“As albums go, few from any era can top Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s 1970 monster Cosmo’s Factory, if only for the six charting singles. Let me say that again: six charting singles. That’s more than many successful bands get in a career. And then there’s Ramble Tamble (the best track on the album, maybe from their entire career) which wasn’t released as a single, because it was too long, too weird, a tough swampy rock song bookending an absolutely epic jam. In other words, this is me, twelve or thirteen, in my cousin’s bedroom, headphones on, getting sent, getting educated as to where music could go — that a song could be way more than just sticky sweet candy to get played on the radio between ads for soda pop and jeans. Welcome to my future.” (Philip Random)
Based on ample evidence, it’s easy to think of CCR as a singles band and dig no further, but then you’d miss out on a gem like Feelin’ Blue, a straight up bluesy jam that still feels fresh and relevant and coming from a nearby garage. “I first heard it around age twelve, so I didn’t much get it, or like it. But when you’ve only got maybe five albums in your collection, you tend to keep listening until you do get it. I didn’t like whiskey much then either, but I wasn’t going to get drunk just sitting there looking at it.” (Philip Random)
Last week saw the debut of Randophonic’s latest series, The Solid Time of Change (aka the 661 Greatest Records of the so-called Prog Rock era) – an overlong yet incomplete history of whatever the hell happened between 1965 and 1979, not in all music, not even in most of it, but definitely in a bunch of it, particularly via bands hailing from the United Kingdom.
What is Prog Rock, and does it somehow differ from Progressive Rock, or for that matter, rock that merely progresses? These may seem simple questions but they are in fact doors that open unto some of the most complex enigmas of this split-atomic age.
The good news is, for the next year (or thereabouts) there shall be a radio show broadcasting pretty much every Saturday night, starting at 11pm (Pacific Time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9 wherein these enigmas shall be explored – also queens and kings, queendoms and kingdoms, and dreams, wizards and witches, oceans, concertos, overtures, finales, voyages, apocalypses, angels, sandcastles, swords, redeemers, rebels, relayers, even a little funk; not to mention islands, saviours, prophecies, revelations, giants, shipwrecks, astronauts, rituals, robots, roundabouts, gods and goblins, sacred texts and liars, journeys and parades, runaways and sorcerers, at least one girl child named Linda, the total mass retain and the seven seas of Rhye.
The first part of our journey went something like this:
- Apollo 100 – joy
- Emerson Lake + Palmer – Karn Evil 9 [1st impression part 2]
- Yes – beyond + before
- Genesis – where the sour turns to sweet
- Genesis – in the beginning
- Spirit – space child
- Spirit – aren’t you glad
- Uriah Heep – the wizard
- Queen – someday one day
- Queen – great king rat
- Electric Light Orchestra – Battle of Marston Moore [fragment]
- The Move – message from the country
- Electric Light Orchestra – 10538 Overture
- Giorgio – automation
- Guess Who – key 
- Pink Floyd -Matilda Mother
- Kansas – Incomudro [lamplight to the Atman]
- Creedence Clearwater Revival – Ramble Tamble