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Proud Peasant — Peasantsongs
(Bandcamp Basement Avatar Records no#, 2021, CD / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2021-11-25
Peasantsongs is the new album by Austin’s prog rock band Proud Peasant, released on band leader Xander Rapstine’s label Basement Avatar Records. This second Proud Peasant album is a collection of rare and unreleased tracks, including some tracks that have previously appeared on several Fruits de Mer releases. For those fans who were not able to score a copy of Proud Peasant’s debut vinyl single Cosmic Sound on Fruits de Mer, Peasantsongs includes remixed and remastered covers of Eloy’s “Daybreak” and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s “Saturn, Lord of the Ring / Mercury, The Winged Messenger,” both excellent note-perfect covers of these two favorites of Xander’s. Plus there is their lovingly constructed cover of Touch’s “Down at Circe’s Place” that appeared on Fruits de Mer’s The Three Seasons and A Band for All Seasons compilations. “The Avatar,” a single track Proud Peasant released after their debut album Flight, also appeared on the rare freebie CD for Austin's inaugural Voyagerfest in June 2015. "The Avatar" now finds a home on Peasantsongs. King Crimson has long been one of Xander’s favorite bands and Proud Peasant played an inspired cover of “Red” at the Voyagerfest on June 13, 2015. A neatly trimmed and edited version appears on Peasantsongs. Then, to round things out, Xander included the unreleased tracks “A Prelude,” “Cencibel,” and “Turbulence.” All in all, an excellent set of instrumentals arranged in a logical progression that showcases the band’s prog rock chops and Xander’s compositional skills, inspired by listening to the likes of Mike Oldfield, Gryphon, Wobbler, Eloy, Manfred Mann, and of course King Crimson. It is no small wonder that they have appeared on Fruits de Mer Records. By all means seek out a copy of Peasantsongs, you will not be disappointed.
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