Tomsix - Soundbones. 1974-1979 USA (archival)

When I created the Midwest Progressive Rock list for RYM, one of my secret hopes was that I would receive recommendations for something similar. I knew I would get suggestions of albums that were on the fringe - or worse just anything that was from the Midwest (and I did of course). But if someone could offer a complete bullseye for the style - a band or album I'd never heard of - well, then, my list would be a complete success. The very first suggestion came in from Tony Coulter, and it was Tomsix. An absolute diamond in the rough if there ever was one. An album that's been out almost 20 years and still a complete unknown. I received a great many suggestions afterward - primarily from Tony and our good friend Mark MoeCurly - but Cleveland based Tomsix was the winner of the litter for certain.

Not surprisingly, the earlier you go in the timeline, the more progressive the music becomes. The 1974-75 period is when the band was known as Tarsier (which is arguably a much cooler name than Tomsix, which incidentally was named for the Tomsick trio of brothers that run the band). This era of material is heavily influenced by Yes (a common occurrence in Midwest America) with a smattering of Gentle Giant - and there's gobs of mellotron for fellow fans of the instrument. Starting in 1976, the band switched names to Missing Persons (no relation to Mr. & Ms. Bozzio we presume), and directed their sound even more to the counterpoint rhythms and harmonies commonly found in Gentle Giant. The music is tight, slightly commercial, but still very complex. The absolute definition of the Midwest American progressive sound. Though the liner notes aren't clear about this, it appears the band then went with Tomsix starting in 1978. Not surprisingly, this era of the band finds them at their most commercial, with even a slight funk/disco sound creeping in. I would say at this point, the band sounds most like Supertramp, but more progressive than that may imply. Tomsix never did properly record an album (such a shame too, as the quality of the sound on this compilation is very good). The material is not presented strictly from a chronological perspective, though the progressive tracks are front loaded (demonstrating to me at least, that's where the heart of the band lies).

Personal collection
CD: 1995 Behemoth

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