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Various Artists

Got Prog? - Sampler 1

Review by Greg Olma

Sampler compilations are always sketchy endeavors. I for one would not want to compile one myself. My tastes are far too wide and I would be thinking of what I like and not what I thought fits best. The other negative is that you could wind up getting a lot of the same thing. So, imagine my fear in listening to a sampler of prog music. Most songs are so long, I couldn’t imagine how you could fits more than 5 songs on one CD unless you made K-Tel versions of them. Luckily, I have not heard any of the artists on this sampler. I have heard of a few of them but never heard any of their music. Aside from one radio edit and a few live tracks, all the songs are full versions. While I did not like every track on offer here, it was a great introduction for artists like Erik Norlander and Orphan Project. This is a cheap way of getting some insight to what some of these lesser known bands are all about. If you’re like me, and you don’t follow these lesser know prog bands, this is the perfect way to get introduced to some great music without having to fork out $15 for a CD you don’t like. You can get the CD here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Sherpas On Parade - Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic
Don’t let this first track scare you into thinking this is a jazz sampler. There are some Middle Eastern elements thrown in but this instrumental is a lot more jazz than prog.

Ransom (I’ll Take My Chances) - Anubis Spire
Now this is more like it. Even though it has a catchy chorus, it is still very prog sounding due to the Peter Gabriel-like vocals. There is also some really good guitar work but it is too far back in the mix.

The World Fades To Gray (Radio Edit) - Scott Mosher
This is progressive but it has a good commercial accessibility about it. The chorus is catchy and the guitar solo at the end of this cut fits the song without trying to make it a prog workout.

Shadow Glass - Onoffon
The flute gives this track a Jethro Tull feel. It is also a jazz type instrumental that keeps returning to the original idea. Even though it has a number of different parts, it gets boring and it is too long.

Brittany (Live) - Echolyn
This is the first “real” prog tune that prog purists would add to their lists. Even though it is live, you don’t really hear any crowd noise until the end. Drums start off this cut that has a number of different sections. The chorus sounds a lot like early Genesis and the guitar solo has a good retro feel to it. If you like old progressive rock, then this track is for you.

Mariner (Live) - Erik Norlander
Kelly Keeling of MSG fame makes an appearance adding his vocals to this track. The keyboards are the only thing prog about this tune. It is a good song and based on this track, I would recommend checking Erik Norlander out but it’s not really prog (in my opinion). Then again, I don’t think everything Marillion has put out progressive.
Leaving My Seat At The Table - Orphan Project
The piano gives way to the heaviest piece on this CD. Sections of the song sound like Hogarth-era Marillion . There is violin solo (that’s what it sounds like) that sounds like “Budapest” by Jethro Tull. This is the best track on the CD and it will make you want research the band more.

Hanging Tree - Djam Karet
This is a keyboard heavy instrumental that is only saved by the emotional guitar solo. Even with a good guitar solo, I can’t recommend this one.

Over The Waters - Dave Bainbridge
Of the instrumentals on this sampler, this is the best one. It has that epic Yes sound and is also very guitar driven. There are no lyrics but there are some Jon Andersonish vocalizations thrown in. Even though this track is kind of long, there are a number of sections that keep it interesting.

Gwen’s Madrigal - Pentwater
The keyboards on this cut give it that old prog sound in the ELP or Yes vein. The vocals are very Yes-like in the phrasing and could have been an early Yes tune. The only problem is the middle of the song where it gets weird with sound effects. Otherwise, this is a decent prog track.

The Test Of Time - Jeremy
Even though parts of this cut sound like Pink Floyd and Yes, it goes nowhere. It’s a shame because with those two bands as the backbone of the sound, it should sound good.

Before You Go (Live) - Lana Lane
If you like Rainbow, then I recommend you check out Lana Lane. She does possess a great voice and on this particular track, she is able to wrap her vocal around a good chorus. I don’t know if I would consider this a prog piece but it is a good song nonetheless.

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