Dewinged
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 Lists
01.14.22 Dewinged's AOTY 2021 01.12.22 2022 Listening Log - January
12.21.21 Dewinged's AOTY 197110.19.21 5 years here, still no buffalo wings
06.21.21 Hospital 🏥 Jams01.01.21 Dewinged's AOTY 2020
12.24.20 Decrepit's AOTY 2000: One-liner Edition12.07.20 Defrosted's AOTY 1990
11.27.20 Dewinged's AOTY 1980 11.18.20 Dewinged's AOTY 1970
09.26.20 Officially Papa Dewi 03.22.20 MARCH MADNESS 2020 WINNER: 👑TRIFOLIU
03.21.20 MARCH MADNESS 2020 ✨SEMIFINALS✨03.20.20 MARCH MADNESS 2020 🍑R6 / OH GLORIOUS
03.19.20 MARCH MADNESS 2020 [💀R5 // THE UNDYI03.18.20 MARCH MADNESS 2020 [💥R4 // THE BRAVE
03.17.20 MARCH MADNESS 2020 [⚡R3 // PART 2⚡]03.17.20 MARCH MADNESS 2020 [🔥UNTIE🔥]
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Dewinged's AOTY 1971

The tradition goes on this year. New decades to be unfolded, explored, ravaged! Details below!
101Hello Madness
Hello Madness


For those of you that missed the 6 LISTS I made last year December, let me explain what is this nonsense I do every year.

In a sort of Anniversary fashion thing, I select 100 albums from every year finishing in the same number as the current year (i.e. 1971, 1981, 1991, and so on). I usually do between 8 to 9 albums per month and listen to them in the current month, as the year goes by.

This is more or less how it goes but feel free to ask me about THE SYSTEM if you're interested. Now! To the albums! Here are my favorite from 1971! Loosely ranked! Thoroughly loved!
100John Lennon
Imagine


Released: September 9th
Genre: Pop rock / Singer Songwriter
Label: Apple

God I love Lennon but it saddens me to say I hated this fucking album. As probably 99.99% of the human race, only knew the title track, which I already abhorred due to overexposition throughout the years, so it was no surprise I didn't find anything to salvage here. Boring blues tunes and the only thing I can picture in my head is Lennon in bed. Psychedelic Lennon, where did u go...?
99Ginhouse
Ginhouse


Released: April (maybe)
Genre: Progressive rock / Psychedelic rock
Label: B&C / Philips

The legend says Ginhouse are still playing after 52 years since their inception. How the hell does this band from Newcastle (England) keep playing for 52 years with this being their only official record? This debut is a solid slab of progressive rock, more on the hard rock side of things, with Stewart Burlison's bass lines being one of the strong points. Not the only band on the list to cover The Beatles, as Ginhouse actually did "And I Love Her" on this one, from a bluesy point of view, and the results are... well, interesting.
98War (USA)
War


Released: April
Genre: Funk / Soul / Rock
Label: United Artists

I wasn't a fan of their album with Eric Burdon and can't say I will be looking forward to revisit this one in the future. "War Drums" is maybe the only track I have salvaged this year into a mix but the rest is as derivative as the other album I heard of them. Depending on mood I can get down with chillin' to "Vibeka", but stuff like the semi-bossa beat of the closer is just not for me. Ok album.
97Badfinger
Straight Up


Released: December 13th
Genre: Folk rock
Label: Apple

This is the last album I've jammed this year. I wouldn't say it's utterly forgettable though, but funny enough, two members of Badfinger did play in John Lennon's "Imagine" and it seems George Harrison had a hand in producing this album. Label problems, distribution chaos and the suicide of Pete Ham four years after the release of "Straight Up" prevented Badfinger's name to grow as much as their close friends, a certain band from Liverpool called The Beatles. There's always a side B to every great story, and it turns out, this was Badfinger's.
96Carly Simon
Anticipation


Released: November
Genre: Singer Songwriter
Label: Elektra

Got to this album almost by accident. When the year was almost done, I realized I had a missed somehow one album to round up to 100 and this was my last choice. For a double Grammy award winner, Simon's "Anticipation" can't compete with the likes of Joni Mitchell or Carole King releases of the same year but given the time I have dedicated to the album, there's a strong possibility I'm missing something I shouldn't. We'll see in ten years I guess!
95Fleetwood Mac
Future Games


Released: September 3rd
Genre: Pop Rock
Label: Reprise

Long before Mick Fleetwood was made rich by a random guy skating downhill singing one of his tunes while chugging juice on Tik Tok, the Mac gang had albums that were, well, not as good. Before Buckingham and Nicks, the legendary band from London was just a shadow of what they were meant to become. That doesn't mean "Future Games" is a bad album, the opening track "Woman of 1000 Years" and the lengthy title track are as solid as they get, but the rest wasn't as memorable as I was expecting.
94Roy Harper
Stormcock


Released: May
Genre: Singer songwriter
Label: Harvest

"That's what she said". I really hope Harper titled the album before the meme (I would be surprised if it wasn't). "Storm*ehem*cock" is an interesting album. Only four tracks, pretty long for a singer songwriter album, with the closer clocking around the 13 minute mark. With little more than some orchestral arrangements and a few overdubs of his voice, Harper manages to craft quite an engaging album, one that showcases his phenomenal guitar skills and expansive songwriting.
93Spring
Spring


Released: May 21st
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Neon

The legend says owning a Mellotron and being stranded after their van broke near Rockhead Studios were two key events that prompted the recording of the only album of the band led by Pat Moran. Unfortunately, nothing else came out of it, even after touring with the Velvet Underground around the UK. Moran did become a famed producer, working for Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop among other big names. He was also the assistant engineer on Queen's "A Night at the Opera". That's hard to beat.
92Le Orme
Collage


Released: Summer, for sure
Genre: Symphonic Prog
Label: Philips

Including some Italian prog in the menu for 1971 is almost a no-brainer. Venice's best kept treasure are still active today and while this is the first album I heard from them I'll be sure to add some of their hefty catalogue into further yearly explorations. "Era Inverno" ended up being one of my favorite songs of this year, great instrumentation and a killer vocal line. Would recommend!
91Out of Focus
Out of Focus


Released: Between May and July, not sure
Genre: Progressive Rock / Krautrock
Label: Kuckuck

Another krautrock gem from teutonic lands, damn, Germany was a hot spot for the genre. These guys were from Munich, completely missed their debut when I did 1970 last year, but fortunately got on this one and it seems is not even their best. Obviously fans of Can, Faust, etc want to give this a shot, I'd say it's not as excentric as those two, they focus more on jazzy stuff and melodym but it's definitely worth checking.
90Ikarus (GER)
Ikarus


Released: Wouldn't know, but in 1971 it seems
Genre: Jazz Rock
Label: +plus+

German prog rock/jazz rock outfit that sounds as badass as it looks, judging from the cover. Another one-shot project that disappeared from the face of the Earth and not much is known about it. Considering +plus+ was a pretty important krautrock label during the rising craze around the genre in Germany, I felt I should pay special attention to this one. I didn't know where to place it so I approached it in August to make sure it was hot enough. It was the perfect mood, so keep that in mind if you plan to get on it too!
89Pink Fairies
Never Never Land


Released: May
Genre: Space Rock / Punk
Label: Polydor

Terrific band from the London underground led by Paul Rudolph and featuring two drummers. Word says they were pretty unpredictable on stage, with gigs happening at random and songs being stretched out to become feverish jams, so it may be a miracle that someone got them on record. Think the MC5 trying to cover Pink Floyd and it's mostly what this is about.
88Tangerine Dream
Alpha Centauri


Released: April (certainly)
Genre: Ambient / Krautrock
Label: Ohr / Odeon

Oh, Tangerine Dream's ascension to synth paradise was still a long way to go but they had new toys ready for their second album, mind you. There are a few moments that stayed with me the first time I jumped on this. The second half of "Fly and Collision of Comas Sola", which sounds like the cosmic wreckage of Jethro Tull after throwing them into space on a touring van has all my love for Chris Franke's drumming. The title track... well, it's a mood for sure. I personally think 22 minutes was a stretch but they were probably absurdly high when they recorded this so, who cares, right? The last three minutes off this is what you shouldn't miss.
87The Cleves
The Cleves


Released: January
Genre: Progressive Rock / Blues Rock
Label: Infinity

Fairly short lived poppy prog rock band from New Zealand that had the very unfortunate idea to change the name to "Bitch" after the release of this album. The production is kinda rough but they were pretty decent songwriters and some songs like "You and Me" or "For a Time" prove they were at the same level as their English and American counterparts. Driven by the grave vocals of Gaye Brown and her singing interplay with her brothers, Cleves could have carved themselves a bigger name if they had survived more than three years but I guess some things are just not meant to happen.
86Locomotiv GT
Locomotiv GT


Released: December
Genre: Progressive Rock / Hard Rock
Label: Pepita

I've been listening to these guys just this last week. I'm not familiar with the Hungarian prog rock scene of the 60s/70s, maybe garasbro can shed some light on the subject, but this record is certainly above your average Euro-prog. Sang in the local language, it makes it even the more exotic. They also introduce a lot of instrumentation, being sax, percussion, organ and all that shuffle. I feel like if I would have had more time with this album it would have ranked higher on the list, but alas, time is all we don't have these days.
85Alice Cooper
Killer


Released: November 27th
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Warner

Are we all aware of that recent pic of Alice Cooper serving food to shelter kids? It's just one more little fact that certifies how an adorable human being this. Don't get fooled by the first parkway drive rock'n'roll tunes of the first half. Jump to "Dead Babies" for some good ol' creepy Alice Cooper and behold how the legend was starting to shape. And don't miss on Prog Cooper on the closer, a surprising twist of plot equal to that kid blowing Bruce Willis' mind in "The Sixth Sense".
84UFO
UFO 2: Flying


Released: October
Genre: Hard Rock / Progressive Rock
Label: Beacon

I'm on my third album by the London legends. Debut straight up sucked, and "No Place to Run" did also very little to convince me of giving them another chance. Glad I got on this one though, cause this is what the pre-conceived image I had of this band somehow. An 19 minute song as the second track? Color me intrigued! Yes, "Star Storm" is quite a power move, but honestly the closing "Flying" and its 26 minutes do a better job in keeping the tension and balance all the way to the end.
83Sun Ra
My Brother the Wind, Vol. 2


Released: Sometime down the year (even before Vol. I)
Genre: Jazz / Avant-garde
Label: Saturn

Sun-Ra, the absolute madman had just got a Moog and he was convinced it was used as some kind of artifact to make the wind speak. Near the axis of the album and entering the second half you can hear how he tortures his newly acquired toy in "The Wind Speaks", and how he makes it really mumble intergalactic mumbo jumbo in "Journey to the Stars". I'm honestly not a fan of the second half. The first half relies on your standard jazz patterns with a more orthodox Sun-Ra treating his organ with care and including brilliant songs like "Walking on the Moon".
82The Moody Blues
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour


Released: July
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Threshold

In 1971, The Moody Blues were already a highly praised act, sailing the winds of their seventh release and putting out glorious singles like "The Story in Your Eyes". The band is back with their gentle and soothing brand of soft prog, recovering their emblematic orchestral arrangements and mighty vocal harmonies and combining them with their well polished folk short pieces. Good album for dragon slaying and drinking ale round the fire.
81The Carpenters
Carpenters


Released: May 14th
Genre: Pop
Label: A&M

Carpenters are just a lovely band, a mood swinger, I don't know, hearing "Let Me Be The One" just puts me in a good mood every single time, it never fails me. Ill-fated Karen did have one of the most amazing voices of the time, and it's a shame she went out the way she did. I didn't know about it until I got on this album but it somehow turned Carpenters' often highspirited baroque pop into a macabre version of their music.
80Ten Years After
A Space in Time


Released: August
Genre: Psychedelic Rock / Blues Rock
Label: Chrysalis

If I'd ever had to explain someone (yes, our guy too), how to play blues without looking like you are playing I will probably refer to this album right here. I got mild satisfaction from "Cricklewood Green" last year but it did guarantee keeping TYA on the radar. "A Space in Time" is slightly better, but I confess I couldn't get too deep with it, life happenings et all. Still, one of those albums I'm looking forward to revisit in the future, one that combines folk with space psychedelia with blues rock with great results.
79If
If 3


Released: September 3rd
Genre: Jazz Rock
Label: United Artists

A prolific jazz fusion band that had quite a good run until 1975. They did return in 2016 with "If 5" but at the time I had no idea who they were. Check "Forgotten Roads" if you want a quick taste, but IF you want me to spoil you the surprises, expect some jazz infused prog ala Egg while leaning towards Gentle Giant in some tracks and going full big band jazz on others. Pretty neat.
78Graham Nash
Songs for Beginners


Released: May
Genre: Singer songwriter
Label: Atlantic

Probably the less visible head of the hydra that was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but this album proves he could compete solo with any of his bandmates and give them something to think about. "Military Madness" is such a beautiful tune I could have it on repeat for hours, "Chicago" is also another great song. The rest of the album relies maybe a bit too much on ballads but Nash' voice is so pleasant that I just feel a strange peace of mind just listening to the man sing.
77John Cale and Terry Riley
Church of Anthrax


Released: February 10th
Genre: Kraut Rock / Avant-Garde
Label: CBS / Columbia

One of the most prolific and mysterious musicians of the 60s, Terry Riley, wouldn't recommend you this album himself. Numerous disagreements between him and the ex-Velvet Underground John Cale would result in Riley even leaving New York and abandoning his involvement on the record. Honestly, the title track is an immense funk infused kraut rock jam that is just hips shattering. The rest, well... there's a bit of everything, a couple of 10 minute average improvised sessions, and some voiced prog rock tune, but it's easy to see why Riley would initially pass on finishing the mix. He did appreciate the result years later though.
76Bobby Hutcherson
Head On


Released: November
Genre: Jazz
Label: Blue Note

1970's "Now!" ended up in my top 10 last year so I was excited to have more of Hutcherson on the menu this year. Unfortunately, the two albums released by him this year are a bit different from the stuff he did in "Now!", especially regarding the absence of vocals, which really elevated some of the tracks in that album. Still, great performances by Reggie Johnson on contrabass (or James Leary III, both are credited), Oscar Brashear on trumpet or Harold Land on sax, not to mention Hutcherson himself doing magic with his instruments (vibraphone, marimba).
75Steeleye Span
Ten Man Mop


Released: December
Genre: Folk / Celtic
Label: Pegasus

Second album of 1971 of the Celtic folk squad Steeleye Span, they were really busy this year. Slightly weaker than "Pleased to See the King" but it continues the dynamic brought by the previous album, an attempt of simplifying their compositions with less strict performances and letting the songs breathe. Maddy Prior is still my favorite aspect of this band, so "When I was on Horseback" and "Captain Coulston" are big favorites.
74Tear Gas
Tear Gas


Released: Sometime this year
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Regal Zonophone

Now these guys had quite THE guitar tone. They sounded heavy, almost as heavy as Iommy's crew, but their tunes weren't that spectacular, drawing heavily from blues and classic rock, there's so much you can do, even if you do have an amp killer tone. They still managed to deviate from the formula in songs like "Woman for Sale" (ugh), "Love Story" and with the fantastic doom of "Where is my Answer".
73Woody Shaw
Backstone Legacy


Released: Sometime this year
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Regal Zonophone

Modern jazz in all its glory by New Jersey trumpeter Woody Shaw. In addition to Shaw's wild performance, the album features a Lenny White absolutely unleashed on the drum kit and bassist Clint Houston running after him trying to catch his in a neverending race towards an inexistent goal. "New World"'s funky beat and the frenzy speed of "Lost and Found" are the highlights here.There's a typo in the album by the way, the correct title is "Blackstone Legacy".
72Sandy Denny
The North Star Grassman and the Ravens


Released: September 3rd
Genre: Singer Songwriter / Folk
Label: Island

It was time for Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny to walk the solitary path. If you were used to her band's material, her second solo work (or maybe the truly first solo record) won't bring many surprises. The Canterboury folk influences are noticeably toned down, but her songwriting skills prove to be not her forte. Her voice still allows her to carve out a really nice folk record of sophisticated nuances, from the darker shades of "John the Gun" to the country rock of "Let's Jump the Broomstick".
71David Crosby
If I Could Only Remember My Name


Released: February 22nd
Genre: Folk
Label: Atlantic

Did you know this album is on the top 10 of the Vatican's rock albums ranking? Well, now you know. Crosby, the damn hippy. "Music is Love"? Please dude, go get a haircut. Just kidding Dave! You're a handsome lad. If anything has to be said about this Crosby's first solo adventure is that the man knows how to record a vocal harmony. In fact, he's so good at it, that the best tracks of this album are the almost a capella closing duo of "Orleans" and "I'd Thought There Was Somebody Here". This is also Phoebe Bridgers' favorite record.
70Traffic
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys


Released: December
Genre: Folk / Progressive Rock
Label: Island

let's get rid of the elephant in the room first and foremost, I prefer this one to "John Barleycorn Must Die"... *Hides in closet* Now, from this safe spot, I would say that both albums are great, really, but this one just opens with "Hidden Treasure" which is one of the prettiest songs of the year and also has "Rainmaker" and the title track which are top Traffic.
69Wishbone Ash
Pilgrimage


Released: July
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: MCA

Before they peaked with "Argus", Wishbone Ash's sophomore recording expanded on their prog heavily. Just listen to the first seconds of "Vas Dis" and Steve Upton's hectic drumming will take you for a ride like a rollercoaster that never slows down the rails. "Jail Bait" brings the blues (I hardly believe any hard rock or prog band in the 70s could resist to include a blues jam at this point). The second half seems to finally find some quiet ground with the three tracks that precede the long bluesy (is this live?) jam of "Where Were You Tomorrow". I wish they would have focused on the prog of the first half but knowing what would come after this album, it seems my wishes would come true soon enough.
68Chicago
Chicago III


Released: January 11th
Genre: Jazz Rock / Funk
Label: Columbia

Honestly I've never been a fan of Chicago, my father was, though, and I remember him spinning this one and the two records before this one during a certain period in one of his spontaneous obsessions. My old man is on his 70s now and he texted me the other day with a youtube link to some Russian Chicago tribute band. He was down the Chicago rabbit hole again. He went as far as to trying to convince me they were better than the original band. Old man rambles... Anyway! "Free" is a massive jam, and it's the least you should jam off this record, otherwise I'll have to send Deez your way.
67Stray (UK)
Suicide


Released: March
Genre: Heavy Rock / Psychedelic
Label: Transatlantic

Stray can measure their importance in the UK rock history by the fact that goddamn Iron Maiden actually covered one of their songs in the 90s. No surprise when hearing songs like "Jericho", which features one of the heaviest guitar riffs I heard on any 1971 release, with the exception, always, of anything made by Black Sabbath. Stray were of a groovier nature, classic rock with subtle progressive elements that knew how to write a riff and turn it to eleven. At the same time, they had enough sensibility as to write soft Beatles-like tunes like "Dearest Eloise" and still make it work amidst the heavier tracks. This would have been my album of the month in March of 1971.
66Grand Funk Railroad
Survival


Released: April (maybe, probably not)
Genre: Hard rock
Label: Capitol

You're in the wrong cave homie. In 1971 you would certainly wouldn't want to mess with Grand Funk, one of the loudest trios of the hood, partly thanks to Mel Schacher's love for distortion on his four strings, which was more often than not the headache of many mixboard wizards. "Survival" cools down on the heaviness though, while still achieving quite a fat overall sound, and the band sounds incredibly tight. I can't say they are one of my favorite acts of the 70s but I won't deny I love at times cranking "Feelin' Alright" on the way to the shower. The 2 minutes they rant before starting recording "I Want Freedom" are also good comedy material. That bass in "Gimme Shelter" though...
65Gentle Giant
Acquiring the Taste


Released: July 16th
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Vertigo

Once you see the giant tongue licking an asshole there's no going back. For many, Gentle Giant's sophomore remains as a stronger album than their emblematic debut. I am not too sure about it. I believe their debut does a better job when welcoming new listeners to the world of the Giant, while this one feels more defying in that sense. I'd let the conosseurs make the final judgement but "Acquiring the Taste" is undoubtedly a strong album, with "Pentagruel's Nativity" being a tremendous opener, and "Plain Truth" closing the album with an infectious groove.
64Steeleye Span
Please To See The King


Released: March 1st
Genre: Folk / Celtic
Label: B&C

Steeleye Span turns the tides of their British traditional folk with a more minimalistic approach that also sees them walking down a darker path. The version of "The Blacksmith" of this album, originally included in their previous album is outstanding, somehow building the original structure with just fewer guitar structures and better atmosphere. The album works better just listening to scattered tracks, as it is maybe too consistent for its own good. If you were to exemplify English folk with strong Celtic influences, this album would be a nice choice. Needless to say, Maddy Prior's voice is just magical.
63Atomic Rooster
In Hearing of Atomic Rooster


Released: August
Genre: Hard Rock / Progressive Rock
Label: Pegasus

Summer was a crazy time this year so I couldn't have as much time as I wanted with some albums around the July/August period. One of those was Atomic Rooster's third release. I had a hell of a good time with their first two albums last year so I was looking forward to this one. In terms of style there's not much change for the Rooster, but Vincent Crane is on fire on this record, both on vocals and with his Hammond. Many tracks to choose from but side B's "Head in the Sky" takes it home.
62Strawbs
From the Witchwood


Released: July
Genre: Folk Rock
Label: A&M

My first contact with the highly regarded Strawbs begins with this album. It seems it serves as the link to a more progressive, hardened sound on the recordings following this "From the Witchwood"? Should be interesting. This has a really nice "out of Hobbiton and off to adventures beyond" feel, with superb vocal harmonies and carefully chose instrumentation. It also has a slight touch of psychedelia and non-conventional melodies which make it stand out from other folk releases this year.
61Pink Floyd
Meddle


Released: November 5th
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Harvest

After the deceptive incursion into Floyd's roots that was "Atom Heart Mother", the band's sixth record finally sounds akin to the pre-conceived image I have in my head. The one punch of "One of These Days" rough take off and the landing on feathers of "A Pillow of Winds" are all you can wish/expect from a Floyd record. Obviously there's the mandatory mention of "Echoes" which was sold to me very highly on the album's thread and did not disappoint. One of those songs that made me regret quitting smoking long time ago.
60Pharoah Sanders
Thembi


Released: May
Genre: Spiritual Jazz / Free Jazz
Label: Impulse!

There are a few things that will catch your attention as soon as "Astral Traveling" starts pouring down your stereo. Cecil McBee's crusty bass sound, those tremolo notes, the hypnotizing bells... Sanders is taking you by the hand into cosmic jazz paradise and you should follow... or that is that he would make you believe because then "Red, Black and Green" puts two trumpets one on each of your ears and drags your soul into the depths of free jazz hell. "Thembi" is an album of woderful contrasts, and no one like Pharoah Sanders knows best how to give you the right dose of both worlds.
59Argent
Ring of Hands


Released: February
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Epic

My second foray into Rod Argent's project after a very strong debut. Argent's sophomore doesn't change the band's formula, and it includes a few really good tracks, namely "Celebration", "Pleasure" and "Cast Your Spell Uranus" (try to sing the chorus without cracking up). It's also interesting seeing them going down some nerd prog with "Lothlorien" but I absolutely abhore songs like "Sweet Mary", which lean on the same blues rock pattern over and over again. Solid follow-up though!
58Van der Graaf Generator
Pawn Hearts


Released: October
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Charisma

This is a beast of an album, absolute prog madness, but it takes so much time to sink in that for many it will slide in and out your ears like a slime down an oil ramp. VDGG's fourth full release has a lot to unpack but it's worth listening for many reasons. David Jackson's treating his sax to electronic devices, Peter Hammill's dramatic approach to vocals and Guy Evans' carefully executed drumming. Spacey prog at its best, if you have the luxury of time for it.
57Saft
Saft


Released: April
Genre: Progressive rock
Label: Polydor

Not to confuse with the Swedish synth pop duo, Saft were a band from Bergen (Norway) that managed to create three very different albums, with this debut being maybe their best considered work. They draw from many sources, Barclay James and Harvest or Traffic come to mind, but "Saft" also holds a few surprises, including a frenzy cover of "Eleanor Rigby", some ethereal folk pieces in their native tongue, and some really vibrant and psychedelic tunes like "Fly". One of the highlights of the year even if not one of the most prominent ones.
56Mountain
Nantucket Sleighride


Released: February 6th
Genre: Heavy Rock
Label: Windfall / Island

What a step up from "Climbing!". Mountain's third album combines the heavy blues rock roots of their previous works with a newfound sensibility that shines especially in the title track, one of the best songs of the year. Obvious bits of classic rock that are honestly not very exciting but it's when Mountain deviates from that path when things get interesting. Leslie West is yet another guitar legend lost just a year ago, in December 2020, but his heritage and memory live on in this classic recording.
55Bread, Love and Dreams
Amaryllis


Released: June
Genre: Progressive Folk
Label: Decca

Acid folk trio from Edinburgh that saw mdoerate success with this album. "Amaryllis" was conceived as the soundtrack for a play called "Mother Earth", performed by the Traverse Theatre Group and directed by Max Stafford, who was the one that requested the group to write it. The audiovisual experience was quite succesful and prompted an European tour. The album itself opens with a 21 minute opus, has no drums, and features the twin vocals of David McNiven and Angie Rew. Really nice folky material in the vein of The Incredible String Band.
54Dust
Dust


Released: September
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Kama Sutra

Dust were loud, very loud for the times, and featured an incredibly tight rythm section formed by two significant figures, bassist Kenny Aaronson who later went on to play with Blue Öyster Cult and drummer Marc Bell, better known as Marky Ramone, and you all can guess where he ended up playing. Dust debut sees them playing blues inspired hard rock, which they will develop further later into proto-metal, while always keeping a punk aura around it.
53Uriah Heep
Salisbury


Released: Some time between January and February
Genre: Heavy prog
Label: Vertigo

Honestly, I wasn't a fan of the Heep's debut, to the point I'm not even sure if I included it in my 1970 list. Their sophomore hits much harder for some reason. "Bird of Prey" 's main riff is impossible not to bop to, even if Byron's highs sound a bit funny at times. "The Park" follows up with a beautifully chill and proggy tune called "Time to Live" in which Byron really shines. Of course the main dish comes with the 16 minutes of the title track, which is epic as... well, yeah, as fuck.
52Broselmaschine
Broselmaschine


Released: October
Genre: Folk
Label: Pilz

Such a lovely German folk record. Features incredibly variated instrumentation; fluts metallophone, sitar, waldzither (wtf is this thing?), tabals, mellotron, spoons, etc. as well as beautifully laid vocal harmonies (they feature 2 or 3 vocalists in every track). Their music has a psychedelic element that blends perfectly with light Eastern influences. The opener "Gedanken" would be my recommended track for a quick survey, but the last two long tracks are where they show off.
51Flower Travellin Band
Satori


Released: April 25th
Genre: Psychedelic rock / Protodoom
Label: Atlantic

One of the most wicked albums of 1971. Be welcomed by Joe Yamanaka's belting right into your brain (enhanced headphones edition) and prepare for a trip backwards through Black Sabbath and Led Zep history through the lens of one of Japan's many hidden talents, the Flower Travellin' Band (Credit to park, who got me into them). Conceived as a single conceptual piece divided in 5 lengthy acts, "Satori" is the result of western bands' influence like the ones mentioned plus Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly or Cream, shredded by one of Tokyo's craziest outfits. Heavy, proggy and weird, it's a shame that Yamanaka left us in 2011, because a reunion happened in 2007, and that would have beeen something I wouldn't have missed.
50T. Rex
Electric Warrior


Released: October
Genre: Glam Rock
Label: Reprise

Last year I came in contact with T. Rex through "A Beard of Stars", which is probably the worst entry point I could have possibly chosen, but it's just how it played out. I couldn't help to compare Bolan's voice to Dan Bejar's (aka Destroyer), and truth be told, I've tried to get into that very nasal, agonic tone with not much success and it somehow affected my jam time with this album. I still enjoyed it, it's a great album, "Mambo Sound", "Cosmic Dancer", "Get it On", and "Rip Off" never fail to turn me on. Love the bassy and dry production too so I could see this growing in the near future.
49Faust
Faust


Released: September 21st
Genre: Krautock
Label: Polydor

Not an easy listening but I was already expecting that. I mean, I'd be lying if I'd say I knew what to expect. You never with these crazy German krautrock bands, but Faust just exceeds all expectations, and depending on the day I mean that in the best way or in the worst. Actually, at this point in my life, and after many listens I am still not sure how I feel about this. It's like a permanent itch on my brain that no matter how much I scratch it, it never goes away.
48Os Mutantes
Jardim Elétrico


Released: March
Genre: Psychedelic Pop Rock
Label: Polydor

In contrast with "A divina comédia...", this follow-up didn't hit me with the same spark that their previous album. Something was different on this one, more colorful, wilder, less charming in a way. Songs like "Technicolor" might have earned them the title of "Brasilian Beatles" but songs like "El Justiciero" that are plain Spaghetti Western material are really not my vibe. The mood is generally quite comic, which works in some cases. Nonetheless, Rita Lee is a goddess, and she proves it in several tracks, especially on the second half, which is where the gold of this album is hidden.
47John Martyn
Bless the Weather


Released: November
Genre: Singer Songwriter
Label: Island

One of the greatest singer songwriters in history, this album only caught my eye because Ben Howard (if I remember correctly) has always praised his works, especially after he got signed to the same label as Martyn, which is crazy for him if you think about it. Anyway, this album is pure bliss, not only Martyn is very accomplished guitar player, he's also a hell of a composer, and so great cuts like "Go Easy". "Head and Heart" and "Let the Good Things Come" are what I needed in between the heavy prog mayhem I've submitted myself last year.
46Marvin Gaye
What's Going On


Released: May 21st
Genre: Soul
Label: Tamla Motown

Marvin, what's going on my man. I know this album got a lot of praise recently (fellow staffer Kirk, aka granitebook did a fantastic anniversary review last year that you should read). That been said I can't really contribute much to the discussion, it's great. Check "What's Happening Brother" or "Mercy Mercy (The Ecology" and feel the GROOVE of love.
45Krokodil
An Invisible World Revealed


Released: Unknown, but in 1971 originally it seems
Genre: Psychdelic Rock
Label: United Artists

Stupid cover, stupid band name, amazing record. Like I was THIS close to just ignore this album judging from the sinking alligator on the cover but oh boy, glad I gave it a chance. This Swiss band has I think a total of 6 records plus some archival material. Songs are mostly dominated by an acoustic with all kinds of stuff going on behind it. They completely give in to sitar and tablas in some tracks like "Odyssey in Om" but their core is heavy psychedelic and fuzzy rock. "Looking at Time" is another song you don't wanna miss.
44Banchee
Thinkin'


Released: August
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Polydor

Trio from the US that excelled in mixing heavy rock with a poppy approach and much emphasis on beats. Not only the drumming of Victor William Di Gilio is pretty good but also the percussion that usually follows him around. Crazy tempo changes ("3/4"), psyche bluesy jams ("Children of Universe") and one of the best openers of the year, the thrilling "John Doe". The album closes with an 8 minute track called "38" that feeds from blues as much as from latin percussion and ecstatic singing. Fairly unknown band that met their end with this album after only two records, which is a shame.
43Genesis
Nursery Cryme


Released: November 12th
Genre: Pogressive Rock
Label: Charisma

Honestly "Trespass" was an alright album when compared to this. Some say this is the beginning of the legend right here. Phil Collins and Steve Hackett had just joined the band and it shows. "The Musical Box" is a prog masterpiece, and there's fun stuff like "Harold the Barrel", but my favorite moment on this album has to be the closer, "The Fountain of Salmacis". Peter Gabriel sounds like an absolute madman, and maybe he was, but the orchestration and the general mood of the song is just wonderful.
42The Beach Boys
Surf's Up


Released: August 30th
Genre: Progressive rock / Psychedelic rock
Label: Brother / Stateside

Strange, very strange record for the Beach Boys, starting with a cover art that looks like a Second Wave of Norwegian black metal. Obviously, there's no metal here, but the usual BB goodness. The band was entering the twilight of their long and prosperous career so there was quite a bit of experimentation and some blind shots in the dark. They still managed to create classics like "Til' I Die" and the title track, which closes the album. "Don't Go Near the Water" is also a strong opener, and it's only around the belly of the record where things get thicker. Still, a good time to be had.
41Caravan
In the Land of Grey and Pink


Released: April 8th
Genre: Progressive rock / Psychedelic rock
Label: Deram

The prodigal sons of the Canterboury scene back in full swing. I had a pretty good time last year with "If I Could Do It All..." so it was guaranteed this was gonna be good if not better. After all, this particular album bears a heavy reputation among the conosseurs of the genre. "Golf Girl" almost breaks the myth for me, not my favorite opener, but thankfully "Winter Wine" soon puts everything in place. The twenty two minutes of "Nine Feet Underground" are undoubtedly the best part of the album, quite a hill to trek if you have the patience of a 2 year old, but as with every long epic, the best awaits in the end, only for the brave.
40Deep Purple
Fireball


Released: September 15th
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Harvest

"Fireball" was released at the time that the deep purple dream team was dominating the rock scene, sandwitched between "Deep Purple in Rock" and "Machine Head". Every member was at their peak, Paice drumming is insane, Jon Lord's keys are perfect and Gillan sounds, well, as good as ever, the man kills it no matter where he sings. Blues rock honestly bores me, I've said it many times, but DP somehow gets it right, "Strange Kind of Woman" is how you do it (and many tried to). "The Mule" is an amazing deep cut, and the same goes for "Fools". The band still had success ahead of them but this album already sees them peaking.
39Hawkwind
In Search of Space


Released: October 8th (mah bday)
Genre: Space Rock
Label: United Artists

Space rock riders of galactic storms and stardust sniffers Hawkwind embark on a quest to find Space through riffs and substances, they find it and they rule it. For many the ultimate Hawkwind album, an opinion I don't share, but I agree that there's enough material here to back such statement. I want to think that "Masters of the Universe" was the song that influenced some nerds at Mattel to create the popular series. He-man would lose the wig headbanging to this stuff for sure.
38Joni Mitchell
Blue


Released: June 22nd
Genre: Singer songwriter
Label: Reprise

One of the most emblematic folk artists of all times and a voice that won't leave you indifferent. Joni Mitchell has influenced 97% of singer songwriters nowadays with the exception of Bjork, Lingua Ignota and Chelsea Wolfe. All the others live under her wing. Yes, this was a bad dad joke. Excuse me, *ehem*, this album left me empty inside the first time, I felt nothing, but after some revisiting it actually grew on me, there's something really special about it and I don't really know what it is.
37Magma
1001° Centigrades


Released: October 5th
Genre: Zeuhl
Label: Philips

First album after sacrificing the guitar of Claude Engel to the volcanic gods. Magma's second album doesn't feel much different from their debut, probably closer to jazz than their first album but maintaining their hilarious compositions, which hit here 21 minutes on the opener, 12 minutes on the middle track and 8 forgiving minutes on the closer (notice how I omit the song titles cause their inclusion would be as relevant as screaming "nkjsiahihnklñ" into the void). Anyway, Magma holds no surprises, the album is hot hotness as its title states, and only a fool would choose not to do the whole parachuting thing right into it. I highly recommend it.
36Amon Duul II
Tanz Der Lemminge


Released: June
Genre: Progressive Rock / Krautrock
Label: United Artists / Liberty

The logical continuation to the great "Yeti", although I found it weaker than the former one. The songs are more expansive, relaxed and trippy and I couldn't find anything as immediate as "Archangel Thunderbird". It's a great recording for audiophiles cause the Germans were really good at creating sound textures and sonic landscapes, which they do generously on the second half, but overall is a less fun, more reflective version of "Yeti".
35Gong
Camembert Electrique


Released: October
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Label: BYG

Who doesn't like Camembert, for the love of Montesquieu. Behind an hilarious album title hides one of 1971's most interesting records. It marked the beginning of a band who was set to achive great things later. Ignore the humurous interludes if that's not your thing and focus on stuff like "Fohat Digs Holes in Space" and you'll see the true nature of the cheese.
34Nucleus
We'll Talk About It Later


Released: March
Genre: Funk / Jazz / Progressive Rock
Label: Vertigo

The Bearded Lady would actually lose her beard while shaking to the beat of the opening track dedicated to her. A much heavier record than the previous release from the London group, with even a couple of tracks including vocals from guitarist Chris Spedding I believe. "Lullaby For a Lonely Child" is a moody jazzy slowburn into some night city landscape, and there's also the wild blues jam of the title track. I haven't listened to the rest of the band's discography but I would be very surprised if anything else tops this one. The pure jazz parts are jaw dropping stuff.
33Carole King
Tapestry


Released: March
Genre: Rock / Soul / Singer Songwriter
Label: Ode / A&M

Time has been extremely kind to this album and millions of words have been written about Carole King's "Tapestry" building up a remarkable reputation in the singer songwriter spheres. There is truth in this, King's sophomore is a very easy-listening collection of great compositions, mostly driven by King's piano and her heartful voice, where blues meets soul under the shadow of a overused hippie folk umbrella of melody transitions and themes that trace back to the matters of the heart. Yet somehow, "Tapestry" found a little place in my head and remained there in a slumber until I recently re-visited, which helped me have a clearer vision of what this album means. And it meant a lot, actually.
32Santana
Santana III


Released: September
Genre: Latin Rock
Label: Columbia

Every time I come across a Santana record on these runs I ask myself, "where's this man?", "Is he alive and well?", "is he still playing?", "is he human after all?" A quick google search would reveal the answer to these non-sensical questions but I rpefer to keep the mystery to myself, because that's where Santana's magic resides. Someone recently made a meme with Satan and Santa Claus but I can't reallyr emember the details so probably wasn't that funny. Jam the album, it's great.
31Egg
The Polite Force


Released: February
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Deram

Canterboury scene meets Black Sabbath for what it's one hell of an intro. What follows is your usual jazz rock acrobatics, which UK prog rock four-piece Egg has mastered at this point. The "Long Piece No. 3", divided in 4 different movements that clock at almost 20 minutes, is the core of Egg's second release, with the last section being absolutely prog bonkers. "Boilk" will try to make you opt out before that, but ignore it and push through. Rewards await.
30Alice Coltrane
Journey in Satchidananda


Released: February
Genre: Jazz / Avant-Garde
Label: Impulse!

Three years after the deah of her husband, the legendary John Coltrane, Alice journey'd to India and Sri Lanka in search of spiritual healing. She had suffered greatly after the loss of her soulmate and it was through music and the teachings of yoga guru Swami Satchidananda that she was finally able to start off a process of recovery. Her harp playing on this album is unbelievable, and Pharoah Sanders, needless to say, adheres to and complements her compositions masterfully. The short middle tune "Stopover Bombay" is a little jazzy gem you shouldn't miss on.
29The Move
Message From the Country


Released: July
Genre: Rock / Pop / Psychedelic
Label: Harvest

The Move achieved the prestigious award of most terrible cover art last year with "Shazam", truly, one of those covers that you really have to make an effort to breach through to get to the music. This second album is a worthy succesor of their debut, a sweet mix of soft rock and catchy pop and prog rock melodies but I somehow messed up the order and this shouldn't be this high but aaaaah... whatever.
28Doug Carn
Infant Eyes


Released: April 15th
Genre: Jazz
Label: Black Jazz

Second album of New York based pianist Doug Carn with his wife Jean Carn on vocals. For this record, the Carn(s) had a couple of musicians who were key for this recording. First and foremost contrabass boss Henry Franklin, who later would go on to play with the likes of Stevie Wonder and ultra-suave drummer Michael Carvin. Both compliment Carn's electrifying playing beautifully. The tracks with Jean on vocals are the highlight for me though: "Little B's poem" and the long ballad "Infant Eyes" is where the combo is really doing something truly magical. Carvin shines on "Passion Dance" too, while Franklin just basically owns every track. Be sure to include this on your bag if you ever find yourself running out of 70s jazzy jams.
27Shelagh McDonald
Stargazer


Released: September
Genre: Folk
Label: B&C

Scottish singer songwriter who mysteriouslt disappeared after this album. Not that she was abducted by aliens, well, actually it could be that too, I guess we'll never know. Her voice is fairly similar to the many singers of the Canterboury scene and it's no surprise she worked with members of Fairport Convention, etc. The little details on this album are what make it special. On the title track you can here a goddamn gregorian chant (and I believe McDonald proving her soprano skills too).
26Budgie
Budgie


Released: July
Genre: Heavy Rock
Label: MCA

A name we are all very familiar here (I wonder how's our man doing these days). The band though, it's evil, heavy as hell, as they prove in the opening track "Guts", but then they switch to an ethereal little tune like "Everything in my Heart" where Burke Shelley makes use of that soul melting vocal texture that it's just so good. Budgie's debut is my first contact with them and I had a pretty strong feeling that I am gonna dig what's yet to come.
25Janis Joplin
Pearl


Released: January 11th
Genre: Rock / Soul / Blues
Label: Columbia / CBS

Aaaah, the unruly, the one and only dominatrix of 70s blues rock... She didn't see "Pearl" released, sadly, as she had passed away in October 4th, the year before, vanishing in the arms of heroin. She was only 26 years old. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of her broken, rugged powerhouse vocals, but a man must take his hat off in the presence of such an impressive gift of nature. "Move On" or "Half Moon" are enormous jams, even without the singer, but her contribution only elevates them even higher. Another thing is the crazy a cappella show off of "Mercedes Benz". Pure unadultered talent.
24David Bowie
Hunky Dory


Released: December 17th
Genre: Glam Rock / Art Rock
Label: RCA Victor

I only knew "Changes" off this, god I love that song, but I'm still a Bowie amateur. Slowly getting on his catalogue and becoming more and more fascinating with his works. The thing about Bowie is that it's all beyond the music. It was his captivating personality, his image, and backing that an incredibly talented composer and performer. It's safe to say there will never be another one like him and that's quite the concept to deal with. I won't go as far as to say this is my favorite of what i heard so far, but "Changes" and "Life on Mars?" had heavy rotation this year.
23Freddie Hubbard
Straight Life


Released: January
Genre: Jazz / Post Bop
Label: CTI

Little did the 20 year-old Hubbard that landed on the streets of New York looking to make a name for himself that he would be playing with the biggest names of American jazz years later. In fact, the line-up on this record is already pretty crazy: Herbie Hancock on piano, George Benson on guitar and Jack DeJohnette on drums, just to name a few of the participants. Jazz funk oozes through the two colossal 17 minute pieces that are the core of the album, but my favorite cut is the closing short piece "Here's That Rainy Day", a moody, gentle jazz tune with a melancholic noir feel.
22Golden Earring
Seven Tears


Released: September
Genre: Hard Rock / Progressive Rock
Label: Polydor

I have jammed the opener of this album an unhealthy amount of times this year. The intro vocal verse is just perfect mood settling melancholy, and what follows it's not less great. I somehow love the spacey production work on this album, and how they balance the acoustic parts with the heavy sections in plodding tracks like "Hope" (that sax!). Then you have vibrant tunes like "She Flies on Strange WIngs" or "The Road Swallowed Her Name" creating this really cool game of... swag? vs. sensibility that just works wonders here. Really great album.
21Funkadelic
Maggot Brain


Released: July 12th
Genre: Psychedelic Funk
Label: Westbound

The opener is probably not the most welcoming tune they could have placed on this otherwise, their best album, but someone, somewhere, at some point, did the move. Not a big fan of Funkadelic myself, but this album is definitely something else. Heaps of fun, heaps of class, the American funk warriors led by George Clinton kill it on every track, but if we are talking favorites I'd go with "Hit it and Quit it", "Super Stupid" and of course "Wars of Armageddon". If you had to choose a single funk album of the year, it'd be definitely this one.
20Popol Vuh
In den Garten Pharaos


Released: January
Genre: Progressive / Experimental / Krautrock
Label: Pilz

This is the first of two Popol Vuh albums I've heard this year, and it was also the very first album I heard in 2021. The sound of water introducing those ominous synths and the percussion that follows was quite representative of what kind of year layed ahead. Two tracks around the 19 minute mark, so it's a good choice for those looking into exploring the origins of drone (and training your patience).
19Westfauster
In A King's Dream


Released: June
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Nasco

It's quite the unicorn situation, but a band from Cincinatty that sounded like they were from Canterboury was a strange event. With Britain and German dominating the scene at the turn of the decade, the sound coming from those countries was expanding rapidly around the world to the US and Japan. This guitarless trio led by a great vocalist and organ player named C. W. Fauster were one of the best examples of said influence. Great harmonies, jazz influences and a heavy focus on creating the proper space for their songs were some of their selling points.
18Leonard Cohen
Songs of Love and Hate


Released: March 17th
Genre: Folk
Label: Columbia

I released an album in 2016, acoustic driven, low-tuned, recorded it very loud while playing it very soft, and more or less the same approach with the vocals. It was shit. But I remember someone (I think it was TwigTW or Doofus) made a comparison with this album. I finally got to hear it this year, also my first Cohen album, and that dark tone that looms over the record is indeed something I was trying to capture too... only, well... Mr. Cohen did it a bit better. "Famous Blue Raincoat" is, to quote Keanu Reeves, "breathtaking".
17Miles Davis
Jack Johnson


Released: February 24th
Genre: Jazz / Rock
Label: Columbia

The first minutes of "Right Off" never fail to bore me to death, and it's not until the almighty trumpet of the one and only Miles Davis crashes the party that my ears don't fully open up to its magnificent howl. This album had the very difficult task of walking on the footsteps of "Bitches Brew", some even said it walked right THROUGH and OVER it, but I don't agree. It's true that John McLaughlin shines here, and that Herbie Hancock cranks up his organ to stupid levels, and that Billy Cobham treats his drum kit with admirable restraint and prowess, but it's not until the second half of "Yesternow" that the brew hits the spot.
16Yes
Fragile


Released: November 26th
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Atlantic

1971 was somehow a good year for Yes. They released two of their greatest albums and consolidated their formation with probably their best line-up. My dad is actually the hardest Yes fan I've ever known, and this is his favorite release. Not mine though, I still have some time to revisit. Certainly "Roundabout" and "Long Diistance Runaround" are among my favorite Yes tracks, but as a whole I might prefer other albums. Still, I ranked this high on the list because it's all you want in a progressive rock release and then some more.
15Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Tarkus


Released: June 14th
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Cotillion

There is only one way to understand the power of this album, and that is watching this video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbHtRggFsNA&ab_channel=UnlimitedBrettWorks
14Jethro Tull
Aqualung


Released: March 19th
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Island

I won't say much about this album knowing that a certain Jethro roams these lands carrying a deeper, more trustful judgement about whatever the band of Ian Anderson has ever put out. Despite the many attempts of regarding "Aqualung", one of the finest examples of folk tinged prog rock (or prog tinged folk rock) in the 70s, as an athean attack on God, Anderson seems to have dispelled such accusations time and time again, directing his ire to the Church instead, and the rot that it feeds from. You might have heard the title track more than once, but "Aqualung" certainly contains much more than the famous piece.
13The Masters Apprentices
Choice Cuts


Released: May
Genre: Psychedelic Rock / Progressive Rock
Label: Columbia

You wouldn't happen to know that Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt is a huge fan of this Australian outfit, wouldn't you? Well I didn't know either but that's where that track in 2002 "Deliverance" got the title from. Åkerfeldt has undeniable good taste, as "Choice Cuts" was one hell of a good surprise going well into May this year. Recorded in Abbey Road, which for an Australian band in 1971 was kind of a big thing, this album features basically every style imaginable of the 70s prog scene, almost as if Robert Plant fronted Black Sabbath at times ("Catty"), and listening to "Song for a Lost Gypsy", most of Opeth's unstoppable diving into the prog rock swamp of recent albums starts to make a lot of sense.
12John Coltrane
Sun Ship


Released: August
Genre: Jazz
Label: Impulse!

The same line-up that recorded the legendary "A Love Supreme" gets back together for "Sun Ship". Comparisons between the two albums are useless. The quartet kills it the same way they kill it on the aforementioned album. Elvin Jones is out of his body again, McCoy Tyner hammers his piano keys in a constant struggle to dominate chaos and Jimmy Garrison, a bit less prominent on the mix, gules everything together nicely. Needless to say, Coltrane's performance is god tier.
11King Crimson
Islands


Released: December 3rd
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Island

Boz Burrell wasn't ready to play bass when he joined the band for the recording of the album, he was meant to sing and that he accomplished with honors. His bass skills are just enough to fill the spot, basically limited to whatever Fripp could show him to play as they were recording the album. As such, "Islands" sounds like King Crimson taking a good break to chillin'. "Sailor's Tale" still has that unstoppable King Crimson energy, but it's a more laid back side for a band that had little to prove at this point anyway.
10Barclay James Harvest
Once Again


Released: February 5th
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Harvest

You have to be dead inside to hold dem feels from breaching your soul when listening to the first notes of "Mocking Bird". BJH's sophomore did a few things better than their debut, especially on these long epics like the opener "She Said". It's true that they would later devolve into some sort of adultered pop, but this is the band at its best, with orchestral arrangements blending better with the music and superb singing by John Lees.
9Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Inner Mounting Flame


Released: November 3rd
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Columbia

I've had the main melody of "Meeting of the Spirits" in my head for months now. It haunts me in my sleep, it's out of this world, only non-human species could have come up with such an earworm, and the way it plays around and with the strings and rythm secion while McLaughlin makes his guitar talk in tongues is just pure musical bliss. Billy Cobham's drumming is overwhelmingly good at times, check "The Noonward Race" and you'll know what I mean, while soft pieces like "Dawn" or "You Know, You Know" are perfect when in the right mood.
8Mainhorse
Mainhorse


Released: March 6th
Genre: Progressive Rock / Heavy Rock
Label: Polydor

I promise you that the first minute of the first track of Mainhorse's debut is guaranteed to wake you up with a punch. Bryson Graham's drumming is absolutely insane and David Kubinec's vocals hit with surprising familiarity while Patrick Moraz's (Yes, The Moody Blues) keys battle constantly for the spotlight against a not less skillful Peter Lockett on guitar. Fate didn't want mainhorse to have success and so after this album they disbanded. It's a shame really, as the band excelled both in songwriting and semi-improvised jamming. What a hidden treasure of the 70s.
7Trees
On the Shore


Released: January (No official date)
Genre: Folk Rock
Label: CBS

Trailing behind the success of other folk units like Fairport Convention, this second album would also be the last release for the British folk band Trees, which would disband the following year. "On The Shore" left a mark though, and it has been remastered and reissued though numerous labels. The vynil is selling for a crazy price these days. On a sadder note, the voice of Trees, Celia Humphris, passed away this year. Listen to "Murdoch" for a short taste of this band's brand of progressive folk rock or immerse yourself in the wonders of the ten minute epic "Sally Free and Easy".
6Can
Tago Mago


Released: August
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: United Artists

Here it is. One of the most influential albums in the history of of progressive rock music. The experimentation in that infamous interval of "Aumgn" and "Peking. O"... I'll confess it tasted my resolve the first time and I would be lying if everytime I have come back to this album my finger didn't hover the skip button, but everything apart from those two tracks really lived up to my expectations. Hard classic.
5Yes
The Yes Album


Released: January 29th
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Atlantic

Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman landed on the band for the release of this third record, which should be enough to certify the weight it has in their prolific discography. It was also the first out of two albums, the second one being "Fragile" released in 1971. "The Yes Album" features one of my favorite openers in the shape of "Yours is No Disgrace", plus classics like "Starship Trooper" and "I've Seen All Good People". Never really understood the inclusion of "The Clap", unless it was Howe's only condition to join the band.
4Comus
First Utterance


Released: February 19th
Genre: Psychdelic Folk / Experimental
Label: Dawn

You know, it's sad and confusing to read that Comus decided to call it quits after this album due to a major commercial flop. It's also not surprising. A song like "The Herald" was a tough pill to swallow for UK audiences used to the traditional, orthodox folk of Steeleye Span and Fairport Covention. Comus were pushing the limits of the Canterboury scene with lengthy and unpredictable compositions, the otherwordly voice of Bobbie Watson and the histrionic nature of Roger Wootton's songs. In my humble opinion, this is a folk essential, ahead of its time, that the years have surely given the recognition it deserved.
3Earth and Fire
Song of the Marching Children


Released: October
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Polydor

The main reason I started doing these yearly decade runs was mainly to find new music. There was always the appeal of revisiting classics, albums I've heard before etc, but my main motivation was unearthing something special. This happened in October with this album. It quickly became one of my favorite albums of this year on first listen. Fronted by the voice of Mrs. Jerney Kaagman, the Dutch moved around the prog scene madness and psychedelic folk scene like fish in the water. Enthralling when going soft and explosive when going heavy. "Ebbtide", "Invitation", and the title track (18 minutes) are songs I would strongly recommend!
2Black Sabbath
Master of Reality


Released: July 21st
Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Vertigo

Of course these would land here. Black Sabbath managed last year to snatch not only the 1st spot, but also the 2nd with seldom albums. What's left to say about this album though? You'll only need a few seconds of "After Forever" to know that Tony Iommi had created a guitar tone that become the landmark of several sub-genres. And how many "Children of the Grave" derived songs have you heard just last year? Entire generations of bands are still making a living out of this song's ideas! Listen to "Solitude" while you meditate on these based facts, because you know that, at the end of the day, Black Sabbath were just the greatest band alive in 1971.
1Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV


BUT! Very close to them came the Zep, with a fourth release that included a song that is, not only very special for me for reasons I discussed elsewhere in depth, but also a song that belongs in whatever hall of fame or killer tunes pantheon somewhere. A song forbidden to be played in musical stores in Wayne's World, a satanic invocation recorded backwards, a pact with the devil that brought them success and riches, a karaoke sure shot. Yes, the song is "Stairway to (motherfucking) Heaven". Every single track on this album became a classic in my book, and God knows I had never been the biggest Led Zep fan, but this album, and especially "Stairway to Heaven", is the kind of stuff that will outlive us all, and rightfully so.
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