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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Strange Pleasures Further Sounds of the Decca Underground

This 3-CD compilation is almost a lost treasure chest. From the Cherry Red Esoteric label and Prog chief and fan, Mark Powell, he decided it was time to do a sequel to the 2003 tribute to the DECCA label on Legend of a Mind The Underground Anthology. Strange Pleasures is almost another psychedelic trip down memory lane where Legend left off with a mystery on what is behind the other door of the experimental scenery. These 49 tracks on the box set stays in focus around the underground scene in London from various Psychedelic bands that hit the big time in the Marquee or were too obscure for the BBC. Tracks like the darker beauty of Al Stewart's Turn into Earth, Genesis earlier take of their homage of the psychedelic Bee Gees with In the Beginning, and the classical symphonic orchestra prog masterpiece Twilight Time by the Moody Blues in 1967. When you listen to these gems, you began to see that the DECCA/DERAM label were on a train mission to see what was going on in the London scenery during that chronological period in 1967 to 1975. The Accent's proto garage rock of psychedelia music with Red Sky at Night and Bill Fay's (admired by Wilco) folk ballads by the mellotron on Some Good Advice and Garden Song. The First CD ends as 1969 comes to an end of the flower generation with Egg's jazzy fusion of I will be absorbed and Alvin Lee's Ten Years of the hard rockin' pounding sounds of Bad Scene. As the second CD begains, you could tell its like a time machine train with the chugging sounds of Caravan's If I Could Do It Again, I'd Do It All Over You, Denny Gerrard's medieval taste of prog acoustics on Atmosphere, and T2's own take of early Pink Floyd with JLT. This compilation is one of the best and the songs from various bands are a clean cut in the golden-era before the Prog scene started to dwindle at the end of '75 when Punk and Disco came into the scene. As the final third CD begans to conclude Strange Pleasures, it starts with one of the earliest songs from one of British Heavy Metal heroes of the early '70s that was the answer to Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy's take of the wah-wah blues rocker Things Ain't Working Out Down the Farm, Ten Years After hard rockin' I'm Coming On while Gong's guitarist Steve Hillage's canterbury supergroup Khan took the epics into the solar system with the 9-minute Space Shanty as Steve Hillage and Egg's Dave Stewart take the virtuoso landscape into a spaceship ride while the avant-garde scene goes strangely further with an unknown band that I'm beginning to dig from the DECCA label called Zakarrias and their acoustic rocker Cosmic Bride. Mark Powell keeps the music of the Progressive Rock genre into a ray of light as Bill Fay comes back into the framework with the darker ballad of jail sentences of trail by error on Time of the Last Persecution. All in all, this is one of the best Prog compilations I've enjoyed listening to and you will also when you buy this to get a real kick out of.

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