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The Prog Collective

Songs We Were Taught

Review by Gary Hill

The Prog Collective releases compelling progressive rock album after album. As you might gather from the name, it's a project that features many different musicians, many of whom change from album to album. This set is unusual in that it's made up of covers of a number songs. I have to say that a couple of these don't work all the well for me, but the rest more than make up for it.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
The Sound Of Silence - Feat. Jon Davison & Geoff Downes
I've always been a big fan of this song. Personally I've always heard a specific type of heavy metal ballad approach I'd like to hear for this song (no, not the way Disturbed did it). I always wanted to do that version myself. Maybe one day I will. Until then, though, we have this cool AOR prog arrangement of the piece. I think this is sort of what you'd expect of that kind of concept, but it does have a little more crunch than I would have thought it might. I really like the keyboard solo on this a lot.
Year Of The Cat - Feat. Billy Sherwood & David Sancious
There is a jazzy kind of prog meets space groove brought to this classic Al Stewart piece. I really like Billy Sherwood's vocals on this a lot. This is another song that holds a special place in my heart.
House Of The Rising Sun - Feat. David Clayton-Thomas & Steve Hillage
Here is another that's always been a favorite of mine. They bring a suitable bluesy element to this, bur really turn it more toward prog rock. I'd like to point out that the version we all know (The Animals) was actually cover. The song is much older, and considered a traditional piece that went through a lot of changes over the years. I love how they pull a more standard blues rocking guitar solo into this.
In The Land Of Grey And Pink - Feat. Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal
A sound originally performed by Caravan, I'm not as connected to this one as I am some of the others here. There is a really British feel to this song. The prog tendencies drive it in great ways, and there are some killer instrumental moments here.
Summer Breeze - Roine Stolt & Steve Morse
Hearing this done as a full prog rock exploration is pretty cool. While I've always appreciated this one, it's never been a favorite. This could go a long way to change that. There are some great textures and twists.
Fire And Rain - Feat. Sonja Kristina & Martin Barre
My stance with this song is similar to the last one. I have to say that this take on the piece doesn't really work for me. It has its moments, but something just feels "off" about it. If there's a tune to skip here, this is it. That said, I do like the keyboards on this quite a bit.
The Weight - Feat. Rod Argent & Jeff "Skunk" Baxter
Again, not a big fan of The Band, but the original of this song was pretty cool. They bring a proggy angle to this. I'd say that other than the last one, this is the other that doesn't really do it for me. that makes this part of the album the low-point of this disc, but your mileage may vary.
Wild World - Feat. Rosalie Cunningham & Patrick Moraz
Once again a song with which I have familiarity, but not a particular amount of love, I really enjoy this version of the tune. It brings plenty of prog and style to the tune. The vocals and keyboards both work so well on this.
It's Too Late - Feat. Candice Night & Dweezil Zappa
The original version of this is a bit closer to my heart than some of the rest here. This gets plenty of cool prog added to the mix, but it also manages to capture the magic of the original very well, too. The first guitar solo section on this, with its almost fusion edge, is on fire. The second one is great, as well, but in a more mainstream way.
The Times They Are A-Changin' - Feat. Martin Turner & Jerry Goodman
You can't go too wrong with this Bob Dylan classic. They put in an inventive and potent rendition here. It gets some proggy angles, but also has some faithful concepts.

 

 
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