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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Blonde on Blonde

Reflections on a Life

Review by Gary Hill

This is one of two reissues I'm reviewing in this issue from this band. Of the two, I think I like this one better. It's more polished, and the vocals work better. That said, this is a bit more mainstream than the first one, and perhaps loses a step or two in the pursuit of becoming that. I'm not sure this prog rock, but some of it is. These guys were proto prog in a lot of ways, though, so I'll land this under that heading, as I did the other one.
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Track by Track Review
Gene Machine

This is a strange piece. It starts with weird electronics. The sound of a baby is heard along with some distant distorted spoken vocals. Then a strange bit of country folk emerges for the actual "song" of it. That's distant and odd, too, though.

I Don't Care
Here we get a tune that's more of a straight ahead psychedelic rocker. This is a lot of fun in a rather raw way. It has a lot of energy.
Love Song
A bit of acoustic based stuff opens this. It grows out from there to a cool 60s rocking jam. It's another intriguing tune. The arrangement is quite dynamic and it works through some real prog-like shifts and changes. There are more rocking movements and mellower ones. We're taken into some serious space at several points. In fact, the closing jam is a full on space rock journey.   
Bar Room Blues
While there is some blues built into this, it's very much a psychedelic rocker with some proto prog elements. Some harmonica lends something cool to the piece.
Sad Song for an Easy Lady
This is a screaming hot rocker. It's fast paced and driving. It's very much a psychedelic rock turns prog type of thing. The closing jam is a real powerhouse.
Ain't It Sad Too
The acoustic guitar driven arrangement that starts this makes me think of the Doobie Brothers. The song proper has some definite psychedelia built into it. It also has some cool slide guitar. There is some exceptional acoustic guitar jamming on this.
The Bargain
Mellow folk music is the order of business at the beginning here. We're taken from there to a bluesy psychedelic rock jam.
The Rut
Another rather bluesy psychedelic rocker, this is solid stuff. There is some killer classic guitar soloing built into this thing.
Happy Families
Noisy hard rock merged with proggy psychedelia, this is killer stuff. In fact, it's a bit odd, but possibly my favorite piece here.
No 2 Psychological Decontamination Unit
This is weird stuff for sure. It's very much trippy space prog insanity.
Chorale (Forever)
This melodic rocker makes me think of The Guess Who quite a bit. The strings and some of the other instrumentation bring some hints of prog.
Bonus Track
Sad Song For An Easy Lady (single version)
This is a shortened version of the earlier track. It's a very effective jam in this format.
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