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The Knights | In Progression

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United States - New Mexico

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Rock: Surf Rock Rock: Progressive Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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In Progression

by The Knights

The most successful progressive surf-rock, instrumental album production to date.
Genre: Rock: Surf Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. In Progression
3:53 $0.99
2. Ragtime Surf
2:40 $0.99
3. Torreon
4:22 $0.99
4. Yellow Jacket
3:06 $0.99
5. Awakening
3:38 $0.99
6. Surfin' the Badlands
4:11 $0.99
7. Pipeline
4:17 $0.99
8. Shelbi with an i
4:09 $0.99
9. Agua Loca
4:32 $0.99
10. Simple Wonders
1:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"The Knights have hit upon a brilliant solution to the problem of revitalizing a historical musical form, using a fusion of the old and the new to point a way to the future of surf-instrumental rock."


Surf Instrumental meets Progressive Metal . . . what is this all about? What kind of combination is that? It happens to be a unique and exciting new sound that nobody has ever come up with before. I do not use the word "unique" lightly; I mean it in the literal sense of the word. The Knights' newest family style collaboration "In Progression" is more than just a title. It defines what they are doing on all the tracks on this CD. If it sounds like I am gushing, I am. It is a first time family gathering of this sort as Dick Stewart and sons (Jason - modern guitar) and (Ritch - bass), along with longtime percussionist Steve Hudgins, help Dad rock down the house. Dick goes back to the '60s as one of the first innovators of the genre; his sons, who are excellent musicians, follow their father's example.

Jason is a tech freak with the fast-as-lightning fingers, and brother Ritch plays bass as good as anyone I've heard in a rock unit. Dick is a legendary master of the surf-instrumental guitar with few peers, and Jason is a talented, six-string virtuoso who is still waiting for a shot at a major label deal.

Having the hindsight and vision of a true wise man, the elder Stewart has taken the old and the new to incredible new heights. While Dick plays traditional surf licks, Jason cuts loose with his whiz-bang, shredding hard-and-fast flourishes to answer the call of the past. It sounds like two different bands playing at once; I have never heard anything so wonderful before!

I have listened to my share of rehashed surf-instro tunes over the years and most sound great with new updated sounds, but this is something entirely different. Just wait until you hear the classic tracks "Yellow Jacket" and "Pipeline." These guitar instrumentals will blow you away with their diversity and power. On one side of the tracks is Dick playing his clean and tasteful traditional surf and the other is Jason wailing away with progressive metal to give each song a rebirth that they have never enjoyed before.

The entire package is impressive. The first thing that grabs you is the decidedly progressive artwork presented on the cover, and the liner notes are a terrific retrospective of this band and what they present on this CD. Every song sounds different. Besides the impressive covers, originals like "Shelbi with an 'i'," written especially for Dick's daughter, is a tropical breeze with beautiful Latin influences in the rhythm section and cool guitar lines to flesh it out with style. There is so much more too, I could go on forever.

This is necessary requirement for any prog-instrumental-rock-guitar lover. Its time to feed your head with some instrumental music that is out of this world!


One of the most exciting chapters in the history of instrumental popular music would have to be the American "surf" music phenomenon. So named because of the association of many of its best-known practitioners with the surfing fad and California obsession of early 60s American popular culture, one of the hottest spots for so-called surf music was the landlocked state of New Mexico. From this nascent scene the Knights emerged in 1961. The Knights burst out of Albuquerque soon after the instrumental guitar rock rage reached that town. They found inspiration in the recordings of the Fireballs from Raton, New Mexico, who recorded as early as 1959.

Shortly thereafter those early exponents of the Seattle sound, the Ventures, achieved widespread success in the genre. Of course, instrumental rock was a natural fit for thousands of garage bands cropping up across the US. It constituted a rejection of the sappy pop confections streaming out of the major label-coopted rock and roll industry. As well, instrumental rock put the thrilling, raucous sound of the still-new electric solidbody guitar (usually of Fender or Mosrite make) front and center.

This factor should not be overlooked. The electric guitar was one of the sexiest, most desirable creations to roll off of American assembly lines in the 50s, tailfinned cars notwithstanding. And the Knights were there, honing their craft with a two-guitar, bass, and drums lineup established for instrumental rock by the Ventures, but pioneered in general by Buddy Holly's Crickets.

The first incarnation of the Knights included Dick Stewart and Larry Longmire on guitars, Gary Butler on bass (though he was sometimes "relieved" by Gary Snow) and William "Corky" Anderson on drums. They scored a regional hit in 1964 with "Precision," a 45 on the tiny Red Feather label that had the unusual feature of a quasi-classical piano accompaniment.

The Knights thus established a definite presence in the Southwest, though their influence was not felt outside of that region at the time. With the total saturation of the American pop music scene by the Beatles beginning in early '64, the Knights saw fit to include a vocal component in their music. Further vocal sides on Delta Records failed to score as "Precision" had, but were nonetheless well-received among fans of King Richard and the Knights, as the band was now named.

There was a new lineup as well, including Dick Stewart on lead guitar and vocals, Jack Paden and Les Bigby on drums, John Milligan and later Dick Miller on rhythm and second lead guitars, Jerry "Toad" Hutchins on bass, Larry Reid on sax and lead vocals, and Mike Celenze on keyboards. Some of these early masters were re-released in 1996 under the Collectable imprimatur, and have found a new home in the hearts of collectors.

King Richard and the Knights disbanded in 1967. Leader, Dick Stewart became something of a local record magnate, working with Lance Records (his own company) and Casanova Records, which Stewart started in January 1968 with Eric Sanchez to record and release Southwestern Mexican-American music. Over four years, the Casanova label racked up a number of regional hits. Lance Records became a vehicle for the nascent Albequerque psychedelic scene. As well, Stewart published a well-received surf-rock fanzine, "The Lance." As a musician, Dick Stewart recorded sporadically for the Casanova label, most notably with "El Rancho Grande" in the early 70s, which moved more than 50,000 units.

After a long dormant period, Stewart re-entered the rock and roll game in the mid '80s in a series of bands with his sons, Jason and Ritch. This came to an end when the brothers relocated to Austin in the early 90s to establish music careers. Which brings us to the present: Jason and Ritch now back in the fold and a revitalized Knights recording again. This is the first fruit of the renewed familial collaboration, juxtaposing Jason's post-metal guitar with Dick's traditional clean-toned surf sound. The results are anything but a throwback. The Knights have hit upon a brilliant solution to the problem of revitalizing a historical musical form, using a fusion of the old and the new to point a way to the future of surf-instrumental rock.



to write a review

R. Davey

In Progression rocks!
The Knights have done the impossible. Amalgamated the old surf sound with metal! Sounds like this wouldn't work. It does. I'd say it leans more to the surf side, rather than metal, but you can feel the metal vibe. They've also done the impossible of covering the song Pipeline, and truly making it their own song. The song is instantly recognizable as Pipeline, but this version is owned by The Knights. All instrumental, and all rockin'!!!