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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Unicorn

Too Many Crooks

Review by Gary Hill

I started off with this set to go in the non-prog category. Sure, it was produced by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. He does play on one track. But that track is as far from prog as anything on the set. Even his contribution is much more country music oriented than progressive rock. Although we normally put all material from a prog musician under prog – whether it fits or not – he really only played on that one piece. Well, the more I listened and heard progressive rock in probably close to half the album, the more I was convinced the disc belonged in that section. This is a reissue – a remastered rendition -  of an old album by Unicorn. The group runs the gamut from southern rock and country tinged mellow rock – like Poco – to music more in keeping with Pink Floyd and other prog rock acts. The thing is, it’s all very strong – no matter the particular leaning of a given song.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Weekend

This is a cool mellow rocker and a great way to start things in style. The sound is purely classic.

Ferry Boat
I’d really have to consider this one an acoustic prog piece. It’s pretty and quite tasty and has some definite prog sounds. I can hear a lot of Pink Floyd here. But, there’s also Alan Parsons along with the Beatles and the same sounds as we heard on the opening piece. This is a great tune and a step up from that first one. It gets pretty involved further down the road.
He's Got Pride
This is the first track that’s countrified. It reminds me quite a bit of some of Neil Young’s more down home acoustic music. 
Keep On Going
This is a rocker. It reminds me a lot of T-Rex. It’s a tasty number. Later in the track we get some killer instrumental interplay, pulling it rather into jam band type of territory. 
Too Many Crooks
David Gilmour provides some pedal steel guitar on this cut. It starts quite mellow and rather countrified, but this one grows quite a bit. The changes and alterations are organic, but significant. This is one of the highlights of the set and despite the presence of Gilmour it isn’t all that Pink Floyd-like. It’s definitely got a classic rock texture, though – and Gilmour actually adds some of the most definite country aspects to it through that soloing. This one would almost qualify as progressive rock, too. 
Bullseye Bill
Here we get another highlight. This is an energized rocker that seems to combine America, Neil Young and Pink Floyd. It’s another I’d consider progressive rock and it also manages to do some serious changing and rearranging throughout its course. It gets quite intense at times. I like this one a lot. 
Disco Dancer
A fairly gentle piece, this is quite Beatles-like. It’s catchy and entertaining. 
Easy
Another that’s quite prog-oriented, this is still gentle and quite pretty. There’s a definite folk rock element to the number. The sound is deceptively simplistic because there’s actually a lot going on here. It’s quite intricate and involved. 
No Way Out Of Here
This rocker should seem very familiar to fans of David Gilmour. He recorded a version of it on his self-titled solo album. The song was one of the highlights of that disc and the version here is also a highlight of this set. It’s another that fits this into the progressive rock realm. This isn’t as dark and bleak in texture as Gilmour’s version, but it’s every bit as powerful. 
In The Mood
A bouncy little number, this reminds me a lot of Little Feat, but I can also hear Neil Young in the mix. They throw in some bluesy jamming later that’s even a little Zeppelin-like. All in all this one of the cooler cuts to be found here.
Nothing I Wouldn't Do
I can hear a lot of Neil Young in the mix on this one. It’s got a lot of that southern tinged classic rock in it.
 
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