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THE FLOCK The Flock album cover 2.71 | 3 ratings
The Flock
Jazz Related Rock 1969
THE FLOCK Dinosaur Swamps album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Dinosaur Swamps
Jazz Related Rock 1970
THE FLOCK Inside Out album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Inside Out
Jazz Related Rock 1975

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THE FLOCK Flock Rock: The Best of The Flock album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Flock Rock: The Best of The Flock
Jazz Related Rock 1993

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THE FLOCK Dinosaur Swamps

Album · 1970 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
TF's second album has a very bizarre but incredibly powerful pterodactyl imagery that most kids back then actually bought purely from curiosity (it was my case). Basically the group's sound hasn't changed that much except if you pay attention about whole TF scheme. The least I can say it that I was never impressed with this album's production, something rather odd for a large and rich Columbia label.

Some wild studio experimentation, followed by a gloomy organ and a solemn sax are some of the ambiances you'll enjoy from Green Slice, but then again you'll also get some kind of an unusually brassy country rock (first half of Big Bird) or some wilder jazzier country rock (second part of BB), Hornschmeyer's Island is a constantly evolving, but confused track, partly because the changes are occurring with somewhat poor succession of chords, but overall it's one of the album's highlights. The chorus vocals are a little iffy on the dB saturation scale on this track. A much wilder and straightforward Crabfoot, clocking over 8 minutes, has a heard-elsewhere chorus, but the track shines by its energy level, but again some abrupt changes are surprising and slightly cringe-worthy for demanding progheads, and of course the "unavoidable" drum solo closing the track, before some ridiculous electronics effects ending much of the band's credibility in terms of prog credentials. Mermaid is a weird semi-folk track that very spookily than become a strangely lame folk tune with some strange lyrics.

Overall I find that the same flaws that I had found on the debut album still exist in DS, and that this album's strengths lies elsewhere than in the debut, but no matter what: The Flock was never studio force, their live shows being somewhat rather different, legend has it. But I demand proof to review my relative poor take on this group

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Album · 1969 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
Signed on the CBS brass-rock craze after BS&T's mega success, than Chicago Transit Authority's much more prog success, Columbia signed also the eclectic Illinois Speed Express, the psychedelic Aorta and the brassy The Flock, all three also from Chicago and releasing their debut album the same month as CTA did as well. Apparently a marketing plan to create a Chicago scene, this ploy actually worked since three of the four albums recoded two albums (not going further than that, but we all know what a monster Chicago became. Alas, CBS wouldn't enjoy the same brassy success than with BS&T and CTA, even if both their albums sold quite well at the time.

Opening on the judiciously-named Introduction, a slow-developing instrumental violin feast, actually Jerry Goodman's worst moment IMHO (he was the latest addition to the group), as he's just not deciding whether he's playing a violin or a fiddle. After such a non-representative start, TF comes with the much more Flock-ish Clown, which sounds very BS&T brassy, but the middle section is full-blown prog and ends up in a mad bluesy outro. Tall Tree seems more like a good Vanilla Fudge track, at least until Goodman's violin entrance (leader Rick Canoff's sax and vocals being the main other attraction and brings this VF dimension), but the track is over-staying its welcome. Tired of Waiting starts again on Goodman's fiddle but once the group is in swing, we're in a totally different world, although the violin accompanies the group through the verses but not the VF-like choruses, where Glickstein's fuzz guitar works well.

The flipside is made of only two tracks, the first of which Store Bought where TF's other leader Fred Glickstein's guitar pulls a real show with his guitar fighting off the brass squad, the track fading into a jazzy-blues intermezzo, gradually picking back up speed enough (Goodman is also on guitar, and I believe he's the one playing in the break), and once the energy gathered, the band returns to its funky soul-beat. The 15-mins-monster track Truth is a slow blues where Glickstein and the boys go through the motion rather convincingly, but they're still going from one cliché to another. It holds some real best-forgotten meanders, most notably the violin gradual build-up, going way over its welcome. Once the build-up is complete,the band resumes unsurprisingly to the groovy blues that had opened, but first talking a few unnecessary meanders more.

Actually most of the doubts one could have about Goodman's real belonging in the group is a bit real: his contributions are often so different than what the rest of the band is doing, that it often feels that it was just stuck or wedged in the rest of the group. Part of the reason why I think this is that Goodman's violin recording sound choice are irksome for me. While TF developed an honest brass rock, it's clear they were Flocking an almost dead horse, with CTA and BS&T and Electric Flag saying whatever there was to say and that many of the much more inventive British counterparts couldn't bring to attention

THE FLOCK Flock Rock: The Best of The Flock

Boxset / Compilation · 1993 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
This is a sort of compilation, containing the shorter tracks of both The Flock albums, plus unreleased songs from the album's respective sessions plus a few that were originally foreseen for the group's third album, which never saw the light of day. No-one except blues purists will criticize the label for not selecting the 15- mins Truth track, because of limited space, but lack real interest as well. The unreleased track from their debut album's session track coming comes after the debut album's first side (the flipside being completely ignored) and came out as a single between the two album's releases. From the same session comes Lollipops track that sounds quite different, Eastern European-feeling with a jazzy bass and a rarer flute (as opposed to the sax). Then pacing through a big part of Dinosaur Swamps, the group's follow-up album, some of the most- representative tracks. The last four tracks of this compilation album being from a Dec 70 session that was to be the group's third album, which would never see the day until this "best of". But if these previously unreleased tracks are to be representative of their third album, then it's a real shame TF broke up, because they were finally about to make a real worthy album for its PA inclusion. Most likely this would've been a live album, named Flock Rock, the name of this compilation and the recordings do not have the same quality as the studio stuff, these being slightly muddy. The short Chanja seems to be an outtake from a killer blues track and features some excellent jazzy jammy moments. Atlantians Trucking Home has the same jam feeling, this time the group having a slight Allman Bros Band, especially on the double guitars (Goodman and Glickstein) with Webb's flute getting some cool licks in. Afrika is yet another jam good jam where the brass section pulls some excellent call and responses. Closing up this "third album" session is the superb Just Do It, with a Coltrane swing, mostly induced by Glichstein's piano, evidently inspired on the awesome McCoy Tyner and as you could guess Canoff and Gerber's sax lines.

With this album being a sort of "best of" with some unreleased live material, Flock rock might just be the only album you'll need from them. Indeed, I'm not that much a fan of TF's two studio albums ((there is nothing that's not done better by Chicago or UK groups like Warm Dust or Galliard) and the choice of this album to omit the debut's two of three longer tracks is a wise one, the selection from DS being a tad more disputab

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