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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Johnny Almond Music Machine

Patent Pending

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of a classic album. I know this is generally considered jazz or fusion. The thing is, here at MSJ we generally put fusion under the prog heading anyway. This has some hints of things like early Jethro Tull and Hawkwind, too. That makes it a pretty obvious choice. This is a great album no matter the musical label, though. I like it a lot.

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
Ensingle

There is such a cool groove to this jam. Imagine combining Earth Wind and Fire with Booker T and the MGs and throwing in some early Jethro Tull. You’ll be in the right territory to enjoy this tune once you wrap your head around that sonic image.

Before Dawn
I really love this jam. There is a sultry kind of vibe to it. The horn adds so much. I can make out a bit of Henry Mancini at times here. It’s more pure jazz and less fusion than some of the other stuff here, but it’s every bit as cool. The organ solo later brings more of that Booker T. kind of thing to the table.
Voodoo Forest
The trippy, spacey opening movement here makes me think of early Hawkwind quite a bit. The cut grows out from there getting a bit more jazz added to the mix as it slowly builds up and outward It still manages to stay in the realm of space music, though. Percussion pounds like crazy, but it still has a rather sparse and almost non-musical texture to it. .
Solar Level
Now, this is the perfect blending of rock music, soul and jazz. It’s a fast paced, fun number that just plain grooves.
To R.K.
With a real bluesy kind of vibe to it, this definitely has a lot in common with early Jethro Tull. Sure, the flute gives that away, but honestly that same bluesy kind of jamming is even more a factor in that comparison. This is a classy piece that works towards some tasty strangeness at times.
Reversed for Two Horns
As you might guess from the title, this track has a lot of backwards tracked music. It also has some killer horn playing. It’s part jazz and part experimental freeform sound.
Pequeno Nova
This is a mellower sort of journey. It’s sort of jazzy traveling music. I suppose you could say that there is some 1960s rock in the mix here.
Tales of Junior
Very much a fast paced rock and roller with jazz and blues on the agenda, this is another great song. It’s an excellent way to end the set in style, too.
 
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