Saturday, 20 July 2019


Yet another sterling review of the first volume of this three-book set, this time by Paul Rijkens in #158 of the influential Dutch magazine IO Pages. Volume 2 will soon be available, while Volume 3 is also due out later this year.

The author of this book, Kev Rowland, can be called a colleague of ours. Between 1991 and 2006, as an employee of the Feedback magazine, he wrote many reviews about prog and related music. Rowland has bundled his reviews into three books. This is part 1 that deals with the letters A-H. A difference with iO Pages is that Rowland did not discuss too many big names. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Fish, The Flower Kings and Gentle Giant, for example, are treated, but the majority are still lesser known bands and artists from the underground. The Nineties were very different from the present. In 1991, Kev received a cassette with the demo From The River To The Sea from the then unknown band Big Big Train. Kev tried to get in touch with the person who sent him the tape, Greg Spawton, but it didn't work. Nowadays, contact with Greg can be made within seconds. Well, maybe the cassette will come back all the way after the LP.

When I read this piece, I had to think back to the days of SI Music Magazine, because that was exactly the same way. Rowland has a relaxed and occasionally disarming writing style that I like to read. He has a preference for certain bands and that is what he says in the reviews: this is how Aragon, Credo, Galahad (who wrote the foreword) and Grace commented particularly positively. What is striking about the reviews is that they are bands that we categorize as neoprog, but that this term is hardly mentioned in the book. The beautiful artwork is by Martin Springett and was used by the Canadian band Coney Hatch. It reminds me of the cover of In The Court Of The Crimson King.

I have enjoyed this book very much and I heartily recommend it. I am already looking forward to part two.


The Progressive Underground Vol 1
Book - £12.99

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