SOME PROGRESSIVE TREATS (1975 EDITION)

Although variety is a hallmark of Vinyl Connection, the heart of the matter is a love of all things progressive.

Inspired by a posting of the fourth Greenslade album on a fb group, I found myself diving down a 1975 rabbit hole. It was great fun, with progressive jazz-rock being a wobbly kind of through-line.

The covers are as excellent as the music, so I thought I’d share an annotated playlist.

What is better than one great keyboard player? Two, of course. Dave Greenslade was in Colosseum before forming his own progressive band. Singer Dave Lawson also played synthesisers, making the outfit’s records a delight for those enthused by machines that go squelch and wooo in the night. The fantasy cover art is by Patrick Woodroffe.

After keyboard player Jan Hammer departed the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1973, he made an enjoyable album with former Mahavishnu colleague Jerry Goodman and an absolutely brilliant one with guitarist John Abercrombie (Timeless). Then he recorded his first solo record, the one above. Naturally enough it is keyboard orientated, with lots of interesting synth tones and some inventive compositions, all in the progressive fusion zone. His live album with Jeff Beck (1977) featured music from this LP as well as Beck pieces from Blow By Blow. It’s a ripper, if you like live albums.

Klaus Doldinger was a prominent sax player/band leader in the German jazz/progressive scene. This is his band’s fifth studio album, full of great playing and wonderful progressive jazz-rock compositions, partly due to the unusual inclusion of synths. The Magritte-inspired design is by Wandrey’s Studio, and continues an ‘eyes’ theme begun on the second record.

This is post-pixie jazz-rock Gong, where the band was led by drummer/percussionist Pierre Moerlen. I love this album for its musicianship and slightly eccentric songs. The cover has appeared before, as part of the ‘Dune‘ series, which spawned two cover art posts. (The second of which is here).

OK, the album is, in fact, from 1972. But the rabbit-hole / Alice / caterpillar connection was too tempting and it’s a wonderful album cover. Illustration by John Gorham. In some ways this is the most satisfying Curved Air album; the last studio recording with Francis Monkman.

29 comments

  1. Who wouldn’t want to buy an album called Machines that go squelch and wooo in the night?
    And what’s with that album cover where someone seems to be trying to add a snake to a fruit kebab?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha! Thanks for putting that unusual painting into a relatable context. Milton Glaser is the designer. A New Yorker (who died last year), he was pretty famous. One of his best known is the I ❤️ NY logo, while an iconic album cover was that backlit shot of Bob Dylan on the blue background used for Dylan’s Greatest Hits. He also designed several fonts and was partial to sweet and sour snake.

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  2. I just played that Gong album the other day the cover has been defaced by a crazed DJ scrawling on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Outrageous behaviour from someone who should know better. Did you enjoy the music, or was the vandalism a barrier?

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      1. The music is different but still recognizably Gong. I’ve been listening to some of the Hong branches recently after reading Medical Grade music by Kavus Torabi and Steve Davis. Nothing like the mix of psychedelic guitar player and snooker champ to dig into the wackier side of music.

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        1. That sounds intriguing. Is that the title, ‘Medical Grade Music’?

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          1. Yes Medical Grade Music is the title it’s a story of an odd friendship created by the love of progressive music.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. 1975 is an interesting year, right? None of the biggest prog guns – King Crimson, Yes, Genesis – released records that year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharp observation, Graham. Pink Floyd did all right in ’75, while Hackett flew the Genesis flag* and Squire went solo for Yes. Mike Oldfield’s Ommadawn is an under-rated classic from the year too.

      * Just checked. Genesis caught up in 1976 with two strong albums.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That Hackett debut is really good, and Fish Out of Water is enjoyable too. Wish You Were Here is my favourite Floyd and it’s kind of their most proggy in some ways.

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        1. We are certainly in alignment today, Graham. Voyage of the Acolyte is probably my favourite non-PG album by a Genesis alumnus. And I agree that WYWH is the pinnacle of Floyd’s progressive output (though if only allowed one LP side, that honour definitely goes to “Echoes”).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Have you heard Hackett’s recent stuff? He’s had a pretty good late career renaissance.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Can’t say I’ve followed Steve into the 21st C, Graham. Though I did see him live about three years ago – it was fabulous!

              Liked by 1 person

  4. “Cross-Colleteral” is awesome. In every number you can feel groove, pressure and perfection. That blew the sagged rock-droning of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin out of your brain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Genau! I love those initial half-dozen albums. One of the few successful blends of jazz-rock and progressive.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a lot of amunition for a field trip into the mind, right there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a trip, man!

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      1. And well worth it!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I want all those records. Every time I come over here you pull me back into this music. Looks like I have some listening to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. Sorry mate. At heart I’m a prog-head! 🤣

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      1. I am to but I dont use that word. I thing Ill go on a Hammer Fest.

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  7. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    Gosh those funny covers. Makes me think of the shift on the album art from Can post-Damo too, when things got weirder and not necessarily better. Or less weird is maybe more precise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you read the Can book? I have it on the shelf, all pristine and inviting, but haven’t got there yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        No, I’m holding off on that one. But will of course!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Gotta love those rabbit holes, especially ones that introduce me to new/old music. Except for Hammer, I’ve never heard of any of these bands. So you’re saying, Bruce, that prog is more than Yes, Pink Floyd, and Genesis??! 😉 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Full marks, Marty! 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the covers Bruce. I suspect that is as far as I can go here, I’m afraid. I have recently discovered Valentyne Suite so there may be some prog hope for me yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Colosseum are great! I hold high hopes for your progression to fan.
      (The covers are great, aren’t they?)
      I just checked and noted that the Vinyl Connection review of Rocket To Russia linked to your Ramones debut post. D’you reckon I should now do another of theirs to link to Leave Home? Are we doing the whole canon?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely, although I do think Ramones merit their ‘canon’ being spelled with an extra incorrect ‘n’.

        Liked by 1 person

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