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Latest news: Please note that the book is officially out of print. I am preparing a second edition of the Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, due not before late 2015. The new edition will feature more additions to the timeline, interviews with musicians from all over the globe, and a good editing before publication. Thank you to everyone that has made a purchase!

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The Soft Machine > Soft Machine, The

Artist: Soft Machine
Label: Probe
Catalog#: CPLP 4500
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1968-12
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Originally from the provincial town of Canterbury, the Soft Machine split off from The Wilde Flowers in 1966. And by the time the Softs got around to recording this album, they had already undergone substantial changes: Daevid Allen, St. Tropez and the London underground were well behind them. That version of the Soft Machine released one single "Love Makes Sweet Music" b/w "Feelin' Reelin' Squealin'", recorded some demos with Giorgio Gomelsky, and alongside Pink Floyd, had become one of the pillars of the London underground.

S. F. Sorrow > Pretty Things, The

Artist: Pretty Things
Label: EMI Columbia
Catalog#: SCX 6306
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1968-12
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
An original member of the proto-Rolling Stones, bassist Dick Taylor hooked up with singer guitarist Phil May at Sidcup Art College in 1963 to form The Pretty Things. Moving to London, their R&B influenced rock was an instant success. "Rosalyn" scored them a No. 4 hit in the UK in early 1964, and their self-titled debut album, released in early 1965, scored similarly well. A few years of crazy antics behind them, John Povey and Allen "Wally" Waller (both previously in The Fenmen) joined in 1967 for the lavishly produced (but disappointing) Emotions.

Shine On Brightly > Procol Harum

Artist: Procol Harum
Label: A&M Records
Catalog#: SP 4151
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1968-10
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Procol Harum's second effort starts off predictably: Gary Brooker's monochromatic wail over Matthew Fisher's swirling Hammond chords on the title track offer elegance, while the pitter-patter of the following "Skip Softly (My Moonbeam)" gives way to something deeper. "Wish Me Well" even attempts some blues, obviously at guitarist Robin Trower's suggestion. Although the first side of the record could have easily come from their debut, the second side of the record, containing the epic "In Held Twas In I", is the real accomplishment here.

Caravan > Caravan

Artist: Caravan
Label: Verve Forecast
Catalog#: FTS-3066
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1968-10
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Caravan's history begins as half of The Wilde Flowers - the hotbed of musical proclivity that it was - that originated in Canterbury, Kent. (Soft Machine, of course, was the other half ). With its members drifting both in and out of the band and the continent (France was the popular destination), the Wilde Flowers ranks were constantly revolving. At some point, the reigns were left to guitarist Pye Hastings and drummer Richard Coughlan. Adding cousins Richard and Dave Sinclair, bass and keyboards respectively, they eventually transmogrified into Caravan in early 1968.

This Was > Jethro Tull

Artist: Jethro Tull
Label: Reprise Records
Catalog#: RS 6336
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1968-10
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
The Jethro Tull story begins with the John Evan Band in Blackpool during the mid-'60s. Like most other bands from the era, they played soul covers before moving on to the blues. The summer of 1967 brought Ian Anderson and Glenn Cornick to London. Adding Mick Abrahams on guitar and Clive Bunker on drums (both from McGregor's Engine), Jethro Tull - named after an 18th century agriculturist - was complete, although they gigged for several months under different names. They even had their first single released as "Jethro Toe" (typo if you can believe it).

Hawkwind > Hawkwind

Artist: Hawkwind
Label: Liberty
Catalog#: LBS 83348
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1970-08

X In Search Of Space > Hawkwind

Artist: Hawkwind
Label: United Artists Records
Catalog#: UAS 5567
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1971-10
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
In 1969, guitarist Dave Brock and drummer Terry Ollis gathered up saxophonist Nik Turner, synthesist Dik Mik Davies and guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton, and after a few name and personnel changes launched the ultimate underground band, Hawkwind. They quickly earned a reputation from playing free concerts in and around London, and also from the counter-culture (Friends magazine, drugs) associated with those events. Most notable was outside the gates of the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 in an inflatable "bubble" tent.

The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles And Fripp > Giles, Giles & Fripp

Artist: Giles, Giles And Fripp
Label: Deram
Catalog#: SML 1022
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1968-09
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
This was by no means a major release; these are, however, the first recordings from guitarist Robert Fripp, and as such of interest to the timeline. The band came to London from provincial Bournemouth, in the south coast of England. Brothers Peter and Michael Giles, bass and drums respectively, had spent the past seven years as a rhythm section together, performing mainly R&B covers. In London, they managed to secure a deal with Deram Records, who released two singles and the album, The Cheerful insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp.

Music In A Doll's House > Family

Artist: Family
Label: Reprise Records
Catalog#: RS 6312
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1968-07
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Family centered on the talents of guitarist Charlie Whitney and vocalist Roger Chapman, and found early acceptance in the London underground scene. The pair was originally in the Leicester-based Farinas, along with sax/flute player Jim King and bassist Rick Grech. American producer Kim Fowley gave them their name, a reference to their “mafia” appearance. Rob Townsend arrived on drums and after recording one single for the Liberty label they were signed by Reprise.

Fairport Convention > Fairport Convention

Artist: Fairport Convention
Label: Polydor
Catalog#: 583 035
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1968-06
Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Fairport Convention got its start in the same London underground as their more psychedelic counterparts and eventually became England's first (and finest) electric folk-rock band. Fairport too was absorbing their influences, considerably West Coast (The Byrds) with the requisite Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell covers. Their debut is a pleasant and gentle affair that showcased the talents of guitarists Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol. In particular, "Sun Shade" and "The Lobster" portend the King Crimson debut in some respects - except of course, Mellotron.