Author: Jerry Lucky
Title: “The Progressive Rock Handbook”
Publisher: Collector’s Guide Publishing
Release Date: 7/1/2008
Jerry Lucky is the author of “20th Century Rock & Roll – Progressive Rock”, “The Progressive Rock Files” and “The Psychedelic Rock Files” and each of these caters to the specific purist of these unique genres. The latest tome to join his existing works on the bookshelves around the world is “The Progressive Rock Handbook” and this one is definitely something that should appease the fussiest of appetites in any hungry Progressive Rock fan. When it comes down to it, the Progressive Rock listener is often very hard to impress because of all the wide scoping musical experiments that makes the genre so interesting and based on this it’s good to have the author come off with more than an acceptable level of background on the topic. He begins by offering up words on his own interests in the Progressive Rock realm and it was interesting to find out about his adventures learning about the genre a little more. From there we get another sixty plus pages of thoughts about where he feels are the best places to experience the myriad number of bands of this type by using the means of the internet, the almost extinct stores who sell music and of course the festivals that are built up around its promotion. I found this section good for someone like me for while I enjoy Progressive Rock from a number of its stalwart deliverers; I am hardly an expert and took these topics as educational advice.
The remainder and core aspect of the book is the encyclopedia section of it and this runs from page 75 until the book closes at page 352 which means there are quite a few Progressive Rock bands to read about. The author delivers the section in this manner – he lists the bands in alphabetical order and offers up a small paragraph about each of them. It’s very quickly overviewed, and we are not dealing with a 3 or 4 paragraph segment on any particular group. This might annoy some of the fans of the “leaders of the realm” as opposed to those bands while good offered no real impact on the genre. For a music fan like me I was ok with this being the case because it prompted me to look deeper into the bands that interested me most based on their description and the references made in them. For instance, fans of Peter Gabriel era Genesis might seek out some older Marillion based on how he describes them. There is a lot to absorb here and while its admittedly difficult to read an encyclopedic list from beginning to end, this one might keep the reader engaged a little easier since its speaking about many interesting bands as opposed to a wide scoping batch of topics. Lucky also features all of the albums to date under the band listing which makes shopping for something to satisfy the musical urge a little easier. The year that the album was released is also provided which helps one discern the older from newer material rather easily. The only downside is that some of the bands are only touched upon while others get longer pieces about them. The likes of Yes and Gentle Giant are longer than that of Pelican or Plum Nelly to be more precise but at the end of the day that didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that the book served its purpose and provided solid reference and resource for me to look up Progressive Rock artisans should I need to do so. It also came with a bonus CD of Prog-Rock music that ran thirteen tracks and offered up some nice stuff for the reader to treat his ears to while they read the book or simply to load onto their music player of choice and go about their daily adventures. For the most part the book is presented in black and white and that’s ok since its text and there are no photos of the respective bands next to their entries. There are eight color pages that feature some forty eight different album covers. The selection of these seems rather static but either way it was nice to see them presented.
Bonus CD: Rocket Scientists “Earthbound”, The Third Ending “Eleven”, A Chinese Firedrill “Circles”, Frameshift “When I Look Into My Eyes”, Sylvan “Answers To Life”, Amaran’s Plight “Coming Of Age”, Invisigoth “Scars and Dust”, Ghost Circus “Losing Time”, Expedition Delta “Asunder Hearts”, Soul Secre “Learning To Lose”, Jim Gilmour “The Sign”, Project Creation “Growing Feeling (radio edit), Under The Sun “This Golden Voyage”
If you consider yourself a fan of the genre on the whole then this book is something you should add to your collection because there is more good than bad in it. It might not sate the desires of the hard core Progressive Rock fan because that person can over analyze the volumes worth more than a casual fan might but as I mentioned earlier, for someone like me it can be taken as a great guide.
2. The Commentaries
3. Random Thoughts and Musings about Prog Rock
4. Where to Find Progressive Rock: The Internet
5. Where to Find Progressive Rock: The Stores
6. Where to Listen to Progressive Rock: The Festivals
7. What is Progressive Rock: The Genres
8. The Misconceptions about Neo-Progressive Rock
9. A-Z Listing of Progressive Rock Bands