WNS-1012 Styx II
Produced by John Ryan
Released on July 1973
US CHART POSITION #20 . . . GOLD RECORD (5/1/75)
Find Styx II at GEMM
Find Lady at GEMM
WNS-1012 reissue cover
[high resolution photo]
 

O ne of those early wonders like Fly By Night that bespeaks great things for the future. Of course it contains “Lady” in all of its familiar raiment, and the song is crystallized perfection, but just as likely to strike a chord with prog fans are “You Need Love,” “Earl of Roseland” and the combination of “Little Fugue” and “Father O.S.A.” Styx didn’t remove the rock & roll swagger from their muse, and a “You Better Ask” or “I’m Gonna Make You Feel It” are hardly progressive insights, but not everyone can be as consistently high-minded as Yes or Genesis. If “Lady” has left this good company unescorted into the future, then take a little trip back. You’ll discover a band that made good use of harmonies, could write elastic arrangements with the best of them, and understood prog’s archetypes. John Curulewski’s “You Better Ask” is the exception, a funky rock number that underscores the need for “safe” sex. It does end with a nod to “Strangers In The Night,” which reminds me of a musical joke circulating at the time that had a ribald little story sung to the melody of “Strangers...” (but enough about that). Curulewski’s “A Day” is closer to the dreamy vibe of prog, though it has more in common with CSN (“Almost Cut My Hair”) than prog proper. While Dennis DeYoung would favor ballads like “Lady” in the long run, here he writes a lot of heavy material, perhaps as a concession to the fact that Styx’ vision was aligned to the hard, heavy right of Dennis’ softer, lefter leanings. As with Kerry Livgren and Kansas, DeYoung and Styx can lead with keyboards or guitars, which allows them to pursue hard and soft prog passages. Sometimes, Styx slips into hard rock phrasings (as did Kansas), but in doing so they helped forge a new style of prog that would be adopted by bands like Boston and proved more palatable to American ears. I’d recommend this album even if it didn’t harbor a certain “Lady,” and suspect that Styx II is the one to own among the band’s early elpees.

WNS-1012 back cover AFL1-3594 front cover AFL1-3594 back cover
WNS-1012 back cover AFL1-3594 front cover
[high resolution photo]
AFL1-3594 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. YOU NEED LOVE    (Dennis DeYoung)    3:47
  2. LADY    (Dennis DeYoung)    2:58
  3. A DAY    (John Curulewski)    8:24
  4. YOU BETTER ASK    (John Curulewski)    3:55
  5. LITTLE FUGURE IN "G"    (J.S. Bach, transcribed by Dennis DeYoung)    1:19
  6. FATHER O.S.A.    (Dennis DeYoung)    7:10
  7. EARL OF ROSELAND    (Dennis DeYoung)    4:11
  8. I'M GONNA MAKE YOU FEEL IT    (Dennis DeYoung)    2:23

CREDITS

JOHN CURULEWSKI -- guitar, arp synthesizer, autoharp and vocals
DENNIS DeYOUNG -- organ, pipe organ, arp synthesizer and vocals
CHUCK PANOZZO -- bass
JOHN PANOZZO -- drums, percussion and vocals
JAMES YOUNG -- guitar and vocals
Bill Traut -- executive producer
Barry Mraz -- engineer
Bob Miles -- back cover design
Murray Laden -- front cover photo

return to STYX discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US July 1973 Wooden Nickel LP WNS-1012 diecut cover
US/CAN 1975? Wooden Nickel LP WNS-1012 reissue wo. diecut
US   Wooden Nickel LP BXL1-1012  
GER   RCA LP LSP-10403  
GER   RCA LP NL-84233  
JPN 1979 RCA LP PG-124 lyric insert
US   RCA CD 3111  
US 1980 RCA LP AFL1-3594 repackaged as LADY
UK 1980 RCA LP PL1-3594 repackaged as LADY
US   RCA LP AFL1-4233 repackaged as LADY

 

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