Well, this re-release on Esoteric Recordings is certainly one for the progressive heads. The year is 1969 and Egg emerged from an earlier quartet with Steve Hillage going by the name of Uriel, but Egg founding members were Dave Stewart (No not the one of Eurythmics fame) on the organ, Mont Campbell on bass and vocals, plus Clive Brooks on the drums.
Egg finally got the record deal they were after in June 1969 when they signed to Decca , releasing the single “Seven is a Jolly Good Time” (it was in 7:4 time) which got favourable press but failed to make an impression on the hit parade.
Their first album “Egg” on Decca did unspectacularly well, again despite the critics being very positive.
Decca were losing interest in the band after the second record “The Polite Force” was recorded but it was duly released in their Deram label in 1971.
Live work was drying up, Decca were reluctant to release a third album and in July 1972 the band made its final performance (or so it should have been) until in 1974, after appealing to Richard Branson’s new label, they reformed and recorded their third album.
Released in December 1974 on Virgin’s underground/esoteric Caroline label “The Civil Surface” got played by John Peel and sold well enough but not spectacularly.
It’s a good record with elements of Soft Machine, Pink Floyd (in their more left field moments) and even Pekka Pohjola being recognisable. It’s also quite a clever (musicians) album with wind quartets, French horn, oboes, clarinets and bassoons all underpinned by a solid rhythm section laying down those odd time signatures and nifty organ lines over the top.
If you enjoy prog’ or left field music then this is most certainly an album for you. For all its cleverness it’s eminently listenable and despite it being intellectual in style it’s still remains quite accessible.
It’s clearly the product of an English band from a particular era but this re-release is valid and welcome. I’d not come across Egg or any of their work previously but this record’s been played a good number of times since its arrival.

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