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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Blues Image


Review by Gary Hill

You probably remember Blues Image from their hit "Ride Captain Ride." There is a brand new version of that tune here. The only original member of the band included here is Mike Pinera who plays guitar and sings. I can't say whether this sounds like the old band or not because other than that one song (although I heard a couple albums of theirs in the day) I don't really remember what they sounded like. I can say that this album is quite strong. Not everything here lands under prog rock, but a big chunk of it does. Most of the songs have at least one section that shows off some prog tendencies. Besides, I think prog fans are probably the most obvious audience for this album.

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Track by Track Review
Ride Captain Ride

There is a cool string section based introduction on this that's full on prog rock. It has a real dreamy quality to it. The symphonic elements bring it toward classical music as it continues. It's around the one minute mark where the symphonic instrumentation begins to create some of the familiar melodies. It shifts into the verse from there with the orchestral instruments dropping away. This has a cool psychedelic rock meets mainstream prog vibe. I love the acoustic guitar break on this cut. This number has a nice mix of sounds and a fairly complex song structure. The hooks are catchy and the music is meaty. It's still a great tune all those years later, and it's a great way to start the set in style.

In A Gadda Da Vida

 Here they do a killer version of the classic Iron Butterfly tune. I love what the horns add to the number. There are some hints of jazz added to the mix because of those horns, and perhaps this is more fully psychedelic rock than it is anything else, but it lands pretty proggy in a lot of ways. I love the guitar solo on this thing. When the horns jump in on the drum solo section, it's full on jazz prog. I am not a huge fan of drum solos, so I think the horns really add a lot to it. Honestly, I think I might like this version of the cut better than the original rendition.

Fantasy Of Love
There is a bit of a Latin element to this piece. It has a lot of fusion in the mix. The guitar soloing is particularly evocative. Some of the lyrics on this are in Spanish. I dig the saxophone solo on this.
Come Back
I love the cool melodic groove on this one. It's another with a lot of fusion in the mix. It lands closer to a mellow prog rock end of thing, though. I really love the chorus on this tune. I dig the guitar soloing on this a lot. It's of the acoustic, classical variety and it's so tasty.
Love Is The Answer feat. Jonathan Cain
This is a rocker. It has some psychedelia in the mix, but it's also well suited for the AOR prog heading. I like the slightly off-kilter groove on the tune. There are hints of Latin sounds here. The horns bring the magic and the guitar soloing rocks.
Touch My Heart
This is a mellower, AOR styled cut. I don't think I would really consider this prog, but it does lean on the fusion end of things. It's a solid tune that works really well.
Pay My Dues feat. Pat Travers
This is a mean, smoking hot blues rocker. It's another without any real prog in the mix, but it leans in a completely different direction than the last one did. The instrumental section, though, does get a bit proggy. This is arguably the hardest rocking tune here. It's also one of my favorites. Given the competition, that says a lot.
In The Garden Of Eden
Another mellow cut, this is very much an AOR styled fusion based piece. This is catchy and quite "Timeless" in its approach.
Leaving My Troubles Behind
Blues rock and proggy elements merge on this cool rocker.
Butterfly Bleu feat. Pat Travers

I love the horn laced introduction to this cut. It drops to a mellower jam that's part blues rocker and part proggy psychedelia. This is pretty powerful stuff. It has some great peaks and valleys. Sure, it's quite blues like, but the way the horns are arranged on this, along with other elements lands it closer to the prog end of the spectrum. The instrumental sections bring much more of an old school prog sound here. I really love the funky bass on the fusion jam later in the track. The closing section is really cool.

Those looking for prog rock, please see this tune. This comes in slow moving and powerful. The arrangement is lush and full on prog rock based. There is a section later in the tune that makes me think of James Bond music just a bit. This has an evocative vocal performance and a powerhouse instrumental arrangement. This is definitely one of the best tunes here.
Something To Say feat. Jonathan Cain
This is more of a straight ahead rocker. It's solid stuff and includes some cool instrumental work.
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