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Prog and listening

By way of starting thread, I thought I'd just reveal my new found enjoyment of a lot of prog. I still can't abide Gabriel era Genesis for some reason, though Gabriel's new solo album sounds great and I have always liked his solo work anyway. Over the last few months I have been listening to the Camel super deluxe box set, Caravan (the 70s albums box rather than the enormous Super deluxe), Van Der Graff Generator (vintage and more recent) and most recently Nektar, the British band who many people think were German. The new 50th anniversary issue of 'Remember The Future' is great and the upcoming 5 x cd set of their 'Recycled' album should be as well. In the different era of 21st C prog I have been enjoying the Pineapple Thief (book set of their albums), Porcupine Tree and Riverside. As I like all these, who else should I be listening to? Suggestions?


Re: Prog and listening

Big fan of Genesis with peter Gabriel. After he left it was all downhill from there. VDGG first four albums are gems.

there's some really good psych/prog crossover type albums to be found such as Arcadium-Breathe Awhile, East Of Eden-Mercator Projected, The Gods-Genesis, both Eyes Of Blue albums.
I've had Gravy Train, Begggar's Opera, Paladin-Charge, Audience, to name a few albums in my collection since I first bought them when they came out.

Re: Prog and listening

Thanks Greg, I knew you'd have some titles! Certainly I will give some serious listening to Gravy Train, East of Eden and Paladin. I have the others and agree they are great.


Re: Prog and listening

Agreed. All great albums. There is so much great prog music out there.


Man,i dislike Genesis,i only like their debut album"From Genesis To Revelation",i have Trespass and i bought that Archive box set,mainly for the early demos,but i just can't get into them at all.
I'm a strange wee beastie with prog,if i feel there's too much senseless noodling,or they're being too far up their own arses and being virtuoso,its a massive turn off for me,it kills any enjoyment for me.
Hence later kinda post 72/3 prog mainly is a no-go,as thats when a lot of it got too pretentious,where showing off became more important than melody and song,with so much senseless noodling on keyboards,guitar histrionics,drum solos,annoying overexpressive vocals it was all to do with being virtuoso and showing off,and deary me the dress sense of many of them was just part of the "look at me i'm brilliant"ego stroking!!No wonder punk and back to basics had to happen.

Saying that,i'm a huge proto/early prog enthusiast,in particular bands and albums that could fall into that psych/prog crossover sound,usually during the years 1969-71.
As that's when record labels set up their specialist sublabels for"underground"bands,and many got signed that wouldn't have been before as they'd be seen as a risk,hence in truth there's not a lot of psychedelic albums from Britain during 67 and 68,as the singles market and mainstream acts were still the labels priority.

Once the labels in the UK realised there was a big market for non mainstream,mainly albums instead of singles,the opportunities opened for many acts,and unlike the psych scene which was mainly London centric,the new priority for albums and bands doing something different,wasn't just London based,but bands from other parts of the UK got the chance to release an album,where only months earlier,there was no chance a label would let a band record and release an album without a hit single or the chance of commercial success.

Labels like Harvest,Neon,Charisma,Deram Nova,Dawn etc,took chancese,which made for some interesting and trully crrative albums,even the albums that weren't that great,where still at the least different,and used all sorts of musical influences in their music.

Hence i think there are many early prog albums that still have a psychedelic element in their sound,but there are albums that also took the mix of orchestration and rock music to new levels,with Barclay James Harvest being a notable example.

While others used the mellotron with all its samples of wind instrumetation,strings and its special tones,NOTHING sounds like a mellotron,for me it makes an album,and the obvious example are The Moody Blues,who utilised the mellotron in a way that showed what could be done with it,and to huge success too,the trio of albums In Search Of The Lost Chord,Threshold Of A Dream & To Our Childrens,Childrens,Children are the pinnacle of psych,pop and proto prog.

As for albums i would recommend to others to give as examples of that psych/prog crossover sound,here's a not so short list :

Writing On The Wall-Power Of The Picts(69)
Arcadium-Breathe Awhile(69)
Dear Mr Time-Grandfather(Feb 71)
Julians Treatment-A Time Before This(70)
Locomotive-We Are Everything You See(69)
East Of Eden-Mercator Projected(69)
Five Day Rain-Five Day Rain(70)
Velvett Fogg-Velvett Fogg(69)
The Ghost-When You're Dead...One Second(70)
Galliard-Strange Pleasure(69)
Juniors Eyes-Battersea Power Station(69)
Head Machine-Orgasm(69)
Hard Meat-unrelease album(69) & Hard Meat(70)
The Tremeloes-Master(69)May Morning(68)
Hardin & York-Tomorrow Today(69)
Eyes Of Blue-In Field of Ardath(69)
Graham(e)Bond-Love Is The Law(68)
Manfred Mann Chapter Three-S/T(70)
Colonel Bagshot-Oh What A Lovely War(71)
Harsh Reality-Heaven And Hell(69)
Gong-Camembert Electrique(70)
Raw Material-Raw Material(70)
Rust-Come With Me(69)
Creepy John Thomas-S/T(69)

I hope i've not blethered too long,the albums i've listed,are albums i personally think have that psych/prog crossover sound,with many veering onto heavy rock,i've not included folk albums that have psychedelic sounds,though those type of albums stretched way into the 70s.

Re: Prog

Thanks Stuart, there's a lot lot explore there! I was 'prog-phobic' for a long time but in recent years have begun to open up to a lot of it, especially since I got into jazz fusion I think.


Re: Prog

I like the first Trapeze album a lot. It is a real crossover from when they were (basically) The Montanas and the next album “Medusa” which is hard rock. It has pop touches snd more “progressive” elements. I give that one a thumbs up.
And while they can be accused of noodling, the band Gentle Giant are so good at it that they are high in my list of great prog. They seemingly can play any instrument and they can reproduce it live. Any live recording is good, but I would start with “Acquiring the Taste” and “Octopus.” As people on this forum will know they evolves from Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, but like Trapeze, it’s a different thing from their earlier pop format.

Re: Prog

I used to think of prog as the point at which psych went 'wrong', but I have mellowed.

Some of my favourites:

Web - I Spider
Second Hand - Death May Be
Human Beast
High Tide - Sea Shanties
T2 - Boomland
Van Der Graaf - all their early ones.

Re: Prog

Good list, and if anyone enjoys Caravan (I saw their name mentioned) then Hatfield and the North are similar and good. The album “Afters” is a good collection of their stuff.

Re: Prog

Also National Health.

Re: Prog

Right, I almost mentioned them, and what I’ve heard by the band Egg has been pretty good, too.
I just relistened to the first Trapeze album. I still really like it. It’s that liminal space between psych of the late 60’s and progressive early ‘70’s. It came out in 1970, but sounds ‘68 or ‘69 to me. It’s on Threshold records, the Moody Blues label, but the recent expanded CDs are on Purple records because of Mel Galley snd Glenn Hughes association with Deep Purple later on I imagine. An interesting link between the sounds of the sixties and the hard rock of the 70’s, which admittedly is not really my thing, with a few exceptions. While the vocals remind me of Audience sometimes, they also have this ability to make a song with a pop hook, sort of like very early Yes.

Re: Prog

you can do better than list to the likes of Porcupine Tree and Riverside. These are over-played bands for noobs to salivate over. Also, just to throw in some, I'd stay clear of the likes of Wilson,Mars Volta,Muse,Dream Theatre, Radiohead ad nauseum. One exception of a fad band that has released some worthy material is Spock's Beard.

There is a plenitude of new prog bands that crop up and are immediately-forgotten , or never even given a chance.
Actually it is too much to handle. For past ,say, 5 years, there has been at least 2 new BANDS per DAY. (Of course, yes you have it...95% turnout to be complete rubbish-prog. ) So it's a chore and for this reason heads are reluctant to spoon-feed you noobs with their hard-earned knowledge, product of much dirty digging.


Stuart: fine list. You can get a masterlist of proto bands from Progears forum.

I'm curious about this Tremeloes lp. Don't knw that one. With a band name like Tremeloes one would expect anything but prog.

Wallace can of course visualize the majority on this forum as having some degree of progphobic-ness.

Still you must get out of that hole since what is prog but an extention, a natural outgrowth , of psych. And we all know how at RZ youse all love yer psych - especially UK popsike.

The road exiting psych and leading to progressive rock can be somewhat of an exertion.
Folk don't want to have to "think" to relish music and prog oftimes demands this of the serious listener. And "serious" is the word here.You have entered that domain where vapid girlfriend lyrics are in the main a minority. (Well that is if you discount much of the 80's "prog" the likes of King Crimson "Beat" & "Three of a Perfect Pair" and YES "Owner of a Lonely Heart" pop-grabs.]

Prog , on first listen, can be rather a challenge. Unpredictable. Un-danceable.It exacts perserverence. For the layman, some portion of dedication.Leap of faith.
And its not just the lyrics - which oftimes (for example Jon Anderson)- can be recondite/ambiguous, not crystal clear of meaning - in a GOOD way so that you can take what you want from them.

It is the composition. As is case with say jazz or fusion, folk just for some unexplicable reason can't deal with chord, odd key and meter changes. They desire snaring chorouses,simple, un-taxing composition. (And there is nothing wrong in that -other than, in my opinion, it is over-abundant. Wallace has nothing against simple popsike of the masses. Wallace is a big listener. Wallace would not be on this forum from inception were it otherwise.)

Finally it is that pesky "pretentious twaddle" line which Wallace shall choose to bypass this post. Only to say that some folk have this hang-up with denigrating virtuosity.

If you wish to go for the radio-friendly, Short-attention route, listening to pop hits as opposed to commiting oneself to doing a whole prog epic/concet lp in one serious go; that is your bag. Good luck with it.
I suppose fast food never killed anyone.

Re: Prog

Some good points Wallace, I've noticed that even artists are more and more reluctant to use the word prog or progressive to categorise their output on streaming platforms etc presumably being aware of a phobia or perceived negative association with those terms. Can you recommend any go-to websites that are most likely to feature new music in the genres you like most?

Re: Prog

ProgressiveEars forum

Progarchives archive (not forum)

Re: Prog

Thanks W, time for a deeper dive.