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Flutes. There, I said it. Before the more metal-minded of you out there run for cover, keep listening.......nothing exemplifies and defines that authentic progressive rock sound we all love more than a well-placed touch of virtuoso flute. Let me reassure you, all the tracks in this exhilarating volume also pass the TDATS seal of approval for heaviness, groove or fuzz. There has been a recent resurgence of interest in the prog-rock instruments of old with bands such as Blood Ceremony and Circulus bringing flutes back to the front of the stage.
Flute is not usually a priority for me in my searches, which is why I really appreciate it on the occasions that I come across some I like. The welcome addition of flute adds an extra element to all of the inclusions here, for instance, the Dug Dug's 'Smog' has heavy riffing that is followed closely by the flute and it adds strikingly to the over-all feel of the song. I have tried in the main to choose tracks where the instrument is an important part of the music, if not the driving force, rather than just a casual embellishment. The one exception to this is probably Fashion Pink, where the flute could be seen as a bit of an after-thought, but it still adds nicely to the ambience and trouser-flapping groove. Rufus Zuphal are notable for how they gave the flute a monstrous sound by feeding it through various effects. For this volume I must make special thanks to the helpful crowd at the TDATS fb group and flute rock afficianado Julia Miodyńska, creator of weekly prog rock radio show Epoka Żelaza in Poland. The artwork is taken from the wonderful works of Leah Jay (linkedin) and you can see more at leahjayart.com.
Our opener 'Friday: 3 P.M' is a short segue track taken from The California Earthquake's 'Reformation' which was a fairly ambitious Christian progressive concept album (don't let that put you off too much!). Good use of brass and wood-wind conjures up the feeling of a 70's action movie with a cool soundtrack and overall it has a wide scope of sounds with some rocking moments like 'Let There Be Light'. A very interesting curio indeed. Apparently this was a studio-only project made by an ensemble that included established session musicians like Jim Gordon (drums - played with Duane Allman, Jack Bruce & John Lee Hooker), John Guerin (drums - played with Frank Zappa & The Byrds) and soul singer Roy Smith (vocals).
Tako was a Serbian band that made a couple of albums before disbanding in 1981. The track here is from their self-titled 1978 album. It's a short instrumental with a stately intro which soon toughens up to the Ian Anderson-style of vocalised flute aggression, nice.
We have yet another German group now, Aachen's Rufus Zuphall. They are often likened to Jethro Tull and their breakthrough came in 1970 in front of a 30.000 crowd at the Jazz Festival in Bilzen, Belgium. Actually planned as a sideshow, they then played as the only amateur band to share the main stage with such stars as Black Sabbath, Cat Stevens or May Blitz and were celebrated by the press as 'surprise of the festival'.
Gravy Train were from Lancashire, UK They made four albums over their obscure career, which started out on the famed Vertigo label . Unfortunately their output was patchy and they never really capitalised on their strengths, but these were considerable when they got the sound right and on their best tracks they sounded like Tull with the extra heaviness of Sabbath. The track here "Can Anybody Hear Me?" shows this.
Quintessence were a band heavily influenced by the Beatles-approved psychedelic interest in Indian mysticism and raga music. As you probably know this is not the style of music that TDATS would normally delve into but on this single version of Notting Hill Gate they turned up the fuzz guitar a little and it's a cool track.
here. The track I used here 'Gypsies In The Forest' has relentless pace, lead by aggressive flute riffing which easily gives Tull a run for their money.
The comp ends on a rousing Canadian track from Ontario's The Hunt, who have connection to the bands Offenbach (see Vol58) and Toronto's Dillinger. They don't score many points on originality, following closely in the flight-path of a certain lead balloon, but they do it very well and expand upon Zep's repertoire with expressive flute.
01. The California Earthquake - Friday 3 P.M. (1971)
from album 'reformation'
02. Tomorrow's Gift - Tenakel Gnag (1970)
from album 'tomorrow's gift'
03. Fashion Pink - I'm a Man (1971)
from retrospective 'encore'
04. Tako - Minijatura (1978)
from album 'tako'
05. Los Dug Dug's - Smog [english version] (1972)
from album 'smog'
06. Janko Nilović - Drug Song (1975)
from album 'soul impressions'
07. Rufus Zuphall - Prickel Pit (1971)
from album 'phallobst'
08. Plum Nelly - The Demon (1971)
from album 'deceptive lines'
09. Gravy Train - Can Anybody Hear Me (1971)
from album '(a ballad of) a peaceful man'
10. Goliath - Maajun (A Taste Of Tangier) (1970)
from album 'goliath'
11. Progresiv TM - Rusinea Soarelui (1973)
from album 'dreptul de a visa'
12. Quintessence - Notting Hill Gate [single version] (1969)
13. Heat Exchange - Reminiscence (1972)
14. Shag - Gypsies In The Forest (1969)
from retrospective 'shag 1969'
15. Jade Warrior - A Prenormal Day at Brighton (1971)
from album 'jade warrior'
16. The Hunt - I Was Only Dreaming (1977)
from album 'the hunt'
Thanks for listening! Rich.