All good questions as PM has been working on these things solo but I have the new 801 Collectors Edition in my hand and jolly spiffy it is too. Apparently Eno can remember nothing of the 70s. Why would that be I wonder?
Well, now THAT'S what I call speedy despatch ! Somewhere in the region of 21 hours from order to doorstep.
I am playing the Shepperton rehearsal disc (there should be a better name for this !) as I type and have already reached a rather Floyd-esque and languid improvisatory section which opens a nine-minute 'Fat Lady Of Limbourg'.
One word - 'Fantastic'.
Any doubts or concerns about sound quality should be laid to rest immediately - this is easily on a par with the best King Crimson collector series 'Official Bootlegs' and better than most. Extraordinary clarity from a Scotch cassette - to use another KC metaphor, this is no 'Earthbound'. If (like me) you forked out for the 'Tubular Bells' box set just to hear the (very dilapidated, but fascinating) original demo tape, then you'll be more than pleased by the sound of this. I don't know why the guys have been so coy about this all this time ...
Altogether more important, of course, is the quality and the sound of the playing which shines through the minor limitations of the recording. This proves that the excitement of the '801Live' album was no fluke or product of studio fakery. What a shame the band couldn't have lasted longer, but we should all be grateful that this document exists.
Just for the record (no pun intended) - I went for the '801 Live' bundle, mainly because I was impatient to hear the Shepperton tape and already have the other discs in their previous (and in some cases, original, too !) incarnations.
So, until I know more about the other 801 CDs in the offer, I'm holding fire on them - although I do need to get another one of those fabbo Firebird VII badges (you know - one to wear, one to keep ;D)
Incidentally - for the anoraks amongst us - the PM801 Firebird VII badge is way more 'anatomically correct' in the detail than my official Gibson Firebird watch, even down to the fret inlays !
Just to add to the already excellent and accurate review form Barry, I would just say that the whole package is superb - the archive photos and the recollections from the band members make this a little treasure.
Now I want more Collector's Editions - perhaps each Roxy album accompanied by a live disc from the same album tour?
I would just say that the whole package is superb - the archive photos and the recollections from the band members make this a little treasure.
Having pored over the exhaustive sleeve-notes and cuttings, they are indeed an interesting read for the faithful. Recollections from the individual band members clearly reflect the different personalities involved. Phil's opening statement is brisk and businesslike, outlining the ethos of the band, while Eno's take ('801 ? When was that ?') contrasts with Bill MacCormick's detailed (and, almost literally, blow-by-blow) account of the band-that-nearly-wasn't. Lloyd Watson's concise and clear description somehow conveys all the bewildering intensity and release of a short ride in a fast machine. An almost philosophical treatise on "The role of keyboards in late seventies progressive music" from Francis Monkman actually gives some important clues to the secret of the '801' sound, while world-beater (back then, merely wunderkind) Simon Phillips' reminiscences are modest beyond belief, while he peeks inquisitively from behind drums that seem two sizes too big for him.
Even more fascinating than this however, is the reproduced collection of notes made by various band members at the time (sadly, not identified in the text).
This is a rich source of interesting trivia to while away the long summer evenings, such as:
- a set-list showing which Manzanera axe features on which song (either the SG2000, or the non-reverse Firebird); - song titles which appear to have been considered (rehearsed ?) but then dropped including: 'Alma or Frontera' (sic), 'Mother Whale' (ditto) and a intriguing selection of titles from The Who (including 'Armenia', 'Pictures Of Lily', 'I'm A Boy' and 'A Legal Matter') together with two seriously 'what-if' moments in 'I Can See For Miles' and The Beach Boys' 'Wind Chimes'; - 'East Of Asteroid' simply referred to as 'Sol Caliente', several times; - 'East Of Echo' itself namechecked twice (in one list) in a way that perhaps suggests a medley, with 'Mother Whale Eyeless' sandwiched in between (?); - Apparently no-one in the band could spell 'Sombre Reptiles' or 'Rongwrong' correctly - Enigmatic references to ‘Mellotron’ which (apart from possibly on ‘Fat Lady Of Limbourg’) I cannot hear anywhere on the album; - some hand-written scribbles using big words like 'stochastic' and 'non-teleological', seemingly at random, alongside phrases like 'Flight 19', ‘The 801’ and a quote from Phaedo that effectively sums up Enoid thinking at that time. In fact, it's so intriguing, it got printed twice in the booklet ...
Perhaps most intriguing of all, though, is an apparently offhand comment from Bill MacCormick that Rhett Davies recorded the QEH rehearsal as well as the gig itself.
Now, where’s THAT tape for the ‘801 - Definitive Edition’ ? ;D
Firstly, great re-issue. The book format is a winner! Will other releases get similar treatment? I found it odd that the lyrics to all the songs (including TNK and You Really Got Me) were printed except Rongwrong. Why were they left off?
This looks great, but before I spend $59 US on the "cheapest" combo available, question: I know the premature fade-out during "Third Uncle" has been corrected. What about the over-quietness of the two bonus tracks in the middle of the disc? Are those still ridiculously quiet when compared to the rest of the disc? Thanks.