The year 2019 saw the release of the first two books written by Kev Rowland. The Progressive Underground books, Volume 1 (see review) and Volume 2 (see review) were for me personally very entertaining books to read. For both reviews I ended with the words:”All I can say is if you are a true proghead this book should be in your library of progressive rock literature. Because it's a great work. A book to be considered of superior or lasting artistic merit. Thanks Kev for keeping the progressive rock flame burning!”. Now one year later the trilogy of those books is finally completed with the release of The Progressive Underground Volume 3. And for this release I can end my review with the same words. Because it's just an outstanding read!
What to expect in this final book? Probably even more than in the two earlier published books. Why? Well Volume 1 featured album reviews of artists A-H, and Volume 2 follows on from that with I-S, while Volume 3 contains T-Z, plus and that's the new thing, it also has lots of well written DVD/Video/live reviews and interviews. While the first book contained 296 pages and the second book contained 334 pages, the new book beats those numbers both with a total 360 pages. So even more to read and to enjoy! Yeah!!!
Of course the book is written in the same style as the first and second edition. This time around the book opens with a foreword from fellow reviewer Artur Chachlowski (www.mlwz.pl) and Steve Paine of Legend. The rear cover features comments by Gary Chandler (Jadis) and John Dexter Jones (Jump). All are of course very positive about Kev's contributions for the progressive rock scene.
The DVD/Video reviews are also interesting to read. I am a collector myself and therefore I was most of all very much interested in all of the releases I wasn't aware of or couldn't get myself. Such as Shadowland, Legend, Dream Machine and Tractor. Thank God he really liked Visions, the DVD released by my fellow countrymen Plackband. A band he wasn't aware of at all. Well I can't blame him because this band, which I have been following since my teens, hardly released anything during their existence. He compared them as a mix of IQ and Gentle Giant. However forgetting most of all Genesis. After all they were regarded by many as the Dutch Genesis.
The interviews sections is a nice read as well. He even interviewed the rather unknown Mangala Valis from Italy. Of course well known names are featured as well such as Nick Barrett, Steve Howe, Neal Morse, Kerry Livgren, Martin Orford, Woolly Wolstenholme, Peter Nicholls, Nick D'Virgilio, Gary Chandler, and above all the legendary Manfred Mann. Someone who is on my bucket list for many years. Next to the great interviews you have here excellent old pictures taken from the archives. Giving an indication from what time the interviews date.
Finally you have in the book the many concert reviews. Concerts from acts such as Enchant, Galahad, Grey Lady Down, IQ, Jadis, Jump, Landmarq, Mastermind, Mr. So & So, Neal Morse, Rick Wakeman, Saga, Shadowland, Spock's Beard, Steve Hackett, The Flower Kings and Threshold were visited and reviewed. All gig reviews give you a good impression of how those bands were live on stage. However the only thing I am missing are the concert pictures. I guess Kev didn't have a camera in those days or a photographer wasn't available.
Thumbs up again for Kev for bringing on an excellent book to read. Hopefully a Volume 4 will be released in the not so far future. Kev thinks it might happen one day even if he lives nowadays on the other side of the world in New Zealand After all he still writes reviews. Perhaps even more than when he was still living in England. So who knows!
So as promised and written on the intro here it is for the last time for now: ”All I can say is if you are a true proghead this book should be in your library of progressive rock literature. Because it's a great work. A book to be considered of superior or lasting artistic merit. Thanks Kev for keeping the progressive rock flame burning!”.
Probably for many progheads the perfect birthday and Christmas gift!!!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Kev Rowland @ Gonzo Publishing
Where to buy
Progressive Underground Vol1
Progressive Underground Vol2
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