Reviewed by DBSilver on 01 Jul 2003
I have a friend whose idea of the best prog rock album ever is right on target. He says the best prog rock album ever is the next one he buys and it remains so until he starts playing it. Then it moves to the next one on his wish list.
Well, you gotta love the balls needed for such an album title but don't let it put you off. A pretty good job has been done here if you focus on the inclusions instead of the ommissions. We have a lot of the essential bands (if not necessarilly the right songs) represented here. Further, the selections are inclusive of both the obvious - ELP, Tull, Genesis, VDGG - but also of others that get lost in the shuffle but were defining none the less such as Be Bop Deluxe, Roxy Music, Gentle Giant, Hawkwind. Hey, even Frank Zappa is on this album.
Many of the choices are excellent in their period if not the best song - for example - Gabriel's selection comes from his first solo album which is his most traditionally proggiest. Tull's selection comes off Aqualung. The ELO choice is from the right period in their prog days as well.
If you have music from a good portion of these bands you might still consider this purchase. It works kind of like listening to prog radio. Since many of these songs come from classic albums I have played 100's of times - - and which mostly collect dust and fond memories today, playing this 3 CD set has been very satisifying - as long as I do not fall into the "why did they pick this track instead of [that] one.
This package is what it is. And is a lot of fun because of it. To complete the image, the cover looks like someone lifted a Roger Dean graphic (no this is not Roger Dean's drawing).
Although I say to ignore the omissions - there is one artist in particular whose absence is bound to create the majority of snide comments and bitter feelings. If you guessed King Crimson you are right on the mark. If you do consider this to be a serious error then most likely you already own In The Court OF The Crimson King or Red so why not just shut up and put it on. This way you can make your point and afterwords you can comforatbly put this CD on your player and simply play it, enjoy it and stop bitching about it.
After 35 plus years of prog, this set of music is the best hunt for the holy grail I have ever seen published as a best of genre disk. While it is definately not the Best Prog Rock Album... Ever, it is rewarding and fun to play. I tip my had to Virgin Records.