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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dada

Dada

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of an album released on ATCO records in 1970. I’m amazed I’ve never heard of this band before. I’m even more shocked that I don’t recognize a single member of the group. This was an incredibly talented bunch of musicians, and they created an exceptional release here. It’s a shame that has seemingly been forgotten over the years. Hopefully this edition will go a long way toward changing that. This is not necessarily prog rock. It is really proto prog, though. When you consider that music blends psychedelia, with blues rock, jazz and more, it really fits under prog. This is such an unusual and effective release. I hope it generates some serious attention.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Big Dipper

The way the main progression works through ups and downs and the vocals follow suit makes me think of things like Gentle Giant. There is a bit of Frank Zappa element here, too. The drop back to mellower jamming with soulful vocals later is classy and very decidedly prog stuff. This is part psychedelic rock, part proto-prog and all cool. Before the two and a half minute mark it shifts to a cool trippy jam with some Janis Joplin like vocals. Then it works to some weird noise based stuff. From there they launch out into a killer jam that’s part hard rock, part jazz and just plain tasty.

The Last Time
The weird psychedelically inspired sound on this cover of The Stones is so cool. This song has a lot of shifts and changes. Parts are trippy. Parts are high energy. There are soulful vocals, freaky ones and some that call to mind Joplin again.
This Is My Song
The mellow and intricate movement that starts this really makes me think of early King Crimson. After that section runs through, harpsichord takes over from there. When the arrangement fills out the multiple layers of vocals really make this song special. In fact, those vocals are the main element at play here. Further along the road jazz, space music and more emerge in the arrangement.
Seed of Peace
The vocals on this are very soulful and gospel related. Musically this has some of that bluesy church music vibe along with some psychedelia. Chunks of it are delivered without musical accompaniment, though.
Organ Interlude
This short piece is precisely what the title says it is. It’s very classical in nature.
Tonite Is

This is another short one. It’s kind of a bouncy little piece with proto prog, psychedelia and more in the mix.

She Walks Away
The blend of sounds here encompasses jazz, bluesy rock, psychedelia and proto prog. In some ways it makes me think of Jefferson Airplane (mostly some of the vocals). That said, the horns bring it into something more like Blood, Sweat and Tears.
Aspen, Colorado
Here is a song that has a lot of proto prog in the mix. Yet, it’s based on a real old school blues rock thing. The horns bring some jazz. It has plenty of psychedelia built into it, too. I love the saxophone solo. This has a complex and effective song structure and arrangement, really.
Eyes of the Warren
This is much more of a pure soulful jazz cut. That said, it still manages to work some psychedelia and proto-prog into the mix.
Jasamin
This starts with a full on intricate folk arrangement. That holds it for quite a while. Then layers of sound are added bringing it into trippy psychedelic territory at the end.
Dada
As the title track comes in there is a mysterious sound that makes me think of King Crimson. As it powers out to a rocking jam, the horns bring some jazz to the table. This is part musical theater, part jazz and all cool. The closing movement of this goes more into a killer jazz psychedelic conglomeration.
 
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