Sunday, 29 November 2015
Way back in the mists of time when I was but a callow youth, I went with my younger brother (he was 12 at the time) the many miles from Smethwick, in the UK's then industrial heartland, all the way to Cardiff for an open-air gig at the city's castle.
On an overcast and increasingly rainy 12th of July 1975 we saw headliners 10CC, ably supported by Steeleye Span and Thin Lizzy. I had seen all of these bands before in Birmingham, but also on the bill were a surprise to me in the shape of Welsh band Man. I was not at all familiar with their music, but they were a revelation, proceeding to blow me away with their twin guitar line-up and loose, loping grooves.
On returning home I purchased Maximum Darkness, Man's then current live album. Not their best album as it turned out, but a good intro to their recordings. It led me on retrospectively to the wonderful mix of studio and live tracks that is Back Into The Future. Capturing the band at its peak, it is a wonderful album. I was alerted to the Esoteric re-release by Mark Hughes' cracking review on DPRP. The re-release confirmed to me that my 17-year-old self actually had quite good taste. Come on and take a trip back in time with this great band that deserves now, as well as back then, to be much better known.
Read Mark Hughes' review from the DPRP archives in 2008
Read it here
(Also, you will find Mark's reviews of Man's albums Slow Motion and Maximum Darkness on the same page).
Watch this video of Man live on German TV back in 1975
Sunday, 22 November 2015
Grobschnitt are among a few bands (Mountain, Counting Crows, Nektar, Pink Floyd, DeWolff, Deep Purple Mk 1, Birth of Joy) who have appealed to me throughout the years because of a mix of different musical styles my shifting taste has visited: blues, rock, prog, and psych.
In 1998, I reviewed what I still think is one of this band's best albums: Solar Music - Live. To me, it's the perfect mix of all those ingredients. It rocks with great riffing and drumming, and it is psychedelic in all its keyboard work and Grobschnitt weirdness. It's progressive in combining these elements in a melodic and progressing way and in its epic-ness. Also the bluesy heart (instead of mind) that goes into the solos, simply makes this an awesome piece of music. I still love this album. I listen to it regularly and if you like any of the bands I just mentioned you should at least hear it once.
Read Jerry's original review on this album from the DPRP archives in 1998
Read it here
Listen to the track Solar Music (Part1)
Sunday, 15 November 2015
Well, I guess this one may be strange for progressive rock fans but so it was to me when I found DPRP writing about the mighty Smashing Pumpkins.
Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness was the first album I bought (I'm "only" 35) and it was different to everything else I was listening at that time. Without knowing it, that album opened my ears, and made me open my mind to different styles. A few years later and I was listening to many prog bands and reading DPRP almost every day. Then I discovered this great review article by Joakim Jahlmar, who put into words everything I have always thought about Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness.
I won't start a discussion about what is the progressive rock genre but I really think that this album would have received more attention from the progressive community if it had not coincided in time with the rise of alternative rock. As well as their 1998 album, Adore, these two albums are great pieces of modern progressive rock made by a fantastic alternative rock band.
Read our special feature on this album written by Joakim Jahlmar in September 2002
Read it here
Listen to the whole album on Spotify
Sunday, 8 November 2015
Back in 1974, the legendary Radio Caroline could hardly be listened to in Holland, yet I kept trying. They regularly played an album by a difficultly-named band that I had never heard of. When I finally found out who it was, I rushed to the record shop and bought Everyone is Everybody Else, a gem that was my first experience with progressive rock.
The guy from the record shop subsequently recommended Live and that album completely blew me away. The arrangements, the vocals, the overwhelming opening suite of two 10-minute songs glued together, the lyrics that hit me hard, the stunning acoustics on Galadriel, and the recorder solo on She Said; everything was superb (although the sound quality never was).
For me Barclay James Harvest Live is still one of the very best live albums ever made, and certainly one of the best examples of how to use a Mellotron properly (even when it doesn't work well during a gig!).
From the DPRP review archives, read Geoff Feakes' original review of Live in 2009.
Read it here
Watch a video of the track Mockingbird played live in London in 1992
Watch it here
Sunday, 1 November 2015
It's been a while since I revisited my Pallas collection. Pallas' music and my musical taste have shifted in different ways, but I still love the albums I loved back then. Beat the Drum, was their first album after a long hiatus, one I had been very much looking forward to, and one that I loved from the very first listen.
Call to Arms, All or Nothing, and Hide and Seek are OK, for some reason Fragments of the Sun didn't do it for me. But I still love the haunting title track and the way it progresses and the weirdness of Insomniac. I still absolutely love the 1998 version of Ghosts, which had the amazing new keyboard solo compared to the 1988 version.
Thanks to writing this article, I realise that I like the same songs the same way I did back then. It's interesting to see, that although my taste has shifted, an album that is almost 20 years old still appeals to me the same way it did when it was released.
From the DPRP review archives, read Ed Sander's original review of Beat The Drum from in 1998.
Read it here
Watch a video of the title track being played live in 2002