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Prog Collective: Songs We Were Taught

Billy Sherwood has built up an impressive body of work through is many projects including Conspiracy, Circa, World Trade, Prog Collective, extensive solo discography, and his involvement in the progressive rock bands Yes and Arc Of Life.

Last year Sherwood released the latest Prog Collective offering titled Songs We Were Taught, the follow up to Worlds On Hold, which I really liked and earned an excellent four stars.

On the album, Sherwood, and an impressive cast of musicians, try something a little different, taking some of their favourite classic folk and rock songs and giving them the progressive treatment. It is always a gamble dabbling in the classics, because the question will be asked is it really worth it? Let’s get this out of the way first �" I do not consider these renditions better than the originals. However, the next question is are these reworked versions enjoyable to listen to? And the answer is a resounding yes, beginning with a stab at Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound Of Silence”. Here, Downes provides the tasty keyboards, including a wonderful solo, and Jon Davison’s voice is simply gorgeous, with the orchestrations giving the piece more density than the original. This is followed by one of my all time favourites �" Al Stewart’s “Year Of The Cat”, featuring incredible keyboards from David Sancious. Sherwood’s vocals are in a lower register than the original, offering a different approach and a job well done. On the Animal’s “House Of The Rising Sun” Steve Hillage’s guitar stands out, very atmospheric and textural and the lead vocals of David Clayton-Thomas are excellent. Caravan’s “In The Land Of Grey And Pink” is awash in lush keys and synths and Ron Thal’s melodic lead vocals and lyrical guitar soloing are very effective. It’s all quite dramatic and another solid rendition. The yacht rock classic “Summer Breeze” features a nice lead vocal from Roine Stolt and Steve Morris’ understated guitar work. It’s a pleasant surprise indeed. The lush synths and Martin Barre’s tasty acoustic guitar on James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain” and Rod Argent’s lead vocals on “The Weight” are more album highlights.

Songs We Were Taught will not likely gain many new fans but for those who appreciate what Sherwood has done in the past should find plenty to enjoy. I really like it.

A Purple Pyramid Records’ release.

Track Listing:
1. The Sound Of Silence �" Jon Davison (Yes) & Geoff Downes (Yes, Asia) (4:01)
2. Year Of The Cat �" David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen) & Billy Sherwood (6:47)
3. House Of The Rising Sun �" David Clayton-Thomas (Blood Sweat & Tears) & Steve Hillage (Gong) (4:55)
4. In The Land Of Grey And Pink �" Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses) (5:03)
5. Summer Breeze �" Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Kansas, Deep Purple) & Roine Stolt (Flower Kings) (3:57)
6. Fire And Rain �" Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) & Martin Barre (Jethro Tull) (4:12)
7. The Weight �" Rod Argent (The Zombies) & Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (The Doobie Brothers) (5:38)
8. Wild World �" Rosalie Cunningham (Ipso Facto) & Patrick Moraz (The Moody Blues, Yes) (4:32)
9. It’s Too Late �" Candice Night (Blackmore’s Night) & Dweezil Zappa (Zappa Plays Zappa) (4:29)
10. The Times They A �" Changin �" Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash) & Jerry Goodman (The Flock) (3:54)

Added: February 24th 2023
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 534
Language: english

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