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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent compilation of this band's outputs
Clouds........ who ? I had no idea who this band was until two months ago. I did an interview with them for a newspaper and purchased this 2 cd's box from Amazon. Then I got stucked into their world and reviewed their three albums. All of them included here.

Let's start with the packaging here. This box includes one of the best ever booklets I have seen. It is...
Published 18 months ago by Torodd Fuglesteg

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What might have been
Many years ago, in mid 70s, I bought an Island sampler album (I don't remember the title, I lent it to a ¿friend? and never returned it). In that album there was a song called 'The Carpenter', by an unknown band called Clouds. I remember them because they sounded like The Nice, they were an organ leaded power trio, but with more raw sound and power. I never could...
Published on 18 Dec 2010 by Mother Goose


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent compilation of this band's outputs, 5 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71) (Audio CD)
Clouds........ who ? I had no idea who this band was until two months ago. I did an interview with them for a newspaper and purchased this 2 cd's box from Amazon. Then I got stucked into their world and reviewed their three albums. All of them included here.

Let's start with the packaging here. This box includes one of the best ever booklets I have seen. It is the full Clouds story, compiled and written by one guy called David Wells. Excellent job, David ! The Clouds story is excellent written and includes a lot of very useful stuff. It is a booklet you cannot stop reading if you have started on page. It is that well written. Hence, this booklet is alone worthy a purchase. The booklet also includes the lyrics and linear notes for each individual albums and the extra tracks. It is obvious that the record label BGO Records has spared no money to get this box perfect. That also goes for the sound which is spotless and absolute perfect, as far as I gather on my office stereo rack. Maybe if you put this box on a $ 25 000 stereo rack, the sound may not be perfect. But it is perfect on my rack. The result is a very impressive box which I seriously wish should be copied by other labels too. All praise to BGO Records for this job.

There are 2 cds here. The first CD includes their first two albums Scrapbook and Up Above Our Heads. The latter album was only released in USA and Canada, but never in Europe and world wide. Hence; this is the first world wide release of this album. The sound on the two albums has very probably been cleaned up from the LPs. Which is both fair and right. You will find my reviews of these two albums somewhere else on these pages. But let me shortly ad that they and their music in general sounds like a crossbreed between The Beatles (who was also managed by Clouds manager Brian Epstein) and The Nice. The music is very much Hammond organ based and we are talking Proto Prog here in it's truest sense.

The second CD contains their third album Watercolour Days and nine bonus tracks. I again refer to my review of the album. The nine bonus tracks are the A and B side of a single, unreleased material and their version of Simon & Garfunkel's massive hit America, later also covered by Yes. Their version was probably spurred on by Clouds, or 1-2-3 as they were called back then. I very much prefer Clouds version which has a lot more bite and meat than the Yes version. In short, the nine bonus tracks is all great and would had made a great album.

In short; this is an excellent documentation of a band who influenced David Bowie, Keith Emerson, The Nice, ELP and scores of other artists and bands. The price of this box is also very reasonable too. It is therefore close to being an essential purchase for any prog head with a bit of self respect. I am a very happy owner of this box which goes straight into my top 5 of the alltime best compilation boxes. Hence some awarded stars.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What might have been, 18 Dec 2010
This review is from: Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71) (Audio CD)
Many years ago, in mid 70s, I bought an Island sampler album (I don't remember the title, I lent it to a ¿friend? and never returned it). In that album there was a song called 'The Carpenter', by an unknown band called Clouds. I remember them because they sounded like The Nice, they were an organ leaded power trio, but with more raw sound and power. I never could get any Clouds album, in Spain or in some trip to London or Paris. With the renaissance of prog rock in the last times, Beat Goes On Records have released a 2 CD compilation, collecting all the music The Clouds recorded in those five years 66-71: the two UK official albums (Scrapbook and Watercolour Days) and the USA album (Up Above our heads). And many more songs from singles or rare archive items hidden in the vaults (i.e., Paul Simon's 'America', many years before Yes covered it).
The liner notes are complete and tell a sad story, about a band that was in the wrong place (Chrysalis), with the wrong manager (Terry Ellis) and in the wrong time (because of the emergence of certain band fronted by one-legged flute player that monopolized the manager's efforts).
But the music speaks for itself, and only 'Watercolour Days' keep a reasonable balance between power and musicality. The other albums are plenty of ups and downs. The drummer (Harry Hughes) was fantastic, and Billy Ritchie played organ with talent and energy. Sadly, Billy or Ian Ellis voices were not as good as their skills on their instruments and the songs sometimes were long and boring improvisations. These two albums were lacking in cohesion but you could find somehow good tracks in them.
Don't try to listen the two CDs in a row. It's better to take the first album (Scrapbook), and spin it two or three times. And the same with the rest (as if you were listening the LPs, not the CDs). Then you will be able to appreciate the sound of this band, rough and ready but quite interesting.
There were many bands that followed the path open by The Clouds, as The Nice, EL&P or Atomic Rooster, to quote just a few ones.
This pack, IMHO, is not a must-have, nor a masterpiece, but bring us back from the vaults an interesting band to re-discover in modern times.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True History, 25 Dec 2010
This review is from: Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71) (Audio CD)
This is the band that was the inspiration for The Nice, Yes, and King Crimson, to name but a few. 1-2-3 (the earlier incarnation of Clouds) were playing what became progressive rock two years before it hit the mainstream. If you prefer the truth to the fiction, then buy this album. The songs are not ordinary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Baroque Pop/Rock/Prog from Scotland, 14 Jan 2014
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G. S. Fazakas "Beltane" (South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71) (Audio CD)
This is absolutely brilliant with the all the recordings of Prog Pop/Rock Trio Clouds. An absolute must for early Prog fans. Reminiscent of The Nice, early Yes, 1-2-3 and subsequently Clouds pre-dated them all with Billy Ritchies virtuoustic Keyboard playing and style fantastically supported by Ian Ellis-bass and Harry Hughes-drums. This foreshadowed ELP without the pompousness associated with ELP. Excellent songwriting and lyrics and musical arrangements abound. Give this a listen it really is a must for any prog rock fan.I have been converted!!!!!!!!!! George " Grandpa" Fazakas
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4.0 out of 5 stars A wee gem of a compilation from a wee gem of a band, 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71) (Audio CD)
A very underrated band of their time. A real cross section of their work is included in the compilation from pop songs to folk ballads and also epic tracks to rival ELP.

The vocals were sometimes a bit weak but the instrumental work was sublime. Clouds were very late 60s with a hint of prog rock but they deserved to be more famous and more successful rather disappearing into obscurity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As described, 24 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71) (Audio CD)
As described - this product met my expectations. I had heard some of Clouds' material previously which gave a good indication of what to expect.
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Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71)
Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71) by Clouds (Audio CD - 2010)
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