Wednesday, October 26, 2022

VA - Breakthrough, Underground Sounds Of 1971 [2021] (4 x CDs)


VA - Breakthrough, Underground Sounds Of 1971 [2021] (4 x CDs)

Across four discs and over five hours of playing time, Breakthrough, Underground Sounds of 1971 cherry-picks 54 top-shelf tracks from British artists pioneering a sound that would quickly evolve into progressive rock. Though there are some familiar names in the track listing -- Jethro Tull, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra -- the compilation is anything but a pedestrian greatest-hits collection. Even songs from better-known names are thoughtfully selected to fit into the overarching flow and mission statement of the compilation, illuminating both the wide variance of sounds happening in a small window of time and how rapidly they were mutating into new forms. While Breakthrough includes some ubiquitous examples of proggy sounds like Yes' FM radio staple "I've Seen All Good People" and Traffic's slow-burning groover "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys," it also goes deeper into rough-edged rock, folksy diversions, sparkly jazz-inflected tunes, and spacier experimentation. The massive track list also includes Hawkwind's blazingly chugging "Master of the Universe," Thin Lizzy's pensive and soul-searching blues rocker "Eire," meditative jamming from John Martyn, complex musicianship from Curved Air, epic hard rock from Uriah Heep and Atomic Rooster, symphonically injected weirdness from Gentle Giant, a fusion of jazz instrumentation and heavy-hitting riffs from Nucleus, and many, many other approaches to the blanket concept of progressive rock. While not many of the artists here rose to the same levels of commercial success as Yes or Jethro Tull, they're not all hyper-obscure footnotes of their time, either. Songs from the Pretty Things, Sandy Denny, Cream's Jack Bruce, Barclay James Harvest, the Pink Fairies, and other notable acts all point to how active and relevant this kind of outward-reaching rock was in 1971. All of the bands here had respectable, full-time careers making music, and Breakthrough highlights the wide spectrum of sounds happening at the time, and just how valuable all these different interpretations of progressive music were as rock began expanding into something new. (AllMusic review by Fred Thomas)






Track lists


01 Edgar Broughton Band Evening Over Rooftops 5:01

02 Family Spanish Tide 4:02

03 Procol Harum Simple Sister 5:49

04 Barclay James Harvest She Said 8:18

05 Sandy Denny Late November 4:29

06 Jethro Tull Mother Goose 3:52

07 Audience House On The Hill 7:28

08 Hawkwind Master Of The Universe 6:19

09 Emerson Lake & Palmer Bitches Crystal 3:57

10 Yes I've Seen All Good People 6:56

11 Spring Golden Fleece 6:59

12 Lindisfarne City Song 3:06

13 Pretty Things Summer Time 4:29

14 Beggars Opera Time Machine 8:06


01 Pink Fairies Do It (Single Version) 3:04

02 Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come Eternal Messenger 3:56

03 Uriah Heep Lady In Black 4:44

04 Thin Lizzy Eire 2:09

05 Caravan Winter Wine 7:38

06 Mighty Baby Virgin Spring (Single Version) 7:03

07 Barclay James Harvest Blue John's Blues 6:48

08 Traffic The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys 11:36

09 Samurai Saving It Up For So Long 3:45

10 Cressida Munich 9:33

11 Jack Bruce Folk Song 4:19

12 Jethro Tull Life Is A Long Song 3:18

13 Family Burning Bridges 4:45

14 B.b. Blunder The Seed 5:31


01 Atomic Rooster Breakthrough 6:18

02 Caravan Love To Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly) 3:05

03 Patto You, You Point Your Finger 4:35

04 Colin Scot Nite People 4:14

05 Gentle Giant Pantagruel's Nativity 6:52

06 John Martyn Glistening Glyndebourne 6:31

07 Peter Hammill Solitude 4:55

08 Curved Air Young Mother 5:56

09 Paladin The Fakir 4:48

10 Linda Hoyle Pieces Of Me 4:05

11 Edgar Broughton Band Call Me A Liar 4:27

12 Stray Son Of The Father 5:50

13 Status Quo Someone's Learning 7:10

14 Uriah Heep July Morning 10:33


01 Atomic Rooster A Spoonful Of Bromide (Helps The Pulse Rate Go Down) 4:39

02 Help Yourself Running Down Deep 3:36

03 Keef Hartley Band Theme Song / En Route / Theme Song (Reprise) 8:05

04 Jade Warrior Windweaver 3:44

05 Man Many Are Called But Few Get Up 7:28

06 Big Sleep Bluebell Wood 11:26

07 Gentle Giant Black Cat 3:53

08 Van Der Graaf Generator Man Erg 10:22

09 Pretty Things Circus Mind 2:02

10 Electric Light Orchestra 10538 Overture 5:31

11 Nucleus Song For The Bearded Lady 7:22

12 Yes Heart Of The Sunrise 11:25




  1. thanks bb these always have some great tunes

    1. Hi doors97426.
      What not to like about this set. All great tunes.

  2. Thank you Butterboy for this stellar presentation.
    The song selection was done with a lot of care for musical value.
    These artists were looking for strong artistic content, first and foremost, before commercial considerations.
    By the way, do you know if there ever was a compilation covering the A & M years of SERGIO MENDES & BRASIL '66 ? That would be interesting to hear.

    1. You're welcome, Robert.
      Thank you for your suggestion for a compilation. I also think that could make a great story/compilation.

  3. Thank you Butterboy, you really are spoiling us

    1. You're welcome, Masters 6672.
      The hardest issue I have is choosing what to post.

  4. Can you re-up this post, please?

    1. Hi Jim D.
      New links established, tested and working.