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Reviews for the Third Edition

Reviews for the third edition of The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive rock (will be updated).

"500 excellent essays that merge album reviews with band histories, and then mash that into an over-arching chronological framework to not only trace the genre’s “rise” and “fall,” but also the vast parameters that it was capable of embracing." - Dave Thompson, Goldmine Magazine

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 Kevin Ayers's split from Soft Machine, manager Peter Jenner and a contract from Harvest coaxed him away from Majorca. Back in England, he quickly assembled his old Softs cohorts at EMI Studios to record his debut solo album, Joy Of A Toy. New to the fold was 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: 
In the 1970s, the Netherlands spawned groups ranging from the better-known Golden Earring, Focus and Kayak to the lesser-known Supersister and Alquin. On the latter end of the spectrum, Earth and Fire combined the talents of the brothers Koerts-Chris on guitar and Gerard on keyboards-with Hans Ziech on bass and female vocalist Jerney Kaagman. Their initial success was as a singles band; from the early-to-mid 70s, they consistently littered the Dutch record charts with their English-language hits.

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 Italian rock bands. Story has it the band was “created” by a music critic choosing an ideal lineup: guitarist Vittorio De Scalzi, vocalist (and guitarist) Nico Di Palo, drummer Gianni Belleno, keyboardist Mauro Chiarugi and bassist Giorgio D’Adamo were all fortunate enough to land a supporting spot on The Rolling Stones’ 1967 tour of Italy. After several successful singles (and two albums compiling them), the band collaborated with Argentinean composer Luis Enríquez Bacalov for Concerto Grosso per i New Trolls.

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 there were more structured, but encompassed most of the album. Released as a single, the appreciably hard-rocking “Archangels Thunderbird” b/w “(Excerpts from) Soap Shop Rock” was a stormer, pointing to the future. The cover features an iconic collage of a grim reaper, in fact a tribute to Wolfgang Krischke, their soundman that died of hypothermia during an LSD trip.

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 were part of Tony Stratton-Smith's Charisma Records stable of artists. Formed in 1969, the original lineup was built around two keyboardists, Graham Field (born Stansfield) and Dave Kaffinetti, who added Steve Gould on bass and vocals and Mark Ashton on drums. Their self-titled first album was released in late 1969 and featured classically-inspired organ rock, best demonstrated with the track "God of War." Yet it was the "Sympathy" b/w "Devils High Concern" that rose to No. 27 on the UK charts and sold a million copies worldwide.

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. Often described as "the poor man's Moody Blues," BJH did draw some similarities to their namesake, particularly that 60s vibe to their music.

Saw Delight > Can

Artist: Can
Label: Virgin
Catalog#: V 2079
Format: Vinyl
Country: United Kingdom
Released: 1977
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
After the departure of Damo Suzuki in 1973, Can reverted to a four-piece, which was first heard on the excellent Soon Over Babaluma. In 1976, Can scored a hit single in the UK with the bizarre disco of "I Want More" b/w "...And More" (it reached No. 26). Released in 1976, Flow Motion pointed the band in a new direction, which reached a pinnacle on 1977's Saw Delight. New to the fold were two ex-Traffic members, percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah and bassist Rosko Gee.

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 backgrounds of the members of Can (jazz pedigrees, students of Karlheinz Stockhausen, WDR Studio etc.) and the last thing you'd think is that they were a rock band. Similarly, listening to their music, you'd also probably 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 1960s, and certainly a unique idiom in and of itself. But 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: 
Raised in the high desert outside of Los Angeles, legend has it that a young Frank Zappa (b. 1940) was granted a long-distance phone call for his fifteenth birthday: the recipient was 20th century composer and musical pioneer Edgard Varèse (actually his wife). Zappa's first release was in late 1966. Credited to The Mothers of Invention, Freak Out! was a sprawling double-album with little precedent; it shunned the burgeoning hippie vibe of the West Coast for something far stranger: a mélange of music styles, ranging from highbrow classicism to down-in-the-gutter rock ‘n' roll.

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's quintet in 1962, drummer Anthony "Tony" Williams had spent his earliest years playing in the clubs of Boston. His debut as a band leader was the 1964 release Life Time for the Blue Note label. By the end of the decade though, Williams was headed in a completely different direction. New York City was fertile ground at the time and seeds of jazz 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.