DUST BIN DISCOVERIES: WALLY’S LOST SOFT-PROG MASTERPIECE
ome of the best albums ever made never get heard. With Dust Bin Discoveries, we highlight some of the lost treasures – from obscure prog-rock masterpieces to hidden folk relics – withering away in record store bargain sections and antique store attics.
Wally - Wally Year: 1974 Label: Atlantic Producer: Rick Wakeman, Bob Harris
Never judge a record by its cover – especially when said record costs roughly the price of a Big Gulp.
One of my favorite record spots is an unassuming little booth in a junky collectibles mall in Knoxville, Tennessee. We have five legitimate record stores in town – and I love all of them for different reasons – but there’s something special about making a vinyl haul as you step over chochkes and old Playboys, dripping with sweat from the lack of air-conditioning. I dunno, it feels like you’ve earned it. Like you’ve rescued this record from music death row.
I’d been frequenting said record booth for a year or two. And every damn time, I picked up this same piece – an album sporting the vague name “Wally” – and twirled it in my hands. “PROG,” read the label, in perfect penmanship, suggesting the seller took pride in his research. “Produced by Rick Wakeman.” As an obsessive progressive rock fan, I felt a chill run up my spine. “Have I discovered some sort of lost Yes-related relic?” But I always put it back in the box: a splurge for another day.
On one lazy afternoon, I finally took the plunge. The dude was having a half-off sale, and my curiosity was worth the $2.50 gamble. Maybe I’d skip lunch that day.
Holy shit, what a good call. A week later, it’s already one of the prized records in my collection.
Wally formed in North Yorkshire, England at an unclear date in the early 1970s. After catching the eye of Old Grey Whistle Test presenter Bob Harris, the sextet secured a record deal with Atlantic Records and released their Wakeman-produced, self-titled debut LP in 1974.
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