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VARIOUS ‘Ars Longa Vita Brevis
A Compendium Of Progressive Rock 1967-1974’

Castle/Sanctuary CMETD727 (2005)

This 3-CD set, from the classic period of progressive rock, showcases what a wealth of material Sanctuary have access to. And while some acts here may stretch the progressive definition thereís such a wide range itís a good sampler with something for everybody and more besides, including many rarities.

Kicking off with The Niceís 'Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack', the title track to what is generally considered the first prog album (Rondo would have been a better choice though), disc 1 takes us through Jethro Tull, Small Faces, Arthur Brown, Trinity and Sam Gopal, featuring Lemmy.

We also get Soft Machine, Humble Pie, the Kinks, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Colosseum amongst others. So within the Progressive remit we get blues, hard rock, art rock, psycedelia, classical and just about everything else.

Everyoneís going to have their own take on choice of artists and tracks, but itís a real treasure and pleasure to have many of these sat side by side.

Later on we get Prog standards from ELP, Atomic Rooster, Man and Uriah Heep, whose catalogues have already been explored in depth. But we also get other artists such as Status Quo, Juicy Lucy, Stray, UFO, Groundhogs and Chicken Shack, who all ventured in a slightly progressive direction in their early years, if you stretch your imagination.

As both an introduction and anthology, itís a great set thatís nicely packaged (3 card sleeves in a box with a booklet), but itís missing the essentials of King Crimson, Yes, Floyd and Eloy to be a true anthology.

****

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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