Progressive rock a genre formed out of a creative surge in the late Sixties and throughout the Seventies originated and flowered most spectacularly in the UK. Made by young musicians for a young audience, prog music looked towards new horizons by synthesising rock, jazz, folk, classical and other styles.
While prog has always divided critical opinion, in its heyday it had a large and devoted fanbase, and the era s biggest acts from Pink Floyd to Genesis went on to enjoy long-lasting international and commercial success. Although the scene fragmented in the late Seventies, new generations of young listeners continue to discover the unique sounds of prog today.
Examining the myths and misconceptions surrounding the genre, music journalist Mike Barnes (MOJO, The Wire, Prog, and author of the acclaimed biography Captain Beefheart) paints a vivid, colourful picture of the Seventies based on his own interviews with the musicians, music business insiders, journalists and DJs, and the personal testimonies of fans of that extraordinary decade.
Offering something new for even the keenest of prog enthusiasts, A New Day Yesterday is an entertaining and in-depth study of both the music itself and the cultural conditions and attitudes that fed into, and were affected by, this remarkable musical phenomenon.
Caravan related chapters:
(18) The birth of the Canterbury scene.
(20) Pilgrims progress: Caravan.
(22) All roads lead to Homerton: Hatfield and the North.
Published:27 Feb 2020
Publisher:Omnibus Press
Dimensions:608 pages 15.88 x 4.83 x 23.5 cm

Very prog-ish, enjoyable as in 'did we really listen to that?' Has some of the notorious characteristics of its subject matter: inordinate length, repetitive riffing, noodling interludes but without the changes of pace and tempo. Some critical assessments strike me as over-generous. Only another 250 pages to go...
Greg 3/5 05.03.2020 (Amazon)

One of the few items I've reviewed where five stars is an absolute must.
I have read most of the prog books around. Many are interesting in parts, but here you get the real deal. This is a great, great book; fluently written and utterly absorbing throughout. I have to admit that it could have been written just for me. I am one of those for whom '68 to '75 is more or less where rock music starts and ends. The author leads one through the genre informatively, charmingly and with incredible insight into the era. Some of the 'digression' chapters on the social-setting of the early 70's were actually the most telling for me. At times, I felt I'd actually gone back there and vividly re-lived a lot of the feelings then prevalent. In this regard I found it a unique recent history book. Although a big, long volume, it is easy to read and hold, is beautifully laid-out and has some good illustrations.
I could have read much more and hope he does a follow up of some kind.
MJP 5/5 06.05.2020 (Amazon)

Big Book, Big Read! Worth it.
Although you probably will already be a progressive rock fan if you buy this, the scope is large, and there will be references to bands you forgot about years ago. It is an entertaining read, with lots of first hand quotes from the artists themselves. For fans of a particular age, a perfect lockdown treat. I must declare a fascination with both the good and the bad of music from this period (I think that is called nostalgia). Then, if this path is followed, one can start to understand what was thought of as the "bad" more thoroughly, and begin to like it for its merits. If I see an old Melody Maker paper at an antiques fair (yes), and there is an ELP or PATTO SPLIT headline, I have to buy it and read it. Things musical seemed IMPORTANT then, not disposable. Quotes from Ian Anderson and Bill Bruford talking total sense in this book will bear that out. But there's the fun of BJH lurking in the shadows. Some may expect more on T2 or SeventhWave (there is nothing on SW), but it is a busy decade to analyse and this is not a directory. What it is is a very well-written book, it cuts through the fashions and gives a taste of the aspirations and lives of the musicians of the time. Now we need a book as good as this on Art Rock. Please.
Big Dave 5/5 10.05.2020 (Amazon)

Well Worth Buying
For those who are interested in the relatively short period of what became known as progressive or underground music in the UK , 1966-1975 this is the book for you. Covering a much shorter time line than either Paul Stump’s and Edward Mcan’s books Mike Barnes is able to be expansive and comprehensive on specific areas of the genre such as the Canterbury Scene, Yes, Elp etc. Written in a friendly ‘ matey ‘ Barnes avoids detailed information regarding the technicalities of the actual music and at over 600 pages including b& w plates this is a must have purchase ; first class !
Mr. A 5/5 20.04.2020 (Amazon)

Not Quite What It Says On The Tin.
Let me say up front, I enjoyed this book and reading about bands that despite over four decades of listening seem to have passed me by.
There were however a couple of (seemingly) related things that disappointed me. The first is that the era it covers is really the mid sixties to mid seventies. Mr B is upfront about this - he thinks prog stopped innovating in 1974 and merely consolidated from thereon.
I got the impression that that the underlying cause here was the usual journalistic attitude that an artist stops taking risks and starts making compromises as soon as they become successful. I'm not sure how someone like Robert Fripp or Peter Gabriel feel about that, as a consistent innovators as a solo act, collaborator and in RF's case de facto leader of one of the most uncompromising bands on the planet.
I think the lowest point of the book was the chapter on folk rock. I'll admit to being an ardent fan here, but only a couple of dismissive paragraphs on Steeleye Span, because they had the temerity to bring in a drummer and then Mike Batt and have a big hit single? Can I suggest that the author dips into Below The Salt, Now We Are Six, Commoners Crown or even the dreaded All Around My Hat, because prog attributes lurk within, with the multi-themed likes of King Henry, Thomas The Rhymer and particularly Long Lankin.
Martin R Ingram 3/5 17.03.2020 (Amazon)

Almost great...
I'm a prog fan, and I really didn't expect to learn anything new from this book. The fact that I did made the mammoth read worthwhile. It was the wealth of anecdotes that did it for me - lots of interesting and amusing tales that kept me going. Who knew that Gracious were interesting? Okay, maybe they were not, but it was a fun chapter. However, I was annoyed by the occasional misquoting of lyrics (Gong, Tull), and the proof-reading mishaps. Don't do that to a nerdy readership! I also wondered, on many occasions, whether the author actually liked, or even knew, the music he was writing about. And I was looking for a real, overarching thesis about prog that didn't really emerge. So, a mixed bag, probably worthwhile, but still short of the serious critical appreciation this period of music deserves.
Snygg 3/5 15.03.2020 (Amazon)

My husband has sat and really enjoyed this book.
I bought this book for my husband with the hope like me it would take him much of the lock down to complete. I am a slow reader! well.. he has finished reading it after about a week.
It was lovely to watch him sitting in the garden with his head buried in this. And it made him really happy. lots of interesting discussions in the kitchen during brew breaks about this band and that band.
I asked him if he wanted to do this product review and he said no he will write to the author. But I know he really loved reading it and looked forward to getting back to it when he was doing other stuff.
no name 5/5 18.04.2020 (Amazon)