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Various Artists

The Show That Never Ends

Review by Gary Hill

This album is a compilation of various progressive rock performances that were presented on the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show. All of the outings are quite good, and the selection of artists is also. Both of these factors make for a strong album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Emerson, Lake and Palmer-Hoe Down
Hoe Down is a strong and creative performance of a fun ELP prog rock extravaganza. This was recorded on March 7, 1974, and is included on the ELP King Biscuit CD reviewed in the progressive rock archives on this site.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer-Karn Evil 9 (Excerpt)
From the same concert as Hoe Down, this is a shortened version of this performance. The excerpt presented here is the first 8 1/2 minutes, through the "See the show" crescendo. The full version of the track is also available on the ELP King Biscuit CD.

Dixie Dregs-Cruise Control
Jazzy with strong rock leanings and a very quirky timing, this instrumental features fine work by all the performers, and covers territory ranging from jazz to prog to straight-forward rock and roll. This cut is a riff-laden solo showcase.

Dixie Dregs-Ice Cakes
A major funk texture pervades some of this piece, while other textures include classic rock and Kansas. This instrumental is another fine jam.

Renaissance-Midas Man
From October 14, 1977, this is a very good rendition of a Renaissance classic. Although the production is just a bit flat, the performance seems quite a bit lusher than the studio rendition. This cut is essentially a ballad format with prog arrangements.

Renaissance-Carpet of the Sun
The main structure of this song is a `60`s pop/rock theme. The arrangement, however, is solid prog. This was recorded October 14, 1977 also.

Gentle Giant-Proclamation
Soulful keys mark the beginning of this cut along with a jumping vocal arrangement. The rest of the band enters the track and adds more texture and depth to the same song structure. After a time, the entire piece transforms into a continually evolving prog song structure. The effect is Genesis at their most outrageous mixed with Frank Zappa and King Crimson. This performance is from January 18, 1975.

Gentle Giant-Experience
From the same show as Proclamation, a regal and medieval introduction starts this number. The Genesis/Zappa/Crimson influences come to bear here as the main song structure appears. This becomes a fast moving prog endeavor full of multiple twists and turns. The composition drops down to a duel between bass and guitar before jumping back into a strong and fast prog segment.

Rick Wakeman-Anne Boleyn
This piece, from a November 2, 1975 performance, is very evocative and powerful. This instrumental moves between piano dominated sections to synth oriented, to horn sections, all the while maintaining its central theme. This rendition varies from the studio cut by the addition of the horns.

Rick Wakeman-Catherine Parr
Taken from the same show as Anne Boleyn, in addition to subtle changes in the arrangement, the addition of horns also separates this performance from the original. This is a solid rendition of this Wakeman solo number. At times, the composition is a fast-paced neo-classical/prog rock track. Portions of the piece are atmospheric and much of the song is quite powerful, and Catherine Parr contains plenty of keyboard wizardry.

Greg Lake-21st Century Schizoid Man
From a November 5, 1981 concert, this is Lake`s interpretation of the Crimson classic on which he originally performed. A short building up intro is added here, and the guitar tone takes on more metallic tones than the Crimson version. Here Lake foregoes the vocal processing for a clean vocal sound. Beyond these changes (and some alterations to the instrumental break), this is a faithful rendition of a psychotic prog classic.

Greg Lake-In The Court of the Crimson King
Metallic tones show up on this song, which is shortened quite a bit in comparison to the original King Crimson recording. The number is also from the 1981 concert.

 
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