"Aside from my obsession with Soft Machine, I'm usually more of a symph-prog fan than a Canterbury fan. Egg came out of the Canterbury scene and had the typical jazz overtones and humorous, self-referential lyrics. But this band had plenty of symph-prog about them as well. Egg had the same line-up as ELP, led by Hammond master Dave Stewart who was at least the equal of, if not better than Keith Emerson. And while Mont Campbell had a deeper voice than Greg Lake's, he too had that choirboy quality that made a line like "why don't you all go to hell" sound like he was inviting you to tea.
This band had the prog-rock pretention down in spades too, having the cheek to title a sidelong epic "Symphony #2" on this their FIRST album!
This CD features some absolutely phenomenal playing, and hardcore prog fans should give it a try. Keyboards fanatics should absolutely pick it up. Vocals are sparse and the long, inventive instrumental sections really suck you in and get you caught up in the classic prog jamming. For such "deep" prog, Egg manages to come up with tons of catchy riffs that are as addictive as pop music. Stewart was really a master of coming up with riffs that were both artistically pleasing and catchy and entertaining. The truly amazing thing about this 1970 debut is that the band members were all only about 20 years old at the time and had this amount of talent!
This CD features a segment of the "Symphony" that did not appear on the old vinyl album due to copyright issues with the estate of Stravinsky, who's music is quoted in the third movement. This CD also includes both the A and B sides of the band's one and only single, and for once I'm happy to report bonus tracks that are actually bonuses! "7 Is A Jolly Good Time" in particular is a classic, with cleverly constructed lyrics about the joys of playing music in offbeat time signatures that makes it a song that any prog fan with a sense of humor should hear at least once.
Recommended for hard core prog fans, keyboard maniacs, Soft Machine and Canterbury fans."
An experimental, keyboard-led prog trio
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 07/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1970, this debut album by British band Egg is extremely complex progressive rock that is dominated by some incredible Hammond organ work. I guess that it is worth noting that although this keyboard-led trio is considered part of the "Canterbury' scene, the music sounds nothing like Caravan or Hatfield and the North (although the Canterbury sense of humor is present). Rather, the music of Egg combines a significant proportion of avant-garde tendencies with classical and some dissonant passages. In general though, over-the-top technical excess is the order of the day and I absolutely love it.
The musicians on this album include keyboardist extraordinaire Dave Stewart (Hammond organ, acoustic piano, mellotron, and tone generator - it's a crude synthesizer); Mont Campbell (vocals, bass guitar); and Clive Brooks (drums). All of these guys are simply phenomenal musicians and the individual and ensemble playing is simply out of this world. With respect to the bass player, Mont Campbell does not simply follow the left hand piano part but is thoroughly contrapuntal, which makes an Egg composition very interesting. Although Mont's vocal abilities are not great and sound a tiny bit dated at times, the vocals are not a big part of the Egg sound and do not detract from anything at all.
The tracks on the album range in length from the 0'09" experimental track Bulb to the excellent 25+ minute multi-movement Symphony No. 2. In general, the music on the album mixes experimental passages with some very nice adaptations of classical pieces (J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-minor along with Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King), incredible jamming, and quirky proggy tracks with vocals (While Growing my Hair, I will be Absorbed, and The Song of McGillicudie the Pusillanimous). In large part though, the tracks are mostly instrumental and are dominated by Dave's incredible Hammond organ playing. Although this album is simply amazing and very enjoyable, there are moments when the avant-garde tendencies can get mildly irritating, but do little to affect the overall listening experience. This becomes apparent on "They laughed when I sat down at the Piano", which features a very nice classical piano piece that is countered with some abrasive noises on the tone generator - it's actually kind of funny really. There is also the tone generator "freak-out" on Symphony No. 2 during the Blane movement that gets a little nerve-wracking. Odd time signatures abound and meters such as 5/8, 7/4, 9/4, 9/8, and 13/8 are used along with frequent meter shifts. Chord structures are also pretty exotic and there are some very unusual root movements.
This remastered version by Eclectic discs is very good and features a ton of liner notes along with restored cover art and pictures of the band. Sound quality is also excellent. One of the features of this version of the album that is pretty cool is the addition of a previously unreleased fourth movement of Symphony No. 2. The additional tracks include Seven is a Jolly Good Time, which celebrates the jolly delights (or horrors, depending on your perspective) of playing in 7/4, along with "You are all Princes" (which ends abruptly). Both tracks were released as singles in 1969 and are pretty good. There are tiny bits of psychedelic influences on the two tracks.
All in all, this is excellent stuff that is highly recommended along with the superb follow up album Polite Force (1971)."
Egg - 4 stars
Warren W. Nelson | Mooresville, NC USA | 09/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The music on this LP(cd) is not dancing music, but basically music for listening to. It is harmonically and rhythmically complex, designed to be as original as possible within the confines of the instrumental line-up; so it's pretty demanding on the listener's attention" begins the liner notes to this superb example of canterbury progressive album. Egg were a keyboard, bass, and drum outfit who were all excellant musicians especially keyboardist Dave Stewart who understood the concept of melody and improvisation inside the wonderful tone of his various keyboards. This is their intelligent and critically regarded debut which some have described as a cross between canterbury and rio which may be interpreted to mean melodically sophisticated to abstract progressive rock performed with great wit and artistic dedication. This is a great cd. also check out their even better follow up 'The Polite Force'"
Egg: The Origin From Which All Else Came
Robert Carlberg | Seattle | 11/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Egg was one of the earliest bands of what was to become "the Canterbury sound" with their neo-classical keyboards, abstruse time signatures, powerhouse drumming and virtuoso bass guitar. Egg began as a quartet called Uriel (including Steve Hillage on guitar) but when he left for university the remaining trio of Dave Stewart (organ), Mont Campbell (bass) and Clive Brooks (drums) took a new name and soldiered on. Mont's twisty song-writing took the band into areas requiring extreme virtuosity and intense rehearsals -- all of which, coupled with the lack of commercial success, led the band to break apart after a mere 3 years.
Listeners are blessed with the three albums they left us, of which this is the first and arguably most revolutionary.
Featuring two long classically-inspired pieces (Symphony No.2 and Fugue in D Minor) as well as ostensible "pop" songs with singing, Egg did more to legitimize rock music as a serious artform than did other cross-over ensembles like Ekseption, the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble or The Nice. In Mont's hands these long pieces became more than pastiches, more than classically-trained musicians showing off their chops. Egg's music was complex enough, well-constructed enough to stand on its own as serious music for rock trio. That had rarely -- if ever -- been pulled off before.
The second and third records have their own innate charms as well, but it's hard to forget the immense impact this first one had in 1970. "
Well done keyboard prog.
EtherealCereal | Michigan | 05/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want a not-quite-as-serious version of ELP. please consider buying this CD. While not as popular as their countrymen, Egg succeeded in re-working classical pieces such as Fugue in D Minor and Symphony No. 2 (not released until this recording due to copyright issues), not to mention several songs in the Canterbury style, which are remarkable for their heady doses of self- deprecating humor and irony. The Rotters' Club"