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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tea and Symphony

Jo Sago

Review by Gary Hill

I recently reviewed another album from these guys. This, like that one, is a reissue of an old album. These guys have a lot of psychedelic rock built into their sound. Still, there is plenty of proto-prog here, too. Given that there really wasn’t a lot of real prog as we know it at the time, that makes this as prog as prog was for the time period. Whatever you call this, though, this is an intriguing and quite effective release. It still holds up quite well all those years later, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Miniature

Intricate guitar and symphonic elements all serve to create the music. As it drops down after a time, there is a spoken bit that takes control.

Nyada
Some street sounds open this. Then a horn fanfare is heard. We get more spoken recitation. It continues like that, but shifts towards psychedelia before the sounds a car speeding off are heard. Then the street things continue.
Journey
This comes in with progressive rock, hard jamming, jazz and more combined. This is a great tune. It’s the first with singing. It’s almost like a cross between T-Rex and King Crimson. There is a break with a bit of Jamaican styled spoken dialog. Hippie music with an old-time flair is the concept after that. We’re brought back out into more rocking territory related to the opening sections of the piece. Then it works to some rag time from there. Another spoken section ends it.
Brother
This harder rocking jam is very much a psychedelic rock stomper with progressive rock in the mix. As it works out to more prog oriented stuff, we get some spoken dialog. There are spoken lyrics, too.
Africa Paprika
Folky music, this is both psychedelic and world based. There is definitely a musical theater kind of element here. Yet, it also works toward proggy stuff.
Fairground Suite
There is no music in the first minute plus of this. Instead, it’s spoken. From there some music comes across as the backdrop for vocals that are more screamed than sung. It drops to some strange organ playing for a poetry reading that takes the piece to its end.
Desperate Oil
Acoustic guitar brings this into being. As it builds out there is a bit of a David Bowie psychedelia vibe. When the vocals join, that element is almost more pronounced. There is definitely more of that T-Rex element at play on some of this, too. It’s an odd piece that keeps shifting and changing. We’re taken out into an awesome jazz jam for a time.
Umbilical Bill
The music is dark and a bit Pink Floyd like. The vocals are more in the theatrical vein. It has some spoken theatrical stuff making up the second half of the piece.
Goodnight
Weird music starts this before it works out to a ragtime meets folk music kind of thing.
Try Your Luck
Weird psychedelic prog is the concept on hand here. This is theatrical, odd, but also cool.
Yourself

This is one of the most easily accessible tracks on the disc. It’s high energy and dynamic. The range of sounds runs from jazz to folk, prog, psychedelia and more. It’s one of my favorites here.

Green Fingered – Redhanded
This is completely spoken and rather theatrical.
Seasons Turn to One
Folk music, classical, prog, psychedelia and more merge on this number. It’s complex and a bit strange.
View to the Sky
Very freeform in a lot of ways, this is like psychedelia meets Rock in Opposition. The second half of the song has a lot of classic rock and folk music built into it. That movement is particularly evocative and powerful.
The Norihorticulruralist
This reminds me of the kind of old time music Queen always did. It’s folky, a but strange, but also fun. There is a rocking section mid-track, though, that takes up quite a bit of the running time.
Dangling
This is just a short little acoustic guitar excursion.
 
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