Saturday, February 10, 2024

VA - Taking Some Time On (Underground Sounds Of 1970) [2021] (4 x CDs)


VA - Taking Some Time On (Underground Sounds Of 1970) [2021] (4 x CDs)

In 1960, the vast majority of British rock primarily consisted of either bands attempting to mimic the sounds of American groups with inconsistent degrees of success, or novelty acts whose music was intended to be charming teen fodder and little more. While that would soon change as more U.K. bands embraced rhythm & blues and the example of the Beatles led to more acts upping their game, it's mind boggling to consider how far the British rock scene would travel in a mere ten years. By 1970, R&B, beat music, and psychedelia had given way to what was dubbed underground rock, with dozens of major acts adopting the ethos of what would come to be called progressive rock in a variety of ways. Not only were rock bands creating material of previously unimaginable ambition, complexity, and scale, a large and growing audience of young rock fans were lining up to hear it. As these acts defined the tastes of "serious" rock fans, the album began to replace the single as the preferred medium for rock & roll (in part because so many underground groups were eager to stretch their tracks out to seven, eight, or nine minutes, exceeding the capabilities of a 45). The rise of underground rock was so pervasive that Esoteric Recordings has been able to compile an epic-scale four-disc box set entirely devoted to sides issued by prog-adjacent bands in the year 1970.

Taking Some Time On: Underground Sounds of 1970 is a thorough study of the first full flowering of the progressive era, and it shows how diverse the scene could be, from the powerfully physical attack of Family (a live take of "Good News, Bad News" catches them in full flight) and the sci-fi-informed explorations of Hawkwind (already in search of space on "Mirror of Illusion") to the pastoral concision of Lindisfarne (the hip balladry of "Lady Eleanor") and the whimsy-fortified poetic wanderlust of Pete Brown & Piblotko! (the memorably titled "Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes On Forever"). The set also includes early salvos from more than a few groups who would go on to enduring stardom -- among them Yes, Jethro Tull, Traffic, and Ten Years After -- as well as a few who would mutate into decidedly different form later on, such as Deep Purple, Status Quo, and Fleetwood Mac. This collection may be tough sledding for dabblers, as compiler Mark Powell has no fear of presenting bands both famous and obscure in their most idiosyncratic and expansive moments, with one performance by Caravan clocking in at over 14 minutes. But if you're a serious scholar of this stuff or don't mind diving into the deep end of the dawn of prog, Taking Some Time On: Underground Sounds of 1970 is an excellent study of a unique time in rock history, and the remarkably thorough band biographies in the accompanying book are every bit as interesting as the music. (AMG review by Mark Deming)

One of the highlights for me of the box set is "No More White Horses" by T2 from their "It’ll All Work Out in Boomland" album which is a masterpiece of progressive rock that combines complex arrangements, powerful vocals, and virtuosic guitar work. This epic track is a 8:34 long musical journey that showcases the band’s talent and ambition.

The box set is not only a musical feast, but also a historical document that captures the spirit and mood of a turbulent and transformative era. The songs reflect the social, political, and cultural issues of the time, such as the Vietnam War, the environmental crisis, the sexual revolution, and the counterculture movement. The songs also express the personal and artistic visions of the musicians, who experimented with new sounds, instruments, and techniques, and challenged the conventions and boundaries of rock music. The box set is a testament to the diversity and creativity of the UK rock scene in 1970, and a celebration of the underground sounds that have left a lasting legacy in the history of rock music.






Track lists


01 Barclay James Harvest - Taking Some Time On 5:30

02 Fleetwood Mac - The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) 4:36

03 Caravan - If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You 3:07

05 Deep Purple - Black Night (Original Single Version) 3:27

05 Van Der Graaf Generator - Refugees (Single Version) 5:23

06 Lindisfarne - Lady Eleanor 4:16

07 Atomic Rooster - Winter 6:59

08 Hawkwind - Hurry On Sundown 5:01

09 Jethro Tull - The Witch's Promise 3:50

10 Gentle Giant - Nothing At All 9:08

11 Blodwyn Pig - See My Way 5:04

12 Al Stewart - A Small Fruit Song 2:02

13 T2 - No More White Horses 8:34

14 Egg - The Song Of Mcguillicudie The Pusillanimous (Or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas) 5:06

15 Edgar Broughton Band - Apache Dropout 3:02

16 Patto - Sittin' Back Easy 3:38


01 Kevin Ayers - Singing A Song In The Morning (Single Version) 2:53

02 Traffic - Empty Pages 4:34

03 Lindisfarne - Alan In The River With Flowers 3:09

04 Rare Bird - Sympathy (Single Version) 2:34

05 Status Quo - Gerdundula 3:49

06 Locomotive - Rain 3:25

07 Caravan - Can't Be Long Now/Francoise/For Richard/Warlock 14:21

08 Stray - Around The World In 80 Days 3:37

09 Family - A Song For Me 9:15

10 Pretty Things - Grass 4:20

11 Procol Harum - Whaling Stories 7:06

12 Gentle Giant - Funny Ways 4:23

13 Wishbone Ash - Phoenix 10:24

14 Yes - No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed 4:48


01 Quatermass - Black Sheep Of The Family 3:41

02 Love Sculpture - In The Land Of The Few 3:59

03 East Of Eden - Jig-A-Jig 3:44

04 Pete Brown & Piblokto! - Things May Come And Things May Go, But The Art School Dance Goes On Forever 5:06

05 Mcdonald And Giles - Tomorrow's People - The Children Of Today 6:59

06 Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Lucky Man 4:37

07 Hawkwind - Mirror Of Illusion 6:59

08 Clear Blue Sky - My Heaven 5:03

09 Brian Davison's Every Which Way - All In Time 8:50

10 Cressida - Down Town 4:18

11 Barclay James Harvest - The Sun Will Never Shine 5:07

12 Kevin Ayers And The Whole World - Lunatics Lament 4:53

13 Affinity - Three Sisters 4:59

14 Edgar Broughton Band - Momma's Reward (Keep Them Freaks' A Rollin') 3:05

15 Love Sculpture - Why (How-Now) 7:45


01 High Tide - Blankman Cries Again 8:29

02 Stray - All In Your Mind (Single Version) 4:00

03 Michael Chapman - Soulful Lady 4:14

04 Curved Air - Situations (Remastered) 6:19

05 Gracious - Heaven 8:08

06 Family - Good New Bad News 7:23

07 Pretty Things - October 26 4:56

08 Ten Years After - Love Like A Man 7:38

09 Al Stewart - Electric Los Angeles Sunset 3:46

10 Move - What 6:40

11 Pete Brown & Piblokto! - Thousands On A Raft 7:07

12 Yes - Astral Traveller 5:57




  1. Can't believe that was just one year - they certainly were different times.

  2. Would like to add that that great track by T2 is a cover of an already great track from the band Please from 1969.

  3. 1970 I turned 18 - and what a year it was. This is an excellent cross-section of the music that illuminated those times. Thanks a lot, BB, and best, TC

    1. Hi TC.
      Being a teenager then was a wonderful experience. And the music really did turn you on.

  4. Que buena colección, apreciado amigo. Mil gracias.

    1. You're welcome, juan.
      Lots of good memories in this lot.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Master 6672,
      I hope you will enjoy this in years to come.