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The Best of the Flock - Flock Rock

The Flock

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Album Review

Over the past few decades, the Flock's late-'60s and early-'70s legacy has been all but forgotten, and yet their highly idiosyncratic twist on progressive rock — one which used both classical music and jazz fusion as touchstones for truly mind-altering flights of fancy — remains as original as anything heard in the rock era. Cross-town heroes Chicago (or Chicago Transit Authority, as they were known at the time) were stealing headlines as the first rock & roll band with a fully integrated horn section, but this adventurous septet not only challenged this distinction with their own three-saxophone front, but went a step further by adding violinist Jerry Goodman to their ranks. Fueled by his dazzling virtuosity, the mostly classically trained ensemble's unprecedented combination of chorused vocals, horns, and strings within a rock context ultimately proved too challenging and oblique for commercial tastes, but would nevertheless lay the foundation for future, more commercially savvy prog rockers such as Kansas and Dixie Dregs. Revisiting the key moments from the Flock's two original albums, 1969's inspired eponymous debut and its disappointing successor of a couple years later, Dinosaur Swamps, Flock Rock: The Best of the Flock also unearths a few never-released cuts left on the cutting-room floor along with the band's botched third album. And even if Chicago's more consistent songwriting rightfully led to them notching all the chart hits and raking in all the dough, the Flock deserve credit for having carved a more unique, if significantly less successful, style which remains largely without equal.

Customer Reviews

The Flock

I recall the first time I ever heard the sound of an electric violin, with what sounded to me at the time like the band Chicago as backing orchestra! Stoned out of my mind at 15 -16 years age. This was like listening to a modern day, Benny Goodman band. And the album does not sound dated. Amazing musicianship!

Way ahead of their time

This is a great collection of one of the most innovative, avant-garde and "way ahead of its time" bands of the late 60's and early 70's. Die hard fans such as myself remember seeing The Flock play local clubs on the north side of Chicago when they were just a pop-garage rock type of band, but even then they were very different and unique . . . . infusing horn sounds into pop songs before the big "horn sound in rock" invasion by bands such as Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Chicago (formerly Chicago Transit Authority, or CTA), Ides of March, Chase, and Crow, to name a few. Their live performances always showcased the late Rick Canoff on saxophone. The highlight was always their rendition of Harlem Nocturne, and at some point during the show Mr. Canoff would be doing a sax solo playing 2 saxophones at once! They had some local success with several hits on Chicago based labels Destination and USA Records. One of these songs (What Would You Do If The Sun Died?) is found on this collection. I would have liked to have seen more of them included in this collection, such as Can't You See (That I Really Lover Her) and Take Me Back. As far as I can remember, The Flock were the first band to have an electric violinist, and to amazingly and creatively fuse many genres such as rock, jazz, folk, and classical into one very unique sound. Whether you are a fan from back then, or never even heard of them at all, you will enjoy hearing this collection of one of the most overlooked and under-rated bands in music history.

Incomplete

Without the stunning “Store Bought, Store Thought” this collection lacks the one performance that, more than any other, set the listener on fire, both on vinyl, and live. Nevertheless, it is a “must” for anyone who thought that Chicago (the band f/k/a “CTA”) represented the best that city had to offer at the time. PS to Brookness: “Brother” opened for them at the University of South Florida in 1970. Coincidentally, I was the roadie for Brother at the time but the next day, literally, I replaced Brother’s drummer and the band was re-christened “Wizard”. (I hasten to add, tongue-in-cheek, that Wizard’s self-titled LP — since, re-released on CD — is NOT available on iTunes. Sigh!) In any event, I thought (and still do) that your uncle was a fantastic and masterful drummer.

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Forming in late-'60s Chicago, the Flock forever languished in the shadow of the Chicago Transit Authority (later famous as just plain Chicago), whose peculiar approach to art rock — incorporating horns and other unorthodox instrumentation into rock and jazz forms — they also pursued. But though they clearly lacked Chicago's smash-hit-penning abilities, the Flock possessed a secret weapon in...
Full Bio
The Best of the Flock - Flock Rock, The Flock
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