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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Terry Draper

Stranded

Review by Gary Hill

Terry Draper is probably best known as part of Klaatu. Listening to this disc, one has to really notice how much of Draper’s musical style was built into that group. I mean, there are songs here that really feel like they would have been at home on a Klaatu album. While not everything here is progressive rock, enough of it falls into the category for me to include it under prog at Music Street Journal. Draper’s working on a new album and I look forward to hearing that one. The disc features several guests including another Klaatu guy in the person of John Woloschuk.

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
Stranded

Mellow atmospherics open this in a very space rock like mode. Then a keyboard melody jumps in and the vocals come over the top. The piece is still fairly tentative here. After the first set of vocals it gets a more filled out treatment. It grows out to a great pop rock motif later. It calls to mind Klaatu, but also The Beatles and ELO. It does drop back as it returns to the verse. This continues to evolve and overall is a very proggy number that lands in the pop end of the prog spectrum. It’s a great tune and a great way to start things off in style.

Away
Based in a more electronic arrangement, this has a lot of that same pop prog vibe, but with some almost lounge jazz in the mix. This might not reach the same heights as the opener, or be as dynamic, but it’s just as effective. The more energized sections later again make me think of Klaatu quite a bit.
(If I Could) Change the World
This comes in quite Beatles-like. It’s a piano based ballad early and it grows out from there. Proggy pop rock is the order of business here.
The Pirates of Port Royal
Appropriately, a sea shanty opens this. This is a theatrical piece with sung dialog done by characters.  It’s a playful cut.
Call the People
Spacey, echoey and very cool, this is a much more pure prog piece. It’s got a lot of the ELO and Klaatu sounds in it.
Thanks Giving
Featuring vocals by Helena Kameka, this is sort of like a folk prog piece. It gets some jazzy elements added to it at times, too.
Turkish Delight
Middle Eastern (in keeping with the title) sound opens this piece. It grows out from there in a great dramatic and rather psychedelic sound. Still, the world music is present throughout, too. There’s a theatrical bridge to this.
I Just Got the Blues
Jazz and the blues merge on this rocking tune. It’s quite retro in texture and arrangement.
Be Here Now
The opening of this is dramatic and powerful. Then it works out to a mellower section and a spoken voice comes across. That spoken section delivers pieces of Buddhist wisdom for the first and second verses. The chorus is sung and after the second chorus, singing takes over the recurring bridge. The spoken words return for the verses This has a psychedelic pop meets prog sound. At times this makes me think of The Moody Blues a bit. The closing instrumental section really brings the prog out front.
Go On
Coming in with a bit of lounge sound, the vocals bring some rock over the top of that backdrop. This works out as a ballad. The arrangement fills out later the overall effect is that of a progressive rock power ballad. It’s another cut that really feels like trademark Klaatu.
Abigail
Bouncy vaudeville styled music is heard on this number. Later it gets some jazz added to the mix. Then it works out to dreamy pop sounds. All of the elements tie together as variants on the same theme, though.
Old Man Willow
Kameka returns to sing this number, a proggy cut that works very well.
The Young Girl
This is more of a rocker with a real 1970s prog sound to it. The vocal hooks, though, feel more like something from 1960s pop rock. The combination works really well. I really like the saxophone on this. At times this thing makes me think of Supertramp quite a bit.
I Was There
This is a powerful and dramatic piece. It’s got plenty of progressive rock in the mix.
Highway of Heroes
Kameka returns for the final cut. It’s a real progressive rock powerhouse with a lot of drama built into it. There is a bit of a Celtic edge to this number.
 
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