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Latest news: I am currently writing a second edition of the Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, due in the second half of 2016. The new edition will feature more additions to the timeline, interviews with musicians from all over the globe, and a good editing before publication. Thank you to everyone involved!

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Joy Of A Toy > Ayers, Kevin

Artist: Kevin Ayers
Label: Harvest
Catalog#: SKAO 421
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1969
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
After his split from Soft Machine, manager Peter Jenner and a contract from Harvest coaxed Kevin Ayers away from Majorca. Back in the UK he quickly assembled his old Softs cohorts at Abbey Road to record his debut solo album, Joy of a Toy. New to the fold is David Bedford, a classical composer by trade, offering his arrangement skills and doubling on keyboards. The album jumps off with the classic (if dated) psychedelia of "Joy of A Toy Continued". Bedford's arrangement augments "Town Feeling", but it's really all Ayers.

Song Of The Marching Children > Earth and Fire

Artist: Earth And Fire
Label: Polydor
Catalog#: 2925 003
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1971-10
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Offering its own take on progressive rock during the 1970s, The Netherlands spawned groups ranging from the well-know of Focus and Kayak, to the lesser-known Supersister and Alquin. One of the most successful, Earth & Fire combined the talents of the brothers Koerts, Chris on guitar and Gerard on keyboards, and Hans Ziech on bass. After adding female vocalist Jerney Kaagman, the band fell under the wing of Golden Earring. Their initial success was as a singles band; from early 1970 through the mid-‘70s, they consistently littered the Dutch hit parade with their English-language singles.

Concerto Grosso Per I New Trolls > New Trolls

Artist: New Trolls
Label: Fonit Cetra
Catalog#: LPX 8
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1971-8
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Hailing from Genoa, the New Trolls were one of the first original Italian rock bands (the other was the Anglo-Italian invention, The Trip). Story has it the band was “created” by a music critic choosing an ideal lineup: Guitarist Vittorio Di Scalzi, vocalist (and guitarist) Nico Di Paolo, drummer Gianni Belleno, keyboardist Mauro Chiarugi and bassist Giorgio D’Adamo were also fortunate enough to land a supporting spot on the Rolling Stones 1967 tour of Italy.

Dance Of The Lemmings > Amon Düül II

Artist: Amon Düül II
Label: United Artists Records
Catalog#: UAS-9954
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1971-06
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Amon Düül II’s second release, the double-album Yeti, appeared in November 1970. The improvisations here were more structured, hinting towards the direction the band would pursue. The hard rocking “Archangels Thunderbird”, also released as a single, points to the future. The cover featured an iconic collage of a grim reaper, in fact a tribute to Wolfgang Krischke, their soundman that died of hypothermia during an LSD trip. Another single was released, “Rattlesnakeplumcake” b/w ‘Between The Round”, again featuring the heavier aspects of the band’s music.

As Your Mind Flies By > Rare Bird

Artist: Rare Bird
Label: ABC Records
Catalog#: ABCS-716
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-11
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Rare Bird was part of the original Charisma Records stable of Tony Stratton-Smith. Formed in 1969, the original lineup was built around two keyboardists, Graham Field and Dave Kaffinetti, who added Steve Gould on bass and vocals, and Mark Ashton on drums. Their first self-titled album was released in late 1969 and featured classically-inspired organ rock, best demonstrated in the track “God Of War”. But “Sympathy”, released as a single, rose to No. 27 in the UK charts and sold a reputed million copies world-wide.

Barclay James Harvest > Barclay James Harvest

Artist: Barclay James Harvest
Label: Sire
Catalog#: SES 97026
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Originally from Oldham, Lancashire, guitarist John Lees, keyboardist Stuart “Wooly” Wolstenholme, bassist Les Holroyd and drummer Melvin Pritchard first turned professional together in 1967, drawing the names Barclay, James, and Harvest out of a hat. They released a pair of singles to some acclaim (notably John Peel), before being signed to EMI’s new Harvest label. Their debut album was produced by EMI’s Norman Smith, but its rich orchestration from “resident musical director” Robert Godfrey is certainly more characteristic.

Saw Delight > Can

Artist: Can
Label: Virgin
Catalog#: V 2079
Format: Vinyl
Country: United Kingdom
Released: 1977
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
In 1976, after a couple of albums as a quartet, Can scored a hit single in the UK with the bizarre disco of “I Want More” (it reached No. 26). Released in 1976, Flow Motion pointed the band in a new direction, reaching a pinnacle on 1977’s Saw Delight. New to the fold were two ex-Traffic members, percussionist Reebop Kwaku-Baah and bassist Roscoe Gee. The groovy riff of “Don’t Say No” leads off - it’s “You do Right” seven years later.

Monster Movie > Can

Artist: Can
Label: United Artists Records
Catalog#: UAS 29094
Format: Vinyl
Country: United Kingdom
Released: 1969-08
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
One look at the background of the members of Can (Stockhausen, WDR etc.), and the last thing you’d think is that they were a rock band. Similarly, listening to the music of Can, you’d also have to stretch the concept of rock-n-roll to fit them in. Krautrock was Germany’s answer to the psychedelic and progressive music of the late ‘60s, and certainly a unique idiom in and of itself. But even Can’s post-psychedelic groove had much more to do with the avant-garde, even by krautrock’s standards.

Hot Rats > Zappa, Frank

Artist: Frank Zappa
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1969-10
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Somewhere early in the continuum of rock-n-roll is the genius of Frank Zappa. Raised in the high desert outside of Los Angeles, legend has it that a young Frank was granted a long-distance phone call for his fifteenth birthday: the recipient was composer Edgard Varese... Zappa’s first release was in late 1966. Credited to The Mothers of Invention, Freak Out!

Emergency! > Tony Williams Lifetime, The

Artist: Tony Williams Lifetime
Label: Polydor
Catalog#: 23-3001
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1969-05
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Just 17 years old when he joined Miles Davis’ quintet in 1962, drummer Anthony Williams spent his teen years playing in the clubs of Boston. By the end of the decade though, Williams was off in a completely different direction. New York City was a fertile ground at the time, and the seeds of fusion were being sown. Williams (among many others) jammed with Jimi Hendrix, and there’s little doubt of the guitarist’s influence on what would follow.