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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Chris Thompson

Toys & Dishes

Review by Gary Hill

Chris Thompson is probably best known for his time as the singer in Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. He’s got a great voice. This album is composed of some strong tunes, too. I almost put this one under prog. Is everything here progressive rock? No. Some of it is, though. That paired with Thompson’s stint with that Manfred Mann almost got this one landed under progressive rock. Whatever you call it, though, this is great music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Million Dollar Wonder Hit

This wastes no time jumping into it. The opening flourish is very prog rock oriented. It drops down to a mellower movement that’s more mainstream for the verse, though. As it continues those two elements seem to merge. It’s a great piece of music.

Millie Christine
A hard rocking number, this is proggy, energetic and very cool.
Eddie Wants to Rock
More of a straight ahead rock and roller, this is fun. It’s not very proggy, though. I love the saxophone solo section here.
Dark Side Interlude
We’re back into the prog with this one. It has a keyboard motif with some scorching guitar over the top. It’s pretty and powerful. It’s instrumental and a fairly short piece.
Dark Side
This piece really feels a lot like something Thompson would have done with Manfred Mann as far as I’m concerned. It’s a great arena rocker with prog built into it. It’s also one of the highlights of the disc. It’s catchy, evocative and powerful.   
Hey You!
There’s not a lot of prog in this. It’s more of a straightahead classic rock tune.
Dream Away Little Girl
A balladic love song, this is a powerfully evocative one. It might be a little trite, but it’s so good that it doesn’t matter.
You're the One I Love
With a minor advisory on the lyrics, this is a very bouncy, fun rocker. It’s got a lot of folk music and just down home charm built into it. It isn’t prog, but it is very entertaining.
Sad Song Wishes (One Moment)
There’s sort of a 1970s classic rock vibe to this piece. It’s not the proggiest thing ever, but there are some prog elements. It’s got a bit of soul and some jazz in the mix.
Talk to Me
More of a straightahead rocker, this is great stuff. There are some prog bits here, but overall this is more of a classic rock tune.
We Run
Here we get a much proggier tune. It’s got a real AOR sound, too, though. It’s a real powerhouse and one of my favorites here.
Woe Is Me
A stripped back bluesy sound opens this. It has a soulful vibe and is very much like a Robert Johnson styled tune.
 
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