Various Artists

Golden Miles: Australian Progressive Rock

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Reissue specialists Raven Records (Australia) -- co-founded by Oz Rock's human encyclopedia Glenn A. Baker -- have done a sterling job over the years of resurrecting great music from the past. This two-CD set (two and a half hours of playing time) is a proverbial cornucopia of intriguing, and largely forgotten, prog rock from some fine antipodean exponents of the genre. Actually, many of these artists found success in the mainstream Down Under, but Golden Miles showcases them in their more adventurous moments. The stylistic range across the album's 30 tracks is quite stunning, but certainly this is progressive rock -- just don't expect everything to sound like King Crimson. Ear-catching tracks include the jazz-slanted "Make Your Stash" by legendary Aussie rockers Daddy Cool (best known for their rock & roll anthem "Eagle Rock"), the Zappa-ish "Make It Begin" by Sons of the Vegetal Mother (also fronted by Daddy Cool singer Ross Wilson), and the quaking "'Til My Death" by avant-garde metallurgists Buffalo (from their landmark 1973 album, Volcanic Rock). But the curio of curios is "Seasons of Change" by Fraternity, a tuneful, psychedelic folk-rock number sung by none other than a pre-AC/DC Bon Scott. Excellent liner notes include a capsule bio (written by Ian McFarlane) on each band and an overview of the period (from Baker). Probably of most interest to collectors, aficionados, and those who personally remember this musical chapter of yore, many casual listeners will also find Golden Miles very entertaining fare.

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