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PROG FOLK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Folk definition

In the wake of the 1960s, a Folk revival started on both sides of the Atlantic, and got quickly linked with a protest movement, not always, but often linked to more left-wing tendencies, which did not sit well with the authorities. BOB DYLAN, JOAN BAEZ, WOODY GUTHRIE, JOHN DENVER, BUFFY STE-MARIE, but also the FARINA couple Richard and Mimi for the US and SHIRLEY COLLINS and EWAN McCOLL (mentor of BERT JANSCH, JOHN RENBOURN ) for the UK and HUGUES AUFRAY in France. In Quebec, there was the "Chansonniers" phenomenon among which CLAUDE LEVEILLE and FELIX LECLERC were the most popular, waking up the sleepy "Belle Province" and stand up for itself from the English rule. The English part of Canada also brought up JONI MITCHELL, LEONARD COHEN (although he was from Montreal) and NEIL YOUNG.

As DYLAN turned electric with his Highway 61 Revisited album, much to the dislike of purists who yelled for treason, Folk Rock was born, opening the floodgates for younger artists to turn on the electricity. As DYLAN soon abandoned to style to create Country Rock with his next album, his British equivalent Scotsman DONOVAN stayed true to Folk Rock. In the US, THE BYRDS were the main promoters of the style by now, culminating with the superb "Eight Miles High" track with a lengthy (for the times) guitar solo of almost one minute. But countless other bands on the west coast, such as LOVE, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (and later its spin-off HOT TUNA), GRATEFUL DEAD, QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, and TIM BUCKLEY all started in the folk rock realm. Even San Fran's SANTANA with its Latino traditional music and, on the east coast, NY's THE LOVING SPOONFUL had folk roots. Notwithstanding the immense popularity of SIMON & GARFUNKEL and their delicious harmonies, Folk Rock was appealing only to the rock public as the older generations turned their backs in folkies.

In the UK, following on their countrymen DONOVAN, many Scotsmen were very influent in exploring new grounds for folk rock: INCREDIBLE STRING BAND (led by Scots Palmer and Williamson) with their two highly influential albums "5000 Layers Or The Spirit Of The Onion" & "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" and THE PENTANGLE (led by other Scots Renbourn, Jansch and McShee and their superb bassist Danny Thompson) and its incredible fusion of folk, blues and jazz style were very instrumental in developing the style to the same extent as FAIRPORT CONVENTION and STRAWBS who by that time were still more conventional US "west-coast folk rock". The single artistes in folk rock became known as Folk Troubadours were also numerous and often presented a more progressive side of folk: AL STEWART, NICK DRAKE, ROY HARPER, TYRANOSAURUS REX (actually a duo of Steven Took and Marc Bolan) , JOHN MARTYN etc.

However, the real angular album that will lead to further change of Folk Rock is FAIRPORT CONVENTION's "Liege & Lief" album, that proved to be highly influential for another generation of groups: this album concentrated into electrifying seminal English traditional folk and retained that quaint Englishness taste. It is interesting to see that both leaders of FAIRPORT quit the band after this success to go their respective way: Sandy Denny to a solo folk songwriting career and Ashley Hutchings to a very traditional folk rock. By this time, most connoisseur were talking of Acid Folk, Psych Folk, and Progressive Folk, all having limited differences and no particularly drawn-out limits or boundaries, but all relying on experimental or groundbreaking adventures and good musicianship but not necessarily of an acoustic nature.

Groups like THE THIRD EAR BAND and QUINTESSENCE relied on eastern Indian music influences and, sometimes, medieval tones. Other groups like the weird COMUS, TREES, SPIROGYRA, FOREST, the superb JAN DUKES DE GREY but also TRADER HORNE, TUDOR LODGE, FOTHERINGAY, MAGNA CARTA, and TIR NA NOG were out to break new ground but with less commercial success as their predecessor. By 1972, all of the glorious precursors bands were selling fewer records and had problems renewing themselves and a newer generation of groups was relying in a more Celtic jigs or really traditional sounds. Such as HORSLIPS, DANDO SHAFT, STEELEYE SPAN, AMAZING BLONDEL, ALBION DANCE BAND and SPRIGUNS OF TOLGUS. Although JETHRO TULL had some definitive folk roots right from the start, their only albums that can be regarded as Prog Folk are 1977's Songs From The Woods and 1978's Heavy Horses. Ian Anderson (another Scots) was very keen in acoustical traditional songs. Some Folk Troubadours such as TIM BUCKLEY and JOHN MARTYN started turning records more and more axed towards fusing jazz and folk (a bit in what THE PENTANGLE were doing) , others became more and more electric and they started to be referred to as Singer Songwriters especially those with country rock influences.

In Germany, HOELDERLIN (and their fantastic debut album), EMTIDI, OUGENWEIDE, CAROL OF HARVEST, WITTHUSER & WESTRUPP were exploring German folk while KALACAKRA , SILOAH and EMBRYO were indulging with Indian music. In South America, most notably in Chile, LOS JAIVAS (very bent upon Andean Indian music) and CONGRESO (more Spanish-Latino folklore) were using folk in their rock, so much that some press talked about them referring it with the hateful term Inca Rock. In Quebec, the progressive movement exploded with the cultural identity and the Chansonniers tradition and this was carried out with LES SEGUIN and HARMONIUM and so many more. In France, many groups were out for folk rock such as CATHERINE RIBEIRO AND ALPES, TANGERINE, and ASGARD. In Spain, Flamenco playing a dominant role as well as Basque folk, TRIANA, ITOIZ and HAIZEA were the head of the movement once the Franco regime fell apart after his death.


There is also a very important medieval music influences dimension in some groups as the term Medieval Folk was also mentioned for a while but apparently dropped by musicologists. Among the UK groups are obviously GRYPHON, GENTLE GIANT and THIRD EAR BAND, in France: MALICORNE and RIPAILLE and in Scandinavia: ALGARNAS TRADGARD and FOLQUE.


Hugues Chantraine
with hyperlinks and updates by Ken Levine December 2017

Current Team as of December 2017

Bob Moore aka ClemofNazareth
Ken Levine aka Kenethlevine
Sean Trane

Prog Folk Top Albums


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

4.63 | 3576 ratings
THICK AS A BRICK
Jethro Tull
4.36 | 2832 ratings
AQUALUNG
Jethro Tull
4.35 | 1406 ratings
SI ON AVAIT BESOIN D'UNE CINQUIČME SAISON
Harmonium
4.21 | 1554 ratings
SONGS FROM THE WOOD
Jethro Tull
4.22 | 356 ratings
ALTURAS DE MACHU PICCHU
Jaivas, Los
4.18 | 606 ratings
FIRST UTTERANCE
Comus
4.23 | 233 ratings
ST. RADIGUNDS
Spirogyra
4.68 | 37 ratings
DÚLAMÁN
Clannad
4.34 | 97 ratings
ERWARTUNG
Eden
4.16 | 701 ratings
RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE
Gryphon
4.21 | 233 ratings
MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT
Jan Dukes De Grey
4.16 | 381 ratings
GRAVE NEW WORLD
Strawbs
4.16 | 389 ratings
HERO AND HEROINE
Strawbs
4.45 | 55 ratings
LUCAS
Araújo, Marco Antônio
4.73 | 27 ratings
CHRISTIAN LUCIFER
Leopold, Perry
4.11 | 358 ratings
L'HEPTADE
Harmonium
4.16 | 155 ratings
BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES
Spirogyra
4.05 | 1376 ratings
STAND UP
Jethro Tull
4.04 | 1584 ratings
A PASSION PLAY
Jethro Tull
4.04 | 1341 ratings
MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY
Jethro Tull

Prog Folk overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Prog Folk experts team

THE WITCHING HOUR
Yoke Shire
II - DEJANJE
Sedmina
THROUGH THE GATES OF DEEPER SLUMBER
Smell Of Incense
SÓLO FUE UN SUEŃO
Omni

Latest Prog Folk Music Reviews


 Au Nord de Notre Vie by CANO album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.94 | 33 ratings

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Au Nord de Notre Vie
CANO Prog Folk

Review by arymenezes

5 stars There are some excellent choices to introduce prog folk to a person who is available to know it. The first White Willow effort, french Wurtemberg, three or four Basque prog works, and of course Jethro Tull, among others. But I have this feeling that it's better to get started on this genre with some specific albums, and the first I'd pick would be this one. Let me tell you why.

First, it has an unquestionable symphonic rock vein among two of the 7 tracks, which helps to appeal to the subgenre that the majority of the prog rock fans love. Second, the composition of the lyrics is very coherent to the term 'folk'. Exploring some native and local aspects of Canada's culture and history. Third, the instrumentation is superb, and doesn't stay back when the singers (all divine, specially Rachel, which has plenty of space this time) are performing. There's a cliche about prog folk that is usually used to declare this subgenre's rejection: that it gives to much space to vocals and little dedication to instrumental. Au nord de notre vie proves this cliche can be true on other prog folk works, but not in this one. By the way, there are some tracks totally instrumental. Fourth, the use of acoustic instruments, that is common on prog folk, in this interplay makes a very creative, fresh and surprising interpretation of traditional tunes. Fifth and one of the characteristics that really captivates me in prog rock - the vocal harmonies are outstanding. Lyrics, sang in french, display musicality on first place and interpretation, dramaticity on second, IMO the option that delivers the best french chant. The female vocals could find the way to sing and also execute some very beautiful vocal effects. Another great effort on this topic are the passages when two or more musicians are singing together or as a duet. Besides, the chorus arrangements are just in the right place and mood, always.

Other features about this opus reinforce my analysis about its brilliance. The diversity of instruments, the production and edition very tight to combine these multiple contributions.

The booklet has its own charm, making something simple but very wise: besides the lyrics in french is its translation to english, Unfortunately, it may be hard to get access to this, because the CD nowadays is hard to find (lucky me I bought it several years ago).

Almost perfect! 4,6 to side A, and 5 to side B, on a 5 star scale.

 Storms over Still Water by MOSTLY AUTUMN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.56 | 147 ratings

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Storms over Still Water
Mostly Autumn Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nş 588

"Storms Over Still Water" is the sixth studio album of Mostly Autumn and was released in 2005. It follows the same path of their previous album "Passengers" but with a production problem, the song order. It seems the album is split in two. The first half of the album contains mainly pop rock tunes, while the second half contains much more proggy tunes.

It was the first album with their new drummer Andrew Jennings who substituted Jonathan Blackmore. It was also the last album to feature their former keyboardist Iain Jennings, which was substituted by Chris Johnson on their next seventh studio album "Heart Full Of Sky". So, the line up on the album is Bryan Josh (lead vocals, lead, rhythm, electric and acoustic guitars), Heather Findlay (lead and backing vocals and percussion), Iain Jennings (backing vocals and keyboards), Liam Davison (slide electric guitars), Angela Goldthorpe (backing vocals, flute and recorders), Andy Smith (bass guitars) and Andrew Jennings (drums). The album had also the participation of Troy Donockley (low whistles and Uilleann pipes), Chris Johnson (backing vocals), and Mark Goron and Chris Walkden (backing vocals), as guest artists.

"Storms Over Still Water" has eleven tracks. The first track "Out Of The Green Sky" written by Josh and Findlay opens the album quite heavily with a slow rhythm and a heavy guitar riff with a good slide guitar play. Findlay's vocals are more aggressive than usual. This is a great opener to the album. The second track "Broken Glass" written by Josh and Jennings is a good and interesting song, very catchy and melodic. It's a song with a good chorus and a very strong drum beat. The keyboards are the prominent part on the song and are probably the best thing on it. The third track "Ghost In Dreamland" written by Josh and Jennings is a good and beautiful song very bombastic and with a wonderful keyboard work. The harmony of the song is absolutely perfect when Findlay sings with Josh. It's a song with a pop tune, but that sounds beautifully to my ears. The fourth track "Heart Life" written by Josh and Findlay is the first song on the album with a folk tune. It's a very beautiful ballad where Findlay's vocal performance sounds warm and sensual, showing her great vocal skills. This is the best track on the album so far. The fifth track "The End Of The World" written by Josh, Findlay and Jennings is a very interesting song with some good lyrics and nice music. It seems to me a song that is inspired by Genesis in Peter Gabriel's era and that suddenly and curiously changes to an unexpected Pink Floyd style in Roger Waters' era. The sixth track "Black Rain" written by Josh and Findlay is a heavy rock song that reminds me Deep Purple or even Uriah Heep. It's a song with a good heavy guitar riff and a nice heavy keyboard sound. This is a very powerful hard rock song very pleasant to hear, really. The seventh track "Coming To?" written by Jennings is a magnificent instrumental track that marks a change in the musical direction of the album to most progressive songs. It's a song with a very special wild musical ambience and with heavy guitar riffs and a remarkable good keyboard performance. The eighth track "Candle To The Sky" written by Josh is the best track on the album, until now, and represents the first epic on it. It has been described many times as "The Dark Side Of The Moon" of Mostly Autumn. It's easy to see why. The similarities are so obvious that just listen to both to can see why. The ninth track "Carpe Diem" written by Findlay and Jennings is the second epic on the album and is another excellent track. Finally, we can hear Troy Donockley and his Uilleann pipes and low whistles, giving to the song some very beautiful Celtic feel, so common to hear on Mostly Autumn's music. The tenth track is the title track "Storms Over Still Water" and was written by Josh. This is another great song where Josh and Findlay shine once more. It represents the third epic track on the album, and with the two previous songs "Candle To The Sky" and "Carpe Diem" represent the three highlights of the album. These are the kind of songs we expected to hear on a Mostly Autumn's album. The eleventh track "Tomorrow" written by Josh is the second instrumental track on the album and represents a typical Mostly Autumn's composition. This is a bombastic song with a great performance. It seems to me a reprise of the previous track that closes the album nicely.

Conclusion: As I wrote above, with "Storms Over Still Water" Mostly Autumn follows the same pattern they followed on their previous studio album "Passengers", moving away from their beginning prog-folk sound to a more symphonic sound. Still, despite "Storms Over Still Water" be similar to "Passengers", is less balanced than "Passengers" is. Despite "Storms Over Still Water" has some of the best material ever released by the band, such as, "Candle To The Sky", "Carpe Diem" and "Storms Over Still Water", it's at the same time an unbalanced album with a great second part and a rather worst first part, in general. However, "Storms Over Still Water" has, probably, some better songs than "Passengers" has. So, I'm going to rate it with the same 4 stars. But, if you want to know the band for the first time I recommend start with their older works, "For All We Shared", "The Spirit Of Autumn Past" and "The Last Bright Light".

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Extravaganza by STACKRIDGE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.71 | 25 ratings

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Extravaganza
Stackridge Prog Folk

Review by Lupton

5 stars Stackridge's follow up to Man In The Bowler Hat is one of those albums that no one especially the hardcore fans seems to like. For starters, the group's self appointed leader Andy Davis forced founding members James Warren to leave along with the bassist Crun Walter which must have upset fans no end.Secondly Davis seemed determined to move the group's sound away from the rather soft centred and whimsical style that predominated the first three LPs which also proved unpopular. Rather surprisingly having effectively built the band up from scratch as it were with newcomers Keith Gemmel (ex Audience) on sax ,clarinet and flute, Paul Karas (ex Rare Bird) on bass and session keyboardist Rod Bowkett and drummer Roy Morgan on drums rather than taking centre stage as one might have expected, he actually took a back seat especially in the composition department. No fewer than 6 tracks were composed by Bowkett who also co-wrote two tracks with Davis. Infact Davis only contributed one song on his own. So much for the potted background-what about the album itself? Well, in a word it is brilliant. Not "It's OK but not really a proper Stackridge album is it what with a completely new line-up and where has all the whimsy disappeared to and what happened to James Warren and how come Paul Karas sings the opening track etc etc" but brilliant.Why brilliant? Two reasons basically. Firstly these guys can really play and secondly Roy Bowkett whoever he is (who IS he?) is not only a very talented keyboard player a damn fine composer as well. The opening track "Spin Round The Room" is a great 20's pastiche written by Bowkett and sung by Paul Karas (see what I mean?) "Grease Paint Smile" also by Bowkett is a darkly humorous song sung in a somewhat rueful and tired style by Davis."The Volonteer" is Davis' only sole contribution sung by Slater and is a terrific music-hall style song and definitely one of the highlights on side one."Highbury Incident" a Davis/Bowkett co-write has an excellent sax driven riff in the chorus and is strongly reminiscent of "The Lat Plimsoll" of the previous album but as with all the other songs on the album less meandering and more direct.The closest thing to a "Stackridge" song well apart from "The Volunteer" I suppose is "Benjamin's Giant Onion" which is slightly reminiscent of "Return Of The Giant Hogweed" by Genesis but this time it is the turn of the onions to take over the world. Silly but fun.The closing track is an excellent cover of the song "Happy In The Lord"So far so Stackridge as far as I am concerned. Side two is a wholly different matter. Apart from an absolutely fantastic Hammond organ and mellotron driven song called "Nothing's more Important Than the Earthworm"-surely the heaviest song the band ever recorded and arguably the best song Pink Floyd never recorded the whole side is dominated by 3 lengthy Zappa influenced instrumentals. Two of them are Bowkett compositions and one is a Bowkett/David co-write. I just cannot get enough of this highly complex yet supremely accessible type of playing. This album is so ridiculously underrated.I can understand fans being a little dismissive of it mainly I suspect because of the line-up change because the highly eccentric nature of Stackridge is still in place. It is just that the playing is substantially tighter and tougher here than on previous releases.I would not actually call this album a "materpiece" but it is absolutely essential.A great album- one of my absolute favourites.

Five stars

 Generación by PASTORAL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.50 | 9 ratings

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Generación
Pastoral Prog Folk

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars After the quiet disbanding of Merlin, Alejandro De Michele was back together with old mate and musical partner Miguel Angel Erausquin, both ready for a second run of their duo, Pastoral. This had been a key outfit in the foundation of an acoustic folk-rock scene in Argentina since early Seventies, obtaining in the process an unconditionally loyal hardcore fanbase. For that reason, the reunion immediately raised high commercial expectations. But the artists had altogether different plans for their new creation: not their inicial fresh folk-rock, nor the dreamy psych-folk of the sophomore En El Hospicio, not even the exquisite prog-folk evolution that came later, from Humanos till De Michele - Erausquin. Pastoral retained the lessons learned with Merlin in the recording studio, and went for a clear modern sound this time, with a new space for synths, and a songwriting (always the basic element for them) taking advantage of those new resources.

But fate had another plans: Alejandro was killed in a car accident, and the album finally remained as a sad memory in people's minds. But it doesn't really sound or feel that way. Generación rather presents a strong collection of songs, with terrific vocals, unique melodies, and marvellous musicianship with plenty of uncredited instrumental contributions from a full-fledged band: Gustavo Donés (bass), Daniel Colombres (drums), Fernando Múscolo (keyboards), and Mario Herrerías (piano). Just listen to the very start, with uplifting classically arpeggiated piano and delicious vocal melody in two-part harmony, and I bet you'll agree.

Of course, there's more: the fantastic vocal lines soaring on the wing of synths and bass in the (almost) title track Generando, the angular acoustic melody of Circular, so greatly asymmetric that flows fittingly with lyrics imagining a girl that turns to be Liberty herself. Equally asimmetrical is Cuidarán, with subtle staccato vocals, and down-to earth lyrics oriented to social irony. Sexto "C" is the radio-friendly spot, that won considerable airplay back then, with charming melody, flawless vocals, heartbroken witty lyrics, and irresistible hooks in the chorus.

A couple of lesser tracks, and a few dated sounds (some drums & synth naiveties) stop the rating at four. Yet, with some CD editions, we get a nice bonus track, Mensaje Mágico (a truly classic Single A-side not included on the original albums), throwing back to their early folkie days.

 Deep Cuts by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.78 | 78 ratings

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Deep Cuts
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nş 586

'Deep Cuts' is the tenth studio album of Strawbs and was released in 1976. As happened with the previous ninth studio album 'Nomadness', all tracks are short and timed with less than five minutes. On 'Deep Cuts', the absence of a full time keyboardist continue, as happened with their previous ninth studio album, 'Nomadness'. As also happened with 'Nomadness', it moved away from the progressive folk/rock leanings and it's quite definitely a more pop/rock oriented album. And like 'Nomadness', 'Deep Cuts' also continues the electric progression, an interesting and peculiar trade mark that belongs to both albums. It also contains the same line up of its predecessor studio album 'Nomadness'.

So, the line up on 'Deep Cuts' is also Dave Cousins (vocals and acoustic guitars), Dave Lambert (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Chas Cronk (backing vocals, bass guitar and acoustic guitar) and Rod Coombes (backing vocals, drums and percussion). 'Deep Cuts' has also the performance of some guest musicians, Robert Kirby (backing vocals, Mellotron, electric piano and French horn), John Mealing (piano, organ, electric piano, harpsichord and synthesizer) and Rupert Holmes (piano, harpsichord, clavinet and clarinet).

'Deep Cuts' has ten tracks. The first track 'I Only Want My Love To Grow In You' written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk was the first single to be taken of this album. It was also the first single to be written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk as a partnership. This is a good effort to be a hit single with a simple but largely enjoyable melody and with great vocal performance. The second track 'Turn Me Round' written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk is a song composed in the same vein of the previous track. It has a fine rock arrangement and a fine poetic lyric. This is a good song, very strong and hard, and in the bottom, it's very pleasant to hear. The third track 'Hard Hard Winter' written by Dave Cousins and Robert Kirby is a pleasant and nice ballad sung and performed with great musical expression. It's a song that reminds me strongly the ballads made and performed by Eagles. This is a short song where basically its musical structure has nothing of progressive. The fourth track 'My Friend Peter' written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk, is an unconvincing rock song despite has a nice guitar solo. Curiously, this song reminds me the vocals of Phil Collins, not Peter Gabriel vocals, to which he has often been compared on vocal issues. However, this is one of the weakest points on the album. The fifth track 'The Soldier's Tale' written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk is another rock song, but this time with some musical influence of the country rock music. This is a good and pleasant song to hear with several and beautiful keyboard works, which gives a kind of a depth to the song. The sixth track 'Simple Visions' written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk is another good song on the album. This is one of the most overlooked classic songs of the band with good poetic lyrics, well sung and also with great imagery, and with some fine musical arrangements. The seventh track 'Charmer' written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk is, in my humble opinion, another weak point on the album. It's the other song of the album which was also released as a single. Still, the single version has some additional overdubs compared with the version on the album. This song reminds me, in some moments, the music of Styx. The eighth track 'Wasting My Time (Thinking Of You)' written by Dave Cousins and Chas Cronk is another weaker musical point on the album. It's a soft and gentle ballad, nice and calm and where we can hear a French horn. This is a song that reminds me the music of The Beatles, but sincerely there isn't much more to say about it. The ninth track 'Beside The Rio Grande' written by Dave Cousins is, without any doubt, the highest point on the album, unfortunately the only one. It's the only song that reminds me, a little bit, the epic music of their good old times. This is an excellent song, very rocking, and that for a while make us think and revive their moments of musical glory. The tenth track 'So Close And Yet So Far Way' written by Dave Cousins is a calm, slower and beautiful ballad, well performed, with beautiful electric piano, nice guitar playing and enjoyable backing vocal harmonies. It's an enough decent song to end this musical work.

Conclusion: Unfortunately, I can't agree with some of you who consider 'Deep Cuts' better than 'Nomadness'. I know both albums, have short songs, are almost commercial oriented, its songs aren't particularly inspired and both albums has very few progressive lines. However, 'Nomadness' is, in my humble opinion, a better musical effort because it's more cohesive, more uniform, more balanced and has also four great songs, 'The Golden Salamander', 'So Shall Our Love Die', 'Hanging In The Gallery' and 'The Promised Land'. 'Deep Cuts' is less cohesive and less balanced, and, above all, has only one song which can be considered worthy of their great music moments, 'Beside The Rio Grande'. Despite what I said before, I decided to rate 'Deep Cuts' also with the same 3 stars of 'Nomadness'. In my opinion, 'Nomadness' is an album that deserves 3 or 3,5 stars and 'Deep Cuts' is an album that deserves only 3 stars. I think it has some interesting and good musical moments and it has also some good lyrics in their old traditional quality vein.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Exit by YOU AND I album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.57 | 23 ratings

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Exit
You And I Prog Folk

Review by Stargirl79

4 stars Exit is the third You and I album and in my opinion the best one. We say in Hungary: három a magyar igazság - three is the Hungarian truth/way and this is true in this case.

The line-up is the same as on their second album "GO", but you can really tell that they've been playing a lot together and this album is better crafted and more powerful.

This album is based and inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead so the concept of this record is very spiritual, the lyrics are beautiful, and this time everything is in Hungarian.

The only downside for me are the 4 short narrated "songs", I feel it's too much, too pathetic. But the songs are fantastic, very YES inspired this time.

Favorite tracks: Ősfény (Ancient Light) and Kelet (East). The last track Mátrix is summing up the musical themes on the album, closing this conceptual record as deserved.

In 2005 the band had a revival with a fresh line-up playing this album live acoustic. I've heard there was a plan to release these EXIT shows on a CD, but unfortunately this hasn't happened, but three members of the last line-up (Emese Kozma-Kis - flute, Ákos Bogáti-Bokor - guitar and Dávid Kósa - percussion) recorded the first YESTERDAYS album called Holdfénykert and another fine Hungarian symphonic prog band was born. Meanwhile keyboard player Gergő Szabó did some more Exit shows with his new band M.A.Y.A. since You and I has ended their active career.

Fans of Hungarian prog will enjoy this album very much, fans of symphonic prog with female vocals will enjoy this too. Highly recommended, four strong shiny prog stars.

 Go by YOU AND I album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.26 | 11 ratings

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Go
You And I Prog Folk

Review by Stargirl79

4 stars The second You and I album is a clear step-up from the debut record: now they have a living drummer in the band. You and I for me has been always one of the best prog bands from Hungary. This time they've kept a little distance from their YES influences and took a more original direction.

There is everything I liked on their first album, the music is still very melodic, very accessible, catchy and Völgyessy Szomor Fanni's voice is more powerful on this album. Thanks to the new keyboard player, Szabó Gergő the music went to a more GENESIS-like direction but the guitars reminded me of DAVID GILMOUR's well crafted tones. Once again, Dorogi Károly's bass brings the YES-like musical formulas.

Favorite track, the 12 minute long Invisible Ties and Snowdance, while Moonsong is probably the most beautiful pop song I've ever heard.

On this album lyrics are completely in English, so it's a more accessible for the international fans of melodic symphonic prog. Not an earth-shattering album, but still it is recommended, since it's highly enjoyable. 3.5 shiny prog stars for this one.

 You And I by YOU AND I album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.30 | 19 ratings

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You And I
You And I Prog Folk

Review by Stargirl79

4 stars I remember reading about this band in a heavy metal magazine... a few paragraph, but I got curious and ordered the cassette right away. This was 27 years ago. Later I went to see them performing YES music and that was an amazing experience. Yes music in Hungary!

I have fond memories of this band and I had to listen to this debut album again. Such a lovely album filled with YES inspired light progressive rock and also some beautiful pop songs.

The lyrics are both in Hungarian and English.

Völgyessy Szomor Fanni's voice takes the listener to Celtic fields, Dorogi Károly's Rickenbacker bass gives tasty CHRIS SQUIRE energy to the music. Kosztyu Zsolt's playing is also very YES inspired and the keyboard parts are like from the late seventies. Interesting fact that the album was recorded with programmed drums which surprisingly sound good despite the early technical stages of drum sampling at that time.

All in all this is a very pleasant album, a nice one in the car when there are non prog-loving passengers near you...

Favorite track: Child of a Guiding Eye.

Recommended for fans of melodic, light symphonic prog. 3.5 shiny stars!

 Grave New World by STRAWBS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.16 | 381 ratings

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Grave New World
Strawbs Prog Folk

Review by Henroriro_XIV

4 stars "Grave New World", released in 1972, is the fourth studio album from the British folk/prog band Strawbs, formed in 1964 under the name of Strawberry Hill Boys. The album continues on the same path as the band took with the previous release "From The Witchwood", adding more symphonic elements to their originally folk- tinged sound as a result of John Ford joining the band and influencing the sound. This was met with disapproval from one of the founding members Tony Hooper who left the band after the recording sessions.

My impression of Strawbs in general is that they have a more palatable sound than other classic prog groups such as Yes and King Crimson. Many of Strawbs' songs are of the sort you could play in the background during a family dinner without anybody complaining (speaking from my own experience). "Grave New World" is a good mix of more accessible tunes and full-on prog songs you could never play during a cocktail party. While you can hear the prog influences, you will probably find some similarities to the Beatles' late era.

Speaking of the album's sound in general, it sticks to its roots in folk rock when it comes to the acoustic guitar, which is present on almost every song. The prog rock reveals itself in the form of symphonic composition and lots of heavy organ and mellotron arrangements. The album switches vocalists between some songs, and vocal harmonies are an important element for the album.

When it comes to highlights on the album, first of all, the opener "Benedictus" is damn near perfect with its beautiful vocal harmonies, powerful organ and acoustic guitar work. "Heavy Disguise" works really well with the acoustic guitar and brass instruments. "New World" is another amazing song with exquisite orchestration and strong vocals. "The Flower And The Young Man" is another song where the vocal harmonies are beautifully put together. The very proggy "Tomorrow" has a smashing guitar solo as well as nice organ work. Lastly, I really appreciate the sitar on "Is It Today, Lord?".

I would say that my issue with the album, while it does not necessarily have to be a problem for everyone, is that it tends to sound incohesive between the songs, making it sound more like a song collection than an album. For example, putting the more experimental track "Queen Of Dreams" right after "Benedictus" and a quiet acoustic interlude does not do any good for the flow of the album, nor the fact that they switch between different vocalists.

All considered, I give this album a good score of 7,5/10. Recommended for pretty much any fan of classic prog, especially Yes and Jethro Tull.

 Invoke the Ghosts by MAU AND MARTIN SCHNELLA, MELANIE album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Invoke the Ghosts
Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars The arrival of an album featuring either Melanie or Martin is always a cause for celebration, when it features both even more so, and although this is their fifth album together, in many ways it is actually their second as like 2017's 'Oblivion Tales' it contains only originals as opposed to their delightful albums of rearranged covers. Melanie (lead and backing vocals), Martin (acoustic, electric and baritone guitars, vocals), Mathias Ruck (vocals), Lars Lehmann (bass, fretless bass) and Simon Schröder (percussion, bodhrán, drums, vocals) have also been joined by a few guests, most notably multi- instrumentalist Jens Kommnick (uilleann pipes, low whistle, tin whistle, cello, acoustic guitar). Most of the material is based around the acoustic guitar, yet is always highly complex and complicated, with the rest of the instruments joining in a way which often has much in common with folk as it does with prog, but the vocals are far more rock based which is why they should be thought of as prog folk as opposed to the other way around.

Melanie has one of the nicest female vocals in prog, one which encourages listeners to join in, and she can be gentle and quiet or loud and ripping, while the many years of singing with Martin means they have an instinctive feeling on how to get the best out of any arrangement. "Where's My Name" starts with just the two of them, with the rest of the band coming in to provide more support yet always being delicate and is sheer delight. As the song develops it becomes more complex, with real breadth, but never losing the innocence and naivety of the beginning, until it gets halfway through and then takes on an Arabic feel in the instrumental section, showing just how these guys can be leading the listener down one path and then jumping into another, so when it finally rocks out no-one should be really surprised.

We also get two numbers which are more than nine minutes in length, with "Of Witches and a Pure Heart" being a real showstopper as the band shifts and changes throughout, yet always with those wonderful vocals front and centre. This is a track to investigate if one has not previously come across this band as this contains all that make these such a vital outfit. The guitar playing is simply insane, at times bringing in the complexity of Roy Harper, yet it can switch into a simple ballad, be a belter, allow the listener to sit back and bathe in the wonderful singing, or be driven to join in as there is no other choice. Yet another superb album, which all progheads and folkies need to seek out.

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Prog Folk bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
0.720 ALEACION Mexico
3 DAFT MONKEYS United Kingdom
AALTO Finland
RABIH ABOU-KHALIL Lebanon
ACCOLADE United Kingdom
ACCOLADE United States
ADARO Germany
AFFORESTED United Kingdom
AFION Croatia
AGAPE Canada
AGINCOURT United Kingdom
AIGUES VIVES Germany
AKTUALA Italy
NICU ALIFANTIS Romania
ALMÔNDEGAS Brazil
ALVA Multi-National
AMANITA Italy
AMAROK Spain
AMAZING BLONDEL United Kingdom
AMBER United Kingdom
AN DRO Germany
ANACRUSA Argentina
IAN ANDERSON United Kingdom
THE ANGELS OF LIGHT United States
ANNAMY Sweden
APARECIDOS Multi-National
AQUAPLAN Finland
AQUARIUM Russia
MARCO ANTÔNIO ARAÚJO Brazil
DAN ARBORISE United Kingdom
THE ARBORISTS Canada
ARCH GARRISON United Kingdom
ARIA PALEA Italy
ARMY OF BRIARS United Kingdom
ARROWWOOD United States
ARTSRUNI Armenia
ASGARD France
ASHADA Japan
ASHTAR Brazil
ASI SOMOS Puerto Rico
ATMAN Poland
AUCAN Argentina
AUTO DA FE United States
AUTUMNAL BLOSSOM Germany
AVALANCHE Netherlands
AVARIC France
AVE SANGRIA Brazil
AZAHAR Spain
BABADAG Poland
BABY WHALE Multi-National
BAMBIR / THE BAMBIR Armenia
BANDA DO CASACO Portugal
A BARCA DO SOL Brazil
BARR Sweden
TOMAS BATISTA Argentina
BAYON Germany
BEAT CIRCUS United States
BEDEDEUM Italy
BERNARD BENOIT France
BIG LOST RAINBOW United States
BLACKMORE'S NIGHT United Kingdom
BLOPS Chile
BLUEHORSES United Kingdom
DIDIER BONIN (DIDBO) France
BOULE DE SON Canada
BRAIA Brazil
BRAN (BRÂN) United Kingdom
DAN AR BRAZ France
BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS United Kingdom
BRECHE Canada
PAUL BRETT United Kingdom
BRÖSELMASCHINE Germany
BUCIUM Romania
TIM BUCKLEY United States
VASHTI BUNYAN United Kingdom
C.O.B. United Kingdom
CAEDMON United Kingdom
CALIBAN United States
CÁLIX Brazil
CAMELIAS GARDEN Italy
CAN AM DES PUIG Multi-National
CANDIDATE United Kingdom
CANO Canada
LA CANTINA DI ERMETE Italy
CANZONIERE DEL LAZIO Italy
MARCELLO CAPRA Italy
CARMEN United Kingdom
CARNASCIALIA Italy
CAROL OF HARVEST Germany
GIAN CASTELLO Italy
NICK CASTRO United States
PHILIPPE CAUVIN France
CHARLIE CAWOOD United Kingdom
CHAC MOOL Mexico
CHALIBAUDE France
CHERCHE-LUNE France
CHIMERA Netherlands
CHRYSALIDE France
CIRCULUS United Kingdom
CLANNAD Ireland
CLOGS Multi-National
COMUS United Kingdom
CONGREGACION Chile
CONGRESO Chile
CONNIVENCE Canada
CONSTANTINE United States
CONTRALUZ Argentina
CONVENTUM Canada
CORDE OBLIQUE Italy
DAVE COUSINS United Kingdom
CREMATORIUM Russia
CRUEL WONDERS Israel
CRYSTAL PHOENIX Italy
CRYSTAL THOUGHTS Greece
CURRENT 93 United Kingdom
DAEMONIA NYMPHE Greece
DANCER United Kingdom
DARNAKES Greece
DAWNWIND United Kingdom
RICHARD DAWSON United Kingdom
DEAD CAN DANCE Australia
DEAD SPACE CHAMBER MUSIC United Kingdom
DECAMERON United Kingdom
THE DECEMBERISTS United States
DEMI-HEURE Canada
DETEKTIVBYRĹN Sweden
DIEGO DE MORON Spain
DODSON AND FOGG United Kingdom
DR. STRANGELY STRANGE Ireland
DULCIMER United Kingdom
DUN AENGHUS Multi-National
DUNWICH Italy
DUST MOUNTAIN Finland
JUDY DYBLE United Kingdom
EDEN Germany
ELANE Germany
ELDS MARK Norway
ELECTRIC DESERT Israel
ELFONÍA Mexico
NANCY ELIZABETH United Kingdom
ÉMERAUDE France
EMTIDI Germany
ENBOR Spain
ENGEL (MIGUEL ANGEL DE LA LLAVE JIMENEZ) Spain
L' ENGOULEVENT Canada
RÓBERT ERDÉSZ Hungary
ERGO SUM Chile
ERROBI Spain
ESPERS United States
ETERNIDAD Argentina
LA FAMIGLIA DEGLI ORTEGA Italy
FARAWAY FOLK United Kingdom
FARPOINT United States
FAUN Germany
FAUN FABLES United States
FAVERAVOLA Italy
FAVNI (FAUNS) Germany
FEATHERS United States
THE FELLOWSHIP Italy
FERN KNIGHT United States
FIABA Italy
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I FOLLI DI DIO Italy
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FOREST United Kingdom
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GROVJOBB Sweden
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GRYPHON United Kingdom
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EMILIO DEL GUERCIO Argentina
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GWERZ France
HAIZEA Spain
HARMONIUM Canada
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HAWK South Africa
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CARY HEUCHERT Canada
HEXVESSEL Finland
HOELDERLIN Germany
KAY HOFFMAN Switzerland
HORIZONTE Argentina
HORSLIPS Ireland
IBIO Spain
ILIENSES Italy
ILL WICKER Sweden
ILOUS & DECUYPER France
BRIAN IMIG United States
IN GOWAN RING United States
IN THE LABYRINTH Sweden
THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND United Kingdom
INDACO Italy
IONA United Kingdom
IRAKLIS Greece
ISOLATION United Kingdom
ITHACA United Kingdom
ITOIZ Spain
ITZIAR Spain
IZUKAITZ Spain
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LOS JAIVAS Chile
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THE JESTERDAYS Greece
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LSA Poland
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MAGDALENA Spain
MAGICFOLK United Kingdom
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JOHN MARTYN United Kingdom
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MASHMAKHAN Canada
LE MATCH Canada
MELANIE MAU AND MARTIN SCHNELLA Germany
SHELAGH MCDONALD United Kingdom
ME AND MY KITES Sweden
MELIMELUM Argentina
MELLOW CANDLE Ireland
THE MERLIN BIRD Australia
MESSENGER United Kingdom
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MOĞOLLAR Turkey
COLIN MOLD United Kingdom
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THE MOON AND THE NIGHTSPIRIT Hungary
MOONSTONE Canada
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MOSTLY AUTUMN United Kingdom
MOTIS France
MOULETTES United Kingdom
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MOVING HEARTS Ireland
MR. BROWN Sweden
MR. TOAD Israel
MUNDI DOMINI Canada
MUSHROOM Ireland
MUSK OX Canada
NIRGAL VALLIS Mexico
THE NOCTURNES United States
NOMADS OF HOPE Sweden
MICHEL NORMANDEAU Canada
NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA United Kingdom
THE NOVA PROJECT United States
NUEVO MEXICO Mexico
NUIT CALINE A LA VILLA MON REVE Belgium
NYA LJUDBOLAGET Sweden
GAVIN O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST Australia
OBERON United Kingdom
OCTOBER PROJECT United States
OF WONDROUS LEGENDS (O.W.L.) United States
OFFA REX Various
OLOFERNE Italy
OMNI Spain
OPEN EYE BAND Finland
ORFANADO Italy
ORPHEUS GHOSTSONG United Kingdom
ORYZHEIN Canada
OUGENWEIDE Germany
P. G. SIX United States
PAGAN HARVEST United Kingdom
PAN-RA Germany
PARADOX Poland
EMMANUELLE PARRENIN France
PARZIVAL Germany
PASTORAL Argentina
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THE PENTANGLE United Kingdom
PERERIN United Kingdom
LINDA PERHACS United States
PESNIARY (PESNYARY) Belarus
PHOENIX Romania
PIERROT LUNAIRE Italy
PIIRPAUKE Finland
PLANKTON WAT United States
POSITIVE WAVE Finland
A PRESENÇA DAS FORMIGAS Portugal
PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE United Kingdom
PROVIDENCE United States
PRUDENCE Norway
PTARMIGAN Canada
THE PUDDLE JUMPERS United States
QUICKSAND United Kingdom
QUINTAL DE CLOROFILA Brazil
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RABBIT RABBIT (CARLA KIHLSTEDT & MATTHIAS BOSSI) United States
RAD ORCHESTRA United Kingdom
RADA & TERNOVNIK (THE BLACKTHORN) Russia
RAGNARÖK Sweden
RAMASES United Kingdom
RASPUTINA United States
REBEKKA Germany
RED JASPER United Kingdom
REFLECTION CLUB Germany
REIFROCK Germany
REVERIE Italy
REVOLUTIONARY ARMY OF THE INFANT JESUS United Kingdom
RIPAILLE France
RISE (TALITHA RISE) United Kingdom
RITMIA Italy
ROGER RODIER Canada
BERNARDO RUBAJA Argentina
KARI RUESLATTEN Norway
RUJA Estonia
S VREMENA NA VREME Yugoslavia
ILPO SAASTAMOINEN Finland
SAD MINSTREL Italy
SAGA DE RAGNAR LODBROCK France
SAINT JUST Italy
SAKRE Spain
THE SALLYANGIE United Kingdom
SANGRE DE MUERDAGO Spain
SCAPA FLOW Finland
SCARLET THREAD Finland
NATE SCOBLE United States
SECOS & MOLHADOS Brazil
SECRET GREEN United Kingdom
SEDMINA Yugoslavia
SERPENTYNE United Kingdom
GILLES SERVAT France
SHANNON France
SHAVE THE MONKEY United Kingdom
SHIDE & ACORN United Kingdom
SHINE DIÓN Norway
SILMARIL United States
SILVER SUMMIT United States
SINDELFINGEN United Kingdom
SINTESIS Cuba
JIMI SLEVIN Ireland
SMELL OF INCENSE Norway
SMOKESTACK FAERIE Finland
SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS United Kingdom
SOL INVICTUS United Kingdom
SOLANACEAE Denmark
SOLARFERENCE United Kingdom
SORNE United States
SPARIFANKAL Germany
SPIRES THAT IN THE SUNSET RISE United States
SPIROGYRA United Kingdom
SPRIGGAN MIST United Kingdom
SPRIGUNS (OF TOLGUS) United Kingdom
STACKRIDGE United Kingdom
VLATKO STEFANOVSKI Macedonia
ALAN STIVELL France
STONE ANGEL United Kingdom
STONE BREATH United States
STÓRSVEIT NIX NOLTES Iceland
STORYTELLER United Kingdom
STRANGE DAYS United Kingdom
STRAWBS United Kingdom
PEKKA STRENG Finland
STRING CHEESE United States
STRING DRIVEN THING United Kingdom
STUMARI Georgia
SUBURBANO Spain
SUBWAY Multi-National
SÜNDENFALL II Germany
SUPAY Peru
SUR PACIFICO Chile
SUSSITA Israel
SYNANTHESIA United Kingdom
TALAMASCA United States
TALITHA QUMI Romania
TAMALONE Netherlands
TAMARUGO Chile
TANGERINE France
TARENTULE France
TARUJEN SAARI Finland
LOU MAXWELL TAYLOR United States
TEA AND SYMPHONY United Kingdom
TEMPEST United States
TENHI Finland
TERRA MYSTICA Slovenia
BOB THEIL United Kingdom
THESE TRAILS United States
THE THIRD ESTATE United States
THISTLETOWN United Kingdom
THOBY LOTH Finland
THORK France
THURSAFLOKKURINN Iceland
TIR NA NOG Ireland
TIRILL Norway
TORNAOD France
TRADER HORNE United Kingdom
TRAVELING BELL United States
TREES United Kingdom
THE TREES COMMUNITY United States
TREMBLING BELLS United Kingdom
TRI YANN France
TRIO DAG Yugoslavia
TROCARN Switzerland
TROISIČME RIVE France
TROISSOEUR Belgium
TROVANTE Portugal
TUATHA DE DANANN Brazil
ALEXANDER TUCKER United Kingdom
TUDOR LODGE United Kingdom
TUIMA Finland
TUNEFISH Germany
TURQUOISE Poland
TUSMŘRKE Norway
TYRANNOSAURUS REX (NOT T. REX) United Kingdom
U I BLUE United States
UDRAYA France
UNCLE DIRTYTOES United States
UNGAVA Canada
UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Ireland
STEVE UNRUH United States
UQBAR Argentina
US AND THEM Sweden
VEGA Spain
VERMICELLI ORCHESTRA Russia
VIIMA Finland
VOICE OF THE SEVEN WOODS United Kingdom
RYLEY WALKER United States
JUNE WALLACK Canada
WARA Bolivia
WATER INTO WINE BAND United Kingdom
WATERTOUCH Sweden
THE WAY WE LIVE United Kingdom
LEAH WAYBRIGHT United States
WERWOLF (WEREWOLF ART ROCK) Germany
WITTHUSER AND WESTRUPP Germany
WOVEN HAND United States
WURTEMBERG France
WYRDGENES United Kingdom
GABRIEL YACOUB France
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YOKE SHIRE United States
YOU AND I Hungary
ZAGUAN Spain
ZARTONG Armenia
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ZEIT Italy
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