Thursday, April 18, 2013

Henry The Fifth's View Of The Modern England- Sorrow, Hatred, And Punishment To Almost All- In Music He Finds Consolation

What is the world coming to I'd like somebody to tell me if somebody knows. The end seems in sight with the endless bombings, shootings, and violence plaguing America, but for England the end might be even closer when it comes to respectability.  I used to believe that men as great as Henry The Fifth and Sigfried Sassoon still could exist and relish in the current England, but now I know better. What I am going to illustrate here will tell you all the things they never want you to know if you are English, Scottish, or any of the countries in the United Kingdom or Commonwealth. I would never move to England now. You couldn't pay me to. My dream about England was based on good times in the past there, but now I know that the country is full of hatred for foreigners and is not even a pale shadow of its former self. The recently deceased Margaret Thatcher set the country on the road to ruin and then it was decimated into a narrow minded nationalistic country where the crime rate, poverty, and pollution especially what I call "Emotional Pollution" has all but destroyed it.  I have been treated with unforgivable nastiness by a lot of people in England and I know my belief in that country still able to hold within its tightly shut walls heroes and kings to be was a complete and total fabrication. In this blog music doesn't take a backseat because it is the only thing that heals poor Henry The Fifth when he comes back to see what his beloved England has turned into.
       Henry wakes up one morning not long after Saint Crispian's Day and his brilliant victory at Agincourt to wonder what the future holds for England. He is proud of his country. It is a vast and great and handsome, beautiful land where the people have solid moral values.  It is made out of the solid stone foundation of trust and love. He wants to know if England maintains its brilliance through the ages. He is in for a big shock. He gets up on his horse and lo and behold that horse turns into a Pegasus and a Time Machine- he flies on its courageous wings and then boards its suave comfy inside of a spaceship type of machine to go forward into the world of England today.
       The first thing he does is to see what England turns into over the next several hundreds of years and already he is very disheartened, but not totally shaken of his love for his country. He goes to Victorian England and is in Soho one night when there is a loud scream and the sound of running, frantic feet. A tall blond man in a suit with a few blood stains on his tie accidentally runs into him. The two behold the differences in each other and to make up for the run in Henry and the tall blond man go for a swim in the Thames. Whilst swimming they have a conversation:
 "Henry: And who art Thou? How darest Thou to run into me the sovereign King of England?
Man: I confess, sir, I am a murderer of prostitutes and my name is Jack, but not Jack Falstaff as you can see. I serve in what is called The House Of Lords and they have nicknamed me "Jack The Ripper" in the papers.
Henry: Sblood! I think you art a sick and perverted man for killing, but tell me what is this word, a prostitute?
Jack: A prostitute is a woman who sells her body for cheap sexual longings and who oftentimes carries diseases.
Henry: What!? Horrible! Ghastly! We had Harlots, but I suppose they were better than this. Still, couldn't you just try to educate these women and help them out of their wicked ways?
Jack: A valid point. I suppose I should try that, but I am a man with a mad and twisted mind to most people, a man who doesn't think enough. Still, you look like someone I've envisioned when I've read Shakespeare, but surely it cannot be so. Are you The Noble King Henry The Fifth?
Henry: That is me. Thou art correct in thine assumption. This England, this city tis big and crowded and dirty, but it looks interesting. Wouldst thou mind giving me a little tour?
Jack: Not at all, sir. I am very pleased to make your acquaintance. There is a theater here called The Globe where they put on all of Shakespeare's plays. Would you like to go to it?
Henry: First pray tell me who is Shakespeare?
Jack: Hah! Only the greatest writer ever to come from our country. Don't worry sir, I do not mock you. He has preserved your Glory forever and people will talk of him, talk of you, and possibly talk of me forever. I wonder how much fouler the air and the country will be then, though. I do not like a lot of what I see around me. It does my head in. That is why I turn to these fits of violence and murders.
Henry: This Shakespeare sounds like a most great man and writer indeed. Shall we go for a little tour after we dry off?
Jack: I'll take you all over the country if you'd like. You may not like this new London much, but there are good aspects to it I suppose. Good food and drink. People are tightly bound together. Everyone bids everyone else the same token respect if they too are friendly for the most part, but I am a man of violent means of showing my distaste so they are all hunting after me. They think I am not a man, but a crazed, raving animal. Animals shouldn't be hunted down human or furry ones.
Henry: Show me around, then. It sounds like there are some things that I will like some that will horrify me."
   So Henry gets a tour of London from none other than the infamous Jack The Knife. He is already shocked, but most of that is remedied when the people of London help bring him up to date as much as he can be. He gets along well with most of the people and delights in the pubs and entertainment. Jack turns out to be somebody who is so confused, so off his head that his violence can't be cured, but he at least knows that what he does shouldn't be done by anybody to anybody. Henry isn't completely disillusioned yet, but there is much that he misses from his period of England. The two of them decide to see the beginning of the 20th century before heading into the 21st and are forced to behold the First World War.
   They are so shocked and horrified by what is going on that they cry, especially Henry. Jack says "Time May Heal This Tortured Land But It Won't Save The Poor Soldiers From All Nations" Henry is determined to lead a large Army to the 21st century so he takes a huge number of soldiers from England and Germany to the 21st Century that he, and it turns out, Jack The Ripper even, are so curious about. They are going to see just how far their two Englands have slid into destruction that along with the whole Army all Hell will break loose and Judgement and Damnation will be passed upon this current England.
  The first thing that happens is that Jack sees London now and goes completely ballistic and stands up in Trafalgar Square and demands people to stop abusing each other and polluting the planet:
    "You are a bunch of fools and swines! You call me a murderer, a madman, an insane animal, but you have no civilities towards each other nor do you have them towards anyone else in the whole world. You spit in the streets. You leave trash all over the public parks and pollute the air. You have no sense of the history of this country or what it is supposed to be and you don't care. I hate you all! You should be so ashamed of yourselves for how you live, but you don't care about anything, anyone but your own interests and your selfish, sick, twisted little world ten times worse than any murder I ever have been unfortunate enough to commit."
Henry echoes the same sentiments in a choked up speech that ends in helpless tears:
     "Fools! Traitors! Philistines and Rotten Innards Of Pig's Blood! This country is full of destruction, death, murder, treachery, selfishness. I cannot believe mine eyes! What can your excuse be!? How can you call this even a world!? There is nothing but war, violence, and blind hatred. My home is now a place I can't even recognize. You don't live properly and do not wish to know how. There is only one thing in common- the wars yet these wars be the cruelest, most disgusting, and most devoid of any kind of honor that I hast ever seen. I will punish Thee Anon by setting lose upon thee plagues and all the fires of Hell! You will rot in this prison that you call with mocking tongue England! Swounds! This is not England anymore at all! I can't stand it. Dear Lord I believe I feel the tears are coming to mine eyes. The beauty and splendor of my home all but destroyed forever."
And what do the people do when Henry is there weeping? They laugh at him. A fight ensues and all Hell breaks loose. To escape from the violence the Army quiet the crowd and Henry goes to a record store not even knowing what a record is. Followed by Jack who picks up some records also wondering what they are. When they see the prices on some of them they are even more curious as to what these little square containers with striking sleeves might hold. They are shown how to play a record by the kind man who owns the store and find in record and music lovers some hope and in rock and roll, folk, progressive, British Invasion, and psychedelic music the one thing that is great about the 20th/21st Century world. Soon Henry has ransacked every store all over England and is determined to learn all he needs to know about the more modern world through music. He is curious about America too. Henry finds that not all people are bad and so does Jack. The only problem is keeping people from to them stupid questions that need not answering to them.
    Bold and Honorable Henry finds out through learning how to understand the lyrics of the music that the world has disintegrated into endless wars, that people disrespect each other, but also that there still is some love. His most hated band is Iron Maiden and he has them publicly executed by his soldiers. To him they represent a perversion of the England he loved and cherished. His taste is much like mine. He loves the music of the 60s and 70s and finds it amazing. He buys an electric guitar and learns how to play it. Jack turns out to be quite a good singer and is taught how to sing rock music by none other than Rod Stewart and Paul McCartney along with Rob Halford and Arthur Brown. Halford has made him smile with "The Ripper," but he way prefers Toto and is interested in America, but after they learn of what America has turned into Henry, Jack, and their Army have some hard thinking to do. Can people be re-educated? Can the world be saved? Or are we all doomed because we've essentially just thrown all the greatness we once had out the window and are selfish, destructive, and horrifyingly poorly educated individuals? Unfortunately, after much debate, much time, and much thought Henry is determined to hardly spare anyone from his anger and the world is punished accordingly. England gets the worst of it and when the soldiers from World War 1 meet the soldiers of today they are so shocked by how bad a lot of them are that the new soldiers need to be shown that they are not worthy of fighting for England at all. The England they fight for isn't really England. After a fortnight's worth of living in the 21st century what happens to the world is that Henry finds that he alone can't save it, but can only take the lives of the people who have turned it into a tragic and destructive nightmarish devilish place of hate and destruction. Everywhere they go they try to bring peace through educating the people,  but the people refuse it. Jack becomes head of The London Police! Maybe you think that's the biggest shock, but the biggest shock of them all is perhaps that Henry has become a fine musician and writes songs. His songs will be what is through top volume played all over England as it goes up in fire to be rebuilt again to a modern version of his England. Henry loves everything that he's found in the record stores, well almost everything. He hates heavy metal, but he needs some heavy music for his day of vengeance so he finds the best he can use is hard progressive, heavy folkrock based stuff, and hard psychedelic rock all of which blow him completely away and inspire his own music. You should listen to all of it. Music is salvation. Most people can have the door shut right in their face and they wouldn't have opened it for you either so don't feel too bad about not being able to do much to turn them on to a better way to live.
   The best place to go for finding out in real life about how far England went down the shithole is actually an album from 1969- Bulldog Breed's MADE IN ENGLAND. The followups were two very different sides of the same hard psychedelic golden pound- T2 made somehow soothing blasting heavy power/melodic progressive rock on IT'LL ALL WORK OUT IN BOOMLAND and Asgard made the ultimate damning of what the world has become with also a one off release IN THE REALM OF ASGARD. These two have been firm favorites of mine for quite awhile now (BULLDOG BREED and ASGARD that is- I love T2, but don't have one at the moment), but there are some new brilliant albums I've been listening to. The most obscure of them is probably a richly augmented duo called Evensong whose one album on British Philips from 1973 is something of a tragic pop psych/baroque folkrock masterpiece that is as yet to be discovered by most people. And I've been digging a lot of bands from the States and from Europe. Thank Heaven for music and blame Hell for the world. The two are getting closer all the time...
I hope that my story will open up some eyes or at least make some people think. Get out in the streets and do what you did in the 60s- SPEAK UP AGAINST WAR, VIOLENCE, AND PREJUDICE! Have some consideration for other people and not just yourself. Try to make your life and your own world a good place, but don't try to turn on people who are nothing but bigoted, small-minded, and selfish fools who are making the world harder and harder for someone like me to be a part of. I have a lot of very strong negative feelings about much of what I see in England and America, but right now England is the country I am the most angry about or it could be something of a tie between the two. We certainly have a stupid view of our countries as being great when we've lost almost all the greatness we once may have had. Whether there still is time to mend and to heal we'll just have to wait and see if there is.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

WAM BAM GLAM! Waterloo (UK 1974 Great Glam/Pop/Prog/Rock) And Brighton Rock's (Canada 1988 Glam/AOR/Melodic Metal) Take A Deep Breath Underrated No Longer!

I've always had a really soft spot for glam rock/glitter rock whatever you want to call it that has included Sweet, Slade, Bowie, some T. Rex before Marc Bolan's ego eclipsed his talent and 80s bands like Skagarack and Treat (Denmark and Sweden respectively) always hit the right spot for me. Sparks are a great band who never made it huge on the same level as Sweet or Slade, but who did make quite a few really good records. Queen at one point were considered glam, but to me they were always more progressive rock. During the height of glam rock and the rediscovery of the roots of British rock in the 70s there were some terrible bands who capitalized on the glitter rock craze with snazzy clothes and horrible throwaway pop like Paper Lace and Gary Glitter that pedophile bastard, but these artists/bands will only be remembered for how horrible they were. Most of the bands active during the 1972 to 1977 period were high quality rock and later on in the heyday of big hair bands we had some with killer songs and intelligence to match of which Toronto Canada's Brighton Rock had an ace up their sleeve in TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Some bands had a glam image and fiercer music like the Danish heavy metallers Pretty Maids, but Pretty Maids had something most metal completely lacks- great lyrics.
     It has always been a case of too much and too many with a lot of bands failing to get the respect they so rightfully deserve usually because of the management, their record label, bad marketing, or just bad timing. Some of these bands become highly sought after collectors items or achieve huge cult status, but way too many of them just disappear. Waterloo are such a band. Whoever was writing the script didn't like this band. They came out in one of the most strikingly Godawful covers of the glam era with the band going down the throat of a screaming transvestite on a doily with the guy still with his lipstick on in the band photo! That and the fact of the progressive rock Belgian multi thousand Euro Waterloo from 1971 did this band no favors. In truth they beat the living shit out of the Belgian band whose album is a hodgepodge of sometimes brilliant late psychedelic rock/prog rock and sometimes horrible sludgy blues rock, but the British Waterloo didn't win this battle for Britain.
      Just like Bulldog Breed who went by completely unnoticed and then disappeared Waterloo are a band who exemplify the best England had to offer, but theirs is a different era and a different music. There are the blasting hard rockers on here that's true, but the songs all of which Ian Pearce wrote vary from Kinks meets Move gone heavy glam rock to laid back melodic almost McCartney numbers to a few skiffle/1960s influenced whimsical songs to the heavy progressive/psychedelic blowout "Strangers From The Sky." How a band with this much depth, power, and emotion went by with no notice is beyond me. There will always be bands that just don't get the respect they deserve at the time and Waterloo together with Circus from Cleveland Ohio are the number one bands who should have been huge nationally if not internationally, but who hit a brick wall. That brick wall is called OBSCURITY. You start in the dollar/cut out bin and then you end up pretty much with same fate among collectors although Circus and their 1973 masterpiece have gone on to be quite a collector's favorite (certainly one of mine!).     
     Unfortunately, Waterloo are still completely overlooked. I don't know why. The cover, ugly as it may be, catches the eye and the songs catch the ear. The influence of Ray Davis and The Kinks is obvious in a lot of tracks, but the real secret weapon is one of the two or 3 lead singers in the multitalented foursome sounds just like Dave Davies! Really. When they rock out on the second track "Ask Me" the guy is so close to Dave that he even throws in a few tasty guitar licks and heavy plowing riffs just like brilliant Dave! The first track, "Uncle Tom," sounds like "Victoria" meets an earlier British Invasion just post skiffle song with a lead vocal that is reminiscent of Ray! I never think there is anything wrong with a heavy influence of a great band so if Waterloo were obsessed with The Kinks more power to them! There aren't enough bands that sound like them. In 1974 the best band in the world (The Kinks) were having a bit of a lapse and Ray Davis was writing less inspired material than usual, but all that would change with SCHOOLBOYS IN DISGRACE which may have been 1974 I'm not sure. They really wouldn't hit their stride again until 1977 and SLEEPWALKER where Ray and Dave got back to their brilliant rollicking melodic rock which means that there was a gap and Waterloo filled it quite nicely thank you.
  "Joe Barrow" is a very silly lyric, but it is a fun good song that again is reminiscent of the mid to late 60s period of The Kinks- Great British pop/rock with nice use of acoustic and electric guitars and offbeat carefree vocals. "Winter Rose" sounds like McCartney if he'd rocked it up a bit more post BAND ON THE RUN and is one of the album's major highlights, but with "Ask Me" the jaw dropper on Side One is the over 8 minute last track on the side "Strangers From The Sky." This song is heavy progressive power rock with psychedelic overtones and screaming bombastic vocals about how aliens created the world! The female vocal bits are really spooky and there's a long percussion blow out in the middle before the song explodes again into the screaming Dave Davies gone mad vocals and the frenzied riffing. A really brilliant track this should be put on a compilation of best concept songs of the 70s.
    Side Two sticks to the straight melodic rock of much of Side One, but it gets even better in the writing department with amazing melodies and great vocals especially on the first two tracks. "Come And Have A Good Time" could be a lower pitched Pilot and "In The Heat Of The Afternoon" reminds me of The Move and maybe even more The Idle Race. The Kinks influence is still abundant too and maybe Waterloo missed out because their music was so classy that it was unfashionable- more late 60s/early 70s than mid 70s. 1974 was the year when the early 70s were ending and the best part of the mid 70s was beginning. Many throwback records appeared and another masterpiece still overlooked is Ex Tomorrow front man Keith West's brilliant German only release WHEREVER MY LOVE GOES- an album that appeared in 1974 and was recorded a full two years previously in 1972. Like Waterloo that album is hopelessly rare and obscure when it should have been a hit. Without support from your home base it gets really hard to break through.
   Waterloo rock out again on Side Two with "I've Been Thinking" and the Dave Davies gone funky hard rocker "Wandering" with its killer screaming vocals that again sound just like Dave! I love Ray Davis and I love Dave Davies- a band who try to sound like them is only gonna get one rating from me- TOPS! There's a mellow track on Side Two in "Sunny Old Days" which again recalls ARTHUR era Kinks and both bands shared the same arranger- Lew Warburton. I wonder if something was going on that we'll not know about. One thing is for sure, funny silly lovely-to-imagine out and out pop closing track "People Of The World" aside this album rocks out like The Kinks do at their best and like them is a melodic masterpiece. Ray AND Dave would be proud of them. I bet Ray would give this a thumb's up too and he certainly was in a bit of a rough period at the time, but he'd pull out of it as said with SLEEPWALKER- an album that like most Kinks records is amazing.
         Brighton Rock are a whole completely different thing. A different glam era and a different glam sound. They look like a perfect pin up group gone dark rather like if you crossed Shy with Def Leppard and that is a bit of their sound. TAKE A DEEP BREATH from 1988 may have saved my life had I heard it then when I was a beaten down and destroyed 12 year old wreck in a horrible school system and at the lowest ebb of my whole childhood, but now the album serves its purpose to comfort me and gives me fantasies of revenge. A year previous Brighton Rock debuted with the inconsistent YOUNG WILD AND FREE which does have its great moments, but not like this. TAKE A DEEP BREATH is hard rock/AOR/melodic glam metal genius and one of the deepest hardest hitting records ever made for its emotional content. Sometimes lead vocalist Gerald McGhee sounds joyful and like he's having a great time such as on the ebullient first track "Can't Stop The Earth From Shaking," but they follow that up with one of the most tortured and emotionally riveting songs ever recorded "Outlaw." "Outlaw" is about Jack The Ripper, a favourite subject of McGhee first dealt with on the first album's "Jack Is Back," but this song is something totally different. It has a really dark keyboard sound and dramatic soaring wailing vocals that sound like a plea or some kind of cry for help from a tormented soul. Gerald hits notes that are practically and at least for me impossible in the chorus of the beautiful song "One More Try" which must be the best power ballad ever written- even better than Shy's equally momentous "When The Love Is Over." "Hangin' High 'N Dry" is a moment of melodic glam AOR/hard rock keyboard heaven between the two stunning tracks "Outlaw" and "One More Try" with all of the songs on Side One alone making it seem impossible that the usual Canadian content problem wrecked everything for Brighton Rock.
      Unfortunately, the impossible proved possible. Whilst earning huge acclaim in their homeland and going gold the rest of the hard rock world turned their fickle noses up at Brighton Rock. That is really unforgivable. They were labelled as a second division band when they were better than ANY AND ALL METAL BANDS FROM ANYWHERE ELSE AT THE TIME! Iron Maiden were making stale garbage as usual and Brighton Rock were making real music. This was not going to go down well in the metal world and Brighton Rock give the ultimate middle finger to anybody who doesn't believe in them with Side One's awesome closing track "Unleash The Rage." This song rocks harder than anything Iron Maiden ever did with their plodding fascist nonsense and takes to the sky. McGhee wasn't the only trick up Brighton Rock's sleeve. They had an excellent co writer and inventive guitarist in Greg Fraser and a brilliant keyboard player in Johnny Rogers. They also had a really good rhythm section, but it seems like TAKE A DEEP BREATH was a one off. It's an album that speaks volumes and therefore doesn't need anything else from this band. I don't know their third album LOVE MACHINE at all well, but YOUNG WILD AND FREE isn't quite as good. There are some great songs like "We Came To Rock" and "Can't Wait For The Night," but also some laughable ones like "Sudden Change Of Heart." That said, Brighton Rock should be given a lot of credit for just how much talent they had. Coming out of Canada they had a Canadian sound up there with bands like Haywire and Haywire were another band who just didn't get anywhere outside of Canada. Brighton Rock and Haywire suffered the same fate as Birmingham's Shy and Sweden's Treat- glam bands of the lowest level made it a lot bigger than the best ones. I would prefer to think of glam as something musical rather than all image-oriented, but for a lot of bands that made it they were almost as insufferable musically as bad grease metal as I call it with just the love lyrics not hate lyrics the only thing to put them a bit higher.
       Side Two of TAKE A DEEP BREATH is as strong as Side One is. Every track from "Power Overload" to "Ride The Rainbow" which is an amazing song to the too-good-to-be-true-but-it-is closing track "Rebels With A Cause" should have been number 1, but the album and the band soon after went into the budget section and still can be found there today if you are lucky enough to find it. That is the biggest similarity with Waterloo. Neither of these is gonna cost you a huge amount, but prepare yourself to have to order these online as you won't find them in a record store nowadays unless you are very lucky. A different glam for a different era. A different hard rock for a different era. One thing is exactly equal, though, this is quality music that deserves to be given just as Brighton Rock say at least "One More Try." Waterloo and Brighton Rock should be given a try by you and they should be rediscovered from the "Underrated-In-The-Extreme" place they still reside in today. Give them a try and give them your support. They should have it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Deep Feeling And The Guillotine Record- A Crazy, Amazing, And Tragic History + The Decline And Fall Of England

I finally had the courage to buy a copy of Deep Feeling's "GUILLOTINE" record after having it been my most despised and feared album in the universe and it was a strange experience to be completely knocked out by it again like I was in the very beginning and to know that this time it really does stay up there with the best of British progressive rock of the classic era.
   My history with Deep Feeling is unlike that of any other record or band in my collection especially in that sighting it on the wall of a record store called Venus now long since out of business in NYC in December of 1992 I didn't know what the fuck it was or that it would mean anything to me later on in life. I looked at it from the bins thinking it would have a high price tag on the wall. Paul Major used to sell their album for cheap in his lists, well really cheap at $35 compared to the $250 + asking price now! I first heard Deep Feeling as a trashed Australian non-gatefold copy and I was amazed by how dark the music was to match the cover. Anyone hearing this album for the first time would be in for a bit of a shock unless they knew from the cover depicting a tiny illustration of a head pushed through a guillotine and on the UK issue the inner gatefold is all to the right side an abstract illustration of the band members' heads in a pool of blood. This is disturbed symphonic prog, but in the end I've come to look at it as more disturbed than disturbing. Something this good and this high quality is actually quite a good educational instrument as well as a great passionate melodic solidly played and sung album.
    Unfortunately and tragically, I wished all the worst on poor Deep Feeling when I was a maniac off my medications 4 years ago and found out recently my friend and co-writer/co-founder Dave Green succumbed to cancer and died after suffering for the last over 10 years of his life with chronic illnesses. Mr. Green told me all about how he was heavily into meth during the writing of the album and how that influenced the dark vibe of the record. There never will be a reunion of East Anglia's Deep Feeling as of the original 5 only vocalist John Swail (AKA Guy Darrell as his pseudonym) and keyboardist/vocalist Derek Elson are still alive. Guitarist/vocalist Martin Jenner, Green (Bass/flute/vocals), and drummer/vocalist Graham Jarvis are all dead. It's really sad and really a shame. A lot of musicians who are famous have died in the past decade and a half and we never hear about the lesser famous ones like Deep Feeling. They must have been getting on, but that doesn't remedy or make any of the loss easier to live with. I wish they were still with us, but have to accept the fact that they are not.
   I'd rather not dwell on the negative here, though. Deep Feeling are too good for that even with a very negative take to their lyrics which actually are very intelligent and informative. They formed back in the late 60s out of several bands and were initially known as The Guy Darrell Syndicate. Guy Darrell (John Swail) had been a solo artist. Martin Jenner and Dave Green went way back in various bands and Derek Elson and Graham Jarvis completed the group. One of the most remarkable things about Deep Feeling is unlike a lot of other bands who only made one or two records they had a lot of very pop singles including a sizable hit with a cover of "Do You Love Me." They'd set out as a pop group produced by the genius pop production team of Roger Easterby and Des Champ. Easterby and Champ would produce their album where the band decided on a drastic change to capitalize on the overwhelming power of underground bands in the UK such as Yes, Genesis, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple. There aren't too many similarities with the sludgy Sabbath, but Genesis and Yes are clearly a huge influence and Sabbath would have gawked at such morbid lyrical fare as "Welcome For A Soldier" and "Guillotine." It's an album like this that makes bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple sound ordinary, commonplace, and unimpressive. I really hate heavy metal and whilst I can appreciate Black Sabbath (only with Ozzy, though) I find their music cold and without enough variation.
    Later on Judas Priest would take the basic sound of Sabbath and make it into something operatic and oftentimes screechy in the vocal department, but all of that is avoided by Deep Feeling. Swail/Darrell can get dramatic, but prefers a soft and mystical sounding delivery to his vocals which is a really good way to get the message across. The first thing you'll probably notice about Deep Feeling are their tremendous 5 part vocal harmonies on the deadly "Welcome For A Soldier"which begins the album in style. A violent, ambitious, dreamlike, strange, and tragic song of the Vietnam war and the horrors of warfare in general there is the underlying current of the fact that the song's narrator gets killed because he shoots up heroin before a battle and goes on a delusional trip. This dark and powerful song is a mini movie of The Beach Boys on a bad trip crossed with Genesis and Uriah Heep, but Swail's gentle voice and the soaring harmonies are trademark Deep Feeling. The production job is very good with a lot of clarity and you can hear the sharp changes of mood, atmosphere, and dynamics in a shocking way. There essentially are 4 main parts to "Welcome For A Soldier" in the opening and closing wordless swirling harmonies, the laid back beautiful verse at the beginning which when repeated after a creepy choral section (meant to be the trip) towards the end concludes with a spine chilling scream, the two 5 part harmony melodic choruses, and also some amazing musical interplay between guitar and organ. Martin Jenner could probably be compared to Robin Trower, Jeff Beck, and Ritchie Blackmore and that is pretty good company to be in with!
    Deep Feeling are heavy and heavier than many bands lyrically, but not a far stretch from some of Peter Gabriel's paranoid ramblings in early Genesis. Genesis with the virtuosity of Yes are a starting point, but you keep getting reminders that Deep Feeling are a harmony pop group gone progressive. The attention to melodic detail is second to almost none and if you love British progressive rock look no further for quality. There are a lot of things that impress me here. "Old People's Home" is something I could go on about in a metaphorical way with the way it's the passing of a generation to another younger generation. A stark contrast to "Welcome For A Soldier" the only instrument is an acoustic guitar with the harmonies and Swail/Darrell doing all the rest. The bass, drums, and keyboards don't make one entrance. At the time of the song's writing in 1971 "Youth Power" was all the rage and you'd get a thumbs down for any sympathy with the polar opposite old generation. Deep Feeling take a different, sympathetic spin on that and there is one of the best lines on the album in the second verse:
    "One long last look at the room they had known for so long/Wallpaper faded from days of an era now gone"
   That era had gone, but in a tragic way when I listen to the music I love I know that the era in which it was created has been replaced by an era of apathy, selfishness, violence, hatred, and complete and total unawareness of what matters in life. The first two tracks are very downcast lyrically, but the next track is 10 minutes of "Classical Gas" in a stunning instrumental showcase worthy of King Crimson if they didn't go into 10 minutes of noodling on their experimental tracks. Crank the volume, relax, this one is a nice change with brilliant acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, bass, and drums and thankfully not a drum solo. Jarvis could be compared to Bill Bruford and Mike Giles throughout- he was that good! "Classical Gas" goes into a hard rock section with some heavy riffing and the whole of Side One is like some kind of musical movie where it is evocative and poignant. You think it can't get any better, but then you get to Side Two!
    Side Two is where Deep Feeling really take off with 3 strong and emotive vocal numbers including the first track on the side the title track "Guillotine." Already an interest in darker, somber, and more serious lyrical themes has been shown, but "Guillotine" is very different. The story is a failed escape from The French Revolution which was the bloodiest and most pointless of all revolutions and it's a bit weird to hear a British band from the country that hates the French basing a whole song around Paris and The French Revolution! Unlike the freakishness of "Welcome For A Soldier" "Guillotine" is another mini movie with a different way of presenting its concept. Swail/Darrell's mellow vocal at the beginning is brilliant against the Gothic organ heavy backdrop and you can hear Spring, Procol Harum, and Fantasy all of the classics of prog rock yet with that infectious pop foundation beneath it all. Jenner's solo after the first chorus battles it out with the organ before he goes crazy and turns his guitar into a million permutations of apocalyptic destructiveness making Robert Fripp sound like nothing! When Swail/Darrell comes back in finally he sings harder than before with a brief powerful vocal before the repeat of the chorus and the ending of the longest vocal track on the album.
     "Country Heir" is a beautiful song and a vibrant contrast to the darkness and menacing disturbed prog of what came previous to it. The softly strummed acoustic guitars, swirling pedal steel, and lazy melodic sweetly sung vocal harmonies create the perfect atmosphere of a beautiful day- very Hollies meets Heron and I got a mint original of the first Heron in the big bunch that also included Deep Feeling and that is a monster of the melodic pop/folk psych/progressive genre. Deep Feeling tried really hard to put together an album that you'd keep coming back to and "Country Heir" continues the top level lyric and songwriting in a mellower, happier style than the other original vocal tracks, but with the same determination to prove that the hit had led to the band deciding to go more into very progressive experimentation. They couldn't have been more successful in their attempt to show that they could play prog rock with the best of them. "Lucille" the Little Richard rock and roll standard closes the album with howling vocals, crushing guitars and organ, thick heavy bass, and mind bashing drums in a heavy metal assault that makes Sabbath look tame! Crazy as this will sound to some of you I've really grown out of all heavy metal with a scant few exceptions when you get to the later stuff. It all had been done better before the 80s era and I prefer melodic rock bands like Grand Prix, Lionheart, well you can see that I'm no "Aluminum Foil Head" which is how I refer to metalheads. If you played Deep Feeling for a hard core metal freak their squeamish side would come out! Deep Feeling, having said that, have a wider appeal than many with great songs and fantastic vocals that are very much a change from the overblown pomposity of many better known progressive rock collector's items. Find this album and give it a chance. Don't let the freaky lyrics put you off. I did for a long time and that was one of my biggest errors I ever made. Deep Feeling is a classic.
      Each generation that comes has the chance to take the best of the previous one, learn from the worst, and build on that, but a disturbing change has occurred. As I look at the world it is crumbling to dust, the same mistakes are being made, and there is a lot of dying off of very important things in life. We have forgotten or forsaken love. We have become so self-absorbed that we don't do anything but moan about our problems and our own greatness, and England is a hard hit nation. America and England got dragged into two pointless wars by politicians and nationalistic bullshit, but the protest movement that existed and gave birth to songs like "Welcome For A Soldier" seems nonexistent. Also, the tearing down of the good things while we make glaring errors and champion foolishness is really getting to me. England needs help. America desperately needs help. So you ask yourself "What Can I Give?" It better be a whole lot. The wars and environmental destruction, overpopulation are decimating the world. You'd better get out there and do something about it if you can. I would do anything I could to make the world more what it was before my birth. I've always been like that. Trapped in the wrong place at a very awkward time for me. I've never been able to fully understand the world around me. Deep Feeling seem to have had the same vibe of alienation and so has the master Ray Davis. Maybe being out of style is a good thing. Something is glaringly obvious- there is a whole lot to think about and a whole lot that needs to be rectified.