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Lucky, Jerry: The Progressive Rock Handbook (book)

Jerry Lucky, author of 20th Century Rock & Roll—Progressive Rock, The Progressive Rock Files, and The Psychedelic Rock Files, returns with his latest book, The Progressive Rock Handbook, a 352-page guide to all things progressive rock. As a 'sit down and read cover to cover' piece of work, it's a slow read, but as handy reference guide it's actually nicely put together and should make for a well-used tool for prog lovers of all ages. Each band is listed (A to Z) with country of origin, a brief write-up, and album listing. While some might argue the decision to list all the bands alphabetically rather than by geography (unless you plan on marking the book up, it's hard to go back and reference band listings after you have read the thing, unless you've written them down elsewhere), Lucky still has managed to put together so many acts here, starting from rare groups that appeared in the late 60's, to all the heavyweights of the 70's, the 80's resurgence, and all the modern groups that toil the scene today. I'm sure many will point out bands that are missing here, but as someone who has followed the scene for quite a while, there were a ton of prog acts listed that I've never heard of before. Typos and misinformation pop up from time to time, and on a few occasions it's readily apparent that the author had never listened to the bands he lists (instead relying on a description he no doubt got somewhere else), you have to give Jerry Lucky credit for putting together such an exhaustive guide here, one that will satisfy many long time fans of the genre as well as those looking to take a much deeper dive into this musical art form.

A nice touch is the full color middle section that contains a host of great album cover art (see how many of those albums you own in your own collections) as well as a bonus CD containing one track each from a whole slew of bands on the ProgRock Records roster, including Sylvan, Rocket Scientists, Ghost Circus, Frameshift, and many more. Dig in progressive rock fans-after weeding through this one you'll be contacting your friendly online prog retailer to see if you can track down any of those rarities that you missed the first time around.

Added: March 6th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 2847
Language: english

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Lucky, Jerry: The Progressive Rock Handbook (book)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-03-06 09:43:36
My Score:

Jerry Lucky is the author of "20th Century Rock & Roll – Progressive Rock", "The Progressive Rock Files" and "The Psychedelic Rock Files" and each of these caters to the specific purist of these unique genres. The latest tome to join his existing works on the bookshelves around the world is "The Progressive Rock Handbook" and this one is definitely something that should appease the fussiest of appetites in any hungry Progressive Rock fan. When it comes down to it, the Progressive Rock listener is often very hard to impress because of all the wide scoping musical experiments that makes the genre so interesting and based on this it's good to have the author come off with more than an acceptable level of background on the topic. He begins by offering up words on his own interests in the Progressive Rock realm and it was interesting to find out about his adventures learning about the genre a little more. From there we get another sixty plus pages of thoughts about where he feels are the best places to experience the myriad number of bands of this type by using the means of the internet, the almost extinct stores who sell music and of course the festivals that are built up around its promotion. I found this section good for someone like me for while I enjoy Progressive Rock from a number of its stalwart deliverers; I am hardly an expert and took these topics as educational advice.

The remainder and core aspect of the book is the encyclopedia section of it and this runs from page 75 until the book closes at page 352 which means there are quite a few Progressive Rock bands to read about. The author delivers the section in this manner – he lists the bands in alphabetical order and offers up a small paragraph about each of them. It's very quickly overviewed, and we are not dealing with a 3 or 4 paragraph segment on any particular group. This might annoy some of the fans of the "leaders of the realm" as opposed to those bands while good offered no real impact on the genre. For a music fan like me I was ok with this being the case because it prompted me to look deeper into the bands that interested me most based on their description and the references made in them. For instance, fans of Peter Gabriel era Genesis might seek out some older Marillion based on how he describes them. There is a lot to absorb here and while its admittedly difficult to read an encyclopedic list from beginning to end, this one might keep the reader engaged a little easier since its speaking about many interesting bands as opposed to a wide scoping batch of topics. Lucky also features all of the albums to date under the band listing which makes shopping for something to satisfy the musical urge a little easier. The year that the album was released is also provided which helps one discern the older from newer material rather easily. The only downside is that some of the bands are only touched upon while others get longer pieces about them. The likes of Yes and Gentle Giant are longer than that of Pelican or Plum Nelly to be more precise but at the end of the day that didn't matter to me. What mattered was that the book served its purpose and provided solid reference and resource for me to look up Progressive Rock artisans should I need to do so. It also came with a bonus CD of Prog-Rock music that ran thirteen tracks and offered up some nice stuff for the reader to treat his ears to while they read the book or simply to load onto their music player of choice and go about their daily adventures.

Bonus CD: Rocket Scientists "Earthbound", The Third Ending "Eleven", A Chinese Firedrill "Circles", Frameshift "When I Look Into My Eyes", Sylvan "Answers To Life", Amaran's Plight "Coming Of Age", Invisigoth "Scars and Dust", Ghost Circus "Losing Time", Expedition Delta "Asunder Hearts", Soul Secre "Learning To Lose", Jim Gilmour "The Sign", Project Creation "Growing Feeling (radio edit), Under The Sun "This Golden Voyage"

If you consider yourself a fan of the genre on the whole then this book is something you should add to your collection because there is more good than bad in it. It might not sate the desires of the hard core Progressive Rock fan because that person can over analyze the volumes worth more than a casual fan might but as I mentioned earlier, for someone like me it can be taken as a great guide.

Chapter Listing:

The Commentaries
Random Thoughts and Musings about Prog Rock
Where to Find Progressive Rock: The Internet
Where to Find Progressive Rock: The Stores
Where to Listen to Progressive Rock: The Festivals
What is Progressive Rock: The Genres
The Misconceptions about Neo-Progressive Rock
A-Z Listing of Progressive Rock Bands

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