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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Milkwood Tapestry

Milkwood Tapestry (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

I want to make this clear right out of the gate, this album from 1969 is not a progressive rock disc. It is however, very much proto-prog, and there are moments that are prog. The group had a real dichotomy to their sound. At times they were folk-like, while at other points they are full hard rocking psychedelia. Yet, through much of it there is an experimental nature that seems to reach toward greater things. That's the very spirit of progressive rock, and this type of sound was very much tied to the roots of prog.

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Track by Track Review
Side 1
Beyond The Twelve Mile Zone

Rising up from ambience, this powers out into a cool rocking jam. This has a great psychedelic rock structure. This literally screams out into a short instrumental movement later before working to something akin to the most psychedelic side of The Yardbirds.

Wonderous Fairy Tale
A stark contrast to the previous piece, this has a real lullaby kind of vibe to it. It's very pretty and has some definite balladic prog things at play.
The Window Sill's Song
This also comes in mellow. It feels more like a folk tune.
Signs Of Invisible Chalk
I love the cool psychedelic rocking sound of this killer tune. It really has a great groove to it.
Sunday Raindrops
Here we get another folk song. This is more pure folk and stripped back.
Journey-less Ride
Starting mellow and rather folk rock like, this works out to some driving psychedelia from there  The cut has some interesting twists and turns that presage prog rock.
Side 2
Seas Of Marshmellow Bees

Now this one really gets proggy in a playful folk meets psychedelia arrangement.

Look At The Children
Intricate acoustic guitar starts this cut. The track works out to more of a folk rocker. This does get some proggy elements at times.
Tockless Time Morning
The building section that starts this is full-on prog rock. It gets some symphonic elements over the top as it continues evolving. Then it drops to a more mainstream psychedelic rock arrangement, but there is still plenty of prog in the mix. This really does shift and change and grow. Further down the road there is a mellower exploration based around piano and vocals that is again pure prog. It eventually drives out from there to a dramatic, fast-moving symphonically laced rocking section. The cut changes quickly from there as various prog concepts eventually take it out.
Pink Painted Butterfly
While this is very folk-oriented, this gentle number has a lot of prog tendencies in the mix. It's another winner.
Sunshine Castles
There are a lot of symphonic things at play on the introduction here. I'd consider that part of the song to be full prog. A rocking guitar rises up amidst that, and we're taken into more of a psychedelic rock arrangement from there. Yet there are still some proggy breaks here and there along the road. We get a return to a symphonic arrangement at the end of the piece.
The Purple Side Of Sunset
A rocking guitar starts this by itself. Another guitar solos over the top after a time. Eventually the rest of the band join, and the number grows out into a fast-paced psychedelic rocking jam. There are some proggy twists and turns as the song continues evolving.
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