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    Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

    PROTO-PROG

    A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


    From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

    Proto-Prog definition

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

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

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

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

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

    Iv醤 Melgar - Morey

    Proto-Prog Top Albums


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

    4.48 | 1021 ratings
    ABBEY ROAD
    Beatles, The
    4.50 | 599 ratings
    QUADROPHENIA
    Who, The
    4.38 | 941 ratings
    REVOLVER
    Beatles, The
    4.35 | 1193 ratings
    DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK
    Deep Purple
    4.35 | 1059 ratings
    SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
    Beatles, The
    4.33 | 1203 ratings
    MACHINE HEAD
    Deep Purple
    4.41 | 598 ratings
    WHO'S NEXT
    Who, The
    4.33 | 688 ratings
    THE DOORS
    Doors, The
    4.18 | 829 ratings
    THE BEATLES [AKA: THE WHITE ALBUM]
    Beatles, The
    4.27 | 462 ratings
    THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
    Hendrix, Jimi
    4.23 | 522 ratings
    STRANGE DAYS
    Doors, The
    4.15 | 747 ratings
    MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
    Beatles, The
    4.01 | 488 ratings
    L.A. WOMAN
    Doors, The
    3.98 | 569 ratings
    TOMMY
    Who, The
    4.02 | 403 ratings
    THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: ELECTRIC LADYLAND
    Hendrix, Jimi
    3.94 | 730 ratings
    RUBBER SOUL
    Beatles, The
    4.01 | 318 ratings
    THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE: AXIS - BOLD AS LOVE
    Hendrix, Jimi
    3.86 | 820 ratings
    BURN
    Deep Purple
    4.13 | 182 ratings
    TWELVE DREAMS OF DR. SARDONICUS
    Spirit
    4.09 | 190 ratings
    THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN
    Brown Band, The Arthur

    Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews


     Deep Purple by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1969
    3.61 | 612 ratings

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    Deep Purple
    Deep Purple Proto-Prog

    Review by NickCrimsonII

    3 stars Deep Purple III, the third album by the rock legends, released in June 1969 in the US and in September in the UK on Harvest Records. Of course, by the time the band was fairly new and gaining momentum, creating a mix of psychedelic rock with elements of prog and hints of hard rock (that they will entirely embrace exactly on their next album).

    This album is not too different from the couple that came before it, and I must say that these first three DP albums are definitely my go-to Purple records. Yes, they are good for what they are, they are important in the evolution and the history of the band, they are also quite fun to listen to but compared to everything else that came out in that same period, especially in the psychedelic and prog rock realm, the first three Deep Purple albums are average psych-prog records.

    It was undoubtedly the right decision to change Rod Evans with Gillan, as the former would not have fit the band's new sound (from 1970 onwards), he is a great pop and psychedelic singer, though. However, nothing comes close to the banshee screaming of Gillan that really changed the hard rock game at the time.

    As for the album, I don't feel like going through a song dissection. I must say there are some really enjoyable and surprising tracks ' Chasing Shadows with its catchy melody and tribal drumming, Lalena is a pleasant psych-ballad, The Painter is more energetic, Bird Has Flown has grown to be one of the more popular songs from this album, also quite enjoyable and rocky, and April being the big surprise, and more of a Jon Lord piece than a Deep Purple one. It's good however, that he was able to fully explore his classical influences on a DP album.

    Overall, a good album, that finishes the psychedelic trilogy. I wouldn't call this album an excellent addition to any prog rock collection, though. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to have it.

     Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
    4.35 | 1059 ratings

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    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
    The Beatles Proto-Prog

    Review by Zoltanxvamos

    5 stars The Beatles were always a hard band for me to get into, I had listened to Norwegian Wood (Rubber Soul), but it was covered by Allan Holdsworth on None To Soon. Abbey Road was never an album I was crazy about but this album is. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a phenomenal album by The Bealtes. The hit songs are very complimenting to the entire album as a whole, the stand alone (AOT [Album Oriented Tracks]) are also very unique and are quite mature sounding Beatles songs. I really think that this is The Beatles best record, it's got amazing vocal melodies, the catchy tunes, great harmonies, and very well written tracks as a whole. Both sections of the title track are very catchy, and they have great harmonies. With A Little Help From My Friend is a great hit track, I've heard this one played on the radio and I've always loved it. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is probably one of (if not) the most well known tracks by the band. The catchy harmonies and chords, it's a great song for an even better album. Getting Better is another hit sounding track, it's a very interesting song with good lyrics, great vocal melodies, and most importantly, grabbing chord progressions. Fixing A Hole has another really cool hit feel to it with more grabbing chord progressions, and soft vocal melodies. She's Leaving Home, Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!, Within You Without You are all equally great tracks, everything here is well written yadda yadda. When I'm Sixty-Four is quite a jazz influenced piece, I love Paul's vocals here, his voice really fits the slow feel of this piece. Lovely Rita has more of Paul's best vocals in The Beatles. I love the chord and song structures, melodies, etc. Good Morning Good Morning is a very good piece sung by John, but the real amazing piece is A Day In The Life. It's the perfect ending track to this amazing album, the lyrics are unbelievable, the vocals and orchestration are fantastic, and finally it's just a huge mess but... it's a cleverly written huge mess. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a brilliant Beatles album and a fantastic Proto-Prog album. Need I say more? No.. I won't.
     Let It Be - Naked by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
    3.47 | 210 ratings

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    Let It Be - Naked
    The Beatles Proto-Prog

    Review by jamesbaldwin
    Prog Reviewer

    3 stars Let It Be... Naked removes Spector's production from the original Let It Be album of 1970. McCartney at the time claimed above all for the orchestral arrangement of "The Long and Winding Road" but hearing the song without the strings, one can only give reason to Spector: it it appears unfinished, almost a demo, naked, in fact, and Macca's singing is terrible, sometimes out of tune. That piece, so much desired naked by Macca is actually the ball and chain of the album.

    But even "I Me Mine" loses a lot of its quality without the strings added by Spector, and "Let It Be" itself, absolute masterpiece of the 1970 album here appears in a different version with a much less incisive Harrison guitar solo.

    The other songs are more rock and less orchestral so they are less affected by the emptying of the arrangements but they also come close to demos, losing part of the artistic quality. The only merit of Let It Be... Naked is to have added a masterpiece, "Dont Let Me Down", written by Lennon, and to have removed two embarrassing sketches like "Dig It" and "Maggy Mae" but otherwise considering the whole album, it is much less beautiful than the original that in my ranking had taken 8+: here it stops at 7+. One point lost. And so these version just reach three stars.

     Let It Be by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
    3.30 | 575 ratings

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    Let It Be
    The Beatles Proto-Prog

    Review by jamesbaldwin
    Prog Reviewer

    4 stars Let It Be, the last Beatles album, released in 1970, posthumously, is not a good ending: the Lps from 1967 onwards are clearly superior to him. Moreover, as is well known, it was the penultimate album to be recorded (early 1969), to then be cassated; it was Lennon who wanted him out posthumously, asking for the help of Phil Spector, who put the orchestral overdubs on it. The album is therefore, on the one hand the most spontaneous and immediate, having been recorded almost all in direct, with Billy Preston on the keyboards, on the other hand it is the most artifact, given that only after, and without the approval of the Beatles , orchestral arrangements have been added. Anyway, it remains a more than good record, and Spector's work was excellent in my opinion.

    It starts with Two of Us, a song by Paul, sung in unison with John in the verses, and by Macca in the bridge. Beautiful arpeggio of acoustic guitar, pleasant rhythm and melody, reassuring tone. Cute, but without panache or parts that stand out. Dig a Pony, recorded live, is an excellent John rockblues that joins those of the White Album and Abbey Road. Nice singing, nice tour of electric guitars. Simple but effective. Across the Universe, very famous, is a song that starts with a beautiful sung melody, a nice phrasing of acoustic guitar, a sad tone, but continues in a way too monotonous and low-key, in fact it is a missed masterpiece, perhaps for the lack of originality arrangement and too much repetitiveness. I Me Mine instead thanks to Spector's orchestral arrangement becomes the most original song on the album, with a waltz verse, a hard rock refrain, and an orchestral crescendo that makes it epic, however short. Dig It is a meaningless musical fragment, which closes with an absurd, high-pitched voice, which has the only result of presenting Let It Be as a mockery.

    Lennon wanted to insert Let It Be (which he hated, considered it unsuitable for a Beatles LP, as too much as a solo author) between this piece of song and the even shorter (and ramshackle) Maggie May, with the result of ruining the first side. Difficult to evaluate these two short sections but at least one vote must be given, to point out that in fact the end of the side has been a bit ruined. On the contrary, Let It Be is the great masterpiece of the album. Beautiful piano start, warm and well-groomed voice, crescendo rock with electric piano, organ, drums and Harrison's splendid hardrock electric guitar solo, certainly his best solo in the Beatles. Third verse of the rock ballad with a paroxysmal ending between Macca's voice and Harrison's hypnotic guitar, with Spector's trumpets creating greater pathos. The version in this LP is much better than that of the single, in which the guitar solo is very bad and not in evidence.

    Two of Us 7+; 2. Dig a Pony 8; 3. Across the Universe 7,5/8; 4. I Me Mine 8; 5. Dig It 5,5; 6. Let it Be 9+; 7. Maggie May.

    The second side opens with the rock of I've Got a Feeling by Macca, which dusts the perhaps heavier metal guitar sound of all Beatlesian discography. An angry song, then melodic again, and insertion of a second section by Lennon, on the rhythm of one of his songs which is superimposed on the basic rhythm of Macca. Very characteristic and in its own way remarkable song. One After 909, written by John with the collaboration of Paul, is a rocky divertissement, with good rhythm, and Lennon's bridge. Lightens the disc. Long and Winding Road, Macca's slow piano, becomes an orchestral piece of strings with Spector's arrangement covering the incomplete and sparse initial arrangement. Pumping, meatloaf, however, would have seemed only sketchy if it had been performed naked, as in Let It Be ... Naked. It has a nice melody in the bridge, but otherwise it's a rhetorical and pretentious piece, which ends up being boring. You get to For You Blue which is a light and carefree acoustic blues piece, with an almost Hawaiian sound and with Harrison inciting Lennon in the guitar solo. Simple, unpretentious, but very pleasant track. The second side, inferior to the first in its 5 main songs, ends with Get Back, recorded on the roof of Apple. Good rock and roll by McCartney, which ends without the tail in the 45 rpm version.

    8. I've Got a Feeling 8; 9. One After 909 7,5; 10. Long and Winding Road 6,5; 11. For you Blue 7+; 12. Get Back 7,5/8.

    Overall, Let It Be is a good record featuring a masterpiece song, a gospel piano ballad with rock arrangement, and at least 5 well-made rock / blues songs, plus 4 nice but weak acoustic ballads; it has a unique sound in the Beatles discography because it resembles that of a studio concert. The basic instruments are those of a rock quintet: vocals, rhythm guitar, solo guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, to which they are added in the background (Across the Universe, Let It Be) or in the foreground (I Me Mine, Long And Winding Road) the orchestral overdubs by Phil Spector. In fact, consisting of only 10 songs (a pity for the presence of the two clips and the absence of Don't Let Me Down), the Beatles album remains less cared for in the recordings, closer to a concert played by a rock group in horse between the Sixties and the Seventies.

    Medium quality of the songs: 7,52: Rating: 8+. It reaches four stars.

     Abbey Road by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
    4.48 | 1021 ratings

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    Abbey Road
    The Beatles Proto-Prog

    Review by jamesbaldwin
    Prog Reviewer

    5 stars Abbey Road has a first side of songs that characterize the styles of their authors: two remarkable Lennon rock- blues; two by McCartney, a pop song (the usual Macca song that takes the Beatles out of rock and in light music for families and children) and a remarkable rock and roll; a Harrison melodic classic and a tasty Ringo country. A second side follows where almost all the songs are mixed together, to form a suite that anticipates those of progressive rock (Colosseum's Valentyne Suite will be released shortly after). Both sides are very thick and, in particular, the second side of Abbey Road is the most innovative and certainly the best of all the second sides of the Beatles albums (average 8.00) since in this case there is no , as happened in practice in each previous album, no drop in quality: the compositions intended for facade B are not "minor", compared to those of side A - however, it may also be that the three central segments, by Lennon, if developed into real songs, they would have given rise to minor pieces. Slow, atmospheric love songs are missing from the album, there is not the usual honeyed retro song by McCartney, on the other hand there is a sweet and vocal song by Lennon. Abbey Road, as well as Let It Be, printed later but recorded earlier, marks a return of the Beatles to rock, after the psychedelic hangover of 1966-67, in which McCartney mainly recorded vaudeville and retro songs of every possible musical genre, with orchestral arrangements more than rock, and Harrison raga songs with Indian arrangement.

    Abbey Road is a rock album with a much smoother sound than the White Album, but also much more 70s, and in fact the synthesizers appear, the only case in the Beatles discography. In this album, Lennon signs two little Beatlesian rock songs, which place the Beatles on the same level as the rock-blues bands of the time (Rolling Stones, Cream), and two very original melodic and atmospheric songs; Harrison writes his two most famous songs: a melodic classic, and a folk classic; McCartney does not write any of his true classics (but the weakest song on the album) but, in reality, he places on the second side two piano songs, with a beautiful intro, which then evolve into two mini rock suites that constitute the avant-garde peak of the album. The disc opens with Come Together, which for bass and drums constitutes a unicum in the Beatles discography. It is a very refined rockblues ballad, with dark and sensual atmospheres which brings the Beatles towards much more "heavy" music than pop music. On an instrumental level, it is excellent, each Beatles gives its best in the arrangement: bass, drums, solo guitar, singing.

    Something is a much lighter song that however delights for the melody, and for the bridge, fantastic, one of the most evocative crescendo of the Beatles, which unfortunately has the defect of not being repeated a second time. Frank Sinatra will make it his own, dilate it and, of course, he will be able to emphasize bridge and repeat it. Something remains a small masterpiece, which could have been a great masterpiece with an extra bridge and greater pathos in singing. Maxwell Silver Hammer opens the Macca songs on the first side. It is a vaudeville goliardic pop, at a slow medium rhythm, which lowers the quality of the disc but which, at least, enjoys a good musical arrangement, suitable for a rock complex, with synths in the foreground, which does not make it appear a song too dated or for children. Oh Darling is a doo-woop song and you don't understand if it is a parodic, caricatural piece or just an emphaticpiece: in any case it's a great song, however retro. It is a rock and roll to listen to at full volume, where Paul stirs the listener between singing and bass. Great work also on drums and guitar. The song alternates the melodious voice with a hoarse voice, scraped up to the throat, which fills the refrain with an emphasis on the limit of excessive.

    Ringo arrives (helped by Harrison in the composition) with his pop-country: an excellent solo of Fender guitar by Harrison with a clear sound, a beautiful singing, an excellent arrangement with noises of bubbles in the instrumental part. It is his second (and last) song for the Beatles, and fills the first side with freshness. In closing, I Want You - She's So Heavy, is a long, heavy, gloomy and obsessive song, which makes the most of its minimal text. Not loved by Beatles fans (because it's too rock and gloomy), on the contrary it is one of their absolute masterpieces. The depth and intensity that Lennon knows how to touch with his voice and the hypnotic guitar tour that goes on for 7 minutes is unsustainable for lovers of the cheerful and carefree Beatles of two minutes. The first side ends like this, with I Want You being cut (the recording tape ends, and the Beatles decide to leave this ending). As for the quality of the songs, and the refinement of the instrumental arrangements we are at very high levels (average above 8), however in terms of sequence, smoothness and sonic innovations, the first side of Sgt Pepper (and also of White Album) are superior to it.

    1) Come Together 8,5 ; 2) Something 8+; 3) Maxwell Silver Hammer 6,5/7; 4) Oh Darling 8+; 5) Octopus's Garden 7,5; 6) I want you ' She's So Heavy 9;

    The second side opens with a large melodic folk piece by Harrison. Just the phrasing of guitar and singing to delight, in this very simple song. In the middle, a one-sentence bridge repeated 5 times, with crescendo of synthesizers, then returning to the initial melody. A song that remains in mind. Follows Because, voices and synthesizers, a very beautiful melody reminiscent of Beethoven's Moonlight, dreamy choruses, an atmospheric song that lacks development. Here is finally McCartney, with You Never Give Me Your Money, a song little known to most but which represents one of his artistic peaks. Written as a response to Lennon's Happiness Is a Warm Gun, which was a condensation of changes in rhythm and melody, You Never ... is a minisuite, with a beautiful piano start, melodic, to then become a boogie, then return melodic and end with a country atmosphere at night, with the sound of crickets, which is mixed with the medley of three pieces of Lennon's songs. First there is the atmospheric instrumental of Sun King, very nice, it looks like a soundtrack, then the romantic voices arrive but soon transmute into the mocking goliardic of an Italian-Spanish language that it is not known where it could go to save unless the piece arrives by Mean Mr. Mustard (one minute), with a fast pace, which unfortunately ends too early in the guitars of Polithene Pam (a minute and a half), in which the sound of the voice seems distant and the excited rhythm has no time to unfold in something more accomplished. All in all these three pieces of Lennon are interlocutors, and they surprise, amaze with their changes in sound and rhythm but do not give time to be appreciated.

    Polythene Pam results in a continuum of guitars in a better developed Macca song (two minutes), a good almost complete guitar rockblues piece (Joe Cocker will make a great cover), She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, which closes too quickly. Overall, so far this medley, made up of a real song by Paul (You Never ...), three pieces by John, and an almost song by Paul, after an excellent start suffers from an incomplete fusion of music and sound in its various passages : the pieces appear superimposed a little too quickly on each other (it would have helped if Lennon's had lasted longer), and before and after Mean Mr. Mustard there are no connecting phrases, however the sequence holds up well and the piece of Mr. Mustard serves to give a change of gear.

    After She Came Trhogh The Bathroom Window there is a pause, a part of the medley finishes and another decidedly more compact begins, with Golden Slumbers, which has a great effect: it opens with a melodious and romantic piano line, it becomes serious in the vocal crescendo of Macca, who forgets that he is singing a lullaby, returns melodious with a beautiful background of strings, of a somewhat expressive romanticism, and then explodes in the chorus of Carry That Weight, which is halfway between the goliardic and the epic; then it takes refuge in a reprise with trumpets, beautiful, of You Never Give Me ... The choir of Carry That Way returns and then changes its pitch and rhythm to flow into the instrumental that sees first Ringo then the three Beatles grapple with a solo (always very simple compared to the jams of the rockblues complexes of the time). The three guitarists are called and respond to each other with the same number of guitar phrases per head. The solo of the three guitarists is a very genuine and amused solo, which reflects the Beatles' behavior in the studio: they were having fun, like in the old days. Ringo, on the other hand, did not perform a real solo, because he refused but his teammates fooled him: they removed the guitars from the mix channels and so almost only Ringo's drums remain, which perform a really simple and elementary rhythm, so much so that many criticized Ringo for this rudimentary solo: but he didn't know he was doing it! He was not doing any solo! Closes the percussive piano on which Paul sings the maxim of The End ("And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make"). It was supposed to be the end of the album but McCartney couldn't resist and inserted the acoustic piece by Her Majesty, which was a piece excluded from the previous medley.

    7) Here Comes the Sun 8; 8) Because 7,5; 9) You Never Give Me Your Money 8,5; 10) Sun King/Mean Mr Mustard/ Polithene Pam 7+/7,5/7+/ 7,5; 11) She Came Through the Bathroom Window 7,5/8 ; 12) Golden Slumbers/Carry That Way/ The End 8,5/9/8+/ 8,5/9; 13) Her Majesty.

    Overall, it is the most adult Beatles album, which leaves little space for cheerful and carefree songs, vaudeville, exuberance (even the rhythms are decidedly medium, not high), with retro arrangements: it is an album completely played by a rock complex (and it is the most refined musically, the Beatles show that they are also great instrumentalists), with the addition of orchestration to make some melodic moments memorable. Like Sgt Pepper, Abbey Road is a well-kept album, which is developed according to a precise idea (both albums have a song that is resumed, to sign a concluded circle, which for Abbey Road is valid only for the second side), however divided in two distinct parts; compared to Sgt Pepper does not have that festive and flowing and varied beginning, sometimes with pyrotechnic sounds and arrangements, which is maintained for most of Pepper, on the other hand Abbey Road is more reflective, homogeneous, deep; psychedelia is replaced by a greater romanticism alternating with blues gloom. Like Let It Be, it is less heterogeneous than the albums ranging from 1966 (Revolver) to 1968 (White Album), more compact, without Indian or retro or orchestral sounds but, compared to Let It Be, Abbey Road is finished with extreme precision and coordination in the studio between the various Beatles and George Martin (while Let It Be is recorded live, only to undergo posthumous orchestrations); moreover, it has better pieces.

    Abbey Road, although not the album that has most affected in the history of the Beatles (and pop music), and although it is not the most innovative album in terms of sounds and arrangement (the palm of these peaks is up to Sgt Pepper), on the whole their greatest masterpiece, as the best rock album, containing the most mature and valuable songs, and as played with the best instrumental skill, and with the same care of Pepper's arrangements; and where Pepper is one of the first albums concept (however broadly speaking), Abbey Road is one of the first albums with suites that anticipate those of progressive. It is a masterpiece of composition and arrangement, with high quality songs, without any significant drop in tone, summa of the Beatles' styles but with an eye to represent it with contemporary rock sounds, without falling into light music, and with a second side that wants be experimental for the long sequence of pieces of tracks mixed together, the original and seminal solution of progressive.

    Medium quality of the songs: 8,02: Rating: 9,5/10; Five stars.

     Ten Commandments by SALAMANDER album cover Studio Album, 1971
    3.24 | 31 ratings

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    Ten Commandments
    Salamander Proto-Prog

    Review by Psychedelic Paul

    5 stars SALAMANDER were a British Proto-Prog quartet who had a brief but bright shining moment in the prog spotlight before slipping away like eels into the swirling mists of time. They came, they saw, but failed to conquer the progosphere with their one and only album "The Ten Commandments" in 1971, which virtually disappeared without trace, until now. Inevitably, it was a concept album, when the proggy concept album was king, with each of the ten songs loosely based on The Ten Commandments, so no surprise there then. You don't HAVE to be of a religious persuasion to enjoy this pompous prog album, because it's not meant to be taken seriously, but it's been ordained by the Prog Gods on high that we need to listen to this album, so let's check it out now, before we incur the wrath of the Prog Gods with a thunderbolt from the blue. Let us pray now, and give thanks to the Prog Gods for blessing us with this awesome album from on high:- "Our Father, Who art in Prog heaven, Give us this album, and forgive us our Genesis "Trespass" album, For thine is the Kingdom of Prog, and the Power and the Glory of Prog, For ever and ever, Amen."

    Holy Moses! It's time now to have a listen to the first of the solid Prog-Rock tablets of stone handed down to Moses from the biblical Holy Mount of legend. We're in suitably reverential mood for "Prelude / He Is My God", which opens to the sound of a hauntingly-atmospheric church organ at the grand altar of Progressive Rock. This tremendous cathedral-esque opening number steadily builds up into the most wonderful crypt-kicking crescendo of overblown and pompous prog in all of its grandiose majesty and holy splendour. The religiously-inspired music sounds holier than the stained glass windows in Canterbury Cathedral with a grandness that's as awe-inspiring as the gleaming white marble of the Acropolis of Athens, or an ancient Roman Amphitheatre. You really have to hear this album to believe it, because the music is so powerfully inspirational that it's enough to turn a lifelong atheist into the most devout of religious believers, but that's the power and the glory of almighty Prog-Rock. After such a grand auspicious opening, How on God's Holy Earth do you follow that!?? You follow it with "Images", a dynamic Stormbringer of thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening Heavy Prog that hits you straight between the eyes with the unrelenting pounding and percussive energy of a steamhammer. When you're sufficiently recovered from that sonic attack, you can relax and bask in the warm glow of "People", an altogether gentler refrain that's simply beautiful. It's the kind of gloriously uplifting tune that makes you want to run out into the street and sing "Oh Happy Day" at the top of your voice, despite the strange bemused looks from passers-by. In fact, the entire album has a delightful celebratory air to it that makes you feel glad to be alive and full of the joys of spring, even in the bleak midwinter, in a snowstorm at midnight. Feel free to join in too and sing along with "God's Day", a song that's as bright and radiant as a brilliant ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds, and sounding like a religious hybrid of early Blood, Sweat & Tears, on steroids. This fine upstanding album is like musical Viagra to the ears. It's positively bursting at the seams with joy and love and passion. Side One draws gently to a close now with "Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother", a sweet message of love and devotion that leaves you feeling all warm and cuddly inside. Altogether now, "Ahh!"

    Opening Side Two in dramatic style, we arrive now at the Sixth Commandment/Song in the Decalogue: "(Thou Shalt Not) Kill", a tremendously rousing and anthemic display of pompous prog in all of its magnificent glory, featuring theatrical spoken word passages (with shades of the Moody Blues), adding a solemn and sombre air to the high drama of the occasion. After all, this is a song about a heinous murder, followed by the dastardly villain being sentenced to death by hanging, so it's literally a matter of life or death, or just a matter of death, as there's no leniency to be shown or expected for the accused here. After that dark depressing tale, it's time to lighten the mood now with the wistfully nostalgic sound of "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery", a gorgeous Folk-Pop refrain, bringing back fond memories of The Seekers in their heyday. Salamander are Bringing on Back the Good Times again here, so it's time to put on those tie-dyed cheesecloth shirts, bright flared trousers and gold platform boots and celebrate the golden era of the early 1970's, when everything was fab and groovy. This uplifting song is positively awash with golden scintillating strings, bathing the listener in a warm radiance of brilliant Sunshine Pop. The music's so bright, you gotta wear shades, and break open a bottle of suntan lotion at the same time. Onto the Eighth Commandment/Song now with "(Thou Shalt Not) Steal", a sonorous non-stop artillery barrage of heavy Heavy Prog, with the dynamic fired-up organ player attacking his keyboards with all of the passionate fury and gusto of a whirling dervish in a sandstorm. No one's going to Steal his thunder here! And so dear friends, we come to Commandment/Song No. 9: "False Witness", a lively and energetic Jazz-Rock number with a bold and brassy attitude - very much in the style of Ginger Baker's Air Force - with the powerful singer imbuing the music with all of the emotional intensity his vocal chords can muster. He was probably in need of a throat lozenge, a stiff drink and a good lie down after that impressive performance. The Tenth Commandment decrees that thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's "Possessions", but you can certainly "covet" this sensational storming Rocker, which rounds off the album in furiously fine style.

    Salamander have seared a blazing trail of God Almighty Symphonic Prog with the magnificent majesty of their marvellous ultra-rare one-off masterpiece. The Eleventh Commandment of Prog, ordained by the Prog Gods on high, should be that every self-respecting prog fan owns a copy of Salamander's "Ten Commandments". This superb album is as welcome an addition to your prog collection as being given the welcome news that you're to be employed as a stage hand by Fleetwood Mac for one night only, where your job will be to adjust Stevie Nicks' knicker gusset when she's on stage. If, on the other hand, you're lucky enough to already own a rare vinyl copy of this fine album, then that's as lucky as walking into an antiques shop to buy some trinkets and curios, and discovering the Ark of the Covenant for sale at a bargain price. Well, maybe not quite THAT lucky.

    The Ten Commandments of Prog:-

    1. The Prog Gods are the Lords of Prog and Thou shalt have no other Prog Gods before thee

    2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image of a classic Prog-Rock album cover

    3. Thou shalt not take the names of the Lords of Prog in vain

    4. Remember the Black Sabbath day, for the seventh day is for the Holy worship of Prog-Rock

    5. Honour thy father and thy mother's Prog-Rock collection

    6. Thou shalt not murder a classic Prog-Rock anthem

    7. Thou shalt not commit adultery with a fellow Prog-Rock fan's husband or wife

    8. Thou shalt not steal a Prog-Rock album

    9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against a fellow Prog-Rock fan

    10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's Prog-Rock collection

     Strawberry Fields Forever by BEATLES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1967
    4.77 | 37 ratings

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    Strawberry Fields Forever
    The Beatles Proto-Prog

    Review by jamesbaldwin
    Prog Reviewer

    5 stars The double A-side "Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane" has made history because:

    1) It is the first 45 rpm single by the Beatles that did not reach the no. 1 on the British Chart 2) It is one of the most sophysticated single in the Sixities.

    "Strawberry Fields Forever" is the Lennon-Martin's second absolute masterpiece - the first is "I Am The Walrus". The beginning is slow and the orechestral arrangement is developed with continuous sounds effects, where both the strings and the winds alternate decorating Lennon's voice of very changing and expressive sounds. The lyrics are surrealistic, the structure of the song was put together by George Martin that linked two different pieces of music written by John Lennon. The final progression of the drums looks like that of a train that increases speed and then fades with the guitar solo. The fade has a psychedelic tail where the train seems to return, transfigured. Great experimental sound, a masterpiece of inspiration, arrangement and production. Rating 9+.

    9) Penny Lane is a McCartney's melodic pop -song that reaches the high of masterpiece. Beautiful text, beautiful music, beautiful instrumental pieces with the trumpet - one of the first times that the trumpet got this central rule in a pop song. Rating 8,5.

    It was a pity that these two wonderful songs written by Lennon and McCartney thinking about their youth in Liverpool were not included in Sgt. Pepper album, but in this way the Beatles published one of the most beautiful single 45 rpm ever.

    Rating 9,5. Five Stars.

     In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by IRON BUTTERFLY album cover Studio Album, 1968
    3.43 | 238 ratings

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    In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
    Iron Butterfly Proto-Prog

    Review by Rivertree
    Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

    4 stars I can remember quite well. When I was young, yeah a teen, looooong time ago, the band's trademark In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida touched me in a very special way. What a relief! I once accidentally caught the more energetic live version with a cassette recorder from a radio broadcast. And then it accompanied me for just a long time. What I'm writing about now exactly is the 1995 remastered version of this album. First of all, fantastic sound quality, no question! What makes this truly essential though is the decision to append the band's inspired stage rendition, taken from their first live effort, originally published two years later.

    By the way, keyboarder Doug Ingle actually wanted to name the song 'In The Garden Of Eden'. But, while announcing this to his band mates, he failed in a remarkable manner regarding a clear pronunciation, for what reason ever :-) ... anyway, they took him by his word in the end. The atmosphere is priceless, hippie-esque, also the band's interaction with the audiance, guitarist Erik Brann driving crazy in between, and the must-have drum solo provided by Ron Bushy. Eh, Ingle's sacral and melancholic organ often enough managed to bring tears to my eyes. They are excellently jamming around the main theme, including extensive solo activity, similar to Rare Earth's 'Get Ready' if you will.

    The other songs, for me, are having a rough ride, are not more than a proper accessory. Okay, don't want to be unfair, we have to consider the recording times, which were dominated by a transition from pop, blues and jazz towards a new dimension. Thus here we have typical proto prog stuff featuring some Beatles, Vanilla Fudge and Jefferson Airplane references. Due to the new enhanced and remastered outfit this album runs essential anyway. And the band even recorded more than a one-hit-wonder. I would also count the beautiful 'Butterfly Blue' in, featuring new guitarist Mike Pinera and his talk box wizardry. But that's another cup of tea.

     Lovecraft / H.P. Lovecraft II  by H.P. LOVECRAFT album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
    3.47 | 10 ratings

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    Lovecraft / H.P. Lovecraft II
    H.P. Lovecraft Proto-Prog

    Review by hieronymous

    4 stars This review is for the CD containing the first two albums. I give it 4 stars for prog-loving fans of H. P. Lovecraft's Dream Cycle stories, the rating would be lower if you were expecting something else!

    When I first encountered the band, I was already a long-time fan of the author H. P. Lovecraft. I think i was lucky that I was already my early-30s when I discovered the band. I knew not to get my hopes up! So, going in cautiously, I was able to learn to love these two albums and this band. As mentioned in another review, don't expect the Cthulhu Mythos-aspect ' the main song from the first album with a direct Lovecraft connection is 'The White Ship' which is from his 'Dream Cycle,' a different set of stories that are more fantasy than horror oriented. Don't despair though, it's a great song, and the stories are great too.

    The organ sound dates the recordings somewhat ' these albums are definitely from 1967-1968! Overall the sound is folk rock meets psychedelia. The vocal sound reminds me of Jefferson Airplane - some of the vocals seem melodramatic at first, but stick with it, realizing that vocalist Dave Michaels had a classical background, and the combination of Michaels and George Edwards is actually pretty magical. There are definitely a nice range of songs, from uptempo stuff like The Drifter and The Bag I'm In to ballads like That's How Much I Love You (More or Less), along with weirder stuff like Mobius Trip and Keeper of the Keys.

    The song High Flying Bird is interesting ' it's got a nice medium tempo groove. Is the bird of the title a reference to the bird of fate in the story 'The White Ship?' I guess I'll have to listen to the lyrics more! But that's part of the fun of this band ' chasing down the references in my Lovecraft collection! I have read and re-read all of his stories ever since I discovered him at the age of 12. Thirty-five years later I find myself going back to HPL less and less, so it was nice to dig in to these albums again which led me to dig in to the stories again. For me this collection is worth it because you get The White Ship (best song on the first album) and At The Mountains Of Madness from the second - everything else is icing on the cake, and delicious icing it is!

     Yellow Submarine by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
    2.53 | 402 ratings

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    Yellow Submarine
    The Beatles Proto-Prog

    Review by jamesbaldwin
    Prog Reviewer

    2 stars Yellow Submarine is an album by half of the Beatles and half of George Martin, and it is the soundtrack of the 1968 cartoon film Yellow Submarine. For this occasion, in addition to dusting off Revolver's song, the Beatles again used All You Need Is Love (a single already present on the American LP Magical Mystery Tour) to give the film a message. The original songs on the album are therefore left only 4: two by Harrison, from 1967, discarded by Sgt. Pepper (both with an original psychedelic-rock arrangement), one by Lennon (the best on the Lp, a good rock) and one by Paul (a goliardic choir) written specifically for the film. Overall the first side consists of 6 songs all rather original for sound, arrangements, melody, almost all of them with a surreal psychedelic goliardic tone. The second side is written by George Martin, it is all instrumental, it does not contain many melodies, being composed half of descriptive pieces of the scenes of the film, where the orchestration without the images makes no great sense: it is original and pleasant, with some melodic peak, but for the most part it's not music you will remember.

    Side A. It starts with Yellow Submarine, the cartoon pop prank released for Revolver, re-presented the same: it sets the tone for the album, with its boating sounds departing. Only A Northern Song, discarded by Sgt Pepper's, has one of the most original beatles psychedelic arrangements, with extraordinary sound effects, too bad that the singer can't drag the melody and make it smoother and more accomplished. It's a missed masterpiece.

    Paul's All Together Now is an unpretentious song, a camping goliardic chorus that still manages to be pleasant and contagious. It's the catchy piece. Hey Bulldog, piano ballad, with hard guitars and very high bass, is a rock piece with great rhythm, supported by powerful bass and drums: its progression, between aggressive singing, drums and sour guitars, is really serious, except then to overdo the goliardic tone of the album choirs. Final with bark and howl.

    It's All Too Much is the most ambitious song on the album. It opens with a distorted guitar, which then stays in the background forming a basic acidic sound. The very catchy chorus is accompanied by the noise music that distinguishes the piece: in fact it is a melodic pop with arrangement of distorted acid guitars, percussion and cacophonous sounds of trumpets and more. The tail is too long. It remains one of the most atypical Beatles songs, even for the duration, over 6 minutes. All You Need Is Love is a hymn, melodically good but not original.

    Side B. The second side opens with Pepperland, George Martin's most beautiful melody, joyful, and excellent is the instrumentation that repeats the pattern with various arrangements. At times he remembers the sound of Gershwin. Sea Of Time starts with oriental sounds, develops slowly, with a lot of inertia, then changes time and sound and becomes cheerful, and then a chamber music that fades slowly. Sea Of Holes starts dreamy, interlocutory, creates a wait, the music is very descriptive and alone, without images, it appears almost abstract. Sea Of Monsters lasts three and a half minutes. It continues the descriptive and abstract sound of the previous one, but with a greater sense of menace, except then to recall the melody of Pepperland, then Bach's air, then free-jazz sounds, to end menacingly as it began. March Of The Meanies contains the second real catchy melody of the second side, played by the brass, a menacing march, perhaps an escape full of danger. Pepperland Laid Waste is perhaps the most ethereal and abstract, with no novelty, except to pick up some menacing sounds already heard. Yellow... is a beautiful orchestral piece that develops variations from the basic melody of Yellow Submarine.

    Overall, a pleasent and strange but modest album.

    SONGS AND RATING: 1) Yellow Submarine 6,5/7; 2) Only A Northern Song 7,5/8; 3) All Together Now 7+; 4) Hey Bulldog 8; 5) It's All Too Much 7,5; 6) All You Need Is Love 7,5/8;

    -------

    7) Pepperland 8; 8) Sea of Time 7; 9) Sea of Holes 6,5; 10) Sea of Monsters 6,5; 11) March Of The Meanies 7+; 12) Pepperland Laid Waste 6; 13) Yellow Submarine in Pepperland 7,5.

    Total: 93,75. Medium quality: 7,21; Rating: 6,5. Two Stars.

    Data cached

    Proto-Prog bands/artists list

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

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