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Monkman, Francis - 1998 - "21-st Century Blues"


*****
1.  Poisonality
2.  Train dun gone crazy
3.  Delta Bitstream Blues
4.  Another day
5.  Heard in dreams
6.  21-bar blues
7.  "At the court of the king"
8.  The four guitarists of Apocalypse
9.  Harvest time
10. Rinky-Dink public school
11. Acid Casino
12. Found in Space
13. Dispossession Blues / Small Planet Blues
14. iftruth

Total running time: 79:30

The players:
Francis Monkman & The Virtuous-Realiti Band

This multi-instrumentalist, before he nailed down his success as a composer and musician in a famous and well-known band Sky, had already managed to gain recognition from the Prog-lovers of the whole world (and corresponding writing folks) within such rather serious Progressive bands as Curved Air & 801. (In my opinion, music of Sky is much better than the one of overwhelming majority of modern Neo-bands, which generally only imitate the stylistics of famed bands!) I will necessarily return to this group (801, which are not in the reference book), as well as to other solo-albums of Monkman himself.

Truly speaking, looking at the name of the album I could not think that it would correspond with the music presented here. Looking at another prominent musician who also Never Played Blues and then Suddenly Did it (Blues With a Feeling, 1994) in a very disgusting way (within Hackett's framework, of course), I anticipated an analogous variation, with a more ambitious name, though.

Can you imagine my surprise, then: for the first time in my life I really heard an album of Progressive... Blues! To my mind, this fact may be considered as one of the unique ones in the history of Rock-music in general. There is really much blues in the album, but sometimes it cannot even be easily identified within the depth of arrangements.

For the first time in the history of rock Monkman really managed to make this prominent genre a titbit for all Prog lovers. This is a very innovative album full of unexpected original moves including sometimes almost brutal vocal from the Maestro himself. This New Blues actually contains all the ingredients peculiar to Progressive rock compositions together with an evident energetic drive. All these moments are not the distinctive features of traditional blues and make the album a notable and original occurrence.

Some analogies that are possible include Fripp & Sylvian's "The First Day" (1993). However, Francis's program is more complicated. The best compositions are: Another day, Hard in dreams, The four guitarists of the Apocalypse, Found in Space, and Dispossession/Small Planet Blues. A true classic for the future, especially regarding to Blues. content

VM. 25.3.1999


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