and the lengthy jam "Truth". "Tired of Waiting" is enhanced by significant fuzzed guitar and a fleshed out the bass line that far exceed the original, in addition to a brief but impressive appearance of Goodman's violin toward the end. "Truth" features the most brass on the album but the band still can't resist adding a lengthy and sometimes disjointed violin solo midway through before descending into a rather glorious brass/bass jam session. Despite the constant comparisons to Chicago, other than the violin this song sounds more like the first Chicago album than anything else on the record.

The only track that borders on filler is "Store Bought - Store Thought" with it's overemphasis of rather weak vocals and lack of general direction. A modestly decent tune but not on par with the rest of the record.

This was an interesting debut by a band that showed considerable talent and promise as the seventies dawned. Unfortunately they were unable to capitalize and despite a couple more records the Flock would disintegrate before the decade reached its midpoint. A good though not great album, but mildly recommended to anyone who has ever been a fan of jam-length, brassy music in the vein of Chicago and the like. Three stars.

peace

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'The Flock' - The Flock (52/100)

Even while many of the then-obscure acts of the late 60s and early 70s have earned the status of legend, The Flock remains something of a footnote. They're probably best known for being an early home to violinist Jerry Goodman (of Mahavishnu Orchestra glory) but when speaking of their music it's probably best to talk about them in the context of the contemporaneous 'brass rock' scene with which they were a part of. The fusion of driving rock and trumpet embellishments were flagshipped most notably by Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Chicago Transit Authority (better known to FM radio acolytes as Chicago), but there were plenty of imitators that didn't fare nearly so well. The Flock would go on to release two albums following this self-titled debut, but they ultimately failed to realize the potential of their sound. With two saxophonists, a trumpeter and the aforementioned violinist backing up the more conventional rock musicians, I might have expected to hear The Flock bring a higher degree of sophistication to their music than they do. The Flock's debut is a fairly middling rock record with unessential jazz elements sprinkled overtop- the tired psychedelia and American blues rock fetishism aren't anything special, but it's the potential a seven-piece had to become so much more that makes The Flock's debut feel so disappointing.

It's a common criticism I have for many debut albums, but The Flock don't seem to have totally figured out where they want to go musically on this debut. The uninventively named "Introduction" suggests a focus on violins, whereas "Clown" offers up a strong blend of blues rock and jazz-tinged jamming. On the other side, "Truth" unfolds as a dreadfully overdrawn slow blues jam. "Store Bought - Store Thought" sees the band even try their hand at tepid science fiction themes. A more ambitious act could have made these ideas work together, but- to put it bluntly- The Flock aren't particularly good at songwriting. All of the album's greatest moments are when the music starts to take a more improvised turn (see "Introduction"); even then however, The Flock can't seem to figure out how to maximize the use of their jazz instruments.

Frontman Fred Glickstein's voice isn't a mile away from that of the immortal Robert Plant, although he lacks the distinctive charisma that made Zeppelin's frontman spectacular; the vocals on this album however range from that to weak falsettos and headscratching pseudo-opera- believe me when I say it's not nearly as interesting or groundbreaking as it might sound on paper! Although four of the seven musicians in The Flock are playing non-rock instruments, they never seem to figure out how to make proper use of the potential. The trumpets and saxophones are used as a light embellishment at most, and the abundant jams on the album are utterly typical for British rock at the turn-of-the-decade. Not surprisingly, it's Jerry Goodman's violin that earns the lion's share of respect on the album. "Introduction" is a pleasantly misleading track, focusing predominantly on Goodman's violin, even hinting at a possible avant-garde approach with the dissonant and playful way the instrumental unfolds. Of course, that's an exception to the rule. Suffice to say, fans of the Mahavishnu Orchestra will likely find this album horribly underwhelming; even if Goodman's work with electric violin is excellent, there are far better albums you can hear him playing on.

The Flock isn't a bad band, nor is their self-titled a bad album. With so many bands of this ilk forming flash-in-the-pan careers around the same time however, it's pretty difficult to get excited over what they were doing here. Overall, the impression is one of disappointment. The Flock had unconventional instruments enough to do something really interesting stylistically, and instead they stay clung to middling slow blues jams, Kinks covers and wimpy songs about robots. There was potential greatness lurking in The Flock, but like so many others, they failed to achieve the level of focus that needed to unlock it. A shame, really.

Review by VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nº 282

The Flock deserves more than a footnote, but not the full fledged treatment that an entry in The Annals of American Progressive Rock would surely give them. They released three separated albums all which had separated ideas behind them. Their eponymous debut studio album focuses on the classical violinist Jerry Goodman, with counter point done by a horn section, after all this was a Chicago band, and guitarist Fred Glickstein. Shifting between styles within songs was the key to their success, as was letting Goodman stretch out as much as possible. Their second studio album, "Dinosaur Swamps" reigned also with Goodman, in hampered itself by changing styles too much, and was way over produced. But, both albums are certainly a different form of progressive rock, a sort of Chicago with Seatrain's violin.

But, Jerry Goodman then left The Flock for John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and the band fell apart in 1971. Still, Fred Glickstein and the rhythm section revived it in the mid of the 70's, this time without horns, but with a token violinist and a synth loving keyboardist, James Hirsen. The third The Flock album, "Inside Out" was self consciously progressive and laid claim to being one of the first progressive American bands while stumbling all over themselves to imitate popular progressive rock music like Styx, curiously another American prog band that came from Chicago. However, a fourth studio album was released in 2014, "Heaven Bound ? The Lost Album". As it name indicates, the album has 70's lost recording tracks from the band, recently discovered. These recordings were never released before.

So, "The Flock" is the eponymous debut studio album of The Flock and was released in 1969. The line up on the album is Jerry Goodman (backing vocals, violin and guitar), Fred Glickstein (lead vocals, electric guitar and 12 string acoustic guitars), Jerry Smith (backing vocals and bass), Rick Canoff (backing vocals and tenor saxophone), Frank Posa (trumpet), Tom Webb (backing vocals, tenor saxophone, harmonica, flute and maracas) and Ron Karpman (drums).

The Flock is similar to Chicago. But, while Chicago was more a rock group with strong jazz influences, The Flock was even more out there. Most of this is due to their violinist Jerry Goodman, who played in a downright classical style. The word virtuoso is not one to use lightly, but it applies to Goodman. Goodman's playing is very fluid. It helps that the rest of the band are no slouches either. Guitarist/vocalist Fred Glickstein usually just acts as support while Goodman does his thing, but he is a decent player in the distorted electric mold. The rhythm section of Jerry Smith and Ron Karpman acquits itself well on the jazzy beat. The horn section, Rick Canoff, Frank Posa and Tom Webb, are great too. Together, 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.

"The Flock" has six tracks. "Introduction" is an excellent instrumental track, basically a vehicle for Jerry Goodman and his high flying violin, and a tune that would have found a home in the Mahavishnu Orchestra set list. "Clown" is an upbeat rocker in the tradition of the early Chicago, with lots of horns, stinging violin, distorted guitar solos, and the powerful vocals of Fred Glickstein. The band manages to create an effective mix of rambunctious rock & roll with progressive jazz here that is one of the album's highlights. The band goes for a more folky flavor on "I Am The Tall Tree", with some nice vocal harmonies from the band, as well as wispy violin work from Jerry Goodman. By the other hand, the horn arrangements, violin and guitar solos on the remake of the Kinks classic, "Tired Of Waiting" are quite good, whyle the vocals are a bit sloppy and strained. It flows to classic rock style. It's perhaps a modestly decent track in relation to the others. "Store Bought - Store Thought" is a rambling blues rocker, with scorching guitar leads from Fred Glickstein. Still, on the last track, "Truth", the band concludes the album with some bluesy touch. It goes for some nice flavor completed with emotional vocals and an acrobatic solo from Jerry Goodman. Nice way to close the album.

Conclusion: "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, 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. This is a great album indeed and I still listen to it, even in our days. So, this is great classic stuff.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Here is my review of ''The Flock'' album.."Introduction'' is basically a violin solo song,while the next 3 song's ''Clown'',''I'm A Tall Tree'',and ''Tired of Waiting'' are good song's. The real highlight of the album is side 2,with the song's "Store Bought-Store Thought'',and the 15.5 minute ... (read more)

Report this review (#113517) | Posted by jasonpw. | Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I played in a neighourhood band from 1966 to 1971 in Oakville, Ontario, and we played all of the public schools, high schools, frat and sorority parties in the pre-GTA. We started with The Rascals, Ther Grass Roots (pre-CTA), converted to R & B (Wilson Pickett, Booker T., et al ) then discov ... (read more)

Report this review (#30872) | Posted by | Saturday, December 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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