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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Nice - Autumn 1967 & Spring 1968

The legacies of the underground scene of the late ‘60s in swinging London have been a huge legacy for The Nice, who has started the Progressive Rock movement. They were a band that was way ahead of their time before it became known as Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Even though The Nice was the architects of the Prog scene and featured the master on the keyboards Mr. Keith Emerson and the early days of neo-classical and symphonic rock sounds of the late ‘60s, they laid the groundwork for their mezzo suites and for their pompous rock beats that you couldn’t dance to. For example, if you love their psychedelic tracks and controversial background to piss off 20th century composer Leonard Bernstein, you definitely need to go beyond the orchestral roots no other than Autumn 1967 & Spring 1968.
This compilation was released on the Charisma label in 1972 with boss Tony Stratton-Smith who was the boss of the label and helped bring; Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator, String Driven Thing, Monty Python, Spirogyra, and Brand X. On this reissue compilation, it features 10 tracks of their classics and rare eerie numbers that will make your skin crawl with alternative mixes of rare recordings that have never been earthed before. Between those two years of 1967 and 1968, you will hear the raw energy of Keith’s keyboards, the mad scientist of guitar work from David O’List, the dynamic drumming of the late Brian Davison who sadly passed away last year of Brain Tumor, and the masterful vocal and bass work of Lee Jackson. They brought the ingredients of their musical influences of; Blues, Jazz, Ragtime, and Classical orientations in which Emerson was heavily influenced by, that brought the sound of the Nice to a standstill, if you can count the knives he put it in to give it that ‘SHHHRRAKKK!’ sound to make it sound as if it was being stabbed to death from Keith Emerson.
Whether the sound may be what you call Prog, Garage, or Nuggets-related to the European psychedelic scene, this here is an amazing compilation of hard rock, childhood stories, gumdrop tales from Lewis Carroll, and compositions that amazingly goes upward from their early days as a backing band origin’s for Soul singer, P.P. Arnold. There are seven centerpieces that you, as a listener, need to check out if you are getting into The Nice for the first time as a starter if you admire the bombastic rock sounds of ELP. On the whimsical pop harpsichord fairy tale retrospective taste on The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, the twisted Flower King of Flies, and the mellotron train pumping rocker of Diamond Hard Blue Apples of the Moon, makes the band sound as if they were a part of the Syd Barrett-era of Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn or very Traffic like from their Mr. Fantasy album than becoming the orchestral rock band they were that got the bandwagon rolling. Also, there’s the early heavy progressive metal track, Bonnie K which features David’s shattering guitar solo while the demonic Azirial is very eerie and strange. Even though, the killing number which had again the word controversy written all over it with their homage of the 6-minute beginnings of Symphonic Rock, America from the Broadway show West Side Story, is a mind-boggling number that will blow you away while the Cry of Eugene has a very emotional and touching tribute to the Love Song period of the ‘60s that makes it very much Jefferson Airplane tribute.
As a result, even though the band had split up which will be 40 years later, they had a huge influence in the Prog scene and for this compilation, this makes it much cool and a lot of fun to sink in for the Bombastic sounds to sink your mouth into.

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