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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.

Iván 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

4.49 | 1138 ratings
Beatles, The
4.50 | 662 ratings
Who, The
4.38 | 1056 ratings
Beatles, The
4.35 | 1307 ratings
Deep Purple
4.35 | 1177 ratings
Beatles, The
4.34 | 1306 ratings
Deep Purple
4.42 | 662 ratings
Who, The
4.33 | 762 ratings
Doors, The
4.25 | 587 ratings
Doors, The
4.19 | 847 ratings
Beatles, The
4.27 | 501 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.15 | 933 ratings
Beatles, The
4.00 | 628 ratings
Who, The
4.01 | 549 ratings
Doors, The
3.96 | 834 ratings
Beatles, The
4.05 | 441 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.02 | 351 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.14 | 197 ratings
3.86 | 895 ratings
Deep Purple
3.93 | 370 ratings
Deep Purple

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 H.P. Lovecraft II by H.P. LOVECRAFT album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.73 | 61 ratings

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

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. I have such a hard time with Proto-Prog albums and giving this 3.5 stars is a compliment for sure. I am very impressed with the vocals on this album for the most part and that they do get experimental at times instrumentally. Not so impressed with all the folky stuff or that they cover several songs here even though that was a "thing" back in the day. There's two tracks on here that I'm very glad I got to spend some time with and the fact this their second record was released in 1968 makes those two songs even more incredible. I'll get to those later.

A five piece out of Chicago with all five singing. They would eventually move down to California where all the action was and proceeded to burn themselves out with all the live shows. All five were big H.P. Lovecraft fans and they asked his estate for permission to use his name. Most of the music here just isn't my thing but "Electrallentando" is different with the creative sounds, and the vocals make this even better. And fairly long at 6 1/2 minutes, in fact the longest on the album.

And while the intro and outro for "At The Mountains Of Madness" shine bright the rest of the song is not my thing mostly because of the vocals this time. My other favourite though is "High Flying Bird" a song I liked right from the start. The lyrics and vocals and it's catchy. Not big on "Mobius Trip" just too folky for my tastes with harmonies. The closer might be my third favourite because of the passionate vocals. The 40 second track before it is funny, very psychedelic. Not into "Blue Jack Of Diamonds" again for being too folky and ballad-like. The opener "Spin, Spin, Spin" is very dated and the followup "It's About Time" has these expressive vocals that I like.

Hugues gave this 4.5 stars so keep that in mind, this just isn't my scene.

 The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp by GILES GILES & FRIPP album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.14 | 124 ratings

The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp
Giles Giles & Fripp Proto-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 630

Giles Giles and Fripp was an English rock group, formed in Bournemouth, Dorset, England, in 1967. It featured brothers Michael Giles on drums and vocals, Peter Giles on bass guitar and vocals, and Robert Fripp on guitar. The band's music showed an eclectic mix of pop, psychedelic rock, folk, jazz, and classical influences. The group eventually evolved into the pioneering and famous progressive rock band King Crimson. As we know, King Crimson was the band that released in 1969 what is in general considered today the first prog album ever, "In The Court Of The Crimson King".

But, in reality, Giles Giles & Fripp, whose name always sounded more like an accounting firm than a rock group, only existed for a little more than fifteen months. They never got to play a single live performance under their own name, never charted a single anywhere in the world, and were so obscure in their own time and their own country that the one album that they recorded, "The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp", sold fewer than 1,000 copies. In reality, "The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles and Fripp" had been reissued, receiving far more attention than it ever did in 1968.

Brothers Giles were veterans of the rock scene in Bournemouth, having played in several bands in the beginning of their careers. By with lots of gigs, mostly backing other musicians and along with a handful of singles that went nowhere, the two brothers decided to form their own band. In that year, they hooked up with Robert Fripp, an ex-member of groups such as the League Of Gentlemen who was then playing guitar in a hotel orchestra. The resulting trio began rehearsing in earnest and the result of that was an album, "The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp", recorded in 1968 and a pair of singles. The album reflected the times and the members' respective tastes, a strange mixture of light jazz, psychedelic, droll humor, Goon Show and Monty Python style comedy, and a very offbeat balladry.

The style of music of "The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp" is, well, it's all over the place. There's plenty of late 60's psychedelic pop, there are a few tracks that hint at what would become the sound that defined a genre. There are a few serious moments, and there are whacky Monty Python-esque vocal interludes that speak to the album's title. There are hints of Syd Barrett, there are moments that recall The Beach Boys, and there are dozens of The Beatles references. It's a bit eclectic really. Giles Giles and Fripp were trying to be funny. They were trying to be pop. They were trying to be experimental. But, in fact, it seems that they were trying to find themselves. That musical identity would finally settle on them two years later when they grew up into King Crimson, and they launched "In The Court Of The Crimson King".

"The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp" can be divided into two parts. The songs on the first part are tied together thematically by a narrative called "The Saga Of Rodney Toady", a series of between-song vignettes about a fat kid with no friends and dim prospects for a future love life. Trust me. It's funnier than it sounds, although the joke wears thin on repeated listens. The opening track, "North Meadow", is one of the strongest on the album and features some nifty fretwork from Fripp, restrained but tasty drumming and some beautiful vocal harmonies. Besides that, "Call Tomorrow", which is rather light, airy, and yes, cheerful, the rest of the songs on the first part of the album are pleasant, but not necessarily remarkable. Still, there's an undeniable charm to them and they managed to grow on me. A foreshadowing of King Crimson can be heard on "The Crukster", a brief but dark interlude. Side two is held together by the narrative concept "Just George", which is basically a gag where one sentence is repeated in between songs, with the words rearranged each time. The cheeky nature of the album gives way for the final two songs, "Suite No. 1" and "Erudite Eyes". The former of the two is an engaging instrumental piece featuring some superb guitar work from Fripp.

Unless you actually get a vinyl copy of the album, you'll also find six more new bonus tracks. Four of them are simply stereo or mono single versions of previous album tracks, with two originals. The first of these two, "She Is Loaded", is easily the better. It probably most closely resembles Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd with even more odd lyrics. The opening vocal harmony is pretty stunning to boot. But, this six bonus tracks don't add anything remarkable to the album, really.

Conclusion: Just one year before prog rock titans King Crimson released their first album. Two thirds of that band released their first and last studio album as the erstwhile trio of Giles Giles & Fripp. Released during the height of the psychedelic era, "The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp" promptly sank into oblivion. But, believe me. It's worth revisiting. If I had to surmise a reason why this album tanked, I'd say its oddly eclectic songs are a contributing factor. The album has a generous dose of cheeky Pythonesque humor, but most of the acts at the time were practicing a much darker and substantive form of psychedelic. It's not quite progressive enough to be prog rock, and probably a little too jokey for its own good. If this doesn't sound like a glowing recommendation, it's interesting and insane enough to be checked. It perhaps won't make any Desert Island Disc list, but this is unique and a must for any Fripp or Crimson fan.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Tomorrow by TOMORROW album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.05 | 71 ratings

Tomorrow Proto-Prog

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tomorrow's Tomorrow is a Forever Psych-Pop Classic

Tomorrow is one of those bands which is not only steeped in excellence then--with further excellence to be seen after disbanding--but it goes plenty deeper than I ever recalled. Remarkably, most memorably and famously, this Keith West-fronted group features a young Steve Howe on guitar (2 years before he replaced the otherwise inimitable Peter Banks in Yes), and also features the excellent Psych/Freakbeat drummer Twink (John Alder)(!!!), who later this same year (1968) joined The Pretty Things, appearing on their incredible S.F. Sorrow. Can't recommend that one enough. But it goes even deeper! Today, the reason I'm here now, happily listening to this again--and bear with me--I listened through the early-Prog Abbey Road medley, and "You Never Give Me Your Money", its 'opener', was inspired by the admittedly less remarkable West-penned [I think?] suite "Excerpt from 'A Teenage Opera'" (a.k.a. "Grocer Jack"). The final four tracks on the '99 remaster of Tomorrow are apparently all from this 'Opera' (or at least from the same time), and remarkably still feature none other than the incredible Aynsley Dunbar on drums (of Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Mothers of Invention, Bowie, Journey, etc.) and, of all people, the comparably ambitious Ronnie Wood on bass (Jeff Beck Group, Faces, the Rolling Stones, etc.)! In addition to a track that a young Steve Howe performed on inspiring Paul McCartney at one point, I also recall Frank Zappa singing Howe's praises, specifically on Tomorrow's "Claramount Lake" (not originally on the LP), the B-side to "My White Bicycle". And with that, I can say this much: This album's highs are mountainous. [Although I will gladly be providing my definite favorites and must-hears from the bonus material, the rating for this album will be dependent solely on its original release.]

Tomorrow begins, rightly so, with their first single from May '67, "My White Bicycle". And as far as Psych Rock at large and Freakbeat specifically goes, this track is vital. It starts off with this really delightful, mesmerizing tape-manipulation, and the one tape effect results in a sound which could well resemble a playing card hitting the spokes (one of the rhythmic backbones of the entire track). Compositionally simple, but an excellent melody with really fun, maximal production. It's huge. It is followed by "Colonel Brown", a sweeter, much clearer Psych Pop. The guitars are bright and jangly, later seemingly Folk-inspired... a super weird, psychedelic outro. Otherwise, the rhythm swings freely. Another one with nice melodies; though less memorable and daring. Following is "Real Life Permanent Dream", begun with the far-off drone of a sitar soon met with booming and then sparse rhythm section. The vocals in the first verse are oddly mixed almost totally alone in the right ear. This picks up, fullness realized with this real cool, heavy beat. And then, post-chorus, this India-come-England bucolic situation happens, played in half-time; it is truly wonderful. A more garage-ready, Power-Pop-meets-Freakbeat version of this is also available as bonus track and this is definitely worth checking out (in comparison in the very least).

Up next is the sunny, youthful "Shy Boy"! I love this track. Something to keep in mind, though this is clearly Proto-progressive in scope and experimentation, much of this album, like this track here, is pure Psych-Pop; worth saying, as I know this won't appeal to others as it will me, the Prog-dork Poptimist haha. The winning element here, bouncing rhythm aside, is producer Mark Wirtz's keyboards, which he provides throughout. It has a very timeless ring to it. Not to be confused with any songs of the same name, this is followed by "Revolution". An intensely mixed Freakbeat extravaganza, this has one of the best choruses (you're never going to guess what the lyrics are... /s), despite its simplicity. But very odd is the mixing; it may cause some pause. It's muddled and warbled and many of the elements (specifically on left speaker) are almost completely absent, and then during the chorus's "Now!"s everything is mixed loud. I think this is great, and yet it's going to be a tough sell for the real audiophiles in the audience [There were some engineering/production choices throughout that honestly weren't agreeable, to say the least]. I think it would benefit another delve into bonus material for "Revolution" as well; it's not impossible to listen to haha. Coming back to the definitely-happier side, next is "The Incredible Journey of Timothy Chase". The rhythm section is once again booming and hulking. What's shining through once more is the melodies and Steve Howe's guitar performance(s). This will certainly appeal to fellow fans of Revolver-to-Magical-Mystery-Tour-era Beatles. I definitely find this style of English Psych Rock to be a clear predecessor to sonic elements found in more Pop-oriented Prog bands like Yes (and this would then be owing to Mr. Chris Squire as well).

Approaching the close, we then have "Auntie Mary's Dress Shop", a baroquey number with plunking keys and crisp Edwardian-like, though definitely-Psych vocals. This is one I definitely don't recall (not uncommon for me throughout this release). I like it, certainly. Speaking of the Beatles, we then have a cover which I have utterly forgotten (I don't know how), their one magnum opus, "Strawberry Fields Forever". And the way in which they perform this, released a year following the original, it's definitely owing to them and yet a unique display of Tomorrow's style. Being a forever Beatles fan, I think it'd be somewhat common to say how unnecessary most covers of their material really feels. I don't quite feel that with "Strawberry Fields" here, but the Liverpudlian Beat Boys truly captured some kind of unattainable magic originally. This is then followed by one of my definite favorites, "Three Jolly Little Dwarfs", a super fun Freakbeat number. It is as silly as you would expect, but everything from the rhythm to the melody to even the lyrics (again, very silly). Beefier and garagier still is "Now Your Time Has Come". This has some great melodies and harmonies. And then we get this wild [Neo-classical?] bridge, and it should strike you as the most Steve Howe thing ever haha. It's excellent. And right when you think it's going to return, it just keeps goin'. Feels all over the place stylistically; so fun. With this second(?) listen, I think I've found yet another favorite! And finally, for the original release, we have "Hallucinations", which is one with some great melodies, as we can come to expect, and it's nice to get some imperfect, human element in the vocal department. It sounds real. Howe has some more fun with his trilling axe. As a Pop track, this is a solid number.

And speaking of hearing this fresh again, it's been a while since I've heard our first bonus track, the aforementioned Zappa-praised "Claramount Lake". This is a more straight Rock, and drumming aside (which is pure Ringo drag) it feels overtly American to mine ears. Another I enjoy quite a bit is "Why", a Who-esque Power Pop number with a guitar solo that could make Townshend jealous. One that confused me at first was "Now Your Time Has Gone", not to be confused with the "Now Your Time Has Come"; two very different songs. "Good Wizzard Meets Naughty Wizzard" is just as ridiculous as you would think; interesting bridge then, with some jazzy organ. To me the strongest bonus track is "On a Saturday", previously unmentioned it's a track from 'A Teenage Opera'. This is excellent Psych Pop, reminiscent to maybe the Moody Blues or the Pretty Things. One I somehow don't remember a lick that may be worth a listen is the also-Power-ful "The Kid Was a Killer". The instrumentation implies Roots Rock to me at times. "She" is certainly striking, the first track of the whole with what sounds like a proper string ensemble. And finally, "The Visit" begins with this really killer drum solo. No shock this is Aynsley Dunbar. He's a monster. Also, my direct respect for Ronnie Wood has only increased from his performance on this final track. Great vocal harmonies here as well. One of three songs that struck me at times as slightly American, this was only fortified by Steve's twangy lead guitar. I'm not sure what else there is to say. If you're approaching this as a fan, these bonus tracks will be just as much a treat.

 It's A Beautiful Day by IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.87 | 148 ratings

It's A Beautiful Day
It's A Beautiful Day Proto-Prog

Review by altered_beast

5 stars A true Proto-Prog masterpiece! Not really sure whether this band or album was greatly influential to Prog or just happened to be flooded through the roof with Prog elements and overlooked? Anyway if I were to consider a band to truely fit the category of Proto-Prog no questions asked It's a Beautiful Day would definitely be a top 3-5 or at least in that order that appears to my mind first along with acts such as Procol Harum, Family, The Nice, etc.

Consider yourself fortunate if you actually own an original or even legal copy of this album which has been incredibly difficult over many years now. Only being familiar with the radio classic Whitebird I checked this out at a local library years ago only to be completely blown away.

Not at all your typical West Coast Hippie Drug Psychedelia album. Sure you might hear hints of early Blues Rock and some Quicksilver Messenger Service but other than that this album really takes Progressive Rock by storm. The violin solos and professional operatic vocals even surpass many Prog albums. This band really sets high standards. David LaFlamme who played in the Utah Symphony previously also sounds very professional with his operatic vocals. This album was full of surprises when I first discovered listening to it over 20 years ago.

It's funny how operatic vocals have become a prominent part of Progressive Metal many years later. I have also often wondered if the violin and guitar combination influenced musicians such as Luc Jean Ponty and Eddie Jobson on Roxy Music and UK albums. Did it influence Kansas, Dixie Dregs, Mahavishnu, King Crimson with David Cross? So many unanswered questions I have about this most obscure jem that is in many ways light years ahead of it's time and should be mentioned among the most important Proto-Prog albums ever recorded.

 Pärson Sound by PÄRSON SOUND album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.59 | 31 ratings

Pärson Sound
Pärson Sound Proto-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars PARSON SOUND were a Psychedelic band out of mid-sixties Sweden who were influenced by the minimalistic and experimental sounds of Terry Riley. Every time I see a band mention Riley as an influence I need to just stay away. I'm just not into this scene of perpetual droning, very low on my enjoyment level. And you'll see this with the reviews here, those who rate it high because of how new this "sound" was at the time and how influential this band was, and then there are those like myself who hear over 2 hours of droning and not the best sound quality either and go "nope I don't need to hear this one again". A lot of the music here sound jumbled, hard to hear specific instruments.

Part of my issue is with how influential this band really was given they released no albums and this archival release wasn't heard until 2001. So some young musicians may have heard these guys at a festival or their radio broadcasts but this would be few and far between. The four key guys of this band Persson, Ericsson, Abelli and Gartz would continue in 1968 as INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER and release an album! Now they were getting their sound out at least and I gave that 4 stars in part because of this. It's better as well.

This two disc set contains music recorded at festivals, radio broadcasts, rehearsals, jams, and music played at a museum etc. A lot of improvs and jams and their motto seems to be "Drone or go home". While the music here comes mostly from 1967 to 1968 there is one track from 1966 which actually might be my favourite. In 1970 these four same guys changed their name again this time to TRAD GRAS OCH STENAR.

And while ALGANARD TRADGARD gets mentioned as a comparison because they might play at times a similar heavy brand of Psychedelia they do it far better in my opinion. This was good to hear though, one of the early ones of this style. Cool that Reine Fiske was involved with the art work and design, obviously he has a lot of respect for this music.

 The Soft Parade by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.95 | 330 ratings

The Soft Parade
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by theCoagulater

4 stars This is definitely the least revered Morrison-era Doors album. I would say I could see the reason for that, but I don't, so I don't see the reason for that. Throughout the entire thing, they're trying a generally more poppy sound. It's the first Doors album to have bass on all tracks, there's a lot of horns and such, and... well, the thing of it is, it that, uhh... there's the lemon stuff. And then you got Mac who's a rat, and Dee's body brace, and uh... and that's the thing of it, and... it's good.

Tell All The People triumphantly starts off the album with a tune not unlike what closed their previous album, Five To One. This one is again, a rallying cry. What separates this one from Five To One though is that it's directed at everyone for a better future, "You tell them they don't have to run, we're gonna pick up everyone." Five To One was directed at the youth for taking back the world the past generation destroyed "The old get old and the young get stronger. May take a week and it may take longer. They got the guns but we got the numbers. Gonna win, yeah we're takin' over." The distinction between these two songs that gives Tell All The People its power and triumphantly is the horns featured here. It sounds like they're introducing the (lizard) king, someone we can trust to put everything in its place, someone who can bury all our troubles in the sand, someone who can lead us "across the sea where milky babies seem to be." This song highlights the idea of who Jim Morrison was, someone who will expose and break the bonds of society. That might be stretching it, but you get my point, this song shows a perfect example of who he represented.

Touch Me uses the freer and poppier atmosphere of the album to zoom in and exaggerate the romantic aspect of the lyrics. The strings also do an amazing job of adding to the overall mood here. I wouldn't call it their best love song, I feel like the lyrics aren't as tight as Hello, I Love You or Wintertime Love, but it's an incredible song with all the other parts working amazingly together. And to be fair I like cute silly love songs more than this classic idea of romanticism. But that's just me, if I were the other way around this would probably be up there for one of my favorite love songs.

Shaman's Blues is a mellow, sort of damp tune. I think is about a dude down on his luck, sorta insane, man talking to someone who's either rich or in a high place politically. He's telling them that they could be doing a lot more about helping people like him. Lines like "There will never be another one who can do the things you do" tell us he's pressuring them to get something done. A lot of lines like "Did you stop it to consider how it will feel? Cold, grinding grizzly bear jaws hot on your heels." tell us either he's telling them that they haven't thought about what it's like actually living in these conditions, or that they should think about what hell is like before they go there for not helping more. There are a whole bunch more lines I could quote and how they relate to what I think the song is about, but I ain't an expert in poetry, so it's kind of redundant. Tell me if you think it's something else, I would want to hear other interpretations of the song, 'cause it's a very interesting piece. Or maybe you just want to tell me what a [%*!#]ing idiot you think I am for interpreting it this way, that's valid as well.

Do It marks where the album goes into the more poppy regions. It's another piece about the generation divide, telling older people to listen to younger people "the child" 'cause it's their world your rising them in. It's a bop, not too complicated, at least I think not. Maybe it's another case of me being a bumbling idiot, tell me about it.

Easy Ride is another one I don't get, it's very comforting, I like the sound of it a lot. The lyrics go over my head. Maybe Jim's just a confident driver and wants to tell us about it, which is cool I guess, good on him, being a good driver is a good skill to have.

Wild Child is (I think) a song about Jim's ideal vision for the future. That everybody is as upfront and forward-looking as this wild child. One thing that gets me about this one is that I DON'T remember when we were in Africa, and that's sorta taking me out of this. He doesn't at least talk about what the trip was like to jog my memory, kinda inconsiderate, but he's also like sorta dead, so there's no point in complaining now.

Runnin' Blue is an extremely fun song. Robby's Dylan impression is awesome, and it's super refreshing hearing him sing. This whole song is hard on the fun pop sound and it turns out great. The fiddle at the end is also pretty cool 'cause it (in one way or another) gets you in the mood for the next track, which has this sort of deeper sound the fiddle portrays. I wish they explored this whole sound more, as good as this song is I feel as if there's a lot of untapped potentials here.

Wishful Sinful is a perfect midway in-between the poppy sound of the last couple of tracks with the rougher and psychedelic sound of the title track. It follows in the lyrical footstep of Touch Me, with these loving, sexual lyrics. This again isn't my thing, but the strings and overall musicianship of the track make it a nice experience regardless. What it does best of all is buffer the first three-quarters of the album with the final track, "The Soft Parade", which is another one of The Doors' long closing tracks, and it very much needed a buffer considering the sound of this album.

The Soft Parade is the closing track and center of the album, it's what a lot of people listen to this album for. And for good reason, it's great. Following suit with their other epics the lyrics are really difficult at first. But if you try hard and never give up you'll get there, I believe in you champ. I think the track is about all of what you do to distance yourself from death. Doesn't matter if you do it via religion, candy, or being nice to your neighbor(?). This is helped by the sonic back-and-forth that this track does. The beginning is the most honest, calling out any bull[&*!#] that tries to convince you there's warmth in life separate from the cold and harshness of death. It's saying that you can't make whatever higher power there is to give you enteral life or a sufficient afterlife. The Next part has a bit of a less honest sound, but is still very honest in content, asking for warmth to hide from the ever marching presents of death. The next part is that warmth, candy, being nice to your neighbor, community, and such. The next part is joining the "Soft Parade". I think being part of the Soft Parade represents a manic acceptance of death, you're expecting it and waiting, but you have to force yourself to think that it's going to be okay. The sound of this section is not very honest at all, it's lying to yourself but the very essence of what life is, and the sound captures that perfectly. As for the horse and the whipping of its eyes, I couldn't tell you. The dude who annotated this line on Genius recommends a book to fully help understand this line. But I can only (for the most part) understand poetry when it's sung to me, I can't imagine reading an entire book of it. I bet the line is important, if someone wants to tell me their thoughts on it please do. Or if you want to call me an idiot for not understanding it you can do that too, I'll take all sorts of criticism.

Great album. I wish this one wasn't as poorly received as it was, because they sorta gave up on the pop and orchestral sound after this. It would've been super cool to see a version of Morrison Hotel with horns and strings. And why was Who Scared You not on this record? That's an incredible song. But I guess it is what it is. And again, if you want to call me a [&*!#]bag for not interpreting a song the way you would've wanted me to, you know where to get in contact with me, at [email protected]

 Abbey Road by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.49 | 1138 ratings

Abbey Road
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by theCoagulater

3 stars The big one, Abbey Road. The tenular rock album (I don't know if I'm using that word correctly). I like it a lot, it's a good album. But it ain't experimental enough, not nearly as much as The Beatles [White Album]. Which is kind of a bummer considering what they did with that one, oh well. Here I feel like McCartney got his grubby hands too much on the production. It sounds too much like him, it's too milky and not as grounded and Earth as The Beatles [White Album]. And I like the later The Beatles [White Album] sound a lot better. And sorry if I [%*!#] up some of the wording. As you can tell by the title, this is my second time writing this review, and I am soooooooooooo [%*!#]ing tired.

Come Together is iconic, really one of the most recognizable songs ever. The bassline is funky, the solo is solid. Its mellowness and lyric content work well together. Although I don't think it's the best choice for the opening track. I think Because would've been a better choice.

Something is a sweet loving song, it should be right up my alley, but it just doesn't hit the nerve with me the same way it has with so many other people. Musically it rides the coattails of Come Together with its mellowness. But then the bridge comes along and all of these different ideas come together (pun intended), and it just doesn't work. The dynamics are all weird.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer is awesome. It is very overproduced though. What should be a very fitting album track tried to stretch and over-reach its boundaries. It tried way too hard to become a single when it just never could considering what it's about. None of this stops it from being an amazing track though. It's a very bouncy track. It's all made to be very playful. Because of this no matter how many times I listened to this album this one always makes me a bit uneasy. Just the concept and how lightly it's being treated rubs me the way. The anvil and Moog are so eerie and hang over the track so well. It all feels like a well-done creepypasta in song form.

Oh! Darling is the only track on this album that feels like a throwaway. It's boring, it does nothing interesting. If John sang the vocals he would've been able to make something (pun intended) out of it. But I guess Paul was hellbent on having ripe filler in this album.

Octopus's Garden is an incredible song. Everything is so fine-tuned, it feels perfect without feeling overproduced. The bassline moves everything along nicely, the guitar is frosty, and the piano is playful. The guitar solo is perfect for setting up the song's environment. This is the perfect song for a voice like Ringo has, it's so warm and sing- alongable (?). The lyrics are the best, from the music I've heard, about finding warmth and comfort from the world with sounding existential and chilling.

I Want You is for now my favorite Beatles song. The lyrics themselves don't say much. You have to get most of the context and meaning of what this is by the composition. My interpretation of it is that our protagonist loves this girl very deeply. In the first half of the song the instrumentation between the lyrics are telling us that rather than longing for this girl because of the features she has, or her nice personality, he's longing for her because he needs her as a piece to fix himself. It's an incredibly heavy song the lyrics are meant as they are verbatim, but they're definitely not meant lightly. The line "she's so heavy" means basically that she's important. Which again, doesn't sound like much, but everything around it highlights and bolds it, tries to make you understand. The last line of the song cuts it off at "She's so-" before the outro. The booming proto-metal outro in place of the word "heavy" jams the theme of the song SO far down our throats that it creates this existential whirlpool. The song doesn't even give you the satisfaction of knowing it ends, it just cuts off. This gave us no context of how the story ended, any change or end to what was going on would've implied something.

Here Comes the sun is a nice warm landing from the cold atmosphere of I Want You. It's their most popular song, which I can see why it's optimistic and comforting. My only problem with it is that it's dreadfully boring. Nothing is engaging about it. It's too white. The sound is weirdly isolated despite trying to sound comforting. And if I wanted a comforting and warm song, Octopus's Garden is already here.

Because is a nice separation between everything else in this album and The Long One. It's soft and thoughtful. It's very ghostly. I love the loving nature of the lyrics, they feel very honest and appreciative.

The Long One is the big centerpiece of the album. A bunch of odds and sods fit together to be somewhat coherent. It works for the most part. But I could honestly live without Sun King through Golden Slumbers. Aside from good spirits, those tracks don't offer much. I'd prefer they made a proto-prog epic out of You Never Give Me Your Money, Carry That Weight, and The End.

You Never Give Me Your Money starts The Long One with a nice track about mistrust and their managers (I think). I prefer to think of it as a bunch of off-lines scotch taped together creating some sediment about love or whatever. And it works. Probably not the way most people listen to this track, but I like it more this way, so that's that I guess.

Sun King has affected me in the following ways: it's booooooorrrring. I don't care if you can speak Spanish, get on with it. They even got crickets in this track, they know what they're doing, PUTTING ME TO SLEEP!!!

Mean Mr. Mustard is a bit of a bop I guess, I thank it for introducing me to Mr. Mustard himself. It's a bit too McCartney.

Polythene Pam is much the same case. Pam sounds hot, thanks for telling me about her. The music here is more interesting, it's more power poppy, it's cool. I like that it doesn't overstay its welcome.

She Came In Through The Bathroom Window is much like You Never Give Me Your Money. A collection of pretty cool lines. It doesn't hit me the same way that song did though. The music's dynamics are pretty cool, but nothing to write home about.

Golden Slumbers is a very emotionally driven song. It doesn't mean anything to me in particular. But the lines are powerful, and its sort runtime doesn't force me to think about it that much.

Carry That Weight is amazing. The opening line talks to you directly, telling you to think about whatever awful thing it is that you've done in your life, and to think about them enough to where you never do them again. The horns are triumphant and bring everything home.

The End is just that, the end of the Beatles. It has amazing energy and musicianship that makes you appreciate the Beatles. The final lines "And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make" isn't masterful wordplay or writing, but it's the Beatles and what they stood for, you really couldn't have any better ending to a career than that.

 The Collectors by COLLECTORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.11 | 58 ratings

The Collectors
The Collectors Proto-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I picked this album up sometime in the 2010's and I'm absolutely fascinated that this could be the very first Prog album released in Canada. The band itself had it's beginnings in 1961 before changing it's name to THE COLLECTORS and releasing two studio albums in the late 60's this being the debut from 1968. But this is before the flood of Prog that came out of Quebec starting in 1970 and where 99% of all Prog from Canada comes from. British Columbia of all places and the other big surprise for me is that Bill Henderson is part of this band.

Back in the second half of the seventies I was trying to find my way musically being in my mid to late teens and one album I picked up was "Dreams, Dreams, Dreams" by a band called CHILLIWACK which is a city in British Columbia. One of my all time favourite songs "Fly By Night(In The Morning We Land)" is on that album and still played up here on Classic Rock radio stations to this day. Bill was the lead guitarist and vocalist for CHILLIWACK while on THE COLLECTORS he's lead guitar and backing vocals. The main singer here is very good, sounding like those male 60's vocals but man this guy can get theatrical to the point of yelling.

We get sax, flute and recorder from this 5 piece band plus three guests all on the shortest song "Lydia Purple" where they add piano, harpsichord, cello and vibes. Under 3 minutes but this is a catchy one that I like a lot. Uplifting and the harpsichord is a nice touch. "One Act Play" is overly dramatic and so sixties sounding. "Howard Christman's Older" is another track that recalls that 60's story telling to great affect. The opener "What Is Love" actually brought POPOL VUH to mind at one point before it all turns more passionate. Back to the more mellow sound to end it.

"She(Will Of The Wisp)" is a vocal track with some brief flute when the vocals step aside a couple of times. An urgent piece with bass and guitar, harmonies too. Then we get the side long suite to end it called "What Love" and man put on your seat belts people this is a ride and check out what the other reviewers say about this one. It's so impressive especially the theatrical vocals, and shouting "hell" back in '68 to emphasize the emotion was bold and done more than once.

A 4 star album on a number of fronts for me, this is a significant recording for a Canadian like myself.

 Silver Apples by SILVER APPLES album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.63 | 43 ratings

Silver Apples
Silver Apples Proto-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars SILVER APPLES were the duo of Simeon Coxe and Dan Taylor based in New York City and this is their debut from 1968. And what a ground-breaking album it was with that homemade synth Simeon used called "The Simeon". As far as I know only FIFTY FOOT HOSE were already doing this the year before with their album "Cauldron". They too had a homemade synth. Dan Taylor plays the drums and adds vocals and he was 20 when their debut was released while Simeon was 30 years old and he plays that electronic device and sings. It's hard to believe it's just these three things on here, vocals, synths and drums.

That synth by the way could create pulsing rhythms, electronic melodies, beeps, buzzes and beats. This machine had 9 audio oscillators and 86 manual controls. The lead and rhythm were played with the hands, elbows and knees while the bass oscillator was played with the feet. The vocals have that 60's sound and the music is catchy with these electronic sounds doing their thing. I just found this very interesting from the first spin and I really like the music.

The opener is a great example of what I'm talking about and a top four. Experimental to start but so good when the music kicks in. "Lovefingers" has some almost mono-toned vocals and the drums have some authority here. "Dust" is different as we get more of a soundscape that is dark and almost haunting with spoken words. "Dancing Gods" has a determined sound including the vocals and the rhythm has that American Native sound. So good. Those are my top four tracks.

So while this album influenced a lot of bands and styles of music Pan Am Airlines filed a law suit against them after their second record "Contact" was released showing the two in the cockpit of a Pan Am jet on the cover. They decided to squish the bug that was SILVER APPLES and while it had a huge affect the band continued on over the years in various forms but always with Simeon Coxe and his The Simeon.

 The United States Of America by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.13 | 83 ratings

The United States Of America
The United States Of America Proto-Prog

Review by AFlowerKingCrimson

4 stars This is a review previously done by myself under a different username (but with some editing):

Not too far into the first track, "The American Metaphysical Circus," you begin to realize that this is going to be a very unique and strange album. However, it's also very well played and inspired and has it's own kind of charm even if it sounds like it was made on another planet. However, considering the anything goes mentality back in the last sixties when this was recorded (which often included lots of drugs), it probably wasn't all that out of place. This is one of those albums that probably gets labeled psychedelic (which it is) but there's something more going on musically which makes me consider it a forerunner to all things prog (ie proto prog). The diverse instrumentation includes drums (including very early drum machines), fretless bass, electronics (early primitive synthesizers), violin and female vocals (which give the whole affair a bit of an Airplane vibe at times).

The album is notable for being pretty rocking at times (especially on the second track "hard coming love") but without electric guitars (in fact I don't believe there is any guitar on here except for bass). One might be fooled into thinking there is guitar on the aforementioned "hard coming love" on first listen but it's actually an electric violin you hear. There is also a spacey (pre-Hawkwind) vibe going on on some of the tracks and two nice mellow tracks ("Cloud Song" and "Love Song for the Dead Che") that have a bit of a proto-new age vibe to them. The unique instrumentation and varied sounds make this a very eclectic album. Other standout tracks include "I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife for You, Sugar", "Where Is Yesterday" and the three part "The American Way of Love."

Given the year this came out (1968) I can say without any hesitation that this is one of those not too common albums from any time period which could be considered progressive in the literal sense. It's definitely an album which pushed the envelope further which ultimately led to prog (at least the kind that most associate with the term since it's pretty obvious upon listening to this that this is progressive music). This is an experimental album that combines elements of psychedelic and early prog (proto prog) and is a pretty wild ride.

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Proto-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ANDROMEDA United Kingdom
APPALOOSA United States
BAKERLOO United Kingdom
THE BEATLES United Kingdom
BRAINBOX Netherlands
COVEN United States
DEEP PURPLE United Kingdom
THE DOORS United States
EARTH OPERA 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
JIMI HENDRIX United States
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
THE SHIVER Switzerland
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

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