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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gary Windo

Steam Radio Tapes

Review by Gary Hill

This new release features a lot of old recordings that had been lost over the years. These are notable not only because of the great music (landing between jazz, prog and psychedelia) but also because of the musicians. In addition to Gary Windo, featured musicians include:Peter van Hooke, Robert Wyatt, Harry Beckett, Bill MacCormick, Steve Hillage and Hugh Hopper. If there’s a complaint to be made, it’s the sound quality. While this is quite listenable, it does tend to be a little muddy at times, leaving me wishing for a little more separation and clarity.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ginkie

This is just a short jazz introductory piece.

Come into My Garden
Coming in with jazzy sounds, this evolves into some definite jazz prog. Some of the guitar playing on this makes me think a bit of Steve Howe. The vocals are quite psychedelic and trippy. I love the piano driven section here. There is a short drum solo built into this. The fast paced section later has a little bit of a disco vibe to it. It’s also quite a cool movement. The resolves out into a killer prog outro.
Night Train
Drums start things here and then they bring it into a killer jam that’s part jazz and part Booker T. and the MGs. The retro organ sound is a nice touch and the soloing saxophone really works. This instrumental is just plain fun.
Stand Fast
Proggy and jazzy, this instrumental is pretty cool. It starts with one section that runs through and evolves organically. Then the whole thing gets turned around to a different movement that has an almost ominous sound to it at times. That section also has a more prominent percussion element. There is almost a marching band vibe to it. Then they power it out into a funky jam from there. That segment fades down to take the piece out.
Sweetest Angel
Rock meets jazz nicely on this mid-paced number. There are even some hints of things like southern rock here. When it drops to the verse section some bluesy guitar carries it. This only the second piece here with vocals. It works out to a fuller arrangement and then we get a false ending. Drums bring it back in and they turn it into a killer jazz groove from there. That movement gets faded down for the outro.
Letting Go
Overall this is a rock tune, but there is a lot of jazz in the mix. It’s quite a proggy thing, but it doesn’t really sound like anyone else. It’s got a very 1970s sound to it. They take it through a couple changes and it’s an effective piece of music.
Is This the Time?
This one makes me think of the type of sound you might get if you merged Traffic with King Crimson and Spyro Gyra. There is a real groove to it. The vocal arrangement almost makes me think of the kind of harmonies Jefferson Airplane did. There is really a bit of a psychedelic element at play here. There is some awesome jamming built into this and it has hints of funk.
Missy
I really like this jam a lot. It’s quite a jazzy number, but there is also some disco in the rhythm section. This instrumental has some great soloing and a killer groove. One of the most classic rock oriented guitar solos of the whole set is found in the midst of this piece.
Red River Valley
Based on an old time rock and roll song structure, this jazzy number is fun. It does a good job of landing between rock and jazz sounds. They drop it mid-track for an unaccompanied horn solo, though. That solo takes this short instrumental (and the album) to its end.
 
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