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Various Genres definition

Albums or CD's where more than one artist is featured either as a SAMPLER or a TRIBUTE to a particular band. Examples: - Peter and The Wolf - Prog Fairytale - 1975 / The Reading Room - 2000 / Leonardo - The Absolute Man - 2001 / Best Prog Rock Album in the World... Ever - 2003 / Un Voyage En Progressif Volume 1 to 8 / Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic.

Various Genres Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Various Genres | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.19 | 228 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.24 | 108 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.28 | 61 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.20 | 95 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.15 | 88 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.16 | 64 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.14 | 63 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.10 | 75 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.71 | 13 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.09 | 58 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.02 | 98 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.02 | 59 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.01 | 51 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.00 | 40 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.21 | 17 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.93 | 42 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
3.88 | 56 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.25 | 12 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.92 | 33 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.83 | 55 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

Latest Various Genres Music Reviews

 The Colossus Of Rhodes by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.63 | 52 ratings

The Colossus Of Rhodes
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Back when artists really put their all into the Musea/Colossus theme projects--and, more impressivley, the publishers could get their bands to compose, perform, and engineer 20- to 30-minute epics.

CD 1 (77:01) 1. "Un Pensiero e Sempre Libero" (LEVIATHAN) (26:34) Kudos to Musea/Colossus for getting these Italian NeoProg rockers to come out of retirement for this project. The music, quality of composition, musicianship, and sound engineering are all pretty good--except the pitchy performance of lead singer Paolo Antinori. Though Paolo was present on the band's third and last album, 1997's Volume, he was not the band's original singer (two albums created at the end of the 1980s.) As a matter of fact there are only two other musicians from the band representing on this piece--both founding members: keyboardist and flutist Andrea Amici and Andrea Moneta on bass, drums, ChapmanStick, and engineering. Despite some shortcomings, the musicians do a pretty good job of pulling together a very engaging and overall pleasing epic. As a matter of fact, the music is quite good; the overall rating might be higher if there were less singing (which, by the way, is all done in Italian). (40/50) B-

2. "The Secret Passage" (GREENWALL) (27:13) opens with some classical/New Age jazz piano soloing away as if performing an overture.lots of rather clichéd hooks and motifs (some very engaging and interesting) performed with passable engineering and then spliced together in an interesting fashion--like an Andrew Lloyd-Weber musical. Andrea Pavoni's classical/New Age piano solo over the final three minutes is, for me, the highlight. Unfortunately, the finished product is like listening to a B-level off-Broadway radio play. The vintage analog instruments are certainly present and shining but rarely creating anything exciting to the modern prog lover. The players' sometimes-pitchy accented English is sometimes horrible--especially the male. Luckily, they also spend quite a bit of time singing in Italian. Despite the fine effort from the performers, this is just not A-level prog. (46.5/55) B-

3. "God Of Silence" (SINKADUS) (23:14) Not used to hearing this Swedish band with vocals--and now I understand why they've been reluctant to use them much before. Still, this is a band of very skilled musicians who do a fair job putting this song together. Unfortunately, from this critical reviewer with my high standards, it could have been more inspired [and original], more fully-developed, and definitely more polished. (38/45) B-

CD 2 (79:25) 4. "Come Vento Tornero" (MAD CRAYON) (25:05) full marks: you can tell that this band--a seasoned quartet led by long-time prog stalwart and keyboard wizard, Alessandro Di Benedetti--literally put their hearts and soul into this very symphonic piece. The result is that it's a piece that's very hard to find fault! (47.5/50) A

5. "Lords And Knights" (VELVET DESPERADOS) (24:51) a group of talented Finnish youth who only worked together for a very short period, 2003 to 2007, releasing only one album of their own and then contributing to two of these Musea/Colossus projects: this one and 2007's Treasure Island. I really like their eclectic sound: the keyboards of Pink Floyd's Richard Wright, the rhythm section of an early Nektar or even earlier psych-rock band and a lead singer that sounds like a cross between Jim Morrison, Arthur Lee (LOVE), and Geoff Mann (TWELFTH NIGHT), but more, this band employs horns! In fact, an entire four-piece horn section! The music definitely has the feel of a band from the late 1960s, even earlier when they go into their blues-rock style (as in the most excellent section from 12:30 to 15:45--a sound and stylistic blend that I was not expecting!) Another most excellent passage can be hear from 15:45 to 18:50, this one sounding like an early, soulful BILLY JOEL. Wow! Again: I was not expecting this! The next section is led by some very Brian May-like guitar. The vocalist (and his second-track of harmony vocals) is most excellent--exceptionally effective at relating this story with theatricity, skill, and genuine feeling emotion. The song closes down with the same horn-led fanfare as the beginning. Again, the musicianship and compositional skill are top notch. I thoroughly enjoyed this and look forward to repeated listens in the future. And, whatever happened to these guys? I'd really like to know! (48/50) A

6. "A New Dawn" (REVELATION) (29:26) opens with some bombastic music that is definitely prog--probably more like NeoProg--and they have a good singer in Arcadelt's Pierfrancesco Drago. A lot of the opening motif (which is six minutes in length) feels and sounds like NeoProg in the vein of STEVE HACKETT GENESIS. The next, slowed-down section is far more GENESIS Trick of the Tail-like with Hammond organ, deep sustained bass notes, thick Mellotron chords, strumming 12-string guitars, and a early-Nick Barrett-like gentle male singer to tell the tale. At 14:15 we ramp back up to a more dynamic passage--not far from being a continuation of the previous motif, just different uses for each of the instruments and, of course, full involvement of the drum kit. The instrumental passage that follows around the 18-minute mark is totally from the GENESIS playbook--almost lifted from the end sections of "Supper's Ready," but this is cut short by a solo classical guitar interlude that starts right at the 20-minute mark, which does set up a heavy Wind and Wuthering passage 45-seconds later. A nice Steve Hackett-like guitar solo ensues for the next minute before an electrified acoustic guitar takes us into a different more-IQ-like passage. Pierfrancesco rejoins, now singing in a forced-sounding voice in a higher register over the thick low end-filling bass, pounding drums, crashing cymbals and bouncing Hammond chord play. The electrified acoustic guitar is used several times to bridge between verses and then to a new motif that contains picked 12-string guitar and flute along with Pierfrancesco's return to his more comfortable vocal range. This part has a sound palette and feel more similar to that of 1980s Pendragon. Overall, a very nicely constructed, performed, and rendered piece. (53.5/60) B+

Total Time: 156:26

B+/4.5 stars; a collection of one disc of excellent prog epics (CD 2), and one disc (CD 1) of somewhat under-developed or under-inspired pieces, thus, giving the Colossus/Musea project masters yet another early win in their intrepid effort to resuscitate the veritable symphonic "epic" of the "Classic Era." Highly recommended.

 The Stories Of H.P. Lovecraft - A SyNphonic Collection by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.10 | 75 ratings

The Stories Of H.P. Lovecraft - A SyNphonic Collection
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by arymenezes

4 stars Marco Bernard made the concept for this project, and invited many exceptional bands to execute it. The booklet is worth summarizing. a) 32 pages that tells a bit of Lovecraft life and work; b) has all the lyrics, the instrumentation/members; c) has one photo of each group. As I predicted before buying this triple CD, many tracks are different one from another. Generally speaking, I don't expect such effort as able to conceive a firm and good concept album. For my surprise, it has a bunch of songs with enough similarities on the mood and proposal, giving the work a considerable cohesion; specially on the first CD. That's essentially why it's the Colossus/Musea project (there are others: Dante's Divine Comedy, the Decameron trilogy, etc) that I most like from the one I've heard.

Most of the groups search for a tenebrous mood. In this regard, I higlight the tracks 1, 2, 3 from CD1, 1 from CD2, and 2 from CD3. Anyway, this is pursued in other parts of this accomplishment. Some executions are more sunny, for instance what Ars Ephemera and Atillio Perrone achieved. The bands that transforms the vocal(s) in a storytelling are more succesful on making the listener dive into the music. Samurai of Prog does it brilliantly, and Sithonia makes it very well.

On CD2, there are three sung languages (two in english, one in spanish and one in italian) that don't match very well. But fortunately this isn't a big problem, because most of the music on this disc is instrumental. Note: I didn't pay attention nor read the lyrics.

Musically, there are only three weak tracks. To my satisfaction, the last ones. On the other side, there are some outstanding tracks. IMO. I prefer not to comment them, only exceptionally; I'll just rank the tracks from 0 to 10.

The Samurai of Prog ? The Case of Charles Dexter Ward ? 10.

Glass Hammer ? Cool Air ? 9.5.

Karda Estra ? The Haunter of the Dark ? 9.3.

Unitopia ? The Outsider ? 9.5 (superb vocal harmonies).

Simon Says ? The Wailing Wall ? 8.7.

Jinetes Negros ?Hypnos ? 8.

Blank Manuskript ? Beast in the Cave ? 8.5.

La Coscienza di Zeno ? Colofonia ? 7.3 (the recording quality isn't good).

Guy Leblanc ? Beyond the Wall of Sleep ? 8.4.

Ars Ephemera ? The Other Gods ? 7.4.

Attilio Perrone ? Topi nel Muro (what a nice surprise!) ? 9.2.

Ciccada ? The Statement ? 7.

D'accorD ? The Doom that came to Sarnath ? 6.8 (a better vocalist would fit well).

Sithonia ? I Gatti di Ulthar ? 7.7.

Daal ? The call of Cthulu ? 7.5 (starts genius, but gets repetitive and too long on the second half.

Kate ? Dream: quest to the unknown Kadath ? 7.5 (could be shorter).

Nexus ? The Colour out of Space ? 7.

Safara ? Calendimaggio ? 5.5.

Aether ? Mountains of Madness ? 4.5.

GOAD ? At the Mountains of Madness ? 5.2.

In a scale of 5, I give the whole effort a 4.1.

 Progressive Rock Anthology by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover DVD/Video, 2003
3.42 | 10 ratings

Progressive Rock Anthology
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nş 725

"Progressive Rock Anthology" is a DVD with a collection of ten progressive live concert clips. Eight of them are "old" and are taken from eight bands of the 70's, and the other two, included as bonuses, belong to two "new" prog bands.

So, "Progressive Rock Anthology" has ten tracks, eight regular tracks and two bonus tracks. The first track "Take A Pebble" is a live version of a song of Emerson, Lake & Palmer from "Emerson, Lake & Palmer", released in 1970. It's a very rare film from an early 1971 film just after Emerson, Lake & Palmer had finished recording their debut studio work. This is an edited extract from a live version that runs to sixteen minutes with the full piano improvisation in the original film. The second track "For Richard" is a live version of a song of Caravan from "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You", released in 1970. It was captured live in a concert in Central Music's Nottingham studios, during 1990. It features the classic Caravan line up, Pie Hastings, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Richard Coughlan and Jimmy Hastings. The third track "Vivaldi" is a live version of a song of Curved Air from "Airconditioning", released in 1970. It's an excerpt taken from a Belgian TV live show, in 1972. This is the classic Curved Air line up featuring Sonja Kristina, Daryl Way, Francis Monkman, Mike Wedgewood and Florian Pilkington-Miksa. The fourth track "The Weaver's Answer" is a live version of a song of Family from "Family Entertainment", released in 1969. This live version was filmed for RTBF, a Belgian public television, in 1971. This is one of the most popular lines up of the group, featuring Roger Chapman, John 'Charlie' Whitney, Poli Palmer, John Weider and Rob Townsend. The fifth track "Hocus Pocus Medley" is a live version of a song of Focus from "Moving Waves", released in 1972. This is the classic Focus line up featuring Jan Akkerman, Thijs Van Leer, Bert Ruiter and Pierre Van Der Linden. The sixth track "Desolation Valley" is a live version of a song of Nektar from "A Tab In The Ocean", released in 1972. This is a very interesting and amazing film that intercuts live material taken from a 1972 live concert with footage shot thirty years later of the same song. The seventh track "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" isn't really a live version of a song from "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth", released in 1974. In reality, it's a live version of a medley of two original songs from "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII", released in 1973. This film shows Rick Wakeman captured in action with the English Rock Ensemble, in 1990. The eighth track "Mockingbird" is a live version of a song of Barclay James Harvest from "Once Again", released in 1971. This is the highlight of a unique live concert filmed at London's Town and Country Club, to mark the 25th Anniversary of Barclay James Harvest. It features only three of their founder members, John Lees, Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard.

As I mentioned above, the ninth and tenth tracks are two bonus tracks. The ninth track "Mother Nature" is a live version of an original song of Mostly Autumn recorded on their third studio album "The Last Bright Light", released in 2001. The tenth track "Heaven Can Wait" is a live version of an original song of Karnataka recorded on their second studio album "The Storm", released in 2000. I must confess that when I bought this DVD, I think in 2005 or 2006, I wasn't familiar with these two bands yet. In reality, I had never heard of them before. So, this DVD became very important to me because somehow it has become my baptism to them. And thanks God that it happened. I really love both bands, particularly Mostly Autumn, which is in my opinion, one the best and one of my favourite British prog bands nowadays.

Conclusion: "Progressive Rock Anthology" is a very interesting DVD. It represents a good introduction for those who aren't accustomed to progressive rock music, with songs from bands that go beyond the general knowledge. As I wrote before, it's focused in the early 70's with the exception of the two bonus tracks. Relatively to the "old songs", I must say that "For Richard" of Caravan and "Desolation Valley" of Nektar are two perfect live performances and are the two highlights on it. "Take A Pebble" from Emerson, Lake & Palmer and "Hocus Pocus Medley" from Focus represent also two good live performances with some funny moments. However, it's a pity that "Take A Pebble" has been cutted. "Vivaldi" of Curved Air represents also a great musical moment especially the performance of Daryl Way which is unforgettable. However, the intrusion of images of tropical fishes is completely inexcusable. The live performance of Rick Wakeman is delightful and shows why he is considered one of the best and most gifted keyboardists ever. "Mockingbird" of Barclay James Harvest shows also a good live performance of the group, but "The Weaver's Answer" of Family represents the weakest point of the DVD. The live performance and the release aren't good and the quality of the sound is very poor. In relation to the "new songs" I love both, and the quality of image and sound is irreproachable.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Steven Wilson Presents Intrigue: Progressive Sounds in UK Alternative Music 1979-89 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2023
4.71 | 5 ratings

Steven Wilson Presents Intrigue: Progressive Sounds in UK Alternative Music 1979-89
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Prog Dog

5 stars Why do we need this collection of post-70s UK prog and art rock tunes? Didn't the 80s suck for prog??

You won't find any Genesis, Yes, or Asia in this collection but you will find solid proof that even after the seeming collapse of the progressive musical empire of the 70s- brought on by the rise of an upstart punk rebellion- prog lived on! Even if it did go underground. In fact, we even learn that punk and prog could form surreptitious collaborations.

I wish I could have been best friends with Steven Wilson during the golden decades of music in the UK, but unfortunately, I grew up in a boring old place called Canada. However, thanks to this new collection of rare prog- tinged tracks from 1979-89, I can feel like I have been transported to Steven's rec room, where we are surrounded by albums on a shag carpet while he plays me his favourite tracks.

This is a massive little collection Steven curated in collaboration with Demon Music Group. The collection I have is a 4 CD set with an exceptionally beautiful and well-designed small hard-cover book (It's also available in vinyl format). It's loaded with carefully curated songs released out of the UK. There are about 14 songs per disc. I have to say even just cracking into the first disc has been more impactful than I expected. I only got as far as 10 tracks into disc one in my first listen. Same thing happened in the next two listens, but happily so. There was so much there to absorb and enjoy, and I was only getting started! The logic of events have proven to me this is probably the most practical way to attack this selection - piecemeal and spread out over many listening sessions.

The book that houses the CDs is top quality. The articles (technically called liner notes) about each song and well written, and accompanied by photos of the original album artwork. There's also a substantial introduction by Wilson. Listening and enjoying this set has been a revelation and a pure pleasure, even if is a bit of a project because it's so vast and diverse. Each time I sit down to tackle some more songs, book in hand, I feel like I'm walking slowly through a modern art gallery, guided by a knowledgeable docent.

Some of the tracks are even remixes by Steven himself.

There's a few artists I knew well, like Tears for Fears, Japan, Kate Bush, David Sylvain...but out of about 50 selections, they were only a tiny slice. Steven avoided picking obvious tracks and dug for the more unique music.

I highly recommend this set for several reasons. Firstly, it features a collection of inspiring music that is truly remarkable. Secondly, the liner notes, written by James Nice, are deserving of a Grammy Award, and provide valuable insight into the music and its creators. Lastly, the packaging of the set is exceptional, making it a beautiful addition to any music collection. It's a trip though some of the best that the 80s had to offer but most mainstreamers will consider obscure and weird- God bless 'em. Six tracks didn't make it to the finish line due to legal or permission issues, but Steven lists them off for you to search out on your own.

Before making a decision, it might be worth reviewing the track listing to avoid redundancy. However, I would be surprised to find anyone other than Steven Wilson who already owns the majority of these tracks.

Oh hey, Steven... I would love to see a future curated collection of 80's art-rock and prog-tinged music released from other parts of the world. It would be highly intriguing and I am definitely interested in hearing what you would come up with.

Steven Wilson, donning a brown Indiana Jones Fedora hat, has unearthed and dusted off significant musical treasures of post-70s prog and alternative rock from the UK. The accompanying well reasearched book makes this a university course-worth of material- a gift that will keep on giving for the prog-curious and then some.

 Rock Legends: Progressive Rock by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover DVD/Video, 2005
2.60 | 5 ratings

Rock Legends: Progressive Rock
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nş 702

"Rock Legends: Progressive Rock" is a DVD with a collection of eleven progressive live concert clips. All of them are focused about the classic progressive rock bands and all songs belong to the prog rock repertoire of the 70's. The clips are taken from different times being some of them taken from old live tapes and others from more recent live shows.

However and unfortunately, "Rock Legends: Progressive Rock" has no information about the places, the dates and the artists that played on the tracks. So, it was very difficult for me to have some information about them. Still, after several researches, I got some information about them. Anyway, I apologize for any inaccuracies that perhaps exist in some.

The first track "Starless" by John Wetton is a live version of a song of King Crimson from "Red", released in 1974. It seems to be a track taken from John Wetton's debut video "Live In The Underworld", released in 2003. Besides John Wetton, the band consists of guitarist John Mitchell, of Arena, keyboardist Martin Orford, of IQ and drummer Steve Christey of Jadis. The second track "Catherine Parr" by Rick Wakeman is a live version of a medley from "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII", released in 1973. This film shows Rick Wakeman captured in action with the English Rock Ensemble, in 1990. The third track "Eruption" by Focus is a live version of a song from "Moving Waves", released in 1972. This is a track taken from their DVD "Live In America", released in 2003. The fourth track "Barbarian" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer is a live version of a song from "Emerson, Lake & Palmer", released in 1970. It was taken from a very rare tape from an early 1971 film just after the group has finished recording their debut studio work. The fifth track "Vivaldi" by Curved Air is a live version of a song from "Airconditioning", released in 1970. It's an excerpt taken from a Belgian TV live show, in 1972. This is the classic Curved Air line up featuring Sonja Kristina, Daryl Way, Francis Monkman, Mike Wedgewood and Florian Pilkington-Miksa. The sixth track "The Weaver's Answer" by Family is a live version of a song from "Family Entertainment", released in 1969. This live version was filmed for RTBF, a Belgian public television, in 1971. This is one of the most popular line ups of the group, featuring Roger Chapman, John 'Charlie' Whitney, Poli Palmer, John Weider and Rob Townsend. The seventh track "Poor Man's Moody Blues" by Barclay James Harvest is a live version of a song from "Once Again", released in 1971. This is a track taken of a unique live concert filmed at London's Town and Country Club, to mark the 25th Anniversary of the group. The eighth track "Clocks" by Steve Hackett is a live version of a song from "Spectral Mornings", released in 1979. Apparently, the track was taken from Steve's DVD "Live Legends", released in 2004. It seems that the DVD version doesn't contain the whole concert Horizons, recorded live in Nottingham Central TV Studios, in October 1990. The band consists of Steve Hackett, his brother John Hackett on flute, guitar and Moog Taurus pedals, Julian Colbeck on keyboards and Pendragon's Fudge Smith on drums. The ninth track "Tale Of Taliesin" by Soft Machine is a live version of a song from "Softs", released in 1976. The line up of the band on this video is John Etheridge (guitar), Karl Jenkins (keyboards), Roy Babbington (bass) and John Marshall (drums). Allan Holdsworth and Mike Ratledge both were gone from the band by this time. The tenth track "Theme One" by Van Der Graaf Generator is a live version of a song from "Pawn Hearts", released in 1971. The track didn't appear on the UK releases but appeared on the US releases. I think this is a track taken from their live DVD "Godbluf Live 1975", recorded for the Belgian TV, on 21st March of 1972 and was released in 2003. The eleventh track "Paradise/The Spell" by Uriah Heep is a live version of two songs from "Demons And Wizards". This track was taken from their live DVD "The Magician's Birthday Party" released in 2002. It has also the participation of Ken Hensley.

Conclusion: Today, you can get no end with DVD's gathering the sounds of the past. Some are poorly edited and put together almost by chance than knowledge of the bands or the time. Still, this is one of the better, with a good selection and some really good performances all over it. So, "Rock Legends: Progressive Rock" is a very interesting DVD and it represents a good introduction for those who aren't accustomed to progressive rock music, especially with the bands from the 70's. However, it seems to me that we can't say that it's an essential musical document and an excellent addition to any of us. Particularly in this case, since that many of the names of some of the prog bands here aren't the most known for the public in general. So, and despite be an excellent musical live document for the beginners, this isn't really essential for most of us. The bands represented here for a prog head are so important, that is essential to have some of their DVD's in our progressive collection of music, that we can't content ourselves only with this kind of stuff.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Peephole in My Brain (The British Progressive Pop Sounds of 1971) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
2.00 | 1 ratings

Peephole in My Brain (The British Progressive Pop Sounds of 1971)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by sl75

— First review of this album —
2 stars This is one of a series of four (that I know about so far) from Cherry Red offering "the British progressive pop sounds of" a given year (we've had 1970-1973 so far - and I gather these are the sequels to compilations of the "psychedelic sounds of the three previous years). My remarks here relate to all four.

It's somewhat of a buyer beware statement.

Having been alerted to Cherry Red's new compilation "Round And Round: Progressive Sounds of 1974", I went searching for earlier entries in that series - and got distracted and I would say a bit misled when all the "British progressive pop" compilations appeared in my search. So I must inform the prog-centric listener that 'progressive pop sounds" in this context does not necessarily mean progressive rock as most of us here would define it, and certainly doesn't mean you're going to hear any 10 minute epics. These are compilations of basically 3-minute pop songs. A very stylistically diverse collection of pop songs, it must be said, and some excellent pop songs - but pop songs nonetheless. I guess they've used the 'progressive' descriptor to distinguish these songs from the more middle of the road fare that came to dominate top 40 singles charts in the early 1970s. Indeed, there are several bona fide Prog bands represented - on the 1971 compilation you will find Curved Air, Atomic Rooster, Barclay James Harvest and ELP among others - but they are represented by their shorter, more accessible songs, not necessarily the songs most loved by the hardcore prog audience. (How many ELP fans would pick "Are You Ready Eddy" as their favourite?)

There's very little music here that I actively dislike - I would take any of it over the top 40 music of today - and there are songs that I absolutely love. On its own merits, three stars would be more appropriate. But since this is Prog Archives, two stars seems more appropriate.

For those who were looking for the authentic prog rock compilations - the more interesting series started as "Underground sounds of" whatever year (beginning with 1968), switched to "underground and progressive sounds" for 1972, and "progressive sounds" thereafter. The mix is still not 100% prog rock, but is much more tilted in that direction - and this time, they're not afraid to include tracks with running times that stretch beyond ten minutes. Plenty of favourites, and plenty of bands that were new to me and worthy of further exploration.

 Sumer Is Icumen In (The Pagan Sound of British and Irish Folk 1966-75) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
4.00 | 1 ratings

Sumer Is Icumen In (The Pagan Sound of British and Irish Folk 1966-75)
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Grapefruit Records is a label that has released a lot of retrospective Various Artists box sets during the last ten years or so, covering many more or less marginal styles of popular music. I have especially enjoyed their boxes representing Folk Rock, Dust on the Nettles - A Journey Through the British Underground Folk Scene 1967-72 and the all-female selection Milk of the Tree - An Anthology of Female Vocal Folk and Singer-Songwriters 1966- 73. This time the focus is on the so called pagan folk, which term is approached quite open-mindedly. Quite a few included artists can be thought of as pagan rockers per se (like COMUS without a doubt is), but I don't see any trouble in that. The music itself is what matters. Anyway, now there are pretty many artists from the ProgArchives database, so I took the opportunity to add this set here, which naturally would be questionable for the mentioned Folk Rock sets, despite surely being interesting for several of us.

The editing of both the musical contents and the 38-page, lushly illustrated booklet in this the clamshell-shaped box is very good, I only have two minor complaints: the track times are missing, and the font is a bit too tiny for comfortable reading. Like in every respectable box set, each track is accompanied by brief but highly informative liner notes on the chosen artists. Here's an example:

STRAWBS - Canon Dale (alternative version) Not originally issued, recorded 10/70.

"The nearest thing we have these days to the wandering minstrels of the Dark Age", was how one music journalist described Strawbs in October 1970, shortly after the recruitment of keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman and former Velvet Opera rhythm section Richard Hudson and John Ford had given the band a broader musical palette. A performance on John Peel's Top Gear show that October saw them premier a new Hudson song called 'Canon Dale', drenched in his expansive sitar work. The band's next studio album, the May 1971 release From the Witchwood, continued that mystical theme, with Dave Cousins' terrific 'Witchwood' and a slightly more restrained rendition of 'Canon Dale' firmly exploring territory defined in 1969 by pop pundit Lillian Roxon as "acid folk".

It would be too worksome to even try dealing with the entire contents of 60 pieces. Instead, here's a quick and probably incomplete list of the other PA-included artists, in the running order and with a few track namings along the way: Third Ear Band, Traffic ('John Barleycorn'), Steeleye Span, Amber, Synanthesia, Mike Oldfield ('On Horseback'), Fairport Convention (Tam Lin'), Chimera, The Sallyangie, Dr. Strangely Strange, Jan Dukes De Grey ('Sorcerers'), Oberon, Fresh Maggots, Tea & Symphony, Principal Edwards' Magic Theatre, Pentangle ('Cruel Sister'), Incredible String Band, Mellow Candle, Curved Air ('Elfin Boy'), Spriguns of Tolgus. This list alone shows how much information on vintage Folk Rock, both household names and obscurities, one gets from this set.

 Vesa Aaltonen Prog Band: Studio Live by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Live, 2022
3.95 | 2 ratings

Vesa Aaltonen Prog Band: Studio Live
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vesa Aaltonen is undoubtedly Finland's most legendary prog drummer. His memoirs were released in 2019 when he had already founded the project Vesa Aaltonen Prog Band to play live the music of the prog acts he was involved in. This "studio live" album contains new recordings of compositions originating from the albums of Tasavallan Presidentti, Pekka Pohjola, Made In Sweden and two more.

The versions are pretty faithful to the originals (I believe you can better tell them by the clean production rather than the musical interpretation itself, but I admit I didn't make concentrated listening comparisons), so the most notable differences concern the vocals. This 12-track album is roughly half sung, half instrumental. The prog maestro Jukka Gustavson -- who also plays the organ on the first piece -- sings on the vocal tracks of Tasavallan Presidentti (originally sung by either Frank Robson or Eero Raittinen). Seemingly Gustavson's vocal credits are mistakenly marked also to the instrumental fusion piece 'Vapour Trails' (from Pekka Pohjola's Visitation, 1979). Ella Tepponen sings on two tracks originating from the album Where Do We Begin (1976) by Made In Sweden, where the vocalist was Tommy Körberg. For me the addition of female vocals is the most welcome fresh detail.

The compositions of Tasavallan Presidentti get the lion's share on the set list. My favourites from them would have been quite different, but generally this album functions very well as a coherent collection of the 70's prog/fusion of the artists in question. For the older generation who experienced that original prog era (or who have found it retrospectively decades ago like me), this project is surely filled with nostalgia, but this music itself is timeless, and this album may open new paths for the young prog-friendly generation to explore further. I'm hesitatingh between 3 and 4 stars; let's say it's 3½ rounded upwards.

P.S. Of the "two more" artists mentioned earlier: The Group was a mid/late-70's fusion group of seasoned prog/jazz musicians. 'Gado-Gado' from their sole album sounds very good and dynamic here. The final piece is 'Peaches En Regalia' originally from the Frank Zappa album Hot Rats (1969). No, Vesa Aaltonen didn't play on Zappa's albums; I suppose this choice refers to Pori Jazz 1982 where Aaltonen momentarily played with Zappa. [This is my educated guess regarding the CD label, sadly it's not easy to affirmate it by googling.]

 Mappa Zappa EP by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2019
4.00 | 2 ratings

Mappa Zappa EP
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mappa Zappa EP was the follow-up to the LP of the same name (2018). Curated by for release by Cordelia Records, both compilations cover Zappa material that has something nominally to do with geography. You can see a bit more context on the above orgs. respective websites, or check out my review of the aforementioned LP for further details. This EP certainly proves concentrated is [often] best.

This Mappa Zappa begins with an apparently extended version of the already-covered "Been to Kansas City in A Minor" as [already] performed by Fred Handl (this recording is nearly 3 minutes longer than their same submission to the LP). Now, if that 7-minute version was way too Blues for way too long to be all that enjoyable to me, how else am I to greet a nearly-10-minute version?... I believe this angry monologue is the same as from the first release. Low and slow, it starts with an acoustic piano solo. Still the saving graces to this track are the later solos, first via mallets, then a crunchy and apparently greatly improved guitar solo. I just don't recall enjoying the latter, at least, as much that first listen. Either way, the song itself is still quite meh to yours truly. Up next is the Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra's more hurried, modernist take on the Over-Nite Sensation (1973) classic: "Montana Revisited". I'm really enjoying it! Perhaps comparable to some of the renditions by Dweezil's earlier Zappa Plays Zappa group. Their outright embrace of synths in particular, I will add, is extra fresh here. They use an interesting tone approaching the middle that sounded like early-70s Todd Rundgren. Lovely. This is followed by a not-so-extended guitar solo, played most 'Frankly'. I feel this version is an absolutely wonderful addition to Zappa's legacy; and it's not like they did anything way out there, either.

Up next is a very unique version of "Aybe Sea", from the wonderful Caballero Reynaldo. This is such a happy departure for me from the already-fun and -quirky Burnt Weeny Sandwich original (1970). The melody is entirely sung, group-style! Just some fun. And finally, starting off most reminiscent to me of Zoot Allures at large, "Bognor Regis" is most jammy, performed here by the only group not present on the previous LP (though I recognize them from other Cordelia releases), Jerry Outlaw and Friends. I think they kept with the general Zappa plot: plenty of interest herein, from delicious little trills on what I assume synth to the horn arrangement throughout. And then we get this absolutely searing guitar solo, made duet with an equally fiery sax. Fantastic stuff, and a helluva closer! These are true Zappaheads, as this was released later this same year for the first time in the Zappa catalog on The Hot Rats Sessions (2019).

True Rate: 3.75/5.00

 Mappa Zappa by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2018
3.00 | 1 ratings

Mappa Zappa
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Time for another Zappa tribute(!!!) released by Cordelia Records, and, from what I've surmised, so thankfully compiled and curated by the good people at This LP and their subsequent Mappa Zappa EP were apparent companion pieces to Amaretto Mick Zeuner's The Zappa Tour Atlas, an apparently remarkable and, to quote them directly, "most comprehensive listing [ever] of every concert date and venue". Semi-Zappa-Band-frontman and multi-instrumentalist Bobby Martin provides the Atlas's foreword. For me, this is the third Idiot Bastard release I've heard, following a smattering from 2004's Lemme Take You To The Beach (I didn't realize R. Stevie Moore covered "Cruising For Burgers" and that's just amazing) and their 2015 full-album cover Weasels Re-Ripped. Numerous bands and artists from those return for this geography-based compilation.

We're purportedly taken to Romania with our opener, "Transylvania Boogie" as performed by The Todd Grubbs Group (originally on Chunga's Revenge, 1970). And this is a markedly heavy rendition! This is a song that Frank would play frequently live until his last tour, and of course, if you know as I do, those '80s bands would go hard at times on this'n. What's brought to the table more prominently here is a more directly Metal approach to lead guitar. It's married with some fantastic, fresh drums and what sounds like a Hammond organ. To follow, originally on YCDTOSA 5 (1992) and later on Buffalo (2007), "Dead Girls of London" is covered by Gabba Zappa Hey!, with a distinctly Punk sound (I frankly don't remember this one by title). To say the least, I can do without. Unsurprisingly, I'm truly haunted and disturbed by the next [thank god], a clattering avant-garde rendition of the already-eerie "Wolf Harbor" by Evil Dick. The song was originally released on the not-much-earlier Dance Me This (2015). And no one can do this better, in my experience. Evil Dick rules. Fantastic.

Another well-known for its original live performance, "The Purple Lagoon" (orig. Zappa In New York, 1978) as covered by Hans Annellsson follows. Great, natural juxtaposition from "Wolf Harbor" in its avant nature, though switching then to a Synclavier-Zappa-inspired electronica (is this Midi?). If their name didn't inform and prepare you, Tante Tofu ('Aunt Tofu' auf Deutsch) have a very German delivery, offering an equally reverent Doo-Wop version of the certainly-more-famous title track "Tinsel Town Rebellion" (orig. 1981). Happily changing hands to not only an apparently live-recorded group, but also a sizeable group, at that, Bogus Pomp covers another live favorite, "Let's Move to Cleveland" (performed as early as '76, see FZ:OZ; orig. available via its solos on Guitar, 1988). Just a very nice, straight-ahead cover of a great song. Another I'm not quite familiar with (randomly Country-Western Zappa isn't exactly the side I'm most well-versed), "Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" as performed by Muffin Men next--and naturally featuring Mother Jimmy Carl Black(!)--was originally on Bongo Fury (1975), played live with Captain Beefheart, and the vocals here are well-befitted.

Another on the obscure side, though one I'd defend as Zappa Essential to the grave, next is "Phyniox" as performed most acoustically by String Trash. This is another more recent addition to the overall, readily available Zappa catalog, then-just-released in 2014, opening Joe's Camouflage. Frankly, what they do with the track is shockingly boring [Obviously check out the original]. Onto a definite essential, Action Zappa covers "Village of the Sun". All's fairly well-performed, yet these vocals are just... not ideal. Kinda yuck?... Sorry. Though significantly too soft for my tastes, they did manage to get a guitar tone quite resembling of Frank. Regardless, I'm a bit disappointed. A rare acoustic guitar strums along, met with folksy viol on Spannertate's "Cucamonga" (another from Bongo Fury). I like these vocals (even when they get a little... dissident haha)! Anything over that "Village" cover... Still in questionable territory if you're looking for my recommendation (although best of the mid-album 'meh's).

And a thankful turn to the dark and the electro, Fuchsprellen performs "Outrage at Valdez", a return to eerie tune, this time from his overtly Classical catalog (orig. The Yellow Shark, 1993). Highly minimal. Back into the rarer tracks, Fred Handl covers the seemingly-only-available-via-Imaginary-Diseases (2006) "Been to Kansas City in A Minor", starting off with a very aggressive monologue. We cool on down as the instruments come on in, chill and groovin'. This is the Blues, maybe you've heard. It's this purely American phenomenon that's really sweeping the nation /s. The one saving grace to me is the midsection mallets solo. This is followed by the crunchiest guitar solo you might ever done hear. Not bad, but one that's a little too boring-old-Blues for my taste.

Coming to the close, "D.C. Boogie", another title I'm actually unfamiliar with first glance, is performed most excellently by Guranfoe; a sorta soft, post-progressive thing, perhaps? Another rarity of rarities, this instrumental is also only available on Imaginary Diseases. I do recall that being one of the strongest posthumous Zappa releases I've heard (and I've heard most, to gloat, obviously). Coolest thang on the release since... track 6, "Let's Move to Cleveland". Yee... haw... One I'm frankly shocked to hear acoustic, made more folksy-old-timey plus a lil Latin influence, is "San Ber'dino" as performed by Caballero Reynaldo (orig. One Size Fits All, 1975). To me, this is quite fun. And its production is distinctly better than much on the album. Finally we have "What's New in Baltimore?", one of the most satisfying Zappa compositions out there to me, covered by Zappa Early Renaissance Orchestra. And they are being so true to the Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention original (1985). Delicious stuff. They embrace more synthesized sounds here. And likewise of great interest is the special feature of a much older Ike Willis(!). True indeed. Stick around for the surprise, and surprisingly fitting Yes lift from the ending of their song "The Fish" off Fragile! Color me happy.

And that's it! I would warrant this album overall is decent, certainly worth hearing by fans of Frank Zappa, with or without his Mothers. When you have various artists coming together, you're going to have some highlights, and you're going to have some skips.

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