Titles are arranged alphabetically with recent additions highlighted in yellow. Some of the newer or more popular British artists are on Page 1 or 2 of the store rather than here, otherwise this page would be even longer than it is.
801 was one of the first progressive rock supergroups, and their first album was a live one with stellar sound quality. In 1976, while Roxy Music had temporarily disbanded, 801 (the name of the band was taken from the Eno song The True Wheel) got together as a temporary project. The original sextet included Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno, Bill MacCormick, Francis Monkman, Simon Phillips and Lloyd Watson, and after a warm-up show in Cromer in Norfolk, that lineup played just two gigs: at the Reading Festival and at Londonís Queen Elizabeth Hall. The latter concert was subsequently released as 801 Live. The music consists mostly of mutated selections from Quiet Sunís sole album, Manzaneraís Diamond Head album, and the odd Eno song (they were all odd), plus a version of Lennon-McCartneyís Tomorrow Never Knows that easily tops the original, and an off-the-wall cover of The Kinksí You Really Got Me. Released at the height of the punk rock scourge in the UK, the LP nevertheless sold well worldwide. This new Collectorís Edition has been remastered and comes in a large digibook format, similar to a hardbound book, with a 40-page booklet. It includes a second CD of the rehearsal sessions. More detail here. Counts as 2.5 CDs for shipping. Granted a list price of $44.95 is a lot to pay for a 2CD, but it does segue nicely into these two CDs:
In 1977, the year after 801 Live was recorded, a new 801 lineup took to the road in the UK for a 10-date tour. Eno was otherwise engaged, Roxy Musicís drummer Paul Thompson replaced Simon Phillips, and the lineup was completed by Bill MacCormick (bass & vocals), Dave Skinner (keyboards & vocals), Simon Ainley (guitars & vocals) and bandleader Phil Manzanera (guitars). These two 78-minute digipack CDs contain two dates from that tour. Live @ Hull, recorded at Hull University, features Eddie Jobson on violin. Jobson was in Roxy Music at this time, and his performance of Out of the Blue may be the highlight of this album. Manchester features guests Andy MacKay from Roxy Music and 10ccís Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. The setlist on these CDs includes a few songs that appeared on 801 Live but also a number of songs from Listen Now, which was either Manzaneraís second solo album or the first 801 studio album, or both.
Aardvarkís only album was released in 1970 on Deccaís short-lived progressive imprint Deram Nova. The music is keyboard-centric proto-prog in the vein of Egg, The Nice, Greenslade, Deep Purple, and The Doors. This Esoteric reissue has been newly remastered from the original master tapes and features a booklet with fully restored artwork and new essay. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Abel Ganz were the other Scottish neo-prog band during the 1980s progressive revival, Pallas being the better known of the two. Abel Ganzís singer Alan Reed became Pallasís second singer. Abel Ganzís 1980s albums were initially only available on cassette before being reissued on CD by a now-defunct French label. Back from the Zone features five remastered tracks from their first three albums, finally sounding the way they should, plus one of their old tracks re-recorded in 2001, plus a new 2001 track, for a total of 65-minutes of music. This is melodic symphonic prog that ranks with Pallas, Twelfth Night, Haze, Galahad, and Castanarc.
Lee Abraham was the bass player of Galahad for a time and has a couple previous CDs under his belt, one under his name, one as half of the duo Idle Noise. Black & White (2009) is a British neo-prog all-star project that includes John Mitchell (It Bites, Arena, many others), Simon Godfrey (Tinyfish), Jem Godfrey (Frost), Gary Chandler (Jadis), Steve Thorne, Sean Filkins (ex-Big Big Train), and Dean Baker (Galahad). That cast leads to certain expectations, and this CD delivers on them. The music is melodic, mainstream, third-generation (unless weíre up to fourth generation now) British prog. The infrequent metal guitar is at odds with the overall genteel, Jadis-like vibe, but it helps get your CD reviewed on sites with Ďmetalí in the name. Read the DPRP review.
This 1970 early prog album was the only one for Affinity, a British band fronted by singer Linda Hoyle and comparable to Sandrose, Analogy, Julianís Treatment, and Curved Air. This is the Angel Air edition, which adds a mere eight bonus tracks and is the best of the CD reissues. Lots of reviews and an mp3 at Prog Archives.
After the Fire began as a keyboard-driven progressive rock band in the Genesis, Greenslade, and Beggarsí Opera veins. Their debut LP Signs of Change was released in 1978 on the bandís own Rapid label. It was deleted when they signed to CBS, changed styles to new wave and had some hit singles, making the LP a rarity. This CD on the Angel Air label adds four bonus tracks totaling over 30 minutes that are of equal quality to the album proper.
This is the 2008 edition on the Esoteric label. In 1975, following his departure from Gong, Daevid Allen sought musical solace on the island of Mallorca. Here he began a collaboration with a group of Catalan musicians called Euterpe. Recorded in Mallorca, the album Good Morning was released by Virgin Records in 1976 to great acclaim. It is a unique work that was regarded by fans and critics as being as good as anything Allen recorded with Gong, if not better. Allen created a work that for the most part eschews drums and heavy percussion. It has more charm than any Gong record, and while some of it is Gong-like, there is a Genesis-like pastoral quality in spots, one track that presages what Peter Gabriel and King Crimson would do years later, and touches of folk. The 11-minute track Wise Man in Your Heart features Gong colleagues Mike Howlett and Pierre Moerlen. Good Morning appeared briefly on CD in the early 1990s but vanished quickly. 24-bit remastered with one bonus track.
Also Eden are one of the best of the latest crop of British neo-prog bands. Itís great that there is a crop at all. Prog rock isnít exactly popular in the UK, yet each year new prog bands emerge. What usually distinguishes the British prog bands of late is not only that they actually write songs and put melody first, but they have quality singers whose vocals are up in the mix where vocals normally are, and who can carry a song. Also Edenís Huw Lloyd-Jones is such a singer, his voice having a slight John Wetton character. Along with Lloyd-Jones, the other core member of this quintet is keyboardist Ian Hodson, so keyboards occupy their rightful place in the arrangements, with many nods to Tony Banks. About Time (2006) and Itís Kind of You to Ask (2008) are symphonic rock, free of modern metal ugliness, in the vein of Abel Ganz and, to a lesser extent, Marillion, Pallas, and IQ. On these first two CDs, the distinguishing characteristic of Also Edenís music is an emotional warmth that makes them the coziest of the British neo-prog bands. Put the kettle on and read reviews.
Lloyd-Jones left prior to Also Edenís 2010 EP Differences as Light, replaced by another fine singer in Rich Harding. That EP signaled the start of a slightly different direction for the band. Think of the Children! (2011) is the bandís third full-length album, their first for the Festival Music label. The music is a bit heavier now, closer to recent Pallas, Galahadís Empires Never Last, and a modern take on early Marillion, though the blustery passages are sometimes alternated with delicate segments probably influenced by the Genesis pastoral 12-string sound. You can also hear references to Rush and Twelfth Night, among others. Overall, some of the charm and songwriting of the first two albums has been supplanted by an ambitious, serious-sounding and somewhat theatrical long-form approach that demands several listens. Listen to the album sampler mp3.
Amazing Blondel sound like minstrels, using some early music instruments to update English traditional music in a very different manner than Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, taking courtly renaissance music as their source as opposed to folk songs. The 2-on-1 Evensong / Fantasia Lindum CD on the BGO label contains their 1970 second and 1971 third albums on one CD. ďEvensong is a folk album that harked back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Madrigals and ballads performed on period instruments became their specialty, and the trioís creative ideas led to the concept album Fantasia Lindum, which belongs more to progressive-rock than to folk-rock.Ē [Prog Archives]
The 2-on-1 England / Blondel CD was released by BGO in 2010, containing the 1972 fourth and 1973 fifth Amazing Blondel albums. ďEngland used the same technique to craft elegant, lushly-arranged pop songs. [Founding member John David] Gladwin left and the surviving duo veered towards Steeleye Spanís hard-folk with Blondel, entirely composed by Eddie Baird.Ē [Prog Archives]
Englishe Musicke is a 71-minute compilation on the Edsel label drawn from Evensong, Fantasia Lindum and England. See Prog Archives for more info.
Falling Deeper (2011, digibook) contains reworkings of older Anathema tracks, executed with more acoustic instruments and a 26-piece string orchestra. Anathema had already outgrown their metal past, but they wanted to show that their older songs were real songs with haunting melodies that the new arrangements now showcase. The orchestral arrangements are by Dave Stewart, who worked so successfully with Anathema on their previous album. This is the work of a very refined progressive rock band.
ďThereís little here to link these new reworkings to the band of old, so in a sense with Falling Deeper Anathema have rewritten their own history backwards... Falling Deeper is even more impressive because of the nature of this early material and the manner in which it is now portrayed.Ē [Classic Rock Presents Prog] Check our DVDs page for Anathemaís Universal Blu-ray and DVD.
Survival and Other Stories (2011) is the first of three planned Jon Anderson albums over the next few years. As Jon says, ďAbout four years ago I just put an ad on my website: ĎMusicians Wantedí... this is the result. Writing the songs for Survival and other Stories was uplifting for me on many levels. I was working with musicians from around the world via the Internet, itís a new world, music is a healing energy, I had a tough 2008 through illness, and the music Iíve been writing since is a celebration of life on many levels. I hope you get the chance to hear the album.Ē Read the Prog Rock Music Talk review. Listen to New New World on YouTube.
Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman have toured together outside of Yes a couple times. The Living Tree (2010) is their first studio album together, featuring nine new songs. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Rob Andrewís 2002 album The Host is a group affair, and whereas his previous CD An Amnesty for Bonny Things on Sunny Days was more acoustic, this one really goes for it in places with electric guitar work dominating. His electric guitar leans toward the styles of Steve Hackett, David Gilmour, or Robert Fripp. Rob also handles bass and is assisted by a keyboardist and drummer. Highlights are the title track The Host, building from acoustic guitar/keyboards to heavy guitar and thunderous drums; Lake ViŮuela, which builds on keyboards and ends with a long guitar solo rising in passion; and the epic Saboteur, with Spanish and electric guitars weaving in and out of complex passages. A wash of Mellotron introduces a finale full of invention and driving guitar.
This album recorded in the 1980s was one of the first on Island Records. It is easily grouped with Rupert Hineís progressive pop albums of the same decade. The reason is obvious. Rupert Hine produced, plays keyboards and adds backing vocals, while Hineís cohorts Trevor Morais (drums) and Phil Palmer (guitars) are also in the band. Howard Jones is credited with ďimpressive keyboard solosĒ. Hineís stamp is all over this album. High quality bonus tracks take the total playing time up to 73 minutes. Note there are also RealAudio clips at the Windows Media link above.
Careful! Itís Tepid (2009, 18:50) and Double Egg with Chips and Beans (2006, 19:13) are the second and third of a trio of CD-EPs by British band Antique Seeking Nuns, who evolved into Sanguine Hum. These are wonderful, warm and witty works mostly in a Canterbury (Hatfield and the North) style, with some Gentle Giant and Zappa, but also an original take on it all that makes it sound fresh and exciting. Read reviews.
This 2009 edition on Esoteric is the first official UK CD release of this 1971 album, remastered from the original master tapes. The DPRP review also provides some biographical info; thereís much more in the booklet. Like many of Esotericís rescued relics, Arcís album is proto-prog or early prog, that is, it lies between the mundane rock of the era and the full-blown progressive rock that King Crimson, Yes and Genesis were already producing. But as proto-prog albums go, Arcís is quite good. They have a piano/organ player, and itís really only the heavier tracks that sound dated, because of the primitive lead electric guitar tone and blues-rock elements. The lighter tracks fare better.
This 2008 edition on Esoteric is the first official UK CD release of this 1979 album, remastered from the original master tapes. Neil Ardley was known as a jazz composer, and the musicians on this album were drawn from the top echelon of British jazz musicians (many from Nucleus). But this album was a departure for Ardley, as the music has more appeal to progressive rock fans, while probably irritating many jazz fans. Ardley plays synthesizers throughout, and the music is symphonic, structured, and sometimes spacey, with many melodies that have little to do with jazz. There are sections of jazz-rock, other sections that are merely a little jazzy, and much that isnít jazz at all. Bass guitar is way up in the mix, and there are some ethereal wordless female vocals. Notable among the musicians on this record is folkie John Martyn on guitar. Read the DPRP review.
Arena is the band formed in the mid-1990s around Marillionís first drummer Mick Pointer and keyboardist Clive Nolan (Pendragon). Arena began playing Marillion-style neo-prog on their first two albums. With their third album The Visitor (1998), they began moving in a heavier direction, concurrently becoming more original and professional. John Mitchell became the guitarist at this stage.
Immortal? (2000) features new singer Rob Sowden. Here Arena continued to shift to a darker, heavier, more aggressive approach, though Clive Nolanís keyboards are still at the center of the show. The 20-minute Moviedrome is the highlight.
Arena celebrated their 10th anniversary with the album Pepperís Ghost (2005). The concept of the album must have something to do with the comic book in the booklet, but have a magnifying glass handy if you intend to read the text. Thereís still plenty of heavy guitar on this one, but itís all in service of epic symphonic prog tracks with huge vocal choruses and lots of keyboard leads. Arena may have begun as an offshoot of early Marillion, but with this lineup, they have come into their own.
This is the special edition of The Seventh Degree of Separation (2011, digipack), which adds a DVD containing a 50-minute ďmaking-ofĒ documentary. Read the DPRP, Background Magazine, and progVisions reviews. Check our DVDs page for Arenaís DVDs.
If you wondered what John Jowitt was doing before showing up as the bass player in more English neo-prog bands than you can remember, in the 1980s he was in the band arK. Those tuned into the English progressive revival of that decade should be familiar with arKís first album The Dreams of Mr. Jones (1988). Two cassette albums followed before Jowitt left in late 1990. The band continued for several years, releasing a few more CDs. Jowitt has reformed the band, leading to this new CD in 2010. The band now features original members Tony Short on vocals and flute, Pete Wheatley on lead guitar, Steve Harris on guitar synth, and new member Tim Churchman (formerly of Darwinís Radio) on drums. Some of the songs here appear for the first time, while others are re-recorded versions of old arK songs. arK always had a less polished sound than the neo-prog frontrunners (Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, etc.), probably closer to their live sound. arK did gig heavily back in the day. These new versions sound better than the original recordings though, with better musicianship. The use of flute and guitar-synth in lieu of a keyboardist gives arK an identifiable sound. Read the DPRP review.
This is the 2010 remastered edition on Esoteric of In the Realm of Asgśrd (weíll spell it that way once), a 1972 album that originally appeared on The Moody Bluesí Threshold label. Itís an album of early British prog or proto-prog, from a lineup of vocals, guitar/vocals, violin, bass and drums. You can hear most of the songs on YouTube; start here. Prog Archives has several reviews and one mp3.
This 2010 CD from the ex-Hawkwind synth wizard is full of cosmic/rhythmic synth music in the classic style. Electronic music fans who may have no interest in Hawkwind can dive right in here, as this is pure EM. For the most part, it is a high-tech version of mid-to-late 1970s Tangerine Dream, with touches of Vangelis and some of the French synthesists, and lots of twittering synths Hawkwind-style. Several tracks use electronic percussion to up the energy level. This is as good as the Berlin school heroes. 69-minutes.
This is the 2009 edition on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. Guitarist Peter Banks left Yes following the release of Time and a Word and formed the progressive band Flash. That band enjoyed a degree of success in the U.S., affording Banks the opportunity to record this 1973 instrumental solo album with guest musicians that include Jan Akkerman (Focus), Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, and John Wetton, as well as Flash members Ray Bennett and Mike Hough. Akkerman has the largest role. Read the reviews at Ground and Sky. Check our Bargain CDs page for more Peter Banks CDs.
This is the 2009 30th Anniversary Edition on Esoteric Recordings of Tony Banksí first and best solo album, 1979ís A Curious Feeling. The CD is not simply remastered, rather it contains a new stereo mix, for the same reason the recent editions of the Genesis albums have new stereo mixes -- it is essentially a byproduct of creating a surround mix. Unfortunately, the deluxe edition that added a DVD with the surround mix is no longer available. This is the CD-only edition. The booklet contains new liner notes by Tony.
Barclay James Harvest are a British band who released their first album in 1970. They are known for creating a unique brand of soft symphonic pop. These are the 2013 Esoteric digipack reissues of Eyes of the Universe (1979) and Turn of the Tide (1981), newly remastered from the original master tapes, with booklets that fully restore all original album artwork with a new essay by BJH experts Keith and Monika Domone. Eyes of the Universe includes four bonus tracks, all single edits. Turn of the Tide includes two bonus tracks.
This is Esotericís edition of BJHís 1987 live album Glasnost (digipack). It has been expanded to a double-CD that includes the complete concert (adding five previously-unreleased tracks) in the original set running order and has been newly remastered from the original master tapes. It features a booklet that fully restores all original album artwork, with a new essay. Glasnost was recorded at Treptower Park, East Berlin on 14 July 1987. The concert was one of the first by a Western rock band in East Germany and was a major event, with the band playing to a staggering 175,000 people. (It wasnít easy to count them either.) Did Barclay James Harvest set off a chain of events leading to the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, changing the course of history? (Answer: no)
Check our DVDs page for Barclay James Harvestís Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios.
Colin Bass has been the bass player and backing vocalist for Camel since 1981ís Nude. At the time of these CDs at least, he lived in Berlin and established himself in Poland, where he toured. His CDs get released there and he often uses Polish musicians. On these CDs, Bassís music is similar to Camel from Nude on. An Outcast of the Islands is his 1998 studio album and features Camelís Andy Latimer and Dave Stewart on most tracks. This is the 2003 remastered edition, which adds three bonus tracks (one studio, two live), stretching the playing time to 77-minutes.
Live Vol. 2: Acoustic Songs (2000) is a 71-minute unplugged live album, with Colin joined by three Polish musicians on piano, flute, and acoustic guitar. In addition to his originals, several covers of 1980s Camel songs are included, plus two arrangements of English traditional songs. This is the digipack reissue on Oskar.
Live at Polskie Radio 3 (1999) is a 96-minute 2CD live set performed with the members of Polandís Quidam in the band, including their first singer Emilia. There are six Camel covers in addition to the originals, so obviously these albums are highly-recommended to Camel fans, as well as to fans of early Quidam. This is the digipack reissue on Oskar.
Composer/arranger David Bedford was well known to progressive rock fans during the 1970s, partly due to his work with Mike Oldfield, Kevin Ayers, and others. In 1976 Bedford released his fourth solo album The Odyssey, a musical setting for the play by Homer. While his previous three albums were avant-garde, The Odyssey was more accessible, a progressive/classical/ambient work that featured Mike Oldfield and a pre-Police Andy Summers on guitar, plus the female voices of the Queenís College Choir. This CD is a live performance of The Odyssey that took place at the Royal Albert Hall in January 1977. In addition to David Bedford, the performance featured Mike Ratledge (Soft Machine), Jon Lord (Deep Purple), Dave Stewart (National Health), Neal Ardley, Peter Lemer, and Mike Oldfield, not to mention the Queenís College Choir. Recorded for broadcast on radio, the concert had not been heard since the original broadcast until this 2011 CD.
Beggarźís Opera are a Glasgow-based progressive rock band who in their first phase were active throughout the 1970s, beginning with Act One (1970), their most classical-rock album and very organ-driven, similar to The Nice. Their second album Waters of Change (1971) features two new members and is more along the lines of Cressida, with Mellotron now in the mix. These first two albums are their best. Their third Pathfinder (1972) was their last good album of this first phase. Two key members then departed, and the bandís fourth album Get Your Dog Off Me! (1974) was dire, and though a few more albums followed, none were of much consequence. Note singer Martin Griffithsí son Philip currently sings for the German progressive rock bands Alias Eye and Poor Genetic Material.
Released by the Esoteric label, Nimbus: The Vertigo Years Anthology (2012) is a double-CD that includes the first three albums in their entirety, the A & B sides of an early single, and four tracks from Get Your Dog Off Me!. Well, Esoteric included what were probably the best tracks from Dog; you wonít miss the others. The audio was recently remastered from the original master tapes, while the booklet fully restores the original album artwork and adds a new essay. You get Beggarís Operaís covers of both MacArthur Park and Classical Gas, two songs which always seemed related. This MacArthur Park should be considered the definitive version, as it has the power that should have been in the original.
English band Big Big Train began in the early 1990s as a soft neo-prog band. Their second album English Boy Wonders was originally recorded on a limited budget and released by GEP (IQís label) in a semi-complete state in 1997. It had been unavailable for several years. For this 2008 digipack re-release, Big Big Train returned to the original multi-track tapes but also re-recorded much of the album. Additional sections of music were written to complete the album as it was originally intended. A bonus track featuring Martin Orford has been included and the album has been completely remixed and remastered by Rob Aubrey. Across its 80 minutes, English Boy Wonders tells the heartbreaking story of a doomed relationship.
Big Big Train made what we consider their breakthrough album in 2002 with Bard (currently out-of-print). The band almost called it quits at that point, but the overwhelmingly positive response to Bard encouraged them to continue. For Gathering Speed (2004, digipack), they added a new singer in Sean Filkins. The music on this CD is more intense than past efforts and far more connected to early Genesis than to the 1980s prog bands, with tasteful use of Mellotron and that characteristic mix of the pastoral and the majestic. A concept album set in the summer of 1940 during the Battle of Britain, it tells the story of a fighter pilot who is shot down during a combat patrol. If you want to re-experience the way English bands once made progressive rock, this is an essential album of very English music full of finesse and grace.
Big Big Trainís fifth album The Difference Machine (2007, digipack) features significant contributions from Pete Trewavas (Marillion) and Nick DíVirgilio and Dave Meros from Spockís Beard, and was mixed by Rob Aubrey. The band describes this CD as a combination of classic progressive influences (Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, PFM) and influences from alternative rock (Sigur Ros, Oceansize, Mew). It does represent a significant evolution of their sound from previous albums, and is one of those albums like Marillionís Brave that defies expectations and may require several listens before it begins to sink in. ďThe great chord changes and powerful melodies are still there, more so in fact than before, but the music is much more upbeat, more Ďproggyí if you will than previous albums. In fact it doesnít even sound like the same band as earlier albums, except for some of Gathering Speed. This is in fact one of the most powerful and beautiful albums I have heard in years. This is one of those albums that sound better and better with repeated listens, and the addition of sax and cello give the overall effect of a true classic, somewhere between Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd in their primes. Mellotron abounds as well, in the short breaks that divide the three long songs that make up the bulk of the album.Ē [Bill Gillham, Prog Archives] One thing is reasonably certain: Big Big Train have gone from being a second-tier neo-prog band to a band that is now breaking new ground. This is the 2010 digipack edition, which adds one bonus track.
The Underfall Yard (2009, digipack) is the most ambitious Big Big Train album yet, an astonishing work, dare we say their masterpiece. New singer David Longdon, whose voice is similar to that of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, is the final piece now in place. Longdon also plays many instruments on this album: flute, mandolin, dulcimer, psaltery, glockenspiel, and keyboards. Longdon worked with Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford for half a year on what would become Genesisí Calling All Stations album before losing the job to Ray Wilson. More recently, Longdon sang on Martin Orfordís The Old Road, an album also recorded by Rob Aubrey, and with Martin and Robís recommendation, Longdon boarded the Train. Nick DíVirgilio plays the drums, and there is a small orchestra worth of other musicians contributing, including Dave Gregory (XTC, Peter Gabriel), Jem Godfrey (Frost), and Francis Dunnery (It Bites, solo). While The Difference Machine added modern influences, and some of that is still present on The Underfall Yard, this feels much more like a classic prog album. And yet different. The pastoral Genesis and PFM influence is still present, with flute, acoustic guitar, and cello, all bathed in a warm Mellotron glow. But there is more Yes influence than on any previous Big Big Train album. Donít finalize your Best of 2009 list until youíve heard The Underfall Yard. Read the Progressive Land review.
Big Big Train are promoting their 41-minute Far Skies Deep Time (2010, digisleeve) as a CD-EP. If this is an EP, then there are a number of other good EPs we can recommend such as Close to the Edge. It probably has more to do with the fact that Big Big Train like their albums to be conceptual, and Far Skies Deep Time is a mere collection of five lyrically-unrelated songs. The lineup is similar to that on The Underfall Yard, with Nick DíVirgilio still the drummer and Dave Gregory now working full-time. Among several guest musicians, the otherwise retired Martin Orford contributes two spectacular keyboard solos. The music is in the same vein as The Underfall Yard, full of 1970s Genesis and Yes inspiration, often mellow and pastoral before erupting into symphonic glory. The first track Master of Time is actually an obscure Anthony Phillips composition that had only reached the demo stage. Big Big Train give it the full band treatment. (No wonder we thought we were hearing Trespass.) Hope you left a slot open on your Best of 2010 list. Read the review at Prognaut.
This is the 2011 digipack reissue of Big Big Trainís 1994 first album Goodbye to the Age of Steam. As the band says: ďIt isnít representative of where we are now as a band and it wasnít something we intended to go back to, but Rob Aubrey had a window in his schedule last year and offered to remix it from the master tapes. The 1994 version of the album was recorded and mixed on a very tight budget and the opportunity to achieve the best possible sound quality with a complete remix was something we could not resist. We have also added three bonus tracks to the album to ensure the 2011 version of Goodbye to the Age of Steam is a value-for-money release. Firstly, there is an extended version of Losing Your Way, featuring an instrumental section which was edited out of the album version; then a track called Far Distant Thing which we recorded for a radio session in 1993, and finally, an instrumental track called Expecting Dragons which reworks some of the album themes and motifs and which features the bandís modern line-up. Those of you who are familiar with the original release will also notice that we have used new artwork for the reissue. The painting for the 1994 cover was sold at auction and we have no idea where it is. So we asked our artist, Jim Trainer, to paint some new images. Cracking job he made of it too. (The reissue features a 12-page booklet which includes a number of Jimís paintings.) ...Itís certainly not up there with The Underfall Yard or Far Skies Deep Time, but itís part of the Big Big Train story.Ē
English Electric Part One (2012, digipack, 60-minutes) continues Big Big Trainís meteoric rise to prog fame, as EE1 goes beyond even The Underfall Yard. Andy Tillison (The Tangent) guests. ďFragrant, mellifluous and, quite frankly, awe-inspiring.Ē [Classic Rock] ďEE1 is a thing of absolute and intense beauty, truth, and goodness. It comes as close to reaching the Platonic ideal of the forms as any album can. Itís intense, hurried, lingering, pastoral, necessary, longing, bouncy, pleading, satisfying, answering, punctuated, loud, quiet, meaningful, and, over and above all, harmonious... BBTís music transcends our day-to-day lives in ways that surpass words.Ē [The Imaginative Conservative] Watch the promo video. Read the DPRP reviews.
With English Electric Part Two (2013, digipack, 58-minutes), ďBig Big Train continues its journey across the English landscape with an album of seven new songs which tell further tales of the men and women who work on and under the land. Along the way, stories are told of the shipbuilders in Neptuneís Yard, of a machine that burned its legend across the pages of the history books, of a keeper of abbeys and a curator of butterflies, and of a second chance at love.Ē Read the DPRP reviews.
After releasing English Electric Parts One and Two separately, the band released English Electric: Full Power, a box set containing all of Parts One and Two plus four new songs and a 96-page book telling the stories behind the songs and the making of English Electric. Make Some Noise (2013, digipack) features the four new tracks from English Electric: Full Power. It exists so that those who already bought Parts One and Two (and there are a lot of you) can complete the English Electric set without having to purchase Full Power. Make Some Noise actually contains nine tracks, but the other five also appear on either Part One or Two. A high-resolution PDF of the 96-page booklet that comes with Full Power is available free to purchasers of Make Some Noise. Weíll email the link with your invoice, or if we forget, please bug us for it.
Blue Drift is an instrumental prog band related to The Morrigan -- two members have also been or still are members of The Morrigan, and The Morriganís Colin Masson provided the cover art for Blue Driftís two CDs: Cobalt Coast (2003) and Mariner (2005). But thereís no folk here. The music on Cobalt Coast varies along a spectrum between Camel (structured, melodic) and Ozric Tentacles (spacey, jamming), while other influences and prog styles are present -- one song is closer to Bruford or the first UK album. Mariner is not a radical departure, but it is distinct from its predecessor, containing mostly high-energy symphonic prog, sometimes spacey, with a touch of fusion when the guitarist adopts an Allan Holdsworth tone. There are also subtle, gentler passages where the feel is not far from Genesis. These CDs are what instrumental prog should be, carefully-crafted melodic music with sufficient variety. Read the Progressor reviews of Cobalt Coast and Mariner and the DPRP review of Mariner. The Silhobbit review of Cobalt Coast, while not particularly useful, is the most entertaining read. These are the MALS label editions.
Breathing Space the band was born out of the 2005 CD named Breathing Space, the first CD from former Mostly Autumn keyboardist Iain Jennings, featuring Olivia Sparnenn on vocals. At the time of that CD, Olivia had been hired by Mostly Autumn to provide backing vocals, but in Breathing Space she is lead vocalist. After that first CD, Iain formed a touring band and gave them the name Breathing Space, retaining Sparnenn as lead vocalist. Coming Up for Air (2007) is a solid second effort. The CD is front-loaded with the most song-oriented and vocal-heavy tracks, after which the music gets proggier, with room for instrumental passages. Sparnennís voice is often the most recognizable element of the Breathing Space sound, and as her voice has similarities to Joanne Hoggís of Iona, this album could be compared to Ionaís upbeat vocal tracks, with Jenningsí Genesis influences substituting for Ionaís Celtic elements. Read the review at Musical Discoveries.
Below the Radar (2009) is their third. ďVocalist Olivia Sparnenn has an absolute gem of a voice; clear, strong, expressive with spot-on pitch. Sound and style are very much in the Mostly Autumn vein though a bit more mainstream, emphasizing mid-tempos and power ballads led by Sparnennís vocals... The production is simply outstanding, with everything fitting perfectly into place. All the songs are great, especially Run from Yourself. Boasting hot keyboard solos and cool groove, this is the only track where Jennings and Sparnenn harmonize, refreshingly altering the pattern of Sparnennís singular/self-harmonized vocals.Ē [Progression] Read reviews of all the CDs.
See the band Stolen Earth below, who are the continuation of Breathing Space.
Looking for Love... (2012) is a studio album of space rock, ambient, and psychedelic styles from Dave Brock, founding member of Hawkwind, recorded over a five year period. It features appearances by Hawkwind drummer Richard Chadwick and the late Jason Stuart. Read the Freq review.
This is the newly-remastered edition of Faster Than the Speed of Light (1979) on Esoteric, which restores the original album artwork and includes a new essay. ďFaster Than the Speed of Light got in just under the deadline of the new decade, a spectacle of grand progressive rock excess in a style that just wouldnít be possible in the 80s. The instrumentation on this album consists of Arthur Brown on vocals, Atomic Roosterís Vincent Crane (who had co-written Brownís signature track Fire in 1968) on organ and piano, and drummer Clifford Venner, plus the entirety of the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra. The resulting prog rock symphonics mesh somewhat uneasily with Craneís forward-looking synth rock experiments on songs like Nothing We Can Do, but as a whole, this apocalyptic concept album makes a virtue of its own overblown pomposity. Arthur Brown always had a knack for deflating his occasionally pretentious lyrics with a refreshing modicum of dry wit, which holds him in good stead on the opening Storm Clouds. On the centerpiece track Storm, Brown sings in an unexpected falsetto over a synth-dominated backing track reminiscent of some of Frank Zappaís mid-70s work. Of course, all the various elements come together on the climactic title track, featuring some of Brownís most enjoyably overwrought vocals, a keyboard solo that Keith Emerson himself might find excessive, and some of the biggest orchestral swells to be found in the entire symphonic rock genre. Itís all a bit over the top, naturally, but somehow it doesnít seem pretentious or annoying.Ē [All Music]
There are all the 2005 remastered editions on Bill Brufordís Winterfold Records label. Feels Good to Me contains an unreleased version of Joe Frazier as a bonus track. One of a Kind contains the previously unreleased bonus track Manacles. Gradually Going Tornado contains the bonus track 5G, while The Bruford Tapes contains the bonus track The Age of Information. The Bruford Tapes is actually a double-CD, adding a sampler CD of Brufordís Summerfold Records label, including an interview with Bruford. Summerfold exists to reissue remastered and expanded versions of Brufordís post-1987 output (his jazz work), while Winterfold exists to reissue remastered and expanded versions of his CDs up to 1987 (his rock work).
Following his brief tenure with Genesis, Bill recorded his debut album Feels Good to Me in 1978. It predates the official start of the band ďBrufordĒ although it features performances from many of the musicians who would go on to work with Bill full-time in that group. The album features vocalist Annette Peacock, keyboardist Dave Stewart, bassist Jeff Berlin, guitarists Allan Holdsworth and John Goodsall (Brand X), and flugelhorn player Kenny Wheeler. After the first version of UK split-up, Bruford and Holdsworth teamed with Dave Stewart and Jeff Berlin for the first official Bruford album One of a Kind (1979). Easily Brufordís best studio album, this is also one of the best albums of progressive jazz-rock ever recorded. Some of the tracks were being played by UK on their first tour, and Dave Stewartís stamp is all over this album.
The Bruford Tapes is a live album recorded in 1979, featuring two tracks from Feels Good to Me and the rest from One of a Kind. It perfectly captures the atmosphere of the gig, and the versions here are even better than the studio versions, making this the definitive Bruford album. The final Bruford album Gradually Going Tornado (1980) sees guitarist John Clark replacing Allan Holdsworth, but the band loses little. This album features four shorter vocal songs, with Jeff Berlin handling the vocals. The long tracks Q.E.D. and Landís End are outstanding. As good as the first UK album is, the split into Bruford and the Wetton/Jobson/Bozzio UK gave us twice as much great music, with each band free to do the style its members did best. The Bruford style might be summarized as a combination of the Canterbury style (Dave Stewartís contribution) with jazz-rock. Check our DVDs page for Brufordís Rock Goes to College DVD.
Bill Brufordís two collaborations with keyboardist Patrick Moraz, Music for Piano and Drums (1983) and Flags (1985), have also been remastered and each now has three bonus tracks. ďOn reflection, keyboardist Patrick Moraz and drummer Bill Bruford had obvious commonality. By the mid-1980s, both were Yes alumni, both were tiring of big-stadium excess, both had roots and influences that lay closer to jazz than progressive rock, and both were looking for a more flexible music, stripped of the trappings and associated costs of their regular day jobs. The duo recorded two albums of drum-and-keyboard based music, suffused with upbeat invention and peerless skill. Both Music for Piano and Drums and Flags were well-received.Ē The rest of the Patrick Moraz CDs are here.
Destroy All Monsters (2010) is the first solo CD from the singer/guitarist formerly of Darwinís Radio, who has also been a member of Frost and guested on a Jupiter Society album. Dec also plays almost all the keyboards on this CD, with Carl Westholm (Carptree) guesting on one song, while other musicians handle bass and drums. Consistent with most of the current generation of British prog bands, the music is a blend of pop and prog, with the typically excellent British melodic sense. Burkeís mixes are dense with a slightly more synthetic sound than most.
The Carptree connection is much stronger on Decís second CD Paradigms & Storylines (2011, 56-minutes), as Carl Westholm handles all the keyboards and keyboard arrangements, allowing Dec to concentrate on electric & acoustic guitars and lead vocals. Drummer Mikael Wikman and Carptree members Stefan Fandťn (bass, additional guitars) and Cia Backman (backing vocals) round out the band, with Fandťn also handling production and mixing. Though sonically both albums sound over-compressed and could use some analog warmth, musically Paradigms & Storylines is a big step up from Monsters, blending Decís typically British songwriting and melodic sense with the current bombastic Carptree sound. Whereas Monsters had some overt pop influences, Storylines is a purer (neo-)prog album. Fans of Carptree will want to snap this up, as itís closer to being a Carptree album than either Jupiter Society album (Carl Westholmís side project).
Tim Burness has been at this since the mid-1980s with his band Burnessence, who released two LPs and played gigs with IQ, Pendragon, Pallas, and Solstice, and he continued to record under his own name during the 1990s. Finding New Ways to Love (2004) is his most substantial release to date, a blend of his progressive-pop vocal tracks and progressive rock instrumentals. Tim is joined by several musicians on this album, notably Fudge Smith (Pendragon, Steve Hackett) on drums. The vocal tracks are inspired by Peter Gabriel, Sting, and Tears for Fears, while you can spot the influence of early Steve Hillage in the instrumentals, also a little Steve Hackett and Robert Fripp. The hammered dulcimer on two of the instrumentals is a great addition; only Nigel Mazlyn Jones has done something similar.
Vision On (2008) continues the mix of progressive-pop vocal tracks and prog rock instrumentals, with more of a band vibe as Tim leads the same group of musicians from the previous CD. Some tracks feature a combination of Steve Hillage-style spaciness and neo-prog that is unique, and in fact this CD includes a track dedicated to Hillage and Gong. Tim feels this album represents a return to his prog rock roots.
She (2008) is the huge giant epic rock opera from Caamora, the project keyboardist Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena, Neo) had been laboring on for two years with Polish female singer Agnieszka Swita and guests Alan Reed (Pallas), Christina Booth (Magenta), Mark Westwood (Neo), John Jowitt (IQ, Neo), Scott Higham (Pendragon), Richard West (Threshold), Hugh McDowell (ELO), and others. Itís a rock opera all right -- Nolan has made Jesus Christ Progstar for the 21st century. One can hear the seeds of Caamora in Nolanís Strangers on a Train and Shadowland albums, but Nolan has matured as a writer in the interim. His real forte is orchestrating, where he has few peers among active progressive rock musicians. Read the excellent DPRP review for much more detail.
The studio digipack 2CD contains the full studio version of She plus one bonus track that is not available on the jewel box version. Counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping.
The DVD (NTSC, all-region) contains the live premiere of She, filmed on 31 October 2007 in Poland, with almost all of the same musicians that appear on the studio recording and then some. A Making of She featurette is included as a bonus. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo audio, 160-minutes. This Limited Edition includes the DVD plus the double-CD live version of She in a lavish digipack DVD case. Counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
These are the 2010 Esoteric label reissues of the two albums by British progressive pop band Cafť Jacques: Round the Back (1977) and International (1978). The band came to the attention of prog fans in part because of Phil Collinsí notes on the back of the Round the Back LP jacket. Collins played on both albums, along with Caravan alumni Geoffrey Richardson and John G. Perry, and Rupert Hine produced both. While Collins is a guest, Richardson and Perry appear on most tracks. In retrospect, Cafť Jacques are one of those British bands who fell victim to the punk scourge that had spread like bubonic plague through the UK at the time. Their music is similar to Phil Manzaneraís 801, especially circa Listen Now. Rupert Hineís stamp is evident; 10cc and Steely Dan are also good reference points. The two founding members of Cafť Jacques shared a fondness for Genesis, and that influence can be heard in places. Itís all characterized by great melodies and great vocals, intelligent pop with prog and jazzy touches and astute musicianship. These CDs have been remastered from the original tapes by the Esoteric team. The original album artwork is restored and the booklets have new essays by Sid Smith plus unseen photos. Round the Back includes the single version of Meaningless as a bonus track. Note all the copies we received from Esoteric are unsealed. Here is a starting point at YouTube for several songs.
The Eclectic/Esoteric team have done their usual superb job with this 24-bit remastered 2007 reissue (reprinted in 2009 without the slipcase under the Esoteric banner), rendering the older BGO reissue obsolete. Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters (1974) was the first solo album by Hawkwind poet, lyricist, frontman, and formerly-alive person Robert Calvert. Featuring Hawkwind and guests Paul Rudolph (Pink Fairies), Vivian Stanshall, Brian Eno, Arthur Brown and Jim Capaldi, the album is a conceptual work of dark wit. Remastered from the original master tapes and with fully restored artwork, this reissue adds three bonus tracks including a previously-unreleased extended version of The Right Stuff. The liner notes are written by Hawkwindís Nik Turner.
These are the 2009 24-bit remastered editions on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. Stationary Traveller (1984) was Camelís final studio album for Decca Records. In addition to the one constant, Andy Latimer, the lineup included Kayak keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel, David Paton, Paul Burgess, Mel Collins, and Chris Rainbow. This edition includes two bonus tracks, In the Arms of Waltzing Frauleins, and the 12" single version of Pressure Points.
The subsequent tour to promote the Stationary Traveller album was recorded by Decca at Hammersmith Odeon on 11 May 1984 and released as the live album Pressure Points later that year. That LP did not include the entire concert however. The concert saw Camel joined by former member Peter Bardens for certain songs, including a rousing version of Lady Fantasy not included on the original album. Long unavailable on CD, this newly remastered edition has been expanded to a double-CD to include six songs not featured on the original album.
As hinted at by the title, Camel were under pressure to produce more commercial music on The Single Factor (1982). But Andrew Latimer brought in an impressive array of musicians to assist, including Anthony Phillips, Francis Monkman, Simon Phillips, and David Paton, while Peter Bardens returned to play on one track. A rare edited version of You Are the One is included as a bonus track.
Unlike many bands whose careers began in the early 1970s, Camel continued to enjoy success in the 1980s, beginning with the concept album Nude in 1981. Camel toured globally to promote the album, with their February 1981 concert at Hammersmith Odeon recorded by the BBC for the ďIn ConcertĒ program. This remastered and expanded edition includes the 35-minute Excerpts from Nude from that radio broadcast as bonus material, nearly the entire album live! The extensive booklet includes many photographs, memorabilia, and a new essay.
I Can See Your House from Here (1979) was the first Camel album for Kit Watkins, splitting keyboard duties with Jan Schelhaas, and bassist Colin Bass, while Mel and Phil Collins (no relation) guest. Rupert Hine produced and guests on vocals. This edition includes two bonus tracks, the single version of Remote Romance, and a live version of Ice recorded for BBC Radio One in 1981.
Breathless (1978) would be the last studio album to feature Peter Bardens, and heralded more personnel changes for Camel. Former Caravan and Hatfield and the North member Richard Sinclair had already been in Camel for some months and was soon joined by cousin Dave Sinclair in a new Camel lineup. Breathless features traditional Camel music along with the whimsical Canterbury style associated with Richard Sinclair, making for a unique album. The single version of Rainbowís End is included as a bonus track. As always, these Esoteric reissues have been remastered from the original master tapes. The booklets are lavishly illustrated and include a new essay.
A Nod and a Wink is Camelís 2002 studio CD and the best Camel album in many years. Andy Latimer returned to doing what he does best and to making music consistent with 1970s and 1980s Camel, albeit with a sense of humor not often evident before. Perhaps the addition of Nathan Mahlís keyboardist and drummer has something to do with this renaissance. We couldnít have asked for a better album to celebrate Camelís 30th anniversary.
This 1996 Camel tribute 2CD set contains 22 Camel tracks, some of them medleys. The participating bands include Glass Hammer, Cast, Fonya, Atonís, Zauber, Finisterre, Galahad, CAP, and others. 2CD set in fat case, counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
This 1999 tribute 2CD set contains covers of 21 tracks, some medleys, by bands associated with the Canterbury scene: Caravan, Gong, Hatfield and the North, National Health, Egg, Camel, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper, Bruford, and Fred Frith. The participating artists include Patrick Forgas, Hostsonaten, Notturno Concertante, The Underground Railroad, Tilion, Mary Newsletter, Nostalgia, Algebra, Dono Celeste, Trama, and more.
This is the 2007 digipack edition on Eclectic of Caravanís 1971 classic In the Land of Grey and Pink, with five bonus tracks. The audio content is identical to the 2001 Decca remastered reissue since it was the Eclectic team that performed the remastering on that.
Fandangos in Space (1973) and Dancing on a Cold Wind (1974) are the first two albums by this unique band who combined flamenco and progressive rock. The band originated in the U.S. but relocated to England, though they recorded their third album The Gypsies (1975) in Massachusetts. Band leader David Allen commenced work on Widescreen 20 years later and took 10 years to complete it; it sees the light of day for the first time in 2007. Among Carmenís members was John Glascock, later of Jethro Tull, and in fact Carmen opened for Tull for several months. The combination of flamenco and progressive rock was no gimmick, nor was it the unimaginative overlaying of unrelated genres so common in more recent ďworld musicĒ. These are the 2006/2007 remastered editions on Angel Air, each with two bonus tracks. The sound is much improved over the earlier Line label CDs.
Automatic is the 2006 edition (with one bonus track) of the 1994 first album by Channel Light Vessel, a group comprised of Bill Nelson (Be Bop Deluxe), Roger Eno, Kate St. John, percussionist Laraaji, and Japanese cellist Mayumi Tachibana. Often described as an ďambient supergroupĒ, that may be a bit misleading as many of the tracks contain drums/percussion, and a few include vocals from Nelson and St. John. Some of the tracks are similar to Nelsonís solo work, only these sound like highly-textured finished tracks, whereas many of Nelsonís sound like demos that he didnít care to finish before moving on to the next song. The Channel Light Vessel style overlaps with Karda Estra, especially when St. John plays oboe or cor anglais. ďA record so lovely and transporting it is physically painful to have it end.Ē [Billboard] Excellent Spirits is the 2006 edition of their even better 1996 follow-up. ďExcellent Spirits is well-played, ethereal prog rock with substance.Ē [Alternative Press]
ChimpanA is a Welsh outfit and another project of Magentaís Rob Reed, here on their 2006 debut with Rob Thompson and Steve Balsamo (who has an impressive music career of his own). There are five different female vocalists employed including Sam Brown, Magentaís Christina Booth, and well-known Welsh classical soprano Sian Cothi. This is a chance to hear Reedís writing talents applied to something much more modern than Magenta and the other bands heís been involved with in the past. This is gorgeous progressive rock/pop, influenced as so many modern prog bands are by Pink Floyd (in fact, several of the singers here have worked with David Gilmour), but sensuous and lush rather than depressing. With the occasional spoken-word (by London-based poet Tony Dallas) and strings, it is also reminiscent in spots of Rainís Cerulean Blue album. Itís a very original work with superb melodies and creative use of modern music technology. 59-minutes. Read the review at Musical Discoveries.
City Boy were an English progressive pop or art-rock band along the lines of 10cc and Stackridge, to a lesser extent Quantum Jump, early Queen, Supertramp, and ELO. They released seven LPs between 1976-1981. Like Supertramp, City Boy had two lead vocalists, one high-pitched and the other low-pitched. They added a third lead vocalist (also their new drummer) on their fourth album. Prior to their first LP, they had been a folk band, and this carries over slightly onto their self-titled 1976 debut, where there are some more acoustic-flavored tracks, especially the gorgeous Haymaking Time. This first album was City Boyís best: it shows the strongest identification with progressive rock, and has a couple longer tracks that are outstanding, 5000 Years / Don't Know Canít Tell for one. Dinner at the Ritz (1977) displays a bit of the English music hall influence, as Queen did early on, and also includes excellent hard rocking songs (Queen were pretty good at that too).
Beginning with Young Men Gone West (1977), the albums became less arty, more a set of quirky and sophisticated rock/pop songs. Like every band operating during the late 1970s, pressure increased every year to produce hit singles and more commercial rock. In City Boyís case, they were probably also pressured to make music insipid enough to break them in the USA. Book Early (1978) yielded the bandís first hit single, and while weíre sure there are a lot of pop fans who consider this album City Boyís best, none of those people ever shop at this site. The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1979) is actually something of a return to form; the title track is one of City Boyís best. Steve Broughton, one of their principal songwriters and vocalists, had left before Heads Are Rolling (1980), and it was like Supertramp after Roger Hodgson departed.
City Boyís final album Itís Personal (1981) is unknown to many fans because it was only released in the Scandinavian market! Thereís a reason that happened which you can find explained in one of the Prog Archives reviews. The City Boy fan site has a good overview of their albums on the who tab, actually taken from the Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock.
This slipcased BGO 2CD reissues all known recorded works of Scottish band Clouds. It includes their two UK albums Scrapbook (1969) and Watercolour Days (1971), singles and unreleased demos, plus the tracks from their US-only album Up Above Our Heads (which was only partially new material.) Scrapbook is period pop, influenced by The Beatles and The Moody Blues with only flashes of progressive rock coming from the keyboards. Watercolour Days is an excellent proto-prog album dominated by Hammond organ. See the transition from 1960s pop to progressive rock happening before your very ears!
These are the 2009 editions on Esoteric, remastered from the original master tapes. (The now-deleted 1993 See for Miles 2-on-1 CD reissue omitted Open Spacesí lengthy tour de force, Chanticleer.) Space Cabaret adds two bonus tracks. ďCMU (Contemporary Music Unit) were a unique fusion of progressive rock, jazz and folk influences. In keeping with the mood of the times, Open Spaces (1971) evokes the work of contemporaries Affinity or even Arthur Brown. In Larraine Odell, CMU had one of the few female vocalists of the progressive era, a fine vocalist supported by a fine band. For their second and final album Space Cabaret (1973), CMU changed lineup and recruited Leary Hasson on Mellotron from labelmates Marsupilami.Ē [Esoteric] Read the DPRP review.
This 2012 remastered edition of this classic album on Esoteric adds 10 bonus tracks comprising studio demos from 1975-1976, including a version of Graham Bondís Walking in the Park. The booklet restores the original album artwork and includes a new essay. Strange New Flesh (1976) was Colosseum IIís first album. Drummer Jon Hiseman formed this band with ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore, keyboardist Don Airey, bassist Neil Murray, and singer Mike Starrs. This version of Colosseum played frenetic jazz-rock, heavier and more rock-oriented than the earlier Colosseum, not as hard rock oriented as Hisemanís immediate predecessor band Tempest. Colosseum II would go on to record two more excellent albums as well as form the nucleus of Andrew Lloyd Webberís orchestra on his album Variations.
Cosmograf is a project led by British multi-instrumentalist Robin Armstrong, who cites Steven Wilson, Roger Waters and David Gilmour as some of his inspirations. So not surprisingly, When Age Has Done Its Duty (2011) is an ambitious Pink Floyd-style concept work. It features a number of special guests from the UK prog community including Bob Dalton (It Bites), Steve Thorne, Simon Rogers (Also Eden), Steve Dunn (Also Eden), Huw Lloyd-Jones (Unto Us), Lee Abraham (The Lee Abraham Band), Luke Machin (The Tangent) and Dave Ware. Watch YouTube videos of the title track and White Light Awaits. Read the Progmeister and Prog Archives reviews.
The Man Left in Space (2013) features performances from guests Nick DíVirgilio (Spockís Beard), Dave Meros (Spockís Beard), Matt Stevens, Greg Spawton (Big Big Train), Simon Rogers, Steve Dunn, Lee Abraham, Luke Machin, and Dave Ware. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Eleven years after their debut Field of Vision, British neo-prog band Credo returned with Rhetoric in 2005, a big improvement over Field of Vision but still solidly in the early Marillion vein, with Mark Coltonís very Fish-like vocals. It also resembles Grey Lady Down, early Arena, and Pallas and is of comparable quality. This is the 2013 digipack reissue, which adds one bonus track.
Against Reason (2011, 70-minutes) is another significant step forward for Credo, who have taken up the mantle of Marillion as they were on Script... and Fugazi, that bombastic, weighty style, here with larger-than-life production. Read the Sea of Tranquility and Progmeister reviews. Check our DVDs page for Credoís This Is What We Do DVD+2CD.
Cressida was a British early symphonic prog band in the vein of Spring, Fantasy, Gracious, Cirkus, Beggarís Opera, etc., and possibly the cream of that crop. They released the albums Cressida (1970) and Asylum (1971) on the Vertigo Ďspiralí label. Read the Prog Archives reviews. The Vertigo Years Anthology 1969-1971 is a 2012 Esoteric release that not only includes Cressidaís two albums newly remastered from the original tapes, it adds five previously unreleased bonus tracks. One is a demo of a song that appears on the first album, one is a demo of a non-LP song, one is a non-LP single, and two are from a 1970 BBC Radio 1 session. The booklet includes fully-restored artwork, rare photos, and an essay.
2000 album mixing Irish folk and instrumentation with metal.
The C-Sides were formed in 2007 by Magenta members Martin Rosser, Allan Mason-Jones, and Dan Fry. Devitrification is their 2011 debut. The C-Sides combine modern rock elements with the Rush format, featuring layered guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The band probably overstate the Rush influence in their sound (and most retailers just copy and paste the press release as their description, so youíll see Rush mentioned everywhere). But there isnít all that much here that sounds like Rush. Or at least weíve all heard bands copy Rush much more closely, while the C-Sides inject a lot of their own personality and vary things more. We have to draw the line somewhere, and our definition of progressive rock requires tone colors beyond just guitar, but this is very good progressive-ish rock with aspects of both classic and modern rock. Though uncredited, Rob Reed is believed to have lent a hand, while three other musicians add backing vocals, percussion and guitar.
AirWaves (2012), subtitled Live at the BBC Remastered / Live at the Paris Theatre, contains live versions of 13 different Curved Air songs recently remastered from BBC Radio Top Gear and In Concert recordings spanning 1970-1976. The lineup for the 1976 recordings includes a 22-year-old Stewart Copeland.
Live is the 2008 remastered edition on Esoteric of Curved Airís 1975 live album, remastered from the original master tapes and including a booklet with new essay and photographs. This live album includes most of the classic tracks from Curved Airís first three albums, performed by the lineup of Sonja Kristina, Darryl Way, Francis Monkman, Florian Pilkington-Miksa, and Phil Kohn.
These are bargain-priced sampler CDs from the British Cyclops label. The 75-minute Sampler 2 covers earlier Cyclops releases by Robert Berry, Credo, Epilogue, Ezra, Fruitcake, Grace, Grey Lady Down, Lands End, Sphere, Tristan Park, and Vulgar Unicorn. Almost all of the CDs covered by Sampler 2 are now out-of-print.
Sampler 5 is a double-CD and all the tracks are unique to this collection: 20 exclusive, alternate, and rare tracks, over two hours of music from Rob Andrews, Flamborough Head, Guardianís Office, Henry Fool, Karda Estra, Lands End, Manning, Mostly Autumn, Mysterkah, Nice Beaver, Odyssice, Parallel or 90 Degrees, Pineapple Thief, Saens, Sphere3, Transience, Tr3nity, Twelfth Night, and Vulgar Unicorn.
Sampler 6 is a double-CD containing 140-minutes of exclusive, alternate and rare tracks from Cyclops-label bands. For the first CD of the set, Abarax have created a new 14-minute track showcasing their great guitar work. Rob Andrews provides a brand new track, while Discipline provide a live version of their epic Canto IV. Drama, The Gift and Lands End provide alternate versions of tracks from their albums. Flamborough Headís entry is a live version of Mantova, and Karda Estraís is a new track. The second CD opens with a Mostly Autumn track from the deleted Prints in the Stone EP, the improved 2000 reprise of Heroes Never Die. Nautilus give us a different take of their Dark Room, Nice Beaver show us that Saturday Night Beaver is the best kind, while Pineapple Thief fans will want the superb 13-minute epic produced especially for this collection. Product provide the previously-unreleased Stranger and Kiroshi. Sensitive to Light provide a radical reworking of one of their best tracks, followed by an excellent new track from Trion. Sampler 6 is brought to a close with a new rendition of an epic track by Tr3nity. Read the DPRP review.
Eyes of the World (2006) is the first full-length CD from an excellent English neo-prog band formed by ex-Grey Lady Down members Mark Westworth (keys, backing vocals) and Sean Spear (bass), Declan Burke (vocals, guitars) from the Rush tribute band The Spirit of Rush, and Dave Pankhurst (drums, backing vocals) from space-rockers Unlimbo. Darwinís Radio is by no means a continuation of Grey Lady Down though. Burke is an excellent singer, and you can often hear the Rush influence in his guitar playing, but itís integrated into a more symphonic whole than your usual Rush-influenced band. Overall Darwinís Radio are comparable to Kino and the current incarnation of It Bites, with similarly strong melodies. They are what weíve come to expect from British progressive bands, songwriting abilities and a melodic sense that are sometimes lacking in prog bands who only grasp the technical side. But hey, the British invented this stuff.
Mark Westworth replaced Martin Orford in IQ while remaining in Darwinís Radio, which has helped raise Darwinís Radioís profile. Template for a Generation (2009) consists of just three very long tracks. This CD is a great surprise, as it is much more ambitious than their first and much closer to classic prog. At times itís closer to early Marillion, which is still proggier than what many young British prog bands are doing. Thereís just enough heavy guitar here that more metal-headed prog fans wonít lose interest and wander off. Maybe itís that Westworthís time with IQ had a positive effect, and he doesnít want Darwinís Radio to appear second-rate next to IQ. Whatever the reason, this is a good template for a 2009 progressive rock album.
This band from Northern Ireland claims to be Irelandís only existing progressive rock band. After a 2004 debut, A Time of Shadow is their 2009 second album. They have a very strong singer in Liam Campbell, who has something of a Peter Gabriel and Fish quality to his voice and sings with similar conviction. The music is in the Marillion vein, though often a better reference is Abel Ganz. An excellent band in the British Isles neo-prog tradition, emphasizing melody, strong songs and a singer who can carry them. Read the Eurorock and Sea of Tranquility reviews.
DeeExpus are a prog band from County Durham in the northeast of England who debuted in 2008 with Half Way Home, a CD that emphasized strong pop songwriting and quality vocals, with elements of Marillion and Porcupine Tree. Their follow-up King of Number 33 (2011, digipack) features Marillionís Mark Kelly on keyboards, while Nik Kershaw sings on the final track. The album is centered on the 27-minute, six-part title suite. Read the Sea of Tranquility review. Check our DVDs page for DeeExpusí Far from Home DVD.
This is the Esoteric label remastered reissue of the 1971 sole album by Birmingham outfit The Dog That Bit People. The group evolved from the ashes of legendary band Locomotive. Bassist Mick Hincks and drummer Bob Lamb were joined by guitarist John Caswell and keyboardist Keith Millar (piano, organ, Mellotron), and the band recorded this album for EMI Records. Three of the four members sing. Bizarrely issued on the Parlophone label instead of EMIís progressive imprint Harvest, the album originally failed to sell, and original LPs now command £500+ among collectors. (OK, not the most rational people on earth.) If you look at the Ďfriendsí on the bandís MySpace page (mp3 icon above), youíll have an excellent idea of The Dog That Bit Peopleís style (Spring, Parlour Band, Home, Stackridge, etc.), a mix of early symphonic prog, psychedelic rock, period hard rock, and folk (lots of acoustic guitar). The music is suspended between In the Court of the Crimson King, early acoustic Yes, The Moody Blues, Black Sabbath, Traffic, and Crosby Stills & Nash. It may be obscure but itís a gem; the songs with Mellotron are particularly good. This CD contains one bonus track, the B-side of the bandís only single. More songs can be found on YouTube; start here and look for others nearby.
Geoff Downes is known for being the keyboardist in Asia and (briefly) Yes. The Bridge (2006, 75-minutes) contains a previously-unreleased 2003 studio recording of the 22-minute title piece, which is in the same vein as Downesí first solo album The Light Program, though benefiting from more modern technology. The piece was originally premiered in 2003 at an exclusive live performance by Downes at a church in London, and a binaural recording of this follows the studio version on the CD, plus the rest of the concert, which features selected works from Downesí past, including Asia songs, two songs from Yesí Drama, and of course The Bugglesí Video Killed the Radio Star. The live portion of this CD was released on a very limited basis to the Asia Fan Club in 2004.
This BGO label CD reissues the two albums (1975, 1976) by British band Druid, who were very Yes-influenced. The music is a bit lighter and the Druid members were not the virtuosi Yes were, but these albums are still very good, with Toward the Sun the better of the two. As Fruupp is to Genesis, Druid is to Yes.
These are the latest remastered editions of these classic prog albums on the Esoteric label. Mercator Projected (1969) and Snafu (1970) are the first two albums by East of Eden, a British early progressive band. Their sound fused rock, jazz, psychedelia, and Eastern-influenced world music, lead by violin and hard-rock guitar. (Their violinist Dave Arbus later played the famous violin solo on The Whoís Baba OíReilly.) Both albums have been taken from the original master tapes and have extensive booklets. Mercator Projected features three bonus tracks totaling nearly 25-minutes, while Snafu has seven bonus tracks totaling 34-minutes! Read the Sea of Tranquility reviews of Mercator Projected and Snafu.
Hail (2012, digipack) is a 4-track, 27-minute CD-EP by a very promising young Welsh prog band, released on Will Mackie and Rob Reedís White Knight label. Rob Reed, Magentaís keyboardist and leader, plays on two of the tracks. (Keyboards are used on the other two tracks too.) This EP is mostly instrumental; what vocals there are are low and distant in the mix. Thereís a minute of metal that opens the album, but the next 26 minutes are excellent: spacey and actually proggier than a lot of the current UK prog bands, who as a group lean toward melodic rock. Bet you hit repeat after the first play.
These are the latest remastered versions of these classic prog albums on Esoteric. All have been mastered from the original master tapes and feature extensive liner notes. Egg was Dave Stewartís first band with a recording contract, a trio with Mont Campbell on bass and Clive Brooks on drums. Initially drawing inspiration from The Nice and early Soft Machine, Egg were more adventurous. Stewart was already fond of the odd meters that would characterize his later work in Hatfield and the North, National Health, and Bruford. Organ dominates, except for the occasional Mellotron abuse. Their self-titled debut (1970) now features three bonus tracks, The Polite Force (1971) has two.
Stewart had already worked on the first Hatfield and the North album when, in 1974, Egg reformed to record their third and final album The Civil Surface for the newly-established Virgin Records label. Steve Hillage, members of Henry Cow, the Northettes (Barbara Gaskin, Amanda Parsons, Ann Rosenthal), and a wind quartet guest on what is the most ďCanterburyĒ of the Egg albums.
This 1998 Emerson Lake & Palmer tribute 3CD set contains 27 ELP tracks performed by mainly lesser-known bands including Zauber, Hermetic Science, Prowlers, Mary Newsletter, House of Usher, Nostalgia, Trama, Rivendell, and many others. 3CD set in fat case, counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
At The Movies is a 3CD collection of pieces from seven films scored by Emerson between 1981 and 2004. Most of this music is rare and much of it is making its official U.S. CD debut. Disc 1 includes the complete soundtrack to the 1981 Sylvester Stallone suspense thriller Nighthawks. Music from 1986ís Best Revenge ends the first disc, including Boston vocalist Brad Delp guesting on Playing For Keeps. Disc 2 covers three Italian movie scores starting with the 1980 Dario Argento horror film Inferno. Four tracks from director Michele Soaviís 1988 film La Chiesa (The Church) follows. The disc closes with nine tracks from 1986ís Murderock. Disc 3 includes the scores for two Japanese films: 1985ís animated feature Harmageddon and 2004ís Godzilla: Final Wars, a remake of the classic original monster movie. Counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
This is the 2005 remastered edition of Honky with detailed liner notes and photos, originally released on LP in 1980. Itís Emersonís first solo album, an eclectic one, and one of his few that is not a soundtrack. Emerson was in a playful mood during these recording sessions in the Bahamas, using local musicians.
Porcupine Tree meets Cocteau Twins and Krautrock? Engineersí 2009 second album Three Fact Fader is on the Kscope label, home of Porcupine Tree and The Pineapple Thief and bands that sound like them, so not surprisingly, there is a noticeable PT/TPT style at play here. There is also the wall-of-fuzzy-guitars-and-reverb sound of Cocteau Twins, and the unmistakable guitar style of Neu! and Harmonia. So mix the melancholy psychedelia of Porcupine Tree with shoegazing dream-pop, and you have Engineers. Is it progressive rock? Well, only at times, but there is an awful lot of glorified alt-rock and metal being passed off as progressive rock these days. Ultimately, Engineers may find that this blurred sound and style canít be continued much longer without it becoming redundant, though that didnít stop Cocteau Twins. But this one 57-minute CD is just about right.
In fact Engineers did not make more of the same music on their third album In Praise of More (2010, super jewel box), personnel changes having a lot to do with this album being fairly different from its predecessor. The music is a very mellow kind of dream-pop, the vocals very soft, like The Beach Boys on quaaludes. We wouldnít be surprised if the singers recorded their vocals lying down. The ambiences are often beautiful, yielding a gentle, dreamy psychedelic pop wrapped in cotton fluff. This 2CD edition adds an instrumental version of the album on the bonus disc. Read reviews at The Line of Best Fit, Clash, and musicOMH.
This English band are known for their symphonic prog masterpiece Garden Shed (1977), a blend of Yes and Genesis and not far from the style of Gryphonís Treason. Greenslade and Fruupp could also be mentioned. (One of the oldest prog stores in Japan took their name from this album.) The Last of the Jubblies was not released until 1997, but it contains recordings from 1975-76, essentially demos that didnít make it onto Garden Shed. As such, itís a rung below Garden Shed, but then that album was on the next to top rung. Given the appallingly small number of ratings for this album on Prog Archives, it must be in need of more exposure. This is the Relics label edition.
Invicta (2013, digipack) is the second album for The Enid: The Next Generation, the second part of a planned trilogy that began with Journeyís End. It fully utilizes the talents of the new members including new lead singer Joe Payne. The Enid finally have a singer of a talent level that matches their instrumental and compositional abilities. At a time when bands with metal guitarists, no true keyboardist, and little understanding of classical music pass for progressive rock, the music world needs The Enid more than ever.
Check our DVDs page for The Enidís DVDs. Led by classically trained keyboardist Robert John Godfrey, The Enid are symphonic rock masters, with the emphasis on the symphonic. Their brand of romantic classical progressive rock has never been duplicated, except perhaps by Craft (see the Kinesis-label section), but Craft was formed by ex-Enid members. In the Region of the Summer Stars was first released in 1976, Aerie Faerie Nonsense in 1977. These are the first two Enid albums, both instrumental, and for many still their best. Either because the master tapes of these albums were thought lost, or EMI just wouldnít give them up, the band re-recorded these two albums between 1984-87 and they were released on earlier CD editions. However, the CDs for sale here are the original EMI recordings, previously only released on vinyl. These 2010 CD editions are on the bandís own Enidiworks/Operation Seraphim label. The albums were transferred from the original 30-ips 1/4" Dolby A tapes to 96kHz/24-bit digital at Abbey Road in June 2010, then mastered for CD at The Lodge Recording Studio. The CD artwork is taken from the original releases.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) was the first Enid album to feature vocals. Kevin Godley and Lol Creme of 10cc were brought in to assist with production, and they probably had something to do with the sound of the massed vocals. This is the new remastered edition on The Enidís own label; it includes three bonus tracks from the same time period.
The two The Stand albums were originally The Enid fan club releases. The Stand Vol. 1 was first released on vinyl in 1984, limited to 5000 copies. Professionally recorded live in Manchester, this concert performance of both old and then-new material was captured in 24-track glory and includes The Enidís encore, a cover of Wild Thing. The Stand Vol. 2 was released on vinyl in 1985 and limited to only 2000 copies. It features 10 tracks, four of which are the singles released by The Enid to that point, though Golden Earrings is a different version and not released on any other album. The other rarities include two remixed tracks from Robert John Godfreyís Fall of Hyperion album. Tallest Dwarf in the World is an unfinished track from the Six Pieces sessions, while Jig Fugue is a Bach composition arranged by RJG.
This is the 2010 edition of The Spell (1984) on the bandís label, remastered by The Enid from the original master tapes. The 8 page booklet contains photos from the original record sleeve plus a detailed explanation by Robert John Godfrey of what the album is all about.
Arise and Shine 1 (2009) was originally released as a limited edition to introduce the new band line-up and current repertoire. It contains versions of Enid tracks reinterpreted and re-recorded by the new line-up. This series of reworked pieces from the back catalog continues with Risen: Arise and Shine 2 (2011) and Shining: Arise and Shine III (2012, digipack). Shining also introduces new lead vocalist Joe Payne revisiting songs from the vocals albums Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Spell, and Salome.
Journeyís End (2010) is that rarity among progressive rock albums, a new work by one of the first generation bands that stands with their best work, a new classic. While most of the 1970s prog bands are content to relive past glories (if they are active at all), The Enid are reborn. Read the DPRP reviews.
According to the band, Journeyís End: Orchestrations ďreveals the intricately detailed orchestrations from Journeyís End.Ē Originally a bonus CD-R for advance orders of Journeyís End, the Orchestrations CD was so popular, the band re-pressed it from a glass master. Itís a CD-EP, a little over 27-minutes.
The Live at Town Hall, Birmingham double-CD was recorded in April 2010, a landmark concert ushering in a new chapter for The Enid. The DVD of the same name is the same concert, but the 2CD contains a different mix of the audio, with more compression since the DVD listening environment is assumed to be quieter.
The full name of the Live With The CBSO double-CD (digipack) is Live With The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & The Warwickshire Music Service Youth Choirs. Itís a recording of the groundbreaking show at Symphony Hall, Birmingham in October 2011. The first disc is drawn mostly from In the Region of the Summer Stars and Aerie Faerie Nonsense, all substantially revised. The second disc features all of Journeyís End, followed by a performance of Barclay James Harvestís Mockingbird from RJGís original score, and concludes with Dambusters and Land of Hope and Glory.
Erasmusí Voyage (2002) is an excellent but overlooked album of heavy neo-prog. One of the two main members of Erasmus is Matthew Cohen, the leader of The Reasoning. Magentaís Rob Reed played all the keyboards on the album, as well as produced, mixed, and helped arrange.
Esquire was the band fronted by Nikki Squire, Chris Squireís wife at least at the time of their 1987 self-titled debut. This is the stronger of their two albums, and Yes personnel are involved: Alan White plays drums, Chris Squire sings backing vocals, and Trevor Horn mixed some tracks.
Welsh progressive rock band Ezra has been around since the beginning of the 1990s and released two CDs on the Cyclops label during that decade. Their 2006 third CD Songs from Pennsylvania is on the F2 label (Magenta and others), and like the band Credo, their new album on F2 is a huge improvement over their earlier CDs. Ezra have some similarity to IQ and Jadis at times, a noticeable Pink Floyd influence, a strong Yes influence on one song, and a pop sensibility that manifests as terrific melodies that few besides the British can create. Ezra also have great harmony vocals, which may remind the listener of Echolyn on occasion, though that could just be the power of suggestion. (Echolyn are from Pennsylvania.) At other times, the vocals have the melancholic feel prevalent in many of todayís bands, and overall this album has a contemporary feel along the lines of RPWL. The tracks vary enough that influences present in one track are absent from others, but all seven tracks are proggy and all are exceptional. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Following the demise of Amen Corner, Andy Fairweather Lowe and musical cohorts Blue Weaver, Clive Taylor and Dennis Byron transitioned into the band Fair Weather. Heading in a more progressive direction, the band adopted a harder edge and were the first act to sign to RCAís progressive imprint Neon (an attempt to rival Philipsí Vertigo label). Perhaps the most successful Neon signing, the band had a UK top ten hit in Natural Sinner (included here as a bonus track) before releasing their sole album Beginning from an End in 1971. Though the album was a success in Europe, Fair Weather lasted a mere 13 months before disbanding. This 2008 Esoteric edition adds six bonus tracks, the A & B sides of three singles, to comprise this definitive edition remastered reissue.
This is the 2010 edition on Esoteric. After the first lineup of Rare Bird folded in early 1971, keyboardist Graham Field formed this outfit with bassist/singer/guitarist Alan Barry and drummer Andy McCulloch (in between his time with King Crimson and Greenslade). Although Fields didnít achieve the commercial success Rare Bird had, their sole album is a very good British prog album, certainly better than the Rare Bird albums that would follow since Rare Bird without Graham Fields wasnít very progressive at all. This CD edition has been remastered from the original master tapes and features an essay by Sid Smith and an interview with Graham Field. Read reviews at Prog Archives and Music from the Other Side of the Room. There is at least one song on YouTube.
From the Festival Music label (Manning, Tinyfish, Solstice, Steve Thorne, etc.) comes another album of classy British neo-prog, this one in the early Marillion, Pallas, and Jadis veins. Sean Filkins was a member of Big Big Train for eight years and is the singer you hear on Gathering Speed and The Difference Machine. War and Peace and Other Short Stories (2011, 69-minutes) includes contributions from Gary Chandler (Jadis), Dave Meros (Spockís Beard), John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost, etc.), Lee Abraham, and many more. This isnít just paint-by-numbers prog. Itís a monster of an album that will satiate all your bombastic neo-longings, and it shows that the Southampton area is still ground zero for English neo-prog.
Final Conflict are an English neo-prog band formed in 1985. They released their first CD Redress the Balance in 1991, though there were a couple cassette releases even earlier. While theyíve been a second-tier neo-prog band most of their career, Return of the Artisan (2012, 56-minutes) changes that. Here they are in their fourth decade and theyíve gone and made their best album. (Just like Galahad.) A couple tracks are very Floydian, while the rest is comparable to Arena circa The Visitor. No prog album is universally appealing, but Artisan is one of those albums that classic prog fans can respect while neo-prog fans devour it. Listen to Hopes and Dreams and Babylon on YouTube.
This is the 2010 remastered digipack reissue of Final Conflictís third CD Stand Up (1997). Two bonus tracks take the playing time to 79-minutes. One is a new 2010 version of Moment in Time; the second is previously unreleased. Stand Up is comparable to Marillion, Egdon Heath, Iluvatar, Arena, etc.
Simple (2006, 56-minutes) is their fifth CD, Quest (1992, 61-minutes) their second. Read reviews of all at Prog Archives. Check our DVDs page for Final Conflictís Another Moment in Time DVD.
13th Star is the 2008 studio album from the ex-Marillion front man. Itís one of Fishís very best albums, and a very personal one, reinforcing the notion that the best art is borne of pain. Read reviews on the official Fish site to get the whole story.
In 2005, Fish embarked on the Return to Childhood tour across Europe and South America, performing Marillionís 1985 masterpiece Misplaced Childhood in its entirety. The concert was divided into two halves, with the first half consisting of songs from Fishís solo career: Big Wedge, Moving Targets, Brother 52, Goldfish and Clowns, Raingods Dancing, Wake Up Call (Make It Happen), Innocent Party, Long Cold Day, Credo. The second half is a performance of the complete Misplaced Childhood album plus Marillion favorites Incommunicado, Market Square Heroes and Fugazi. The Return to Childhood 2CD set was recorded on the same tour but at a different concert than the companion DVD. Beautiful fat 2CD digipack, 125-minutes. The DVD includes a backstage interview with Fish and a running time of 192 minutes. Unlike the 2CD, the DVD is the complete show including Fishís stage banter. The current edition of the DVD comes in a standard Amaray case.
Yin and Yang were companion compilation CDs spanning 1980-1995, but most of the songs were re-recorded. Yang includes four Marillion songs recorded by Fishís band. Check our DVDs page for more Fish DVDs.
The reissue of 2006 for folk-rock fans. This 2CD set, packaged in a slipcase, is the first time on CD for the first three albums (1976, 1977, 1978) from Celtic rock band Five Hand Reel, who were led by Scottish singer/guitarist Dick Gaughan. The band had Scottish, Irish, and English members, and most of their repertoire was drawn from Scottish and Irish sources. Like Fairport Convention (who they most closely resemble), Steeleye Span, and early Horslips, Five Hand Reel arranged traditional songs for electric rock band. The instrumentation generally included acoustic & electric guitar, fiddle, keyboards, bass and drums. The 24-page booklet includes the lyrics and extensive liner notes.
These are the 2009/2010 remastered editions on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs and extensive booklets. The self-titled first Flash album (1972) contains the rare single version of Small Beginnings as a bonus track. In the Can (1973) is the second Flash album, Out of Our Hands (1973) the third. This CD of In the Can includes the bonus tracks Watch Your Step and the single version of Lifetime, the A & B sides of a 1973 single. Flash was Peter Banksí post-Yes band, who continued the early Yes style. On the first album, Tony Kaye is on keyboards, though he was never officially a member and never toured with them. Kaye left after the first album and Flash continued as a quartet, their sound becoming more guitar-oriented. The first album is the best, with each subsequent album tailing off a little. Flash then morphed into the band Empire, and Banks continued the slow but steady downward trend. The Flash albums however, especially the first, are fairly essential for fans of early Yes.
This 2009 release is the debut CD by an Englishman known only as Flood. As Flood says: ďMy debut album Tales from the Four Seasons is an instrumental album. It began life as a short piece entitled Summer written whilst on holiday in Dorset five years ago. I liked the feel of the arrangement and therefore decided to write a suite of four pieces based on the four seasons. Although typically drawn to more heavy arrangements in terms of the use of synthesizers, bass pedals and electric guitars, I felt it was important to keep the orchestration and choice of instruments the same as had been used on Summer. Each season is made up of individual movements linked together using short linking passages. The music was inspired by the sights and sounds of the English countryside.Ē This is a very pastoral and relaxing work, nearly 80-minutes in length, influenced by the English classical composers. There are passages with drums and/or synths and organ, but theyíre in the minority. Acoustic 6 & 12 string guitar and piano form the backbone of the album, augmented by flute, clarinet, cello, and upright bass. When the guitar is present, the feel is close to Gordon Giltrapís later work, while Mike Oldfield and Anthony Phillips are other possible reference points. Very nice.
This 2-on-1 CD on the BGO label contains the two albums by English psychedelic folk-rock band Forest: Forest (1969) and Full Circle (1970). Forest are in the vein of Dr. Strangely Strange, Comus, and Incredible String Band. ď...dark but subtle acid lyrics, incorporating pipes, harmonium, harpsichord, mandolin, 12-string guitar and percussion in their sound. Their music doesnít have the electricity normally associated with rock, yet it canít be described as straight folk either, the lyrics being rather strange and the bandís approach being far too eclectic... Both albums are altogether esoteric, pastoral, serious and communal as befit the times.Ē [Prog Archives]
Frost is a UK progressive rock band featuring Jem Godfrey, John Mitchell (Kino, Arena), John Jowitt (IQ,...), Andy Edwards (IQ), and (on the second CD) Declan Burke (Darwinís Radio). It does seem that the same core group of musicians is shuffled around to form as many bands as possible, with the one requirement that Jowitt be the bassist. But Godfrey, who made a name for himself as a writer and producer in the pop music field, is the sole writer in Frost, and as he says: ďIíve always been into progressive rock music and so I decided to do exactly that, writing an album to my kind of tasteĒ. Frostís 2006 debut Milliontown is a blend of classic prog and very modern, heavier prog. The classic stuff happens mainly during the instrumental passages, of which there are plenty. These instrumental passages sound like what Genesis would produce today in an ideal universe (in which the five of them were together, had their youthful energy and then some, and forgot everything that happened after Duke). The keyboards especially remind one of Tony Banks. The album opens with a killer 7:30 instrumental and concludes with the 26:35 title track, which is the highlight. In between thereís a 10-minute song, and the remaining shorter songs showcase the modern side of the band.
It looked for a time as though Frost would be one-and-done, but they returned in 2008 with Experiments in Mass Appeal, which is a completely contemporary-style progressive rock album, meaning guitar-oriented, darker, heavier, and employing some modern production techniques. This is as good as Porcupine Tree or any of the other practitioners of the modern prog style you care to name. And even though it is guitar-dominated, keyboards still play a more important role than in most other such bands. This is the digipack special edition, which adds an NTSC DVD containing a documentary, informal studio renditions of two songs from Milliontown, and an instrumental remix of the entire EiMA album as 192kbps mp3 files. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
The triple disc set The Philadelphia Experiment was recorded live at the 2009 Rites of Spring festival (RoSfest) in Philadelphia, containing nearly two hours of music on two audio CDs. There are 14 live tracks covering both Frost studio albums, plus Frostís new 17-minute studio track The Dividing Line, recorded specially for The Dividing Line Broadcast Networkís 10th Anniversary. The third disc is a DVD containing a documentary that goes behind the scenes in the run-up to the gig, plus outtakes and a 5.1 surround mix of The Dividing Line. Counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
These are the 2009 remastered editions on Esoteric of the four albums by the Belfast-based symphonic prog band Fruupp, Northern Irelandís great contribution to 1970s progressive rock. Amazingly, these four LPs were originally released within a span of less than 18 months in 1973-1975. Fruupp opened for Genesis many times, and their open admiration for Genesis probably influenced them, as their music is sometimes similar to pastoral 1970s Genesis. The DPRP history and review of Fruupp and these four CDs will tell you all you need to know. Future Legends has one bonus track, The Prince of Heavenís Eyes has two. All have extensive booklets with previously unseen photographs and new liner notes.
Who Is This Who Is Coming? (2012, digisleeve) is the fourth album by this early 1970s style English prog/psych/space rock band. Read the Aural Innovations and Sea of Tranquility reviews. Listen to the tracks The Spectacle of a Scarecrow, A Face of Crumpled Linen, and Watcher Part 2.
Fuzzy Duck were a heavy organ-driven proto-prog band who released only this one LP in 1971. This 2012 Esoteric edition is newly remastered from the original master tapes and includes four non-LP bonus tracks taken from the bandís two singles. The booklet fully restores all original album artwork and includes a new essay. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Check our DVDs page for Galahadís Resonance DVD. British neo-prog band Galahad have been at it for a while, with their debut CD being released in 1991 and, prior to that, cassettes dating back to 1985. There is a correlation between longevity and quality. Empires Never Last (2007, 62-minutes) was worth the wait of five years since the previous CD. This is heavier, darker, and more intense than previous Galahad albums. If their earlier albums were comparable to Pendragon, ENL is more in the direction of Arena, IQ at their heaviest, and Fugazi-era Marillion. There is more guitar and a metal influence, though it stops short of being prog-metal, staying in the heavy symphonic realm. Galahad also make good use of samples and electronic effects to enhance the proceedings. The album was recorded at Thin Ice Studios and engineered and mixed by Karl Groom, so the shift toward the huge Arena and Threshold sound is not surprising. Groom, Clive Nolan, and Tina Booth (Magenta) guest.
Battle Scars (2012, 58-minutes, digipack) continues along the trajectory established by Empires Never Last, a darker and heavier Galahad playing anthemic neo-prog, with touches of electronica and classical arrangements expanding their sound. For better or worse, several of the original neo-prog bands have made concessions to prog-metal, though Battle Scars is not a metal album. Like its predecessor, Battle Scars was recorded, engineered and mixed by Karl Groom (Threshold) at Thin Ice Studios. A new recording of the Galahad classic song Sleepers is included as a bonus track. Watch the video preview. Read reviews of the more recent Galahad CDs.
Beyond the Realms of Euphoria (56-minutes, digipack) is Galahadís second new album of 2012, recorded at the same time as Battle Scars. The cover art is intended to symbolize ďhope, good times and a bright futureĒ to contrast the feel of Battle Scars. As a bonus track, the CD includes a new version of Richelieuís Prayer, which originally appeared over 20 years earlier on Nothing Is Written. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
With Year Zero (2002), Galahad made their best album to that point, as they expanded in new directions, blending traditional progressive rock with modern elements. With the band in control of engineering and production for the first time, they finally achieved the album they wanted to achieve. Year Zero is a loose concept album performed as one continuous piece of music and is the most instrumentally-oriented album Galahad has recorded. John Wetton guests on lead vocals. This 2012 expanded and remastered 10th Anniversary edition comes in a digipack and includes a second CD of Galahad performing Year Zero live almost in its entirety in 2003, a rare performance as the album was played live only about a half dozen times. The live recording was taken directly from the mixing desk.
Following Ghosts (1998) is Galahadís fourth proper studio album. After being out-of-print for some time, it was reissued in this 2007 remastered edition on the Polish Oskar label. Sleepers (1995) is Galahadís third studio album, which made great strides from their previous albums. This is the 2005 reissue.
Following a number of cassettes, Nothing Is Written (1991) was Galahadís debut CD. This is the 2007 reissue on the Polish Oskar label, which adds one bonus track. Not All There (1995) is a side project featuring new songs plus reworkings of older Galahad songs that are not on their earlier CDs. It includes most of the Galahad lineup of that time plus another musician on flute and clarinet, unplugged but also more orchestral, a shift in the Galahad sound towards that of The Strawbs.
Other Crimes & Misdemeanors I (digipack) was first released on cassette back in 1992, subsequently remastered, tidied up, and released on CD by Oskar Productions in 2008. The second and third volumes in this series were originally released in 1997 and 2001, respectively, now available as the remastered double-CD Other Crimes & Misdemeanors II & III (digipack) released in 2008 by Oskar. The albums in this series are collections of early recordings that for the most part have not appeared elsewhere on CD. The third volume includes some live tracks and covers of songs by Twelfth Night, Camel, and Genesis. Read detailed reviews of Volumes II and III. (Youíll find reviews of the other Galahad CDs through Year Zero there too.)
Sleepless in Phoenixville (digipack) is a live double-CD of Galahadís performance at Rosfest 2007 in Pennsylvania, on their Empires Never Last tour.
The double-CD Two Classic Rock Lives (digipack) on Oskar contains two live albums. The second disc was recorded at a Classic Rock Society gig in Rotherham in April 1995 and was originally released in conjunction with the CRS, Galahadís first proper live album. The first disc is an Ďofficial bootlegí album recorded directly from the desk at Mister Smithís in Bournemouth in October 1994.
The Whitchurch 92/93 DVD+CD (2012, digipack), subtitled Live Archives Vol. 2, was released by the Polish Oskar label. No indication is given on the packaging, but assume the DVD is PAL and all-region. The CD contains a concert from July 1992, while the DVD contains a concert from July 1993. These were occasional rock shows organized by a couple brothers in the Hampshire village of Whitchurch, the beginnings of what would become the annual Whitchurch prog festival. Galahad played several gigs here and remember them as some of the most memorable and fun shows the band ever played. The recording is as it is and was, no tinkering, a little rough but very real and only tweaked in terms of a little tidying up here and there and a bit of work to increase the audio quality. Oskar Productions asked if they could release these now Ďhistoricalí musical documents and took care of the mastering.
These 2009 editions on Esoteric are the first official CD releases of two 1970 albums from Deccaís Deram label. Both are remastered from the original master tapes, with booklets containing previously unseen photographs and new liner notes. Strange Pleasure includes two bonus tracks. Galliard were an English proto-prog band that augmented their sound with brass arrangements. The brass arrangements are sometimes in the jazzier style of early Chicago, sometimes in the British brass band style a la Home Service. The DPRP reviews are required reading; Mark Hughes hits the nail on the head when he writes that Strange Pleasure ď...perfectly encapsulates the musical freedom of that era. Jazzy without being jazz, psychedelic without being trippy, pop without being limp-wristed and progressive without being indulgent, the songs stand out for the ease of which the different styles blend together, carefully encased with perfectly executed brass arrangements.Ē There is also some trad folk influence as well as a bit of baroque in what are two underrated gems of the formative era of British prog.
Peter Gee is best known as the bassist for Pendragon. These four CDs are his prog albums; he also has a gospel CD. Heart of David dates to 1993; after being unavailable for 12 years, it was re-released in this 2009 edition. It includes performances by a large number of other musicians, notably Pendragon members Nick Barrett, Clive Nolan, Rik Carter, Nigel Harris, and Fudge Smith, as well as Tracey Hitchings, Karl Groom and many others.
A Vision of Angels followed in 1997 with Simon Clew on vocals, Ian Salmon on guitars, Tina Riley on backing vocals, and Steve Christey (Jadis, John Wetton) on drums, with contributions from Nick Barrett and Clive Nolan. ďWhile not too far from Pendragon and the whole neo-prog thing, Gee brings in a fresh jazz-pop element on some of the tunes. Also a more evident Genesis influence (Duke era) prevails than one might find on a Pendragon release... The more pop-oriented tracks tend to have a definite Pink Floyd meets Steely Dan feel about them, though that could also be the influence of any number of British eighties bands. In all, this is a good, refreshing album thatís full of nice surprises.Ē [Exposť]
The Spiritual World (2008) has Christey on drums and Steve Thorne on vocals, with one track sung by Simon Clew.
The vocals on East of Eden (2011) are divided between Steve Thorne and Damian Wilson, with Steve Christey again handling the drums. Across the albumís 72-minutes, Gee has room for several styles. The first song Arabia was probably inspired by Led Zepís Kashmir, while most of the vocal songs are in Geeís soft symphonic rock style, with heartfelt lyrics. Some of these are not far from later Camel. (Gee names Moonmadness as the album that influenced him most.) Our favorites are several tracks (mostly instrumentals) where the influence of Mike Oldfield is hard to miss. You can find songs from East of Eden on YouTube: One Day Weíll Meet Again, I Want Out, Eyes of a Child, Emma, and others, as well as plenty from Geeís other albums.
This is the 35th Anniversary CD reissue of Gentle Giantís Iníterview (1976), released on the DRT label circa 2005. The audio was remastered and one bonus track added, a live version of the title track recorded in Hempstead NY in 1976.
The debut by London quintet The Gift is a 71-minute neo-prog opus consisting of two long song suites. The music relies heavily on the vocals of Mike Morton, which are front and center, very clear in the mix, while instrumentally it is mainstream symphonic neo-prog along the lines of Galahad, Tr3nity, Landmarq, etc., with just a touch of heavy riffing to let you know itís a modern record. It may be too tame for hardcore prog fans, and while Cyclops certainly over-hyped it to call it the best prog album of 2006, it is a fine album that will probably require a few listens to get under your skin. Read the DPRP review.
These are the 2009-2011 24-bit remastered editions on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. Both the 1975 self-titled debut and the 1978 second album by Gilgamesh are Canterbury classics. Gilgamesh was centered on keyboardist Alan Gowen, who had been a member of National Health, and Gilgamesh is closely-related to National Health / Hatfield and the North, with Richard Sinclair, Neil Murray, and Mont Campbell (Egg) all passing through. Gilgameshís music is jazzier and less idiosyncratic than either of those bands, Gowenís and Dave Stewartís contrasting compositional and playing styles largely accounting for the difference. Gowen succumbed to leukemia in 1981. National Healthís D.S. al Coda album contained all Alan Gowen compositions and was a tribute to him.
This 2013 collaboration with Oliver Wakeman represents Gordon Giltrapís return to rock, after 30 years away. Which means the UKís leading acoustic guitarist has plugged in his electric again. Giltrap has worked with Rick Wakeman on several occasions, so the collaboration with Oliver is a natural. On Ravens and Lullabies, the two are joined by singer Paul Manzi (Arena), bassist Steve Amadeo, and drummer Johanne James (Threshold), while Thresholdís Karl Groom recorded and mixed the album. The album also features a special vocal appearance by Benoit David (Mystery, Yes). This is the limited edition digipack, which adds a second CD containing five live tracks from Giltrap and Wakemanís acoustic duo tour, and three new studio recordings. Click the mp3 icon above for all the info on the album plus several reviews. More reviews at amazon.
Gordon Giltrapís rock days were thought to be behind him, as he focused on acoustic guitar for three decades. Giltrap has a signature style that is a clear influence on Ritchie Blackmore in Blackmoreís Night. At the Symphony Hall, Birmingham employs the DualDisc format with a CD on one side and a DVD-Video on the other side. The DVD was recorded in March 2005 at the Birmingham Symphony Hall during one of Gordonís many live concert appearances. Gordon is joined on this concert date by the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra and guests Raymond Burley, Rod Edwards, Gilly Darbey, and Rick Wakeman. The concert saw the performance of Gordonís rhapsody The Eye of the Wind, which was written between 1978 and 1980 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Sir Francis Drakeís circumnavigation of the world. The CD includes the complete 49-minute studio version of The Eye of the Wind, recorded in 2004 with The Sheffield Philharmonic. Fans will recognize some of the themes from Giltrapís band albums. Itís great to hear Giltrapís music adapted for symphony orchestra. Note playback of DualDiscs cannot be guaranteed on all CD or DVD players as the disc thickness exceeds the spec for CDs and DVDs, though problems are not common.
The double-disc Drifter contains a 2004 studio CD and a 2003 live performance. Many of the tracks on the studio disc feature the violin of John Bradbury, and the combination of Giltrapís acoustic guitar and Bradburyís virtuoso violin is sublime. The live CD is the audio from Giltrapís Live at Huntingdon Hall DVD and contains 20 tracks. Using one acoustic guitar, Giltrap is able to fill the sonic spectrum almost like an orchestra. Our favorite acoustic guitarist.
From Brush & Stone (2009) is a collaboration between Giltrap on acoustic guitars and Rick Wakeman on piano and synths, recorded late in 2007. The two have worked together before, and they mesh perfectly. 59-minutes of beautiful instrumentals from two masters of their instruments.
These are Gordon Giltrapís band albums, easily the best albums in his extensive catalog. Those marked ďEsotericĒ are the 2013 newly-remastered (from the original tapes) editions on the Esoteric label, with booklets that feature a new essay and interview with Giltrap. The others are on Giltrapís La Cooka Ratcha label, an imprint of Voiceprint.
Giltrap is as unique a British music talent as they come, not only for the acoustic guitar technique that he developed, but for the style of instrumental progressive rock heard on these albums that is also unique. After beginning his career in the late 1960s as a folkie, Giltrap switched to a bounteous, symphonic instrumental rock style more classical than folk, beginning with 1976ís Visionary and continuing with Perilous Journey (1977), Fear of the Dark (1978), The Peacock Party (1981), Airwaves (1982), and his 1979 (Live at Oxford) and 1981 live CDs. While acoustic guitar is his favorite, he does play electric on these albums. He plays a lot of electric on The Band Live 1981, which was recorded live in the studio specifically for radio use and features 14 tracks of Giltrapís best material.
One constant in his band was keyboardist Rod Edwards. His band on Visionary and Perilous Journey also included John G. Perry and Simon Phillips. The Peacock Party includes Bimbo Acock, Richard Harvey (Gryphon), Ian Mosely (Marillion), John Gustafson, Morris Pert, and Ric Sanders (Soft Machine, Fairport Convention). His rhythm section on Airwaves switched to Chas Cronk (Strawbs) and Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull), and so Giltrap surrounded himself with excellent musicians. Giltrapís band albums are an essential part of any progressive rock library. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Perilous Journey contains a number of valuable bonus tracks. There is the original recording of Heartsong, Quest performed with an orchestra, the non-LP single Oh Well, and excellent audio quality acoustic guitar & piano demos of much of the album. Visionary contains three bonus tracks: On Wings of Hope, the original version of the title track, and the previously-unreleased 13-minute Concerto. The Voiceprint edition of Fear of the Dark contains four bonus tracks, while the Esoteric edition contains seven bonus tracks, mostly from a series of singles released between 1978-1980.
The first two titles are the 2012 Esoteric editions, newly remastered from the original master tapes, the booklets with fully restored original album artwork and a new essay. Both CDs add one bonus track. These are Gnidrologís first two albums, both released in 1972. Lady Lake is the second and superior album. Gnidrolog were a full-blown progressive rock band from Wales who were contemporaneous with and similar to Van der Graaf Generator, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, and King Crimson. And Gnidrolog sometimes reached the same level. One could also compare aspects of their style to Traffic, Audience, Catapilla, Still Life, etc., blues-based rock bands with progressive tendencies, but Gnidrolog were proggier.
The 2-on-1 is the 2004 CD on BGO.
This is the jewel box edition on Charly/Snapper of Gongís 1974 album You, the final part of their Radio Gnome trilogy, and for many their best album. When Ozric Tentacles burst on the scene, their sound didnít come out of nowhere -- it traces to this album. You marked an important turning point for Gong. ďBy 1974, the psychedelic hippie folk-rock element of the sound that was leader Daevid Allenís most important contribution was beginning to disappear. In its place was a more sophisticated musical vision that owed as much to jazz-rock fusion as to fellow space rockers like Pink Floyd or Hawkwind. Ironically, this is Gongís most spacey album, full of extended, ethereal passages that would inspire future generations of space rockers. The sound was equally defined however by the jazzy flights of saxophonist Didier Malherbe and the sinuous rhythms of bassist Mike Howlett and drummer Pierre Moerlen. Allenís songs still provide a crucial link to the rest of the trilogy, though the conceptual/mythological aspect is less crucial to You.Ē
Angels Egg (1973) was the second album in the Radio Gnome trilogy. This is the remastered reissue on Charly/Snapper, which comes in a jewel case. While You is much more instrumental, Angels Egg is full of Daevid Allenís whimsical, quirky lyrics. Angels Egg is a transitional album, having much in common with the previous two albums but with the more refined sound and the synths that would characterize later albums.
This is the remastered digipack reissue on Charly/Snapper of Gongís 1973 album Flying Teapot, the first part of the Radio Gnome trilogy. This is the first appearance of Tim Blake (synthesizers) and Steve Hillage (guitar), who make this album sonically richer than previous Gong albums. One has to be as stoned as Daevid Allen was to make much sense of the Gong mythology, but itís all part and parcel of Gongís psychedelic space/art/jazz-rock.
Superb progressive rock and progressive pop with a subtle folk influence, hard not to like these guys. Poppy (1996) is Graceís third album. Gathering in the Wheat is a 2CD live album recorded in 1997 that serves as an excellent retrospective covering all three of their studio albums. Read the DPRP review.
Greenslade were a fine second-tier English prog rock band based around the dual keyboards of Dave Greenslade and Dave Lawson. They released four albums during the 1970s, plus a few solo albums by Dave Greenslade. Blend ELP, The Nice, Argent, and Procol Harum and youíd be in the ballpark. They reunited circa 1999 with original members Dave Greenslade and bassist Tony Reeves, plus John Young on vocals & keyboards and a new drummer. They were a hit at Baja Prog 2002, showing the younger bands a thing or two about composing and songwriting. The Full Edition: Live 2001 includes live renditions of most of their best 70s tracks plus a few tracks from their comeback album Large Afternoon, all on one 75-minute CD. Since John Young has a better voice than Dave Lawson did, and recording technology has improved, this is a great way to hear a classic progressive rock band at their finest. This is the reissue on the Angel Air label.
Live in Stockholm - March 10th, 1975 (2013, digipack) is a recording of one of the final performances of the original Greenslade, released with the cooperation of Dave Greenslade. Click the mp3 icon above to see the track list. Extensive liner notes are included.
Live 1973-1975 on Angel Air features four tracks recorded live in 1973, just after the release of their first album Greenslade, and five live tracks from 1975, after the release of their third album Spyglass Guest.
Gryphon is Britainís famous progressive rock band who combined early music instruments and renaissance music influences with rock. Using recorders, crumhorns and bassoon alongside guitars, bass, keyboards and drums, their style of medieval progressive rock has never been duplicated. These are the latest editions of the Gryphon CDs on Talking Elephant. Raindance had been long out-of-print; this 2010 edition has been remastered from the original master tapes, and now the complete Gryphon catalog is again available.
Gryphonís 1973 self-titled debut is entirely acoustic. They began to ramp up the rock on Midnight Mushrumps (1974), culminating in their masterpiece Red Queen to Gryphon Three (later in 1974), which features longer, more symphonic pieces. Raindance (1975) is highlighted by the 16-minute (Ein Klein) Heldenleben, while the remaining tracks are shorter. While not the equal of Red Queen, it is a worthy follow-up, beginning the transition to more rock-based, less folk/medieval material.
Treason (1977) is actually the most conventionally progressive of Gryphonís output and the favorite of many fans; it is more electric, more rock, less folky, and with more vocals. Gryphon had been touring with Yes prior to recording Treason and it shows, though given the instrumentation, comparisons to Gentle Giant are also inevitable.
Genesis Revisited II (2CD, 2012, digipack) is Steve Hackettís second album of Genesis covers, what Hackett himself calls ďa project of Wagnerian proportions. For the most part Iíve followed the arrangements we had first time around. But each vocalist has added their own character.Ē Among the vocalists are Steven Wilson, Mikael Akerfeldt, Simon Collins (Phil Collinsí son), Francis Dunnery, Neal Morse, John Wetton, Nad Sylvan (Agents of Mercy), Jakko Jakszyk, and Nik Kershaw. There are also two guitarists apart from Hackett, namely Steve Rothery (Marillion) and Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), around 35 guests in all. ďWhat Iím doing is celebrating music without prejudice, which was what Genesis stood for back then. We really had no limits, everything was possible. You could have short songs, long songs, loud bits, quiet moments, pantomime, humour, big band sounds, jazz, classical musicÖ there was no barrier to what we were doing. This time around, Iíve tried to satisfy what everyone wants, including myself. Initially, I was thinking of just going for the best songs not featured on the first Revisited album. But then people thought I should do those tracks where the guitar was emphasized. So, Iíve done both. Iíve also included four songs which have Genesis connections, where the song was written originally for the band or rehearsed by them.Ē Hackett discusses the project in this video, which features excerpts of the music. You can find the track list, track-by-track lineup, and Steveís comments in the Genesis-News.com review.
Check our DVDs page for Steve Hackett DVDs. Beyond the Shrouded Horizon is Steve Hackettís 2011 studio CD. These 2CD editions add an all-instrumental second disc with nine more new tracks. (The hardcover digibook edition contains the same tracks as the jewel box edition.) Chris Squire plays bass on several tracks. Read the reviews at ThisIsNotAScene and Dangerdog.
This is the 2CD jewel box special edition of Steve Hackettís 2010 studio album Out of the Tunnelís Mouth. Anthony Phillips and Chris Squire are among the many musicians lending a hand. The second disc contains six tracks, five of which were recorded live in Italy in March 2009: Blood on the Rooftops, A Tower Struck Down, Firth of Fifth, Fly on a Windshield, and Broadway Melody of 1974. Read the Classic Rock Presents Prog review.
Live Rails (2CD digipack) was recorded in New York City, Paris and London in 2009-2010, on Steve Hackettís tour promoting Out of the Tunnelís Mouth with his current six-piece band. The setlist includes several Genesis songs and many Hackett classics going all the way back to Ace of Wands.
Wild Orchids is Hackettís 2006 studio album with his electric band. The band again includes Roger King, Rob Townsend, and Gary OíToole, with Nick Magnus back on keyboards and brother John on flute. Also featured is The Underworld Orchestra, the five-person classical ensemble with whom Hackett recorded Metamorpheus. As such, Wild Orchids seems to combine the styles of To Watch the Storms and Metamorpheus while also adding some world music elements, resulting in a very fine album.
In addition to his work in progressive rock, Steve Hackett has shown remarkable dedication to his classical side. In addition to releasing several acoustic/classical albums, he has appeared as the featured soloist with the London Chamber Orchestra, earning the respect of both rock contemporaries and classical figures. The Ďtributesí in Tribute (2008) are to Bach, Andres Segovia, William Byrd, Barrios, Rodrigo, and Granados. There is also one traditional Catalan song and two Hackett originals.
Metamorpheus is his 2005 classical project, the natural successor to 1997ís A Midsummer Nightís Dream (which spent several weeks in the UK classical charts). It combines Steveís nylon guitar with a number of orchestral musicians. Some of the tracks are Ďsmallí pieces revolving around Hackettís guitar, while others are large orchestral pieces. There are even times during the latter when Hackett is not playing, the point being that this album really showcases Hackett as a classical composer and orchestral arranger. Beautiful work.
Though not the equal of the albums from the first half of his career, Hackettís To Watch the Storms (2003) was a return to form and his strongest album in quite a while. This is the 2013 digipack reissue on InsideOut, which contains the four bonus tracks of the original special edition.
Guitar Noir (1993) is one of Hackettís full electric band with vocals studio albums. This is the Kudos/Viceroy Music edition, which adds the track Cassandra (from the Feedback 86 album) as a bonus.
Time Lapse (1991) is a live album drawn from shows in New York City and Nottingham which span ten years and two band lineups.
The Genesis Files is a double-CD that includes all the tracks from the 1996 Genesis Revisited CD along with a selection of tracks from The Tokyo Tapes, two tracks from Bay of Kings, and one each from Feedback í86 and Darktown. Genesis Revisited contains Steveís remakes of Watcher of the Skies, Dance on a Volcano, Valley of the Kings, Dťja Vu, Firth of Fifth, For Absent Friends, Your Own Special Way, The Fountain of Salmacis, The Waiting Room, I Know What I Like, and Los Endos. Dťja Vu is a song started by Steve and Peter Gabriel in 1974 and only completed circa 1995. Featured musicians include John Wetton, Bill Bruford, Ian McDonald, Paul Carrack, Chester Thompson, Tony Levin, Colin Blunstone, members of various editions of The Steve Hackett Band, and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The Tokyo Tapes is a 1998 live 2CD from Hackettís all-star band that included Wetton, McDonald, Thompson, and Julian Colbeck.
Though not released until 2000, Feedback 86 was recorded in 1986 and contains material intended for a second GTR album. Guests include Brian May (Queen), Ian Mosely and Pete Trewavas (Marillion), Chris Thompson (Manfred Mannís Earth Band), and Bonnie Tyler. Nick Magnus plays keyboards on almost all the tracks.
Till We Have Faces (1984) is notable for the inclusion of Brazilian musicians, with the sessions taking place mainly in Brazil. Patrick Moraz had done a similar thing with his first album, and so progressive rock musicians were doing world music before the term even existed, the mainstream media oblivious to it as always. This is the 2013 digipack reissue on InsideOut which, like the previous edition, is an enhanced CD with additional mp3 tracks.
These are the remastered and expanded editions of Steve Hackettís early albums Please Donít Touch (1978) and Defector (1980). They were remastered in 2005 at Steve Hackettís studio by engineer Benedict Fenner, in direct collaboration with Steve. Each has new liner notes. For bonus tracks, Defector contains the track Hercules Unchained plus live versions of Sentimental Institution, The Steppes, Slogans, and Clocks - The Angel of Mons. Please Donít Touch contains a version of Narnia with John Perry on vocals, another alternate version of Narnia, and a live version of Land of a Thousand Autumns / Please Donít Touch. Please Donít Touch features Steve Walsh and Phil Ehart of Kansas as well as Richie Havens. Spectral Mornings (1979) and Defector are the albums on which Hackett established his own voice apart from Genesis and should be considered his classics.
With the exception of Voices, these are the Esoteric label editions, the label known for their superb remastering jobs, expanded booklets and attention to detail. Recently hailed by Record Collector magazine as the finest vocalist youíve never heard, Claire Hamill signed to Island Records at the age of 16, recording two albums which featured contributions from John Martyn, Free, and Terry Reid. She then signed to Kinks founder Ray Daviesí Konk label, recording two more classic albums. In the late 1970s she collaborated with Wishbone Ash, Steve Howe, and Jon & Vangelis before recording a series of albums for Beggarís Banquet. Kate Bush has cited her as an influence. The Minor Fall, The Major Lift is a double-CD compilation containing 35 tracks taken from nine albums and a single, covering Claireís career through the 1990s.
One House Left Standing (1971) is Claireís first album. This Esoteric reissue adds two bonus tracks: a previously-unreleased version of Meet Me on the Corner featuring Gerry Rafferty and Stealers Wheel as backing musicians, and the evocative single B-side Alice in the Streets of Darlington.
October (1973) is Claireís second album, a highlight of her early career. The Esoteric reissue includes Baby Whatís Wrong as a bonus track. Esoteric describe her first two albums as masterpieces of folk-rock and songwriting, featuring music of both innocence and maturity. Read the DPRP review.
Touchpaper has four bonus tracks. ďTouchpaper marked her comeback as a singer/songwriter. Issued on Coda in 1984, the set stunned her longtime fans with the embrace of technology and the obvious influence of one Kate Bush on her writing style. Hamillís voice is in its usual glorious form here, and her trademark -- and elegantly refined -- touches as a songwriter are evident on songs such as Denmark, First Night in New York, and Ultra Violet Light. These easily matched the glories of her early records, but the strange new age-isms of Sally Oldfield, Bushís sense of the dramatic, and orchestral arrangements weigh down Hamillís other songs... The sound quality on the Esoteric version is greatly improved from the albumís first CD issue.Ē [Thom Jurek, All Music Guide]
This is the Pickwick label edition of Claireís album Voices, from the 1980s, on which she multitracks her voice in a manner similar to Enya, though without as much supporting instrumentation. The basis of the sound is the layering of Claireís voice to form cascades and textures of music, with some rhythmic accompaniment. The result is a beautiful and unique sound. The music featured in a BBC program called The Domesday Book.
Love in the Afternoon (1990) has two bonus tracks. Read Jeff Perkinsí review.
In 1991, Peter Hammill released the album Fall of the House of Usher based on the Edgar Alan Poe story. The album has never been performed live in its entirety; however during solo concerts in late 1991 and 1992, Peter Hammill performed an edited suite of songs from the album. One such concert took place at The Passionskirche in Berlin. For many long-time fans, this performance holds a special place, and bootleg copies have been traded for many years. The jewel for many fans is Usherís Suite, here in a stark solo performance where Hammill alternates between piano and guitar. Hammill also performs a number of songs from his long solo career including the Van Der Graaf Generator song My Room from Still Life.
This is the 2011 remastered edition on Gonzo (formerly Voiceprint) of Annie Haslamís second solo album Still Life, one of the highlights of her solo career. Still Life was recorded with Louis Clark and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985 and consists of light classical pieces set to lyrics by Renaissance lyricist Betty Thatcher. Louis Clark had previously done the orchestral arrangements for Renaissanceís A Song for All Seasons. In addition to the orchestra and Annieís stunning vocals, there are musicians on harp, piano, bass and drums. This new edition adds a bonus disc containing instrumental versions of all tracks (for your karaoke parties).
Live Under Brazilian Skies was recorded live in 1997 and features seven Renaissance songs, seven songs from Annieís solo albums (including her cover of Mike Oldfieldís Moonlight Shadow), and the Yes song Turn of the Century. Blessing in Disguise is her 1994 studio album featuring 14 new songs.
The Dawn of Ananda was recorded in 1999 and features Rave Tesar, Larry Fast (Synergy), Mickey Simmonds, and Tony Visconti. The songs are all based on the theme of angels, both heaven and earthbound, and are some of Annieís most poignant to date.
These are the 2009 Esoteric Recordings remastered editions of two classic progressive rock albums that virtually defined the Canterbury genre. Hatfield and the North comprised former Caravan member Richard Sinclair, keyboardist Dave Stewart, guitarist Phil Miller and drummer Pip Pyle. Their self-titled 1974 debut album features guest appearances by Geoff Leigh of Henry Cow and Robert Wyatt who sang on the track Calyx. This reissue has three bonus tracks: both sides of the bandís first single, and Your Majesty is Like a Cream Donut incorporating Oh What a Lonely Lifetime featured on the Virgin sampler album V and previously unreleased on CD.
The Rottersí Club (1975) features guest appearances by such luminaries as Jimmy Hastings and Mont Campbell. This reissue adds three bonus tracks from the 1980 compilation Afters and the 1975 live album Over the Rainbow. Both booklets feature restored artwork, notes by Sid Smith and a Dave Stewart interview.
Hawkwindís 1975 magnum opus gets the royal Steven Wilson surround treatment in this 2CD+DVD box set. The first CD contains the remastered original mix, the first CD ever of Warrior on the Edge of Time mastered from the original master tapes. It has eight bonus tracks (five previously unreleased). The second CD contains a new stereo mix by Steven Wilson from the multi-track masters, plus five bonus tracks (two previously unreleased). And most importantly, the DVD, which contains a 5.1 surround mix by the master of surround himself. Note this is a DVD-Video disc (NTSC, all-region), not DVD-Audio, which is boneheaded, particularly for Esoteric who you think would know better. So the surround mix is DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital (the latter was never intended for music, so play the DTS). The DVD also includes Wilsonís new stereo mix in 24-bit/96kHz LPCM, and a flat transfer of the original stereo master in 24/96. So aside from the bonus tracks and ignoring portability concerns, you donít actually need the CDs unless you prefer the lower resolution audio. The 16-page booklet features photos, memorabilia, and an essay. Donít know this album? Read reviews at Prog Archives. Counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping.
Stellar Variations is the debut album for Hawkwind Light Orchestra, featuring Hawkwind founding member Dave Brock and current Hawkwind members Richard Chadwick and Niall Hone. Read the Freq review.
These are all the 2009-2010 editions on Esotericís Atomhenge label, all remastered from the original master tapes. The Xenon Codex was originally released in 1988 and was the last Hawkwind studio album to date to feature Huw Lloyd Langton on lead guitar and Danny Thompson on drums. This edition includes five 1988 live recordings and fully restores the limited edition fold-out artwork featured on initial pressings of the LP.
Choose Your Masques was originally released in 1982, with the line-up of Dave Brock, Harvey Bainbridge, Huw Lloyd Langton, and Martin Griffin. This Atomhenge remastered edition adds 14 bonus tracks, 12 of which appear on a bonus second CD.
Hawkwindís 1980 album Levitation features Ginger Baker on drums and was well-received. Although Bakerís tenure with Hawkwind was brief, a concert at Lewisham Odeon in December 1980 was recorded by a mobile unit. Remixed from the original multitrack masters, this 3CD deluxe edition includes the entire concert (during which sci-fi author Michael Moorcock guested) on Discs 2 and 3. Disc 1 adds eight bonus tracks, including five from the Hawklords 1979 Rockfield sessions. This 3CD edition is limited to 3000 units and will then be reduced to just a single CD. Counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
PXR5 (1979) adds eight bonus tracks, five previously unreleased. This is the first CD edition of PXR5 to be mastered from the original tapes.
Originally released in 1977, Quark Strangeness and Charm saw Dave Brock and Robert Calvert deftly incorporating the influence of new wave to deliver one of the most effective albums released during Calvertís tenure with Hawkwind. This 2009 2CD remastered expanded edition on Esotericís Atomhenge label includes 13 bonus tracks, nine previously unreleased. Read the detailed DPRP review.
Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (1976) marked the return of Robert Calvert, who would be a major influence on the creative direction of the band as lyricist and vocalist. This edition adds four bonus tracks, two previous unreleased, and is the first CD edition to be mastered from the original tapes.
This is the 30th Anniversary 2CD edition of the Hawklords album on Esoteric, not only newly remastered from the master tapes, but with a bonus disc featuring 10 previously unreleased tracks (mostly alternate versions) and five 1977 live tracks from The Sonic Assassins (same band, different name), a 24-page booklet, and a slipcase. There are also three bonus tracks on Disc 1, all single mixes. This was very much a Hawkwind album, the name alteration probably due to contractual reasons, as Hawkwind had briefly blinked out of existence. The lineup includes Dave Brock, Robert Calvert, Harvey Bainbridge, Steve Swindells, Simon House (on three tracks), with the drums split between original drummer Simon King and Martin Griffin. The sound is close to the Astounding Sounds and Quark Strangeness and Charm albums, taking cues at times from the new wave music that had overrun Britain at the time. Few liked the cover art, but some great songs. Read the detailed DPRP review.
Masters of the Universe is a 1977 compilation album on EMI covering the years 1971-1974. The CD reissue contains only the tracks that were on the LP and so is not particularly long.
Credited to the fictitious group Psychedelic Warriors, White Zone was recorded by Dave Brock, Alan Davey, and Richard Chadwick, revealing another side of their musical nature, absorbing influences from the UK dance and rave music scene to create an album of electronica with that distinct ambient Hawkwind feel. The album was first issued on the Emergency Broadcast label in 1995 and deleted soon after.
Check above for Robert Calvertís CDs.
Bring Me the Head of Yuri Gagarin is a live recording of Hawkwindís performance at Londonís Wembley Arena in the summer of 1973. This is the Abstract Sounds USA edition.
Ken Hensley is best known for his work with Uriah Heep during the 1970s, but his solo career has been ongoing since 1973. Live Tales is one of Hensleyís solo shows recorded live in Alicante, Spain in August 2012, including songs from his Uriah Heep days as well as his solo career. Itís 61 minutes of Hensley on stage armed only with his acoustic guitars, piano, and book of songs.
Love & Other Mysteries (2012) is a full-band album that includes a string quartet, guests on cornet and classical guitar, and several guest vocalists including Glenn Hughes. Read the Grande Rock review.
With over a dozen albums to his name, Steve Hillman has been a leader in the electronic music genre since the early 1980s. Opener of the Ways (2002, 74-minutes) contains Steveís take on the 1970s Tangerine Dream style. There are a few abstract tracks, and a lot of sequencer-driven rhythmic tracks. Hillman recorded new versions of some of the best of his earlier works, even replacing drum machine with drum kit, and this is what distinguishes his music from Tangerine Dream. The drums kick the energy level up a notch and make this electronic rock.
With Convergence (1999, 74-minutes), Steve Hillman got added to the (then short) list of solo artists capable of producing full-blown progressive rock on their own. (OK, his wife contributes flute). Though heíd made albums of electronic music in the past, this is out-and-out prog rock, instrumental, with electric guitar providing the necessary bite. Keyboard sounds are vintage analog, and drums are programmed well, detracting only slightly from the music. Some of this is close to Camel, also any number of 1970s Euro-prog bands.
The 75-minute Riding the Storm (1996) is a compilation of remastered tracks from Hillmanís cassette releases.
After ten cassette-only releases of Tangerine Dream-style electronics, Hillman recorded Matrix in 1994, in which he adopted a more rock-oriented approach, with electric guitar leads, drum programming, and his wife Linda adding some flute.
For those who donít know Rupert Hine, you may have seen his name as a producer for Nova (on Blink), Jonesy, Camel, Rush, Saga, Anthony Phillips, Kate Bush, Dave Greenslade, John G. Perry, or Cafť Jacques, but he is also a very creative musician and a singer with an unmistakable voice. After two albums under his own name in 1971 and 1973, he was the main force in Quantum Jump (two albums in the mid-70s; check below), after which he released this trilogy of albums under his own name: Immunity (1981), Waving Not Drowning (1982), and The Wildest Wish to Fly (1983). These were followed by the Better Off Dead soundtrack in 1985, then the three under the Thinkman name in the late 80s, and The Deep End album under his name in 1994. Hine began using the exceptional lyricist/poet Jeannette Obstoj on some of the Quantum Jump songs. The lyrics on his albums from 1981 on are all the work of Obstoj. His music from 1981 on is progressive pop, very intelligent and modern (for its time), often utilizing well-known British musicians (Phil Collins and Geoffrey Richardson to name just two). Check for the related Martin Ansell CD above.
Thinkman was essentially a fictitious band name Rupert Hine used for his three albums released between 1986-1990. This had to do mostly with Hine wanting to hide his name from mainstream critics, feeling that his success as a producer for Top 20 acts such as The Fixx, Howard Jones, Chris de Burgh, and Tina Turner was responsible for the negative reactions to the albums he had released under his own name. (The actual reason was the same reason the mainstream critics were vehemently anti-progressive rock, that is, they had musical IQís in the single digits.) The Formula (1986) was first. Life Is a Full Time Occupation (1988) is generally dark and aggressive. Hard Hat Zone (1990), though not hugely different, is probably where prog fans should start. Among the other musicians helping out here are Geoffrey Richardson on electric & acoustic guitar, bass, electric & acoustic viola, violin, and ukulele; and Phil Palmer on electric guitars.
This is the first collaboration between Marillion frontman Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri, longtime keyboardist of Porcupine Tree but with a career extending back to the band Japan. Hogarth describes the album: ďIt goes beyond what you might expect from the two of us... The album consists of music which is at times moving, complex, multi-layered (both instrumentally and vocally), spooky, goofy and of course, very personal to me. I am now as excited about this album as I was at the prospect of the collaboration in the first-place.Ē Not The Weapon But The Hand (2012, digibook) also features occasional appearances from Danny Thompson on double bass, Arran Ahmun (John Martyn) and Chris Maitland (ex-Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield) on drums, and guitar and string arrangement contributions from Dave Gregory (XTC).
This is the 2012 remastered digipack reissue of Allan Holdsworthís 1994 album. Hard Hat Area fits logically in the main sequence of Holdsworthís albums that began with 1982ís I.O.U. (Though Holdsworth had solo albums prior to I.O.U., those were transitional albums.) What sets Hard Hat Area apart is that it was recorded by Holdsworthís touring band of that time: Steve Hunt (keys), Skuli Sverrisson (bass), and Gary Husband (drums). The material had been refined in live performance before the band entered the studio.
This 1973 album was the third and final album for English band Home, and their most progressive. The band brought in a keyboardist for this album, responsible for piano, organ, synth and Mellotron. This is the 2010 Esoteric label release, which adds three bonus tracks. Read the reviews at Prog Archives (though one ďreviewerĒ failed to take his medication that morning -- youíll see).
The boys are back in town! Irelandís beloved Horslips reunited as a full electric band and in December 2009 played their first real concerts in nearly 30 years in Belfast and Dublinís main arenas, the Odyssey and O2 (10,000 and 14,000 seat venues, respectively). The Road to the O2 DVD (PAL, all-region) is the film of the Dublin concert. It includes an oversize booklet and a poster, comes in a deluxe box rather than a plastic case and counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping. The double-CD (tri-fold digisleeve) contains the entire Dublin show and is head and shoulders above Horslipsí previous live albums.
These are all the 2009-2010 remastered digipack CD reissues on the bandís own Horslips Records label, with lots of live bonus tracks added to each except for the Live 2CD and Drive the Cold Winter Away. Now only the first Horslips album Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part has yet to be reissued in this series. Horslips were the Irish folk-prog band and may have invented Celtic rock. Prior to U2, they were arguably the Irish band period (and Bono was a fan). Formed in Dublin in 1970, the Irish folk aspect of their style was strongest early on. By the end of their career (1980), they had become almost purely a rock band. The first CD reissues of the Horslips albums looked and sounded terrible. They were reissued with better sound circa 2000 but didnít stay in-print long. These are the definitive editions.
Horslipsí second album The Tain (1973) is one of their two best, the other being their masterpiece The Book of Invasions (1976). The latter is more polished, but both are essential. Read the VintageProg.com reviews for more info.
Dancehall Sweethearts (1974) and The Unfortunate Cup of Tea (1975) followed The Tain, with more of a 70s hard rock element and less Irish folk, even though every song on Dancehall Sweethearts has a traditional song concealed within. Dancehall Sweethearts produced several tracks that would become live favorites.
Drive the Cold Winter Away (1975), released in Ireland for Christmas, is their most traditional album, perhaps a response to critics at the time who maintained that Horslips had gone too far to the rock side at the expense of their trad folk side. The double-LP Horslips Live was released in 1976, a powerful document of Horslips in concert even though it could have had better sound.
Tracks from the Vaults (1977) compiles Horslipsí rare singles, unreleased tracks, alternate versions, and two tracks by Beatles tribute band Lipstick, who were in fact Horslips!
The excellent Aliens (1977) followed The Book of Invasions, and progressive rock fans were taking notice, for not only did Horslips often sound like an Irish Jethro Tull at this time, these albums actually charted in the U.S. From Aliens until the end of their career, each subsequent album contained less folk and more rock, and the quality dropped off as the commercialism increased. Well, the story was much the same for most progressive bands during the late 70s. The Man Who Built America (1978) was still a good album, really Horslipsí last good album. Its subject matter is the life of Irish immigrants in America, conceptually the sequel to Aliens which is about the emigration from Ireland during the potato famine. Horslipsí final albums prior to their reunion were their last studio album Short Stories / Tall Tales (1979) and the 1980 live album The Belfast Gigs, the latter a sort of Ďgreatest hits liveí album. By this time, Horslips were a hard rock band embellished by keyboards and traditional instruments (fiddle, mandolin, flute), so itís not the place to start. See Prog Archives for reviews of all these albums and far more detail than can be presented here.
ďAt one point in the mid-í70s, Horslips seemed poised to become Irelandís answer to Steeleye Span. But they also had a shot at being the next Jethro Tull (only a better hard rock outfit), or maybe Genesis, or even Yes in their folkier moments. Those events never quite happened, but Horslips released half a dozen superb albums along the way, becoming Irelandís most acclaimed folk-rock and progressive band.Ē Read the full bio at iTunes where youíll also find more audio samples.
Spiral Realms is Simon House, the violinist of High Tide, Hawkwind, The Third Ear Band, and David Bowie, assisted by keyboardist Len del Rio. These CDs feature electronic/symphonic space rock with Houseís trademark violin, lots of keyboards, and programmed drums. Trip to G9 (1994) and Crystal Jungles Of Eos (1995) both come with a second CD of remixes of the original album tracks; both are on the cosmic and abstract side. These albums have elements of Hawkwind but are more symphonic and refined. Itís a beautiful combination of symphonic/spacey electronics, soaring violin, and programmed drums (which fit perfectly with the music). Aside from the violin, the music is sometimes close to the early Fonya style, though House tends to go for a sonic stew with less separation of instruments. Sometimes the sonic stew is impenetrable. (Youíd think the remixes on Trip to G9 and Crystal Jungles Of Eos would be less murky than the originals, but they arenít.)
Solar Wind was originally released in 1996 and was the second album to be recorded under the name Spiral Realms. It was recorded live during The Space Ritual 1995 U.S. tour and contains a selection of Simonís work as a solo artist, the Hawkwind song The Forge of Vulcan, and the Syd Barrett composition Interstellar Overdrive. Del Dettmar plays on a number of tracks. Itís the style of symphonic space rock weíve come to expect from House, and though his favorite reverb setting is still ďaircraft hangarĒ, this one is actually clearer sounding than some of his studio recordings. All the CDs in this series are the 2005 remastered editions on Hawk Records, personally remastered by Simon House.
Spectrum (2005, 61-minutes, digipack) showcases Steve Howeís unique talent and a style that continues to evolve. His band this time is Tony Levin on bass, Oliver Wakeman on keyboards, and sons Virgil and Dylan on Moog synth and drums, respectively. This one is just a lot more satisfying that Howeís previous couple albums. Recorded in Switzerland during the winter of 2004/2005, it nevertheless has a very sunny, summer feel. The title is probably meant to imply that Howe covers a wide range of styles and influences, but to the extent that he does, itís all integrated into a cohesive set of instrumentals. It isnít the usual case of one song of jazz, one song of blues, one acoustic song, etc., that rarely produces a great album. Instead we have one of the tastiest albums of instrumental guitar rock around, songs fused with optimism, natural energy, and self-confidence.
The Grand Scheme of Things (1993) is similar to Howeís first solo album Beginnings, evenly split between instrumentals and songs featuring Steve on vocals. Unfortunately, few people give him high marks for his singing.
Humania is the band Billy Currie put together in late 1988 after Ultravox split up (Currie later used the name Ultravox for his band) and in between his first and second solo albums. The band sounds a lot like Ultravox except that Humaniaís singer is no Midge Ure.
Tim Hunter is an English singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who also presents his own prog rock radio show. Tim has been writing and performing songs since the early 1970s. The Pathway of Light (2011) is his eighth album, some tracks played entirely by Tim, others featuring additional musicians on bass, drums, sax, and keyboards. This is progressive pop that is unusual in that it seems to be influenced most by intelligent pop of the early 1980s, the point when 70s prog had turned into mainstream rock. The music suggests Anthony Phillips circa Invisible Men, Rupert Hine / Thinkman, Genesis circa Invisible Touch, late Pink Floyd, and the more commercial Peter Gabriel songs. Here is a video of the track Psychic Voyager.
The Aura (2012, CD-R) is a more consciously progressive effort, highlighted by the 24-minute, six-part Android Void suite. Hunter is assisted by other musicians on guitar, drums, and sax. The music still qualifies as pop-prog and soft prog, roughly in the same territory as later Barclay James Harvest, the more concise Camel songs of the 1980s, Anthony Phillipsí vocal songs, and occasionally later Pink Floyd. By Hunterís own count, there are three commercial songs, the rest proggy. Start here. Read the GloryDazeMusic review.
Ask a knowledgeable British prog fan today who the latest, greatest British progressive rock bands are, and youíll probably hear the name IOEarth. After hearing their 2009 double-CD debut, the reason is clear. IOEarth are not just another melodic rock band in symphonic clothing. This is an astounding debut: expansive, cinematic, eclectic and technologically current (which progressive rock originally was but today more often is not). The music is heavily instrumental while featuring two female vocalists on several tracks and Steve Balsamo (Chimpan A) singing on three. IOEarth may even be signaling a possible way forward for progressive rock that maintains melody, emotion and heart energy and thus a chance for more than niche appeal, instead of only recreating the past, becoming a cold, technical music, or the regression toward the mean that much contemporary prog and especially prog-metal represents. Read reviews.
While the IOEarth debut was the work of Dave Cureton & Adam Gough plus several guests, they needed to assemble a band for live performances. Thus Moments (2012, 62-minutes, digipack) sees three of those guests promoted to full members and another musician added such that IOEarth is now a sextet, with guests on trumpet, spoken word, and percussion. Among the promotions is singer Claire Malin, who has a larger presence here. There are somewhat more vocals on Moments, and on the vocal tracks, the album can feel closer to the current progressive rock mainstream. But with the samples, the genre-bending, the expansive arrangements and detailed atmospheres, there is no mistaking IOEarth for another band. ďIOEarth have delivered a progressive masterwork, clearly demonstrating significant artistic growth from their debut. Clearly one of the most rapidly emerging progressive bands of this decade, these musicians are sure to broaden their following with Moments. Bravo!Ē Read the full Musical Discoveries review and the Prog Archives and Ravenheart Music reviews.
These are the newly-remastered 2011 editions on Esoteric of the three albums by Isotope, the first two first appearing in 1974, Deep End in 1975. Isotope was a progressive jazz-rock band you could group with other British jazz-rock bands such as Brand X, later Soft Machine, and Neil Ardley. Guitarist Gary Boyle and drummer Nigel Morris were constants. The other personnel varied, but it was always guitar/keys/bass/drums, with two keyboardists on Deep End. Hugh Hopper plays bass on Illusion. Deep End includes four bonus tracks, all 2001 remixes of album tracks. Read the review at Head Full of Snow.
British prog/pop band It Bites emerged in the mid-1980s and actually charted in the UK. At that time, the band was Francis Dunnery, Richard Nolan, Robert Dalton and John Beck. Singer/guitarist Dunnery moved to New York City and began his solo career, while keyboardist Beck and drummer Dalton went on to the band Kino. In the 1980s, It Bites occupied a middle ground that wasnít proggy enough for some prog fans and not poppy enough for the industry, but they had chops and could write songs. Maybe it was too soon for the pop/prog mix then, but given that the current generation of British prog bands nearly all have one foot in pop or mainstream rock, the time was right for It Bites to reform. Beck and Dalton approached Kinoís singer/guitarist John Mitchell (a huge It Bites fan since his teenage years) and reformed the band with Mitchell assuming Dunneryís role. So with It Bites and Kino being closely-related, those familiar with Kino already have a good idea what the current It Bites sound like. And for those familiar with earlier It Bites, this is quite a bit proggier. This is Brit-prog with classic British pop songwriting and excellent production.
This is the digipack special edition of Map of the Past (2012), which adds a second disc containing six live tracks. Itís advertised as the first concept album for the band, though Ďthemed albumí is more accurate, and it shows how far It Bites have come -- theyíre at the top of their game now. ďSo what we have here is a nice, natural progression from The Tall Ships, allowing Beck and Mitchell (ably backed by bassist Lee Pomeroy and long time drummer Bob Dalton) to stretch their prog wings a little more than before whilst still capturing the essence of what It Bites are all about.Ē [RockUnitedReviews] Read the ThisIsNotAScene review.
These are the 2010 remastered editions on Esoteric of the four albums Jade Warrior recorded for Island Records, the bandís best period. Floating World (1974), Waves (1975), Kites (1976), and Way of the Sun (1978) were the bandís fourth through seventh albums overall. Jade Warrior were so unique that those still unfamiliar with their records should read the reviews at VintageProg.com or the Prog Archives reviews of Floating World, Waves, Kites, and Way of the Sun.
For those not yet familiar with Jadis, they are a melodic UK prog band, their songs built around Gary Chandlerís vocals and very lyrical guitar leads. For much of their history, Jadis shared two members with IQ (Martin Orford and John Jowitt). If Jadis and IQ can be thought of as two sides of the same coin, then Jadis represents daylight while IQ gets the nighttime. The special edition of Fanatic (2003) is a digipack with one additional track.
Photoplay (58-minutes) is the 2006 Jadis studio CD, still with the Gary Chandler, Steve Christey, Martin Orford, John Jowitt lineup. Orford has since left the band, so this is the last chance to hear him as a part of Jadis. According to bandleader Chandler, this album has some of their best riffs and melodies to date and shows a heavier side of the band. A lot more has gone into the vocal arrangements, with Steve Thorne contributing backing vocals on most of the tracks. A criticism one could make of the previous Jadis albums was that they more or less stuck to the same formula, good formula though it is. Photoplay is the first Jadis album that sounds noticeably different. Their fundamental style is intact but is enhanced by layers of new sounds and detail as well as more energy. Apparently this is because Chandler did most of the recording in his home studio in Pro Tools, giving him the freedom to spend much more time on this album. The effort definitely paid off. Check our DVDs page for Jadisí View from Above DVD.
The last time Mostly Autumn keyboardist Iain Jennings released a solo CD, it resulted in the formation of the band Breathing Space (and in turn, Stolen Earth). So donít be surprised if My Dark Surprise (2013) results in more branches on the Mostly Autumn family tree. On this CD, Jennings has Gavin Griffiths (Mostly Autumn, Panic Room) on drums, Stu Fletcher (The Heather Findlay Band) on bass, and Mark Chatterton on vocals, countering the trend of female lead vocalists in virtually all the Mostly Autumn related bands. Three guitarists divide up the work including Mostly Autumnís Liam Davison; sometimes all three guitarists appear on the same track. Guests on sax and backing vocals complete the lineup. Read the Trebuchet Magazine review.
Recently cited by Classic Rock magazine as ďThe Best Prog Band Youíve Never HeardĒ, Jonesy were one of the most innovative British bands of the early 1970s. Placing a Mellotron at the center of their sound and taking influences from the worlds of jazz, rock, classical music and folk, Jonesy recorded a single and three albums (No Alternative, Keeping Up, and Growing) for Pyeís progressive Dawn imprint, all between 1972-73. Drawing comparisons to King Crimson and Yes, Jonesy were distinct from them. Beginning with their second album, they added Alan Bown on electric trumpet and electric flugelhorn, further distinguishing their sound. This 2CD set on the Esoteric label gathers all of Jonesyís recorded output for Dawn Records: all three albums and both sides of the single, all 24-bit remastered from the original master tapes.
These are the 2008 editions of these CDs on the Esoteric label, remastered from the original tapes and featuring fully-restored artwork and new essays. Released on the short-lived Youngblood label in 1970, the double-LP A Time Before This was the first vinyl outing for science fiction author Julian Jay Savarin, who assembled a group of musicians on guitar, bass, and drums to record this conceptual work. The music is classic proto-prog, dominated by Savarinís spacey organ and the vocals of Australian singer Cathy Pruden, whose singing is similar to that of Annisette of Savage Rose. This is the more psychedelic of the two albums.
Savarinís second album Waiters on the Dance was released on the Youngblood imprint Birth in 1973. A lot happened to progressive rock between 1970 and 1973, but Waiters on the Dance doesnít reflect most of those advances. It is still more closely related to proto-prog bands such as Rare Bird, Cressida, Mainhorse, Jonesy, etc. It is superior to A Time Before This, though much shorter, dropping the more psychedelic elements and increasing the grandiosity. It features great Hammond work and even adds a little Mellotron. Aside from the bassist, the other supporting musicians are new, including singer Jo Meek from Catapilla, though this album is more instrumental than the first one. Overall these albums come closest to those of Sandrose and Earth & Fire.
Matthew (2000), On Impulse (2001), and Home Songs (2003) are the sixth, seventh, and eighth studio albums respectively from this six-man UK band. All rely heavily on the vocal talents of John Dexter Jones, powerful contemporary lyrics, and strong melodies. Jump are a hard-working band playing a vocal-oriented rock music with progressive touches, close at times to Oysterband (without the fiddle or folk overtones) or some Marillion or Fish (both of whom Jump have supported in the past). Their songwriting well seems in no danger of running dry, and Jump only improve with age, probably because of their regular touring. And All the Kingís Men (1994) is their third album; this attracted the attention of Marillionís Mark Kelly, who produced their fourth album.
If Welsh singer-songwriter Kandina Jane doesnít make you think of Kate Bush, then you havenít heard Kate Bush. Like Kate, Kandina Jane transcends the pop and singer-songwriter genres and creates her own magical universe. The music also has similarities to Cocteau Twins but is much warmer. This CD combines Kandina Janeís independently-released 2005 debut Move Forward with her 2007 follow-up Back to Lillie on one CD, over 72-minutes total. She plays piano and other keyboards and multi-tracks her vocals, backed by other musicians on guitars, keys, bass and drums. These are soft symphonic rock songs centered on her breathtaking vocals, songs with depth and a full, lush sound palette, but with feminine energy and mystique. Here are full-length mp3ís of the songs Move Forward, Cariad, and Maria.
ďFans of Iona, October Project, Clannad, Mostly Autumn and Magenta will now be able to add the name Kara to the fold of Celtic-inspired progressive folk-rock bands that have become increasingly popular recently.Ē Thus begins the review of Karaís 2005 debut CD at the Sea of Tranquility review site. Weíd add Karnataka to the list. On this CD, Kara is a trio of Colin Mold (guitars, keys, vocals), Kirsta Johnston (lead vocals, recorders, flute, keys), and Steve Barfoot (drums, vocals). They have the sound of a larger ensemble. The term ďfolkĒ is often used in reviews, but Kara are no more folk than Mike Oldfield or Renaissance, which few folkies recognize as folk music. Mike Oldfield is an especially good reference for Kara because of the excellent electric guitar leads as well as acoustic work of Colin Mold, while the atmospheric synth pads that underpin it all are reminiscent of Clannad. Yes, Kara do cover one English traditional song, the ever-popular She Moved Through the Fair, but Karaís arrangement is instrumental and would have fit well on the Robin of Sherwood soundtrack. Wonderful music hidden beneath a pedestrian cover. ďThis is an excellent album, all the members are multi-instrumentalists, and of the nine tracks on the CD, there really is not a weak one among them. As a musical reference, think early Mostly Autumn with their Celtic influence but without the longer epic tracks.Ē [Classic Rock Society] Read the in-depth review at Musical Discoveries.
Karda Estra is a unique hybrid of progressive and classical music, using both rock and classical chamber instruments. Assisted by several musicians and employing classical & electric guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, oboe, flute, violin, cor anglais, and heavenly wordless female vocals, composer Richard Wileman achieves a surreal melancholy and poignant beauty that has few parallels. One band that comes close to Karda Estra is In the Nursery, though ITN tend to be more electronic. Another is Channel Light Vessel (check for their CDs above). Or imagine the best of the 4AD label taken much further into progressive/symphonic/classical realms.
Eve (2001) is inspired by the story The Future Eve and combines symphonic rock and classical elements to create a hauntingly beautiful and atmospheric music. Gorgeous stuff. Constellations (2003) is centered around a haunting and powerful suite inspired by six constellations. The suite runs a vast emotional range, from gentle melancholy passages featuring classical guitar and woodwind, to expansive bursts of sound and color. The album concludes with a beautiful interpretation of the Steve Hackett instrumental Twice Around the Sun, and one can detect an affinity for Steve Hackettís music in many of the Karda Estra pieces. Voivode Dracula (2004) is based on the Dracula legend and is darker than most of the other Karda Estra albums.
Alternate History is a low-priced sampler containing 11 tracks spanning 1998-2004: eight tracks from the previous Karda Estra albums and three rare tracks from the now deleted Land of Ghosts compilations.
The Age of Science and Enlightenment (2006) is the sixth CD from Karda Estra. Itís hard to say whether this is Karda Estraís best work, but we can say that it is almost unspeakably beautiful. As a rough guide, think of Hackett & Rutherfordís Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers extrapolated into a more serious classical work. However one looks at it, this is exquisite. The Last of the Libertine (2007) is the most rhythmic of their albums, and one can again hear the dark side of Steve Hackett at times.
Weird Tales (2009) is a bit darker than most of their other albums, but no less spellbinding. There isnít much we can add to what weíve written already other than to remark that Richard Wileman has created a pretty good working environment for himself, employing female musicians almost exclusively! ďRichard Wileman is one of the best progressive, contemporary classical music composers to grace the planet today.Ē [Hairless Heart Herald]
With the Cyclops label semi-dormant, Karda Estra are now doing it themselves. Mondo Profondo / New Worlds (2013) contains two albums on one CD. New Worlds was released in 2011 as a digital download; this is its first appearance on CD. It contains 12 instrumental tracks including collaborations with Kavus Torabi (Cardiacs, Knifeworld), Don Falcone & Bridget Wishart (Spirits Burning), and Stuart Rowe (Lighterthief, Andy Partridge). Mondo Profondo is a 2013 album that features four Richard Wileman compositions plus two collaborations: one with Matt Baber (Sanguine Hum) and another with Mohadev and Benjamin DeGain (Terraformation), Stuart Rowe, Kavus Torabi, and Phil Mercy (Thievesí Kitchen). Marco Bernard (The Samurai of Prog) guests, and as usual, Wileman has many musicians on classical chamber and rock instruments assisting, plus the wordless vocals of Ileesha Bailey. This is progressive cinematic futurist nostalgia, or something like that, but one thing is certain -- Richard Wileman knows a lot of chords and is not afraid to use them. Listen to Mondo Profondo I on YouTube. Read reviews at Prog Archives of Mondo Profondo and New Worlds. Read reviews of many Karda Estra albums at The Borderland. Check below for CDs by Lives and Times, the predecessor to Karda Estra.
In their first incarnation, the Welsh band Karnataka won the 2000 British Classic Rock Society Award for Best New Band, while lead vocalist Rachel Jones also garnered Best Female Vocalist honors in 2000 and 2001. The strength of the original Karnataka was undoubtedly their vocals, with Rachel joined by Anne-Marie Helder on backing vocals and flute, and the fact that the lovely vocals came from two lovely women did not hamper their stage presence. Instrumentally, the band often shows a Marillion-derived neo-progressive lineage, with keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums, but the combination of their different elements makes them unique. Because of the vocals, Karnataka can be compared to Iona, though they arenít as Celtic as Iona. There is no denying their appeal, which should include fans of later Clannad, Renaissance, and October Project, and the band seemed poised for greater success. But in August 2004, this lineup broke up.
Delicate Flame of Desire (2003) was the third and final studio album for the original band. It is undoubtedly their best, a sumptuous CD with fantastic vocal harmonies and enough progressive instrumental content to sink oneís teeth into. The 10+ minute finale Heart of Stone is absolutely glorious. The Storm (2000) is their second CD.
Strange Behaviour (2004) is a 2CD live album, featuring a 20-page full-color booklet. Karnataka selected the best performances from their 2003 tour, and the sound quality is superb. Since the band improved steadily, the live renditions of songs from their first two CDs are significantly more powerful. Furthermore, this was the first recorded work to fully feature Ann-Marie Helder; her flute playing and her magnificent backing vocals take many of the songs to a new level. There are also two excellent songs that had yet to appear on a studio album, plus two hidden songs after a gap following Out Of Reach. Read the DPRP review.
The original Karnataka splintered into at least three different bands: Panic Room, The Reasoning, and the current version of Karnataka who are lead by founder Ian Jones. This Karnataka debuted in 2010 with The Gathering Light (68-minutes), and it was absolutely worth the wait. In addition to recruiting a new guitarist, keyboardist, and drummer, Jones found yet another female singer with a fabulous voice in the person of Lisa Fury. Ubiquitous pipes and whistles man Troy Donockley and former ELO cellist Hugh McDowell make important contributions. Significantly, this is the biggest sounding, most symphonic of all the Karnataka and related albums, the most traditionally proggy. If you like your progressive rock melodic and bombastic and appreciate heavenly female vocals, then chances are this will be on your top ten list for that year. Read the reviews at DPRP and Musical Discoveries.
This is the 2008 Esoteric label edition of this classic prog album, basically a repressing of the remastered version released earlier on Eclectic Discs, mastered from the original master tapes and featuring extensive liner notes. Best known as the album that first brought the talents of guitarist Steve Hillage to prominence, Khan also featured Dave Stewart (Egg, National Health, etc.). Khanís sole album is a splendid example of a fusion of Canterbury style rock with jazz and space rock influences. Originally released in 1972, this expanded edition includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks.
These are the 2010 newly-remastered and expanded Esoteric label editions of the three albums from Arthur Brown & Kingdom Come, a psychedelic space-prog-rock band somewhat similar to Hawkwind of the same timeframe. For bonus tracks, Galactic Zoo Dossier (1971) contains alternate versions of two album tracks, plus two tracks from a 1971 BBC Radio One John Peel session (previously unreleased on CD). Kingdom Come (1972) contains alternate versions of two album tracks plus two more tracks from a 1971 John Peel session, also previously unreleased on CD.
Journey (1973) has been expanded to a double-CD. The second disc contains eight bonus tracks of rare single material, alternate mixes, and three recordings from a 1972 John Peel session. As an aside, Journey is usually cited as the first rock album where the drummer was replaced entirely by a drum machine, in this case the Bentley Rhythm Ace, an early analog unit and the predecessor to the Roland TR77. The fact that these analog units sort of work with the music is because they sound almost, but not quite, completely unlike drums. The 8-bit digital drum machines that would appear in the 1980s actually sounded vaguely like drums, which made them more irritating when used in lieu of a rock drummer. Lots to read about these albums at Prog Archives, plus some Mellotron-centric reviews at Planet Mellotron.
This is the Huge Giant Prog Release of 2012. As the promotional materials say: ďRemember when the latest album we bought was more than just a click of a mouse? Remember when music meant something - the excitement and anticipation as the needle came down, not knowing what we were about to hear? Nothing else mattered at that moment. Our undivided attention was given to the music, music that would become the soundtrack of our lives.Ē The Kompendium project was organized by Restless Rob Reed of Magenta, who comments: ďThe genesis of the album was a conversation with a contemporary of mine over a glass of wine. We were talking about all the epic albums we loved from the 70s like Tubular Bells and War of the Worlds, and how nobody seems to make music like that anymore. He came up with a sort of Ďgentlemanís challengeí to go ahead and make one, and like a fool, I said yes! Three years later, I now realise why they donít make them anymore. I went back to my favourite albums and made a wish list of players from the 70s and a few contemporary artists as well that I wanted for the project. What I really love are albums that mix styles, so with all these great musicians, I was able to blend Celtic music with rock and classical to produce something which, although it was a huge undertaking, I really hope is unique.Ē
The impressive list of participants includes Steve Balsamo (Jesus Christ Superstar, ChimpanA), Steve Hackett - nylon guitar; Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) - drums; Nick Beggs (Steve Hackett Band) - stick; Troy Donockley (ex-Iona) - Uilleann Pipes, whistles; Nick Barrett (Pendragon) - guitar, Neil Taylor (Tears for Fears, Robbie Williams) - guitar; Jakko Jackzyk (21st Century Schizoid Band) - guitar; Francis Dunnery (ex-It Bites) - guitar, John Mitchell (It Bites) - guitar, Mel Collins (King Crimson, Camel) - sax, BJ Cole (Elton John, David Gilmour) - pedal steel guitar, Chris Fry (Magenta) - guitar, Christina Booth (Magenta) - backing vocals, and introducing the vocal talents of Angharad Bryn in the role of Lily. Adding to the epic quality of the album are celebrated vocal ensemble Synergy, The English Chamber Choir conducted by Guy Protheroe, the London Session Orchestra conducted by Dave Stewart, and renowned opera singers Rhys Meirion and Shan Cothi.
This gorgeous set includes a CD plus a DVD (NTSC, all-region) in a 7" gatefold sleeve with a 20-page large-format booklet bound in. The DVD contains a DTS 24/96 5.1 surround mix of the album (also Dolby Digital), music videos for three songs, and several Ďmaking ofí videos. Read the Prog Magazine feature article: Page 1 • Page 2 (These are scans; you may need to zoom in.) Counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping.
Konchordat is a relatively new name to add to the British neo-prog pantheon. Their debut English Ghosts (2009, 63-minutes) is mostly in the classic 1980s neo-prog style (e.g., Marillion, Pendragon), though since singer Lee Harding has a somewhat Gabriel-like voice, Citizen Cain or the more Genesis-like Ad Infinitum tracks also come to mind. Nick Magnus mastered the album. Read a gushing review at Eurorock.
The New Crusade (2011) is their second. ďThe New Crusade marks a significant surge in confidence and artistry for Konchordat. Still entrenched in lavish symphonic prog, albeit tempered by brief excursions into neo-prog pastures, founder member Steve Cork and now permanent singer and guitarist Stuart Martin have begun to forge a distinct identity of their own. The opening title trackís shimmering keyboards and potent six-string sustain certainly betrays a penchant for Fish-era Marillion, and maybe even a dash of Pallas, but that is the last time on The New Crusade that this band sound wholly indebted to anyone else... This is a purposeful and precise reinvention of a thoroughly British strain of prog, replete with spine-tingling guitar solos, some elegantly poetic lyrics, and enough pathos to force tears from the eyes of a stone statue of Stalin.Ē [Classic Rock Presents Prog]
Lives and Times was Richard Wilemanís band prior to Karda Estra, which began on the defunct Dutch prog label SI Music before jumping to Cyclops. Lives and Times was more of a conventional rock/pop band than Karda Estra, especially on their final album Hoarse (1997, 38-minutes), which doesnít have the long, moody instrumentals of earlier albums. Here they are a four-piece band plus guests, featuring a new singer in Ileesha Bailey who is now the female voice in Karda Estra. The music comes across as a more progressive, less shoegazing version of Cocteau Twins. ďIf you like All About Eve, Everything But the Girl, and perhaps Cocteau Twins with some of the prog rock aspirations of Yes, then you might find Hoarse to your tastes.Ē [The Borderland]
There and Back Again Lane (1995) is the sixth Lives and Times album. The dark, suspenseful soundscapes foreshadow Karda Estra, especially on the 11-minute instrumental that concludes the album, while the female vocals hint at Cocteau Twins, cold and indifferent. ďThere and Back Again Lane combines the soaring vocals of Lorna Cumberland with the dark soundscapes of musician Richard Wileman... Melody Maker described their last album as ĎCocteau Twins meets Kate Bush, but really they steal nothing from either, those are just reference points.í The dark, suspenseful mood of their songs give them a unique character benefiting from the fine vocals and thoughtful lyrics.Ē
ďIssued by Parlophone in January 1970, this was the only album by the Birmingham based group fronted by keyboard player Norman Haine. Featuring the psychedelic classic Mr. Armageddon, the album was a marvelous fusion of jazz, psychedelia and early progressive music and was graced by guest musicians Dick Heckstall Smith, Henry Lowther and Chris Mercer. This remastered Esoteric edition includes six bonus tracks, comprising the mono single versions of Mr. Armageddon and You Must Be Joking, rare B-sides, and both sides of the bandís final single.Ē
All the CDs here are on the Eclectic/Esoteric label, known for their meticulous remastering jobs and extensive booklets. And as the Eclectic label is no more, the older titles are now out-of-print. Woolly Wolstenholme was the keyboardist and Mellotron man in Barclay James Harvest and was responsible for their more epic and symphonic pieces. He left BJH in 1979, and in 1980 released his first solo album Maestoso. Wolstenholme is joined by several other musicians, and later he used ďMaestosoĒ as the name of this band. This is a quality album that will please most fans of early BJH. This CD edition adds two bonus live tracks.
Fiddling Meanly (2005) is a live CD recorded at The Mean Fiddler in London in 2004, recorded straight to DAT from the mixing desk. It features a mix of Wolstenholmeís solo material and BJH material. The warts and all recording actually gives the listener more of a feeling of being there, especially with the between song banter left in, and the increased energy of the live performance makes some of the versions on this disc superior to the studio versions.
Grim (2005) is a sometimes dark and sometimes humorous tale of a fictitious Northern England town and its strange inhabitants. (No, not Royston Vasey.) With only a change in drummer, Grim picks up where One Drop in a Dry World left off and goes further, ranging from Mellotron splendor to dark orchestral to delicate to humorous and generally just clever. This is symphonic rock that doesnít sound overly retro, but it could only have been created by someone who was making music in the early 1970s and understands the aesthetic from the inside. Itís more progressive than any BJH album, and probably Wolstenholmeís best to date.
The latest Maestoso studio album is Caterwauling (2007, 59-minutes). Perhaps tired of being pushed around and labeled ďsoftĒ, Wolstenholme and his band open with a loud blast of something resembling Red-era King Crimson. But the soft, pastoral, and majestic stuff is what Wolstenholme does best, and thatís what the other 98% of the album is, evoking the classic BJH sound. Geoffrey Richardson (Caravan, Penguin Cafť Orchestra) guests. As the All Music Guide says, ďWolstenholmeís recorded work with Maestoso is not just the best of any BJH side projects, but is equal to any work by BJH in their prime.Ē More info on all these CDs at Woollyís site.
Magenta - Live: On Our Way to Who Knows Where (2CD, $19.99) out-of-stock
Magenta - Metamorphosis special edition (CD+DVD, $17.99) out-of-stock
Magenta - Live at the Point 2007 2CD ($17.99) out-of-stock
Magenta, from South Wales, is led by Rob Reed, a talented keyboardist whose previous band was Cyan. Magenta represents the pinnacle of Reedís achievements to date, certainly the most ambitious and conceptual of his bands. In Reedís own words: ďCurrent prog bands were always scared and shy about admitting influences of the great bands of the 70s, and I wanted to come clean and admit and celebrate these influences and hopefully create something as worthwhile as these classics. To do this, I had to give priority to melody rather than technical showmanship, something I have always tried to do with all my work, although many current prog bands seem to forget about it.Ē Magenta is a sextet with Christina Murphy on lead vocals; she can be heard singing backing vocals on some of the Cyan tracks. Their major influence is Yes, which alone sets them apart from most neo-prog bands, as well as some Genesis, Marillion, and touches of Renaissance, Floyd, and others. The female vocals give Magenta similar appeal as Iona and Karnataka. They favor long tracks that go through a lot of changes, but the tracks are cohesive.
Revolutions, Magentaís 2001 double-CD debut, immediately established them as a major new band. There are segments that strongly suggest some well-known prog songs, but we wonít spoil the fun of picking them out. Another Time Another Place is their 2004 live double-CD recorded throughout Europe between 2002-2004 and featuring the tracks Opus [2:39], Gluttony [12:00], Lust [13:08], Broken [4:07], Children of the Sun [20:24], Call Me [5:11], The White Witch [22:04], Genetesis [12:16], Pride [12:16], and Anger [5:02].
Magentaís 2004 studio album Seven is a sympho-prog feast and was one of the major prog albums of that year. In fact, the consensus is that this is their best album. In 2009, the band reissued Seven in this CD+DVD Special Edition. The album was completely remixed by Rob Reed and remastered by Bob Katz (Digital Domain), and the CD now runs 78:54. In revisiting the multitracks, Rob found loads of musical parts that had not been used in the original mix and incorporated some of them. The DVD (NTSC, all-region, 16:9) begins with the feature Inside the Mix with Rob Reed (79:56), in which Rob discusses and dissects the multitracks of the original 2004 mix. An interview with lyricist Steve Reed and Rob Reed follows (36:54), with the two discussing each track from a musical and lyrical point of view, the artwork and guest musicians, and reflecting on the impact of the CD five years on. Next up is 42 minutes of bootleg live videos of the songs Lust, Anger, Gluttony, and Pride. But best of all, the DVD contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix of the entire Seven album! OK, it isnít DVD-Audio or SACD or Blu-ray, but weíll take whatever surround we can get.
Home and New York Suite are Magentaís pair of 2006 studio CDs. The 2CD special edition packages the two separate CDs Home and New York Suite together in a slipcase. We also have New York Suite available separately. The 68-minute Home is a concept piece telling the story of a woman who emigrates from Liverpool in the early 1970s to find herself in America. The 40-minute New York Suite examines the experiences of the main character of Home during her stay in Manhattan. The music on New York Suite is every bit as good as on Home; in fact, New York Suite contains most of the longer songs. There is a noticeable progression in Magentaís style here. Perhaps because lead vocalist Christina has matured into a first-rate singer, the music has become more centered on her vocals, bringing Magenta a step closer to the sound of Ionaís vocal tracks, and to a lesser extent, the original Karnataka and Renaissance. The vocal styles of Christina and Ionaís Joanne Hogg have a certain similarity, and the Iona comparison is reinforced by the guest appearance of Ionaís Troy Donockley on Uilleann pipes and whistles. Instrumentally, the dominant influence remains Yes, and one can spot bits lifted from Genesis and Steve Hackett, but thatís always been part of the fun of listening to a Magenta album. These influences account for only a fraction of Magentaís style though. Overall this is a monumental achievement for Rob Reed and company.
The Singles (2007) contains 14 tracks, every song that has made up Magentaís four EP/singles, 79-minutes total. Eight of these tracks have been specially re-recorded for this release, and none have been available on a full-length CD before. Rob Reed explains the decision to release the album: ďMost of these songs have been an important part of Magentaís live set for several years now and they have evolved as the band has performed them live. We felt it was time to record and release definitive versions with our current lineup. We hope that fans of the band that have our three albums but have not yet had the chance to hear these songs, will enjoy this equally important aspect of the bandís music. However, we hope that those that already have some of this material will appreciate how these songs have evolved over time and that you all love the new versions.Ē Included on the CD is Night and Day, which was originally recorded with Annie Haslam. This version features a complete lead vocal from Christina for the first time. Also included is Sunshine Saviour, a new piece adapted from Children of the Sun from the bandís first album Revolutions. The three bonus tracks contain an additional 25-minutes of music including the full 14-minute directorís cut of Pride. Click the mp3 icon next to this title above for more details.
Magentaís 2008 live double-CD features over 100 minutes of live music recorded at their amazing performance at The Point in Cardiff in November 2007. Only two of the tracks appear on Magentaís previous live 2CD. Live at the Point includes an extended selection from Home, the rarely performed Sloth, and the recent show-stopping arrangement of The Warning from Revolutions. The same performance is captured on the DVD (NTSC, all-region, 16:9), which adds a behind-the-scenes documentary, interviews, and the video for Speechless. Not only was it the last concert in support of their third album Home and the last performance of that lineup, apparently even the venue has since closed! The Live at the Point DVD features a set list largely different from The Gathering DVD released in 2005. 5.1 surround and stereo audio, 147-minutes (concert running time 106-minutes).
Yes, Magentaís 2008 studio CD Metamorphosis is somewhat darker and more intense than their previous work, though hardly enough to warrant cover graphics that belong on a metal album. As the previous albums Home and New York Suite showed Magenta becoming more song and vocal-oriented, Metamorphosis represents an about face. The qualities found on Home are still present though, blended with the epic progressive rock of their first two albums, then done up darker than any of it. Troy Donockley (Iona) again guests on Uilleann pipes, and there is a string section. Read the review at Musical Discoveries. The 2013 Special Edition adds a slipcase and a DVD, and the CD adds five bonus tracks including orchestral versions of album tracks and the Ďmissing sectioní of the title track. The DVD (NTSC, all-region) contains the original album in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio along with well over two hours of Ďmaking ofí features and interviews. There are also three promo videos including the brand new video for The War Brideís Prayer.
Live at Real World is the 3-disc set of Magentaís acoustic performance at Peter Gabrielís Real World Studio near Bath in November 2009. The band was augmented by a string quartet and oboe player. The double-CD contains not only the audio recording of the concert but also three additional songs recorded at Real World the next day. The DVD (NTSC, all-region) contains video of the entire 96-minute concert with both stereo and 5.1 surround audio. Extras include a 5.1 mix of Joe from Home, the promotional video of Blind Faith, and two photo galleries. As the trailer on YouTube will make evident, Magenta have a compelling sound in this acoustic setting. Apart from the strings and oboe, the major difference is that Rob Reed plays a superb acoustic piano rather than electronic keys, and the guitar is all acoustic. These new arrangements serve to emphasize the Renaissance aspects of Magentaís sound, charm and subtleties that can be missed in their electric performances. Counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
Magentaís 2012 live double-CD Live: On Our Way to Who Knows Where was recorded over several concerts and features songs from every previous Magenta album, including four from Chameleon. It also includes a bonus studio recording of When We Were Young, which is available on CD for the first time.
After Chameleon, Magentaís sixth studio album The Twenty Seven Club (2013) sees them return in spectacular form with six progressive rock epics. ďThe new album has been five years in the making and I have tried to take the best elements of all the previous Magenta albums to craft the best collection of songs I could. I think this has been achieved and The Twenty Seven Club represents a return to our progressive rock rootsĒ says Rob. ďOnly a few people have heard the album thus far but all have agreed that this is the best Magenta album to dateĒ. The Twenty Seven Club refers to a large group of musician/singers (including Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain) who all died at the age of 27, many from alcohol or drug abuse. Andy Edwards (IQ, Frost) is the drummer on this album. The DVD (NTSC, all-region) contains a 5.1 surround mix of the entire album in DTS 24/96 and Dolby Digital, the 107-minute The Making of The Twenty Seven Club documentary, and the promo video for the song The Lizard King. Watch the promo video.
Tales of Power (2011, digipack) is the second CD for Norwich, Englandís Magicfolk, whose style is suggested by their name. ĎFaerie Festival Progí would be good too but is unwieldy as a band name. Wonderful stuff by any name, Magicfolkís sound is centered on the beautiful vocals of Michelle Glover, supported by acoustic & electric guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, flute, violin, mandolin, and harp. Magicfolk sound like the legendary Mellow Candle, but proggier. The folk here is mythical rather than traditional; all the songs are originals. Another band Magicfolk could be compared to is Kara, especially considering Kara and now Karnataka guitarist Colin Mold plays on most of the songs here. There are elements of the west coast psychedelic style of Jefferson Airplane, the folky side of Mostly Autumn and Jethro Tull, Solstice, Capercaillie, Clannad, Iona, Loreena McKennitt, Mary Jane, Spriguns, Spirogyra, Mermaid Kiss, and October Project. You really ought to have some idea by now.
Read the Exposť and Sea of Tranquility reviews of the 2007 first Magicfolk CD.
First self-published in 2008, this is the 2011 Musea edition of Brian Maloneís The Mechanical Voices. Malone is a multi-instrumentalist from Dublin who lists Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Sigur Ros and Puccini among his influences. This is richly-textured, very melodic instrumental progressive rock with an epic, cinematic feel. A reasonable comparison is early Yanni, updated with the use of current sample libraries. (Yanni originally made progressive rock before his music became overly romantic and he became a new age icon.) YouTube has the tracks The Big Noise, Spiritus Domini, and The Elf.
The British progressive rock band Mandalaband released two semi-legendary albums during the 1970s: their self-titled 1975 album and The Eye of Wendor: Prophecies in 1978. Resurrection (2010, digipack) reissues both, remixed and remastered by bandleader David Rohl from the original 24-track multitrack masters. Rohl also reinforced the sound in places. Six bonus tracks have been added. Both are wonderful symphonic rock albums that are essential to any collection of 1970s progressive rock, but they were recorded by entirely different lineups. The original Mandalaband actually was a band, and its members went on to become Sad Cafť. The first album is highlighted by the Om Mani Padme Hum suite, which took up the first side of the LP. The Eye of Wendor was a Tolkienesque affair that was to have been the first of a trilogy. It was an all-star studio project featuring a huge number of musicians including all of Barclay James Harvest and 10cc, Justin Hayward, Maddy Prior, Paul Young (Mike and the Mechanics), and an orchestra.
In one of the most unlikely comebacks in the prog world, Mandalaband returned in 2009 with their third album BC: Ancestors. But after all, the story in their second album ended with the words ďto be continuedĒ, so they planned this all along, though Ancestors is not a continuation of The Eye of Wendor story. David Rohl is back in charge. Returning Mandalaband members include Woolly Wolstenholme (Barclay James Harvest, Maestoso), Ashley Mulford (Mike and the Mechanics), and Kim Turner (Maestoso). Also onboard are the ever in-demand Troy Donockley (formerly of Iona), Geoffrey Richardson (Caravan, Penguin Cafe Orchestra), Craig Fletcher (Maestoso), and several others. Ancestors is a majestic, melodic symphonic rock album that manages to cover 5,000 years of human history in 68-minutes. It is a richly-orchestrated work, adding Celtic and ambient touches to the Mandalaband sound to reflect the ancient-world subject matter. Imagine a combination of Barclay James Harvest, The Moody Blues (both with orchestra), Maestoso, later Camel, Troy Donockleyís own albums, and Clannad (circa Legend). While the lead vocals are mostly male, the male/female backing vocals are very Clannad-like. Read the Background Magazine review.
While BC: Ancestors focused on the pre-Christian era of ancient Egypt, Israel and Mesopotamia, the even better AD: Sangreal (2011) takes the first one thousand years of early Christianity as its theme, specifically the legend of the holy grail or Sangreal. The large cast of musicians includes many returnees from BC, notably Woolly Wolstenholme who passed away during the late stages of recording. There is one bonus track that features Woolly as lead vocalist on Mandalabandís rendition of the classic Barclay James Harvest song Galadriel. Here are videos for the tracks A Bloodline Born, Palatium Britannicum, and Galadriel. Read the ProgNaut and Progmeister reviews.
Check our DVDs page for Manfred Mannís Angel Station In Moscow DVD. Manfred Mannís Earth Band frequently get overlooked in discussions of progressive rock, perhaps because theyíve had a long career that has covered more styles than just prog rock, and their commercial success came from doing covers. Mann himself should at least be mentioned alongside the other pioneering prog rock keyboardists. These CDs are the latest remastered editions with bonus tracks.
Solar Fire and The Good Earth, both originally released in 1974, are the two proggiest MMEB albums. They will surprise those only familiar with the MMEB radio hits. Solar Fire has two bonus tracks, the hit single Joybringer, which was based on Holstís Planets suite and did not appear on the European vinyl release, plus an alternate 45 edit of Father of Day, Father of Night. The Good Earth has three bonus tracks which are single versions of album tracks.
Nightingales & Bombers (1975) kicks off with the hit Spirits in the Night, the first of several Bruce Springsteen covers for MMEB. At its best, the album is true progressive rock, and at its worst, itís still pretty good, a blend of progressive and blues-based rock. The two bonus tracks include the single edit of Spirits in the Night and the cover of Bob Dylanís Quit Your Low Down Ways, which was only on the U.S. vinyl release.
The Roaring Silence (1976) gave MMEB a whole new level of fame, opening with the 7-minute Blinded by the Light, another Springsteen cover and one of only a handful of progressive rock songs to become classic rock radio staples. The rest of the album is on the same level. The two bonus tracks include Spirits in the Night sung by Chris Thompson (he first appears on this album) and the single edit of Blinded by the Light.
The MMEB sound generally changed with the times, so Watch (1978) is still fairly proggy but more song-oriented. The songs here are really strong, as this album is the best-selling of Mannís career. It contains the UK hit Davyís on the Road Again and a reworking of the big hit The Mighty Quinn. The four bonus tracks are single versions of three of the album tracks, plus one non-LP. One of these bonus tracks is the single version of The Mighty Quinn, which is a different recording than the album version.
Chance (1980) again sees MMEB updating with the times to a more high-tech pop sound, with lots of keyboards. Lies (Through the 80s) was a hit, as was the cover of Springsteenís For You. Both are terrific if forgotten songs that are great to hear again. Trevor Rabin was the associate producer and contributed some guitar. The four bonus tracks include a rare B-side and three single versions. The booklets are generally excellent, with extensive liner notes.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Guy Manning, a sometimes member of The Tangent, is continuing the tradition of great British progressive singers who take the singer-songwriter model and expand it to epic proportions. At various times, weíre reminded of Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull, Roger Waters, Geoff Mann (Twelfth Night), Dave Cousins/The Strawbs, Roy Harper, Rupert Hine, Al Stewart, and Nigel Mazlyn Jones. Manningís strong vocals are among the best in the progressive genre today. He is a poet and storyteller who could be (and sometimes is) a folk troubadour but chooses to work on a larger scale. There is almost no one making music like this now, and with so much progressive rock today lacking emotional warmth and heart energy, itís vital to hear music this organic.
The Festival Music label has begun to reissue the Manning albums in Ď10th Anniversary Editionsí. These new editions come in printed sleeves rather than jewel boxes and count as only one-half CD each for shipping, plus the price is nice. Tall Stories for Small Children, The Cure, and One Small Step were remastered in 2010 by Andy Tillison (The Tangent), while Songs from the Bilston House is recent enough that there was no need for remastering. Each 10th Anniversary Edition CD adds one bonus track.
Tall Stories for Small Children (1999) is the first Manning album; The Cure (2000) is the second. Both feature Andy Tillison plus several other musicians.
One Small Step (2005) is Guy Manningís seventh album, assisted here by Laura Fowles (sax, vocals), Gareth Harwood (lead electric guitar), Ian Fairbairn (fiddle), Rick Ashton (bass), and Martin Orford of IQ on flute, while Guy plays all manner of keyboards, guitars, and drums. His songwriting skills have reached the next level, as the folk-tinged melodies here are instantly memorable. The long title suite is another landmark achievement for Guy. Most of the suite is driven by acoustic guitar and shows a strong Roy Harper influence, though the arrangement is much fuller and more progressive, with lots of Mellotron and organ from Guy and all the other musicians making important contributions. One has to marvel at the sheer volume of quality music Manning is able to complete, and bemoan the fact that heíll probably never receive the recognition he deserves. The booklet artwork by Ed Unitsky is gorgeous.
Guy Manningís eighth album Anserís Tree (2006, 64-minutes) may be the most electric and out-and-out progressive of the Manning albums to date. The album traces the history of one family told through the eyes of their last descendent, searching on the Ďlast remaining hillí to discover the secrets of his own past and uncover the universal patterns that surround us all. The other musicians this time include Laura Fowles (sax, vocals), Ian Fairbairn (fiddles), David Million (electric guitars), Andy Tillison (keys), and Stephen Dundon of Molly Bloom (flute). Flute is used more extensively on this album, which reinforces the Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull comparison in a number of places. Ed Unitsky again provides fabulous artwork.
On Songs from the Bilston House (2007), Guy is joined by Fowles (saxes, vocals), Fairbairn (fiddles), Million (electric guitars), and Julie King (vocals), plus guests Dundon (flutes) and Tillison (keyboards, drums, vocals, co-production). We already thought that Guy Manning has been responsible for some of the best music this millennium, and itís remarkable that he manages a new CD every year. But this album is just incredible, almost all that is good in classic melodic British progressive rock rolled into one CD. In addition to all the influences and reference points mentioned above, we now also hear some Caravan, Genesis, Snow Goose-era Camel, and Fairport Convention, and certainly fans of The Tangent will be drawn to this album. Excellent production and artwork top off a beautiful, powerful, intelligent and heartfelt progressive rock album.
Number Ten (2009, 63-minutes) is already the tenth Manning CD, and by now weíve exhausted our supply of superlatives, but fortunately prog fans are finally realizing that the Manning CDs are full of the best in classic-style British progressive rock. Number Ten is very strong and could be a new high water mark for Manning. ďNumber Ten has set the bar for all other releases in the progressive rock genre for 2009. If this had been released in the late 70s or early 80s, then weíd have been seeing Mr. Manning on our TV screens in the endless documentaries about Ďhow good the old prog wasí.Ē [Paul Baker, ARfm Soundscapes Radio]
As for Charlestown (2010): ďThe 11th album from one of Englandís best kept prog rock secrets, Charlestown is a splendid blend of modern and classical progressive rock. Epic opener Charlestown is an amazing musical adventure on the high seas of imaginative forward looking rock. Caliban & Ariel is a gentle contrast to the drama of the title track, there is also a Ďwhat was that?í moment when T.I.C. takes to the air! Album closer Finale takes some themes from the epic opening track and reworks them into an absorbing instrumental extravaganza, but donít expect a straight copy, that wouldnít be Manning! Fans of Jethro Tull, Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis and all the usual suspects should find a lot to like on this album but may be disappointed if they expect an impersonation of their heroes. Manning and Charlestown are much too adventurous and original for that!Ē [Paul Baker, ARFm Soundscapes Radio].
Margaretís Children (2011) is the sequel to Anserís Tree. Among the guest musicians is Marek Arnold (Toxic Smile, Seven Steps to the Green Door) on woodwinds. Watch the album trailer. ďFor those already acquainted with Guyís work, you will embrace this album with open arms. For those unfamiliar, I can only suggest that he is an artist you get to know as soon as possible as it really is artists like this that do make a difference in the world of music.Ē Read the full DPRP reviews.
Manningís Akoustik (2012) contains re-imagined / re-worked pieces from the now vast Manning back catalog in an Ďunpluggedí format, and follows the success the band have had playing acoustic gigs. The band has been stripped down to a mere nine people here, while the Jethro Tull / Ian Anderson mood is more pronounced. ďAkoustik is a great album for a lazy Sunday. It has a delightfully relaxed vibe and would suit a quiet moment with a chance to watch the rain come down from the warmth of your home. The timing of the release couldnít be better as there are some lovely autumnal shades to this work. The tracks are beautifully realised as acoustic numbers, and it almost seems that the original versions had their acoustic counterparts hidden within them and that Guy and the band have stripped away the layers to expose them.Ē [Prog Archives] The CD comes in a cardboard sleeve and counts as only one-half CD for shipping.
Guy Manning and his band return with their 14th release in 14 years: The Root, the Leaf & the Bone (2013). ďSo has Manning still got plenty to say? The answer, I think, is there for all to see and hear in The Root, The Leaf & The Bone Ė finely crafted and consistently original songs, intelligent and meaningful lyrics, and a keen ear for creating the right blend of instrumentation, mood, and sound. Many will argue that his 14th album is Guy Manningís most pleasing and accomplished collection of songs yet, and I donít think youíll find me disagreeing too much with that view.Ē Read the full Progressive Ears review, also the Progarchy and Prog Archives reviews. Read reviews of all the Manning CDs.
Phil Manzanera should be well known to most prog fans, as a member of Roxy Music, Quiet Sun, and 801, and for his numerous solo albums and collaborations from the 1970s to the present. Quiet Sun was a four-piece band conceived in 1970 at Manzaneraís alma mater, Dulwich College. His fellow band members were Bill MacCormick (bass), Charles Hayward (drums, vocals), and Dave Jarrett (keyboards). After a brief tour and no record deal in sight, the band split and Manzanera joined Roxy Music. By 1974, riding high on the Roxy wave, Manzanera secured a deal for his debut album Diamond Head. What he didnít mention to the label was that he had reformed Quiet Sun and was dividing his daily 12-hour studio time between the two projects. Quiet Sunís landmark Mainstream album (1975) gets the deluxe Collectorís Edition photobook treatment, same as the 801 Live CD, that is, large-format hardcover book form with new photos and memorabilia as well as bringing together all early demos (five bonus tracks) in one place. Counts as 2.5 CDs for shipping.
Phil says that he thinks of Mainstream and Diamond Head as fraternal twins, recorded at the same time, gestated in the same studio and over the same time period. While Quiet Sun mostly re-recorded the songs they had rehearsed back in 1970, several songs from that time instead found their way onto Diamond Head. These two albums also formed the basis of much of 801ís live shows. For Diamond Head, Phil called in a lot of favors, thus the album features John Wetton, Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, Bill MacCormick, Eddie Jobson, Andy Mackay, Paul Thompson, and more. This 2011 reissue on Manzaneraís own label comes in a digipack with new photos and a bonus track.
Vozero was Manzaneraís first solo album in 10 years. It was released in 1999 in the UK in a jewel box, and that is the edition offered here. All the tracks were written by Manzanera, and in addition to Philís distinctive and eclectic guitar work, Vozero also prominently features Robert Wyatt, a guest spot for Andy Mackay on oboe, and a cast of other musicians and singers. Despite the passage of time, this album seems to logically follow 1977ís Listen Now and 1978ís K-Scope, a bit mellower perhaps (something to do with aging) and with a more multi-cultural sound as is the fashion of late. (Manzanera did spend his childhood in South America, so Latin touches come naturally to him.)
6pm (2004) includes contributions from Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Chrissie Hynde, David Gilmour, Bill MacCormick, Andy Mackay and more. Manzanera feels that this album is unconsciously allied to his first solo album, 1975ís Diamond Head. Yet you could package 6pm and Vozero together as a 2CD set and they would sound like they belong together. This is the U.S. digipack edition.
50 Minutes Later (2005, digipack, 61-minutes) completes this trilogy. It also features fellow Roxy Music members Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay plus Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno. The songwriting and the richly-textured instrumental work are superb, with the second half of the album the more progressive-rock oriented. There is an experimental attitude throughout, and the positive vibe of the early hippy era is often present. Whether or not these albums are progressive rock is a moot point. If they arenít prog rock, then theyíre what rock should be.
Firebird V11 (2008, digipack) teams Manzanera with ex-Quiet Sun and This Heat drummer Charles Hayward, top Polish classical/jazz pianist Lezek Mozdzer, and renowned bassist Yaron Stavi. This album was inspired by the red and white Gibson Firebird V11 guitar, Manzaneraís signature guitar and one with which heís had a 35-year musical partnership. Firebird V11 is almost entirely instrumental and evokes the days of Quiet Sun, Diamond Head, and the instrumental side of 801 Live. Quiet Sun alumnus Bill MacCormick contributed one track; MacCormickís and Haywardís tracks were in fact written in 1970 for Quiet Sunís Mainstream album but until now were never recorded. The music is a bit mellower now, with more jazz and classical touches, but this is a different band. So while it may not be exactly Mainstream part 2, with this album, Manzanera is giving his long-time fans what they want.
The Wasted Lands CD (1999, 74-minutes) was compiled from the soundtrack of the film of the same name. Itís Manzaneraís most ambient and relaxing album, but thatís not to suggest the music is of the abstract, boring sort. It remains melodic and often rhythmic and easily stands on its own apart from the film.
Marillionís 15th studio album is actually a 110-minute double album split into two separate CDs. Happiness Is the Road Volume 1 is subtitled Essence while Volume 2 is subtitled The Hard Shoulder. Both contain all new material. A new creative streak of writing and producing music was captured in the studio and fans will not be disappointed. Read reviews here. Weíll just quote from the review in Classic Rock magazine: ďThey still sound like Marillion but, dare we say it, a better, bolder Marillion... All in all then, itís beautifully rendered, touching and telling. Happy days.Ē
Beginning with Marillionís late 1990s albums, some of Marillionís original fans began to lose interest as the band seemed to want to distance themselves from progressive rock. But Marillion began a resurgence with Marbles (2004). The inexpensive version here is the U.S. single-CD edition with the bonus video of Donít Hurt Yourself. The more expensive edition is the 2011 2CD re-release on the Madfish label, which comes in the hardcover digibook format with 36-page booklet bound in, the booklet reworked by original designer Carl Glover. This set includes the second disc that was previously only available in the Racket Records (Marillionís own label) edition. The bonus songs are more then-new tracks from the same recording sessions. The digibook counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping.
Marillionís 2007 studio album Somewhere Else continued with similar strengths as Marbles, spawning two hit singles and giving the band their first UK top 30 album in ten years. This 2011 Madfish edition comes in a 36-page digibook reworked by the original designer and features unseen pictures not used in the original artwork.
The 2012 Madfish digibook reissue of Anoraknophobia (2001) includes a 40-page booklet with artwork reworked by Carl Glover.
For 1999ís Marillion.com, Marillion used the Internet to ask fans to send them passport pictures of themselves; 732 of these were then used to make up the artwork for this album. Five of the nine tracks were mixed by Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). This 2011 Madfish edition comes in a deluxe 36-page digibook with artwork reworked by the original designer. The book features unseen pictures not used in the original artwork.
This is the 2013 remixed version of Radiation, originally released in 1998. This Madfish edition is a double-CD digibook, the first disc containing the 2013 remix and the second containing the original mix. The band said they often debated whether Radiation might not benefit from an updated mixdown and so gave the task to Mike Hunter after his work on Sounds That Canít Be Made.
This Strange Engine (1997) was a top 30 hit in the UK. The follow-up to Afraid of Sunlight, This Strange Engine tailed off a bit from its predecessor but does contain some excellent songs such as Estonia and 80 Days. It followed a period during which the members were involved in solo and other projects, and when they returned, Marillionís sound had shifted in the acoustic direction. This is the 2012 Madfish digibook edition.
Best.Live is the Madfish digibook reissue of a double-CD first released on Marillionís Racket Records label. It compiles live tracks taken from various Racket Records live albums from 2003-2011 and includes Fish-era tracks. Follow the mp3 icon to see the 20 tracks included. Check our DVDs page for some Marillion DVDs.
Mellow Recordsí triple-CD tribute to Marillion contains 31 Marillion songs covered by 31 bands, the majority Italian. The song selection is naturally skewed toward the older Marillion songs. See Mellowís blog for the full list of bands and tracks. Counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
These are the 24-bit remastered editions on the Esoteric label. Initially folk-based, the British band Marsupilami evolved into one of the most adventurous if unsung bands of the early 1970s, producing two of the best British proto-prog albums. Marsupilami drew comparisons to contemporaries such as Gracious or East of Eden, but the "proto" qualifier is not as necessary with Marsupilami as it is for many bands of that era, as Marsupilamiís albums are truly progressive rock.
Their self-titled 1970 debut features lots of flute and organ in addition to guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Arena (1971), their second, adds more instruments including Mellotron, but still relies heavily on organ. This ambitious concept album was produced by Peter Bardens (Camel).
Eve (2010) is the fourth studio album for Mary Jane, a band formed in Southampton, England in 1993. Mary Jane (who are related to the band Zaney Janey) are the current kings of progressive/psychedelic/electric folk-rock, and by that we mean the style of Spriguns, Mellow Candle, and Spirogyra, and Eve is as good as any album by those bands. Except that with a playing time of 63-minutes, itís as good as any two albums by those bands. Mary Jane have female vocals, use lots of violin as well as flute, mandolin and recorders alongside electric & acoustic guitars, bass and drums. About half the songs are traditional, half self-penned. One must mention Steeleye Span and Pentangle, though Mary Jane are proggier. This music brushes up against the folkier side of Renaissance and should appeal to most fans of Jethro Tull and Solstice. Watch YouTube videos of Eve, Twa Corbies, Clonakilty, and Let the Fire Begin.
Brigitís Daughter is a 27-song double-CD compilation released in 2011, subtitled The Early Years 1996-2002. The tracks were chosen by the band and are drawn from the albums Hazy Days, Zaney Janey, The Gates of Silent Memory, Tacit (which contained live sessions), and To the Prettiest One, plus one previously unreleased track. The Mary Jane history may put these albums in some sort of perspective. Reviewers often compared Mary Janeís earlier albums to those of the legendary band Trees.
Robert Wyatt formed legendary Canterbury band Matching Mole in 1971, shortly after he left Soft Machine and prior to embarking on his solo career. The lineup for their 1972 first album included Phil Miller (later Hatfield and the North, National Health) on guitar, Dave Sinclair (Caravan) on keyboards, and Bill MacCormick (later Quiet Sun, 801) on bass. Dave McRae took over keyboard duty on Little Red Record (later in 1972), which was produced by Robert Fripp, with a guest spot for Brian Eno. These are the expanded 2CD editions on Esoteric, newly remastered from the original master tapes. The bonus material for the self-titled album includes five previously unreleased studio session alternate takes, the single versions of O Caroline and Signed Curtain, and two BBC Radio One sessions from 1972. Little Red Record adds four previously unreleased studio session alternate takes plus Matching Moleís appearance on BBC Radio One In Concert in July 1972. The booklets restore all original artwork and include an essay by Sid Smith. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
This is the 2008 edition of this CD on the Esoteric label, known for their superb remastering jobs. Mellow Candle are legendary in the psych-folk world, and their 1972 sole LP is often considered to be the psychedelic progressive folk-rock album. The album had just enough trad-style folk to appeal to fans of Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, Steeleye Span, etc, but the album is dominated by mystical, medieval atmospheres and a progressive rock aesthetic, a thing of beauty. Mellow Candle featured the young female Irish singers Clodagh Simonds and Alison Williams, who had moved from Dublin to London when the album was recorded. They toured in support of Thin Lizzy (Simonds appeared on Lizzyís album Shades of a Blue Orphanage) and Horslips, but their existence was short-lived. Clodagh Simonds went on to work with Mike Oldfield and Jade Warrior. This release makes one wonder what could have been had Mellow Candle continued. The people at Esoteric would probably like to at least break even on their CD reissues, but what they are really doing is preserving music for posterity with the best sound possible within the restrictions of the CD format. Too much is in danger of being lost. Read the DPRP review.
Mentaur were a British heavy neo-prog band who released several albums on cassette between 1989-1993, recorded on a shoestring budget. This CD compiles material from all their albums, remixed for this release. Think early Pallas and Arena with some heavy riffing added.
Mermaid Kiss is a British band comprised of Jamie Field on guitar (mostly acoustic) and backing vocals; Andrew Garman on keys, bass and drums; Nigel Hooton on electric and acoustic guitar; and at the center of their sound, singer Evelyn Downing, who also adds flute. On Etarlis (2007, 60-minutes), Kate Belcher sings on three songs, Troy Donockley (ex-Iona) guests on uilleann pipes, and Jonathan Edwards (Panic Room) guests with a keyboard solo. Etarlis is their masterpiece, a stunning, epic album that often sounds as if Loreena McKennitt had turned her talents to symphonic rock. Some tracks are pure symphonic progressive, most are full of mystical atmospheres and sophisticated textures, and there are Celtic and folk elements. With guest Wendy Marks adding cor anglais, oboe, and recorders, some tracks brush up against Karda Estra. All told, it is absolutely spellbinding and gorgeous. Recommended to fans of Kate Bush, Iona, Karnataka, Kara, October Project, and Clannad. This album has its own website, separate from the bandís. Unfortunately, the band have let this album go to download-only; click the mp3 icon if youíre interested in that. Also click the mp3 icons for links to reviews.
Salt on Skin (2006) contains seven tracks totaling 30-minutes, so call it an EP or a short album. The lead vocals here are split between Evelyn Downing, Kate Belcher, and Kate Emerson. Most bands would be fortunate to call any one of these singers their own. Unlike Etarlis, Salt on Skin has few of the Celtic or real folk elements, nor is it as epic and progressive, but it is still heaven for those who love beautiful female vocals. The variety of singers is a big part of the pleasure of this album. Paul Davies (ex-Karnataka) guests. Read the Sea of Tranquility review.
The Mermaid Kiss Album (2003, 53-minutes) is their debut. It features Evelyn Downingís vocals throughout. Itís not really a debut because the trio of Downing, Field, and Garman had previously recorded albums under Evelynís name. The Mermaid Kiss Album is again more conventional than Etarlis but is still a beautiful album of softer music that transcends genres, mixing progressive, pop, ambient, acoustic, and singer-songwriter styles. Mermaid Kiss simply donít sound like any of the many other bands that features female vocals. Obviously start with Etarlis and then try either of the first two.
Colin Mold founded the band Kara, is currently the guitarist in Karnataka and is an associate member of Magicfolk. Moldís first solo CD Water of Divinities (2007) is every bit as good as the Kara CD and has many similarities. It began as a collection of instrumental pieces designed around the story of Saint Alban and ended up as a mix of vocal pieces and instrumentals. Mold sings and plays acoustic & electric guitars and synths. Jo Marriot plays flute on two tracks and Steve Barfoot plays drums on one, meaning the rest of the drums are programmed, but this detracts little from the music. It is soft progressive rock with similarities to Camel, Gordon Giltrap, Mike Oldfield, Steve Hackett, Clannad and others.
On his second CD Girl on the Castle Steps (2012, 59-minutes), Mold sings and plays electric & acoustic guitar, keyboards, and violin and is joined by a full-time drummer (who adds pipes on one track), and Ionaís Martin Nolan guesting on whistles. Cindy L. Spear, who has also worked with Iona and Mandalaband, wrote the lyrics of four songs. You want the short description? How about Pendragon meets Fairport Convention? The songs at their core are in the best British Isles singer-songwriter folk tradition, and with the violin naturally suggest modern Fairport Convention, but Moldís songs are more poignant and epic. These folky songs begin with symphonic synth pads and Clannad-like atmospheres, then build to majestic sympho-prog climaxes, with Moldís lyrical electric guitar soaring like Nick Barrettís or Mike Oldfieldís. Mandalaband, Iona, and Barclay James Harvest are good reference points. These are two of the loveliest and most seductive soft progressive CDs weíve heard in some time. Here are official videos for the songs Realm of the Free and By the Lake.
Donít be too misled by the title. This album, recorded in 1997/98 by the former keyboardist for Curved Air, 801, Sky, and others, is a rock album, some of which is progressive and some of which is blues-based. But most early-1970s rock was blues-based, and thatís the style Monkman goes for here. The liner notes are sparse and Monkman isnít saying who if anyone else plays on this album, but Monkman is also a guitarist, and here he concentrates on electric guitar. Thatís Monkman singing too; the vocals are gruff and wisely buried in the mix most of the time, and sometimes intentionally distorted. At nearly 80-minutes, the album has room to be inconsistent, but there is at least one normal length album of good material here.
This is the 2009 remastered edition on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. Morgan was a band formed in 1971 around keyboardist Morgan Fisher, who went on to Mott the Hoople after Morgan broke up. The band signed to RCA Records in Italy and recorded their 1972 debut Nova Solis in a state-of-the-art studio in Rome. This is a classic early 1970s progressive rock record, but not well known, as Morgan were virtually unknown in Britain. Yet in Italy, Morgan became a successful group alongside compatriots ELP, Van der Graaf Generator, and Genesis. This newly remastered edition features notes from Morgan Fisher and restores the original album artwork for the first time on a UK CD release.
In the realm of lesser-known bands, The Morrigan are one of our favorites. As the band overview on Prog Archives reads: ďThe Morriganís music is a lively mixture of traditional [Anglo-]Celtic folk with prog rock, sometimes leaning heavily in either direction. Their sound is distinctly original and full of magic vocals, their music made up of warm melodies wrapped up in rich arrangements (sometimes of their own composition, sometimes rearranged traditional folk songs). Imagine a heavier Steeleye Span and then move them up a notch on the prog scale... The Morriganís music is accessible and leans on the harder, rockier side of folk with full-blown prog structures, complex arrangements and excellent musicianship.Ē Itís important to make the distinction between what The Morrigan do and the music of Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span. The latter combine trad folk and rock, but The Morrigan combine trad folk with progressive rock, and they do both styles convincingly. As such, they are nearly a unique band. The Spirit of the Soup (1985) is from the bandís early days as a trio with no drummer, recorded on a Portastudio and remastered in 1999. Wreckers (1996) was their first album recorded for the English Garden label, followed by Masque (1997). Visit The Morriganís site for reviews and mp3ís and read reviews at Prog Archives.
Multi-instrumentalist Colin Masson is one of the founding members of The Morrigan. On his 2001 solo CD Isle of Eight, he is assisted by The Morriganís singer Cathy Alexander. The album combines the styles of The Morrigan and Mike Oldfield. Read reviews at Prog Archives and Ground and Sky. These are all the MALS label editions.
Mostly Autumnís DVDs can be found on our DVDs page.
Mostly Autumn are one of the most successful British indie prog bands of the modern era, and are previous winners of the British Classic Rock Society award for Best New Band. They began in the late 1990s, taking the most melodic and majestic elements of Pink Floyd, leaving out the boring and depressing bits, stirring in a little Steve Hackett and pastoral Genesis. They write glorious choruses and deliver it all with great female and male vocals. More so on the early albums, they perfectly integrated Anglo-Celtic folk influences and traditional instruments. Their sound has continued to evolve, shifting toward rock and away from the Celtic and more pastoral elements beginning with their 2003 CD Passengers. One constant has been that their music is from the heart, something sorely lacking in many current prog bands. Their first three albums are our favorites: For All We Shared (1998), The Spirit of Autumn Past (1999), and The Last Bright Light (2001). We consider The Last Bright Light to be the bandís finest achievement. Just try a couple songs on YouTube: Shrinking Violet and Mother Nature.
The Ghost Moon Orchestra (2012) is Mostly Autumnís second studio album with Olivia Sparnenn as lead singer. This is the single-disc retail edition. While keyboardist Iain Jennings rejoined Mostly Autumn in time to play on the previous album, being present from the beginning of this album means his contributions are more significant. His contributions to the early albums may have been overlooked, and his departure in 2005 did hurt the band, so itís good to have him back in the fold. Read the Trebuchet Magazine review. YouTube has the songs Wild Eyed Skies and This Ragged Heart.
This is the single disc retail edition of Mostly Autumnís 2010 studio album Go Well Diamond Heart. Heather Findlay left to focus on family and solo career, but Mostly Autumn were ready to promote from within. Olivia Sparnenn has taken over as lead singer. (Olivia was also the singer for Iain Jenningsí band Breathing Space.) Not only have Mostly Autumn lost nothing with this transition, theyíve arguably made their best album since The Last Bright Light. Read the reviews at SoundLust and Harmonic Lizard.
At the time of their 2008 studio CD Glass Shadows, Mostly Autumn had become something of a revolving door, with just about everyone other than Bryan Josh and Heather Findlay leaving the band, but guitarist Liam Davison and keyboardist Iain Jennings returned after the album was recorded. The band added singer and flute player Anne-Marie Helder (ex-Karnataka), and so Mostly Autumn were stockpiling talented female vocalists, a prescient move. The line-up that recorded Glass Shadows is Josh, Findlay, Helder, Olivia Sparnenn (harmony vocals), Andy Smith (bass) and Henry Bourne (drums), with Troy Donockley making his usual guest appearance on Uilleann pipes, low & penny whistles, string arrangement and programming. More than any previous Mostly Autumn CD, this one is dominated by Bryan and Heather, who did virtually all the writing and oversaw the mixing and mastering. Glass Shadows represents a return to form. After three CDs seeing them become more of a rock band, Mostly Autumn have to a great extent returned to their roots, restoring the folky, pastoral and delicate elements. They arenít just re-treading old ground -- their sound now is different from the early days -- but they are again focusing on what made them a special band. Heather of course handles much more of the vocal duties now, and her voice is beguiling. All in all, Glass Shadows wonít displace The Last Bright Light as our favorite, but the ship is back on course.
Heart Full of Sky is the 2007 Mostly Autumn studio CD. Note this is the single CD edition, the only version available to the trade. There was a limited-edition 2CD available directly from the band; it was quite expensive and is sold out now. The single CD edition includes all the tracks from Disc 1 of the 2CD plus one track from Disc 2. There were some nice songs on Disc 2, but not strongly progressive; the band have definitely put their best material on the single CD. Itís never an easy task to describe a Mostly Autumn CD. Heart Full of Sky continues the darker and somewhat somber prevailing mood of Storms Over Still Water, but the music is ultimately hopeful, with an uplifting spiritual quality. The ďheartĒ in the title is no coincidence, as the heart energy in their music is a distinguishing feature. This album benefits from some key guests, including Peter Knight (Steeleye Span) on violin, Troy Donockley (Iona) on Uilleann pipes and low whistle, and Anne-Marie Helder (ex-Karnataka) providing backing vocals. While original keyboardist Iain Jennings is gone, new member Chris Johnson makes large contributions, including several writing credits and a lead vocal. As with the previous album, there is too much depth here to make sense of it all in just a couple listens. Here are 1-minute mp3 samples of the tracks Blue Light, Dreaming, and Walk With a Storm (not the proggiest three minutes on the CD). Read reviews.
After three CDs on the Cyclops label and a number of CDs and DVDs on Classic Rock Productions, Mostly Autumn had grown to the point where they could run their own label. As Executive Producer Bob Carruthers says about Storms Over Still Water (2005), ďForget your busy 21st century life, make the time and space, turn the lights down, get in the groove with some mellow candlelight and a glass of your favorite tipple, and remember to take the phone off the hookĒ. The rest of the world may be loading compressed files onto their iPods and using music as portable background noise, but one canít enjoy the full scope of this work without sitting still and paying attention. The sound of this album is darker than any previous, and the band has gone for a more modern sounding production. The first half of Storms Over Still Water contains the shorter, direct songs, while the second half contains the epics and the instrumentals, and this is where several listens are required before it all sinks in.
Storms Over London Town is the live CD from the Storms Over Still Water CD release concert at the London Astoria on 4 June 2005, which featured guests Troy Donockley, Rachel Jones (ex-Karnataka), Olivia Sparnenn, and Ben Matthews. It features the tracks Out of the Green Sky, Broken Glass, Answer the Question, Black Rain, Never the Rainbow, Distant Train, Evergreen, Carpe Diem, Finlandia, Storms Over Still Water, and The Spirit of Autumn Past (part 1).
Passengers (2003) saw a shift in Mostly Autumnís sound toward rock and away from the Celtic and more delicate elements. Probably the most significant development is that Heather Findlay had matured into a first-rate singer, and Bryan Josh transferred more of the vocal duties to her, even though we think Bryan has a voice that is well-suited to Mostly Autumnís music. This CD is the 2010 remastered edition. After the sonic success the band had remastering all the songs on the Pass the Clock 3CD compilation, they thought Passengers would benefit from the same treatment throughout. They also added three bonus live Passengers tracks from shows played in the winter of 2009, and some additional artwork.
Between them, the Live 2009 Part I and Part II CDs present the entire set of Mostly Autumnís 2009 live show, in the same order that the songs were performed. The band says they seriously believe these are the definitive versions of many of their songs, that they have just evolved beautifully with the strength of this line-up. Part I contains Fading Colours, Caught in a Fold, Flowers for Guns, Unoriginal Sin, Simple Ways, The Spirit of Autumn Past - Part II, Half the Mountain, Evergreen. Part II contains Winter Mountain, The Dark Before the Dawn, Answer the Question, The Last Bright Light, Above the Blue, Nowhere to Hide, Broken Glass, Never the Rainbow, Pocket Watch, Tearing at the Faerytale, Carpe Diem, Heroes Never Die. Each CD comes in a digisleeve and counts as only one-half CD for shipping.
The At the Grand Opera House DVD shows Mostly Autumn before a sell-out crowd, unveiling the full Passengers audio-visual stage presentation, with a new light show, special effects, and film projection. The band is augmented by a string quartet, choir, and multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley (Iona). The At the Grand Opera House SACD is the companion audio-only disc, a hybrid multi-channel Super Audio CD. This means you can play the 16-bit, 44.1 kHz stereo audio in any CD player, but in an SACD player, you can listen to hi-res surround audio. It includes a cover of Pink Floydís Comfortably Numb.
Josh & Co. Limited - Through These Eyes (2009, 55-minutes) is the first solo album for Bryan Josh, the leader/guitarist/singer/composer of Mostly Autumn. Josh is assisted by Gavin Griffiths on drums and singer Olivia Sparnenn. But Josh is the primary vocalist here, and partly for that reason, Through These Eyes has more of the feel of the first two Mostly Autumn albums than the last few Mostly Autumn albums have. Those whoíve followed Mostly Autumn know that Josh initially handled most of the vocals, gradually shifting the workload to Heather Findlay as she blossomed into a fine singer. So consider early Mostly Autumn songs such as The Spirit of Autumn Past and Please as good reference points. Fans of Mostly Autumn have probably figured out that Josh is a big David Gilmour and Pink Floyd fan, and that is the biggest influence present. This is an album of heartfelt songs with an innate spirituality and their own special magic, from a songwriter of uncommon talent. For true Mostly Autumn fans, this CD is not optional. Read the DPRP review.
This 2008 CD by English band Multifuse is one weíre quite fond of, appreciating it more with each listen. The music is centered on the keyboards of Peter Fallowell and the vocals of Cherie Emmitt, often multi-tracked to perfection. Fallowell favors electric piano most (think Supertramp), acoustic piano second, while also playing guitar, drums, and adding some vocals. Tom Allen plays bass, while the live band is considerably larger, with about a dozen people on stage. Two comparisons suggest themselves, the first being Curved Air (without the violin), partly because Emmittís voice is a bit similar to Sonja Kristinaís. The second is Illusion (the Jane Relf Renaissance). Both are only approximations, but the key is that Multifuse have a 1970s style prog sound, and those who began their prog listening after the 70s may never fully understand the particular quality of the 70s bands that is often missing from later music. The six-part, 25-minute piece Yours Again that concludes the CD is something special. Itís become common these days for bands to record 20+ minute epics when theyíve yet to write a convincing 4-minute song, and you just wish those long tracks would end already. But like Supperís Ready, Yours Again is made up of a number of songs or partial songs that are interesting in their own right, with no filler. One reminds us of Rupert Hineís early 1980s work. Fallowell is an expat living in France, and maybe itís just coincidence, but near the end of Yours Again, youíre treated to some Magma/Eskaton style singing and music reminiscent of Minimum Vital circa Esprit díAmor.
ďThis is an album that took a few listens before it started to really speak to me, but after investing that time, I really like it now. Itís deceptively simple-sounding on first listen, though deeper levels of complexity start revealing themselves after a few spins. If Journey to the Nesting Place turns out to be Multifuseís only album, at least it was quite the masterpiece. If not, then it will be hard to top. I really enjoyed this album and suggest it to those who donít need crunchy electric guitars, screaming vocals, scads of Mellotron or distorted Hammond to make it feel Ďprogí to them. Good stuff.Ē [Fred Trafton, Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock]
These are the 2009 24-bit remastered editions on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. National Health was the continuation of Hatfield and the North, with keyboardist Dave Stewart assuming more control. Both their 1977 self-titled debut and Of Queues and Cures (1978) are essential progressive rock records, two of the most revered albums to come out of the Canterbury scene.
These are the Voiceprint/Blueprint editions. National Healthís third album D.S. al Coda (1982) was recorded after the band had broken up, as a tribute to keyboardist/composer Alan Gowen who passed away from leukemia in 1981. All the compositions are Gowenís, arranged by National Health, and aside from a couple short songs that appear on the Gilgamesh albums, all were previously unheard. Guests include Richard Sinclair, Elton Dean, Jimmy Hastings, Amanda Parsons, Barbara Gaskin, and more. The album is jazzier and less idiosyncratic than the first two, as that was Gowenís style, but only slightly less amazing. Think of it as Gilgamesh run through a National Health filter.
National Health had more material than made it onto their records, and thatís whatís on Missing Pieces: studio demos from 1975, radio recordings from 1976 (before the first album, all previously unreleased), some material from 1979 (after Of Queues and Cures), plus a Stewart/Gaskin song. Missing Pieces has recordings of the original seven-piece lineup with Bill Bruford on drums, keyboardists Stewart and Gowen both present, Mont Campbell (ex-Egg) on bass (Campbell wrote six of the songs), both Phil Miller and Phil Lee on guitar, and Amanda Parsons singing. Even Steve Hillage is here. Missing Pieces is the missing link between Hatfield and the North, Gilgamesh, Egg, Arzachel, and National Health.
Nautilus are a British progressive quartet (guitars/keys/bass/drums) with a distinctive style. What Colours the Sky in Your World? is a reissue of their 2004 debut, which the band had originally released themselves. This one is entirely instrumental, the music somewhere between progressive rock and space rock, somewhat dark and somewhat quirky, with the keyboards usually remaining subtle while the guitars do the heavy lifting. There are slight similarities to 1970s King Crimson and Pink Floyd, the former for the angular guitar and the latter for the spaciness. But while space rock is known for monotony, Nautilusí music often changes mood and tempo within each track. Read the DPRP reviews. Listen to Ghosts in the Wind on YouTube.
Fathom (2009) is their second and includes some songs with vocals featuring guest singer Peter Straker. Straker has an early-70s style voice, not surprising since heís been singing professionally since the late 60s. This album is a step up in all aspects. The keyboards (mostly organ) are more prominent, filling out the sound, and the vocals add another dimension. The album seems less spacey but is still dark and quirky, with some suggestions of early British hard rock. Often it feels close to 70s King Crimson with the addition of organ. An excellent early-70s sounding album that retains a distinctive style. Listen to The Anachronist and Heart of Darkness on YouTube.
Time Machine (2013) is the first new Nektar album in over four years. Roye Albrighton says it is ďby far the best album we have ever madeĒ. (But then he would say that.) Billy Sherwood produced. ďThis time out Nektar have done it right. The songs are well thought out, complex and just as freaky-deaky as any good prog should be. However, they have achieved that odd prog rock counterbalance where the music, despite being complex, is easily accessible. The band, while retaining their classic sound, also give a nod to early Genesis on the title track. Nektar really open it up on Tranquility and Diamond Eyes. Destiny is a musical and emotional tune while Talk to Me may be one of the best they have ever written. Opening number A Better Way is breathtakingly good. Time Machine lives up to its name, as it really is like stepping back to the prog heyday of the early 1970s, yet the songs still sound fresh and impressive in 2013.Ē [Classic Rock Revisited] Listen to the tracks Juggernaut and A Better Way. Check our DVDs page for Nektarís DVD.
The CDs in this group are all the 2011-2013 editions on Cleopatraís Purple Pyramid label. Recycled (1975) is our favorite Nektar album. The audio here appears to be identical to the 2004 edition on Eclectic/Dream Nebula, which was remastered from the original tapes. It contains a complete second mix of the album as a bonus. Recycled was originally mixed by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick at Air Studios in London. Emerick chose to mix down the significant contribution by synth wizard Larry Fast (Synergy). Further work and overdubs were subsequently added and the albumís feel changed considerably, notably due to the now audible presence of Fastís synth work.
This 2012 digipack double-CD reissues both Man in the Moon (1980) and Evolution (2004) plus the 2005 EP Always. Man in the Moon was Nektarís final album until reforming in 2001. Roye Albrighton had left Nektar and was absent on Magic Is a Child, then Roye assembled ďRoye Albrightonís NektarĒ including keyboardist Taff Freeman and two new musicians. The LP was not released in the U.S. though the band did tour here, so with the striking cover, the LP was sought by American Nektar fans. This is the weakest of the Nektar albums (at least prior to Nektarís comeback), featuring more AOR / commercial hard rock than prog. Roye was doing what was necessary for a band to survive in 1980, but the album does have its moments, and the Nektar feel is often there. The two bonus tracks from the 2002 Voiceprint edition are included; presumably the audio is identical to that version, which was remastered from the original master tapes by the team behind the Esoteric label.
Evolution was the second album for the reformed Nektar. The lineup here includes original members Roye Albrighton, Taff Freeman, and Ron Howden, plus bassist Randy Dembo. Itís a big improvement over the previous album The Prodigal Son (2001), and while it goes without saying that Evolution is no Recycled or Remember the Future, it is a respectable comeback. Read reviews at Prog Archives. Always was a 2005 EP that includes two single edits and two live in the studio versions of tracks from Man in the Moon and Evolution.
The audio on Down to Earth (1974) should be identical to previous edition on Dream Nebula, which was remastered from the original master tapes and includes seven bonus tracks. Six of the bonus tracks are the original mixes of tracks from the album done at Chipping Norton studios where the album was recorded. The album was later remixed at Dieter Dierksí studio in Germany. The seventh bonus track consists of out-takes from Robert Calvertís humorous ringmaster links. Following the spacey Remember the Future album, Down to Earth was exactly that, an album of shorter songs, but what great songs they are. As Roye Albrighton says, Down to Earth is Nektarís Magical Mystery Tour.
The 40th Anniversary Edition of Nektarís 1973 classic Remember the Future comes in a digipack and adds a bonus disc that includes three radio edits plus The 1970 Boston Tapes, the latter originally sold separately by the band as a ďCollectorís Corner Subscription albumĒ.
This 2CD edition of Sounds Like This comes in an 8-panel digipack. This album was recorded in 2-3 days in 1973 live in the studio, with no overdubs and little editing, so next to the other Nektar albums it sounds rather raw. This is Nektar as a (psychedelic) rock band and sounds close to their live shows of the era. The album offered Nektar an opportunity to record some of the songs they had written in the earliest months of the band, and songs such as A Day in the Life of a Preacher and Good Day have remained in their live set. Originally a 75-minute 2LP, the audio of the album proper is probably the same as the previous CD edition on Dream Nebula. The bonus material however is different, consisting of rare radio versions of two songs and 1971 live performances, early versions of six songs from Sounds Like This.
The audio on the first disc of Nektarís 1972 classic A Tab in the Ocean is most likely identical to the 2004 edition on Dream Nebula, which was taken from the original master tapes. It contains both the original 1972 German mix of the album plus the 1976 U.S. mix. The second disc in this 2CD digipack reissue contains previously-unreleased live recordings from November 1971 in Darmstadt, Germany. Nektar perform all the tracks from Tab apart from King of Twilight in longer versions than what would end up on the studio album. Additionally, there is a 1973 live in the studio version of Desolation Valley / Waves.
Nektarís 1971 first album Journey to the Centre of the Eye is their most psychedelic and spacey. The label says that the audio has been remastered. This 2CD reissue adds a bonus disc containing an official bootleg recording of the entire album performed live in 1971 at Bessunger Turnhalle in Darmstadt, Germany.
The Complete Live in New York 1974 double-CD comes in a black box with full color booklet. It reissues the material on the 2004 Live in New York double-SACD on Dream Nebula, which in turn was a remix/remaster of the material on the two double-LPs Live in New York and More Live in New York. The 2004 SACDs were a huge improvement over the original LPs, and while this Cleopatra release is only CDs and therefore only standard-res stereo, the improved sonics carried over. Note this has already gone out-of-print.
A Spoonful of Time (2012) is a covers album that could be grouped with the Prog Collective and Fusion Syndicate CDs released earlier in the year in that it is an all-star project organized by Cleopatra Records and mixed by Billy Sherwood, with Nektar doing their recording in Sherwoodís studio. Itís under the Nektar brand name because Roye Albrighton sings throughout and the band produced the album, while Ron Howden played a lot of the drums and Klaus Henatsch is prominent on several tracks on Hammond and Mellotron. You can see the songs covered and the whoís who guest list at Power of Prog.
Book of Days is Nektarís 2008 studio CD on the bandís own Treacle Music label. Original members Roye Albrighton and Ron Howden are joined by new members Peter Pichl on 5-string bass and Klaus Henatsch on keys, both from Hanover, Germany. This is arguably the best of the reformed (post-2000) Nektar albums. Some songs have a modern sound, but there is much of the old Nektar sound present, something the previous two albums needed more of. Listeners are guaranteed a couple flashbacks to Remember the Future. Here are mp3 samples of the tracks Doctor Kool and Where Are You Now. For the full 11-minute Doctor Kool, which is an instant classic, check Roye Albrightonís MySpace page. More audio clips can be found here.
The Prodigal Son was Nektarís 2001 comeback album, though it sounds like it began as a Roye Albrighton solo album with Taff Freeman and Ray Hardwick brought in to play the keyboards and drums, respectively. This is the Bellaphon edition with the fold-out poster booklet.
This is the 2005 edition of Sunday Night at the London Roundhouse on Dream Nebula, expanded to a 2CD that contains the entire concert. Recorded on 25 November 1973 at this legendary London venue, it captures Roye Albrighton, Taff Freeman, Mo Moore and Ron Howden just prior to the release of Remember the Future. This edition has been remixed from the original 16-track master tapes by Paschal Byrne, Mark Powell and Roye Albrighton and also remastered, resulting in greatly improved sound. Read the Sea of Tranquility reviews.
Neutrons were an offshoot of Welsh band Man and included Gentle Giant drummer John Weathers in their lineup. They released only these two albums in 1974 & 1975, reissued by BGO on one CD with one bonus track. While Man was a guitar-based psych band, Neutrons made some real progressive rock and placed more emphasis on keyboards. Black Hole Star is the proggier of their two records, with some Gentle Giant mannerisms and Renaissance-style folkiness. Tales from the Blue Cocoons has more female vocals and moves closer to the clever art-pop of City Boy or 10cc. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Originally released in 1977 by Decca Records, Faerie Symphony was the third album by Tom Newman, founding member of the psychedelic group July as well as engineer and producer on many albums by Mike Oldfield, including Tubular Bells. Faerie Symphony is Newmanís classic, an unconventional instrumental suite featuring Oldfield on acoustic & electric guitars and piano, Jon Field (Jade Warrior) on flutes and bagpipes, Neil Innes (Bonzo Dog Band, Monty Python) on Hammond organ, and several other musicians. A cross between early Oldfield and Jade Warrior describes this almost perfectly. This is the 2009 remastered edition on Esoteric. Read Sid Smithís review.
Ozymandias is another of Newmanís progressive works. (He has albums in his catalog that are not progressive.) ďFrom 1986, Tom Newmanís Ozymandias is something of a lost masterpiece. Featuring a variety of inspired settings incorporating neo-classical, ambient and rock motifs, Tom provides a musical backdrop for the powerful and much acclaimed work of Percy B. Shelley.Ē [Voiceprint] The album is instrumental save one track. The music often has a feel similar to Bo Hansson, also Mike Oldfield at his spaciest.
Traces (2010, digipack) is the second CD by British band Nine Stones Close but their first as a full working band. (Their 2008 CD St Lo was really a solo album by bandleader Adrian Jones.) Jones apparently lives in Leiden in The Netherlands, but is probably an expat given his name and the fact the other musicians are British. This is very melancholy, brooding, remorseful music, with the obvious reference points being Pink Floyd, Brave-era Marillion, Porcupine Tree, The Pineapple Thief, and Gazpacho. The best reference of all may be the American band Product. Read the Prognaut and Prog Archives reviews.
Falling to Pieces (2011) is a 35-minute, seven track CD consisting of reinventions and reworkings of tracks from the Traces album. ďAs part of the initial release of Traces, there was a limited edition version available with a bonus CD called ReTraced. There has been renewed interest in those tracks on the bonus disc by new fans who are only just discovering Nine Stones Close. In order to fill the gap between Traces and the new album, we decided to release some of those versions of the tracks from Traces alongside two newly recorded reworkings of Falling to Pieces and two remixes of Threads created by a talented friend of the band.Ē It comes in a printed cardboard sleeve and counts as only one-half CD for shipping. ďNot just a lazy remix of Traces, so different it sounds like a completely different album. Some truly astounding reworkings here, each one a very distinct yet worthy departure from the original.Ē [Prog Archives] Also read the Progmeister review.
One Eye on the Sunrise (2012, 61-minutes) features both Dutch and British musicians alongside Jones: Peter Vink (Q65/Ayreon/Star One) on bass, Pieter van Hoorn (Knight Area) on drums, Marc Atkinson on vocals, and Brendan Eyre (Riversea) on keys. Read the Progmeister and Prog Archives reviews. Watch the album teaser video and videos for the tracks A Secret and ... and Dream of Sleep.
This is the 2009 North American edition of Oceansizeís 2007 album Frames (66-minutes), which includes the 2-hour Frames Live DVD (NTSC, all-region) containing a performance of the full album plus bonus behind-the-scenes footage. Oceansize are one of them young, modern arty rock bands who are sometimes considered progressive, depending on which track is playing and where one is standing. A clue to their sound (and where their progressive credentials can fall short) is that they have room for three guitarists but no true keyboardist; a guitarist and the bassist add keyboards when theyíre not too busy. Certainly most of Frames is outstanding modern prog along the lines of Radiohead and later Porcupine Tree: complex, dense arrangements; a richly-textured, sometimes lush sound palette; plenty of inventiveness. If the band eliminated a couple tracks that are little more than post rock or heavy rock, there would be little argument. What else to do but head to Prog Archives and read what the people say? (Congratulations to the band and label on the most useless CD booklet weíve ever seen.)
This is the jewel case edition of Oceansizeís 2010 CD with the long name that will henceforth be written as SPWtBFU. Read the BBC review.
One of the giants of progressive rock, Mike Oldfieldís albums now go virtually unnoticed in the U.S., an indictment of the music industry (if one was needed). Music of the Spheres (2008, super jewel box) is Oldfieldís first completely orchestral album (no synths or electric guitar). It was written by Oldfield, orchestrated and conducted by Karl Jenkins (Adiemus, Soft Machine), and performed by the Sinfonia Sfera Orchestra (which includes a choir), with Oldfield playing classical guitar. Oldfield revisits themes from Tubular Bells on a couple songs, while others sound like an Adiemus album, but then Oldfield actually did the signature Adiemus style before Adiemus did. So it seems fitting that Oldfield and Jenkins have now worked together. You can find most of the songs from this CD on YouTube (most are unofficial). These official videos of the premiere (Part 1, Part 2) are good starting points.
These are the HDCD remastered editions that were released circa 2000. It would take a small book to adequately cover the work of this incredibly creative musician. Suffice to say Mike Oldfield belongs in the progressive rock Hall of Fame. Check our DVDs page for some of Oldfieldís DVDs.
The Floorís Too Far Away (60-minutes, digipack) is Ozricís 2006 studio CD. Ed Wynne is the only original member now, and heís the primary creative force here. Itís another very good album for the band. Itís hard for Ozric Tentacles to break a lot of new ground as theyíve been at this for something like 23 years to this point, but their sound does evolve due to personnel changes at least. There are some tracks on The Floorís Too Far Away that are nearly fusion!
The YumYum Tree (digipack) is the Ozricís 2009 studio CD. Read the many reviews at Prog Archives.
Paper Monkeys (digipack) is the 2011 studio CD from the Ozrics, still a force after 27 years or so. You can find most of the tracks from this CD on YouTube.
Erpland (1990) is generally considered to be one of Ozric Tentaclesí best albums -- itís the album that got us and a lot of others hooked. The album was remastered for this 2010 2-disc reissue on the Snapper label, which is limited to 3000 copies worldwide. Disc 2 is a DVD (NTSC, all-region) featuring the Brixton Fridge gig which was released on VHS tape long ago. The gig was recorded in May 1991 and features the classic lineup of Ed, Joie, Jon, Roly, Merv, and Paul Hankin. The set comes in a hardcover digibook (counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping).
Strangeitude (1991) is another classic Ozrics album, remastered for this 2010 hardcover digibook edition on Snapper that has new sleeve notes from the band and adds a second CD of live recordings and alternate versions. (Counts as 1.5 CDs for shipping.)
This 2008 CD+DVD digipack edition of Jurassic Shift on Snapper includes the original 1993 album remastered on the CD. The DVD (NTSC, all-region) is titled Ozric Archives 1993 and includes an interview at the Glastonbury festival, the video for the song Vita Voom, and live footage from various festivals and venues. There are more Ozric Tentacles CDs on our Bargain CDs page. Check our DVDs page for Ozric Tentaclesí DVDs.
This is the 2008 edition on the Esoteric label. Originally released in the summer of 1971, Charge was Paladinís second and final album. Formed the previous year by Keith Webb and Pete Solley (both ex-members of Terry Reidís band), Paladin fused rock with jazz and ethnic Cuban music. Charge was both more progressive and harder-edged than their debut, with less of the Latin influence, a mix of period hard rock and progressive rock. The record also became known for its Roger Dean cover. Recorded at The Beatlesí Apple studios and engineered by Geoff Emerick, Charge was Paladinís finest hour. 24-bit remastered and with seven bonus tracks, this CD is over 73-minutes long. After skipping the tracks that have little progressive about them, youíre left with a solid album of normal length.
This is the U.S. edition of Pallasís 2011 studio album XXV, which comes with a considerably lower price tag than the European edition, though the DVD in this limited edition is still PAL, all-region. Billed as The Sentinel Part 2, XXV is the first Pallas album with new singer Paul Mackie. The DVD includes the bandís show-closing XXV set at the 2010 Night of The Prog festival. ďWith XXV, Pallas have possibly released the best album of their career.Ē Read the full Classic Rock Presents Prog review. Check our DVDs page for Pallasís DVDs.
At the beginning of this millennium, the Welsh band Karnataka were one of the most popular new progressive bands in the UK. In 2004, when they seemed destined to break through to greater success, they disbanded. The original band splintered into at least three new bands: one using the name Karnataka lead by founder Ian Jones, The Reasoning (who nabbed lead singer Rachel Jones), and Panic Room. Four-fifths of Panic Room (everyone but the bassist) are former Karnataka members. Visionary Position (2008, 65-minutes) is the bandís debut album and is not far removed from Karnataka. As before, the focus lies as much with singer Anne-Marie Helderís powerful but controlled voice as with Jonathan Edwardsí symphonic keyboard parts. Visionary Position does sound like it is further developing the style of the original Karnataka, and is arguably more progressive. Anne-Marie is a wonderful singer (also multi-instrumentalist), and the electric violin from guest Liz Prendergast is a great touch. Now the dissolution of Karnataka no longer feels like a loss, as not only is this a tremendous album, Karnataka have seeded half the melodic prog bands in Britain.
Satellite (2010, 59-minutes) is their second studio CD. The Where Worlds Collide review provides insight into the essential difference between Visionary Position and Satellite. The former was composed in the studio, but the songs proved a challenge to recreate live. The songs on Satellite were road-tested first, recorded in the studio second. Thatís probably one reason why there is no violin on this one. The result is an album of polished shorter songs of symphonic/progressive-flavored melodic rock. Which is pretty much what most of the current generation of British prog bands play. Itís remarkable how Anne-Marie Helder has progressed from someone brought in to sing backing vocals in Karnataka to as good a female singer as youíll find in rock today (and not a bad lyricist either). The band must recognize this, as her vocals are the centerpiece of every song. There are similarities to the band Breathing Space, who are also responsible for transforming a female backing singer from another band into a stellar lead vocalist, not to mention Magenta, Mostly Autumn, Karnataka, The Reasoning, and Touchstone. Also read the Eurorock, Sea of Tranquility, and Prog Archives reviews.
Skin (2012, 64-minutes), Panic Roomís third, is darker, moodier, and harder-edged than Satellite, though just as melodic and beguiling. It features a string quartet adding another sonic layer. Read the Rocktopia, Background Magazine, and DPRP reviews.
The Fabric (2010, 54-minutes) is the debut CD of Parade, the new band formed by Chris Johnson, guitarist for Fish, a member of Mostly Autumn for two years, and a member of Bryan Joshís live band. Parade could be considered the fourth splinter band from the original Karnataka, as members include Anne-Marie Helder and Gavin Griffiths, both also members of Panic Room and Mostly Autumn. The album features guest appearances by Mostly Autumnís Bryan Josh, Heather Findlay and Olivia Sparnenn (also Breathing Space). Someone needs to diagram all this incestuous band construction. As with some of the other bands in this family tree, Paradeís music is more often progressive-flavored melodic rock than prog rock per se, but most prog fans will identify with it immediately. There is a quality to the songs and arrangements that qualify the music as modern prog, with seductive atmospheres, a sense of experimentation, subtlety, beauty and craftsmanship. Read the reviews at BigDistraction and Musical Discoveries.
To finish the rather long subtitle of the A Can of Worms double-CD set: ...Plus Unreleased Recordings from 2002. Parallel or 90 Degrees (Po90 for short) was Andy Tillisonís band that evolved into The Tangent. The music of both bands is similar, and Po90 would probably be better known had the Cyclops label simply kept their albums in print longer than a couple years each. This 2CD set not only includes selections from the Po90 CDs released by Cyclops, there is an unreleased 2002 version of Blues for Lear with Roine Stolt, and 30 minutes of tracks from A Kick in the Teeth for Civic Pride, the 2002 album Po90 were working on that was put on hold in favor of The Tangent. It was usually easy to spot the Van der Graaf Generator influence in Po90 -- one of their CDs consisted entirely of Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill covers -- but given this opportunity to look back on their work, one realizes that Po90 were one of the best and most important bands when it came to reinventing classic progressive rock along contemporary lines.
After a seven year hiatus, Po90 returned in 2009 with a new studio CD Jitters. With Po90 and The Tangent running concurrently, thereís no point in one sounding like the other, so itís pretty clear that The Tangent will be the classic prog band and Po90 the one incorporating a lot of modern influences. But thatís right where Po90 left off on 2002ís More Exotic Ways to Die, already a very contemporary band, and actually, they began to show their intense, hard-edged side on Unbranded (2000). There are still 1970s progressive influences present on Jitters, and times when Po90 do sound similar to The Tangent, mixed in with more abrasive, noisy stuff, which is what is expected for a band to be called ďmodernĒ. Thereís at least one review on the Po90 site.
This 1972 album on Deccaís Deram imprint was the sole album for The Parlour Band, a melodic early prog band from Jersey (the Channel Island). This is the 2010 Esoteric label release, with one bonus track. Read the review at Time Has Told Me.
Australian guitarist Kevin Peek is best known for having formed the classical rock band Sky with John Williams, Francis Monkman, Herbie Flowers and Tristan Fry. Peek was also an in-demand session musician; notably he plays on the first Alan Parsons Project album, Jeff Wayneís War of the Worlds, at least two Sally Oldfield albums, and Francis Monkmanís The Long Good Friday soundtrack, to name just a few. The Beyond the Planets album with Rick Wakeman is primarily Peekís album. Awakening (1981) and Life and Other Games (1982) were the second and third of three solo albums for Peek. Both were recorded while he was still a member of Sky, and while Peekís first solo LP did not receive wide distribution, these two did because of Skyís prominence at the time. Both albums includes performances from fellow session musicians on bass, drums, keyboards and guitar. They are instrumental and close to the style of Sky as well as Gordon Giltrapís band albums. Weíve always been fond of these two albums where melody is king, albums that make it clear that Peek had a lot to do with Skyís style. Both CDs are now deleted.
Pendragon - Kowtow ($12.99) out-of-stock
Pendragon - The Jewel remastered ($14.99) out-of-stock
Passion, the 2011 studio album for the resurgent Pendragon, is their first on the Madfish label (Snapper Music). It comes with a DVD (NTSC, all-region, 81-minutes) featuring a Pendragon Progumentary, behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Passion. This set comes in a super jewel box + slipcase. Few 33-year-old bands are reaching new fans, but with Pure and now Passion, Pendragon are doing it with some of their best material ever.
This is the original standard edition of Pendragonís 2009 studio CD Pure on the bandís own Toff Records label. What Pendragon began to do on Believe they have done with greater success on Pure, adding modern elements and shifting to a darker, occasionally heavier style to reflect the current zeitgeist. Yet the essential character that makes Pendragon Pendragon is still at the core. Nick Barrettís guitar playing, which has always been a joy to hear, has never sounded better. He has taken up the mantle of Andrew Latimer and David Gilmour, but Barrettís style extends beyond those influences and is very much his own. An outstanding album. Read lots of reviews at Prog Archives.
At the risk of understatement, Pendragonís 2006 CD Believe is a very good album, more serious-sounding and darker than previous Pendragon albums, though there is always hope embodied in the music and light shining through the darkness. The band have added plenty of new sonic and stylistic elements. If you are one of the few who didnít believe in Pendragon before now, this album may change everything. This is the original edition on the bandís own Toff Records label.
Not of This World (2001) includes two bonus tracks, acoustic versions of Paintbox and King of the Castle. This is the 2012 edition on Madfish, which adds a slipcase.
This is the 2006 remastered edition of The Window of Life on Toff/SPV, an album originally released in 1993. This edition adds the four tracks of the Fallen Dreams and Angels mini-album as a bonus.
This is Madfishís 2012 reissue of Kowtow (1988), which adds three bonus tracks not on previous editions under the heading The Millstream Sessions, which includes Time for a Change, The Mask, and I Walk the Rope. Kowtow is Pendragonís most commercial album, recorded when they were flirting with a record deal from EMI, though it does have three long tracks. It was Clive Nolanís first record with Pendragon.
This is the 2005 remastered version of The Jewel, with bonus tracks of Fly High Fall Far, Victims of Life, Armageddon, and Insomnia plus new artwork and a new booklet. This being an older recording, it has really benefited from the remastering. Originally released in 1985, The Jewel was the jewel of Pendragonís 1980s output. For fans who were there from the beginning, we suspect this is still one of their favorite Pendragon albums (even if Nick does rhyme ĎAlaskaí with Ďask herí.)
These are the 2013 Madfish editions of The Masquerade Overture (1996) and The World (1991), which come in jewel box + slipcase. The Masquerade Overture has three bonus tracks: Bird of Paradise, Midnight Running, and A Million Miles Away. The World features the bonus track Sister Bluebird, a great song from the Fallen Dreams & Angels CD-EP. These are two classic neo-prog albums. Pendragonís DVDs are here.
This is the 2008 edition of this CD on the Esoteric label, known for their superb remastering jobs. Esotericís description: ďSunset Wading was the first solo venture for former Caravan bass guitarist and vocalist John G. Perry. By 1976 he had left Canterburyís finest band and had ploughed a furrow as a noted session musician and a member of Quantum Jump with Rupert Hine. Sunset Wading saw Perry reunited with Caravan viola player and flautist Geoffrey Richardson as well as recruiting such notable musicians as Mike Giles (King Crimson), Rupert Hine, and Roger Glover (Deep Purple). A fine example of mid-70s progressive rock, this reissue has been remastered from the original master tapes and features fully restored artwork.Ē
Persona Non Grata is Neil Randall and Bruce Soord, who are otherwise known as Vulgar Unicorn. Bruce Soord is also the main force in The Pineapple Thief. Hopefully many of you are familiar with those two bands, because otherwise itís difficult to convey just how good and how creative these guys are. They play a modern progressive rock that maintains continuity with the progressive rock of yore while taking it in new directions. The 75-minute bonus disc includes a different version of the epic Under The Umbrella plus another long track The History Of The World, recorded in the same sessions but previously unreleased. A new track rounds it out. These older tracks on the bonus disc are every bit as good as the first disc, more conventionally progressive in fact. It all comes highly recommended. Now deleted, last copies.
These are the 2008-2011 remastered 2CD Voiceprint editions of Anthony Phillipsí classic early albums. The Geese and the Ghost was released in 1977, but the recordings for it had begun several years earlier and are representative of the pastoral early Genesis sound. As most Genesis fans know, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins play on this album, with Phil singing on two tracks. Ant took over vocals on Wise After the Event (1978), while the guest musicians include Michael Giles, Mel Collins, John G. Perry, and Rupert Hine (who also produced).
Giles and Perry form the rhythm section on Sides (1979), with many other musicians assisting including Mel Collins and John Hackett. The original album contained two instrumentals and eight vocal songs, with several different lead vocalists. The first side of the LP offers a charming pop style that is difficult to label Ďmainstreamí even if that was Phillipsí intent, because his version of pop never had a chance of radio airplay. The second side features Genesis-oriented progressive material and some of Phillipsí strongest tracks. Ant was under considerable pressure to make his music more commercial at this time, as was every other progressive artist on a major label. Sides was his way of only half giving in.
1984 was released in 1981 and finds Ant playing keyboards and only occasional guitar. Morris Pert and Richard Scott assist, but itís mostly Ant. He uses the Roland CR-78 CompuRhythm, which was also used by Genesis, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Mike Oldfield and many others. It was never intended to sound like real drums, which is its appeal. 1984 is instrumental and bursting with great melodies, and perhaps Oldfield is not a bad reference for some of it.
All four of these titles include a second CD full of rarities, demos, alternate mixes, etc., providing great insight into the making of each album. Many of the bonus tracks on Sides are instrumental mixes that are proggier than the vocal versions on the album proper. The booklets include extensive new liner notes, including background information on each bonus track. Also, The Geese and the Ghost and Wise After the Event were two of the best album covers ever, though the larger format of the vinyl LP is really required to see the clever details.
The first two albums in Phillipsí long-running Private Parts and Pieces series are the best. The first volume was released in 1978 and contains almost all acoustic material that had been written between Ant leaving Genesis and the release of The Geese and the Ghost. Private Parts and Pieces Volume 2: Back to the Pavilion was released in 1980, with Phillips assisted at times by Mike Rutherford, Mel Collins (flute), Rob Phillips (oboe), and Andy McCulloch (drums). This double-CD on Voiceprint combines the two albums (at a single CD price) and adds three bonus tracks. Both albums were remastered for this release by Simon Heyworth.
Private Parts and Pieces III & IV combines Antiques (1982) and A Catch at the Tables (1984). Antiques is mostly acoustic guitar oriented and sees Phillips collaborating with guitarist Enrique Barro Garcia. It is presented here with seven bonus tracks including alternate and demo versions along with previously unreleased material. A Catch at the Tables, though dominated by acoustic guitar, features keyboards too, providing symphonic colors. It comes with four bonus tracks of alternate and solo versions. As with the previous Anthony Phillips reissues, this was remastered and repackaged under the direct control of Anthony.
On Invisible Men (1983), Anthony collaborated with Richard Scott, and the album includes guests such as Morris Pert, Bimbo Acock, and Joji Hirota. It is an album of ambitious pop songs, the most pop-oriented of the Anthony Phillips catalog. But Phillips has the same knack for writing catchy songs that runs through the Genesis family, and many of these are very good, perhaps comparable to Camelís The Single Factor released the previous year, which Phillips played on.
Tarka is one of the most beautiful instrumental albums period. The music was written and recorded with Harry Williamson, whose father Henry wrote the novella Tarka the Otter upon which the album is based. The music is primarily orchestral and features the National Philharmonic Orchestra, with acoustic guitar and keyboards from Phillips and Williamson, and a long list of soloists that includes Didier Malherbe, Guy Evans, and Lindsay Cooper. Though the album was released in 1988, the music had sat in the vaults for a decade.
At the time of this writing, Phillipsí 1990 album Slow Dance is the highest rated of all his albums on Prog Archives, and with a statistically significant number of ratings. Read the many reviews. Itís a marvelous work that gets overlooked simply because it was released as late as it was.
Field Day is a beautiful double-CD digipack containing 61 pieces and over two hours of acoustic instrumentals on various 6, 10, and 12 string guitars, English bazouki, cittern, charanga, and mandolin. Phillips had been ignoring his guitars in favor of his keyboard-based TV work, so itís good to hear him work his magic again. Most of Field Day was recorded between 2001-2004. The pieces are short, the moods varied, and Phillips switches instruments before it can become too much of the same sound. This is English poetry performed on stringed things, by a founding member of Genesis whose integrity remains uncompromised.
If memory serves, Anthony Phillips first worked with Joji Hirota on 1983ís Invisible Men album. The two later collaborated on music for television wildlife programs mostly in the British Survival series. Wildlife (2008 on Voiceprint) contains highlights of that music, recorded by Ant and Joji between 1994-2003. The CD contains 45 tracks from 11 programs.
In 1984, Anthony was commissioned by music publishers De Wolfe to write and record an album of library music for use in TV and film. The library project had a number of requirements, one of the key ones being the use of then-contemporary electronic drum and synthesizer sounds. Anthony composed a number of tracks for the project and scored a selection of them which were then recorded by some top session musicians. Ant subsequently overdubbed some additional parts, and the finished album Ahead of the Field was issued as a vinyl LP to broadcasters and production companies. The albumís ďmodern, punchy, industrial themes with the emphasis on rhythmĒ (to quote the description from the original album sleeve) were subsequently used on a number of TV programs in the UK. Voiceprint released the album on CD in 2010 as part of a series of De Wolfe library releases.
On Seventh Heaven (2CD, 2012), Anthony collaborates with composer/pianist Andrew Skeet. The album features an orchestra, three female singers and several featured soloists. A few of the 36 tracks are orchestrated versions of pieces from the Field Day album. Read the Hifi Zine review.
This British band has been making psychedelic progressive rock with punk influences since 1986. The Hanged Man (1996) is their third CD and is between the styles of Hawkwind and The Cardiacs, but PEH have always been better live than on their studio recordings.
Nic Potter actually had two stints in Van der Graaf Generator, one at the beginning and one at the end. He also appears on several Peter Hammill albums and toured with Hammill. The Long Hello Volume Two was recorded at various sessions mainly at Guy Evansí home throughout 1980 and released in early 1981. The album was the follow-up to the first volume of The Long Hello (1974), which featured David Jackson, Hugh Banton, Guy Evans and Nic Potter. Volume Two is just Potter and Evans, though Jackson plays on half the tracks.
Potterís solo career began in 1983, and he recorded quite a few instrumental albums that are mostly electronic music, but more rock-based, structured and melodic than most. Self Contained is from 1987; this edition adds two bonus tracks. Voiceprint calls New Europe - Rainbow Colours (1992) a 2-on-1 CD, and it is long enough, but to our knowledge there were never separate New Europe and Rainbow Colours albums. On this one, Potter is assisted by David Jackson, Guy Evans, Duncan Browne, Snowy White, John Ellis, and Molly Duncan.
Primitive Instinct are a British band who began in the late 1980s and whose 1994 debut CD Floating Tangibility was one of the first releases on the Cyclops label. That was a mediocre album, but like many of the bands that got their start on Cyclops, their later albums are significantly stronger. Primitive Instinct are typical of the UK neo-prog bands that came of age during the 1990s in that they really have one foot in melodic pop/rock and one foot in prog, have quality lead vocals, and the music is free of metal. Reference points are Jadis, It Bites, Final Conflict, and 1990s Pendragon. One Manís Refuge (2012) is their best, their sound more polished, the songwriting more accomplished. The eight-minute track Regrets that closes the album is a highlight. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
RA is the project of Rob Andrews (bass) and Steve Hillman (keyboards) along with David Groves (guitar) from Rob Andrewsí band, and Dai Rees (drums). Violinist Phil Morgan guests on one track on Wake (2007, 57-minutes), which contains high-caliber instrumental progressive rock in the British 1970s style, superior to any of the progressive rock albums Andrews or Hillman have done on their own. Influences vary by track, but the strongest is early Camel, followed by Focus and then Steve Hackett.
Rising (2009, 60-minutes) is a budget-priced CD intended to entice prog fans to give this overlooked band a listen. Some of the tracks are new, others are reworked, restructured versions of tracks that appeared on earlier albums: two from Wake, others from Hillmanís and Andrewsí solo albums. The quartet is assisted by six guest musicians. There are more styles introduced, and Groves gets two compositions onto the CD including perhaps the best track, which is strongly influenced by Mike Oldfield. The melodeon on the final track is a great addition. Both CDs now deleted, last copies.
Rare Bird was the first band with an album released on Tony Stratton Smithís Charisma label, also home to Genesis, The Nice, Van der Graaf Generator and others. These are Rare Birdís first two albums, on which they were a quartet with two keyboardists (mostly organ, also electric piano and harpsichord) but no guitarist. Singer Steve Gould later auditioned for Genesis after Gabriel had left; a guy named Collins got the gig though. Rare Birdís self-titled debut album was released in 1969. This album includes their single Sympathy, which was a hit in the UK and Europe (though it probably never cracked the U.S. charts). Marillion later covered it. As Your Mind Flies By followed in 1970, featuring the 20-minute epic Flight. These two are Rare Birdís best albums, classics of the formative days of progressive rock. Two members left after these, and the later albums didnít measure up. These are the 2007 Esoteric label editions, which are 24-bit remastered. The first album has two bonus tracks, As Your Mind Flies By has three. Check for the related Fields CD above.
The Reasoning are a Cardiff-based prog band formed by ex-Magenta and ex-Erasmus bassist Matthew Cohen and featuring former Karnataka singer Rachel Cohen (nťe Jones). In addition to Cohen, the band have (on the early albums) excellent male vocalists. Their 2006 CD Awakening is a great debut with strong songs. It was mixed by Dave Meegan (U2, Marillion), while Steve Rothery (Marillion) guests. Dark Angel (2008) fulfills the promise heard on their debut, with the band sounding more confident, and the songwriting and production both taking a step up. All those vocalists The Reasoning have stockpiled are paying dividends in the form of some of the best vocals and vocal interplay in progdom. New guitarist Owain Roberts adds more metal stylings. It works well enough, as the band can also be as lush, delicate, warm and melodic as Karnataka and Magenta, something few prog-metal bands could claim.
For their third CD Adverse Camber (2010), The Reasoning have a new drummer and a second female vocalist in Maria Owen. The band says it best: ďThis album has been the most relaxed, most enjoyable, most fun and most creative experience we have been through since the bandís inception, and this really shows when you listen to the songs. Adverse Camber is definitely the most cohesive, mature sounding record we have created to date. Everything you expect from The Reasoning is there -- big, lush, multi-layered vocals; catchy choruses; driving, rocking riffs; beautiful acoustic sections -- you name it, itís there plus a whole lot more.Ē On the gentler songs, Rachelís voice may remind you of Mary Fahl (October Project). The Reasoning are easily recommended to fans of Karnataka and Magenta, the progenitors of the current south Wales progressive bands, but their appeal extends beyond that as well.
Adventures in Neverland (2012, 56-minutes) is The Reasoningís fourth. The music is somewhat heavier and the prevailing mood darker than before, which may have something to do with what the band had been going through with the disappearance of guitarist Owain Roberts. The contrast between that mood and the relative fragility of Rachel Jonesí vocals is a defining characteristic of this album. Listen to the track Otherworld on YouTube. Read The Midlands Rocks review.
Red Jasper are an English prog band that formed in the mid-1980s, released a half dozen albums up through 1997, and have now reformed and are working on a new album. The CDs here are all the 2012 Angel Air editions, with greatly expanded booklets. Following an album sold only at gigs, Sting in the Tale (1990) was the first Red Jasper album most know about. Ric Sanders (Fairport Convention) guests on violin on three tracks. This remastered edition adds as bonus tracks the three songs from Red Jasperís 1989 Pull That Thumb EP that has never been seen outside of Wiltshire. Red Jasper eventually caught the attention of the Dutch SI Music (later Cymbeline) label, who released three CDs and did much to spread the word.
Red Jasper reached greater heights on A Midsummer Nightís Dream (1993) and The Winterís Tale (1994), remastered and reissued in this 2CD set with three live bonus tracks from 1993 and new sleeve notes. These were always intended as companion albums, seeing as how both take their names from Shakespeare plays. On these albums, Red Jasper combine Anglo-Celtic folk-rock (Fairport, Steeleye, Strawbs, Tull, Horslips) with neo-prog (Marillion, etc.). Thatís the short answer; see Prog Archives for in-depth reviews and Red Jasperís site for info on all their albums.
Anagramary (1997) is considered by most to be Red Jasperís best album, even though the band was in transition and would break up soon after. It is their most polished work, and here their neo-prog side dominates, though comparisons to Strawbs are still valid. A bonus live track has been added to this CD.
Action Replay is a 1992 live album with 15 tracks spanning 71 minutes. ďThe result is an album that has really stood the test of time and is still as lively and vibrant 20 years down the line as it was on that night. There was/is a very Englishness about this band that was matched by very few in the prog scene, and probably their only real contemporaries in the underground were Grace, but these guys really knew how to put the rock into prog rock... People who havenít heard them do need a peg on which to hang their musical hat so to speak, so letís say that they had the folk and balls of Horslips, as well as the whistle and keyboards (and even perform The King Of The Fairies), yet at times come across as a metallic Jethro Tull. There is a venom in Daveyís vocals that provide a harsh edge to proceedings, the folk/punk ethic combining strongly.Ē [Kev Rowland]
Refugee was seen by the British music press as an attempt to revive the The Nice, Keith Emersonís pre-ELP band. Refugee took two-thirds of The Nice (Lee Jackson and Brian Davison) and added Patrick Moraz, who ensured that Refugee had a different style than The Nice. In fact, Refugeeís self-titled 1974 album, their only studio album, is one of the great progressive rock albums, one that probably too many current prog rock fans donít know about. Had Moraz not been recruited by Yes, one wonders what Refugee would have gone on to achieve. In any event, Moraz has the distinction of having replaced both Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson.
The 64-minute live CD was recorded at Newcastle City Hall in 1974. The audio has been restored with the full cooperation of the band members and sounds significantly better than any existing bootleg recordings. The tracks include Ritt Mickley, Someday, Papillon, and Grand Canyon Suite from their studio album, a version of The Niceís Diamond Hard Blue Apples of the Moon, a 9-minute version of Bob Dylanís She Belongs to Me, the previously-unreleased Refugee Jam, and One Left Handed Peter Pan, which was slated for the second album.
Previously released as separate CDs, this 2010 double-CD on Voiceprint combines the two in a single jewel case, at a price lower than either of the CDs alone.
ReGenesis is a British Genesis tribute band focusing on material from Trespass through Wind and Wuthering. Here It Comes Again is a 1998 live album featuring Back In N.Y.C., The Musical Box, The Return of the Giant Hogweed, Dancing With the Moonlit Knight, Afterglow, The Cinema Show, Los Endos, The Knife.
The complete and rather confusing history of the band Renaissance is beyond the scope of this product description, but the better known Renaissance with Annie Haslam was not the first Renaissance. One Renaissance did morph into the other, even though the full-time personnel were completely different. The first Renaissance emerged from The Yardbirds. Singer Jane Relf is the younger sister of Keith Relf. (Keith passed away in 1976.) Among their members was future Strawbs keyboardist John Hawken. This first Renaissance released two LPs in 1969 and 1970 before giving way to the second incarnation of the band. These are the 2010 remastered editions on Esoteric of those first two Renaissance albums. These two albums have been reissued countless times, but now the Esoteric team has had a go at remastering them and expanding the booklets. The self-titled CD has two bonus tracks, both sides of a single containing the single version of Island and a non-LP song The Sea. Illusion has three bonus tracks, all non-LP. Two were recorded for an unreleased film in 1970; the third is a 1976 demo by Keith Relf. Check our DVDs page for this Renaissanceís Kings and Queens DVD.
When the first Renaissance reformed in 1976, the name Renaissance was already in use, so they called themselves Illusion, from the title of the last album they recorded as Renaissance. Illusionís 1977 album Out of the Mist is their best, followed closely by the 1978 self-titled Illusion album. In fact, Out of the Mist is the best thing this group of musicians has released under any name, and is essential for fans of either version of Renaissance. These are the newly-remastered 2011 editions on Esoteric.
Enchanted Caress is the third Illusion album. It was recorded in 1979 but remained unreleased for many years, no doubt the punk and new wave plague having something to do with that. This is the Renaissance Records edition.
Jane Relf has one of the most beautiful voices in rock. The jam-packed double-CD Janeís Renaissance compiles material from Renaissance Mark I, Illusion, and Stairway (a more new age-y Illusion offshoot). Perhaps most important are the Jane Relf solo songs that few have heard before. She released a solo single Without a Song from You b/w Make My Time Pass By in 1971; both songs are included here along with Gone Fishing, a song recorded in the mid-1970s for a frozen food advertisement! There are also two rare demo versions of Carpet of the Sun with Jane singing, which ties the two incarnations of Renaissance together. The booklet contains photos and a detailed bio. Read the review at Musical Discoveries.
This is the 2010 Friday Music edition of Renaissanceís 1975 masterpiece Scheherazade and Other Stories, remastered from the original Sire/Warner Bros tapes, with new liner notes from the band. The second disc is a DVD (NTSC, all-region) entitled Renaissance - Filmed at Mill House and Bray Studios 1979. It contains five videos of the band performing in the studio and on a soundstage: four songs from Azure díOr plus Carpet of the Sun, professionally produced and edited. Carpet of the Sun and Forever Changing are performed unplugged; the latter has some other footage of the band blended in.
Renaissanceís magnificent 1976 double live album Live at Carnegie Hall captured the band at their peak, playing with a symphony orchestra in a city where they were probably more popular than in their home country. This is the 2009 Deluxe Anniversary Edition on Friday Music, remastered from the original Sire Records vault tapes and including new recollections and artwork from Annie Haslam.
Tuscany is Renaissanceís 2001 comeback album, with Mickey Simmonds replacing Jon Tout (who guests) on keys. Jon Camp is absent, but Annie Haslam, Michael Dunford, and Terrence Sullivan are all here. A good album though not up to their classic material; mainly it lacks extended instrumentals.
Live in Chicago captures Renaissance performing at Park West Chicago in 1983. It was originally recorded for a US television show called Hot Spots. The lineup here is Annie Haslam, Michael Dunford, Jon Camp, Gavin Harrison, and Mick Taylor. Though the album Time Line had just been released, the only song performed from it is Flight, as the band decided to concentrate on their classic material.
For the Dreams & Omens CD, Renaissance delved into their archives and located this pristine 1978 concert recording at Philadelphiaís most famous venue, The Tower Theatre. The tracks included here are Can You Hear Me, Carpet of the Sun, Day of the Dreamer, Midas Man, Northern Lights, and Things I Donít Understand. The package includes new liner notes and photos from the band as well as cover artwork by Annie Haslam.
Greatest Hits Live Part One and Part Two are reissues of the King Biscuit CDs previously titled Renaissance at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1 & 2, with new artwork. Part One is no longer available; Part Two has also been deleted and will be gone soon. This is all classic material recorded live in 1977 and may be even better than the Live at Carnegie Hall album. The track listing on Part Two: Running Hard, Midas Man, Mother Russia, Touching Once (Is So Hard to Keep), Ashes Are Burning, Prologue, and You (a great previously unreleased studio recording).
The Other Woman (1995) and Ocean Gypsy (1997) are the two CDs by Michael Dunfordís Renaissance. With Annie Haslam living in the U.S., both she and Dunford used the name Renaissance at times, though neither version had any other Renaissance members participating. Dunfordís UK-based Renaissance featured singer Stephanie Adlington, who has more of a theatrical voice, and Betty Thatcher contributed to the lyrics. Aside from a new arrangement of Northern Lights, The Other Woman features new compositions, while Ocean Gypsy has only a couple new songs, the rest being new arrangements of classic Renaissance songs. The 2CD here is the 2010 edition on Floating World that combines both CDs in a double-CD set. More Renaissance CDs can usually be found on our Bargain CDs page. Check our DVDs page for Renaissance DVDs.
Renaissant is the Renaissance spin-off created by drummer (and here, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist) Terry Sullivan, with keyboardist John Tout helping out, plus several other musicians including a guest appearance by Martin Orford (IQ). Betty Thatcher Newsinger wrote lyrics for four of the songs, while Terryís wife Christine handles most of the vocals. Of course Christine is not Annie Haslam, and no one can possibly replace Annie in the hearts of Renaissance fans. But the music is true to the Renaissance style. Like the previous Renaissance album Tuscany, South of Winter lacks extended instrumental excursions, and the energy level is somewhat subdued. So this concentrates on Renaissanceís symphonic folk style, and while naturally it falls short of classic Renaissance, itís nice to see Terry trying to keep the spirit of Renaissance alive. Read the review at Musical Discoveries.
Recorded at Decca studios in the summer of 1970, Roomís Pre-Flight was an ambitious blend of rock, blues, jazz and classical influences that became a sought-after item for progressive rock collectors. Their only recorded work was critically well-received, but like many of Deramís releases in this genre, did not achieve the hoped-for breakthrough to greater commercial success. Room had a female lead singer; her voice is in that range where it could almost be a male with a high tenor voice. The music is early British prog, much further along than the ordinary rock of the time, but not as advanced as King Crimson, Yes or Genesis were. Room did not have a keyboard player, but a large ensemble of session musicians added strings and brass arrangements, filling out the sound and giving the music the necessary complexity. The album has been remastered from the original analog tapes and is now presented in this definitive 2008 edition from Esoteric Recordings. Read the DPRP review. Lots more reviews and info at Roomís website/blog.
These are the 2008 editions on the Esoteric label, known for their superb remastering jobs. Samurai and I Spider are two closely-related CDs. The English band The Web began life as a jazz, blues and soul-influenced outfit, fronted by singer John L. Watson, enjoying top ten hit singles throughout Europe. By the time of Theraphosa Blondi (1970), the band had undergone a metamorphosis, their music taking on more jazz and progressive influences, resulting in an album mostly in the British early jazz-rock style while also displaying The Webís earlier styles. This CD edition contains two previously-unreleased bonus tracks.
After three albums, their American lead singer left and the rest of the band decided to change direction. They dropped the definite article from their name, but more importantly, they brought in keyboardist/singer Dave Lawson. Lawson not only took over the vocals, he took over all the writing. I Spider was originally released by Polydor Records in 1970, an innovative album that continues to draw comparisons with the work of Van der Graaf Generator of that time. The band renamed themselves Samurai and released their eponymous album on the short-lived Greenwich Gramophone label in 1972. (Bassist Tony Reeves was A&R director for the label.) Both albums are classics of early British progressive rock. The musicianship was excellent, and Lawsonís compositions were groundbreaking and memorable. If ďCanterburyĒ is taken to refer to the jazz-influenced branch of British prog (as opposed to the symphonic branch), then these are Canterbury albums. In addition to Lawsonís organ, piano and (a little) Mellotron, both albums feature sax and flute. The sax is most important. It is played melodically and, as these are structured songs with no improvisation, the jazz influence is felt primarily harmonically. This style of jazz-rock has very little to do with the style exemplified by Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, or Return to Forever. A better reference is some of the music created many years later by the American band However.
Sadly, Samurai disbanded shortly after the release of the record, resulting in limited sales. However, the influence of the album was not lost, as both Dave Lawson and Tony Reeves soon joined Dave Greenslade to form the group Greenslade, and though Greenslade was less jazz influenced, one can hear many similarities. These Esoteric reissues are remastered from the original master tapes, and their booklets contain previously unseen photographs and an interview with Dave Lawson. I Spider features two bonus tracks recorded live in Sweden in 1971. Read the DPRP reviews of I Spider and Samurai.
Dark Ships (2008, 64-minutes) is the first album for Jan Schelhaas, whose has been a member of both Caravan and Camel, writing as well as playing. Jan plays most of the instruments and sings, while Doug Boyle plays guitar on most tracks, and Jimmy Hastings adds some flute and soprano sax. The music is reminiscent of Peter Bardensí post-Camel albums in that it is a mellow symphonic rock bearing some resemblance to Camel. Many of the songs here follow a similar pattern of beginning quite soft and with vocals, then opening up into proggier instrumentals later in the track.
Shadowland is one of Clive Nolanís (Pendragon, Arena) many projects. Nolan handles the vocals as well as the keys in Shadowland, which also features Karl Groom on guitar. Shadowland released three CDs during the nineties: Ring of Roses (1992), Through the Looking Glass (1994), and Mad as a Hatter (1996). The music is fairly typical 1990s neo-prog, close to Arenaís less aggressive style, with more emphasis on vocals and songs.
Edge of Night (2009) is Shadowlandís first DVD (NTSC, all-region). This is the Limited Edition, which adds the audio double-CD and comes in deluxe packaging. Shot at the first edition of the Prog Rock festival in Katowice, Poland, the lineup here is Nolan, Groom (Threshold, Strangers on a Train), Mike Varty (Landmarq, Credo, Jannison Edge), Mark Westwood (Caamora, Neo), and Nick Harradence (NW10). Songs from all three Shadowland albums are performed. Bonus features include an interview with Nolan and Groom, and the video Shadowland Live in Holland 2009. DVD playing time 200-minutes, CDs 110-minutes total. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo audio, 16:9 widescreen. Counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
The gorgeous boxset Cautionary Tales (2009) contains the entire Shadowland discography to date. It includes the Edge of Night DVD and 2 CDs as above, and it includes remastered editions of the three Shadowland studio CDs. These CDs have been out-of-print for a long time. Additionally, each of the studio CDs includes bonus tracks, eight total. These include the bonus tracks from the Japanese editions. The set also includes a booklet with biography, discography, lyrics to all songs, and photos from the archive. Make some shelf space. Counts as 4 CDs for shipping.
This is the 2009 2CD expanded edition on Esoteric Recordings, known for their superb remastering jobs. Pete Sinfield is best known as the lyricist for King Crimson and ELP. His classic 1973 solo album was one of the first releases on ELPís Manticore label and features contributions from Greg Lake, Ian Wallace, Mel Collins, John Wetton, Keith Tippett, and many more musicians. The album has a strong early King Crimson flavor. The second disc includes nine previously-unreleased early album mixes plus two bonus tracks. This CD edition restores the albumís artwork, while the booklet includes an interview with Sinfield. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Judge Smith was a founder member of Van der Graaf Generator in 1967 but left prior to the bandís first album. He went on to front his own band before opting for a solo career. He has also maintained links with Van der Graaf Generator and has co-writing credits for songs on Van Der Graaf Generator albums and Peter Hammill albums. Curlyís Airships was recorded over a long period of time between 1994-2000. It is an epic 2 hour, 25 minute double CD telling the story of the 1924 Imperial Airship Scheme and the R101 disaster of 1930 and features performances from Van der Graaf Generatorís Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton, and David Jackson, John Ellis and Paul Roberts (The Stranglers), Pete Brown, and Arthur Brown. Read reviews. Fat 2CD case, counts as 2 CDs for shipping.
These are the 2010 remastered editions on Esoteric of the Soft Machine albums from their years on EMI (1975-1981). All have been remastered from the original tapes and fully restore the original artwork. Bundles (1975) was the first of these albums and featured a lineup of Mike Ratledge (keyboards), Karl Jenkins (oboe, piano, soprano sax), John Marshall (drums), Roy Babbington (bass), and some guitarist named Allan Holdsworth (wonder what became of him?) who plays an important role here. Bundles began a new chapter for the band, one in which Karl Jenkins became the principal composer and Soft Machine became more purely a fusion band. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Softs (1976) was the bandís second album for EMIís Harvest label and featured a lineup of Mike Ratledge (keyboards), Karl Jenkins (oboe, piano, soprano sax), John Marshall (drums), Roy Babbington (bass), and new member John Etheridge (guitar), along with saxophonist Alan Wakeman. Softs showcased John Etheridgeís considerable guitar playing talents and would be the final album to feature founding member Mike Ratledge. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Land Of Cockayne (1981) was Soft Machineís final album. By this time, Soft Machine comprised keyboard player and saxophonist Karl Jenkins and drummer John Marshall. They were joined by musicians such as Jack Bruce, the returning Allan Holdsworth, Dick Morrissey, and John G. Perry, among others. Jenkins is in control here, responsible for all the music and string arrangements. Itís always been a divisive album among fans, with those who expect it to sound like older Soft Machine critical of it, while those who accept it on its own terms favorable toward it. Thereís at least one audio sample on YouTube. Read reviews at Prog Archives.
Alive & Well was the product of several nights of excellent concerts at Le Palace Theatre in Monmartre, Paris in July 1978. The album was initially released as a single album, but the discovery of multi-track masters of a concert in the archives has resulted in this expanded edition with a second CD of additional material recorded in July 1978. The bonus disc also includes both sides of a 1978 single making their first appearance on CD. The band line-up is Karl Jenkins (keys), John Marshall (drums), John Etheridge (guitars), and new members Steve Cook (bass) and Ric Sanders (violin).
Prophecy (2013) is the fifth Solstice studio album, the band still fronted by guitarist Andy Glass and also featuring Steve McDaniel (keyboards), Robin Phillips (bass), Pete Hemsley (drums), Jenny Newman (violin), and Emma Brown (vocals). The bandís iconic blend of soaring violin and guitar weaving around delicately passionate female vocals, underpinned by a driving rhythm section remains in force. The CD also includes three bonus tracks which are new remixes of songs from Solsticeís debut Silent Dance done by Steven Wilson, who is a long-time Solstice aficionado. Read reviews at Prog Archives. Watch the album promo video.
ďKindred Spirits (2011) is Solsticeís first live album since The Cropredy Set in 1998. They launched their last studio album Spirit in 2010 and filmed the show, and itís that film that forms the Kindred Spirits DVD (NTSC, all-region) along with a couple of tracks from their set at the Loreley Festival in Germany the same year. The Kindred Spirits CD is a compilation of live tunes from 2007-2008 and covers a lot of older material that they didnít get to play at the Spirit launch. Both the DVD and CD have superb sound and capture the energy of the performances. A month or so before Kindred Spirits was due to be pressed, Andy Glass of Solstice got an email from someone saying how much they were enjoying their recently purchased copy of Spirit. That someone turned out to be veteran Marvel artist and prog fan, Barry Kitson. The result of this moment of synchronicity is the brilliant art that runs through the album. Barry is a phenomenal artist and lovely bloke, and the band are greatly indebted to him. Another discovery that preceded the release of Kindred Spirits was the discovery that Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree is a Solstice fan. Steven very kindly agreed to contribute to the sleeve notes, and his chat with Festival Musicís David Robinson fills a couple of pages of the booklet.Ē
Solstice returned in 2010 with a new studio CD Spirit (60-minutes). Also included is a superb full-concert DVD (NTSC, all-region) recorded in a club in July 2009, featuring 13 tracks plus interviews with the band. The band describe Spirit as ďthe album weíve always wanted to makeĒ. So after fits and starts in the 1980s and 90s, now this latest incarnation of Solstice are serious! Some of the names have changed, but the instrumentation is the same: female & male vocals, guitars, violin & viola, keyboards, bass and drums. Solstice pick up right where they left off, true to the sound and spirit of the band, though there are a few new elements such as a bit of heavy guitar and some Celtic melodies played by the violin. At a time when a lot of bands sound like each other, Solstice still stand apart. Read the Progressive Land review.
These are the 2007 Definitive Editions on the Festival Music label, most expanded to two-disc sets, all with new booklets and new liner notes by Oz Hardwick (which have been purloined for some of the descriptions below). While part of the same British 1980s scene that featured Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Twelfth Night, Pallas, Haze, etc., Solstice stood apart. They featured female vocals (they went through several different singers) and violin, and in many ways had a stronger connection to the 1970s -- there was still a hippie vibe to their symphonic prog. They blended Yes and Renaissance with touches of psychedelic folk and a little jazz.
By the time their debut album was recorded, Solstice were already seasoned veterans of countless gigs throughout Britain. It is striking, then, that Silent Dance (1984) is so emphatically a studio album. From the staccato opening of Peace to the jazz-tinged coda of Find Yourself, the album has a glacial quality. The rough, folky edges were replaced by a sleek ambience, sometimes intimate (Earthsong), elsewhere thrillingly expansive (Sunrise). Mark Eltonís violin was reigned in as atmospheric keyboards gained prominence, generally leaving center stage to Sandy Leighís vocals and Andy Glassí guitar. Dynamic foundations are provided by Martin Wrightís percussion and Mark Hawkinsí bass, though the one criticism of the album is that the bass lacks presence in the mix. The 70-minute bonus disc includes the tracks from Solsticeís cassette releases First Light (1982), Pathways (1982), and The Peace Tape (1983); a 1983 demo recorded at BBC Maida Vale with Shelley Patt on vocals; and their 1983 appearance on BBC Radio 1ís Friday Rock Show, 15 tracks total.
New Life, their second, was recorded in 1992, eight years after their first, but featured songs from the 1983-85 period when Solstice gigged extensively. The album features a crisper, fuller sound than their debut and better captures the grandeur Solstice was capable of, the fuller dynamic doing justice to bassist Craig Sunderland, adding depth and power to the stage favorites that hadnít made it onto the debut. The lavish swathes of keyboards are still present, but Marc Eltonís violin is more prominent, blending with Andyís guitar to frame Heidi Kempís commanding vocals. A stunning album throughout, the cornerstones are the two epics, Guardian and Journey, tapestries of mood and color which move from the meditative to the exuberant with a confidence that encompasses all the diverse elements which make Solsticeís music unique. The 70-minute bonus disc includes 1985 demos with Barbara Deason on vocals, a 1984 bootleg, and two 1985 bootlegs, 13 tracks total.
Circles (1997) featured all new material. Framed by two meditative instrumentals, Salķ and Coming Home, Circles is perhaps the most impassioned Solstice album. Fronted by Emma Brown, perhaps their strongest vocalist to date, the band had never sounded so powerful on disc. Bolstered by ex-Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker, the sound produced is full, dynamic and committed. This new edition is a single CD with four bonus tracks taking the time up to 63-minutes.
Thirteen years after the brace of sell-out farewell concerts at Londonís legendary Marquee club, it was finally time to release a live album. The venue was Cropredy 1998, Fairport Conventionís annual outdoor festival of the finest in folk, rock, and the hybrid beasts in between. (For those whoíve never been to a Cropredy, 25,000 people attend, dwarfing todayís prog festivals.) The sun shone on a huge crowd as Solstice, now augmented by Jenny Newman on violin, Robin Phillips on bass and Steve McDaniel on keyboards, took the stage for a set that began with a sequence of old favorites before concentrating on material from the then-recent Circles album, but there was also space for a band version of Awakening from Clive Bunkerís solo album, along with the new instrumental Ducks on the Pond. Unfortunately, problems with sound rendered the recording unusable. Resilient to the end, the band set up in the studio the following day and replayed the set Ė live without an audience Ė which is what you hear on this album. The show was captured on film. The technical problems with the sound led Andy Glass to initially veto its release, though now after remastering, it is available on DVD. The Cropredy Set Definitive Edition includes both the CD and the DVD (NTSC, all-region). Here are video excerpts of Morning Light, Thank You, and Sacred Run in mpeg format.
The Esoteric labelís description: ďA band formed by founding members of Hawkwind, Space Ritual are true exponents of space rock, performing sold-out concerts drawing on classic Hawkwind repertoire written by Nik Turner, Dave Anderson and Terry Ollis. Now Space Ritual deliver a stunning 2007 studio album of original material that takes their music into a new dimension that is both contemporary yet still aware of its heritage and roots. Also featuring poems by sci-fi author Michael Moorcock, Otherworld has been described as Ďmore Hawkwind than Hawkwindí by one commentator, but Space Ritual are more than that. They are a band in their own right, with their own style and future.Ē Read the DPRP review.
These two classics are the 2013 Esoteric label reissues, newly remastered from the original Decca master tapes and including booklets that fully restore all original album artwork. Spriguns are among the most progressive of the first generation British folk-rock bands. Originally known as Spriguns of Tolgus, under that name they recorded mainly updated arrangements of traditional British folk tunes, similar to Steeleye Span. With the two albums here, they shortened their name, became more of a rock band, and focused on originals with traditional sounding melodies, moving from the Steeleye camp toward the company of Spirogyra, Mellow Candle, and Trees. The band was led by singer Mandy Morton, who has a Maddy Prior type voice, while the instrumentation includes electric & acoustic guitar, keyboards, electric violin, bass and drums. Time Will Pass has three songs with orchestrations by Robert Kirby, known for his work with Strawbs, and Spriguns should have crossover appeal to Strawbs fans as well as Renaissance/Illusion. The only problem for Spriguns was that it was late in the game for electric folk. Revel Weird and Wild was released in 1976, Time Will Pass in 1977, the height of punk in the UK. Revel is the more trad sounding of the two. The uninitiated prog fan should start with Time, but Revel is really charming too, with much more violin.
Squackett is the long-awaited collaboration between Chris Squire and Steve Hackett, over four years in the making. ďIt was very much about a bunch of pals swapping notes and anecdotes,Ē says Hackett. Squire adds ďThere is some clever prog rock stuff in there, some jazzy bits but there are parts that have vocal harmonies like Crosby, Stills and Nash.Ē Read reviews.
The deluxe edition comes in a hardcover digibook and adds a DVD (NTSC, all-region) that includes a DTS 5.1 surround mix of the album (also Dolby Digital). There is no reason this couldnít be a DVD-Audio with lossless audio rather than a DVD-Video disc; shame on Esoteric who ought to know better. ďAfter spending a score of days immersed in the sea of 5.1, I can honestly say that Iím just not interested in hearing A Life Within a Day in stereo -- ever.Ē [Sound+Vision]
Stackridge is an eccentric English progressive-folk-pop band from Bristol who released five LPs between 1971-1976, a comeback album in 1999, a mini-CD in 2003, and another comeback album in 2009. Their music is in the vein of 10cc, early Genesis, Magna Carta, and to some extent Supertramp, a whimsical, humorous, exceedingly clever and very English music featuring innovative arrangements that can trace its lineage to The Beatles. Lots of info and reviews at Prog Archives. These are the latest remastered editions on Angel Air.
The self-titled CD is their 1971 debut plus two bonus tracks. Friendliness (1972) is their second, with four bonus tracks. Their third album The Man in the Bowler Hat was produced by George Martin and released early in 1974. Extravaganza, their fourth, was released at the beginning of 1975.
Mr. Mick (1976) was their fifth. Their record company at that time didnít like the finished result and ordered the removal of most of the dialogue. As the album was based around a poem, this wholesale remodeling didnít please the band much. This 2007 2CD edition on Angel Air includes the original album in its entirety on CD1 (first released in 2000 as The Original Mr. Mick) and the remastered album released to the public in 1976 on CD2.
Purple Spaceships Over Yatton is a 2006 compilation featuring 15 tracks, all remastered; the title track is a new recording.
The tracks on Radio Sessions 1971-1973 (2012) come from two BBC radio sessions, the first on 21 September 1971 and the last on 7 February 1973. They include a 15-minute version of Slark and the much sought after song Lyder Loo, which was originally scheduled for inclusion on The Man in the Bowler Hat but never recorded. Check for Stackridgeís The Forbidden City DVD on our DVDs page.
Part of the ever-expanding Mostly Autumn family tree, Stolen Earth evolved out of the band Breathing Space after Iain Jennings and Olivia Sparnenn made Mostly Autumn their full-time jobs. Stolen Earthís lead singer is Heidi Widdop, who was the original Mostly Autumn singer but left shortly before MAís first album was recorded. A Far Cry From Home (2012, 62-minutes) does not disappoint -- it sounds a lot like Mostly Autumn and is stronger than any of the Breathing Space albums. Like Mostly Autumn, Stolen Earthís lead vocals are female with some male supporting vocals, there is a strong Pink Floyd influence, and the use of low whistle adds some Celtic flavor (though not as much as early Mostly Autumn). Fans of the current female-fronted UK prog bands are sure to love this album, as will a lot of Floyd fans. Read the Where Worlds Collide, Get Ready to Rock, and Progmeister reviews.
These are the 2012 remastered digipack reissues on Metal Mind. One of Clive Nolan and Karl Groomís projects (Shadowland being another), Strangers on a Train made two albums of a theatrical/cinematic sort of symphonic neo-prog, dominated by Nolan who wrote all the music and lyrics. On The Prophecy (1990, 64-minutes), the band is Tracy Hitchings (Quasar, Landmarq) on vocals, Nolan (Pendragon, Arena) on keys, and Groom (Threshold) on guitars and bass. The Labyrinth (1993, 72-minutes) adds singer Alan Reed (Pallas) to the lineup. The Labyrinth improves on the first CD, more heavily orchestrated, with Reedís vocals complementing Hitchingsí. Metal Mind are touting the use of tube electronics in the remastering -- the early 1990s was still a time when digital audio often lacked warmth, so hopefully the remastering has remedied that. Read the Musical Discoveries reviews. Listen to the track Darkworld on YouTube; you can find other tracks nearby.
Strawbs headlined NEARfest 2004, the final and largest gig of a U.S. summer tour that reunited the classic Hero and Heroine / Ghosts lineup of Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, Rod Coombes, and John Hawken, their first live shows together since 1975. The tour was repeated in the UK a year later. This CD was released on the bandís Witchwood label in 2005 but is being distributed in the U.S. for the first time in 2013. It is full of classic Strawbs tracks, almost all from the 1970s, with emphasis on the Hero and Heroine album.
This is a new version of Strawbsí 1974 masterpiece Hero and Heroine recorded by the current Strawbs line-up. In 2010, Strawbs toured Canada and the UK playing Hero and Heroine for the first time in its entirety, which was the impetus for this modern interpretation. It features Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, and Chas Cronk, the core of the Strawbs line-up at the time the original album was released. Drummer Tony Fernandez returns to the line-up along with keyboardist John Young (Greenslade, John Wetton, etc.) to deliver ďthe most intense, powerful, and poignant performance the band has produced in its remarkable forty-year historyĒ. Reviews and more info on the Strawbs website.
These 2-disc digipack releases are from Strawbsí 40th Anniversary Celebration weekend at Twickenham Stadium in September 2009. Vol. 1: Strawberry Fayre is a double-CD containing 28 live tracks performed by Strawbs members past and present as well as guests, including Sonja Kristina, Rick Wakeman, Brian Willoughby, John Ford, Blue Weaver,... see the Strawberry Fayre track list for all the participants. Even Fire, Dave Lambertís pre-Strawbs band, perform two of their songs.
Strawbs was Rick Wakemanís first professional band. Volume 2 contains only the second concert Wakeman and Dave Cousins have played together. The CD in this set contains the eight songs they performed, while the 75-minute DVD (NTSC, all-region, 16:9) contains the same songs plus all the banter and anecdotes. Among the extras is a performance of the song Evergreen by Strawbs with The Royal Artillery Orchestra conducted and arranged by former Strawb Robert Kirby, who passed away just weeks later. The CD and DVD track lists are here along with a preview of the DVD.
Check our DVDs page for Strawbs DVDs. These are all the latest editions on the Strawbsí own Witchwood Media label. A 2011 release for Acoustic Strawbs, Acoustic Gold is a selection of key tracks from earlier (in some cases no longer available) Witchwood releases plus live versions of two songs never released before in acoustic form: Jesus and Grace Darling, and two Cousins/Willoughby tracks: an unreleased version of Beat The Retreat recorded in Italy, and the stunning acoustic version of Ringing Down The Years (the B-side of The King 45). Here is a detailed song-by-song overview.
Dancing to the Devilís Beat is the 2009 studio CD for the resurgent Strawbs, celebrating their 40th anniversary. The Strawbs lineup now is Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, Rod Coombes, and Oliver Wakeman. As fans know, Rick Wakeman was the Strawbs keyboardist before leaving for Yes, so his son Oliver returns the keyboards post to the family. Apart from a couple duff tracks (there are always a couple duff tracks), this easily sits alongside the previous yearís The Broken Hearted Bride as the best post-1970s Strawbs albums. Details of this CD can be found at the Strawbs website.
The Broken Hearted Bride is Strawbsí 2008 studio CD, with the lineup now Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk and Rod Coombes. John Hawken has retired from touring but does play keyboards on the CD, and Ian Cutler adds fiddle. This is the best Strawbs album in ages. The Strawbs sound young again, they sound like a rock band again, and there are some symphonic songs worthy of the glory days. 60-minutes. More information at the Strawbsí website.
Recorded just prior to the Strawbs reunion tour that saw them headline NEARfest 2004, Deja Fou was not only Strawbsí first album of all new material in a decade, but the lineup is the classic one that recorded Hero and Heroine and Ghosts, together for the first time in 30 years. No one seriously expected another Hero and Heroine, but Deja Fou is quite a good album, a lot of which sounds like it could have come from an even earlier period in Strawbs history, particularly the acoustic tracks. With keyboardist John Hawken living in the U.S., he contributed little to the writing and not all that much to the playing Ė he added his parts from the U.S. after receiving the tapes from the UK recording sessions. This is really a Cousins and Lambert album. Nevertheless, there are two tracks of classic Strawbs prog music, and the old magic frequently shines through.
The Strawbsí prime period was that of Hero and Heroine (1974) and Ghosts (1975), so Deep Cuts (1976) is from shortly after their peak, with the shift from symphonic to pop-rock on. (The story is the same for any number of progressive bands; only the album names have been changed.) Deep Cuts featured a new label, new producers and new keyboardists, and contains some classic tracks, with Simple Visions still a concert staple. One of the great LP covers too. This CD contains one bonus track.
Burning for You followed in 1977, featuring a Patrick Woodruffe cover illustration. It was the last Strawbs album to chart in the U.S. The tracks Burning For Me, Cut Like a Diamond, and Heartbreaker are standouts. One bonus track.
This is the 2012 Witchwood reissue of Deadlines (1978), restored and remastered by Dave Cousins. The remastering is a significant improvement over the One Way CD. There are loads of extras here that take the playing time up to 77:40, including acoustic demos and alternate mixes of the album tracks. See the Strawbs site for details. Cousins says that in production they sacrificed their rootsy element in favor of pop balladry, and that the bonus tracks give a truer flavor of how the songs started out. Deadlines was the last Strawbs album of the 1970s, their last on a major label, and their last for almost a decade. Just about all the original UK prog bands reached a point in the mid-to-late 1970s where, due to commercial pressures, the quality dropped off dramatically, and for the Strawbs it came relatively early with Nomadness in 1975. But Deadlines was a bit of a rebound, better than Nomadness and Burning for You and comparable to Deep Cuts. Most of the best tracks are on the second half of the album.
Live at the Calderone, New York í75 is a 68-minute official live CD released by Witchwood. In the mid-1970s, the Strawbs were on a roll in the United States. The band had had five consecutive albums on the Billboard charts between 1972-1975, with Hero and Heroine and Ghosts selling over half a million copies between them. This CD was recorded on the Strawbsí first U.S. headline tour and is the first release of this concert on CD. After John Hawkenís first departure, Cousins, Lambert, Cronk, and Coombes were augmented by Robert Kirby and John Mealing, both on keyboards. This CD shows how the Strawbsí stage show had evolved from its early folk-inspired tunes into an almost continuous symphonic sequence of hard-hitting songs. Among the established classics were new offerings from the Nomadness album including The Promised Land, To Be Free, and Hanging in the Gallery, which have never appeared before on a Strawbs live album.
Of a Time is a previously unreleased album available for the first time in 2012. It falls between the 1967 recording of All Our Own Work by Sandy Denny and the Strawbs, and the first A&M album Strawbs released in 1969. It is a mix of pop-orchestral stylings, a concept, UK folk trends of the time, and the modal harmonies and tunings that have come to define Strawbs music over the years. This album has been restored and remastered from original tapes. The 24 tracks include the originally intended album plus alternative recordings and mixes, outtakes, unreleased tracks, and spoken word material by Tony Visconti. See the Strawbs site for detailed info.
Dave Cousinsí Two Weeks Last Summer (1972) was recorded between the Strawbsí Grave New World and Bursting at the Seams albums. Assisting Dave are Dave Lambert (who had not yet joined the Strawbs), Rick Wakeman, Roger Glover (Deep Purple), Jon Hiseman (Colosseum), and others. The album fits in well with the Strawbsí releases, and this 2004 CD adds the track Going Home, which had been released as a single.
Dave Cousinsí 2007 solo CD The Boy in the Sailor Suit features Chas Cronk, guitarist Miller Anderson (who was also on Two Weeks Last Summer 35 years earlier), fiddler Ian Cutler and drummer Chris Hunt, who along with a couple keyboardists and backing vocalists comprise ďThe Blue Angel OrchestraĒ. The album is more or less in the Strawbsí folk-rock style. The fiddle pushes the sound close to Fairport Convention, though Cousins still rocks harder at times, and between his voice and his songwriting, thereís no mistaking The Boy in the Sailor Suit for the work of anyone else.
This is the 2008 edition of this CD on the Esoteric label, known for their superb remastering jobs. Esotericís description: ďStud were formed in 1970 by Richard McCracken and John Wilson (from the recently disbanded Taste) and Jim Cregan (of Blossom Toes and later Family). The album they recorded for Deccaís Deram label was an amalgam of rock and jazz and was an outstanding progressive album of its time. The sessions also featured guest appearances by Poli Palmer (Family) and John Weider (Eric Burdon & The Animals, Family). Although Stud never achieved the acclaim they deserved, their debut album remains highly sought after by aficionados of progressive rock.Ē
The Tangent - Going Off On One 2CD ($17.99) out-of-stock
The Tangent are one of todayís top-tier progressive rock bands, centered on talented composer/keyboardist/singer Andy Tillison, also of the band Parallel or 90 Degrees (Po90). Those who saw The Tangent on their 2005 tour knew that their third studio album would likely be their best to date, as The Tangent had transformed from a studio project into a band with a stable lineup. And their first two CDs did not prepare one for how good this band really is. A Place in the Queue (2006, 79-minutes) is outstanding, integrating the Flower Kings and Canterbury styles into a cohesive and unique whole. On this album, Tillison is joined by Jonas Reingold on bass, Guy Manning on acoustic guitars and vocals, Jaime Salazar on drums, Theo Travis on woodwinds and vocals, Sam Baine on keys and vocals, and Krister Jonsson on electric guitars. The booklet is lavishly illustrated by Ed Unitsky. Queue up to buy this one, itís worth the wait.
The double-CD Not as Good as the Book (2008) is their fourth studio album. Baine and Jonsson are gone, but Jakko M Jakszyk (21st Century Schizoid Band) is in. The Tangent can do no wrong. They are able to channel the progressive giants without copying them, and on this album they are expanding their range, while it also feels more personal. In addition to a clearer Van der Graaf Generator influence, you could even add Quantum Jump now to the list of The Tangentís influences, or maybe itís just a similar quality in Tillisonís and Rupert Hineís voices.
This is the jewel box edition of Down and Out in Paris and London (2009), The Tangentís fifth studio CD, the name borrowed from the George Orwell novel, though the music and lyrics are not related to the novel. At this juncture, The Tangent consisted of Tillison, Guy Manning, Theo Travis, drummer Paul Burgess (Camel, 10cc) and bassist Jonathan Barrett (Po90). As Tillison notes: ďFor the first time since 2003, all the members of the Tangent are English. I think thatís an important thing, because one of the most defining things about The Tangentís sound has been a certain ĎEnglishnessí - an affinity with the roots of prog rock.Ē The CD concludes with the 13-minute The Canterbury Sequence Volume 2, this time sounding less like Caravan, more like Hatfield and the North, National Health, and Gilgamesh. Read the review at Billís Prog Blog.
Comm (2011) is The Tangentís sixth studio CD. This jewel case special edition includes two bonus tracks, one of which is a cover of Genesisí Watcher of the Skies. ďComm represents The Tangentís best and most powerful work to date.Ē Read the full Progmeister review and the Dangerdog review.
Le Sacre du Travail (2013) features a new all-star lineup of Andy Tillison, Theo Travis, Jonas Reingold, Gavin Harrison, Jakko M Jakszyk, and David Longdon (Big Big Train). Guests include Guy Manning and Rikard SjŲblom (Beardfish). This is the jewel box edition, which includes the same three bonus tracks (~10 minutes) as the other more expensive editions. Read the Sea of Tranquility, Progarchy, and Background Magazine reviews. Watch the album trailer video.
The Going Off On One DVD (NTSC, all-region) was filmed in a rock club in southern England shortly after the release of The Tangentís landmark third album A Place in the Queue. The companion live 2CD includes bonus tracks recorded at ROSfest 2005 and in Aschaffenburg, Germany in 2004. DVD extras include rehearsal footage and 1981 footage of a band Andy Tillison was in called A New Opera, performing two songs that were later looted for use in Tangent material.
Tantalus may be the most overlooked of the British neo-prog bands. Their second album Short Stories was originally released in 1996 on cassette by the first Tantalus lineup. It was remastered in 2002 for this CD with two 2001 recordings from the second lineup added. Two instrumental tracks are the highlights: the Camel homage Moondance, and a rousing version of Bachís Toccata & Fugue in D minor.
Jubal (2000, 72-minutes) is their third album, about which Jurriaan Hage wrote: ďGenerally the music sounds like a mix of a bit of the optimistic Yes sound with typical English nineties neo-progressive, like Pendragon and maybe a bit of Primitive Instinct and Mostly Autumn without the female vocals and the folk. This album would have fit very well on the Cyclops label.Ē Also read the DPRP and ProgressiveWorld reviews.
Start with their fourth album Lumen et Caligo I (2002, 74-minutes). Read reviews at Prog Archives, Progressor, and DPRP. These are all the MALS label editions. Lumen et Caligo I is the redesigned, remastered version.
Emotional Creatures Part One (2005) and Part Two (2007) are two finely-crafted neo-prog albums from English singer/songwriter Steve Thorne. Both were released on IQís GEP label and include many well-known prog musicians. Part One includes, among others, Tony Levin, Nick DíVirgilio (Spockís Beard), Geoff Downes (Asia), Martin Orford (IQ), Gary Chandler (Jadis), Steve Christey (Jadis, John Wetton), John Jowitt (IQ, many more), and Paul Cook (ex-IQ). Part Two includes DíVirgilio, Levin, Chandler, Downes, Orford, Pete Trewavas (Marillion), John Mitchell (Arena, Kino, etc.), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), and several more. Both are excellent albums featuring Thorneís songs, vocals, and multi-instrumental skills in expansive symphonic arrangements that integrate progressive rock with folk and pop leanings. The styles touch upon Hogarth-era Marillion, IQ, Jadis, Kevin Gilbert, Peter Gabriel, Manning, Pineapple Thief, and more. In classic British progressive fashion, Thorne starts with a song; itís the arrangement that makes it progressive rock. Read the DPRP reviews of Part One and Part Two. Note Festival Music are threatening to release a 2CD Ďdefinitive editioní of Thorneís Emotional Creatures part one, so weíre waiting on that.
Thorne moved to the Festival Music label for his 2009 third CD Into the Ether. Thorne again assembled a stellar cast of musicians to realize his songs, including Trewavas, DíVirgilio, Harrison, Levin, Mitchell, Chandler, John Giblin (Brand X, many others), and John Beck (It Bites, Kino). Thorne has taken the production and songwriting on Into The Ether to the next level. With thought-provoking lyrics, very strong melodies and lush arrangements, if Ďsinger-songwriter neo-progí is a genre, then Steve Thorne is the benchmark. Warning to those who embrace the modern zeitgeist: these songs contain joy and exuberance and may cause you to feel good. The CD comes in a slipcase with 28-page booklet. Read the DPRP review.
Thorne is back on GEP for Crimes & Reasons (2012, 54-minutes, digipack). This album features Tony Levin on bass, Nick DíVirgilio and Bob White on drums, Gary Chandler on guitar, and (coaxed briefly out of retirement) Martin Orford on flute, with Thorne handling more instruments himself. Itís another collection of songs as good as any coming out of the UK now in any genre, full of heart energy, set in prog rock arrangements with a suitably powerful and expansive sound (thanks to Rob Aubrey and his studio), and not a single weak track. Read the DPRP review.
We havenít heard the earlier albums of this Shropshire band, but from their website, The Timedivers appear to be a pub band who got more ambitious. If the cover art on this 2007 CD looks like Pawn Hearts, it is by Paul Whitehead, and the band does list Van der Graaf Generator as one of their influences, also Genesis, Jethro Tull, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, and a host of bands from other genres. The music could be termed Ďsemi-progressiveí. It sounds straight out of the British early 1970s scene, and The Timedivers sometimes sound like a proggier version of the 70s prog-folk-rock band Decameron. If you donít know Decameron, Strawbs is the next best approximation.
Times Up are a band from South Wales (the land of Magenta and Karnataka, whether or not the inhabitants are aware of that) who play a brand of progressive rock that also owes a debt to classic rock. They have a quality singer who is up to the task. Snow Queen (2012) is their second album, a track from which is featured on Prognosis 6, the CD that accompanies Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine, whose review states: ďTheir second release is a resplendent, pensive affair steeped in fragments from progressive rockís formative years, but it still seems relevant to the modern prog-rock movement. The melodies which permeate the album will kindle memories of innovators such as Yes and Genesis, but still capture the distinctly modern direction the genre has taken in recent years.Ē
First there was just Fish. Now we have Strangefish, Beardfish, and London-based Tinyfish, who bill themselves as ďthe worldís smallest prog rock bandĒ. Their singer, Simon Godfrey, is the brother of Jem Godfrey of Frost. Tinyfishís self-titled 2006 debut (currently out-of-print) is on the melodic rock side of neo-prog, with influences of Pink Floyd, Marillion, and others. The focus is on the songs, atmosphere, strong vocals and vocal harmonies, all hallmarks of the current crop of British prog bands.
Curious Things (2009, digipack) is a 29-minute mini-album containing rare tracks recorded prior to Tinyfishís first album. The music was recorded, produced and mixed by Jem Godfrey.
The Big Red Spark is Tinyfishís 2010 studio CD. The bonus DVD (NTSC, all-region) contains four more audio tracks (48kHz PCM stereo) plus a video entitled An Interview with Tinyfish. Thereís nothing tiny about this album. Itís far more ambitious than what theyíd done previously, head and shoulders above their debut. Everything from the writing to the playing to the recording quality has been taken to the next level. In fact, itís the first prog album to ever get 9/10 from Geoff Barton in Classic Rock Magazine, who wrote: ďThree years in the making, The Big Red Spark is a concept album tour de force Ė and then some. The worldís smallest prog band (as Tinyfish like to style themselves) have forged an absolute monster, equal parts deeply involving and massively confusing... All the familiar Tinyfish traits are here, but amped to the max. Jim Sandersí guitar sounds gigantic; the recurring themes reverberate with chilling precision; the spoken-word parts sound like theyíve been lifted from the script of Blade Runner. Or Brazil. Or MetropolisÖ even though it was a silent movie. See? Thatís the twisted effect Tinyfish have on you.Ē Also read the review at Harmonic Lizard. The four songs on the DVD may be there because theyíre not part of the story; they have a more organic feel than the album proper. The booklet text is printed in dark grey on a black background. We have no idea what it says, but the Tinyfish website has visible text.
Check our DVDs page for Tinyfishís One Night on Fire: Live in Poland DVD.
ďEsoteric Recordings announce the release of a newly remastered and expanded edition of the classic 1970 album by British progressive rock band Titus Groan. The band signed to Pyeís Dawn imprint in 1970, recording a sole album and 3-track maxi single for the label. Featuring a line-up of Stewart Cowell (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Tony Priestland (sax, oboe, flute), John Lee (bass) and John Toomey (drums), the bandís only album was a jazz-influenced early prog classic and included the epic track Hall of Bright Carvings. This expanded edition has been remastered from the original master tapes, restores the album artwork and features three bonus tracks.Ē
Touchstone are one of the current crop of British melodic prog bands, having been voted Best New Band by Britainís Classic Rock Society in 2007. Their first full-length CD Discordant Dreams (2007, 63-minutes) led to Touchstone making their first U.S. appearances at Rosfest 2009 and CalProg 2009. Touchstoneís second CD Wintercoast (2009) is an excellent, more ambitious follow-up, featuring narration by actor Jeremy Irons. Like many of the recent British prog bands, Touchstoneís progressive rock has an AOR or melodic rock side to it, with metal guitar more prevalent on Wintercoast. Their great strength is their blended male/female vocals, which brings their sound close to The Reasoning. On Wintercoast, Kim Seviour assumes more of the vocal duties, and she has a very good voice. Read the reviews of Discordant Dreams at Silhobbit and DPRP and of Wintercoast at Silhobbit.
Live in the USA is a double-CD containing 14 live tracks from Touchstoneís 2009 appearances at RoSfest and CalProg.
The City Sleeps (2011, digipack) is Touchstoneís third full-length studio CD. Read the Classic Rock Presents Prog, Sea of Tranquility, and DPRP reviews.
Oceans of Time (2013) is Touchstoneís fourth full-length studio CD. The band says that ďfans will enjoy a more guitar-orientated sound than previous albums due to the nature of the writing process.Ē Touchstone always had one foot in prog and one in melodic hard rock, and with each album they shift a little more weight onto the hard rock foot. Read the Dangerdog, RingMaster, and Sea of Tranquility reviews.
Mad Hatters (2006) was the bandís first release, a 4-track CD-EP that ran about 20-minutes. This 2012 digipack edition is called Ďenhancedí because it has been remastered and it adds two tracks from Live in the USA. None of the four studio tracks appears elsewhere.
This is Esotericís reissue of First Meeting (1971), originally released on the Dawn label. It was the only album for Trifle, a British proto-prog / jazz-rock band in the same vein as Colosseum, with sax and trumpet in the lineup. Rod Coombes was the drummer; he eventually went on to Strawbs. Read the allmusic review. This edition was remastered from the original master tapes and adds two bonus tracks, one non-LP, one a single version.
This band want to spell their name with a numeral. On their 2001 debut The Cold Light of Darkness, Tr3nity play melodic prog primarily in the Pendragon style, with a Pink Floyd feel on one track. The Pendragon-like tracks are their best material, comprising the first half of the CD. The CD concludes with a 20-minute epic that, while not spectacular, does build effectively from introspective to anthemic, closer to the style of Pallas.
Hopefully most of you are familiar with this British band who, along with Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Pallas, Solstice, and Haze, spearheaded the progressive revival of the 1980s. MMX is the first newly-recorded Twelfth Night CD since 1986! Recorded live in May 2010, MMX is a double-CD featuring over two hours of classic Twelfth Night performed by the new six-piece line-up. The double-DVD (PAL, all-region) has the same songs plus lots of extras: backstage footage, radio interviews, alternative views of We Are Sane, Take a Look, Creepshow and The Collector; three galleries featuring exclusive music including a new piece by Andy Sears and a new Ďavant-gardeí remix of Creepshow by Clive Mitten; new menu music by Dean Baker and Mark Spencer, and sleeve notes by Andrew Wild and Clive Mitten. Watch a low-res excerpt at YouTube.
Weíll let Charlie OíMara of Silhobbit explain the Reading Rock í83 DVD (PAL, all-region): ďTwelfth Nightís appearance at the Reading Rock festival in 1983 saw the band at their peak with Geoff Mann. Indeed this may have been his last appearance with the band, as he left soon after. Their gig was supposedly professionally filmed, though this footage has never materialised, but recently audience camera footage of the bandís set has surfaced and, although only four of the six tracks performed that day were usable, the band have painstakingly mated the visuals with archive Radio One Friday Rock Show stereo audio. So thanks to all that we get to see the band blast their way through The Ceiling Speaks, Creepshow, The Poet Sniffs a Flower and the classic Sequences. As this is an historical piece, to criticise it would be like finding the Holy Grail and whinging that ďitís a bit dented, isnít itĒ. But still, it is a bit dented. This is in essence a handycam audience bootleg albeit with near perfect sound. The action on stage is sometimes a little indistinct, some of the footage had to be replaced with stills, and youíll wish a sniper had taken out the pratt with the flag. Even given all that it still has its charm. On top of that, you do get an insightful interview with Brian Devoil and Clive Mitten and another four live tracks: We Are Sane, This City, Fact and Fiction and Afghan Red, recorded at Reading University in January 1983. The DVD is rounded off with some slideshows and a couple of Easter eggs. Which I didnít find. This is not a DVD for the casual fan of the band or the curious outsider, but it never set out to be that. This is a piece of history for real fans to reminisce over.Ē This YouTube trailer will let you see/hear for yourself.
The double-CD Voices in the Night (2007) contains unreleased recordings featuring all the vocalists associated with Twelfth Night. CD 1 is a collection of studio rarities including three tracks with Electra from the Twelfth Night Early Material album. A rare track with short-tenure singer Ian Lloyd Jones is followed by three with Geoff Mann and four with Andy Sears. The track with Axe is the only recording with him on vocals. The last vocalist, Martyn Watson, contributes four tracks. CD2 is a live disc. The first two tracks have been repeatedly requested by fans as they are the lost encores from Geoffís final Marquee show, which were captured on Live and Let Live but space did not permit inclusion there, so this is their first release on CD. Tracks with Andy Sears and Martyn Watson follow before a version of Love Song with both Geoff and Andy singing. The package includes sleeve notes by band members Brian Devoil and Electra, plus a collection of rare photos. Now deleted, last copies.
The first Twelfth Night vinyl release was the classic instrumental LP Live at the Target (1981), highlighted by the 20-minute track Sequences. The 2012 Live at the Target Definitive Edition 2CD contains the original album on the first disc and adds a bonus CD of live tracks from that period plus a couple of extremely rare studio recordings. On that second disc, the tracks Entropy and Keep The Aspidistra Flying were recorded at the Old Five Bells, Northampton, 29 March 1981 and are taken from the archive CD Entropy. Encore Une Fois and (Hats Off To) Freddie Hepburn were recorded at the Bridgehouse, Bracknell, 12 April 1980. Afghan Single was recorded at Woodcray Manor Farm Studios, Wokingham, 25 May 1981. FŁr Helene I was recorded at Arnyís Shack, Bournemouth, August 1980 and was the B-side of their first single. The Cunning Man was recorded at Reading University, 27 June 1980, taken from the archive CD A Midsummerís Night Dream. Afghan Red was recorded at The Target, Reading, 21 November 1980, while FŁr Helene II was recorded at Reading University, 13 November 1979. Five tracks are previously unreleased, while a sixth appears on CD for the first time. The 16-page booklet has some new sleeve notes and lots of previously unseen photographs from the archives.
The next vinyl release after Live at the Target was Fact and Fiction, but in between was the 1982 cassette-only Smiling at Grief album, which was the first album with Geoff Mann on vocals. It was released on CD in 1997 by the French MSI label, but that label has been out-of-business for years. This double-CD Ďdefinitive editioní contains the original album and the bonus tracks that appeared on the MSI CD, plus a second disc containing the archive release Smiling at Grief Live. The latter is the only known live recording of the four-piece line-up, from a concert recorded a month or so after the studio album. This set also includes three previously-unreleased tracks, including the original demo of Eleanor Rigby and a very different early version of This City. Smiling at Grief Definitive Edition sports new artwork, sleeve notes and previously unseen photographs.
Live and Let Live is a classic British neo-prog live album, the document of Twelfth Nightís final gig with singer Geoff Mann, recorded over two nights at Londonís Marquee Club in November 1983. When originally released on vinyl, only 6 of the 15 songs performed were recorded to multi-track and included. This double-CD Ďdefinitive editioní is the first time the entire concert has been released. The complete set has been reconstructed, in the actual running order, using the best available sources from those two nights. Five of the songs are taken directly from the original release: The Ceiling Speaks, We Are Sane, Fact and Fiction, The Poet Sniffs a Flower, and Sequences. The End of the Endless Majority has been remixed from the original 24-track master tapes. Also present on the multi-track tape and now included is a recording of Deep in the Heartland. The encores were recorded directly onto 2-track tape by the Marquee team as a gift for the band. Three of these were included on the Cyclops CD reissue (Creepshow, East of Eden, and Love Song), and the remaining two (Art and Illusion and Aspidentropy) were edited together for the Geoff Mann CD Recorded Delivery, and later on the Voices in the Night CD. These five songs have been newly remastered from the original 2-track tape and are now released for the first time complete and in the correct order. Both shows were recorded to video; this source provides the audio for Human Being and Afghan Red. The Collector comes from a show a few days earlier since it was a far better recording.
Art & Illusion (1984) was the first Twelfth Night album with Andy Sears as their singer. The 2010 double-CD Ďdefinitive editioní on the Festival Music label includes the seven bonus tracks from the 2003 Cyclops label edition. It adds a bonus live CD containing 12 songs compiled from the Art & Illusion tour, nearly all previously-unreleased. Four of the bonus studio tracks on Disc 1 are alternate versions, while the remaining three are proggy studio versions of tracks that were destined to be part of the next album: Blue Powder Monkey, Blondon Fair, and the 12-minute Take A Look. The album proper was remastered for the Cyclops edition, while the bonus tracks have been remastered for the new Festival Music edition, which includes new artwork and sleeve notes. Check our DVDs page for more Twelfth Night DVDs.
Geoff Mann was the much-loved singer for Twelfth Night. After his departure from that band, he pursued a more personal rock music, first releasing three albums under his own name with various musicians but no real band, then two albums with his band The Bond. In One Era (74-minutes) combines both of Geoffís solo albums I May Sing Grace (1984) and Psalm Enchanted Evening (1985) on one CD and features artwork for the booklet and cover that he completed just before his premature death in February 1993, and a disc design that Geoff had painted but never used.
This 1992 CD includes Geoff Mann and Marc Catleyís 1988 collaboration album In Difference plus four tracks from Geoff Mannís 1984 Chants Would be a Fine Thing LP, three tracks from Catleyís 1987 The Peel Tower Hop EP and one track from his 1986 mini-album This is the Birth of Classical Acoustic Rock. The style is mainly-acoustic progressive rock songs. 75-minutes total. Here are mp3 samples from the tracks The Calling and Closer to You.
This 74-minute CD, originally released in 1994, is a tribute to Geoff Mann, who passed away in 1993 at age 36. It includes performances by Pallas, IQ, Galahad, Eden Burning, Pendragon, Jadis, Twelfth Night, Clive Nolan & Alan Reed, and more, performing Geoff Mann and Twelfth Night songs. The fact that all the performers were friends of Geoff makes this all the more heartfelt. The detailed 24-page booklet is full of photos and info on Geoff Mann. This is the 2001 Verglas edition.
These CDs are the 30th Anniversary editions of the UK albums, released on Eddie Jobsonís Glo Digital label, all remastered by Jobson himself. UK was the supergroup formed by Eddie Jobson, John Wetton, Allan Holdsworth, and Bill Bruford. Their self-titled 1977 debut is probably the essential progressive rock album of the late 1970s. The lineup didnít last beyond the tour that followed, with Bruford taking Holdsworth along with him to his band Bruford. Jobson and Wetton recruited drummer Terry Bozzio and recorded Danger Money (1978), which is closer in style to ELP. This is the lineup on 1979ís Night After Night, UKís only official live album, which contains songs from both studio albums plus two new songs.
Our two cents is this. Danger Money is just as remarkable as the first album, but one canít judge it fairly without hearing the three songs destined for Danger Money as performed by the first UK lineup on that first tour. (Bootleg CDs of radio broadcasts from that tour exist.) As good as the original lineup and first album were, the early versions of The Only Thing She Needs, Carrying No Cross, and Caesarís Palace Blues make it very clear that the two factions of the band were pulling in different directions. The studio versions on Danger Money are much more powerful. The most intense, structured instrumental sections on Danger Money donít exist in the early versions -- in their place was Holdsworth improvising over a jazzy groove, and it sounded like the songs switched between two different bands in different sections. By splitting into UK Mk II and the band Bruford, each was free to create the music they wanted, and we benefited from twice as much incredible music.
Hopefully Van der Graaf Generator need no introduction. Their albums should be in any progressive rock collection. This is the 2005 remastered edition of World Record with bonus tracks, new liner notes and photos. The bonus tracks on World Record (1976) are versions of When She Comes and Masks recorded for BBC Radio Oneís The John Peel Show in 1976.
Van der Graaf Generatorís Live at the Paradiso DVD (NTSC, all-region) was recorded in Holland in 2007. It features the three-man lineup of Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans performing Lemmings; A Place to Survive; Lifetime; (In the) Black Room; Every Bloody Emperor; All That Before; Gog; Meurglys III, The Songwriterís Guild; The Sleepwalkers; Man-Erg; Scorched Earth. Peter Hammill wrote the sleeve notes. Also included is an interview with Hammill. PCM (uncompressed) stereo audio.
Van der Graaf Generatorís 2011 studio CD A Grounding in Numbers received four stars in Mojo: ďWhile Trisector (2008) was finely wrought but felt a mite flat, the music here, while still driven by Van Der Graafís characteristic restlessness and intensity, sounds bolder and full of colour. Itís also their most melodic set since VDGGís earliest days... Peter Hammillís singing reminds us why he is the greatest pop star that never was, while the groupís momentum is at times diverted into some knotty unison instrumental passages... ĎNo one can ever know what of their ownís very bestí states Hammill on Bunsho, but one feels he knows that this album is pretty high up the list.Ē
It took until 2007 for The Burning (1981) to be released on CD, making it a much sought after Rick Wakeman album. This album is a soundtrack to a horror film, but actually only Side 2 of the LP was music from the film. Side 1 was Wakeman extracting themes from the music he composed for the film and turning them into full-fledged, standalone band tracks featuring a guitarist, bassist and drummer. The reason this album takes some critical hits is that two of the songs from the film donít feature Wakeman at all. They are a country song and a bluegrass song, so stand by the skip button. The rest of the music from the film is Wakeman alone and, aside from the title theme, is soundtrack-y and appropriately sinister. The band material on Side 1 though is classic Wakeman. 2007 Voiceprint edition.
Gíolť is another of Rickís soundtrack albums. The Gíolť film was a feature on the 1982 World Cup. The album features Rick alongside long-time percussionist Tony Fernandez and guitarist Jackie McAuley from the legendary Irish rock band Them. The music here is similar to White Rock and Rhapsodies. 2007 Voiceprint edition.
In 1976, Wakeman was asked to compose the music for the official film of the Winter Olympics of the same year. White Rock became a best-seller, reaching the top ten of the album charts of numerous countries. Unfortunately, Rick does not have the rights to the original work, so he rearranged and re-recorded the various themes, resulting in White Rock II (1999). These seven instrumental tracks were recorded with the help of three musicians, among them guitarist Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith (Return to the Centre of the Earth). One of Rickís better works. Remastered 2006 Voiceprint edition.
Fields Of Green is a studio album that was originally recorded and released in 1997. The album features a version of King Arthur that the BBC had decided to use as music during their General Election coverage of that year. Also featured on the album is a re-recording of the Yes classic Starship Trooper, which is one of the few Yes songs that Rick regularly performs away from the band. Including a Yes song such as this serves mainly to show how weak most of Wakemanís own post-1970s songs are in comparison. He also has a penchant for using singers that drive prog fans out of the room. So all in all, Fields of Green is a typical post-70s rock album for Wakeman. Remastered 2006 Voiceprint edition.
Out of the Blue features a live performance of Rickís New English Rock Ensemble in Argentina in April 2001. The track listing: Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Buried Alive, Jane Seymour, No Earthly Connection/The Prisoner, Catherine Parr, The Visit/Return of the Phantom, Starship Trooper/Wurm. Remastered 2006 Voiceprint edition.
As for the rest, Wakemanís recorded output greatly exceeds our ability to describe it all, but there is an excellent discography here.
Motherís Ruin (2005) is Oliver Wakemanís (Rickís eldest sonís) latest studio project. While his recent releases have been instrumental, this one is a vocal album, a band album, and Oliverís most rock-oriented work. Itís a collection of hard-edged but melodic progressive rock songs, with Oliver writing both music and lyrics. Thereís plenty of room left for instrumental work, and while the guitarist is clearly a hard rock guitarist, Oliverís proggy keyboards are the dominant feature. Itís interesting how much his style resembles his fatherís. Oliver states, ďOf all the albums I have released, Motherís Ruin stands as the piece of work I am most proud of.Ē The lineup includes Dave Wagstaffe (Landmarq) on drums.
Heavenís Isle is instrumental keyboard music based on impressions of the Isle of Lundy off the North Devon coast. Originally released in tiny quantities in 1997, this is the Verglas re-release featuring two additional pieces. Oliverís style here is again very similar to his fatherís. Check our DVDs page for The Oliver Wakeman Bandís Coming to Town DVD.
1994 British neo-prog on the Cyclops label.
Wally is a British band that released two CDs in the mid-1970s that blended Yes-style symphonic prog with the late-60s U.S. west coast style typified by Crosby Stills & Nash. This is the jewel box edition of their 2010 comeback CD Montpellier. Read the Prog Rock Music Talk and Musoscribe reviews. Listen to the track Sailor on YouTube. Check our DVDs page for Wallyís That Was Then DVD.
This is the 2009 edition on Esoteric Recordings, remastered from the original master tapes. The label says: ďConcerto for Electric Violin was recorded by Curved Air and Wolf violinist Darryl Way for Island Records and was the subject of much critical acclaim and a feature on ITVís South Bank Show upon its release in 1978. A unique fusion of rock and classical music, the album made full use of synthesizer technology to produce a truly unique work of classical progressive rock. For the recording sessions, Way was joined by former Curved Air colleague Francis Monkman and drummer Ian Mosley (formerly with Wolf, later to join Marillion).Ē
These 2008 editions on Esoteric are the first official UK CD releases of these albums, remastered from the original master tapes. Canis Lupus (1973) has two bonus tracks, Saturation Point (1973) has three. Night Music (1974) was the final Wolf album. Wolf was the band formed by violinist/keyboardist Darryl Way after Curved Air first broke up. The band was full of musicians who would go on to become well-known: Ian Mosley on drums (later Trace, Steve Hackett, Marillion), John Etheridge on guitar (later Soft Machine), and Dek Messecar on bass (later Caravan). Ian McDonald produced and guested on the debut Canis Lupus, while former IF vocalist John Hodgkinson had joined the band on Night Music.. These are three excellent albums from an often overlooked British progressive rock band. Read the review of all three albums at Music from the Other Side of the Room.
Since 2002, John Wesley has been part of Porcupine Treeís live band as guitarist and backing vocalist. This followed several world tours with Fish, and before that, he was the opening act for Marillion on several tours. In addition to this, he is a respected songwriter and performer in his own right. This is the Madfish edition of Wesleyís sixth studio album The Lilypad Suite (2011), which comes in jewel box + slipcase and adds two bonus tracks to the edition released by Wesley himself. Read the reviews at GuitarInstructor.com and Real Gone.
Rock of Faith is Wettonís 2003 album, while Sinister is from 2001. Read the ProgressiveWorld.net reviews of Sinister and Rock of Faith.
This is the 2006 U.S. release of John Wetton & Geoffrey Downesí first Icon CD (2005), which had previously been released only in Italy and Japan (not counting digital download). This edition includes the bonus track from the Japanese edition, Heat of the Moment í05, plus two additional bonus tracks There in Your Bed and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes í05, taking the length up to 57-minutes. Assisting Wetton and Downes are Steve Christey (Jadis, John Wetton Band) on drums, John Mitchell (Arena, Kino, Frost) on guitars, Hugh McDowell (ELO) on cello, Ian McDonald (King Crimson) on flute, and Annie Haslam (Renaissance) guesting on vocals on two songs! We know now that this album was foreshadowing the Asia (original lineup) reunion tour. The style of music here will not surprise anyone. It is prog/pop/AOR in the Asia style but mellower and ballad-heavy, featuring Wettonís unmistakable voice and lush orchestration from Downesí layered keyboards. Hearing John and Annie sing a duet on the chorus of In the End is alone nearly worth the price of admission.
A spark was apparently ignited, as the duo released Icon II: Rubicon in 2006, a stronger album in just about every respect. They are again accompanied by Christey, Mitchell, and McDowell. Anneke van Giersbergen of The Gathering sings duets with John on two tracks, and 15 year-old American violin prodigy Katie Jacoby plays on two tracks. Eddie Jobson has a co-writing credit on one song, King Crimson lyricist Richard Palmer-James on another. Wettonís voice has never sounded better, and the whole album is more upbeat than the first Icon, with some new musical elements in a few of the songs. As the audio samples should make evident, this is the best work for these gentlemen since the first Asia album.
Never in a Million Years was recorded live during 2005/2006 following the first Icon album, with John Mitchell on guitars and Steve Christey on drums. It features songs from the first Asia album through the first Icon album including some from the 20-odd years in between.
xPTs, short for ex-Pretty Things, is original Pretty Things members Jon Povey (vocals, keys), Wally Waller (bass, guitar, vocals), Skip Alan (drums), and Pete Tolson (guitar). They came together to remake the classic 1970 Pretty Things album Parachute, resulting in Parachute Reborn (2012). The material has been extended and reworked, and two new compositions added. Read the Progplanet review.
This 2008 instrumental CD is one of the best British progressive rock albums in recent memory, pure classic prog, close to Genesis (or Steve Hackett solo) and Camel. Yak are a keys/bass/drums trio, but their sound is bigger than that -- after hearing this, you will swear that there is a guitarist in the band, one who has the expressive Hackett/Latimer lead style nailed! In fact, keyboardist Martin Morgan is playing the guitar parts from a keyboard, the best emulation of that sustained electric guitar style weíve ever heard. Of course a guitarist or two will be required live, as the guitar and keyboard sounds are layered. Just when youíve despaired of ever hearing a British prog band create the real thing again, you are rescued by a Yak. ďSounds like Dave Greenslade jamming with Genesis.Ē [Classic Rock Presents Prog] Read reviews at Yakís site and at Prog Archives.
This 2011 double-CD and DVD (NTSC, all-region, 4:3) contain Yesí August 1991 concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. This is the concert of the 8-man Yes lineup that was released on Laserdisc back in the day. The tracks: Intro/Firebird Suite, Yours Is No Disgrace, Rhythm of Love, Heart of the Sunrise, Clap/Mood for a Day, Make It Easy/Owner of a Lonely Heart, Iíve Seen All Good People, Sollyís Beard, Saving My Heart for You, Whitefish/Amazing Grace, Rick Wakeman Solo, Awaken, Roundabout. The DVD features Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo audio. More Yes DVDs.
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe was for most intents and purposes Yes in 1989. ABWH wouldnít exist for long before being merged with the other Yes for the Union album and tour. This remastered and deluxe edition of the ABWH studio album now includes a second disc of bonus material that includes rare mixes and single edits and, more importantly, three live tracks recorded on the British leg of the bandís world tour.
John Young is a classically-trained keyboardist/singer/songwriter who has worked with Fish, John Wetton, Asia, Qango, Greenslade and many others, composes music for sound libraries, and has his own solo career. Young has usually co-written as well as played with those other artists. Significance (2002) is a 54-minute collection of proggy songs. John Youngís aesthetic here is close to Tony Banksí, striking a balance between pop appeal and power & complexity, though Youngís music is proggier than any Banks albums after A Curious Feeling. Some of the songs show a Peter Gabriel influence in the atmospheric and rhythmic elements, a couple tracks have a Fish feel, while others reflect Youngís long association with John Wetton. John Young has a great voice, writes quality lyrics, and gives even his mainstream material the right touches to endear it to fans of melodic prog rock.