Various Artists | A Prog Rock Christmas – CD Review

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Prog Rock Christmas features members of Yes, Renaissance, Deep Purple,Utopia, Focus, Curved Air, Hawkwind, and a special guest performance by actor Malcolm McDowell. This collection runs around some holiday classics in a very proggy way from stalwarts well-versed in classic prog.

“Run With The Fox,” features current Yes vocalist Jon Davison singing sweetly over high shimmery single-note keys. Yes bassist Billy Sherwood, the producer of this collection, has his bass up front in the mix, pretty much countering Davidson’s vocal. It’s a solid beginning.

Fret glistening electric guitar is layered throughout “Carol Of The Bells,” from Deep Purple’s Steve Morse, while the backing percussion bed here is especially effective. While Renaissance singer Annie Haslam’s sweet pipes deliver across a jangly “The Twelve Days Of Christmas.”

Greg Lake’s “I Believe In Father Christmas,” is handled note for note by Wishbone Ash’s Martin Turner. Focus’ Thijs Van Leer’s flute and spoken vocal through Jethro Tull’s “A Christmas Song,” sets a decidedly slower, yet very effective cover. The gem of A Prog Rock Christmas is indeed Malcolm McDowell’s delicious read of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” The backing keys are rather trite, but the star of “A Clockwork Orange” really makes this classic his own, and amid all the other prog takes on holiday classics, this one is over-the-top fun.

A Prog Rock Christmas might very well get you in the mood for some prog nog and spread some cheer. There’s any real unusual revisions over these classic songs, but they are all rendered expertly by some of prog’s best who can still deliver, with a little chewy Malcolm McDowell spoken word thrown in for good measure. Happy holidaze my little droogs.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.Bookmark and Share