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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Blonde on Blonde


Review by Gary Hill

There was a time when progressive rock sort of emerged from psychedelic rock. In the early days, the two shared a lot of territory. Then, when you consider the whole folk prog movement, the whole equation was even more convoluted - and interesting. This album is a reissue from 1970 and lands right in that neighborhood. It's an effective set, although it does feel a bit dated. I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of shaking vocals (when I was a kid I called T-Rex (in the days when they were still "Tyrannosaurus Rex") "goat music" because of that issue), so that takes some points from this for me. Still, it works well despite the shortcomings.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 2 at
Track by Track Review
Castles in the Sky

There is a bit of a psychedelic edge to this, but overall it's kind of an AOR folk prog piece.

Broken Hours
If the last song had a psychedelic edge, this one is thoroughly soaked in it. The cut does have some rocking prog at its heart, too. But, really that's more a function of the fact that prog more or less emerged from psychedelic rock. The balance between the mellower folk movement and the rock one is good, but I'm not really enamored with that mellow section.
Heart Without a Home
This is much more of a rocker. It seems to have almost equal amounts of psychedelia and prog. That said, it gets pretty trippy at times.
Time Is Passing
Now, this one has a lot of 60s folk rock in the mix. The thing is, it's also one of the best cuts here. The psychedelic folk mellower movements are quite effective. The rocking stuff that plays counter-balance works really well, too.
Although there are mellower, folk music like parts to this, the cut has some of the hardest rocking, and most decidedly prog rock oriented music of the disc. At almost seven and a half minutes in length, it's one of the longer cuts of the set.  It's one of my favorites, too.
Although there are some powered up, more proggy things, this is built around some psychedelic folk rock.
Colour Questions
The longest cut here, this is over 12 minutes long. It comes in mellow and quite trippy and then grows to a faster paced rocking sound as it continues. This tune works between mellower music and harder rock based music as it evolves. It's arguably the most purely proggy thing here. The jam later in the track is a real powerhouse.
You'll Never Know Me/Release
Piano starts this. The cut grows out from there in fine fashion. It's very much a proggy psychedelic like number. It has a lot of shifts and changes and is another that lands in the more proggy territory.
Circles (Single Version)
Well, you get what you'd expect here given the title, an edited version of the earlier tune.
Castles in the Sky (Alternate Version)
This is even more AOR oriented than the other version. It's a cool tune. In fact, I like this better than the album version. Sure, it seems more polished, but it just really works well.
Time is Passing (Alternate Version)
This seems more polished, too. I like this one a lot, as well. Again, I think I like it better than the other version.
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