‘Frontiers of Progressive Rock’: Five incredible jams with ELP, King Crimson, Yes, and others

Lordy lord, do I love footage from the old Beat Club program from Germany in the early 1970s. (The show later turned into Musikladen). Last week we brought you some smokin’ hard rock jams including MC5, Alice Cooper, and the New York Dolls that originally appeared on Beat Club. This week we move onto prog—and the results are nearly as sublime.

This compilation is known as Frontiers of Progressive Rock (and was originally released on a Laserdisc), features five excellent prog bands in their prime, just fucking shit up. Yes, Soft Machine, the Nice, King Crimson, and the biggest seller of them all, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer are each represented with an early gem, and all of them just go to town. My favorite moment comes when Keith Emerson, dressed in glittery blue and green, hurls himself over his second organ and then rocks it back and forth from behind before playing a few notes from the “wrong” side.

I also really love how much of a premium Beat Club placed on ridiculous video effects. The ELP number has oscilloscope readings projected onto the back wall, whereas the entire Soft Machine number is enring’d in an orange halo on the screen. Meanwhile, during the Yes song a kaleidoscope effect is used wherein the center of the image is “reflected” around itself—you have to see it to get it. For some reason the Yes track incorporates a large revolving head suspended over an old-fashioned chair of some sort…. anyway, I love the intensity with which the bands play their songs, I love the varied instrumentation (violin, saxophone, etc.), and I love the acid-freakout visuals. If you’ve got nothing else going on, I recommend turning this on and finding a pharmaceutical or two to help you enjoy the day.


Track listing:
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: “Knife Edge”
King Crimson: “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic”
The Nice: “Hang On To a Dream”
Soft Machine: “Composition Based On 3 Tunes” (Medley of “Out-Bloody-Rageous,” “Eamonn Andrews,” and “All White”)
Yes: “Yours Is No Disgrace”


Posted by Martin Schneider
11:54 am
Progrock on Broadway? Keith Emerson & the Nice take a stab at ‘America’ from ‘West Side Story, 1968
12:09 pm

Keith Emerson and The Nice performing a wild live version of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s “America” from West Side Story. “America” was the second single from The Nice, released in 1968 on Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records..

This is the earliest color live footage that exists of the band, a clip from the Swiss television program, Hits a GoGo. Emerson does that thing with the knives stabbing his keyboard that he continued to do onstage with Emerson, Lake & Palmer. In the interview afterwards with co-hosts Suzanne Doucet and Hardy Hepp, Emerson gets asked “what’s with the knives?” Aside from the practical (he can hold down notes with the knives and play other things) and that it looks really cool, he says they’re symbolic of the violence and assassinations gripping America that year. In a protest against the war in Vietnam, Emerson once burned the American flag onstage during this number.

Emerson would often embellish the tune with melodies heard in Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and Dave Brubeck’s jazz standard, “Blue Rondo ala Turk.”

Posted by Richard Metzger
12:09 pm
Jim Hendrix on French pop TV show ‘Dim Dam Dom’

The folks at Mod Cinema just keep the goods rolling out, don’t they? It’s hard to stay up with the embarrassment of riches on offer from them. Take for instance their recent duo of double DVD sets featuring unedited episodes of Dim Dam Dom, the distinctive, ultra-hip, fashion-forward late sixties French pop TV series. Dim Dam Dom had a very French “mod” sensibility, giving it a vastly different look and feel to British programs like Colour Me Pop or Top of the Pops and American counterparts like Shindig! and Hullabaloo.

Dim Dam Dom was a music variety hour produced for the Deuxième channel in France. The title summarizes this shows concept, “Dim” for Sunday, “Dam” for ladies, and “Dom” for men. Pioneering the creativity of the show was Daisy Galard. From the elaborate dance choreography, to the set design, to the production and staging, Dim Dam Dom serves as a colorful time capsule of pop music in 1968.

Included in Mod Cinema’s two 2-disc Dim Dam Dom sets are several complete unedited episodes (most in color, a few in black & white) with rare performances by Johnny Hallyday, Mireille Darc, Grapefruit, Marie Laforêt, Nino Ferrer, Eddy Mitchell, Stone, Memphis Slim, Ronnie Bird, Françoise Hardy, Procol Harum, The Electric Prunes, Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity, Sylvie Vartan, Jacques Dutronc, Pussy Cat, The Moody Blues, P.P.Arnold, Serge Gainsbourg, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jacques Dutronc, “Les Bee Gees,” Claude François, The Easybeats, Manfred Mann, France Gall (who also sings the shows “theme song”) and many many others.

Order Dim Dam Dom from Mod Cinema here.

Below, The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing “Burning of the Midnight Lamp.”

Bonus clip after the jump: A young Keith Emerson and The Nice performing “Karelia Suite” on “Dim Dam Dom,” 1969.

Posted by Richard Metzger
12:07 pm