Monday, August 11, 2014

Albums that Classic Rock Prog magazine readers forgot about.

Having looked though this months Prog mag that they were giving away at Cropredy (I don't often buy it as at £8 I feel its overpriced) they did a top 100 best prog albums of all time. Most in the list was all very pedestrian and not really representatives of the world of Progressive rock in my opinion so I'm going to blog a fair few albums that should have been in that list. 

As I have found out today the list was compiled by readers votes, rather than by Journalistic opinion. so I see this blog now as a guide to albums that your average reader might not know about.  

Catapilla - Changes



In the early 70s most of the best Progressive rock music was either on Harvest, Vertigo or Deram (owned by decca). This album was the bands second album released on the Vertigo Swirl label. Like a lot of these albums they didn't sell that well as at the time the world was saturated with Yes and Pink Floyd but thankfully like most good prog albums it has been re issued. Mine is a lovely vinyl re issue on the Akarma label. 

Some lovely dreamy vocals and Psychedelic guitars (going very Floyd in places and released a full year before darkside) mixed in with Rob Calverts Sax (Not to be confused with Hawkwinds Calvet) Rob also played with various gong ofshoots inc a Mother Gong show I attended in 1993. 

People local to me will remember the Record shop of the same name in Exeter, it was called Catapilla records because it was owned by former member Hugh Eaglestone. 

The production on this album is stunning too. 


Affinity




Affinity were also signed to vertigo, fronted by the Amazing Lynda Hoyle and re issued by Angel Air. (you get the album on 180g double vinyl + CD) 

This album released in 1970 is very Jazzy in places in a Brian Augar/Ginger Bakers Airforce type of way with some real kick arse tracks with some arranged by John Paul Jones. 

Original copies of this and Lynda's solo album are holy grail stuff for Progressive Rock collectors. 


The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown




Though this magazine has a 3 page interview with Arthur this month there is no mention of him in the top 100 albums. I would put probaby 3 of his albums in there along with this Début 2 of the Kingdom Come albums are essential too. 

This début though released in 1968 and was not followed up until 2003's 'Vampire Suite' is everything that a good album should be. It has a running narrative of Hell / Fire running through all of side 1 and bits of side 2. Its got some corking tunes on it and the theatre that was involved in the live performance was the the benchmark of inspiration to the likes of Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper and Bruce Dickinson. 

Prog epics inc the Fire suite and Child of my Kingdom. What also makes this album special is there is no guitars on it at all. Though there are suppose to be takes with Pete Townshend on guitar but where they are nobody knows. 


Kingdom Come - Journey



Journey was the third album from Arthur Browns Kingdom Come, the first album to use a drum machine rather than a drummer. Released at the same time as Dark Side of the moon this album produced by Dave Edmund like DSOTM features the EMS VCS 3 Synth played by Victor Peraino and was light years ahead of anything release before. Stand out tracks Time Captains (or Time Captives) and Come Alive bookend this Prog materpiece. Nothing came close to it at the time or since.  

Kraftwerk



In the UK Vertigo released the first 2 Kraftwerk albums as a double LP. This was long before Autobahn and had real drums, Guitar and Flute as the main instruments. Ruckzuck is the stand out number and various superb live versions are on youtube with Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger pre Neu playing with them. 


Quatermass



Quatermass were signed to Harvest who has big guns such as Pink Floyd and Deep Purple on their books. Its well know that Ritchie Blackmore wanted his band to Cover Quatermasses Black Sheep Of The Family but the band said no and it wasn't until Rainbow that Blackmore got his wish. 

Driving Bass Drum and Hammond with John Gustafson's soaring vocals and like Arthur Browns début its all hammond/piano bass and Drums plus an orchestra here and there. I guess The Nice / ELP were more popular than Quatermass but this album is worth its weight in gold. one for the ELP/Yes fans for sure. Gustafson went on to play for the likes of Ian Gillan and Roxy Music. 

Gravy Train



Another gem from Vertigo in 1970, Many rate 'Ballad of a Peaceful man' as the bands best album but I prefer this Tull like album tracks like the extended 'Earl of pocket Nook' could give Thick as a Brick a good run for its money and probably win. 

Colosseum - Daughter of time



This classic British progressive rock bands that went on more into the Jazz world released some belter lps in the early days, this one is one of the best with tracks such as 'Take Me Back to Domesday' and a band that has the likes of John Hisman, Clem Clempson, Dick Heckstall Smith Chris Farlow and Dave Greenslade. Progressive music was all about putting differant ideas into the melting pot, and this mixes Jazz, Rock and what would become early Heavy Metal into one big sound. And yes another Vertigo release! 

Tractor



Tractor are Jim Milne and Steve Clayton and are from Rochdale. The band were first called The Way We Live and were signed to John Peels Dandelion records. The bands first album A candle for Judith was a great lp but this was the bands best. For a duo its a big sound with lots of studio overdubs, almost early king Crimson in places. John Peel and Julian Cope were both big fans of the band who are still touring today. As a side note the band also owned a PA Hire firm and regularly supplied PA to bands such as Joy Division.  This album has been re issued many times and rightly so. 

Hawkwind - Doremi Fasol Latido



How this didn't make the list I have no idea. Hawkwind at there peek with solid bass from Lemmy kicking off with Nik Turners Brainstorm and Epic prog track that does what it says on the tin and lifts you to another planet. The Primitive synths and special effects use were unlike anything else around at the time. And while Hawkwind are always touring and Nik turners version of the band more into the 70s sound they are often overlooked in poles but when you talk about Progressive Rock its not long before Hawkwind come into the conversation.


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