The Best Prog Bands You’ve Never Heard Of (Part Two)

Sacred Baboon The second obscure band I’d like to talk about has a name to match their quirkiness: Yezda Urfa. With a name like that, you know these guys have to be unique.  The name has a rather simple origin, however: flipping through a dictionary, the band came across the names of two small villages, Yazd, Iran and Urfa, Turkey.  Yazd was changed to Yezda in order to aid in pronunciation. The band itself was made up of five members: Rick Rodenbaugh (vocals), Mark Tippins (guitars), Marc Miller (bass), Phil Kimbrough (keyboards and flute) and Brad Christoff (drums and percussion). The Chicago area band released two albums, one in 1975 and one in 1989. The first album, Boris, can be found in its entirety in Youtube. The second album, Sacred Baboon, contains some songs from Boris as well as some original material (which are also available for your listening pleasure on Youtube). It is the sound of the band that I would like to talk about briefly in this post. If you decide to take a listen, let me tell you that you will essentially hear the American version of Gentle Giant. There are quite a few similarities.  Like Gentle Giant, the members of Yezda Urfa played their respective instruments with the utmost skill and precision. Sudden tempo changes, diverse and complex time signatures, and a variety of instruments are featured on both Boris and Sacred Baboon.  Rick Rodenbaugh’s vocals are not the strongest aspect of Yezda Urfa, which I believe also applies to Derek Shulman and Gentle Giant.  The musical talent of the band cannot be understated, however. Give them a listen, and I think you will enjoy their quirky sound. The names of the songs alone should grab your attention: Give ’em Some Rawhide Chewies, To-Ta in the Moya, Three Tons of Fresh Thyroid Glands, etc.  Their bizarre, idiosyncratic style will not appeal to everyone, but overall Yezda Urfa is one of the most creative bands I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Give them a shot. Who knows, you may end up wanting some rawhide chewies.

Here’s Boris

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