The Flock

Flock Rock: Best of the Flock

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Over the past few decades, the Flock's late-'60s and early-'70s legacy has been all but forgotten, and yet their highly idiosyncratic twist on progressive rock -- one which used both classical music and jazz fusion as touchstones for truly mind-altering flights of fancy -- remains as original as anything heard in the rock era. Cross-town heroes Chicago (or Chicago Transit Authority, as they were known at the time) were stealing headlines as the first rock & roll band with a fully integrated horn section, but this adventurous septet not only challenged this distinction with their own three-saxophone front, but went a step further by adding violinist Jerry Goodman to their ranks. Fueled by his dazzling virtuosity, the mostly classically trained ensemble's unprecedented combination of chorused vocals, horns, and strings within a rock context ultimately proved too challenging and oblique for commercial tastes, but would nevertheless lay the foundation for future, more commercially savvy prog rockers such as Kansas and Dixie Dregs. Revisiting the key moments from the Flock's two original albums, 1969's inspired eponymous debut and its disappointing successor of a couple years later, Dinosaur Swamps, Flock Rock: The Best of the Flock also unearths a few never-released cuts left on the cutting-room floor along with the band's botched third album. And even if Chicago's more consistent songwriting rightfully led to them notching all the chart hits and raking in all the dough, the Flock deserve credit for having carved a more unique, if significantly less successful, style which remains largely without equal.

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