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THE FLOCK

Eclectic Prog • United States


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The Flock picture
The Flock biography
Founded in Chicago, USA in 1966 - Disbanded in 1973

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 correctly since three of the four groups recorded 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 with THE FLOCK, even if both their albums sold quite well at the time.

This band is most famous for having violinist Jerry Goodman (later with MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA) but they did not sound anything like the supern jazz-rock giant. Actually their music is very close to what was called Brass Rock at the time because of the extended wind instrument section - although those groups were never associated with jazz-rock. Effectively, THE FLOCK sounds much more like ELECTRIC FLAG, BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS, or the fantastic early CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY later to become CHICAGO, the well known AOR group. The British equivalent to those bands might be IF and CATAPILLA. But The Flock had a very average songwriting skill and both albums lack excellent productions. Apparently the group reformed in 75 for another album, but the brass/horn section was gone and so was Jerry Goodman.

The first two albums are recommended to anyone liking the above-mentioned groups but also to anyone enjoying jazz-rock.




: : : Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Flock/Dinosaur SwampsFlock/Dinosaur Swamps
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THE FLOCK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE FLOCK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 49 ratings
The Flock
1969
3.23 | 35 ratings
Dinosaur Swamps
1971
3.23 | 23 ratings
Inside Out
1975
2.67 | 3 ratings
Heaven Bound (The Lost Album)
2014

THE FLOCK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE FLOCK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE FLOCK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 6 ratings
The Flock / Dinosaur Swamps
1972
3.74 | 7 ratings
Flock Rock: Best of the Flock
1993

THE FLOCK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

THE FLOCK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dinosaur Swamps by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.23 | 35 ratings

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Dinosaur Swamps
The Flock Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nș 283

The Flock was an American progressive rock band based in Chicago. Like many other prog acts from Chicago, The Flock was a prog/jazz/blues rock band from the late 60's and early 70's. However, they didn't achieve the commercial success of some other jazz/rock groups of that era such as Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, but were recognized for featuring a violin prominently on their recordings. The Flock claims to fame because were they that launched the violinist Jerry Goodman. Goodman went on to later fame when he becomes a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Later, he was also a member of the Dixie Dregs between 1992 and 2017, before starting a new career as a solo artist.

The Flock was founded in 1964. They released a few singles untill 1969, the year they released their debut studio album. So, between 1969 and 1971, The Flock released two studio albums, their eponymous debut 'The Flock' in 1969 and the second one 'Dinosaur Swamps' in 1971. Both albums have the presence of Jerry Goodman. They began working on a third studio album but with the recruiting of Goodman for the Mahavishnu Orchestra's project, The Flock fell apart. So, it was only in 1975, when The Flock reunited only briefly, that the band released their third studio album 'Inside Out'.

However, in 2004 a new album was released of a 1973 live concert called 'Live In Europe', which features Michael Zydowsky on violin in place of Goodman and includes the original members Fred Glickstein, Jerry Smith, and Ron Karpman. Finally, a fourth studio album was released in 2014, 'Heaven Bound ' The Lost Album'. As it name indicates, the album has 70's lost recordings from the band recently discovered. These recordings were never released before.

So, 'Dinosaur Swamps' is the second studio album of The Flock and was released in 1971. The line up on the album is Jerry Goodman (vocals, violin and guitar), Fred Glickstein (lead vocals, guitars and Hammond organ), Jerry Smith (vocals and bass guitar), Rick Canoff (vocals and tenor saxophone), Frank Posa (trumpet), John Gerber (vocals, alto and tenor saxophones, flute and banjo) and Ron Karpman (drums).

'Dinosaur Swamps' has an intricate gatefold artwork, which is a reproduction of a mural of pterosaurs, flying reptiles, at the American Museum of the Natural History, painted by Constantine Astori and A. Brown in 1942. It shows a host of pterosaurs flying and clinging to cliffs above an ancient beach. Into this iconic piece of paleoart, the band's members of The Flock have been inserted in the painting and they are looking to those flying reptiles with different expressions.

'Dinosaur Swamps' shows the band more at home with their prog and jazz sensibilities, than its predecessor debut. It's perhaps even more progressive, and completely bewildering. This is a very dense sounding album. Usually, Glickstein using both guitar and keyboards and Goodman playing at the same time, frequently the horns as well, both get a larger role effect into the album. The songs are in general very good. Still, the band seems to have too many musical ideas.

'Dinosaur Swamps' has seven tracks. The first track 'Green Slice' is a brooding instrumental. It has some melodic sax accompanied by swirling organ, and seques into the bluegrass feel of 'Big Bird'. It's interesting to hear the combination of country fiddle and a full horn section, and comes across like the early Dixie Dregs if they jammed with Chicago. The strong country feel on 'Big Bird' is pretty evident. The third track 'Hornschmeyer's Island' is a more straightforward pop tune with a very psychedelic feel, very indicative of the late 60's San Francisco hippy sound, which makes that it sounds a bit dated by today's standards. The fourth track 'Lighthouse' is heavier than the predecessor tracks. Overall this is a heavy rock number with throbbing bass lines from Jerry Smith, Glickstein's power chords, and a raging horn section. The fifth track 'Crabfoot' is mostly an instrumental track with plenty of trumpet and saxophone. It's a symphonic blues jazz number with percussion solos, backwards noises and a strange horn noise section. The sixth track 'Mermaid' is a sort of a romantic British folk sounding minstrelly ballad with a complex little ditty featuring violins, trumpet, and medieval sounding vocals. Perhaps the band pre-dates Gentle Giant on the song 'Mermaid'. The seventh track 'Uranian Sircus' closes the album with a jangly of guitar rock. This is a very cool way to finish the album.

Conclusion: I must confess that I like very much of 'Dinosaur Swamps'. It was a real good surprise for me. It's better than I thought after my first listening of it. This is an album very fun despite it sounds too much to the 60's. I'm not really a great fan of the 60's, in general. By the other hand, it also has too much influences of country music, of which I'm not a great fan either. Still, the album is full of playful music. I'm sure these guys seemed to have fun doing what they do, which is a great thing. I think 'Dinosaur Swamps' ranges several styles of music, probably too much on the same album. And maybe it even sounds too much dated too. However, despite all I said before, I think the final result is a very good album, a great collection of great songwriting and performance. So, after some hesitation I give to it 4 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Flock by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.36 | 49 ratings

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The Flock
The Flock Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nș 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*)

 Inside Out by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.23 | 23 ratings

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Inside Out
The Flock Eclectic Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I was really surprised with this album as I would be sure this album would have been lame or at least not particularly good. After all, this was a reunion album (Fred Glickstein, Jerry Smith, Ron Karpman with new guys, including a new violinist replacing Jerry Goodman, who after gaining greater success with Mahavishnu Orchestra, probably didn't feel t he needed to rejoin The Flock). Inside Out finds the band without a horn section, and the band exploring a more traditional prog approach which I actually find appealing. The blues and jazz seems absent this time around, so it's very much a prog album. The vocals aren't to everyone's liking, but you can say the same of their first two albums as well. Keyboards are something new as there seemed to be plenty of Mini Moog and ARP String Ensemble to be found and I thought the addition of keyboards gave the band a new twist. Sure it's not like their first two albums, but more in the vein of traditional mid '70s prog rock. Another one of those albums that took me by surprise, but if you want more of that bluesy jazzy approach to horn rock, you'll be disappointed.
 The Flock by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.36 | 49 ratings

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The Flock
The Flock Eclectic Prog

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.

 Inside Out by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.23 | 23 ratings

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Inside Out
The Flock Eclectic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars Jerry Goodman had been plucked away by Columbia Records to join Mahavishnu Orchestra after the Flock's second album, leading to the group dissolving and being dropped by the label. Too bad, because the promise showed on those first two records would never be completely realized thanks to the creative vacuum left in the wake of Goodman's departure.

The back cover of 'Inside Out' tells the story of a band that just couldn't stay down, one whose music was crying to get out and led to a metamorphosis of the group with the unknown Mike Zydowsky taking Goodman's place on violin and Mercury replacing Columbia as the bankroll behind the outfit. That's the story as the band told it anyway; the music on this third and final studio effort tells a slightly different story. There are minor flashes of the grand and progressive sound, particularly on the instrumental "Metamorphosis" that features plenty of bent and wandering violin work along with tempo shifts and driving percussion, albeit in a decidedly more rocking vein than their brass- driven earlier work. But that song seems to be the best they could muster on what is otherwise a fairly brief effort consisting of three pedestrian and indistinctive rockers in "Music for our Friends", "Hang On" and "Back to You", along with another violin-dominated number ("My O.K. Today") that tries too hard to be a sort of resurrection anthem for a group that has clearly lost its magic.

The album closes with "Straight Home", a wandering, mostly instrumental tune that displays the talents of the other new member, keyboardist James Hirsen. In fact, Hirsen's presence is felt much more on this record than any of the brass section or violin sounds that so defined the band's sound in their earlier lineup. The abrupt and unimaginative ending ("Music for our Friends" also faded out like a studio track that ran out of tape), showed that the band had little left in the tank as far as creative energy.

Other than "Metamorphosis" this is a forgettable album with little left that resembled the big, spacious brass-rock sound of the group's earlier work. Most of the members pretty much faded away after the record failed at launch to make any inroads into their former fanbase or attract any new interest. The group would reform with a couple different lineups over the years, but for the most part this was a weak swan song. The times were changing anyway, and even peers like Chicago and Steely Dan were adapting their sound into something more commercially appealing and decidedly less progressive than the more ambitious stuff that briefly filled the airwaves in the early seventies. This is easily the weakest of the three Flock albums, and one that only serious fans of the band would likely ever be interested in. Pick it up in a cutout bin if you're so inclined, but be prepared to be underwhelmed. Two stars and not recommended, except maybe for the minor bright spot "Metamorphosis".

peace

 Dinosaur Swamps by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.23 | 35 ratings

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Dinosaur Swamps
The Flock Eclectic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars The Flock made a rather remarkable transformation on their second album. The lineup is the same including violin impresario Jerry Goodman, but rather than the big brass and jazzy sound that dominated the first record, this one features copious amounts of multi- tracked vocals, an almost country-rock mood and violin work that sometimes borders on what can only be described as 'fiddling'. All in all I have to say I like this album very much, especially since the production quality is noticeably improved over their debut. Still, the significant shift in sound is quite surprising and must have been a bit of a shock to whatever fans they had in the early seventies. Rather than sounding like Chicago or BS&T, comparisons to the Grateful Dead are quite a bit more apropos this time around.

The opening "Green Slice" sounds like Steve Howe setting in on a session with Jerry Garcia, while "Big Bird" retains that country-fried rock sound but adds in the discordant brass that distinguished the middle part of their first album.

"Hornschmeyer's Island" would qualify these guys as a progressive band even if none of their other music had. The shifting tempos and moods along with a blast of vocals followed by a series of contrasting saxophones and trumpet make for a complex and engaging song all by themselves, but the shift midway to a torrid bass rhythm and dissonant violin solo is simply too cool for 1971, and something that impresses even today. Only a real turd of a filler track would have taken away from this, and fortunately the band managed to avoid including such a track which ultimately saves the record as a whole.

I think the oddest tune in the band's entire discography comes next on this record, a bluesy and driving version of James Taylor's laconic "Lighthouse" that apparently only salvages a few of the original lyrics and a heavily amped-up version of Taylor's guitar chord progression. Otherwise this is a heavy rock number that bears almost no resemblance to the original, but does trot out the same sort of harmonized vocals their debut album features, but that sound much better this time around thanks to the improved engineering.

"Crabfoot" is mostly an instrumental track with plenty of trumpet and saxophone (three of them if I hear correctly), a blazing number that shows the band members had managed to gel as a unit after a couple years of touring and studio work together. The scat-like vocals toward the end are unnecessary but don't take much away from the groove.

I'm not sure what the group was trying to accomplish with "Mermaid", a sort of British folk- sounding minstrelly thing that I probably would have appreciated more had it come out on a Dulcimer or Incredible String Album rather than a Flock record. Still, I like the song and give the group some credit for being willing to experiment.

Finally "Uranian Sircus" starts off sounding like something Principal Edward's Magic Theatre would have done, but morphs into a funky and almost psych number with a hippy version of white rap and a frenetic guitar riff that is as annoying as it is intriguing. A truly weird tune that could have only been recorded in 1971 or by Ozric Tentacles, and probably nowhere in between. Very cool.

I actually like this album better than the band's debut, although in the end I can't give it anymore than the three stars I gave that one simply because it is good but not outstanding. Three stars in a five star rating system is just too broad a range I guess. Anyway if you are curious at all about the band I would recommend this one first, followed by their debut record if you're still interested. And there's a CD reissue that combines both of them if you're feeling frisky and want to check them both out.

peace

 The Flock by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.36 | 49 ratings

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The Flock
The Flock Eclectic Prog

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

 Flock Rock: Best of the Flock by FLOCK, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
3.74 | 7 ratings

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Flock Rock: Best of the Flock
The Flock Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars This is a sort of compilation, containing the shorter tracks of both The Flock albums, plus unreleased songs from the album's respective sessions plus a few that were originally foreseen for the group's third album, which never saw the light of day. No-one except blues purists will criticize the label for not selecting the 15- mins Truth track, because of limited space, but lack real interest as well. The unreleased track from their debut album's session track coming comes after the debut album's first side (the flipside being completely ignored) and came out as a single between the two album's releases. From the same session comes Lollipops track that sounds quite different, Eastern European-feeling with a jazzy bass and a rarer flute (as opposed to the sax).

Then pacing through a big part of Dinosaur Swamps, the group's follow-up album, some of the most- representative tracks. The last four tracks of this compilation album being from a Dec 70 session that was to be the group's third album, which would never see the day until this "best of". But if these previously unreleased tracks are to be representative of their third album, then it's a real shame TF broke up, because they were finally about to make a real worthy album for its PA inclusion. Most likely this would've been a live album, named Flock Rock, the name of this compilation and the recordings do not have the same quality as the studio stuff, these being slightly muddy. The short Chanja seems to be an outtake from a killer blues track and features some excellent jazzy jammy moments. Atlantians Trucking Home has the same jam feeling, this time the group having a slight Allman Bros Band, especially on the double guitars (Goodman and Glickstein) with Webb's flute getting some cool licks in. Afrika is yet another jam good jam where the brass section pulls some excellent call and responses. Closing up this "third album" session is the superb Just Do It, with a Coltrane swing, mostly induced by Glichstein's piano, evidently inspired on the awesome McCoy Tyner and as you could guess Canoff and Gerber's sax lines.

With this album being a sort of "best of" with some unreleased live material, Flock rock might just be the only album you'll need from them. Indeed, I'm not that much a fan of TF's two studio albums ((there is nothing that's not done better by Chicago or UK groups like Warm Dust or Galliard) and the choice of this album to omit the debut's two of three longer tracks is a wise one, the selection from DS being a tad more disputable.

 Inside Out by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.23 | 23 ratings

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Inside Out
The Flock Eclectic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Gone is the wind section (which is not necessarily a bad thing IMO). Gone is Jerry Goodman (which is not necessarily a good thing IMO). He was replaced by another great violin player : Mike Zydowsky who joined the band in 1973 or so for their touring over Europe.

The music here is less jazz oriented than on their first two albums and there are some very good tracks in here. Still, jazz is very much present during the longest song from this album : "Back To You". It goes along with the poorest : "Hang On" which is a funky / soul song which is best avoided, believe me.

The best number out of this album is "Metamorphosis". Fantastic violin play from Mike and wonderful beat. If only they would have produced more of these. The closing part is simply gorgeous. Full of classicism. Vibrant, poignant, emotional : you name it. THE highlight of course.

Frank Pappalardi (from "Mountain") produced the album which was recorded during a short reunion. Unlike some purists (not on this site), I can't write that this album is bad. It holds several very good violin breaks, nice compositions ("My OK Today" is another one). The closing number is also very intense : powerful drumming, impressive keys and great bass play. Another highlight.

This is a good album after all. But there is no trace of this work on their official website as if the band would like to hide this release.

Three stars.

 Dinosaur Swamps by FLOCK, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.23 | 35 ratings

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Dinosaur Swamps
The Flock Eclectic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The debut album from this US band has a special flavour for me (you can read more details in the appropriate entry). This follow-up has much less to offer IMO.

More jazz-oriented ("Green Slice"° or a combo country-jazz ("Big Bird"° which is excessively poor are not the best start I could have imagined. But things do improve with the subtle "Hornschmeyer's Island". The great Jerry Goodman performs an excellent violin part and vocals are sweet and emotional. Wind instruments not being too present is also a plus as far as I am concerned. The highlight of this album.

The same feeling prevails during "Mermaid". The least jazzy tune form this album. Again Jerry shows all his talent during his violin play which is definitely the highlight of this song (and album). Vocal harmonies are also well balanced.

If you are into jazz-rock, this album deserves your attention. If not, you might be disappointed by the little progressiveness you will discover.

I have a special tenderness for this band, although they don't really play the type of music I am found of, they are so closely related to my early teens with their first album that I'm going to rate this one with two stars. There are no such tracks as "Clown" or I Am The Tall Tree. If ever you would like to discover this band, you should stick to their debut album.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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