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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Badger

One Live Badger

Review by Gary Hill

Cherry Red Records is reissuing this album with a nice booklet and multi-layer digi-pack. When Tony Kaye left Yes he became the keyboardist in this group. They released this debut album (Yes, a live album as a debut) to showcase their sound. Interestingly enough, the gig at which it was recorded was one of two at London’s Rainbow when they were opening for Yes. Some of that band’s Yessongs album was recorded the same night. Honestly, if it weren’t for Kaye’s involvement in Yes, this would probably not land under progressive rock. It’s more psychedelia meets jam band, but there is some prog here. It should be noted that the recording quality of the show is good, but not studio quality.

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
Wheel of Fortune

Imagine combining early Yes with Santana and some R&B. You’ll have a good idea of what this song sounds like. It has some smoking hot jamming with both the guitar and the organ really weaving some classic melodies.

Fountain
The mix of sounds here is perhaps the same. Still, there is a bit more of a jam band kind of thing going on here. It definitely feels like psychedelia in a lot of ways. I dig the jam session mid-track. It’s one of the best musical passages of the disc. I also love the synthesizer solo section around the five minute mark.
Wind of Change
This is one of the most easily accessible things here. It makes me think of the band H.P. Lovecraft to a large degree. It has some great song construction and the jamming is top-notch.
River
In some ways, this doesn’t seem to work as well as some of the rest. That said, the psychedelia meets jam band kind of vibe does gel at times. There is a bit of a Doors element here at times.
The Preacher
Now, this one is really classy. There is a bit of a soulful element here. The song just really rocks. It has a lot of style and charm.
On the Way Home
This might be my favorite tune here. I love the vocal arrangement. The whole song is just very cool. It’s got a dramatic psychedelic rock sound to it. The instrumental sections take it closer to prog (and particularly early Yes) than anything else here.
 
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