Thursday, July 08, 2010

A PROG Primer

Progressive Rock, much like punk rock, is essentially dead. Unless there's a band I haven't heard of, there's nothing GOOD as far as real progressive rock goes out there right now. And don't say Porcupine Tree, either. What the hell happened? The benchmark for progressive rock are the following bands. All are essential listening.

1. Pink Floyd. OK, they morphed into a soft rock band. But the early stuff, right up to Dark Side, is primal progressive rock, especially the real early spaced out jams. Hell, these guys were almost the originators of the whole genre. Best album in my opinion: Meddle, because of the side-long "Echoes".

2. The Nice. Keith Emerson's first band where he honed his chops for future greatness (see below...). Not consistent, but some killer stuff here and there.

3. Atomic Rooster. Heavy psych rock around the Hammond of Vincent Crane and mad axework of John Cann. Best Album is "Death Walks Behind You"

4. King Crimson. First gig was with the Stones at the free Hyde Park gig. Their first album is a bona fide classic, but I really prefer their mid-70s period better with "Red" and "Larks Tongue in Aspic".

5. Yes. The vocals were always tough to get used to, but the musicianship was top notch. Best album is "The Yes Album" but the triple "Yessongs" live album is killer.

6. Emerson,Lake and Palmer. The big daddys of Prog. My favorite prog group, somehow ELP always had a dark and heavy edge. All albums up to Works are essential, my favorite being "Trilogy".

7. Rush. OK, i'm talking about early Rush. Some of the greatest progressive metal ever played. Too bad they ruined it and became a pop-synth band. Newer stuff still not up to snuff.

8. Jethro Tull. I'm talking about "Thick as a Brick" era. One song, two album sides, a thousand movements. If that ain't prog, what is?? People forget just how huge Tull were around that time. They were one of the biggest bands in the world.

9. Genesis. Again, the early stuff. Always still to soft for me, the "Genesis Live" album is decent but I prefer all the above bands.

10. Hawkwind. This is more progressive space rock but most of it is good stuff. Lemmy was bassist for a while. Best album is "Space Ritual".

11. UFO. I'm talking about the second album only..."One Hour Space Rock". They must of been smoking some wacky weed when they made that thing. The coming of Prince Kajuku, baby!!

12. Focus. Everyone (well everyone old enough) remembers the tune "Hokus Pokus" that had the fierce jamming with the yodeling verses. If you flip that album, "Moving Waves", around to side 2, you get a 25 minute prog rock epic.


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