In what it calls 40 Cosmic Rock Albums – “an essential guide to the mind-blowing musical adventures – from the ‘60s to the present day” – there are some interesting and potentially controversial inclusions. No particular arguments with corralling of the Cantebury bands such as Hatfield or Gong or the Germans (though no Can oddly enough) but I was surprised to see Roxy Music’s debut album sitting between Golden Earrings’ Moontan and the delightful Music In A Doll’s House from Family.
Although it was fairly common at the time to slip Roxy on the record player just after a marathon Wishbone Ash outing or a blast of Crimso’s Earthbound for that matter, Roxy were never considered as part of what we understood as the prog rock back then.
As Mark Paytress makes clear in his appreciation of the album, they were definitely from somewhere else, a fact skilfully underlined by the distinctive visual identity of the cover artwork although quite where this might be was open to question. Perhaps it was located in the ambiguous territory inhabited by David Bowie or Lou Reed, a place of dubious sexuality, between pop and rock; not Glitter nor Glam but its own being simultaneously remote and inviting. All of these things perhaps but definitely not Prog.
The feature also includes Queen’s A Night At The Opera (between the truly execrable Pampered Menial by Pavlov’s Dog and the truly progtastic Moving Waves by Focus) and once again this is a band I would struggle to include as being Prog – progressive in the dictionary sense I grant you but not in the pomp-driven dweebie organ noodling sense of the term.
Elsewhere in the section, John Bungey's sprightly account of LTIA (with bonus commentary from Bill Bruford) occupies No.22 whilst ITCOTCK majestically strides in at no.4 with some impish asides from Peter Sinfield. No prizes for guessing who came in at No.1
Out of the 40 albums listed in the chart I own 28 of them. Quite what that means I’m unsure. Committed? Not quite committed enough? Should be committed?