Author:Kevan Furbank, Peter Gallagher, Gary Steel
Thick as a Brick, Close To The Edge, Foxtrot, Trilogy – and that’s just scratching the surface of the glut of prog albums that appeared in 1972, surely one of the genre’s vintage years. The author has approached this by selecting 22 albums from the year, although of course this raises the question of what is and isn’t prog. For me, The Strawbs, Uriah Heep and Santana don’t really fall into that genre but each to their own I suppose. Each album is looked at in some detail, with added background on the bands themselves, although there is a trait of saying what key a piece is in and what chords are used, which I found quite irritating. It’s always interesting to read more about this era and its music, although being a big fan already of these albums I didn’t really learn much I didn’t already know. However, it would certainly make a useful guide to someone just investigating this music for the first time.
My SAHB period really went from Framed through Next and The Impossible Dream and the subsequent live set. I rather lost touch with them after that, although Anthem still remains one of my favourite songs. The first third of this book covers the pre SAHB years as Harvey had already had a long career by that point. Interesting though this is, it’s the band years that most will focus on, although the period when they were on the ascendancy was relatively brief – but when they were good, they were very good. Ill health dogged Alex and the later years are a bit of a sorry tale really, but although there have already been a number of books on the band, this is well worth a look if you want a potted history of the man and his storied career.
What to say of Talk Talk? The first two albums were ok but fairly run of the mill almost new romantic style material, not unlike Duran Duran at times. Then a sudden blossoming saw them come up with three classic albums in just five years, The Colour of Spring, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, the latter two in particular being kindred spirits in many ways. Those albums are ones I still listen to today. Sadly things didn’t last long after that with Hollis becoming ever more reclusive and difficult to work with. Only one solo record followed, created from the planned Talk Talk album Mountains of the Moon. This is an interesting read although only about the first half of the book deals with the band’s albums – the remainder is devoted to solo projects, compilations, live recordings etc, and personally I would have preferred a longer first part and a shorter second. A fascinating band in their heyday though and this is a nice guide that’s aimed more at the newcomer to their work than the avid fan.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
The music covered in the books – as ever, written by fans for fans.
One thing you’ve learned
Three very interesting and readable books – wish they’d been longer really.