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Various Artists

A Tribute To Captain Beyond - Thousand Days of Yesterday

Review by Gary Hill

These kinds of tribute albums are always mixed bags, with some material coming across very strong and others not working very well. This one is no exception, but in many ways it is one of the most consistent you'll find. It's always got to be a tough call to perform on one of these. If you play it too close to the original, why bother covering the song. On the other hand, if you do too much to change it around it's certain that fans of the original might be offended and turn away. I think again that the artists present here find a nice balance. While not all the music on here is progressive rock, I'm including it in that category because several of the bands here are prog bands and there is quite a bit of the tunes that will qualify. There are a few notable contributors, including The Flower Kings, Qoph, Nik Turner (who guests on one track) and Willie Differn (who was the vocalist on the third Captain Beyond disc). Most of the material here is from their first album (which has previously been reviewed at MSJ), and the first part of the album is essentially a track by track reproduction of that album. The bonus tracks include one from each of the follow ups and two that are Swedish translations of cuts from the debut. This one should appeal to fans of Captain Beyond, but also go well beyond that group. Certainly fans of any of the bands represented here will want to pick this one up, as will most progressive rock fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air) - Pentagram
 The familiar percussion intro starts this one off, and the band play it pretty true to the original. I think that they put in a competent and effective rendition, even if they don't take many chances with it. The lead guitar runs on this sound killer. The transition between this song and the next, considering that it's two different artists, is pretty impressive.

Armworth - Rise And Shine
 This is played rawer and more metallic than the original. The vocals really are not up to par here - at least they don't do the song justice. At times the band play with the timing a bit too much. Still, at least they do a good job of making it their own. To me, it's the only real loser here, though.

Myopic Void - Standarte
  With a more psychedelic prog rock approach, this is played fairly faithfully, but the tone is changed up a bit. It's a solid interpretation that works rather well. The accents on the vocals take a little getting used to, though. This problem isn't present on the segment that reprises the themes from the opening number. They pump it up pretty well on the outro.

Mesmerization Eclipse - Lotus With Brian Robertson
 With a little bit of metallic flair added in on the intro and some cool wah lead guitar, these guys putting in a smoking take on this classic. The vocals have a bit more of a bottom end than the original, and it works well. The extended jam these guys work in is pretty awesome.
Raging River Of Fear - Flower Kings
If some of the bands played it too true to the original, such was not the case for the Flower Kings, who put in a completely reworked take on the piece. Granted, they had never really heard the band before, so hadn't developed the relationship with the original of many of the other bands. "Why were they included?" you ask? Well, apparently the band already assigned to do the cut backed out, and the Flower Kings were good enough to put in a version with very little notice - thereby helping to save the project. They get kudos for that, even if their version stunk - and it doesn't. This starts with a sedate little jam, then the Kings work it up gradually from there. This becomes a bouncy prog groove. It drops to just voice and percussion for the first vocals and keys are added in short order. They alternate this mode with a brief full on prog variant. I really like what they've done with the chorus, but the song is a huge adjustment when you are used to the original. They transform this into a balladic type take on the chorus with a very stripped down, but pretty arrangement. Then lead guitar fills take it upward from there as the band move back to the verse segment. This becomes a soaring prog rock excursion that moves through various changes and alterations on the themes. They move through several changes before it's over. While this really has little in common with the original, it's a cool spacey prog number and a prime example of what The Flower Kings are all about.

Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Intro) -The Quill
 Jumping straight in, this one feels that much heavier because of the un-metallic nature of The Flower Kings' cut. This one is back into the fairly faithful renditions. These guys put in a cool take on the number, pulling a great groove into it, though - and the vocals have their own flavor - and a good one at that.
Frozen Over - The Quill
 Moving straight into this rocker, while the last track was very true to the original, here The Quill chooses to put more of their own touches on it. They start it off much like the Captain Beyond version (with the notable exception of the vocals). As they carry it forward, though, they shift it up quite a bit. They turn in a smoking original jam (based on the CB themes) that truly smokes. These guys turn in a stoner metal take here that rocks out quite well while still maintaining the main emphasis of the original cut. They pull it back to the more faithful before the cut's jazzy jam, then they just explode out in all their fast paced glory into a real rocking groove. This one is one of the best on the disc.
Thousand Days Of Yesterdays - Five Fifteen With Nik Turner:
  Another outfit that's not afraid of messing with a classic, this take is at times raw, but then at other points very progressive rock oriented. It's easily recognizable as the Captain Beyond track (as opposed to the Flower Kings' contribution), but it's also a lot different than the original. This is another that takes a little getting used to, but it's certainly worth the effort. They turn the instrumental break into a Zeppelinesque jam, and then move it into a spacey sort of zone for Nik Turner to bring in a cool saxophone solo. This segment has little in common with the original, but has a great texture and also includes some odd vocal bits. When they come back into the song proper Turner remains at least in points. This one works quite well, and the final jam is incredibly cool with its jazzy textures.

I Can't Feel Nothing (Part 1) - Locomotive Breath
  These guys turn this into a groove rocking jam that is both very faithful, but still has a quite unique identity. In some ways it feels like what Cream might have sounded doing this song. There's also a definite early Sabbath sound here, but then again Sabbath were always very Cream-like at times.

As The Moon Speaks (To The Waves Of The Sea) - Zello
 An electro progressive type approach opens this, and as the cut carries forward the keys almost seem a bit Wakemanesque. This is another that's very progressive rock oriented.
Astral Lady - Zello
 This is frantic fast paced progressive rock that really works well. The addition of violin on here is quite cool. While there's no question what song this is, there is also no question that this is not Captain Beyond.
As The Moon Speaks (Return) - Zello
 As Captain Beyond did, Zello returns to the earlier themes, but this time pumped up with a lot more prog passion and fire. This is incredibly lush and powerful. They put in a major fast paced prog jam with lots of percussive elements to carry the song to its conclusion.
I Can't Feel Nothing (Part II) - Locomotive Breath
 Back to the stoner rock take on Captain Beyond, the lead guitar work here is incredible, as is the overall texture. These guys may miss some of the charm of the original, but they out do it in other ways.

Bonus Tracks
Starglow Energy - Orchid Leaves
 While this song originally appeared on CB's second disc, they include this version here as the first bonus cut. It is turned into a very haunting and pretty ballad like prog rock number here, while still maintaining enough of the original to be recognized. The female vocals on here are both beautiful and evocative. It shifts to acoustic guitar driven jamming later. This one is cool, but perhaps a little overlong.
Sweet Dreams - ZoomlenZ With Willie Daffern
For those who don't recognize the name, Willie Daffern was the vocalist on Captain Beyond's under appreciated third album. Here they do one of the songs from that disc. This spacey rocker has always been a favorite of mine. If anything this take is stronger than the original with some extra oomph added to the mix. The lead guitar solo here is exceptionally tasty and a bit more metallic than the original and this whole song is a real smoker.

Dansar Galet Bakat - Qoph
 This is a version of "Dancing Madly Backwards," but with all the lyrics translated into Swedish. It's performed by prog band Qoph. They come in in the midst of a funky groove on the track, but the bass purely thunders in the background. Obviously with the change up on the lyrics this wasn't destined to feel much like the original, and while there is no wondering what song this is, even with if the lyrics had been in English it would not have been mistaken for the CB version. They stomp in later with a fast paced jam that works quite well. While they are a prog band, they feel a lot more like a standard hard rock outfit on this number. A later portion feels more like early Sabbath or Candlemass, minus the crunch. They swing it back into the more recognizable riff later, for a go that ends it
Fortrollande Formorkelse - Abramis Brama:
This one is "Mesmerization Eclipse" with the lyrics translated to Swedish, and it's a bouncy, almost polka textured take on the track. It's fun and interesting. Then they shift into fast paced rocking to carry it forward and comes across almost Hendrix-like through here, but the vocals come across more like Jim Morrison. Then a killer guitar solo screams out of the gate. This just turns into such a strong jam that's one part The Doors, one part Captain Beyond and one part classic progressive rock. Then they drop it back to a quirky off-kilter movement that reminds me a lot of Starless and Bible Black era King Crimson. That segment eventually fades down to end both the track and the album.
 
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