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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jaimie Vernon

Time Enough At Last

Review by Gary Hill

All right, I know right off the bat this disc really isn’t progressive rock. A few songs here are, though. And when you add in the fact that Vernon has been involved with Klaatu (who I consider prog) it’s a stretch, but I’ll take it. Actually, that part is a bit of liberty taking, too – Vernon played with the band during their reunion at the Klaatu Konvention, but he (as the head of Bullseye records) has been responsible for bringing their material out on CD and doing a lot to get them out in the public eye again. So, for these reasons I include this CD in the progressive rock category. Oh, there’s one other reason, too – this is the kind of music that most prog fans will like anyway – particularly the old-school ones. It’s good retro rock that isn’t too metallic, but would have been played on the radio back in the hey-day of Album Oriented Rock. While not every song is a champion, a lot of them are. I like this disc a lot and I’m sure it will find its way to my CD player for a long time. Besides, I have to like anything that’s named after one of my favorite episodes of the “Twilight Zone.” For more info check out Vernon's Myspace profile.

Track by Track Review
REAL TIME
Follow You (Clock of the Long Now Pt 1)
With an acoustic guitar basis this is a very pretty ballad that will without question appeal to progressive rock fans. Other instruments are included in this mix, but the guitar melody is really what drives it. The vocals remind me of something from the ‘70’s but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Time Enough At Last
Acoustic guitar also starts this, but it has a more energized arrangement – a pretty straightforward retro rocker.
Cast Iron Pillow
The rhythm section leads this one off and it has a more hard-edged characteristic to it, perhaps a bit reminiscent of Max Webster. This is another solid song on a strong disc.
Lost Emotion Blue
A mellow jazz like structure, kind of like something Pat Metheny might produce starts this off. As it moves out into the song proper, though the texture is more like the folk based rock of the 1970’s. Still, this shows off jazz tendencies throughout and has a lot more progressive rock tendencies than some of the other music on show here. It turns more energized with a bit of an ‘80’s sound, perhaps a bit like Asia, later. I also hear shades of Pink Floyd on this number at times. This is another good one.
Pillars Of Time
This one reminds me a lot of Steve Howe’s pre-Yes band Tomorrow or even early Who a bit. It’s got a great retro sound and is a lot of fun.
A Kiss
Bluesy tones make up the early parts of this, but as it moves onward it takes on more rock sounds, reminding me a bit of The Traveling Wilburys. There are definite Beatles leanings to this song and it’s one of the highlights of the disc.
You've Done It This Time
With a bass guitar introduction, this one is another retro rocker that is a lot of fun. I hear Max Webster on this one, too.
Turn!
This one is harder edged, feeling a bit like a power ballad from Thirty Eight Special, but with more British vocals.
Hold On (To Your Karma)
Coming in more tentatively, a bit like the more psychedelic output of the Beatles, this one becomes a mellow pop rock track that shares some musical territory with Klaatu – at least the more pop rock oriented of their music. The chorus on this is quite catchy and this is one of my favorite tracks on the disc.
Heart Attack
Here we get a hard-edged grind that’s just a lot of fun. This isn’t metal by any means, but it rocks out harder than anything to this point. It’s got some tasty soloing both on guitar and keys.
Give Me Your Hand (featuring Danielle Benson-Vernon)
This is a pretty, mostly ballad-like rocker.
Rest In Peace
An Elton John like piano line opens this up, but as the female vocals come in, along with more instrumentation it feels a bit like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. The vocals on the verse add to that reference. The singalong segment moves away from the Floyd like sounds and pulls it more into a rocking gospel category. Then it moves out into a satisfying guitar solo. This is another of my favorites on the set.
Follow You (Clock of the Long Now Pt 2)
Another song that most would put into the progressive rock category pretty easily, this one continues the themes of the opener (in case the title didn’t tell you that).
OVERTIME
Time
This cover of the Alan Parsons cut is a pretty one. I’d have to say that this track works as well here as it did in the original version. I’ve always liked this one a lot.
Unguarded Moment
A Beatles like jangly guitar sound leads this off. The cut has a retro texture through a lot of it, but overall is a solid hard rocker with an intriguing arrangement. There are a few progressive rock like moments here.
Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime
Here we have another highlight of the CD. The pretty and sedate retro ballad approach that leads this off is purely brilliant, and I’d have to say that this is another cut that calls to mind Klaatu a bit. This one is extremely evocative and beautiful. The guitar lines that run over the top at points bring in more of the comparisons to Pink Floyd. We also get some more Beatles like sections on this one. This one is also another that most people would agree fits into the progressive rock category.
AFTER HOURS
Time Enough At Last (Demo Track)
As the title suggests, this is a demo version of the cut that ran earlier. The thing is, even in demo form it sounds pretty darn complete and well produced. That’s impressive in itself.
Cast Iron Pillow (Demo Track)
Another demo version, this one is much less finished than the last one. In fact, it’s quite rough around the edges and feels a bit like a punk rock Hawkwind – with just bass and vocals.
Hang On (Demo Track)
Here comes the next demo rendition. This one is sort in between the other two in terms of quality. Acoustic guitar and vocals really give me the feeling of The Beatles in a lot of ways.
Turn! (Demo Track)
Another in the series of demos, this one pounds out with a garage band sound. It’s actually pretty cool this way – sounds like some bands I’ve been in..
Give Me Your Hand (Demo)
The penultimate demo song on the disc (and in fact, the penultimate song period) this one is just acoustic guitar and vocals for a while. The other instrumentation joins as it carries forward and this is quite complete. It would have been OK like this, mind you with a little better production.
Follow You (Demo)
The last demo closes the CD. This one is probably the weakest, mainly due to the harsh production. The guitar blares and the vocals are too stark with this type of recording. Of course, that’s why it’s a demo and one can consider this a little bonus
 
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