Tracklist: Artist – Song Title (Year – Album)
1. Ray Manzarek – He Can’t Come Today (1974 – The Golden Scarab: A Rhythm Myth)
2. Synergy – Relay Breakdown (1975 – Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra)
3. FM – One O’Clock Tomorrow (1977 – Black Noise)
4. Capability Brown – Circumstances (In Love, Past Present Future Meet) – excerpt (1973 – Voice)
5. Cathedral – Gong (1978 – Stained Glass Stories)
6. Happy The Man (1977 – Happy The Man)
7. Starcastle – Forces (1976 – Starcastle)
8. Harmonium – Vert (1975 – Si On Avait Besoin d'une Cinquième Saison)
9. Todd Rundgren’s Utopia – The Ikon – excerpt (1974 – Todd Rundgren’s Utopia)
10. Yezda Urfa – Boris and His 3 Verses, including Flow Guides Aren’t My Bag - excerpt (1975 – Boris)
11. Happy The Man – Service With A Smile (1978 – Crafty Hands)
12. Seventh Wave – Festival Suite (Festival-Ever So Lightly-Communication Skyways-Things To Come-1999-Dance of the Eloi) – excerpt (1974 – Things To Come)
I kick things off with Ray Manzarek (former keyboards-composer, The Doors). Now, Ray is certainly not someone you think of as progressive rock, but in 1974, after the demise of the Morrison-less Doors, for his first solo album, Ray went all out and released a fantastic concept album, which builds upon the blues-rock basis of the music of The Doors by exploring all kinds of riffs, rhythms, and musical styles from all over the world, as well as being steeped in various mystical and philosophical musings. Titled The Golden Scarab: A Rhythm Myth, presented here is the opening track, ‘He Can’t Come Today’, a breezy, percussion-laden existential ditty featuring what is undoubtedly the ‘World’s Greatest Cowbell Solo’ from percussionist Steve Forman (starting at ~2:35). Absolutely stunning.
Cathedral, from Long Island, NY, was another short-lived prog band (1975-1978) that never quite made it. Their one album, Stained Glass Stories (1978) was recorded and released by a small independent NY label and they were not able to go any further than that. But the album itself demonstrated their legit Prog props and chops, and slowly gained acclaim among the few who actually heard it. Eventually, renewed interest lead to a re-release by US progressive label Syn-Phonic in 1990, which eventually lead to a reunion in 2003. Presented here is ‘Gong’, a nice representation of the strength of the album.
Next, second entry from Happy The Man, 'Service with A Smile', the cool instrumental opening track from Crafty Hands (1978).
So, there you have it. Hope this is of interest and many will enjoy it, as well as find some new (old) music and progressive bands worth checking out. Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you have some favorite lesser-known progressive-type bands that you’d like to share.
For more information on these and just about any other progressive rock-related band or album, The Prog Archives (www.progarchives.com) is a great resource, containing much info, reviews, ratings, etc. on all things Prog.