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3.4 out of 5 stars38
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 June 2013
I bought this in the HMV under the impression the tracks were from performances on the programme, hence I didn't mind that some of the tracks strayed from what is generally regarded as Prog. There is nothing at all on the packaging to indicate otherwise, so it was with utter annoyance I listened to it and found it was just another gathering of tracks culled from any other compilation which you can pick up, usually in every supermarket on earth. The choice is bizarre at times (REO Speedwagon's Keep On Loving You, to name but one, is not prog by any stretch of the imagination) and only when you get to the inner sleeve does anyone point out that these were just hits while TOGWT was on tv. What a dishonest and utterly misleading title, and obscene connection to a programme with an enormous archive of live performances! Shame on the company behind this! I wish I'd stumbled across this on Amazon first, because here I could have read the damning reviews of this cynical product. it is nothing more than a devious marketing exercise.
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You're having a laugh, right? Nope, I've checked the release date, and it didn't come out on 1st April. So that means there were a lot of disappointed Dads on Christmas Day, as this would have been grabbed by many a thoughtless teenager of HMVs shelves on Christmas Eve. Because, never in the history of poorly conceived compilation albums, has there been one as poorly conceived as this one. Although, to be fair, I haven't dared to look at the companion Folk and Blues albums in the series.

Let's look at the opening track on this Prog Rock CD. 'Wishing Well' by Free. Eh? WTF? It's OK, though, Later on you get Mott The Hoople, REO Speedwagon and Journey, prog legends all. Now, I'm not saying the brand manager is a lazy bandit, but here's the blurb; "this album takes a look at some of the best progressive rock musicians who appeared on the show. Featuring the likes of Yes, Jethro Tull, E.L.P. and Focus, the album also includes artists who for whatever reason didn't or couldn't appear on the show, but should have." That's a tight tie-in, then. And should I even mention the cover which heralds "Barclay James Harvest, Mike Oldfield, Focus and Camel". None of which are on the record. Should we mention the editing. You know, where you hear the opening bars of 'Hold Your Head Up' by Argent, immediately after 'God Gave Rock & Roll To You'. Abysmal.

This is the kind of CD you used to get in service stations at 2am in the morning for 99p, which, alongside the usual suspects, often had some obscure German hit from the likes of Lucifer's Friend or Tucky Buzzard to brighten up a night-time journey. I don't know for sure, but there is probably somewhere in the region of [quick mental count] a million actual prog tracks available to Rhino, and this is what you end up with. As a major label release, tied in to what used to be a byword for quality, namely the BBC and the Old Grey Whistle Test, this is nothing short of shameful.
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Read the track listings.
4 out of the 8 acts listed on the cover DO NOT repeat DO NOT feature on the CD.

There is no trace of Barclay James Harvest, Mike Oldfield, Focus nor Camel on the CD.

Now is this me or is this unforgivable??

I mean heck it must be easy to substitute artist like Yes, Wisbone Ash etc rather than the 4 cuckoos!!
One name forgiveable two pushing it BUT 4 means they are having a big laugh at us??

Please say this review has been helpful even if it is only to register your amazement at this insulting GAFF.

May I point you in the direction of these much better representative Prog Rock CD collections many which have the actual groups that this poor example does not?
Prog Rocks!
Space Hymns: An Introduction To Prog Rock
and this is much better value with 3 CDs worth of tracks.
Greatest Ever Prog Rock - The Definitive Collection
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on 30 September 2011
It is important to make clear what this compilation isn't and what it is.

Firstly, it definitely isn't a compilation of OGWT recordings. There may be a BBC logo on the front, with The Old Grey Whistle Test in prominent lettering. Inside the slim booklet there is a photo of Whistling Bob and his signature. but that is where the link ends. This is a Rhino records compilation with tracks licensed from a number of different record companies. All the tracks have been taken from albums or singles, none of them from OGWT performances.

On the sleeve notes, Whistling Bob makes the point "This collection of album tracks and singles is mostly, but not exclusively, rooted in that ground-breaking time". He is not kidding. It seems extremely unlikely that Porcupine Tree would ever have made it into the OGWT studios and their track, Trains, was recorded thirteen years after Whistling Bob walked into the sunset.

The tracks chosen for this album are also rather middle of the road and most are not even that proggy. There are plenty of prog compilations out there and to me, this is just about the most uninspiring of the lot. Whoever chose these tracks rather lacks imagination, to say the least. They also seem to have a rather generous interpretation of what should be called prog.

For all that, as a CD to listen to in the car it is not too bad so I am going to be extremely generous and give it three stars. I just won't be tempted to buy any other OGWT CDs.
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on 26 April 2012
I thought, no doubt like many others, that these Old Grey Whistle Test albums would contain nothing but recordings made on that show, that's what interested me as I like live recordings, it gives you a different feel for the songs. The live without audience performances are interesting, as seen on the previous Old Grey Whistle Test DVDs.

But that's not what is here. It is yet another compilation of tracks drawn from albums. It would have been a great collection of OGWT show recordings. But it's just album tracks. Huge disappointment.

But, on top of that, it claims to have a content of progressive rock! About a quarter of the tracks qualify. Journey? Foreigner? Free? Sorry, not progressive. Not back then, not now. Had they been OGWT show recordings they would still have been interesting though.

I feel ripped off.
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on 20 September 2011
another drive time rock comp when we could have had LIVE in the studio as it happened on the show (radical idea eh?}.
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on 20 September 2011
Artists who should have been on the show?, sort of makes it pointless, could have had any tracks that have ever been made but settled for a low standard drive time CD with just a credible title
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on 9 June 2015
The Old Grey Whistle Test was famous for putting on live music from an eclectic selection of bands - bought this because I thought that's what was being sold, however what you get is a selection of standard studio recorded tracks, some of which having been brutally faded.
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on 21 August 2014
Appalling - It's all been said before but I just wanted to register my displeasure. I expected live performances from the show and didn't bother to read the reviews until I purchased. Caveat Emptor!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 June 2015
Like all of the other entries in this compilation series, what you find yourself with here is not a collection of live performances recorded from the hit music show 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', but instead, a line-up of artists who indeed performed on the programme, but it's the studio versions you are given. This should have been clearly stated on the back of the album, but it isn't

As far as prog-rock collections go though, this is a pretty good line-up. There's lots of good stuff here (Wishing Well' by Free, the very familiar 'Carry On Wayward Son' by Kanas, and 'Lucky Man' by Emerson, Lake & Palmer), as well as a few odd choices (I do like the REO Speedwagon hit 'keep On Loving You', but I would never file it under 'progressive rock'), and some notable absentees. The accompanying slim booklet contains a message from the show host Bob Harris, basic information about each song, and adverts for the other titles in the series.

If you're looking for a progressive rock compilation, this is okay. But if you expect to find live performances from 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' (and with a title like this, you should be), you will be very disappointed.
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