Prism (USA) - 1997 Live 75-77

EricEric USA
edited April 2020 in year-1997

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ARTIST: Prism (USA)
ALBUM: Live 75-77
LABEL: Shroom Records
SERIAL: SP-97002
YEAR: 1997

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Paul Bunker - violin * Michael Clay - keyboards, guitars * Steve Parker - bass * John Rousseau - drums, percussion * Mike Barreyre - guitar, vocals * Ernie Myers - guitar * Skip Durbin - flute, horns

TRACK LISTING: 01 Box Lunch At The Why? * 02 Zombie Roch * 03 Suspended Evening * 04 Plain Truth * 05 Great Deceiver * 06 Prelude #1 * 07 Triangle Of New Flight * 08 Multi Dimensional Jive * 09 Hands In The Fire * 10 Nasebluten * 11 Flute Solo * 12 Ditty * 13 After The Games * 14 Keyboard Solo * 15 Kings Mischief * 16 Skeletone Rag

Background

No, no, no - not the Canadian pomp band we all know and love, but progressive rock from Texas.

Originally going by the name Ibis, Prism struggled to have their music heard in a state that really didn't produce a lot of progressive rock, although Houston's Relayer and Starcrost from Austin managed to eek out an album each during the same period so it wasn't as if they were going it alone.

Still, the odds were against the group on several levels and try as they might a radio broadcast and a 1977 opening act slot for Gentle Giant in Dallas gave Prism enough courage to carry on the good fight.

Changing their name to Hands because of that 'other' band with a major label contract, Hands went on to record one album but it was never officially released until the late 90's, right around the same time this archival disc 'Live 75-77' was cut loose on the prog world.

The Songs

In the ten years I've owned this disc, I think I've played it twice, maybe three times at the most which should give you a good indication where I'm going with this review.

This is not to take away from the fact that Prism was made up of some very accomplished players, in fact they probably could have held their own with any other better known prog band of the day.

The problem is archival packages such as this are always a crap shoot - interesting for hardcore collectors, but of little musical value to those less conversant with all things obscure and non-commercial.

The band covers Gentle Giant's 'Plain Truth' and the King Crimson jewel 'Great Deceiver' although much of the original material is repetitive and while it moves from good to very good as the disc wears on, there's not a whole lot here to hold my attention.

With plenty of violin, comparisons to early Kansas and Flying Island can be made as well as Jethro Tull in the guitar parts.

There are five live tracks recorded during Prism's gig with Gentle Giant and as it turns out are the best of the bunch with good sound quality and 'King's Mischief' sounding very much like Caravan.

But again Prism could have benefited from mixing it up a bit and expanding their sound instead of recycling the same few chords.

In Summary

The CD booklet is bare bones i.e. no biographical details but does give us some cool live shots and in colour too.

It's still in print if you want a glimpse into Texas styled prog back in the day but if not, steer clear.


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