Nominate Alison Reijman and Susie Bogdanowicz–PROG

Jerry Ewing’s PROG magazine has put a call out for nominations for this year’s READERS’ POLL.  Here’s the handy-dandy link: PROG READERS’ POLL 2017.

Make sure you follow the directions for the email: “To vote, copy the categories below and e-mail us with the subject line ‘Readers’ Poll 2017’ to prog@futurenet.com.”

I have proudly sent in my nominations, but I would like to encourage you to consider two specific folks for nomination.

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Unsung Heroes.  Alison and Martin Reijman.

First, please consider nominating our own (well, she’s her own!) Alison Reijman as the “Unsung Hero.”  I have known Alison–only through the internet and correspondence; sadly, never in person–for years now, and I can state that I know of no other person not directly employed by a record label, a PR firm, or a magazine dealing with PROG who has promoted the genre more than Alison has.  She not only loves the music and the musicians, but she, herself, is a lovely, lovely person.  She exemplifies, at least to my mind, all that is best in our strange but delightful little corner of the cultural world.  She’s brilliant, free-spirited, spontaneous, tenacious, and exceedingly generous and kind.

Continue reading “Nominate Alison Reijman and Susie Bogdanowicz–PROG”

Worlds Have Collided: Galahad at age 30

Galahad is a band that knows where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going.  I love this.  But, then, I love Galahad.  And, so should you.

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Progged to 11.

For the latest release, When Worlds Collide, Galahad has re-recorded a number of its older tracks and meshed them with the more recent ones in a wonderful and engaging two-volume set.  In existence now for thirty-one years and with most of its original members still members (amazing; can you imagine saying the same thing about, say, Yes?), Galahad is neither shy nor cocky, just happily content.  They never wanted to be rock stars, puppets of some record label, or the playthings of some marketing firm.

They just want to be Galahad.  And they do it with such grace.  That grace finds its way into their lyrics, their music, and their very presentation.  If you forced me to make a comparison of the band, I would suggest imagining Peter Gabriel and Tony Levin playing with Ultravox and then progging it up to 11.

Here are the tracks and the dates (original and re-recorded):

CD1

  1. Lady Messiah (1985/2015)
  2. The Chase (1988/2015)
  3. City of Freedom (1986/2015)
  4. Chamber of Horrors (1990/2015)
  5. Dreaming From the Inside (1985/2015)
  6. Room 801 (1990/2015)
  7. Ocean Blue (1996/2015)
  8. Don’t Lose Control (1990/2015)
  9. Exorcising Demons (1992/2015)
  10. Karma For One (1997/2015)

CD2

  1. Empires Never Last (2006/2014)
  2. Sleepers (1992/2012)
  3. Richelieu’s Prayer (1990/2012)
  4. Painted Lady (1985/2014)
  5. Bug Eye (1997/2014)
  6. Singularity (2012)
  7. Guardian Angel (2012)
  8. Seize the Day (Single mix) (2012)
  9. This Life Could Be My Last (2006/2014)

As is obvious from the above track list and the accompanying dates of original recording and the re-recording, the band has been re-creating its sound for years now.  All to the good.  Even the older tracks—regarded as “neo-prog” by the press at their release feel much more dynamic and more “Galahadian.”  Just as a test, I played several of these tracks—all from different releases—in succession to get a feel for just how different When Worlds Collide.  The audio quality is simply amazing.  It always has been, but with all of its confidence and just pride in being in existence for over three decades, Nicholson and Co. give us everything they have with When Worlds Collide.

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No, I won’t be coy.  I think the world of Stu, and this is one of my most-prized possessions.

Sadly, I didn’t encounter the music of Galahad until Lady Alison introduced the band to me in 2012.  Since then, I’ve been hooked.  I own the CDs, I own the authorized band biography, and I consider the lead singer, Stu, a friend and ally.

Whether you’ve loved the band for thirty-one years or if you’re reading about them for the very first time right here, right now, do yourself a huge favor: purchase When Worlds Collide.  It’s a delight for the ear, the mind, and the soul.

Big Big Train Concert Programme Cover Revealed

So proud to have two progarchists as a part of this.  Lady Alison and yours truly–BB

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Program by Professor Geoff Parks.

From Professor Geoff Parks: At last I can reveal a closely kept secret. A while back I volunteered to put together a programme for the band’s upcoming Kings Place concerts. To my delight that offer was accepted and early in June I sent my efforts on to Greg et al. for approval.

The programme is 24 A4 pages in full colour. It includes profiles of the members of BBT and their support staff, equipment lists and a number of articles that should be of interest to passengers, including a couple of specially commissioned pieces by Alison Henderson and Bradley Joseph Francis Birzer of this parish.

The programme will cost a very reasonable £5.

The section containing the band profiles has been cunningly designed to include convenient spaces for the collection of autographs.

You can see the front cover below.

DPRP–Yes

closeIf you have any free time today, check out the excellent symposium re: the re-release of a number of Yes albums over at the Dutch Progressive Rock Page.  DPRP is always great, but this is spectacular, even for their very high standards.

Andy Tillison, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, and David Elliott’s guest reviews are especially good.  Not surprisingly.

And, our own lovely progarchist, Lady Alison, also contributes rather lovingly.  Lovely, lovingly.  Lots of love.

http://www.dprp.net/reviews/201379.php

Alison Henderson, Uber Cool Human

the-ageless-generation-campaign-linda-barker-and-playtex-120613-de-lgOur own beloved Alison Henderson (well, we can’t lay claim to her, but we do love the fact that she likes us), first Lady of Prog, has been named a member of the “Ageless Generation.”

http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/news/are-you-fabulous-at-50-linda-barker-is-looking-for-you?click=main_sr

Wonderful, Alison.  We’re extremely proud of you!

So it Begins. . . Big Big Train, English Electric Vol. 2

[And so it begins. . . the reviews of the latest release from Big Big Train, English Electric Vol. 2.  You can pre-order now, as the official release date is March 4, 2013.  BBT is already shipping.  Our Progarchists will be reviewing the new release intensively and extensively between today and March 4, 2013.  Indeed, let us declare the four days of BBT an official holiday of leisure, truth, and beauty in our little Republic of Progarchy–Brad, ed.]

***

ee2“English Electric Pt 2 – Pictures at an Exhibition”

by Alison Henderson

I like to think that listening to English Electric Pt 2 is like visiting a rather exclusive sonic picture exhibition.  You walk into the gallery and you are instantly surrounded by seven exquisite works of art, each with its own character, telling a different story, but somehow all inextricably linked. As the album begins to play, you are drawn to each of them individually, especially the detail and care that has been taken into bringing them to life and you are filled with admiration for their creators, and with awe for the effect they have on you.

East Coast Racer is a tour de force of the collection, big and certainly epic enough to cover a whole wall because of the detail and precision that has gone into its making.  At its centre, you see this legendary steam locomotive the Mallard taking shape through Danny Manners’ intricate piano lines that start and end the piece, introducing us to its sleek lines and curves, before it bursts out of the canvas at breakneck speed, David Longdon’s voice soulfully expressing the pride and passion felt by the men who crafted and engineered this beautiful mechanical masterpiece. Ever changing, ever evolving, this work shifts up and down the gears several times, the attention to detail paid through the painstaking instrumentation, adding texture to the Turneresque picture evolving in the music.

Continue reading “So it Begins. . . Big Big Train, English Electric Vol. 2”

Curtain Comes Down on Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night SB 2 (2)by Alison Henderson

Saturday saw the end of the final act in the life and times of English prog band Twelfth Night after 33 dramatic years of recording and touring.

This took the form of a concert performed in front of friends, fans and family at, very aptly, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s theatre at the Barbican in London.

Twelfth Night first appeared on the scene around about the time the label neo-prog was invented to describe other emergent bands such as IQ, Pallas and of course, Marillion as well as themselves.

However, early claims to fame included appearances on the very first David Essex Showcase on television in 1982 and later on the Old Grey Whistle Test. But they carved their own special niche through the song writing combination of lead singer Geoff Mann and multi-instrumentalist Clive Mitten which yielded a trove of distinctive songs, many of which were revisited on Saturday.

The history of the band is thoroughly documented in Play On (The Authorised Biography of Twelfth Night) by Andrew Wild and charts a band career that has been scarred by death (of Mann from cancer in 1993), marred by poor record sales and finally, it reached an untenable situation where two different factions were going out on the road playing the music.

So the decision was made to make Danfest in Leicester last month, the final public appearance by one of the factions, the Cryptic Clues who also played the Peel in Kingston, London; the Summer’s End and Proguphoria festivals to much acclaim from critics and fans. Continue reading “Curtain Comes Down on Twelfth Night”