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Latest news: I am finished with the second edition of The Strawberry Bricks Guide To Progressive Rock! The new edition features more additions to the timeline, interviews with musicians from all over the globe, and is edited, proofread and fact-checked! The new edition will be available beginning April 22, 2017. Thank you to everyone involved!

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The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock

Revised and Expanded edition, coming April 22, 2017!

Third > Soft Machine, The

Artist: Soft Machine
Label: Columbia
Catalog#: G 30339
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-06
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Soft Machine's Third album represents a significant shift from previous efforts. Their stream of consciousness songwriting had now given way to straight-out instrumental fusion. The album presents four compositions, each spanning one album side, further confusing whether the Softs were really ever a rock band. And so intense within the group was this change that the only vocal track - Wyatt's superb "Moon in June" - was recorded (for the most part) without participation from any other member!

Quatermass > Quatermass

Artist: Quatermass
Label: Harvest
Catalog#: SKAO-314
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-05
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Quatermass drew their name from Professor Bernard Quatermass, a character from the original science-fiction program on the BBC. Bassist John Gustafson and organist Peter Robinson first joined up with drummer Mick Underwood in Episode Six. That line-up however proved to be extremely short-lived as the trio went off to form Quatermass in July 1969. They signed to EMI’s Harvest label and their debut was recorded at A.I.R. Studios. Not that far from Atomic Rooster or Deep Purple, the band’s music is hard-driving organ rock that never forgets its R&B roots - just check out “Good Lord Knows”.

In The Wake Of Poseidon > King Crimson

Artist: King Crimson
Label: Atlantic
Catalog#: SD 8266
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-05
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
True to form, King Crimson imploded after their US tour in late 1969. Ian McDonald and Michael Giles had too much too soon and would depart to record an eponymous record. Similarly, Greg Lake had met up with Keith Emerson while on the tour, and agreed to form a band upon their return to the UK. Thus, Robert Fripp and Pete Sinfield were left with the reigns of the band, and faced with the task of recording the follow- up (though both Lake and Giles did make contributions to the album, with the latter's brother Peter adding bass). With all the upheaval, little new material was written.

Benefit > Jethro Tull

Artist: Jethro Tull
Label: Reprise Records
Catalog#: RS 6400
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-04
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Jethro Tull scored another two Top 10 singles in the UK with "Sweet Dreams" b/w "17" and "Witches Promise" b/w "Teacher" prior to the release of this, their third album. The flip side of the latter would later become an FM staple in the US. The success prompted their first headlining tour of America (with Yes in support). On Benefit, their bluesy jazz took some substantial refinement into what would eventually become the Tull sound. In came Blackpool mate John Evan on piano and organ, but more importantly, out came Anderson the raconteur.

Atomic Rooster > Atomic Rooster

Artist: Atomic Rooster
Label: B & C Records
Catalog#: CAS 1010
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-02
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Organist Vincent Crane and drummer Carl Palmer were first paired together in Arthur Brown's Crazy World. They split off during a US tour in 1969, returning to England to form Atomic Rooster. According to legend, it was during a psychedelic experience that Crane first envisioned the "rooster", and after which his subsequent psychiatric problems began to surface. Crane was a huge fan of James Brown, while Palmer was into Buddy Rich; that they both brought those influences to Atomic Rooster gave the band its unique character.

The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other > Van Der Graaf Generator

Artist: Van Der Graaf Generator
Label: Probe/ABC
Catalog#: CPLP 4515
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-02
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
After their debut album's release, careful manipulation from Tony Stratton-Smith released Peter Hammill from his contract with Mercury Records, allowing Van Der Graaf Generator into the Charisma stable. The band reformed permanently (enough): Guy Evans brought bassist Nic Potter from their interim gig in The Misunderstood, but with the arrival of sax player David Jackson, previously with Chris Judge Smith in Heebalob, all the pieces were in place. Thus, VDGG began in earnest with their second album.

Concerto For Group And Orchestra > Deep Purple

Artist: Deep Purple , Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Catalog#: WS 1860
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-01
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
In 1968, Deep Purple scored some success in America with a cover of Joe South's "Hush", but their three albums for comedian Bill Cosby's Tetragrammaton label were patchy at best. Although the musicianship was high - Jon Lord's classically inspired organ breaks and Ritchie Blackmore's fast guitar runs - they had one awful vocalist in Rod Evans. Rocking-out Colosseum style, the instrumental "Hard Road (Wring That Neck)" from Book of Taliesyn was probably the best nugget from that period.

Those Who Are About To Die Salute You > Colosseum

Artist: Colosseum
Label: Dunhill
Catalog#: DS-50062
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1969-03
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
The core of Colosseum first appeared together (according to rock cartographer Pete Frame) as Bluesbreakers #89, on John Mayall’s Bare Wires album. After Mayall broke up that short-lived line-up, drummer Jon Hiseman reunited with bassist Tony Reeves, organist Dave Greenslade and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, and guitarist/singer James Litherland was recruited after an extensive search. Reconstituted as Colosseum, Hiseman had assembled one of London’s first and finest jazz-rock hybrids. Their loud and powerful debut is an absolute stunner.

Family Entertainment > Family

Artist: Family
Label: Reprise Records
Catalog#: RS 6340
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1969-03
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
After ending 1968 with the rockin’ single “Second Generation Woman” (again without chart success), Family enlisted IBC producer Glyn Johns for their next album, Entertainment. Best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Johns striped back the production, bringing the rhythm section and Charlie Whitney’s guitar work to the fore. The record is still primarily an acoustic affair, but with a substantially greater rock-n-roll feel.

Volume Two > Soft Machine, The

Artist: Soft Machine
Label: Probe
Catalog#: CPLP 4505-S
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1969-04
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Following their second 1968 US tour supporting Jimi Hendrix Experience Soft Machine effectively broke up. Robert Wyatt stayed in the US (where he would record his first solo album), while Mike Ratledge and Kevin Ayers returned to London; the latter sold his bass and departed for Ibiza, from where he would eventually launch a moderately successful solo career. But a recording commitment to Probe Records prompted new sessions for the band, this time at London's Olympic Studios. Wyatt and Ratledge invited roadie Hugh Hopper to join up.