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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Rick Ray Band

Can’t Lie Hard Enough

Review by Gary Hill

Although this disc isn’t necessarily a tight fit into progressive rock, it really kicks and virtually every song has some prog built into it. At times it’s like Jimi Hendrix. At other points King Crimson is the primary reference. Some of it’s closer to Rick Derringer. Whatever you call it, though, this is a diverse album that’s extremely strong.

Track by Track Review
Can't Lie Hard Enough

This powers in with a killer hard rock sound, ala the 1970s. There are hints of Rush in some ways, but it’s closer to something from Rick Derringer. It’s a great tune and a great way to start things off in style. The guitar solo section on this is particularly effective and tasty.

I'm A Vagrant
Coming in as a hard rocking tune, this has a real blues-rock sound at first. After a time, though, it works out to a smoking hot jam that’s got a lot of progressive rock and fusion within. This is a real powerhouse and Rush is again a bit of a reference at times.
Gotta Be
Here we get a cut that’s a bit closer to ZZ Top. There are still plenty of sounds similar to what we’ve heard to this point, but overall this is more like a ZZ Top style of boogie rock. There is a smoking hot, hard-edged jam later that’s very close to something from King Crimson. In fact, it makes me think of the jam in “21st Century Schizoid Man,” but there’s a bit of Black Sabbath thrown in, too.
I'm Nobody
The first half of this is a mellow ballad approach, with a bluesy edge. Then saxophone joins later and it feels a bit like something from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album. It returns later to the more mainstream rock approach for the return of the vocals.
View From A Train

Jazzy and quite tasty, this is one is very proggy. Elements of bands like Nektar can be heard, but in a more guitar based, hard rocking motif, essentially blended with Jimi Hendrix. The guitar soloing on this is very much like Hendrix, in his more slow and melodic styles.

All I Want Is Peace
Imagine Deep Purple (mostly in the vocals) combined with a hard rocking, prog sound. This is quite a unique and cool sound.
Dragon's Breath
Another cut that calls to mind Deep Purple a bit, this is a smoking hot hard rocker with some definite nods to progressive rock. A weird section of backwards tracked voices ends the number.
Propaganda (featuring Sam Giunta from Syzygy on Keyboards) –
Starting with just vocals, this powers out into one of the most purely progressive rock sounds of the set. It has sort of a soaring, almost space rock texture. The instrumental section later in the piece is stellar and wanders between fusion and Hawkwind-like space rock. There are even some hints of The Doors in this. Some of the keyboard work on this, as one might imagine, is amazing.
Spinning Round and Round
There’s quite a bit of jazz on this balladic piece that’s basically a classic rock tune. We get treated to some amazing acoustic guitar soloing later.
What He Deserves
A rather mellow number, this is still rocking. It seems to wander between a funky kind of jazz, progressive rock and classic rock. It turns out to scorching blues meets jazz sort of jam later. There’s a little acoustic guitar bit late in the piece that calls to mind Steve Howe.
Wonderful
Hard rocking music that’s like Frank Zappa blended with some serious jazz fusion and bluesy rock, parts of this are so heavily based in blues rock, while other sections are amongst the proggiest of the set.
Blasphemy
Building on a classic rock kind of sound there are prog rock elements built into some of the faster paced instrumental jams. This is another cool song, and although not far removed from the rest of the music here, it doesn’t feel too similar at all. There’s a killer jazzy jam later that calls to mind King Crimson’s Red album a bit. There’s a cool acoustic guitar based stomp later.
Judge and Jury
This is a smoking hot tune that wanders between Crimsonian stylings, fusion and more straight-ahead bluesy rock. It’s really a diverse set of sounds and a complicated arrangement, but this beast really works.
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