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APPALOOSA

Proto-Prog • United States


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Appaloosa biography
From the Boston folk scene, emerged John Parker Compton's band of Appaloosa, from which would also come Earth Opera (and its continuity Sea Train) and James Taylor. JPC (vocals & ac guitars) had formed an experimental duo with David Batteau and his cello that played a few gigs around Boston and Cambridge as they were still teenagers. The duo evolved with David's brother Robin taking over with his violin, before expanding to a quartet with the arrival of Eugene Rosov (cello) and David Reiser (electric bass) and opened for Tim Harding and played every Sunday afternoon at the Cambridge Common Music Concerts. Rosov and Batteau were Harvard students, while Reiser sat in with prominent jazzmen in Boston clubs.


The group popped down to NY to get an audition with the legendary Al Kooper, playing directly in his office and getting instantly a recording deal. The prominent Kooper (producer and musician with The Blues Project, Blood Sweat & Tears, Bloomfield and by then a solo artiste as well and too many sessions to list) was to produce their sole album.

This album was labelled as folk baroque (as was popular at the time), a term also applying to Donovan, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Rush, Nick Drake, Bobbie Gentry, Tim Buckley, Phil Ochs, the Bee Gees, and Tim Hardin, and meant folk mixed with classical/symphonic music. Sadly the album got almost no notice, staying four weeks in the US billboard, peaking at 128, as these folk baroque albums were flooding the airwaves at the time. It would be Appaloosa's only album, the band splitting up when Compton, Batteau, and some friends drove out to California. John and Robin worked as a duo on Columbia for the Compton & Batteau in California album, with John doing his first solo album shortly afterward. To this day JPC is still active in the folk circles and reformed the group in 05, but nothing yet has come out of that.




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
influential folk baroque



Discography:
Appaloosa (69)

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APPALOOSA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

APPALOOSA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.08 | 7 ratings
Appaloosa
1969
0.00 | 0 ratings
Never Gone
2012

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APPALOOSA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Appaloosa by APPALOOSA album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.08 | 7 ratings

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Appaloosa
Appaloosa Proto-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Appaloosa's sole album is a textbook case of baroque folk, which was a term "en vogue" in the late 60's, and described a folk rock laced with symphonic classical music; and with Al Kooper's connection (both musical and production-wise) it became one of those influential albums, even if it only stayed four weeks in the US billboard, peaking at 128. Named after the horses and graced with a sober group picture for artwork, the album epitomizes a bit the Boston folk-rock scene, which saw Earth Opera (and its continuation Sea Train) and James Taylor emerge from also. The baroque folk genre can be applied to the Beatles' Eleanor Rogby as well as the Rolling Stone's Ruby Tuesday as well to artistes like Nick Drake, Donova, Tim Buckley and John Martyn. All of the 11 tracks are written by singer-guitarist John Parker Compton, whose songwriting evokes Joni Mitchell and later singer- songwriters in the 15 years surrounding this album's release.

Opening track Tulu Rogers is a Bach-laced pastoral New England countryside folk piece with just the group playing guitar, violin, cello, and bass at its purest and progressive essence of Appaloosa. On the flipside Pascal's Paradox is much the same.Yesterday's Road has Reiser's bass soaring and Kooper "uncontrollably tinkling" (his words) on el piano, which gives a delightful flavour to this nostalgic track, where Rosov's cello gives it some solemnity. Feathers is a pre-James Taylor-type song, something he would export with much greater success than did Appaloosa.

Progheads will be more interested with Thoughts Of Polly, a folk rock track with its touches of both classical and jazz; concluding in a dizzy jazz-coda courtesy of Blood, Sweat &Tears' Fred Lipsius and his distinctive sax, sounding absolutely delightful, daring and progressive. At close to 6 minutes, this is the album's highlight. On the flipside, Georgia Street is set up a bit like the Polly track with similar arrangements and unusual shifting rhythms.

The Charlie Calello-arranged Bi-Weekly was recorded in the upper studio to fit the full orchestra (with horns as well); it was thought to be the hit-single, especially with the distinctive Al Kooper organ ending. Oddly enough, this track will also find its flipside equivalent, Now That I Want You, albeit this time with a full rock band backing it up, with BS&T's Bobby Colomby drumming up a storm. Glossolalia, a Donovan-esque folk song is bassist's Reiser's moment of glory, as his jazz-tinged bass playing, while Rivers Run To The Sea has drummer Colomby and Kooper on electric guitar as added musicians is nearing pure folk rock ala Fairport Convention. The closing Rosalie was originally performed for years as a folk song and Kooper folk-rocked it up with piano and electric guitar again nearing Fairport but being country-esque as well.

While I wouldn't call Appaloosa's album anything really essential to progressive folk, it is indeed one of those albums that helped in parts consolidating the genre, and even might have served as a blueprints to a few artistes. Impeccably produced by Kooper, the album can only interest progheads into gentle un-complicated folk rock.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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