Back in the 90s, Neal Morse was one of the most talented people to emerge on the prog rock scene. With elements of Gentle Giant and Yes mixed with the Morse Brothers’ distinctive own style, Spock’s Beard gave prog a real kick up the arse with their first three albums. Their third album ‘The Kindness of Strangers’, especially, marked the band as one of the new breed of greats since it blended some great proggy ideas with the pop charms of Jellyfish and Crowded House to create a record that mixed excess with a truckload of melody. It was a disc they would never better. In the early 2000s, Neal found religion and left the band for a solo career. His albums from then on featured some reasonable music but divided fans due to some very heavy handed and preachy lyrical concerns.
Having gained mass popularity from their 1967 debut single ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, Procol Harum’s career started with such force, it seemed they’d have nowhere to go but down. In the late 60s and early 70s, of course, bands weren’t always expected to follow their success – or even achieve success – instantly and that kind of open minded thinking really worked to Procol’s advantage. Across a series of varied but enjoyable albums released between 1967-1970, Gary Brooker, Robin Trower and company were given plenty of room to experiment. With the quirky pop of ‘She Wandered Through The Garden Fence’ (1967), they showed they could hold their own in the psychedelic world; with huge suites (‘In Held ‘Twas In I’, 1969) and an assortment of themed tracks on ‘Home’ (1970) they more than entertained the hardened prog fans; occasional Vaudevillian tendencies showed they also had a sense of fun and with various classically infused tracks they showed themselves as a cut above most musicians of the era. Prog, rock, pomp and even straight blues – for Procol Harum, nothing seemed off limits and yet their early works all still had a genuine coherency that some of their peers lacked.
Following last year’s exhaustive box set of UK recordings, John Wetton fans will soon have another reason to celebrate. Before the end of 2019, the Wetton estate will release a deluxe box set of various solo materials, accompanied by a hard-backed book.
Although the final tracklistings and some of the small details are currently under wraps, it is believed that a couple of the albums will be expanded to two disc sets and various rarities will join the much loved albums.
More details can be found in the below press release.
Over the past decade, prog band Big Big Train have gone from strength to strength. Following the release of their ‘Underfall Yard’ album in 2009 the band’s popularity has continued to soar.
In many ways, their ‘English Electric’ pair of albums seemed hard to top – especially when reissued as a deluxe two CD set, resequenced with extra tracks – but the more pastoral ‘Grimspound’ and ‘Second Brightest Star’ have continued a wondrous musical ascent.
Here at Real Gone, we’ve been big fans of Marillion for longer than we’d care to remember. Unlike some fans, though, we accept that not everything the band has recorded resembles pure gold. Last year, we shared our “ten best” with you – an article that generated a lot of discussion. In the interest of balance and in the wake of the 2019 UK fan weekend, here are ten Marillion songs we think should have been consigned to the dustbin of history…