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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Egg - The Polite Force (1971 uk, significant progressive experimental rock, 2008 esoteric remaster)

Egg perfected their distinctive, organ-driven prog with their second and best album. Stewart's excellent playing varied between his light organ-tone and to the more typical, heavy distorted Canterbury sound. The opening track "A Visit to Newport Hospital" demonstrates this perfect.

Light and jazzier playing in some wonderful atmospheric themes relieve VERY heavy organ in other parts. "Contrasong" is a track that features some horns and is complex in a kind of Gentle Giant way. Then comes the really tragic thing about this otherwise superb album: 9 minutes of completely pointless noise and sound effects in "Boilk". If these 9 minutes instead had been filled up with a track of the same quality as the rest of the album, then "The Polite Force" would have been one of the true keyboard-progressive rock classics of the 70's, in league with "Brain Salad Surgery" and "Spartacus".

Fortunately, the second side of the album consists of the great, 20-minute suite "Long Piece No.3" and was probably the best thing Egg ever recorded. Incredibly complex and one of the best pieces of music ever performed on just organ, drums and bass! If you forget about the idiotic "Boilk" then this IS still a great album and worth whatever you have to pay for it. Fans of organ-driven progressive rock with a perfect 70's atmosphere will eat it up.

1. A Visit to Newport Hospital (Campbell) - 8:28
2. Contrasong (Campbell) - 4:25
3. Boilk (Brown, Campbell, Stewart) - 9:22
4. Long Piece No. 3 - 5:08
5. Long Piece No. 3 (Continued) - 7:38
6. Long Piece No. 3 (Continued) - 5:03
7. Long Piece No. 3 (Continued) - 2:51
All songs by Brooks, Campbell, Stewart except where indicated.

*Clive Brooks - Drums, Vocals
*Dave Stewart - Organ, Piano
*Mont Campbell - Bass, Vocals
Guest Musicians
*Mike Davis - Trumpet
*Bob Downes - Sax (Tenor), Saxophone
*Henry Lowther - Trumpet
*Stephen Solloway - Flute
*Tony Roberts - Tenor Sax

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