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PROTO-PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Proto-Prog definition

The denomination Proto Prog comes from the combination of two words, Proto from the Greek The earliest,. and Prog which as we know is a short term for Progressive Rock, so as it's name clearly indicates, refers to the earliest form of Progressive Rock or Progressive Rock in embryonary state.

These bands normally were formed and released albums before Progressive Rock had completely developed (there are some rare Proto Prog bands from the early 70's, because the genre didn't expanded to all the Continents simultaneously

The common elements in all these bands is that they developed one or more elements of Prog, and even when not completely defined as part of the genre, they are without any doubt, an important stage in the evolution of Progressive Rock.

Generally, Proto Prog bands are the direct link between Psyche and Prog and for that reason the Psychedelic components are present in the vast majority of them, but being that Progressive Rock was born from the blending of different genres, we have broadened the definition to cover any band that combined some elements of Progressive Rock with other genres prior to 1970.

Some of these bands evolved and turned into 100% Prog, while others simply choose another path, but their importance and contribution in the formative period of Prog can't be denied, for that reason no Prog site can ignore them.

Iván Melgar - Morey

Proto-Prog Top Albums


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

4.48 | 1011 ratings
ABBEY ROAD
Beatles, The
4.49 | 592 ratings
QUADROPHENIA
Who, The
4.38 | 932 ratings
REVOLVER
Beatles, The
4.34 | 1179 ratings
DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK
Deep Purple
4.34 | 1050 ratings
SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
Beatles, The
4.32 | 1188 ratings
MACHINE HEAD
Deep Purple
4.41 | 586 ratings
WHO'S NEXT
Who, The
4.31 | 685 ratings
THE DOORS
Doors, The
4.28 | 458 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
Hendrix, Jimi
4.24 | 519 ratings
STRANGE DAYS
Doors, The
4.17 | 822 ratings
THE BEATLES [AKA: THE WHITE ALBUM]
Beatles, The
4.15 | 740 ratings
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
Beatles, The
4.02 | 485 ratings
L.A. WOMAN
Doors, The
3.98 | 560 ratings
TOMMY
Who, The
4.03 | 399 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ELECTRIC LADYLAND
Hendrix, Jimi
3.94 | 724 ratings
RUBBER SOUL
Beatles, The
4.02 | 313 ratings
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: AXIS - BOLD AS LOVE
Hendrix, Jimi
4.12 | 182 ratings
TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS
Spirit
3.85 | 812 ratings
BURN
Deep Purple
4.09 | 187 ratings
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
Brown Band, The Arthur

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews


 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.55 | 14 ratings

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WHO
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Just Because

4 stars I was not alone when I thought that 'Endless Wire' was their last studio work. And when You come to know that 'the Who' is going to issue a new album it looks like a marvel. This work is better than 'Endless Wire', 'It`s Hard ' and 'Face Dances'. This is not only a surprise as a whole, but rather a package of surprises.

Many songs are like a fresh air rushing in an open window. 'All This Music Must Fade', 'Street Song' and 'Hero Ground Zero' well illustrate this feeling. The latter is sung with such young ardour that one can unwillingly doubt if Roger is a really 75-years old man.

On the contrary, bluesy 'Ball and Chain' suits the age of these 'old and tired guys'. I can say the same about 'She Rocked My World'. This number also has something that we have never heard from them before: jazz and bossa nova.

On heartwarming 'I`ll be back' Pete proves his mastery of narrative vocals. In this sence he could be in a nice company with Bob Dylan or Mark Knopfler.

Pop-folkish "Break the News" composed by Pete`s younger brother Simon brings me a soulful and carefree mood.

On "Rockin' in Rage" Roger sings verses with depth and wisdom, then the song explodes with a powerful chorus which would fit 'Who`s Next'.

Bonus pop-psychedelic track 'Got Nothing to Prove' opens a gateway to 1966/1967, a kind of feel like 'times when we were young and naive'.

In all probability we have a final album of the band and it can serve as their testament on a high note. The only thing left for us is wondering if they can perform another heroic act to make another one output. 'Who' knows ?

 The Story Of Simon Simopath by NIRVANA album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.53 | 33 ratings

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The Story Of Simon Simopath
Nirvana Proto-Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars NIRVANA (U.K) were around long before the Seattle grunge rockers of the same name first emerged onto the music scene in the late 1980's. A dispute over the use of the name "Nirvana", led to the American band settling out of court in the early 1990's. The British Nirvana were formed in swinging London back in 1965. Their first album of Proto-Prog "The Story of Simon Simopath" was released in 1967, and their second album - released in 1968 - deserves a place in the annals of rock history for having probably the longest album title of all time. Here it is in its entirety:- "The Existence of Chance Is Everything and Nothing Whilst the Greatest Achievement Is the Living of Life and So Say ALL OF US". Wow! That's quite a mouthful! The long- winded album title is not easy to remember at the best of times, so for the sake of brevity, the title is usually shortened to "All of Us". The album contained Nirvana's best-known song: "Rainbow Chaser". Three further albums followed:- "To Markus III (Aka: Black Flower)" (1969), "Local Anaesthetic" (1971) and "Songs of Love and Praise" (1972). Nirvana were led by Patrick Campbell-Lyons's, who released his first solo album "Me and My Friend" in 1973. Nirvana had one more album up their sleeve with the release of "Orange and Blue" in 1996, a collection of unreleased material from their earlier years. It's time now to delve into the mysterious world of Simon Simopath and find out what's the story, morning glory.

We're taking off and flying on the "Wings of Love" for our opening number. This delightful and unashamedly twee-sounding Pop tune could only have come from England in the late-1960's. The story concerns our hero schoolboy, Simon Simopath, who dreams of sprouting wings so he can fly away - just like Peter Pan - and escape being bullied at school. He later suffers a mental breakdown in adulthood and ends up in a lunatic asylum, but escapes after getting aboard a rocket and meeting a centaur and a goddess who take care of him in a place called Pentecost Hotel, where they presumably live happily ever after in a state of heavenly bliss and spiritual Nirvana. Yes, the Story of Simon Simopath really IS that wacky, and yes, you've guessed it, it's a proggy concept album before prog-rock or concept albums had even been invented. Simon Simopath is just a lonely boy at heart, and "Lonely Boy" is the title of the second song where all he wants to do is cry. The mournful lyrics might tell a sad tale, but the music is bright and uplifting as it romps merrily along on a wave of joyous hope and exuberance. There's a rousing chorus too in this lively Pop song, so it's not all doom and gloom, despite the lyrics. There's a healthy burst of optimism on the way with "We Can Help You", a bright and sparkling burst of golden Sunshine Pop which sounds as quaint and quintessentially English as a thatched cottage in the Cotswolds, or a game of croquet served with tea and crumpets on an English summer lawn. We have lift-off, because next up is the bizarrely-titled "Satellite Jockey", the most commercially appealing song on the album, which could potentially have gone into orbit and risen up into the Top 10 of the Hit Parade, back in the days when the chart placings still mattered to Pop pickers. Space: the final frontier. We're "In the Courtyard of the Stars" now for this out-of-this-world 1960's sci-fi Pop hokum. It's Proto-Prog, Jim, but not as we know it. This is a lovely jazzy Pop tune that's light years away from classic 1970's Prog-Rock.

Our silly but charming story continues with "You Are Just the One", another pleasant Psych-Pop diversion in an album full of sparkling good Pop tunes, and there's a gorgeous Baroque Pop song on the way with "Pentecost Hotel", a magnificently ornate grand hotel featuring a lush string symphony. We're getting all romantic now with "I Never Had a Dream Like This Before", a lilting piano ballad with rich orchestration, where Simon Simopath dreams of being carried away to distant parts of the universe, or failing that, watching the latest episode of Star Trek. Beam me up another great Pop song, Scotty! There's the sound of wedding bells in the air for "Take This Hand", as Simon Simopath prepares for his betrothal to his loved one, so it looks like we're headed for a happy ending to our story with this gentle Folk Pop refrain. There's a complete change of musical style for the final uplifting song "Nirvana", which sounds like a good old-fashioned knees-up in a pub. It's a Dixie-land-jazz-style number, featuring a honky-tonk piano and with the singer sounding in a merry and jubilant mood, which indeed he would be if he just got hitched to his romantic love interest. All's well that ends well in the weird and wonderful world of wacky 1960's concept albums.

This cheerfully zany slice of sixties sci-fi hokum is a Psych-Pop album that's in another universe altogether from Prog-Rock, and it's barely even Proto-Prog, but if you're in the mood for some jolly good English Pop tunes from the Beatles' era, then "The Story of Simon Simopath" might just be the album for you. The twee music is joyful and exuberant with a bright message of hope for the future, but if you hope to attain a state of spiritual Nirvana from listening to this album, then it's best to look elsewhere - back to the future of the proggy 1970's perhaps.

 Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls by COVEN album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.94 | 52 ratings

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Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls
Coven Proto-Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Coven's satanic debut album from 1969 opens with a song called 'Black Sabbath' and features a bassist called Greg 'Ozz' Osborn. The band is credited by metal historians for introducing the sign of the horns, that hand gesture people make at rock concerts. The artwork in the gatefold sleeve has a picture of a naked woman in a satanic mass. SO.. that's a lot of mojo for sure.

The music itself has nothing to do with heavy metal, this is a proto-prog psychedelic pop record with imaginative lyrics about satanism, witches and the occult. Female fronted by the eccentric Jinx Dawson, it is perhaps best compared to Arthur Brown's debut album. Organ dominated, performed with over-the-top enthusiasm and quite charming, creative and even catchy at times. The album is however plagued by a weak production. It sounds like a full-band live-in-a-studio recording with all its natural flaws; unwanted peaks in vocal volumes, poor mixing of the instruments and some slightly out of pitch instruments and vocal performances. The overall sounds isn't like flat or something, it's just a bit unrefined. On the plus side, this album does sound like a natural performance by an energetic group. Furthermore, when it comes to the compositions, this really is proto-progressive music; the organ-based compositions do remind me a bit of early Genesis. The quality of the songs is also fairly consistent.

The thirteen minute 'Satanic Mass' which concludes the record is precisely that; a staged live recording of a mass in which is a new girl pledges her devotion to Satan. Like a good joke, no need of hearing it twice.

In conclusion; I could not find a single reason as to why this record should not come as recommended to collectors of psychedelic or proto-progressive rock. It has a history, awesome artwork (there's a fine Akarma vinyl reprint) and some actual musicality and lyricism to back it all up. Its just that some of the vocals are a bit harsh on the ears.

 Bakerloo by BAKERLOO album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.68 | 52 ratings

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Bakerloo
Bakerloo Proto-Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars BAKERLOO (previously known as The Bakerloo Blues Line) were a Proto-Prog fossil first discovered in Staffordshire, England in 1968. The band were a short-lived power trio of Blues-Rock musicians in similar style to the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Clapton/Baker/Bruce trio of Cream. Bakerloo's one and only self-titled album emerged like a progosaurus rex from the sleepy town of Tamworth in the heart of England in 1969. It's time now to head on down to the Bakerloo Line station and get onboard the tube-train, ready to begin our musical journey together.

The first stop on our musical tour is the curiously-titled "Big Bear Ffolly", a fairly typical heavy Blues-Rock excursion into the realms of Cream and other heavy British blues bands of the late-1960's era, so there are no real surprises in store here. The same goes for "Bring It On Home", a dirty-low-down, plodding bluesy harmonica number, that sounds a long way off the beaten track from the London Bakerloo Line. This bluesy Louisiana Swamp Rock sounds like it could have emerged straight out of the Missippippi Delta. We're not going anywhere with our next stop on the journey because we're "Drivin' Bachwards". That's no spelling mistake or typo error in the song title, because this is a Jazzy instrumental inspired by Mr. J.S. Bach no less, so you can expect to hear some very familiar-sounding classical motifs in this free-style jazzy jam session, demonstrating that Bakerloo have more diverse musical strings to their bow than just back-to-basics British blues. The fourth stop on our tour is "Last Blues", so it'll come as no surprise that this seven-minute-long piece is another (lower case) moody blues number. The music begins as a slow lament, but the band really crank up into high gear at the midway point for a full-blown psychedelic acid trip in true Jimi Hendrix style. Even more surprising is when the song returns to a sedate leisurely pace for the conclusion, so it's really a three-piece suite. Bakerloo are proving to be far more versatile than first appeared. The next song "Gang Bang" sounds rather rude, but it's really all about percussion, because the fired-up drummer bangs away manically on his kit here as if his pants are on fire, featuring an almost obligatory very long and very impressive drum solo in the style of legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker.

There are just two tracks on Side Two and the first seven minute song "This Worried Feeling" is very reminiscent of the early blues of Eric Clapton and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac. It's a real raw and earthy, S--L--O--W plodding blues number, but don't let that put you off, because there's a truly awesome virtuoso performance to enjoy from the talented blue guitar player. If you don't know the song, If you can't put the words to the tune, Tell the rhyme from the reason, What should it matter, To the fool or the dreamer? ..... but that's another moody blue guitar song altogether. And so, we've arrived at the final terminus on the Bakerloo Line with the 15-minute-long "Son of Moonshine", a spirited wild ride along the illegal U.S. moonshine trail, featuring a manic outburst of heavy guitar riffing in an all-out psychedelic freak-out to take you to flower-power hippy heaven and back again.

If you're in the mood for some heavy British Blues-Rock, then get onboard the Bakerloo Line. It's going to be a wild ride, so fasten your seat belts and hold on tight to your dreams.

 Tangerine Dream by KALEIDOSCOPE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.20 | 47 ratings

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Tangerine Dream
Kaleidoscope Proto-Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars KALEIDOSCOPE (UK) are sometimes confused with the American band of the same name, which is probably not surprising, considering they're both psychedelic sixties bands. Kaleidoscope was obviously a popular name for a band in the late 1960's flower-power era, conjuring up images of radiant psychedelic rainbow colours. Intriguingly, the British Kaleidoscope released their first album "Tangerine Dream" (1967) the same year as the synthesiser band Tangerine Dream were formed in Germany. Kaleidoscope's second album "Faintly Blowing" followed in 1969 and they released their third album "Home from Home" under the name Fairfield Parlour in 1970. They recorded a fourth album together, "White-Faced Lady", but it was shelved and remained in storage until 1991, when it was released on an independent label under the original Kaleidoscope name. The 1998 CD re-issue of Kaleidoscope's debut "Tangerine Dream" added six bonus tracks to the original eleven songs on the album. Let's take a look through the Kaleidoscope view-finder now and examine the many colourful psychedelic facets of Tangerine Dream".

It's a jolly good opening to the album with the title track "Kaleidoscope", a jolly-sounding 2-minute burst of Sunshine-Pop that's positively bounding along with joyous optimism. It's a good all-round late-1960's Pop tune with a bright and sunny disposition, where all the birds are singing and the fluorescent flowers are blooming in the psychedelic garden of earthly delights. The curiously-titled "Please Excuse My Face" follows next. It's a gorgeous acoustic guitar arrangement where the lovelorn singer is in full romantic balladeer mode and pining away forlornly over his lost love. This beautiful ballad sounds as charmingly English as afternoon tea and crumpets whilst watching a game of cricket on the village green. Howzat! We're taking a psychedelic trip back in time now as we "Dive Into Yesterday", a song that's awash with colourful acid-tinged guitar vibes. It's a catchy tune that's very reminiscent of the Beatles at their most psychedelic, with influences from the West Coast sound of sunny California. This joyfully sunny music sounds as bright and bubbly as a glass of sparkling lemonade. And now we come to the curious tale of "Mr. Small, The Watch Repairer Man", the kind of cheerfully light-hearted Pop song that could only come from England in the late 1960's. It's a carefree and playful little number that doesn't take itself too seriously and it's representative of the Best of British Psychedelic Pop. We're travelling to distant foreign lands now with "Flight from Ashiya", only this appears to be a doomed flight as the constant refrain in this song is "Nobody Knows Where We Are" ..... Oh dear! It seems that despite the pleasant sunshine sound of this jangling and exotic Byrds-like psychedelia, the flight has gone down in the middle of nowhere. The dark mood continues with "The Murder Of Lewis Tollani", which closes Side One on a sombre note, although don't get too down-hearted because it's really a great Sunshine Pop song despite the solemn message in the lyrics.

The strangely-titled "(Further Reflections) In The Room Of Percussion" opens Side Two. It's a typically cheerful 1960's Pop tune but who knows what the song's about as the convoluted lyrics are like a riddle wrapped inside an enigma on a psychedelic acid trip. One thing's for sure, "In the Room of Percussion" is nothing to do with a drummer doing a sound-check in the recording studio. We're meeting the charming "Dear Nellie Goodrich" next, which turns out to be a short but sweet jingly- jangly sunshine burst of lovely English Pop music, featuring some delightful sugar-coated harmonising. This very agreeable tune is as sweet as a jar of honey. It's time to pack our bags now because we're off to the seaside for "Holidaymaker", a happy- go-lucky Pop song that's just as bright and sunny as the song title implies. Don't forget to pack the suntan lotion because this summer song is positively bursting with sunshine. We're in the King's court for "A Lesson Perhaps", although he's not a progressive Crimson King. No, this is a traditional Folky King in a quaint pastoral setting. This gentle melodic madrigal represents a charming acoustic spoken-word diversion in an album that's positively glowing and overflowing with radiantly cheerful Pop songs. And now we arrive at the magnificent highlight of the album, "The Sky Children", in a classic example of saving the best song till last. This marvellous closing song has instantly transformed what could have been a very good four-star album into a five-star masterpiece. It's eight minutes of pure unadulterated pleasure. The music is similar in style to the Byrds classic "Eight Miles High" - only better! The "Poptastic" lyrics are simply sensational. Take a look for yourselves:- "A million white flowers in a field in the sky, Seemed to spell out a greeting as the children flew by, A guard in a chariot of silver and gold, Gave the children all tickets, then the story he told, Of a time in the future that was sunshine and flowers, And the children grew sleepy in the sky's white towers, They dreamed of the story that the guard had displayed, They saw all the wonders, tiny minds were amazed, They saw candy forests and dragons that breathed fire, On all that was evil in the misty mire." ..... And that's just the first verse! There are six more incredible verses to come!! This beautiful music does indeed sound like "A million white flowers in a field in the sky." It's heavenly!

Travel back in time to the flower-power sounds of the late-1960's Summer of Love with this charmingly English album of glorious Sunshine Pop songs that's positively overflowing with cheerful exuberance and ebullient optimism. It's a Psychedelic Kaleidoscope of glowing rainbow colours wrapped inside a beautiful Tangerine Dream!

 Les Maledictus Sound by MALEDICTUS SOUND, LES album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.91 | 3 ratings

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Les Maledictus Sound
Les Maledictus Sound Proto-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

5 stars Sounds like German electronic pioneer Harmonia meet a Japanese funk commune Inomata Takeshi & Sound L.T.D. It's surprising and beyond expression such an experimental creation has been released in 1968, just before 'rock spirit was gone'. Without any suspicion the spirit of experiments was sincerely alive upon this album created mainly by Paul BAILE and Jean-Pierre MASSIERA in collaboration with lots of session musicians. Their phantasmagoric funk soundscape, blended with jazz, electronic, psychedelic, or avantgarde, could be attached via a French multi- instrumentalist and composer Jean Guerin, I guess. And of course crazy amazing they introduced melodic pop and anti-pop into their madness. Every single track is 2 or 3 minute long but simultaneously has impressive construction of sound / noise / melody line / rhythmic background.

This innovative sound collective can be heard through the first track "Kriminal Theme", one of their masterpieces. Mystic psychedelia filled with electronic footprints and jazzy percussive drum procession is followed by loud funky saxophone explosions plus downtempo melodic hollowness. Infernal shouting via their deep throat sounds exaggerating rather than serious. "The Whistler" is kinda acceptable funk song with dramatic piano phrases and kinky synthesizer tones. Hotchpotch sound mixture drives you into another dimension. In "Inside My Brain" fuzzy heavy guitar growling dominates melody lines all around. Texture like "Love's Theme" seasoned with irony brass launch is definitely in "Concerto Genocide". Contrary to examples above all, "Heathcliff Y Cry Your Name" is a dramatic tragedy flooded with psychedelic organ sounds and weird mourning.

Basically their musical attitude sounds more of pop than purely avantgarde or psychedelic. But do not be deceived, not so simple really. Colourful atmospheric variation via the whole album can notify you of their sound diversity and eclectic intelligence of music. Again let me say, it's quite incredible this album was released in 1968 just before rock dies.

 The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp by GILES GILES & FRIPP album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.10 | 98 ratings

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The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp
Giles Giles & Fripp Proto-Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

3 stars GILES, GILES and FRIPP were brothers Michael Giles and Peter Giles and Robert Fripp. Presumably, they were lacking inspiration in coming up with an original name for the group, so they used their own names for the bandname, which unfortunately ended up sounding like a city firm of legal eagles. They formed in Bournemouth, Dorset in 1967, when King Crimson was just a twinkle in Robert Fripp's eye. The line-up featured Michael Giles on drums and vocals, Peter Giles on bass and vocals and Robert Fripp on guitar. Their peculiar brand of music can best be described as Psychedelic Pop. Their one and only studio album "The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp" (1968) sold poorly on its initial release, but it's now gaining some well-deserved recognition, thanks to the Internet. There were plans for a second album with Judy Dyble (of Fairport Convention) on vocals, but sadly, the album never came to fruition. A compilation album of 1968 demo sessions was released in 2001 as "The Brondesbury Tapes." Robert Fripp & Michael Giles wisely decided to change the name of their firm of solicitors after the release of their sole studio album, when King Crimson emerged to take the prog world by storm. Let's step into the cheerfully insane world of Giles, Giles & Fripp now and give the 13 songs on their 1968 studio album a listen.

It's an album of two halves, with "The Saga of Rodney Toady" occupying the whole of Side One and "Just George" taking up Side Two. The opening song "North Meadow" is nice and cheerful, but definitely not insane. It's just a bright and bubbly, fizzy Pop song that's as refreshing as a glass of lemonade. It also sounds very English in a quaint late-1960's way, with guitar maestro Robert Fripp providing some intricate Jazzy flourishes. There's some cheerful insanity in the opening to the second song "Newly-Weds" with a spoken word introduction to "The Saga of Rodney Toady", featuring some very silly Monty Python- type voices. As for the music, "Newly Weds" sounds as quirky and offbeat as some of Syd Barrett's weird and wonderful Psychedelic Pop excursions with early Pink Floyd, such as "See Emily Play" or "Arnold Layne", for instance. The cheerfully insane spoken word Python-esque intros are a recurring feature of most of the songs on the album and "One in a Million" starts the same way. The music is another cheap and cheerful Pop song to while away a warm and pleasant day spent in an English country garden. It's time to take a pew for the next song "Call Tomorrow", because the music has a rather dour and mournful air to it, with the organist conjuring up an image of a solemn occasion in church. You can really dig the next song though, "Digging My Lawn", because it's a groovy Jazz number, featuring some lovely laid-back drumming and playfully light keyboard and guitar accompaniment. It sounds like the kind of groovy 1960's song you might hear featured in an Austin Powers movie. Next up is "Little Children", a lovely honey-sweet Pop song, featuring some truly gorgeous vocal harmonising from the all-female vocal trio, The Breakaways. It's the highlight of the album so far. Coming along now is the discordant "The Crukster", which is not really a song at all as it's a spoken word poem which has a slightly unsettling and menacing edge to it. The closing song on Side One "Thursday Morning" sounds very Beatle-esque, which is always a good thing in a 1960's Pop album. It's very reminiscent of some of the Beatles' sadder songs, such as "Eleanor Rigby" or "Hey Jude".

Side Two opens cheerfully with "How Do They Know", an upbeat and Jazzy Pop song guaranteed to brighten up the dullest of days, and there's more cheerful insanity on the way with the spoken word "Elephant Song", which is more of a frivolous childrens' novelty song than a serious piece of music. It's time to rub some suntan lotion in now for our next song because "The Sun is Shining". It's a charming song with old-fashioned music hall appeal, featuring the lovely three-part girls choir The Breakaways adding some delightful harmonies to this playful little ditty. We're taking flight next with the classically- inspired "Suite No. 1", which sounds like a Jazzed-up version of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumble Bee. The music has the same kind of manic intensity to it. Finally, we come to the last song on the album "Erudite Eyes", which sounds like a pastiche of the Olde Englishe song "Greensleeves" in the opening, but then quickly transposes into a Jazzy Psych-Pop jam session with all of the musicians going off on an improvisational free-for-all.

This late-1960's novelty album of cheerfully insane English Pop songs won't be to everyone's taste. The album is very much of its time and it's not likely to appeal to Prog-Rock fans generally, because it's not Progressive and it's not Rock. It's more of a curiosity item for inquisitive King Crimson fans who are interested to hear the early musical frivolity and Frippery that Robert Fripp got up to before he ventured forth into the Court of the Crimson King.

 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.55 | 14 ratings

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WHO
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Mortte

4 stars I have been huge Who-fan almost my whole life! It was not long ago, I was thinking there will not be new Who-album anymore. In 2018 they didn't even tour. I didn't hear anywhere, that in the begin of this year Towshend had said, they were going make a new album. So I was really suprised, when in this autumn hearing, there was coming new album! First single 'Ball And Chain' was promising. So I went to the Who- store and ordered three vinyl version, where the vinyls are from Who-logo: blue, white and red. This album was named just Who. It's not the first time, in 1966 'A Quick One' was released in Germany and some other countries in the name 'the Who' with a little bit different songs. But I quess there is some self-irony, in these days there are young people, who never have heard about the Who and will ask 'Who?'. Anyway Towshend has always been those, who want to follow the time, but he's always managed to do it with style. So is it in this new album. This is the first album that I've heard, where is used autotune without any irritation to me.

Album starter 'All This Music Must Fade' really also has self-irony with it's lyrics: 'I don't care I know you're gonna hate this song. And that's fair, we never really got along. It's not new, not diverse. It won't light up your parade. It's just simple verse'. Anyway it starts album really well, in a very typical, energetic Who-way. 'Ball And Chain' is also very good song, reminds a little 'Who Are You', but is lot better than that many times heard piece. 'I don't Wanna Get Wise' is again very positive, energetic Who song. When 'Detour' starts, you may think, are they made their first glam rock song. But gladly there are softer parts, that make song really great! In 'Beads On One String' direction starts to go little bit mediocre, but it has still great melodies. In 'Hero Ground Zero' strings and energetic playing keep your interest on.

Second vinyl starts with 'Street Song' that I think is the most mediocre song in this album. But then direction changes totally in 'I'll Be Back'. When that eighties Steve Wonder reminding soft harmonica intro comes, you don't know what to think. This song is the only song sung by Townshend and I think it would have fit more into his solo album. 'Break the News' is another oddball in this album, but I like it as it`s innocence. But the greatest is yet to come: 'Rockin` in Rage' could have been in Quadrophenia with it's powerful, but dark chords. Also acoustic spanish-influenced piece 'She Rocked My World' is just great! In my vinyl version there is one 10' vinyl with bonus song 'Sand' that is unreleased demo-track from the sixties. Although I can understand, why they didn't released it in the sixties, it's now sounding really great in it's sixties production and young energy!

When 'Endless Wire' came in 2006, I was totally suprised how great it was! And have to say for that reason I got lot of expections of this new album, but they didn't fulfill fully. Anyway this album is my 10 best album list of this year. I really loved in 'Endless Wire' how songs change between fully acoustic and really energetic. This new album is sounding like they've tried to make it radio friendly. Also there are any as great songs as 'Fragments', 'Mike Post Theme' or 'Black Widow's Eyes' and really not mini-opera. But I am glad only thing that connects this to 'Face Dances' is art director, this album is just so much better. All you Who-fans, who think 'Quadrophenia' was the last great Who album, I think you should at least have a chance to this new one and also 'Endless Wire'. All you who never listened the Who, do begin from 'Who's Next' or 'Quadrophenia'.

 Slaves And Masters by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.69 | 315 ratings

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Slaves And Masters
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

2 stars Released in 1990, 'Slaves and Masters' is Deep Purple's 13th studio album. With all of DP's albums, this one holds the distinction that it is the only album released by the Mark V line-up of the band, even though the line-up was active from 1989 to 1992. The Mark V line-up was exactly the same as the famous Mark II line up with one exception: Ian Gillan had been fired from the band (again) and Joe Lynn Turner, former lead singer for 'Rainbow' from 1981 to 1983 and then later for Yngwie Malmsteen. Ian Gillian is the lead singer most recognized from DP, and previously, he had been replaced by David Coverdale in 1973, then readmitted to the band in 1984, only to be fired again in 1989.

For 'Slaves and Masters', Turner definitely brought his 'Rainbow' influence with him as many fans think this album sounds more like an album from that band even though the other members, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice were all regular members of DP. Apparently, the other band members considered hiring Jimi Jamison (Survivor) to sing on this album, but he, thankfully, was not available. However, even with Turner, the critics panned this album calling it too lightweight and weak, more AOR than anything else released by the band. Jon Lord says that he never recognized this album as a DP album, while Turner says it was the last great DP album.

Turner's vocals definitely don't have the power and emotion that are often present in Ian Gillian's vocals, and in reality, there just isn't any comparison as Turner definitely sounds more radio friendly than DP ever sounded. His vocals also don't have any distinct sound to them, so with this more accessible sound, the album could have easily been from 'Rainbow', 'Europe', or 'Bon Jovi' as much as it could be from DP. It sounds like pretty much most of the pop-metal that came from the 80 and early 90s.

It's not all a wasteland of middle of the road blandness however as 'King of Dreams', the opening track, proves with a good amount of Lord's organ, and the appearance of some organ solos throughout some of the tracks also help one to hear shades of DP from before, but its never enough to raise it to a higher level. Blackmore gets in a few good guitar licks and riffs here and there, but again, most of the punch is gone as the songs are filed down to near-pop music levels. The fast boogie does shine through on the instrumental break of 'Fire in the Basement', but the fire from the instrumental breaks gets doused by the vocal melody. Nothing else much happens on the rest of the album until you get to the last track 'Wicked Ways' which, during the instrumental break, the tempo slows down and you get some nice strings and guitar similar to the work on 'Perfect Stranger', but by now it is too little too late.

Turner would remain for the tour for this album, but DP was pressured to bring back Gillian for the Anniversary tour that was coming up, so they nixed Turner and Gillian returned, this time to stay. Unfortunately, DP was left with this rather deadweight album as a stain on their discography. Yes, they had released some mediocre albums in the past, but this one is just too boring and AOR sounding, an album where DP sounds like they are trying to be inspired by 80s and 90s pop-metal when they should have been showing them how it should be done.

 WHO by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.55 | 14 ratings

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WHO
The Who Proto-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars The Who's studio output has, of course, been rather spotty since 1982, and after several breakups and reunions, has only resulted in two studio albums; "Endless Wilre" in 2006, and more currently "WHO", which was released in November of 2019. All that remains of the band is Roger Daltrey doing almost all of the lead vocals, and Pete Townshend on guitars, background vocals and lead vocals on "I'll Be Back" and all three of the deluxe edition's bonus tracks. All other instruments are performed by guest musicians and these guests all perform on different specific tracks. Of course Keith Moon died in 1978 and John Entwistle died in 2002, or course each death had a lasting effect on the band and it shows in the lack of new output.

On this album, both Daltry and Townsend provide the consistency of this album, and they still provide that same The Who signature sound, however, both of them recorded their parts separately and the other parts were added by various musicians. As far as the bass parts; most of them are provided by Pino Palladino who has been in The Who's line-up since 2002 and has also performed with John Mayer. Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) has also been a regular drummer for The Who since 1996 and performs on 4 of the tracks. Benmont Tench from Tom Petty's band "The Heartbreakers" plays keyboards on 3 tracks and Joey Waronker (session musician for Beck and "R.E.M.) also plays drums on 3 tracks. Everything else is done by various other artists.

One of the most interesting things about the album is the cover which is a series of photos that represent influences to The Who's music along with different notable symbols and things that pertain to the band's history, including the word "Detour" which not only references one of the more catchy tracks on this album, but also is a nod to the name "The Detours", the name the band used before becoming The Who.

As Daltry is lead vocalist on almost all of the tracks on the regular album, so is Townshend the songwriter on all of the tracks except "Beads on One String", The Who's version of a nice ballad (where Daltry even tempers his vocals accordingly), which Townshend shares with Josh Hunsacker, and "Break the News" which is written by Simon Townshend, Pete's younger brother.

The music on this album is definitely interesting enough in that it really reflects the trademark sound of The Who's music through the years. "Ball and Chain" is the first single off the album, yet it really lacks anything interesting. However, as mentioned previously, "Detour" is the first really memorable song up to this point (which is track 4) with a nice catchy hook and rhythm pattern. After that, "Beads on One String" is a definite highlight as a more ballad-like track, and "Hero Ground Zero" features some great orchestral (mostly strings) effects that go uncredited on the album, and that gives it a sweeping feeling that helps it stand out.

Daltry's vocals haven't suffered or changed much over the years, and that is mostly a good thing. I do believe he has more restraint and control most of the time on this album, maybe a bit mellower at times, however, he still proves he has plenty of strength when he needs it, and most people might not even detect a difference in his vocals. In most cases, it has been proven that more restraint never hurt Daltry's delivery, and in this album, even his outbursts are timed quite well. There is still a bit of over-the-top dramatics from time to time, but it works well here.

Townshend's guitar work is still quite similar to his past work also. He doesn't do anything that stands right out, but still performs as he is expected to, which is where his strength has been. His other strength is in songwriting, and, even though there isn't nothing as amazing as "Baba O'Riley", "Won't Get Fooled Again" or even close to the amazing rock opera albums "Tommy" and "Quadropheia", it's definitely much more interesting and varied than most of the songs on "Who Are You" and "It's Hard". Townshend still has his voice also, as shown on "I'll Be Back" which has the help of vocal effects to keep him on target, and unfortunately, this makes what might have been an interesting song turn into a schleppy sounding song that rips off Stevie Wonder complete with harmonica drenched instrumental support.

These songs are varied, which is really the best thing The Who could have done to try to bring in new listeners. I don't think anyone expected to hear any rock operas or amazing rocked out tracks that the band was famous for in the past. But the good thing here, is that they didn't revert to the post-"Quadrophenia" style of songs that sound all the same or heavily soaked in 80s style synth beats. They did keep things organic here, for the most part, and they give the songs more personality by giving a large amount of variety among the songs. The place where it all suffers is that most listeners would love to hear more of a rock edge among the mellower, more radio-friendly tracks. But even that gets some fulfillment especially in tracks like "Rockin' in Rage" and "All This Music Must Fade". But again, don't expect anything that will get your blood boiling and you might be able to see how they use variety to their advantage here.

Are the 3 bonus tracks sung by Pete Townshend worth getting the deluxe edition for? Well, personally, I have liked Townshend's vocals better in the past that were effectively used to smooth out the roughness of Daltry's vocals, but he doesn't always have the strength to carry off a full album as some of his solo work has proven. In the case of this album, "This Gun Will Misfire" is much better than the track that is used on the regular album where Pete sings, and should have been used. "Got Nothing to Prove" has a really cool retro vibe that will make you think this track came from "The Who Sell Out", with strings and a definite pre-1970s sound to the production. Cool. "Danny and My Ponies" is okay, but it uses the annoying auto-tune effect again. I'd rather hear his real voice. So, two of the bonus tracks are great and the last one gets ruined by electronics.

It's not a bad album, but its not excellent either. It's just nice. It's no "Quadrophenia" but its also better than "Face Dances" and "It's Hard", and as such, it stands out in the group of later albums. Still, there is not much in the way of progressive music here, but things aren't necessarily boring either. In the end, it comes off as a little better than average, but not quite enough to be considered excellent.

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Proto-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ANDROMEDA United Kingdom
APPALOOSA United States
BAKERLOO United Kingdom
THE BEATLES United Kingdom
BRAINBOX Netherlands
THE ARTHUR BROWN BAND United Kingdom
THE COLLECTORS Canada
COVEN United States
THE CROME SYRCUS United States
DEEP PURPLE United Kingdom
THE DOORS United States
EARTH OPERA United States
THE ECLECTIC MOUSE United States
FLAMING YOUTH United Kingdom
FORD THEATRE United States
GATTCH Slovakia
GILES GILES & FRIPP United Kingdom
THE GODS United Kingdom
THE GUN United Kingdom
H.P. LOVECRAFT United States
HANSSON & KARLSSON Sweden
HAPSHASH AND THE COLOURED COAT United Kingdom
JIMI HENDRIX United States
IRON BUTTERFLY United States
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY United States
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE United States
KALEIDOSCOPE United Kingdom
LES MALEDICTUS SOUND France
MÁQUINA! Spain
THE MASTERS APPRENTICES Australia
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
PAN & REGALIZ Spain
PÄRSON SOUND Sweden
THE PRETTY THINGS United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
THE SHIVER Switzerland
SILVER APPLES United States
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA United States
VANILLA FUDGE United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

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