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Thread: Featured Album: String Driven Thing - The Machine That Cried

  1. #1
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Featured Album: String Driven Thing - The Machine That Cried

    http://www.progarchives.com/progress...8716102006.jpg


    String Driven Thing - The Machine That Cried


    STD.jpg


    Tracks Listing

    1. Heartfeeder (6:39)
    2. To See You (3:58)
    3. Night Club (5:05)
    4. Sold Down The River (4:29)
    5. Two Timin' Rama (3:10)
    6. Travelling (2:55)
    7. People On The Street (6:03)
    8. The House (2:37)
    9. The Machine That Cried (5:19)
    10. River Of Sleep (11:11)

    Line-up:

    - Chris Adams / guitars, vocals
    - Pauline Adams / vocals percussion
    - Colin Wilson / bass, guitars, banjo
    - Grahame Smith / violin, viola
    - Billy Fairley / drums, congas


    Here is what my buddy Bob McBeath (AKA Easy Livin') had to say about it on ProgArchives
    If you only ever hear one album by String Driven Thing, make sure it is this one. If you can only manage one track, it simply has to be "Heartfeeder". This is a truly inspired album, which opens with one of the finest, darkest, yet most uplifting pieces of prog I have come across.

    "Heartfeeder" was written along with many of the songs here by Chris Adams while laid up in hospital with a collapsed lung. The song weaves it's way through soft violin and cello sections (played by Grahame Smith and his wife Claire Sealey) and loud cries of "Feel the pain" in a wonderful cacophony of melodies and sounds. The "band's official version" of the album released on CD in 1996, reveals that the track was not originally included on the album, space only being found for it through a significant trimming of the 11 minute "River of sleep" (which became about 4 minutes!).

    Chris Adams dominates the album both in terms of composition and performance, his wife Pauline generally providing backing and harmony vocals. The ballad "To see you" would perhaps have suited her voice well, but is nonetheless a touching number. Likewise, "Travelling" is a reflective song with some fine violin work by Smith. "Sold down the river" is reminiscent of the preceding self titled album with a captivating, repetitive chorus. Pauline eventually takes centre stage for "Two timin' rama", surely the inspiration for a whole swathe Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac songs.

    "People on the street" is one of the band's most adventurous pieces. On the face of it, it is a power ballad, but the intricate structure of the song reveals itself as it progresses through a variety of passages. The "Time shot down. . ." section builds especially poignantly.

    The title track returns to the darker aspects of "Heartfeeder", but it is the restored "River of sleep" with its dramatic, swirling violin which steals the show right a the end. For those who have the original vinyl release of the album, the 11 minute version will astonish you. The beautiful closing section which was all that remained on the LP is but a part of the magnificent whole.

    The CD remaster also has three bonus tracks. Little information is offered about two of these tracks, "If only the good" and "Part of the city" (titled elsewhere as "City at night") which are simply described as "Archive tracks". The former is appears to be an unfinished demo with a slightly folk feel, which could have been developed into a fine song. The latter is a rather dull uninspired song which also appears on the "Dischotomy" collection. "It's a game" was a non-album single which failed to find the success it deserved until tragically covered by none other than the Bay City Rollers, a 1970's Scottish boy band.

    The "band's official version" of the album came about when they decided they were unhappy with the way their albums had been transferred to CD. They took the opportunity to restore the tracks to their full length, including the aforementioned "River of sleep" which regains its full 11 minutes. The remastering brings out the strength of the album superbly, although the pressing I have is prone to annoying screeches, presumably through a manufacturing fault. Incidentally, the cover illustration is an extreme close up of a bed bug!

    Sadly, after this album, the band effectively broke up, although the name carried on in a new line up.





    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  2. #2
    Member progholio's Avatar
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    I just happened to turn on the radio last night and heard a live version of Circus that was recorded when they were a support act for Genesis. One of those bands i had completely forgotten about. The Machine That Cried has some especially nice violin work.

  3. #3
    "If you only ever hear one album by String Driven Thing, make sure it is this one." I'll have to disappoint Bob McBeath, because the only album from SDT I have is Please Mind Your Head. I found it in a sale-bin and was attracted by two things: the Hipgnosis-cover and the fact that Grahame Smith was a member. Funny that Kim Beacon would be the singer on Tony Banks' first soloalbum A Curious Feeling. I must admit I liked the album, but it never really stayed with me.

  4. #4
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    ^^^^

    the last two 70's albums really have nothing to do with the sizzling progressive folk rock of their first three albums.

    I'm not surprized that PMYH didn't stick with you as it is bland AOR. The main ones to get are the second S/T album and MTC
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  5. #5
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I bought the LP years ago because of the Hipgnosis cover. The title song is great, and there are some other good tracks.

  6. #6
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    I like it. Basically it’s straight ahead pop rock to these ears. It has it’s moments. I have a soft spot for the song “Traveling”. Very pleasant. Oh Nd “People on the Street” as well, some nice lyrics on that one.
    Last edited by Buddhabreath; 1 Week Ago at 07:40 PM.
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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    I bought this album in the late 70s, since as a Genesis collector, I had encountered them on Charisma compilation LPs. (Along with VDGG, Rare Bird, Lindisfarne, Bo Hansson, Bell + Arc, Audience, Capability Brown, etc.) I wasn't knocked out at all. A little too disjointed and quirky for my taste at the time. However, I did buy their s/t 2nd album later, (their first is a rare private pressing, iirc,) and I do like the s/t better.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    Audience, Capability Brown
    SDT always reminded me of these exact two bands (plus stuff like Dando Shaft etc.), in that there's a rather prominent sense of confusion as to where they want to go, musically speaking. This being said, SDT never had anything akin as strong as House on the Hill or Voices - IMHO.
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    Member Lopez's Avatar
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    I have all the original LP releases by the band. I like them, but don't love them. There is enough on them for one terrific "Best of" album.
    Lou

    Awarded the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval. It's not just good, it's good enough.

  10. #10
    Listening to it right now. It's a long time ago I played it.

  11. #11
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    I like it. Basically itís straight ahead pop rock to these ears. It has itís moments.
    Straight Ahead Pop-Rock??

    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    I wasn't knocked out at all. A little too disjointed and quirky for my taste at the time. However, I did buy their s/t 2nd album later, (their first is a rare private pressing, iirc,) and I do like the s/t better.
    I do say that along with MTC, indeed their second album (AKA Circus) is the core of the band's music. The later two albums with Graham Smith as leader (future VdG and not a SDT original member) are totally forgettable, IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    SDT always reminded me of these exact two bands (plus stuff like Dando Shaft etc.), in that there's a rather prominent sense of confusion as to where they want to go, musically speaking. This being said, SDT never had anything akin as strong as House on the Hill or Voices - IMHO.
    mmmhhh!!! Audience's best album id FFF (IMHO), but HotH is also good (the debut being Ok, and Lunch is really not my cuppa - actually it's a big WTF). But I'd put SDT's MTC on the same Gnosis 11 and their second just a notch below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lopez View Post
    I have all the original LP releases by the band. I like them, but don't love them. There is enough on them for one terrific "Best of" album.
    Yup, that's mostly what I've done on a CDr... a lot of the second album, all of the MTC third album and filled the rest of the space in with two tracks from their debut.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  12. #12
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Pleasantly inoffensive but not enough heft. Just OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by progholio View Post
    ...they were a support act for Genesis.
    I caught Genesis in their first US performance; SDT opened.
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  13. #13
    Much much love!
    Sleeping at home is killing the hotel business!

  14. #14
    "Heartfeeder", for me, has always been one of the superlative proto-prog tracks.

    The rest is pretty nice.

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    I heard about this band many times before but never got to listen to their music. Today I have listened to the "River of sleep" - wow, what a powerful song! The whole album is okay, but this song is definitely its highlight!

  16. #16
    Love it! Both the music and the album's gatefold cover.
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