Thursday, 16 April 2015

Melancolia Street (Baba Scholae, 1969)

This track is a rare proto-prog gem, IMHO. Baba Scholae were one of the first non-UK prog bands in Europe and their "69" album still surprises me for its unpredictable series of songs, each one bearing its own original approach to art rock. And just think this album was never released in its days...! This opening track starts like a jazz-rock piece, then goes through a hippy ballad à la King Crimson and a good deal of instrumental and choral bridges, all very charming. Jean-Yves Labat de Rossi, the mind behind Baba Scholae label, sets up an entire musical world in this 8 minute song!

This album was recorded in London and mostly features British musicians.
The vaguely ethnic flute is one of the band's best features, and they add here distorted vocals and many tempo changes. Really, this song seems to me the prog rising sun, and it also announces some of the special characters of French progressive rock, like the theatrical atmosphere or the revival of folk roots. Please listen to this, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

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