The Psychic Circle label makes another entry into the uncrowded field of reissues of British and European rarities from the early progressive rock era with Blow Your Cool, which collects twenty 1969-1974 tracks that have never before appeared on compilations. We are talking rare and obscure here; when the most well known bands on a comp are the Rattles, Mogul Thrash, Dream Police, and Egg (though a stray item by blue-eyed soul hitmakers the Foundations finds its way on as well), it's material not apt to even be in the collection of the prog rock specialist.
The trademarks of early prog (and late psychedelia bleeding into prog) are all here, in diverse colors: complex riffs and tempo turnarounds, earnest vocals that can verge on the ostentatious, lyrics with a cosmic tinge, occasional hints of blues and boogie, and heavy (and at times lumpy) guitar-organ blends.
Some notable names to go on to bigger and better things pop up here and there, like future Average White Band singer/guitarist Hamish Stuart (in the Dream Police's "Much Too Much," which is much too derivative of the Jeff Beck Group's version of "Shapes of Things"); Atomic Rooster drummer Ric Parnell (in the Italian group the Tritons); John Wetton (in Mogul Thrash); and early Procol Harum member Bobby Harrison (in Freedom).
Some of the more interesting cuts tend to be those that veer away from stereotypical prog rock, like Ferris Wheel's "Can't Stop Now," with its flute and sweet, airy female vocals; Paul Ryder & Time Machine's "If You Ever Get to Heaven," which is vaguely reminiscent of early T. Rex; Egg's "You Are All Princes," which sounds like Kingdom Come with a less flamboyant vocalist than Arthur Brown; and Swegas' "What 'Ya Gonna Do," a very spot-on British imitation of Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago's horn-rock.
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks - Artists
1. To Live - Paradise Hammer - 3:38
2. Turn Me Loose - Freeman - 2:42
3. Major Barmy From The Army - Primitive Man - 2:30
4. I'm Gonna Be A Rich Man - Foundations - 3:54
5. Much Too Much - Dream Police - 2:58
6. Drifter - Tritons - 3:42
7. Sleeping In The Kitchen - Mogul Thrash - 2:48
8. Can't Stop Now - Ferris Wheel - 3:35
9. Blow Your Cool - Triangle - 3:10
10.She's A Bad, Bad Woman - Zior - 3:43
11.Devil's On The Loose - Rattles - 2:53
12.Freedom - Freedom - 5:12
13.Sly Willy - Bluebeard - 3:27
14.If You Ever Get To Heaven - Ryder - 3:10
15.Love Me - Variations - 2:38
16.You Are All Princes - Egg - 3:46
17.Mrs. Davis - Jess And James - 4:39
18.I Believe In You (Fire In My Body) - Bedlam - 3:53
19.What'ya Gonna Do - Swegas - 2:51
20.The Scene - Cosmic Dealer - 2:47
More Psychic Circle compilations
1968-72 White Lace And Strange
1968-72 The Room Of Loud Sounds
1964-69 Realistic Patterns Orchestrated Psychedelia
1965-69 Wednesday Morning Dew
1965-70 The Electric Coffee House
1965-70 The Golden Road The Electric Coffee House Vol.2