England - Garden Shed. 1977 England

Depending on one's perspective, England's Garden Shed is either forward looking or out of date. The music is heavily influenced by Yes first, and Genesis second, with a dash of densely composed Van der Graaf Generator to boot. In Continental Europe there were plenty of more obscure bands doing similar, but for the namesake country itself, this kind of progressive rock music had pretty much slowed to a trickle. There are some commercial styled moments, and it's these that would seem to point the way toward the upcoming Neo Prog (nee NWOBPR) movement that would take hold in the early 80s. But the instrumentation is heavily analog, with Mellotron, Moog, and woody bass, and is definitely a recording of the 70s. Like any album that is influenced by something, one will hear familiar bits here and there, though it's still unique enough to enjoy it simply as the band England. This is a safe pick for new fans looking to venture beyond the Big 6, but aren't quite ready for something entirely new. Like going from Heineken to Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

Personal collection
LP: 1977 Arista
CD: 2005 BMG (Japan)

Despite being on Arista, Garden Shed did not receive a US issue. I think it would have actually done quite well commercially in the States, as the progressive rock audience hadn't died out yet. Apparently they didn't see it that way, and the album was always a bit of a "cult classic" over here. My personal original LP copy was purchased from a record store backstock in 1994, and was brand new (still is really). Avoid the first Japanese CD as it was taken from a scratchy vinyl, which is really strange as I'm sure mint vinyl copies were easily accessible (if not the master tapes). Apparently the 1989 LP is no better than the CD. Not sure what the deal is with the Green Tree reissues, but they contain significant bonus material and extensive liner notes. If I get to hear it, I'll report back.

2 comments:

  1. I have to be a contrarian on the 1989 Edison LP - I've had two NM looking copies which have the same noise from the original CD. Unless there was a pressing defect, I'm pretty certain it's the same source.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Mike. Oh no - for some reason I thought you said they fixed it? Oh shoot. I blew that one then. I'll update. :-)

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