C Sides Project (UK): 10 Days (White Knight WKCS0918, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2018)
Siân Elson (joint lead vocals), Molly Elson (occasional vocals)
The core members were previously in Magenta, so they don’t exactly have illustrious CVs, but does this resemble their former outfit? Well, yes and no. Siân Elson certainly bears more than a passing resemblance to Christina Murphy and this is definitely old-school neoprogressive, but the music here is denser and more varied than Magenta, with a few lovely acoustic moments, and also a touch less ambitious (which is perversely a good thing given Magenta’s tendency to overreach themselves). They’ve also managed an interesting concept, complete with occasional narration, in stark contrast to some of the odd themes Magenta have chosen. But as already noted, ultimately it’s just old-school neoprogressive and as such nothing to get very excited about. GRADE: C+.
C Sides Project (UK): Purple Hearts Corner (No label, download, 2020)
This is arguably a step up from 10 Days – heavier, livelier and more varied and dynamic, but whilst it’s frequently pretty good it’s still not hugely memorable. As a footnote, Siân Elson contributes only a few backing vocals, despite being credited as a full band member. GRADE: C+.
C Sides Project (UK): Different Plain (White Knight WKCS0918, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2022)
Siân Elson (occasional vocals), Lucy Elson (occasional vocals)
This tends to reinforce rather than challenge the impression given by previous C Sides albums: they’re a damn sight better than most neoprog outfits and they’re not afraid of some mild experiments, but this doesn’t quite have what it takes to lift it from good to great. Perhaps it’s simply not challenging enough. GRADE: C+.
Caamora (UK/Poland): Walk On Water (Metal Mind Productions MASS CD DG 1017, CD, with digipak, Poland, 2007)
Agnieszka Świta (principal vocals)
The hype sticker describes this as a ‘new sensational project’, but like Clive Nolan and Agnieszka Świta’s previous EP under their own names it’s solid rather than spectacular. Once again, they offer pleasant if unremarkable symphonic rock, though this time round the songwriting seems less accomplished; and once again they’re not exactly generous with the material, offering four songs totalling a mere 17 minutes. GRADE: C+.
Caamora (UK/Poland): She (Metal Mind Productions MMP6CDBOX001, double DVD plus quadruple CD, with digipak, booklet, postcards and box, Poland, 2008)
Agnieszka Świta (principal vocals), Christina Murphy (joint lead vocals)
One can’t fault Clive Nolan’s ambition: this gargantuan set includes his Rider Haggard-inspired rock opera as a studio double CD, a live double CD and a double DVD, with the latter also including the entire Closer and Walk On Water EPs and two cuts from the Embrace EP, plus a ‘making-of’ documentary, biography, discography, photo gallery and desktop images. In fact, the whole thing runs for a staggering 450 minutes, allowing one to spend an entire working day wallowing in his creation. But what of the music? Rock opera isn’t one of my favourite styles, and nor is this brand of neoprog, but Nolan can certainly craft a tune and this is well above average for the genre. The concert DVD is excellently filmed and demonstrates the staging to have been extremely professional, completing an accomplished (if rather daunting) package. GRADE: C+.
Caamora (UK/Poland): Journey’s End… An Acoustic Anthology (Metal Mind Productions MASS CD 1237 DGD, double CD, with digipak and booklet, 2008)
Agnieszka Świta (principal vocals), Christina Murphy (occasional vocals)
Mostly recorded live, this mostly consists of piano-backed songs with a rather theatrical feel. The repertoire draws from the band’s own catalogue as well as Nolan’s other ventures, and despite the title there are a fair few numbers with electric backing that add a much-needed jolt of energy. Overall it’s inoffensive enough stuff that could appeal to people enjoying Renaissance at their straightest, but the show tune edges may displease some listeners. GRADE: C+.
See also Clive Nolan & Agnieszka Świta, Agnieszka Świta
Cabaret Du Ciel (Italy): Blue Form (Mellow MMP 387, CD, 2000)
Silvia Marton (lead vocals)
A rather odd mixture of synth, neoclassical and new wave music with a few minor hard rock touches, this occasionally hints at fellow Italians Dunwich or to a lesser extent Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus, but is nowhere near as good or as adventurous as either. This was actually the band’s second and final album; they had issued a cassette Skies In The Mirror with an all-male line-up back in 1992. GRADE: C+.
Cactus Rose (USA): The Cactus Rose Project (Mars 1004, 1979)
Cindy Cox (joint lead vocals, percussion, flute)
As the band name suggests, this is rural rock, though with the emphasis on both parts of the equation. The band also had some clear soft rock leanings and a definite interest in progressive music: the opening ‘Jelly’ is a mellow, funky seven-minute instrumental with a few slight disco edges. The other standout cut is the closing ‘Where The Blues Can’t Find Him’ with its intense yet relaxed groove and assertive guitar solo, meaning the album is bookended by its finest material. GRADE: C+.
Caçulas (Brazil): Os Caçulas (RCA BBL-1446, 1968)
Harmony pop Brazilian-style, and very nice this is too. Without the overbearing orchestrations that often plague albums of its type, this easily rivals anything similar to come out of the USA at the time. GRADE: C+.
Caçulas (Brazil): Os Caçulas (RCA BBL-1 511, 1969)
Mostly this is more of the same and again very listenable, but ‘A Moça Do Kharmann Ghia Vermelho’ has harder rock backing and lots of acid guitar for a more psychedelic feel. ‘Let’s Get Together’, a mainstay of this kind of album, puts in an appearance in a Portuguese language version. GRADE: C+.
Cado Belle (UK): Cado Belle (Anchor ANCL 2015, with inner, 1976)
Maggie Reilly (lead vocals)
Cado Belle are remembered, if at all, for launching the career of Mike Oldfield collaborator Maggie Reilly. Their obscurity is well deserved: whilst their songwriting was competent and their arrangements highly professional, their sole album was generic funky and soulful mid-seventies pop, indistinguishable from hundreds of other equally obscure LPs released around the same time. GRADE: C.
See also Mike Oldfield, Maggie Reilly
Caedmon (UK): Caedmon (No label, with 7" single and insert, 1978)
Angela Naylor (principal vocals)
By the time this defining acid-folk album was issued, this Scottish band had been gigging for four years, and the LP was intended as a farewell gift to their fans as they’d already decided to call it a day. They found they had recorded some 54 minutes of music, so to release it all chose to include a sleeveless 7" single as a bonus with the album, which comes housed in a wonderful, mystical cover. Across the two discs, the band offers a variety of electric folk styles on mainly original material: from the complex, doomy, full-blown prog of ‘Storm’ to the haunting, evocative balladry of ‘The Sea’; from the intricate, multi-part harmonies of ‘Aslan’ to the frenetic, mandolin-driven ‘Columba’s Song’; and from the pop-ish whimsy of ‘Living In The Sunshine’ to the searing lead guitar work and abrupt tempo changes of the opening ‘Ten Maidens Fair’. GRADE: A–.
Caedmon (UK): Live (Kissing Spell/Erewhon KSCD 9505-F, CD, 1995, recorded 1977-1978)
Angela Naylor (principal vocals)
When Kissing Spell reissued the band’s LP on CD in 1994 (unusually for them, in the original artwork), they also unearthed live tapes from a couple of 1977 and 1978 concerts, which were released as this lengthy standalone CD. This is a superb album in its own right, with excellent sound quality, superb performances and quite a number of exclusive songs. Unlikely though it may sound, this set actually indicates that the studio album could have been even better, as two cuts in particular outclass much of the material that was recorded: the opening ‘London Psalm’ is the most savage piece the band ever attempted, driven by screeching walls of fuzz guitar, and ‘The Garden’ is a superb progressive number. GRADE: A–.
Caedmon (UK): A Chicken To Hug (Caedmon’s Return CRCD0001, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2010)
Angela Naylor (joint lead vocals)
That this unexpected reunion album is not a patch on their first is a given. That it’s a solid collection of songs in its own right is more surprising. The first couple of cuts strongly recall their seventies work, but elsewhere this is mellower, less ethereal and far less psychedelic, despite the presence of some good lead guitar work. It’s a varied record, with several cuts that don’t work enormously well, but there is some fine material here and the quality of their writing and musicianship really shines through. GRADE: B–.
Caedmon (UK): Rare (Caedmon’s Return 002, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2019, recorded 1975-2019)
Angela Naylor (joint lead vocals), Sally Jaquet (occasional vocals)
Nine years after A Chicken To Hug, Caedmon return with an album that’s part-new (seven modern studio recordings) and part-archive (five live numbers from 1975, one from 1978 and a bonus track of uncredited provenance). The only familiar number is ‘London Psalm’, live in 1975 and far less wild than the furious version on Caedmon Live. In fact, the whole album is rather straighter than their previous work, excepting the opening studio cut ‘Dream Of The Rood’, with its complex progressive diversions, focusing on straighter folk on the archive recordings and relaxed borderline folk/rock on the new studio cuts. Nonetheless, there is some lovely music here, adding up to a fine addendum to their catalogue. GRADE: B–.
Cahoots (USA): In Cahoots (AJC AJC 1952-03, with inner, 1983)
Ann Marie Barnett (joint lead vocals)
Not to be confused with the prolific Canterbury band In Cahoots, this Cahoots was a deeply obscure country/rock outfit. Despite some lugubrious male vocals and a mildly humorous hillbilly air, this is towards the rock end of the equation, with some nice robust arrangements and well-judged use of keyboards. Add in decent songwriting and an exceptionally good recording, and the result is an unusual and enjoyable LP. Oddly, the printed inner sleeve consists of nothing but dedications, in which they thank several hundred people. GRADE: C+.
Cair Paravel (UK): Some Other Morning (Koala KOA PO16, with insert, 1976)
Maggie Delves (joint lead vocals, mandolin), Siân Harry (piano)
This is a top-flight rarity that consistently sells for huge money, but its gentle, self-penned folk songs, many with Christian lyrics, are pleasant rather than remarkable. The best number is the mesmerising, shimmering “September Night Song’, with ‘Summer’s End’ having occasional flashes of the same brilliance; the remainder at least has a warm and mellow atmosphere. The band’s leader Pete Ryder had previously been the driving force behind Paradise Square; along with keyboardist Siân Harry, he would go on to cut an obscure LP for the Profile label.
See also Pete Ryder & Siân Harry
Maryen Cairns (Australia): The Pictures Within (Progressive International PRO 008, CD, USA, 1991)
Maryen Cairns (lead vocals, keyboards, programming)
Despite the label name – which did indeed see the album promoted as progressive rock – this is singer/songwriter music with melodic pop and new wave edges and slightly symphonic, partly electronic backing. Cairns can certainly craft a good tune, but she has an unusual voice (somewhere between quasi-operatic and semi-spoken, though this may be difficult to imagine) and the arrangements sound very dated nowadays. She might also have been better advised to avoid trying to make weighty statements on overpopulation, the plight of women in Muslim countries and the horrors of child abuse (at one point, we helpfully learn that paedophiles are ‘vile’). GRADE: C–.
Maryen Cairns (Australia): For Eternity (Progressive International PRO 015, CD, UK, 1993)
Maryen Cairns (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, programming)
Her second is a bit of a step up from her first: slightly more symphonic, slightly more rock-oriented and slightly more organic (notably on ‘The Concert Bitch’, where she drops all the synthesisers). However, this is still fairly low-budget and I’m still not convinced by her songs or her singing, which sometimes resembles a more girlish Tracy Hitchings. GRADE: C.
Maryen Cairns (Australia): Stories From Beneath (Sydney Songwriters, CD, 2003)
Maryen Cairns (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
Freed from the high-tech arrangements of her first two albums, Cairns sounds far more comfortable here: the irritating vocal gymnastics are almost entirely absent, she’s mainly singing in her natural register, and her lyrics swap global platitudes for the more personal and profound. In fact, this is good enough that you forget that the backing mainly consists just of acoustic guitars and occasional (and very well used) trombone. GRADE: C+.
Maryen Cairns (Australia): Stories From The Red Tent (Red Tent, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2012)
Once again, Cairns plays almost everything, but the key instrument here is piano and the sound is much more refined, with new age influences beginning to creep into her style. This doesn’t always work to the music’s advantage – ‘Rain’ in particular is both too precious and too childlkike – but overall this is a significant step forward from Stories From Beneath with more varied arrangements taking in occasional programmed percussion, strings and recorder. GRADE: C+.
Maryen Cairns (Australia): Femina Australis (No label 190394400913, CD, with book sleeve, 2016)
Maryen Cairns (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion, strings, autoharp)
This concept album about pioneering women who shaped Australian history is a low-key delight and virtrually defines the word ‘synergy’: the beautiful book sleeve telling their stories is every bit as important as the music. The organic electric arrangements here suit the material perfectly, taking Cairns’s music to another dimension and making one wonder how her first couple of LPs might have sounded had she arranged the songs thus. GRADE: B–.
Maryen Cairns (Australia): Come To Me (No label, CD, Guernsey, 2019)
Maryen Cairns (lead vocals, guitar, piano, shaker)
This doesn’t have the conceptual unity or beautiful packaging of its predecessor, but it comprises possibly Cairn’s best selection of songs to date, given considerable heft by the full band arrangements and vivid production. GRADE: B–.
Maryen Cairns (Australia): Anew (No label, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, Guernsey, 2022)
Maryen Cairns (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion, strings, horns, harp)
This isn’t inferior to her last couple of albums, but it is both more delicate and less varied. As such, the rock break in ‘Superwoman’ and the floating, wordless ‘Slow Burn’ elevate the album considerably and more such diversions would have strengthened it further. GRADE: C+.
Cairo (UK): Say (Heavy Right Foot HRFCD1501, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2016)
Rachel Hill (joint lead vocals)
I never really rated Rob Cottingham’s previous band Touchstone, so didn’t have high hopes for Cairo. Nonetheless, this is better all round – more creative and more atmospheric, with the music presented as a continuous suite and ethnic elements occasionally used to good effect. When all is said and done, this is still heavy neoprogressive rather than anything ground-breaking, but it’s definitely a significant step in the right direction. GRADE: C+.
Cairo (UK): Alive In Holland (Heavy Right Foot, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2020)
Their studio album struck me as above-average neoprogressive, which some may consider the dictionary definition of faint praise. This live album strikes me as average neoprogressive, so my praise is fainter still. It’s all perfectly listenable, but with short, discrete songs is less expansive than its studio counterpart, and there’s limited live ambience – in fact, I suspect that a few tracks may have been recorded at soundchecks or in the studio. GRADE: C+.
Cake (USA): The Cake (Decca DL 4927 / 74927, 1967)
Barbara Morillo (joint lead vocals), Eleanor Barooshian (joint lead vocals), Jeanette Jacobs (joint lead vocals)
Offering a bizarre mixture of styles, the album opens with three late girl-group numbers with epic Phil Spector-ish production. The remainder of side one is taken up with three folky self-penned numbers: the first mediaeval-esque, the second mildly psychedelic (the excellent ‘Fire Fly’) and the third mournful and heavily orchestrated. Side two is all covers, in an upbeat soul/pop vein, bearing some resemblance to contemporary Ike & Tina Turner. Altogether, this is a very nice LP, but a very strange one. Dr John plays on the album and composes one song, whilst Cher contributes uncredited backing vocals. GRADE: C+.
Cake (USA): A Slice Of Cake (Decca DL 75039, 1969)
This time round, they pen most of the material, and the bulk of it is in a similar baroque folk style to the original songs on the first album (albeit with a bit of a contemporary singer/songwriter edge). However, ‘Extroverted Introvert’ is a bizarre jaunty number with a bit of a Caribbean feel, ‘Annabelle Clarke’ is bouncy sixties pop, and there’s a medley of R&B covers just to ensure that this is nearly as schizophrenic as its predecessor. GRADE: C+.
Cake Bake Betty (USA): Songs About Teeth! (Infinity Cat ICR-22, CD, with minisleeve, 2006)
This project by the prolific Lindsay Powell focuses on slightly baroque folky pop, with some pleasant material and excellent arrangements. I’m less keen on the breathy, girly, quintessentially American way she sings the material, but those with a taste for the twee could rate this highly. GRADE: C+.
Cake Bake Betty (USA): To The Dark Tower (Infinity Cat ICR-31, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2006)
The second and final Cake Bake Betty album (there was also a cassette with live snippets, limited to 20 copies) runs for less than half an hour and, even more than its predecessor, consists of brief snippets and vignettes. Nonetheless, it’s the better of their albums, with some fine material and a few effective rockers – the title of their first notwithstanding, this is the one that features songs with teeth. GRADE: C+.
See also Festival, Fielded, Ga’an
Gayle Caldwell (USA): Celebration Of Life (A&M SP 4196, 1969)
Gayle Caldwell (lead vocals, piano)
This beautiful, rather precious singer/songwriter venture with heavily orchestrated backing could be summed up as the American equivalent of Catherine Howe’s first LP (at a fraction of the price). The best track by far is ‘Lonely Lily’, a shimmering piece of acid-folk with an Oriental flavour and no orchestrations. GRADE: C+.
Callahan & Naz (USA): Callahan And Naz (No label, 1981)
Jackie Callahan (lead vocals)
Oddly, Jackie Callahan and John Nazarenko also recorded two albums as Nazjazz, dominated by the latter’s laid-back, introspective, jazzy songwriting. In Callahan & Naz, however, it’s Callahan who sings everything and dominates the writing, and the music is completely different, being hard rock and AOR. Whilst the disc breaks no new ground (and is remarkably short), it’s pleasant enough, with a few slight jazzy touches recalling Nazjazz and also a few hints of contemporary Stevie Nicks (with both traits being most obvious on side one’s closer ‘In The Street’). GRADE: C+.
See also Nazjazz
Calliope (Italy): Il Madrigale Del Vento (Vinyl Magic VMNP 015, CD, 1995)
Annalisa Gastaldo (lead vocals)
Bookended by lengthy songs of sixteen and seventeen minutes, this starts off unpromisingly, offering typical keyboard-led Italian neoprogressive. However, things improve halfway through, with the excellent instrumental ‘En Haute De Crète’, the beautiful ‘La Bionda Treccia’ with purely orchestral backing, and the closing ‘La Visione Della Dolce Pioggia’, which is by far the better of the extended tracks. With a very Italian feel, influences from folk and renaissance music, and lots of classical references, the end result is an enjoyable and mildly interesting LP. As a footnote, the band cut three other albums with an all-male line-up. GRADE: C+.
Camino & Luz (Chile): Camino Y Luz (Ediciones Paulinas LP 0019, with booklet, 1973?)
Lupe (joint lead vocals), Luisa (joint lead vocals), Tita (joint lead vocals), Mony (joint lead vocals), Ely (joint lead vocals)
This is one of the rarest private pressings from Chile, apparently issued in a run of 99 copies. Musically, it’s nice Christian folk/rock, with solo and massed vocals accompanied by gentle electric backing, all with the optimistic, elegiac mood one would expect. GRADE: C+.
Camizole (France): Camizole (Spalax CD 14549, CD, 1999, recorded 1977)
François Crublé (guitar, percussion, saxophone, flute, melodica)
Recorded live, this set was intended for release back in the seventies on Tapioca, but the label folded before it could be issued and it remained unheard for 22 years. The world didn’t miss much: these fifteen untitled instrumental improvisations aren’t unlistenable, but in totality they seem to go on forever. Ultimately, they sound like what they are: four doubtless quite pretentious French longhairs fooling around aimlessly and abusing their instruments to their hearts’ delight. Band member Dominique Grimaud later formed Video-Aventures. GRADE: D.
Camus (UK): Then And Now (Brewhouse BHC9035, cassette, 1990, recorded 1984 & 1990)
Debbie Patterson (joint lead vocals, bodhrán)
In case you ever wondered what Andrew Burn and Dave Somerville got up to after being half of Cobblers Last, here’s your answer. This features a side apiece from two different line-ups of the band (hence the title): the first recorded in 1984, with Debbie Patterson in the line-up, and the second in 1990 with an all-male line-up. Musically, it’s not a million miles away from Cobblers Last, but to these ears is slightly more accomplished all around, including two or three stunningly beautiful songs. GRADE: B–.
Can AM Des Puig (Spain): The Book Of AM “Part One” – Dawn And Morning (Labo Lab LTM 1016, France, 1976)
Carmeta Mansilla (joint lead vocals), Leslie Mackenzie (tamboura, backing vocals)
This band of Spanish mystics originally planned the album as a double LP accompanied by a 100-page book of illustrations and musings, but lack of funding meant it emerged as a single disc in a gatefold sleeve. Musically, it’s trippy and rather eerie acid-folk with mostly acoustic arrangements and a sort of European 'Wicker Man' feel. In 2006, the Spanish label Wah Wah finally released the whole work as a limited edition double LP or double CD in a lavish book sleeve; this proved that the second disc was every bit as beautiful and haunting as the first. Given the band’s intentions, this reissue (or the audiophile double SHM-CD on Belle Antique in Japan, sadly with the book reduced to CD size) should be regarded as the definitive artefact. As a footnote, the band were associates of Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth, and there are unsubstantiated rumours that the duo put in an uncredited appearance. GRADE: B.
Can AM Des Puig (Spain): The Book Of AM – Pts III & IV, Afternoon And Evening (Wah Wah LPS 122, double, 2013)
Carmeta Mansilla (joint lead vocals), Leslie Mackenzie (joint lead vocals, drum)
Completing the band’s original concept, this long-delayed follow-up is, remarkably, just as haunting and beautiful as its predecessor. Some may find it a little precious and also a little pretentious, but by any standards this is absolutely top-class mystical acid-folk. GRADE: B.
Can AM Des Puig (Spain): The Book Of AM – Pt V, Night (Wah Wah LPS213, 2018, recorded 1977 & 2018)
Leslie Mackenzie (occasional vocals, guitar)
The final instalment of The Book Of AM consists of 1977 demos overdubbed in 2018: whilst this occasionally sounds like a barrel being scraped, it’s mostly agreeably spacy stuff that complements the other releases rather well. In particular, the hypnotic, percussive closer ‘The End’ is quite delightful. Oddly, John McGeoch is credited with the backing track on ‘Naad’; how and when he got involved, I have no idea. GRADE: B–.
Canadian Rock Theatre (Canada): Canadian Rock Theatre (Lion LN-1003, USA, 1972)
Laurie Hood (occasional vocals), Karen Silver (occasional vocals), Patti Jannetta (occasional vocals), Avril Chown (occasional vocals)
This obscure outfit featured two former members of the Sugar Shoppe, but there’s no musical resemblance: this is gospel rock, mixing original compositions with numbers from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Godspell’. That doesn’t make it sound particularly appealing, but the album is packed with searing guitar work and some very intense playing, making it worth hearing. The gentle, haunting folk number ‘By My Side’ and the powerful ‘Changing Day To Day’ are easily the best cuts. GRADE: C+.
See also Sugar Shoppe
Canamii (South Africa): Concept (WEA WIC 8001, 1980)
Claire Whittaker (principal vocals)
Offering a derivative yet quite unusual sound, this keyboard-led progressive album resembles Curved Air on the songs and early Renaissance on the instrumentals. With fairly short tracks, it’s simultaneously slick and commercial yet unpredictable and amateurish, and their geographical location shows through in some tribal hand percussion. Whilst not brilliant, it’s enjoyable and mildly interesting, and decidedly uncommon for its era and origin. GRADE: C+.
Candle Factory (UK): Nightshift (CAVS ST020, 1977)
I underestimated this at first, due to its amateurish, flat, rather listless sound (vaguely similar to Shide & Acorn, though Candle Factory don’t have the same stoned, slightly mystical, edge). Nonetheless it’s quite distinctive for a Christian LP: far from being filled with messianic fervour, Candle Factory sound so laid-back as to be borderline comatose, and the delicate, mainly acoustic arrangements (with some electric leads and bass adding counterpoint) work well. The best cut is probably ‘Blue Denim’, which could pass for an outtake from Loudest Whisper’s The Children Of Lir. GRADE: C+.
Cannock (West Germany): Waiting For The Night (Peak 3080, 1980)
Raphaela Ciblis (lead vocals)
Their first album is classic prog-tinged hard rock with a very German feel (think Birth Control or Jane). The first two cuts are right at the peak of the genre, with great riffs and solos, suggesting that this is going to be an outstanding LP, but the remaining material is nowhere near as good. Nonetheless, this is certainly worth obtaining by anyone who likes the style. GRADE: C+.
Cannock Combo (West Germany): Fröhe Botschaft (Neue Welt 9007, with insert, 1982)
Raphaela Ciblis (lead vocals, saxophone)
Bizarrely, their second and final LP (under a slightly altered band name) is radically different. Sung entirely in German, it’s a hybrid of reggae and new wave, with some progressive tinges in the keyboard riffs and drumming, hinting at a poppier twist on Swiss Chalet-era Cos. However, a couple of tracks are in a similar vein to their first album, although not of the same quality as that LP’s better cuts. GRADE: C.
See also Various ‘Rock Offers’
CANO (Canada): Tous Dans L’Même Bateau (A&M SP-9024, with inner, 1976)
Rachel Paiement (joint lead vocals, guitar, percussion)
The debut album by this long-running band offers some lovely singer/songwriter-style folk/rock, alternating between atmospheric ballads and less effective country/rockers. Three long tracks give the group a chance to stretch out, but mostly this is good rather than great, with the closing ‘Baie Ste-Marie’ being in a different league to the rest of the LP. Interestingly, the guests include Luc Cousineau on percussion. GRADE: C+.
CANO (Canada): Au Nord De Notre Vie (A&M SP-9028, with inner, 1977)
Rachel Paiement (joint lead vocals, guitar, percussion)
A big step up from its predecessor, this drops the country/rock leanings and is far more progressive, especially on the eleven-minute suite ‘À La Poursuite Du Nord’ and the twelve-minute ‘Mon Pays’, which consists largely of relaxed jazzy jamming. Other highlights include the effective rocker ‘La Première Fois’ and the mellow closing instrumental ‘Spirit Of The North’, making for easily their best album. GRADE: B–.
CANO (Canada): Eclipse (A&M SP-9033, with inner, 1978)
Rachel Paiement (joint lead vocals, guitar)
Only once does this equal the best moments of its predecessor (the symphonic instrumental ‘Earthly Mother’) and there’s only one extended cut (the dramatic nine-minute closer ‘Bienvenue 1984’). Nonetheless it’s a perfectly pleasant set, sometimes resembling countrymen Oasis or Joni Mitchell when Rachel Paiement’s beautiful voice is fronting the music. This was the last album to feature founder member André Paiement, who committed suicide during 1978. GRADE: C+.
CANO (Canada): Rendezvous (A&M SP-9037, with inner, 1979)
Rachel Paiement (joint lead vocals, guitar)
There are no extended tracks at all this time around, but there are two rather good instrumentals. The overall standard may be a little higher, but there’s nothing to equal the impact of Eclipse’s two best tracks. Following the album’s release, the band went into hibernation, with Rachel Paiement leaving the music business, Wasyl Kohut dying from a brain aneurysm and the remaining members cutting a one-off album as Masque. CANO’s only other releases were the compilation Spirit Of The North (A&M SP-9040, 1980), which featured three dull new pop/rock tracks (including a version of ‘Carrie’, better known as a hit for Cliff Richard) and the equally dull and uncharacteristic reformation effort Visible (Ready LD 054, with insert, 1984), cut with an all-male line-up. GRADE: C+.
Antonio Resines & Teresa Cano (Spain): Canciones De Carcel De Ho Chi Minh (Movieplay S-17.0865/8, with insert, 1976)
Teresa Cano (joint lead vocals)
This hippie-folk concept album is quite varied, from gentle acoustic settings with hand percussion and flute through to full-blown rock with acid guitar, tempo changes and jazzy woodwind. At times it fringes RIO, with some strong progressive leanings, but remains consistently melodic while throwing in quite a few surprises. GRADE: B–.
Teresa Cano (Spain): Si Las Cosas No Fueran Tan Enojosas (Nevada ND-5026, 1977)
Teresa Cano (principal vocals)
Cano’s solo album consists of atmospheric rock with a jazzy touch and some notable progressive edges, plus a few hints of her Spanish origins. A couple of numbers don’t work so well, but overall this is a very good album. The disc, which like its predecessor is extremely rare, comes with a very attractive gatefold sleeve. GRADE: C+.
Canterbury Glass (UK): Sacred Scenes And Characters (Flawed Gems GEM 118, CD, Sweden, 2013, recorded 1968)
Valerie Watson (occasional vocals, flute, harmonica)
This was one of the first British progressive rock albums to be recorded but remained unreleased for more than 40 years (a version with four of the proposed LP’s six tracks was issued in 2007 – Ork ORK 5, CD). Crossing church music with powerful post-psychedelic jamming rock, it’s a striking and accomplished work with lots of rich period organ, though it’s perhaps a bit lacking in variety. Above all, this is an extremely significant piece of British progressive rock history. GRADE: B–.
Cantina Sociale (Italy): Balene (C’È Qualcosa Di Più) (ElectRomantic Music ART 404, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2001)
Marina Gentile (guitar), Rosalba Gentile (keyboards), Carla Viarengo (saxophone, backing vocals)
The best thing by far here is the instrumental ‘Dive-Nire’; whilst there’s nothing particularly wrong with the songs, which have a nice mellow Rock Progressivo Italiano feel, they’re not particularly exciting. That said, some of the tempo changes (notably on the opening ‘Ulisse’) are very badly handled, so overall this sounds like an embryonic work from an emerging band rather than anything fully realised. GRADE: C+.
Cantina Sociale (Italy): Catturati Live (ElectRomantic Music EMC 1702, DVD, with booklet, 2005)
Marina Gentile (guitar), Rosalba Gentile (keyboards), Carla Viarengo (saxophone, backing vocals)
This live DVD, which mixes in some interview footage, is visually unspectacular, mostly showing the band under gloomy red or blue lighting. However, the music sometimes achieves an impressive intensity, making this preferable to their studio album. GRADE: C+.
Cantina Sociale (Italy): Cum Lux (ElectRomantic Music ARTP 503, CD, 2009)
Marina Gentile (guitar), Rosalba Gentile (keyboards), Carla Viarengo (saxophone, backing vocals)
They’ve learned a fair few tricks in eight years: this polished and highly professional album has none of the occasional awkwardness of their first. That said, their understated, song-based style doesn’t really lend itself to epic pieces, so the 20½-minute title track decidedly outstays its welcome. GRADE: C+.
Cantina Sociale (Italy): Caosfera (ElectRomantic Music EMC 1702, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2017)
Marina Gentile (guitar), Rosalba Gentile (keyboards)
The first thing I noticed was that there were no lyrics in the booklet. The second was that when the CD started, Cantina Sociale were playing like a band possessed. At that point, I realised that they’d gone instrumental – and that they’d finally fulfilled the potential suggested on their DVD. Running from the gamut from borderline zeuhl and RIO to hints of metal to good old-fashioned symphonic prog, this is in a different league from anything they’ve done before. GRADE: B–.