Lee Speaks About Music… #82

Un’altra verità – Conqueror



The Conqueror’s last release to date came out in 2015. Though it’s not a studio release and is very much a live DVD/CD release that features the band back in 2014 at the Naxos on the 16th of May to which they was touring their last studio album to date Stems that came out in that same year. The live albums title of Un’altra verità is also one of the tracks that was on the bands 2014 album Stems.

Un’altra verità in English translates to “Another Truth“. It’s perhaps a strange title to give for a live concert and to be honest I do not know why they simply did not call it Conqueror Live. Or Conqueror Live At Naxos.

Oddly enough not one of the 5 studio albums they have made is titled by one of the tracks on their album. The only thing they ever released which did come with the title of one of their songs was the EP Sprazzi Di Luce.

Waiting for a new Conqueror album is like waiting to for the World Cup in football to come around :)))). Though no doubt when an album does eventually surface, its perhaps well worthy of waiting for. From what I can gather the band are working on a new album that will be arriving at some point this year, and I am waiting in great anticipation for that.

The live album Un’altra verità not only comes with a CD. But also a DVD that contains high quality video footage that wonderfully captures the live show. There is also an extra track on the DVD and a short documentary is also included as a bonus feature. The package is priced up for 18.50 Euro on the bands website. So let’s now take a look at the packaging and see what you get for the bucks here.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The album comes in a cardboard Digipak with 2 plastic Jewel Case trays stuck on the inside to hold both the CD & DVD in place. The plastic trays lend support to the overall packaging and the front and back cover have a soft matt textured finish on them, and it’s as if the artwork was printed onto a soft piece of foam with how soft it feels. It’s quite a nice neat little package.

Though it does not come with a booklet, the writing credits you can read clearly, and the information is on both sides of the Digipak when you remove the discs. The graphic design of the front and back cover was done by Enzo Puglisi and the photos used to make up the artwork was taken by Carmine Prestipino.

Musicians & Credits…

2014 Line Up 2

The 2014 Line-Up Of The Band

Recorded live at the Giardini Naxos Municipal Theater 16th May 2014. Video Operators Gianfranco Stracuzzi & Marcello Panebianco. Video Assistant Chiara Trimarchi. Video Editing (Studio 58) Gianfranco Stracuzzi. Audio Recording & Editing (Ludnica Studio) Ottavio Leo. Audio & Video Supervision Natale Russo. Sound Engineer Foh Rocco Cassaniti. PA Man & Facilities Maurizio De Cesare. Lights Antonino Siligato. Audio & Lights by DCS Service. Subtitles Translation by Isabella Miano. Graphic Design by Enzo Puglisi. Photography by Carmine Prestipino. Executive Producer Natale Russo. Produced by Conqueror & Ma.Ra.Cash Records.

Simona Rigano: Keyboards and Voice.
Ture Pagano: Guitar.
Peppe Papa: Bass.
Natale Russo: Drums.

Guest musician Valerio Valenti (Acoustic Guitar on False Idee).

Un’altra verità (Live CD/DVD) In Review…

For my review of this package I am mainly going to focus on the DVD rather than the CD. I shall also be pointing out the highlights of the live concert rather than give a well detailed review of every individual song that we get here. So first up let’s take a quick look at the CD that comes with it.

The CD.

The CD as I mentioned earlier comes with one song less than what we get on the DVD. To be honest I am not sure why it was left off, because they could of fitted it on the CD. Though they must of had their reasons for not including it. The CD itself comes with 10 tracks and has an overall playing time of 70 minutes, 55 seconds.

To be perfectly honest I could not tell you what the actual CD sounds like. Simply because with all these type of packages that come with a live concert on DVD to which they include CD’s in the package, I never play the CD’s at all and do not see any reason to when I can watch the concert with my own eyes on the DVD.

However I do rip the CD’s onto my hard drive in MP3 320 quality to listen to when I am busy at my computer, such as times like this whilst I am writing out my reviews. To be honest it sounds great even at this MP3 quality, though no doubt the CD itself will sound a lot better if I was to play it on my HiFi or on my computer for that matter.

No doubt the CD is also useful for the car, but I do not drive myself so it gets left in it’s package. But those who do, no doubt it will get to put it to more use.

The DVD.


The DVD loads up with this screen shot of the band and is silent without any background music playing. The main menu is simple to get around and offers you 3 options to choose from as seen in the picture above. By clicking on the first option “Concert” it proceeds to play the concert.

The one thing that is not included in the main menu or anywhere on the DVD is an Audio option. This is because the DVD comes with one soundtrack only which is Stereo. So this is not a concert for surround freaks like myself, and there is no 5.1 here I am afraid.

But the concert still sounds very good despite it being only in more or less CD quality and it only coming with an audio format of 48K 16 bit. The biggest majority of DVD’s these days do come with better sound quality such as 48/24 and even better 96/24.


By clicking on the “Chapter” option on the main menu, it presents you with the screen pictured above, which simply gives you the choice to play any one of the 11 tracks that are on the DVD. A useful feature to be able to quickly show a friend your favourite track.


By clicking on the “Bonus” option from the main menu it presents you with the screen above. The bonus is a 20 minute documentary with 3 of the band members namely Natale Russo. Simona Rigano and Ture Pagano speaking about the concert, the making of the album Stems and some background of how the band the Conqueror started, and a general discussion of each album they have made.

I found it very interesting and it provided a good insight into the bands background. I was so glad they had also included English Surtitles too, so I could understand it all. It also comes with French Subtitles too.

The Picture Quality.

The picture quality is certainly more professional than the job they did with the sound. Though the sound in all honesty is quite acceptable and is excellent to be honest. The footage of the concert is quite pristine and looks sharp and captures the lighting and the band very well. Its most likely been filmed in HD and even though this is only a DVD it does have the HD quality look about it.

They have also done a great job with the video editing too, and the close ups of the individual band members, and control of the zoom and positioning is very good.  There is no doubt that this concert as been filmed with genuine HD Cameras and it does the band justice. It also makes it that more enjoyable to watch. Even though it’s not been put onto a Blu Ray. It still looks great.

The visual aspect though as been shot with a full on central viewpoint of the front of the stage. This may put some people off because you cannot see any of the audience by them filming it this way. Though personally I do not have a problem with this myself, and I do have other concerts filmed in the same way. The prog rock band Arena is a perfect example.

The reason why this is most likely done is down to cost, and with them only using 2 cameras to film the show, both cameras are perhaps placed at a central point of view to be able to make good use of the video editing afterwards. Playing in a small venue will also have a bearing on why it was filmed this way too.

You must also remember that a lot of prog rock bands make very little and struggle to survive, especially in this rip off world we have these days with many of the artists material being ripped off and put on the internet for free. Plus the fact that the likes of the Conqueror are not like a lot of more known major mainstream artists who can afford to play at bigger venues and fill them, and afford the cost of more cameras and operators to film their live concerts.

The Concert In Review…

Well there is no doubt that this particular concert was played around the time the band had not long released their latest album at the time Stems. It was actually played in the following month of its release. The live tour was done for that album in particular and features 6 of its 8 tracks from it on the DVD. You are also gonna have quite a wait to get to see the band do any other tracks from their back catalogue, simply because they roll out the first 6 tracks from Stems in the first part of the set list.

The Conqueror are a great live act, and even though both Simona Rigano and Natale Russo have been here from the time the band started putting out albums back in 2003. They have always brought in great musicians to replace those who left. This particular band line up is the same that made the studio album Stems.

Even though the bass player Peppe Papa only joined the band in 2013 and features on both the studio album Stems and this live album. He left the band not that long after. The guitarist Ture Pagano joined the band not so long after the bass player and features on the same two albums. But he did stay on longer with the band, and left in 2016.

The concert itself was performed at the Giardini Naxos Municipal Theater. It’s like a small cinema house in Taormina a province of Italy. The place is used for small concerts and other exhibitions and arts as seen in this photo below.

Giardini Naxos Municipal Theater

The view of the theatre above gives you more of a representation of what its actually like, and this concert was shot very much with a head on central view of the front of the stage, so that you can see the band more visually and not so much of the audience. As a matter of a fact you will be lucky if you see anything of the audience at all, because it focuses on the band all the way through the concert.

The concert opens up with the opening track from their Stems album with a song entitled “Gina“. The album Stems as quite a more modern rock approach to a lot of the tracks on the album, but they still have the diversity and progression that one would find in prog rock music.

This particular song is the longest track on the album Stems and as quite a dominant bass line that punctuates its way along very well. It’s perhaps more punctuating on the studio album though, but never the less the band perform it very well here.

The band roll out the first 4 tracks from the album Stems in the same order as they were placed on the album. This live video from the bands Youtube Channel is from this live DVD and shows how well the band perform live the 2nd track from the Stems album “Di Notte” which incidentally translates to “At Night“.

The band do a grand job on the first half of the set that features the songs from their Stems album and it was great to see them do “Sigurtà” from that album too. The band then continue on with the second part of the show which features a further 5 tracks from the back catalogue of their discography.

It was no surprise to see them kick off the second half of the show with “Pensieri Fragili” which is from the bands 2003 debut album Istinto. This is perhaps the most frequent song from this album they tend to play a lot at their live shows.

They also do another song from this album “La Strada del Graal” and even incorporate part of the instrumental track “Entropia” that comes from this album into “L’ora del Parlare” which is from their 3rd album 74 Giorni to end off the show with. The short track that proceeds this final track on the live album here “Cormorani” is also from their 3rd album.

My personal favourite and highlight of show is that they also do “No Photo” from their 2nd album Storie Fuori Dal Tempo which is my ultimate favourite album of theirs. It’s a shame they never played more tracks from this album, but it’s also interesting how well the band handle it with this different line-up being a 4 piece instead of a 5 piece and missing a woodwind player who plays the flute on it.

But they do a really great job of it, and Simona plays the flutes main melody on the keyboards as she does with many of the other tracks that featured a flute in them as well, and they do a grand job of it all.


Overall the live concert CD/DVD Un’altra Verità by the Conqueror is a very enjoyable piece of live entertainment that captures this great band and their great performance very well on stage. The picture quality and editing is excellent and so too is the sound quality, and it’s a very well produced show and worthy of the price tag.

The band not only present the new material from their latest album Stems very well, but also capture the spirit of their older material even with this line-up of the band. I personally would of liked to have seen them do more of their older material, but no doubt the band were promoting their new album at the time, so it was to be expected most of the material would be featured from this album.

I hope in the future they get the chance to film another live show and I would love to see them play their 31 minute epic “Morgana” live from their 2nd album and perhaps a few other tracks from that album too. I very much think they are capable of doing that epic track as well judging from how well they handled all the material they played live here.


To conclude my review Un’altra Verità by the Conqueror. For the price of 18 and half Euro around £16.24 in the UK it’s great value for the money. It’s a lot cheaper than travelling to Italy to see them play live, and you can watch them from the comfort of your own seat and home so to speak.

My personal highlights from the concert are “False Idee“. “Sigurtà“, ” Pensieri Fragili“.  “No Photo“. and “La Strada del Graal“.

The best and cheapest place to obtain the DVD/CD of Un’altra verità is from the bands website or via contacting the bands drummer Natale Russo on the following email nat@conqueror.it and paying via Paypal. Be sure to add on another 2 Euro to cover the postage and packing. I have provided a link to the website below.

We Lose Ourselves In The Evening In That Ray Of Light…

You can purchase the DVD/CD of Un’altra verità from the bands website here: http://www.conqueror.it/eng/stems.asp

The Live Set List On The DVD is as follows:

01. Gina. 11:12.
02. Di Notte. 7:25.
03. False idee. 7:31.
04. Un’altra Verità. 6:28.
05. Sigurtà. 9:37.
06. Echi di Verità. find out time 7:48.
07. Pensieri Fragili. 7:48.
08. No Photo. 6:43.
09. La Strada del Graal. 6:07.
10. Cormorani. 1:06.
11. L’ora del Parlare (end entropia). 6:58.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Picture Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Live Concert Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #81

Octopus (CD/Blu Ray) – Gentle Giant

GG - O - Copy


Another truly great album of Gentle Giant’s that has been superbly remixed by Steven Wilson. Having recently purchased the CD/Blu Ray edition of The Power and The Glory and being blown away by it, the bands 1972 album Octopus very much was a must to buy next, and once again I am not disappointed, and overall I am over the moon by the treatment Wilson has given not only to the 5.1 mixes but the new stereo mixes. It’s a shame he has not done more of their albums like this, and I certainly would love to see the others get this treatment.

I know I stated in my last review of The Power and The Glory that is was my personal favourite album of theirs. I also stated that is was very hard to pick a favourite Gentle Giant album simply because I love them all, and since revisiting Octopus I can honestly say I am having second thoughts has to what is my favourite album of the bands. To be honest both albums along with Freehand and Acquiring The Taste have always been my main go to albums. Though no doubt there are classic songs on all their albums.

The title for the bands 4th studio album Octopus came from a suggestion of Phil Shulman’s wife Roberta having heard that the album was to contain 8 tracks. The word “Octopus” is also seen as being “Octo Opus,” which represents 8 musicals works. It was also the first album that the bands 3rd drummer John Weathers appeared on. Weathers remained with the band right up until the end when they split up in 1980.

It was also the last album Phil Shulman appeared on, having been with the band with his two other brothers from the beginning. Phil left the band to spend more time with his wife and family. He was the oldest of the 3 brothers, and just like them another very talented multi instrumentalist. Being part of the band was all a bit too much for him in the end, and he gave up music entirely. So it just goes to show that sex, drugs and rock n roll is not for everyone.

Before we go deeper into the album and more about the band, let’s first take a look at the packaging and artwork as usual.

The Packaging & Artwork…


Just like both The Power and The Glory and Three Piece Suite the discs come in a 3 panel Digipak which has a plastic jewel case disc trays to hold the discs securely. It also comes with a pocket to store the booklet. The 14 page booklet comes with both the linear productions notes and lyrics, and overall it a very well made package.

The Artwork.

The album was officially released with 2 different sets of artwork by 2 different artists. Here in the UK and other European and international countries, the albums artwork was provided by Roger Dean. Not long after Dean had done the cover for Vertigo Records a legal issue emerged with the bands World Wide Artists management in North America and the company wanted a different album cover for Columbia Records for the release in both the US & Canada.

So whilst Derek Shulman was over there and in San Francisco he found a jar with an octopus in it and thought it was real cool, and brought it and gave to the art department at Columbia Records to use it for the new artwork.


US & Canada Album Artwork

The artwork for this release was credited to Charles White and that concept and design was credited to John Berg. The US & Canada artwork is also included on one of the reverse panels of this Digipak.

The CD/Blu Ray Release…

Both the CD/Blu Ray and CD/DVD Editions of Gentle Giant’s 1972 album Octopus were released on the 30th October 2015. It was the second of Gentle Giant’s albums that Steve Wilson decided to mix and do a 5.1 surround mix for. Though unfortunately unlike The Power and The Glory not all the original multi-track master tapes could be located and 3 of the albums tracks could only be upmixed to 5.1 via use of software.

Considering this album is missing 3 of the multi-track master tapes, and the bands 3rd album Three Friends was only missing 2 of the multi-track master tapes. Once again it has me thinking has to why Steve Wilson did not decide to do the same thing he has done here by using software to upmix those tracks that were missing, instead of releasing it along with the bands first 2 albums as a compilation album on the 2017 release of Three Piece Suite.

Another thing what I thought was strange, is considering that only 5 of the tracks on Octopus have genuine 5.1 mixes unlike The Power and The Glory to which all the tracks were genuine 5.1 mixes. Why on earth are most places charging £4 more for it?. I find that quite ludicrous and in most stores its priced at over £21 including Amazon.

I managed to get my copy brand new on ebay from a place in London called Speedyhen and got it for a much more respectable price of £17.30 including P+P. They do have a speedy service too and it arrived in 2 days despite some of the bad reviews I found on Trust Pilot about them. I could not fault the service and was well happy, and shall certainly give them a good review on Trust Pilot too.

The CD.

The CD comes with the 8 original albums tracks, 5 of which are new mixes done by Steve Wilson. The remaining 3 tracks have been newly remastered by him and this was due to the fact that 3 of the multi-tracks master tapes were lost. It also comes with 1 bonus track to which is a medley of excepts from the album Octopus to which they played live at the Calderone Concert Hall in Hempstead, New York on the 3rd July 1976.

The total playing time of the 9 track CD is dead on 50 minutes. The 3 tracks that have been remastered only are “The Advent of Panurge“. “Raconteur Troubadour” and “The Boys In the Band“. The new mixes sound very good and to be honest you are not really going too notice that the other 3 tracks have been remastered only. But Wilson as always had the tendency to work close to the original mixes and does an exceptionally good job overall.

The Blu Ray.

SS 1

The Blu Ray comes with an array of extras just like we seen on The Power and The Glory release. Once again you get the Instrumental only versions of the 8 album tracks, and the original 1972 mix of the album. The main feature is the 5.1 mix and once again all the mixes on the disc come with an high quality audio format of 24/96K.

SS 2

By clicking on the “Audio Setup” by default it’s set to LPCM Stereo. So surround freaks like myself will have to click on the DTS Master Surround Mix before pressing “Play Album”. But of course you can also choose the audio options by simply hitting the audio button on your remote. I like the fact that when you click on an option in the main menu it simply pops up, so you can make your preferred choice instead of it loading to a separate screen to do so.

SS 3

Unlike The Power and The Glory Blu Ray you do not get any 3D Animated videos whilst listening to the music. You do however get to watch a video of a real octopus moving around throughout the entire length of the album on the 5.1 mix. It was filmed by Yael Shulman.

They have also included the live bonus track mixed in 5.1 too for this feature only. When you play the original and instrumental stereo mixes of the album, you do not get to see the octopus. However you do get to see some different pictures for each track.

The 5.1 Mix.

The 5.1 mixes have been once again done superbly by Steve Wilson and it’s a shame that 3 of the album tracks multi-track tapes were missing for him to be able to do those as well. He has used Penteo’s software to create a simulated 5.1 mix with the other 3 tracks, and to be honest they sound quite good too. Though he was obviously never going to be able to place all the instrumentation and vocal harmonies where he wanted to in the mix like he could do with the other 5 tracks. No doubt those 5 tracks that have a genuine 5.1 mix benefit the better.

But overall not having the multi-tracks for those 3 tracks does not spoil the enjoyment of listening to the album and before long you will hardly notice any difference, and I still prefer this over the stereo mixes and they do sound quite stunning too. Wilson also mixed the live bonus in track in 5.1 too, and it’s not bad, but the studio mixes on the album are without the best quality overall.

Musicians & Credits…


Produced and arranged by Gentle Giant for Alucard Produtions Ltd. Recorded at Advision Studios London between the 24th July – 5th August 1972. Engineer Martin Rushent. Moog Operator Mike Vicars. UK Cover Design by Roger Dean. USA Cover Illustration Design by Charles White. New Stereo & 5.1 Mixes by Steven Wilson.

Kerry Minnear: All Keyboards/Vibraphone/Percussion/Cello/Moog/Lead & Backing Vocals.
Ray Shulman: Bass/Violin/Guitar/Percussion/Vocals.
Gary W. Green: Guitars/Percussion.
Derek Shulman: LeadVocals/Alto Sax.
Phil Shulman: Saxophones/Trumpet/Mellophone/Lead & Backing Vocals.
John Weathers: Drums/Congas & Percussion.

The Album In Review…

Gentle Giant’s 4th studio album Octopus was released in the UK on the 1st December 1972. It was not released in America or Canada until more or less a couple of months later in February 1973. Like many of the bands albums most of the material was written before they booked a studio to save on the expense and in general the band always had at least 75% of it done before recording it. The whole album was recorded in 2 weeks at Advision Studios in London.

The album Octopus was the bands shortest album at this stage of their career and weighed in with an overall playing time of 34 minutes, 4 seconds. Although most of the bands albums were not much longer in reality. This is actually the bands second shortest album out of all the 11 studio albums they made, with only their last album Civilian being shorter.

Octopus is also noted to have been made when the band where at their peak, and for many of their fans it also can be seen as one of their favourite albums, and its perhaps understandable with the strong material that was written for it.

Even Ray Shulman stated that it was probably the bands best album with the exception of Acquiring The Taste. For both the newcomer John Weathers and the departure of Phil Shulman the album is noted as their swan song. I myself certainly think it’s one of their personal best albums, and it does contain some really great strong compositions.

The Album Tracks In Review…

As with the biggest majority of Gentle Giant’s music both Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman are the bands main music writers. What as not already been written and arranged before they go into the studio to record it, generally gets finished their along with the odd bit of improvisation. The lyrics for this particular album were written by both Derek & Phil Shulman.

The album Octopus was originally intended to be a sort of a concept album with 6 of the tracks being associated with each member of the band, plus 1 track for the roadies and the remaining track to represent to the entire band as an whole. But in the end they gave up on the idea and perceived concept albums as being quite naff. Although it did not stop them doing the next 2 albums that followed it based around concepts :))))).

So let’s see exactly what we have here as I go through the 8 original albums tracks individually in my review…

Track 1. The Advent of Panurge.

Rather a strange title and the word “Panurge” comes from Greece and is associated with a rascal or a rogue. Though in the is case it’s the name of a character from a series of novels written by the French author François Rabelais about Gargantua and Pantagruel who were a couple of giants of all things. No doubt giants was the inspiration here, and most prog rockers tend to look to books about strange things for their inspiration.

Kerry Minnear wrote the music for this opening track and he also is taking on the lead vocals for the song too backed up by two of the Shulman brothers Phil and Derek. The music supports the story where the two giants first bump into one another and it’s very much like a sort of quirky funky theatrical approach to it all.

To be honest trying to describe the music Gentle Giant present to you is not an easy thing to do. They incorporate that many styles and genres even into a short 4 and 3 quarter minute song like this.

No doubt a major part of their particular style does come from folk or medieval folk music with some baroque harmonies thrown into the pot. But what makes it more interesting is how they also incorporate different rhythmical changes, time signature changes, a bit of rock, classical and all sorts in the way it all progresses along.

There is no doubt they do it all in their own unique way, and no matter how bizarre and strange it may all sound. It’s very much a fine art that is so unusual, yet there is never a dull moment about it all.

Track 2. Raconteur Troubadour. 

A medieval folk song about a travailing minstrel cheering everybody up with his jolly music to make the people dance is the subject matter behind the lyrics to this one. Once again there is some theatrics about this fine song and the band even incorporate some classical music passages with the lead breaks.

For those who think this is just another folk song, you seriously need to think again. The whole arrangement is very much a masterpiece. The very talented array of multi instrumentalists who made up the band Gentle Giant where that good at what they did, that they never had to hire an orchestra to play and arrange their music for them. The band effectively was an whole orchestra with the instruments they could play.

As good as many think The Beatles were, they were never this talented as musicians, and they had to have other people like George Martin onboard with them to arrange their music and an orchestra to play it for them. I am not denying that The Beatles wrote some truly great songs that appealed to a much wider audience, but in all honesty they were far from capable of writing and playing music like this.

Raconteur Troubadour” is another one of the 4 songs on this album that Kerry Minnear wrote the music for, and it is without doubt a masterclass piece of work. Derek Shulman takes on the lead vocals for the song and it’s very much a high contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 3. A Cry For Everyone.

A change of mood and the band shift away from the more folky side of things and rock this one out a bit. Its the first of the 4 tracks on the album that Ray Shulman wrote the music for. His brother Derek is on the lead vocals again. I quite like how the band interact with one another on the lead breaks throughout this song, and Minnear’s array of keyboards get utilised very well throughout them too.

The songs lyrics were inspired by the philosophical literature writer Albert Camus. He was known for his literature on philosophy of the absurd and no doubt these lyrics are absurd as well :)))))). But I guess the point that is trying to be made here, is that we are all born to die, and there is no point in crying over it, so one might as well cry for everyone because they are all in the same boat so to speak.

Track 4. Knots.

Another one of Kerry Minnear’s musical contributions to the album and this one features Phil, Kerry and Derek doing some very well constructed counterpart vocal harmonies. It’s quite a medieval folk madrigal that uses 5/4 and other time signatures to piece it all together in a sort of a jigsaw way. The songs title and the source for the lyrics came from the Scottish psychiatrist and poet R. D. Laing. His book Knots consists of a series of powerful, witty, unexpected dialogue-scenarios that can be read as poems or brief plays.

“Knots” is a very high contender for the top spot on the album and another brilliant piece of work done by the band.

Track 5. The Boys In The Band.

The second of Ray Shulman’s musical compositions for the album is fact an instrumental piece and the only one on the album. This piece was originally intended to represent the band with the idea they had at first of making a concept album. In the end they abandoned the idea of the concept, but it still represents the band in a very good way. The piece has some superb diversity and progression about and it’s even got more of Jazz feel about it as well.

The guy laughing and the coin you can hear spinning on the table in the intro, is the bands recording engineer Martin Rushent having a bit of fun. This has to be another very high contender for the top spot on the album and its another brilliant track.

Track 6. Dog’s Life.

Well just as the last piece was intended to represent the band. “Dog’s Life” was originally wrote to represent the bands roadies. It’s the shortest track on the album and the music was composed by Ray Shulman and his older brother Phil features on the lead vocals for the song. It features some lovely acoustic guitar from Gary Green and is a very well orchestrated by Ray Shulman on the violin and Kerry Minnear on the cello.

The arrangement is quite Beatles ESC and quite stunning, and this is yet another top song on the album that could be in contention for the best track.

Track 7. Think Of Me with Kindness.

My personal favourite track on the album is another one Minnear’s compositions and this one he also sings. Just like the previous track its got that Beatles ESC feel about it and the orchestration and arrangement is superb even down to the brass section. This is songwriting at its best and Minnear’s voice is golden on it.

To be honest it was very hard to choose this song as my favourite and this album is literally full of contenders and contains very strong well written material all along it. Most of which are even far more complex in to how they have retained the simple simplicity on this song.

Track 8. River.

The album gets rounded off with the longest track on the album, though all the tracks on this album were no longer than your average pop song back in the 70’s. The “River” is another song that Ray Shulman wrote the music for and features Derek on the main vocals. The song has a bit of a folk rock feel about it and features a bit of a rocked up guitar solo in the middle of it. It’s another great song and winds up the album very well.


To sum up the album Octopus by Gentle Giant I would say it’s an album that contains some of the bands strongest well written material, that much so that I feel this is a stronger album than The Power and The Glory if the truth be told. This is what makes it hard to pick a personal best album of theirs.

The band were also pushing and expanding the boundaries at this stage of their career too, and were starting to incorporate other musical styles of rock and funk into their music, and they was expanding on their more familiar style of folk that was more noticeable on the bands first 3 albums.

Octopus is an album that perhaps marked the first real change and step into a slightly newer direction, and one that worked out really well for the band. Even though the band were still making music that perhaps would not of been accessible to a wider audience, some of music that was written for it is certainly more accessible I would of felt. Both “Dog’s Life” and “Think Of Me with Kindness” were more along the lines of really great songwriters songs that would certainly appeal to most people I would of thought.


To conclude my review of Gentle Giant’s 4th studio album Octopus and this more up to date Steven Wilson mix of the album. I would say that without a doubt that Octopus could very well be seen to many as the bands finest album, and they would not be wrong either. It is without doubt a remarkable album and I can honestly say that it sounds even more remarkable with Steve Wilson’s 5.1 mix.

I honestly think these new CD/Blu Ray Editions are bang on for the buck and well worth getting if you’re like myself and into multi surround sound. The new mixes on the CD are also really great, but the real value in a package like this is the Blu Ray and that’s where you will by benefit the most with this type of package.

My personal highlights from the album are “Raconteur Troubadour“. ” Knots“. “The Boys In The Band“. “Dog’s Life” and “Think Of Me with Kindness“. To be honest I could highlight every track because it really is a solid album and the compositions are sheer class on that score.

Gentle Giant were without doubt certainly one of the most superb and interesting bands that graced us with their superb music back in the 70’s and there was no band quite like them, and there has not been since either. I would certainly like to see Steven Wilson give the bands other albums the 5.1 treatment, because these editions I personally do not think can be beat.

Memories Are Sorrow, When There’s No Tomorrow…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. The Advent of Panurge. 4:43.
02. Raconteur Troubadour. 4:03.
03. A Cry for Everyone. 4:06.
04. Knots. 4:11.
05. The Boys in the Band. 4:35.
06. Dog’s Life. 3:13.
07. Think of Me with Kindness. 3:35.
08. River. 5:54.
09. Excerpt From Octopus (Live At The Calderone Theatre) #. 15:40.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee’s 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Bonus Material Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #80

The Power and The Glory (CD/Blu Ray) – Gentle Giant



Well I have always liked Gentle Giant since I finally got into them which was a good couple of decades after they disbanded in 1980. I barely took any notice of them back in the 70’s and I am pretty sure it was through getting into Neal Morse in the 2000’s that led me on to investigate them more and to finally buy their albums. This particular album The Power and The Glory as always been my favourite album of theirs for some reason. Though I like them all to be honest and it’s perhaps hard to choose a particular favourite.

I have to admit I have been meaning to buy this CD/Blu Ray Edition for some time now, especially has it’s got the 5.1 mix of the album. To be honest I am surprised I never brought it before I purchased Three Piece Suite last year, and it was seeing a post by John McLoud of the album in the Progrock Group on Facebook. That jilted my mind to finally get it.

I shall also be getting the CD/Blu Ray version of Octopus soon too, and I was hoping to see Steve Wilson do 5.1 mixes for more of their albums as well. In A Glass House and Freehand I would love to see him do. Just do them all Mr Wilson and I shall buy them :))))). Even The Missing Piece and I might even have “Two Weeks In Spain” to celebrate :))))).

Incidentally I have also pre-ordered this box set of Gentle Giant’s that was originally released back in 2012. It’s been out of print for awhile now and they are reissuing it again with new 2018 remasters all for the price of £20.75.


It’s a 4 CD Clamshell Box Set that contains the studio releases of the albums Free Hand, Interview, The Missing Piece, Giant For A Day and Civilian and includes the much-loved live album Playing The Fool from 1976. It also comes with some bonus tracks and includes a 16 page booklet and is s due to be released on the 22nd June.

I shall look forward to reviewing that and now let’s get back to The Power and The Glory. But first as ever let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The album comes in a 3 panel cardboard Digipak and the discs are held in place by the same type of plastic holders one would find in a jewel case. These type of holders offer great protection for the discs and you can easily retrieve the discs without getting your fingerprints over the disc surface, they also lend support in strengthening the cardboard packaging and the booklet stores nicely away in the pocket they have made on the sleeve.

The 12 page booklet contains the usual linear and production notes and contains some useful information based on around the time the album was being made and was written by the freelance writer Sid Smith. It also has a few photographs of the band from that time period, and although it does not go into great detail, it’s quite informative.

The Artwork.

The albums front cover came from a pack of playing cards the band brought whilst on tour in Germany. They simply passed on the pack to Cream Sleeve Design and asked them to do something with it.

The CD/Blu Ray Release…

Both the CD/Blu Ray and CD/DVD Editions of Gentle Giant’s The Power and The Glory were released on the 22nd July 2014. It was the first Gentle Giant album that Steve Wilson decided to mix and do a 5.1 surround mix for. Most likely because it was his favourite album. Steve Wilson’s new mixes also come in the form of a CD only and they have also released it on vinyl album.

Since then, Wilson has also done the mixes for the bands 1972 album Octopus and also a compilation of the bands first 3 albums which was entitled Three Piece Suite. The reason that was compiled was down to the fact that not all the original multi-track master tapes could be found for those albums to do 5.1 mixes for.

I decided to go for the CD/Blu Ray Edition and purchased it from Amazon for £17.12 and have to say it was truly worthy of every penny and Steve Wilson has without a doubt done a truly superb job on the mixes. I think with any package like this most of the bonus material comes more in abundance on either the Blu Ray or DVD and these are without doubt the real quality in these packages and not the CD.

Though obviously also with these type of packages the bonus material one does get is more or less is the same thing, and this is not an album that has a great deal of extra bonus tracks at all. So let’s now take a look at what we get on the contents of the both discs.

The CD.

The CD contains the albums original 8 tracks and also has a couple of bonus tracks. The overall playing time of all 10 tracks is 46 minutes, 23 seconds. All the tracks are also new mixes done by Steve Wilson though he has not added a thing to any of them, he has managed to mix the album really well, that well that I would even stick my neck out and say it sounds better than the original mix of album.

But for all you purists out there, the original master recording of the original album has been included on the Blu Ray. The two bonus tracks “The Power and the Glory” and the instrumental out take of “Aspirations” are nothing new (apart from being mixed by Wilson) and have featured on other re-releases of the album over the years.

The Blu Ray.

SS 1

The Blu Ray opens up with some fine 3D Animation of playing cards and presents you with the main menu (shown above) that also contains an animation through the shaped window of the playing card. The main menu presents you with 5 options to choose from “Play Album”. “Track Select”. “Instrumentals” “Audio” and “Extras”.

I quite like how when you click on the options they appear on the same screen for you to make your choice, rather than loading to another screen. The following screen shows you an example of the “Audio” option as an example.

SS 2

By default it’s set to my personal favourite choice of DTS 5.1 Master Audio. All the audio formats are in high quality 96/24 even for the other bonus and extras material. A couple of the of the added bonus features you get on the Blu Ray are the instrumental versions of all the tracks, including the 2 bonus tracks and the “Extras” option contains the original album mix of the 8 original tracks which is in stereo only.

SS 3

The other interesting feature on this Blu Ray comes when you play the 5.1 mix only. Each track features a different 3D Animation video for every track on the album, including the 1 bonus track you get here “The Power and the Glory“. These are a series of animated videos made by the bands bass guitarist and violin player Ray Shulman. You also get the lyrics to all the songs too which they have also animated.

There is nothing in the booklet that tells you when Shulman made the animation, and to be honest I doubt very much he would of been able to of made it the time this release was made. So the animation he made here was most likely done earlier on and intended for a documentary or something about the album that never got put out, and got used for this release instead.

The animation is really well apt to the lyrics and the whole concept that was behind the album The Power and The Glory. This is truly a great feature and quite a surprise to see included here.

The 5.1 Mix.

Both the 5.1 and stereo mixes Steve Wilson has done here are purely fantastic. But personally for myself the 5.1 mix will always be the real winner, and this is a stunning 5.1 mix he has done. The very fact that we have 3 Dimensional Animation works a treat with the quite like 3 Dimensional sound of how everything as been so well placed and panned out. Gentle Giant’s music suits a 5.1 mix especially with the array of instrumentation they use and their 4 part harmonies.

Wilson is very much a master at not going over the top and making sure that the album still sounds like how it was originally but somehow manages to breathe completely new life into the mix by bringing out the dynamics and the clarity. His vision for a 5.1 mix never ceases to amaze me and no doubt he improves all the time. He’s a lot better than Jakko Jakszyk in this field of working with 5.1 and I do prefer Wilson to do the mixes of these great albums overall.

There is no doubt in my eyes and my ears that this is without doubt the best mix this album has ever seen, and it is without doubt purely fantastic and I take my hat off to Wilson for doing such a grand job and making me want to play this album over and over again.

Though to be honest Gentle Giant have never been far away from my turntable so to speak, simply because they made music to last more than a lifetime, and I can enjoy listening to their albums every year on that score. Though this 5.1 mix will definitely be my go too choice of hearing this album from now on.

Musicians & Credits…


Produced and arranged by Gentle Giant for Alucard Productions Ltd. Recorded at Advision Studios London between December 1973 – January 1974. Engineer Gary Martin. Cover Design by Cream. Illustrations for “Aspirations” by Lior Wix. Stereo & 5.1 Mixes by Steven Wilson.

Derek V. Shulman: Vocals & All Saxes.
Ray Shulman: Bass/Violin/Vocals.
Kerry C. Minnear: Keyboards/Cello/Vocals.
Gary W. Green: All Guitars.
John P. Weathers: Drums/Percussion/Vocals.

The Album In Review…

The original album The Power and The Glory was released on the 22nd September 1974. The album contained 8 tracks and had an overall playing time of 38 minutes, 7 seconds. It was the bands 6th studio album, and the last one that was released on WWA Records a subsidiary division of Capitol Records before signing up to Chrysalis Records.

By now and even on their previous album In The Glass House the band had slightly changed it’s style to more of an American way of thinking and it was also due to the American market taking more of an interest in the band with the imports they brought of In A Glass House that the band decided to release the album in the US and Canada first.

The Power and The Glory was the 2nd most successful album they ever had in America and it reached number 50 in the album charts. They also continued to release all the albums that followed it in the same fashion right up to their final album 1980 studio album Civilian.

Prior to the release of The Power and The Glory in America. They also made a more commercial song with the same name of the album. Though the single release of “The Power and The Glory” was never included on the album and it did nothing in America either, and never made a dent in the singles charts.

I am sure at the time many would of never heard the single release of “The Power and The Glory” and the album drew its title from the opening and closing tracks on the album “Proclamation” and “Valedictory” which was a reprise of the 1st track, and not the single release at all.

In the following year of 1975 with the band now signed up to Chrysalis Records. Capitol Records decided to release a compilation album entitled Giant Steps… The First Years to which they included the single “The Power and The Glory” and that was the very first album the song had ever appeared on.

I suppose the reason why the band never wanted to include it on the album, was down to the fact that it had more of a rock approach about it, and it was perhaps something they just made on the spare of the moment to try and break into the American market.

I find it rather strange however why they gave this single the same title of the album in the first place, and I would of expected if it did have more success that their fans would be wondering why it was not on the album in the first place :))))).

Concept Ideas & Interpretations…

Gentle Giant’s album The Power and The Glory is very much done in the way of a concept album only it’s not story based and each individual track is based around power and how it’s consequences can have an effect of how it works in society. Not only in the political sense but also the music business. Because the album was conceived at a time of great uncertain political events that were going on around the time. Most of the people associated it with Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

I have to confess trying to make head or tail of the lyrics on this album is not the easiest thing to do. I think you need to be some sort of professor or these guys were totally off their head when they wrote them :))))). It’s no wonder so many people can make so many interpretations out of them, and that in my book has always been a good thing.

I have to confess doing a review of any album, the research side of things is what I like the best about it. Though I cannot always be accurate with all the sources from the internet and the information I find in the booklets that come with these albums. I also find Youtube a useful source, by either watching documentaries or interviews of the artists, and even down to other people reviewing them.

I even enjoy other people doing album reviews on Youtube and I wish I had the confidence that they have to do them as well. I myself need a lot more time to think which is why I prefer to do written reviews like this, where I can take my time. But I quite like the reviews of these couple of guys (even if I do not agree with everything they say) and here they are reviewing The Power and The Glory.

I quite like how they think it’s not a concept album but does have some theme about a concept with the way it’s been packaged like a pack of cards, and they try and interpret the concept into a story based around playing cards with some of the titles on the album at around the 10:10 mark in the video.

I also like how another guy in one of the comments on the same video goes about describing the concept behind the album being a story as well. He puts it like this as follows:

“Proclamation begins with a dictator addressing his crowd. So Sincere comments that the dictator is a hypocrite. There is another character with high aspirations, who plays the game of power where cogs run in cogs. He realizes that no gods a man (so the dictator is human after all) and overthrows and replaces him. But as Valedictory recalls the first track, he succumbs to the same corruption as the previous ruler”.

I dare say there are plenty of other great interpretations of the concept behind The Power and The Glory and no doubt it would of certainly raised a few eyebrows when it was released.

The Album Tracks In Review…

Most of the material for the album The Power and The Glory was written whilst the band was still on the live tour of their previous album In The Glass House. Gentle Giant was very much a band that wrote most of their material outside of the studios to save on cost, and they recorded the demo’s of the basic ideas for the songs onto a cassette, and then spent the time in the studio piecing it all together and recording it properly.

They also spent more time putting this album together than they did with their previous album to which was more of a rushed out album to keep within the scheduled time of the record company. All the material was written by Kerry Minnear and the two Shulman brothers Derek and Ray. Although in terms of the music side of things, that is very much left to Kerry and Ray who have always been the bands main music writers.

So now let’s take a look at the 8 individual tracks that make up the album and see if we can make some sense out of the lyrics.

Track 1. Proclamation.

The album opens up with the longest track on the album which is just under 7 minutes. It opens up with the atmospheric sound that very much sounds like a fast tube train running along the tracks in a London underground. It most likely is too, although the sound can be seen as representing a crowd hailing the candidate they are voting in power.

Then in comes Kerry Minnear on the electric piano playing the main riff of the verse sections of the song with quite a funky vibe to it. Derek Shulman comes in with the vocals on the opening verse and he takes on the lead vocals on this song and gradually the other members of the band come into the action.

There is no doubt that Gentle Giant’s music can be very diverse at times with its  quirkiness and ever changing time signatures, and it’s short bursts and spasms with how they create melodies and rhythms that shift patterns in other directions even over short tracks. Though most of the material on this album is perhaps more heavier and more accessible.

I have always found their music very strange, but it’s that strangeness that as always drawn me to it more than anything, and I find it quite interesting and even exciting. The lead break section that runs from 2:10 – 3:20 shows that there is a lot more to a song like this than just a verse and chorus. Just in a space of 1 minute and 10 seconds there is a hell of a lot of shifting melody changes and even two part melodies running through it. The interaction between the musicians is quite breathtaking.

Proclamation” is very much the self titled track of the album in that the albums title is contained within the song. The lyrical content is very much about the politician who is running for power and wanting the vote and the confidence of the public with his manifesto that is aimed at changing the way things are. But all too often it remains the same, and at the end of the day just like the many that came before him, he ultimately becomes what he thought against in the first place.

It’s a really great song and very much a strong contender for the best track on the album. Just like the song that follows it too.

Track 2. So Sincere.

So Sincere” lyrically speaking about the way the words have been written in the way of a metaphor, could be seen as combining the first 3 letters of the word “Sincere” with “sincerity” which results in Sin being told with Sincerity. The lies told in any politicians manifesto are in fact sincerely told to try an win over the public votes. For every bit of truth he talks about you can expect the opposite. He will tell you anything just to get in power and try and win you over. It’s all hypocrisy at the end of the day.

There is no doubt that practically all the lyrics on this album are metaphors and it’s not always easy to put them all into context for one to really get the idea behind them. Looking at the way they have been put them into context could even have one thinking WTF is he’s going on about, hence the reason for me thinking they was off their head when they wrote them.

So these are lyrics one will have to dig that deeper into, to really get the point they are trying to put across here. Although basically the lyrics to all the tracks are literally based around the same subject matter.

The songs musical structure is built around the opening few notes in the melody line played on the violin, which is supported by the cello, bass and sax. Kerry Minnear takes on the vocals in the verse sections and the piano and drums add further support as the song builds its way slowly along in a sort of creepy awareness and dramatic way, almost like something one might find in a cartoon.

The chorus section it changes into is quite a frenzy of notes played on the keys and guitar and the Derek Shulman handles the vocals on the chorus sections. They also incorporate a small bridge section which allows Gary Green to go into a nice frenzy on the electric guitar. “So Sincere” is perhaps less accessible in relation to many of the songs that are on this album, and is more like the bands earlier folky side on that score. But this I like a lot and it’s my 2nd favourite track on the album.

Track 3. Aspirations.

Much more of a more straight forward song musically with the use of electric piano, bass, acoustic guitar and drums. Kerry Minnear takes on the vocals and he’s always had more of the sweeter voice in the band to take on a song like this, though he very rarely sang live so he could focus more on his keyboard playing.

Lyrically the words are pertaining to the hopes and dreams one hopes will result from having a new government in power, and reflects of how one lives in society with their current position and having a stable enough job to bring up their family. I suppose these aspirations could also apply to the music business too.

I quite like the animated video they have put to this song which shows a family outside their house, and how the house in the background can look in a bit of a rundown state, and changes into something more clean and new. It shows the line between poverty and wealth and that basically sums up what this song is really all about.

Track 4. Playing the Game.

Playing The Game” I suppose can be seen to as any politician who gets in power is in a no lose situation. The odds are very much stacked in his favour as soon as he becomes elected into office in that no matter what decisions he makes especially upon inflation and the cost of living, by the end of his term in office he will be wealthy enough to live comfortably for the rest of his life. Unless he gambles it all away that is :))))).

Musically this track is perhaps constructed around Ray Shulman’s bass line which plays a very dominant role here, it also features some great keyboard work and the marimba is put to great use in the percussion department. The vocals are handled by Derek Shulman on the verses and Minnear sings in the bridge section only.

Track 5. Cogs In Cogs.

Musically this song contains excellent progression and is perhaps similar to the same prog epic goodness found on the bands 4th album Octopus on the track “Knots“. Only this is not quite as minimalistic and certainly has a lot going on. The band weave out some magic on this track, and even though it’s the shortest track on the album at just over 3 minutes, it’s very much my favourite track on the album and merits my top spot award.

Once again Dave Shulman takes on the vocals and for all the remaining songs on the album. Its lyrical content is based around how each cog changes yet the wheels always move in the same direction just like the hands of power may change from time to time, yet nothing ever really changes with their so called promises.

Track 6. No God’s a Man.

Lyrically the song is more of the same thing and perhaps could be seen as the same old song when those in power at the end of day who always fail, and the same old song gets sung again with whoever picks up the next microphone to sing it so to speak. Also most often is the case that the party they voted in office in the first place, end up becoming those they now want out. Those who are put on pedestals soon fall aside with their deception and lies and man is far too imperfect to be a god, and no man is a god.

Gentle Giant without a doubt have their own way and style of creating music out of some of the strangest short melody lines and developing them like no other band has ever done. Their use of vocal harmonies also plays a big part in the arrangement of the songs they do, just like many of them on this album, they also feature the other members of the band joining in on the harmonies, and not just the main singers as I have already mentioned.

No God’s a Man” starts off with a well developed musical intro before the words come into play. Musically the combination of guitar, keyboards and bass are a dominant feature throughout the song and it’s a very well constructed piece of work with how they have intertwined all the melodies together.

Track 7. The Face.

The album picks up the pace on “The Face” and it’s a song that features Ray Shulman on violin and it was most likely written with that instrument too. Even Ray’s bass work on the track plays an integral part here and both he and Gary Green’s guitar feature very well throughout, and the lead break sees both the violin and guitar rocking it all up.

The lyrical content is based around the politician having to face up to all the wrong decisions and changes that’s been made during their term in office. Quite often it’s left for the next candidate to clean up the mess, and it’s all been a bit too embarrassing to face up to the carnage they have left the country in. It’s another one of my contenders for the top spot on the album.

Track 8. Valedictory.

The final track on the album is a reprise of the opening track “Proclamation” with a different arrangement to which is played at a slightly slower more rocked up hung back pace. I suppose when looking at the context of how all the lyrics on the album are based around political power. It was only fitting to use the last track in the way of recycling the whole thing all over again, to which no changes ever really get made and things remain the same no matter who’s in office. It puts an end to a really great album.


To sum up Gentle Giant’s 6th album The Power and The Glory. Overall it’s perhaps a more heavier album in relation to the bands previous albums and it works very well for it. However although the concept does appear to work over all the individual tracks, it does perhaps tend to hark on a bit over the same subject matter throughout the album with how the lyrics have been written. So these are perhaps not the best lyrics the band have come up with on that score, but never the less the real strength of the album lies in how the music has been structured and how the lyrics are expressed with the music with how they put it all across.

Like I said at the beginning of my review that this album for some reason as always been my favourite. It’s also Gary Green’s though I can perhaps see why simply because the electric guitar does get utilised perhaps more on this album. Though I have to confess that I do miss a lot of the acoustic guitar that got featured on many of their earlier albums, so to even say this is my favourite album of the bands is a very hard thing for me personally because there are at least another 3 of their albums that are very much on par with it.

The band were no doubt branching out a bit more when they made this album and were heading into more rock territory to some respects, though they still maintained their unique style no doubt. My personal highlights from the album are “Proclamation“. “So Sincere“. “Cogs In Cogs” and “The Face“.


The The Power and The Glory by Gentle Giant is quite a solid enough album, but then again I could say the same about most of their albums on that score. Even though The Power and The Glory could be seen as a more accessible album there is no doubt that their music will still sound rather strange to the biggest majority of people, and for many its perhaps still quite hard for people to really appreciate it and get into it.

They make music one has to grow into, and once you have you will reap the rewards and very much will have something that will last you a lifetime. Gentle Giant are a band that possess a load of musical talent, and they do things differently in relation to the biggest majority of bands in this world.

They are not the type of band who get together in a studio and create their music by jamming together. They very much sit down and write around 75 percent of it on a musical manuscript before they have even played it. Then they get together in a studio to finalise all the arrangements add in a bit of improvisation and play it and record it.

So however bizarre people may think their music comes across, it’s very much planned in advance to be that way in the first place with how they have so very well constructed it. This is what makes this band quite unique and they are very skilled musicians who have learnt their craft.

This particular CD/Blu Ray release I personally feel cannot be beaten, even at it’s price point of £17.12 it’s a superb package of high quality. OK you are not perhaps getting anything really new in the way of bonus material. But the fact that they have included the original mix and even the instrumental version of the album in 24/96K on the Blu Ray is a really great extra.

The added bonus of the animated videos is also a great feature and both the Stereo and 5.1 mixes done by Steven Wilson are superb, the latter of the two is simply stunning, and no doubt the real winner here is the 5.1 mix. Once again Wilson as done a top notch job with the album and breathed a new lease of fresh air into the mix. It adds even more excitement to it all and for all those surround freaks like myself. I would say that this is a must to add to your collection.

It Can Change, It Can Stay The Same…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Proclamation. 6:56.
02. So Sincere. 3:52.
03. Aspirations. 5:21.
04. Playing the Game. 6:45.
05. Cogs In Cogs. 3:08.
06. No God’s a Man. 4:26.
07. The Face. 4:13.
08. Valedictory. 3:26.
09. The Power and the Glory [*]. 2:59.
10. Aspirations [Instrumental Out-Take][*]. 5:17.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee’s 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Bonus Material Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.


Lee Speaks About Music… #79

Out To Sea – Fernando Perdomo



Well a few months or so back I bumped into a post of this new album on another Progressive Rock Facebook Group I had just recently joined at the time called Prog On. It was actually the artist Fernando Perdomo who posted his latest album Out To Sea to which was available to pre-order on Bandcamp. To be honest I had never heard of the guy, but was taken in by the album covers artwork to which had a kind of familiarity about it.

So I popped over to Bandcamp and was quite amazed that even though the album was not scheduled to be released for another month or so, he already had the album on there so you could listen to it. I very much liked what I was hearing, though I have to confess I was not overall impressed by the sound quality I was hearing streaming it on Bandcamp.

But you can never judge an albums sound quality by hearing it being streamed, and no doubt all streaming sites have their good and bad days on that score when listening to music on them. I also noticed that he was also releasing the album on CD too, and that damn great album cover was still in my head and puzzling me of what it reminded me of.

It was then as I started to read up on the album more that the name Paul Whitehead was mentioned. This was the very same artist who did the album covers for the Genesis albums Trespass, Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot back in the early 70’s. So I added the album to my wish list on Bandcamp so I would not forget it, so I could come back for further listens to it.

Over the next few months I did return for further listens and knew this was an album I liked a lot and it was always my intention to buy the CD because of the great artwork. I am pretty sure the album was officially released on Bandcamp back in February. But with my funds being tied up with quite a few albums I had already pre-ordered. I knew it was going to have to wait a bit.

To be honest even though the CD was reasonably priced on Bandcamp at 15 American dollars which works out to about £12.70 here in the UK. I knew by the time Bandcamp had added their tax and price of the postage and packing. I would of ended up paying near enough £20 for the thing, and that to me is way over the odds of the price of a CD I would want to pay for.

So I do tend to stay clear of ordering CD’s from Bandcamp. But oddly enough a couple of weeks ago I noticed the CD on Amazon UK and it was not even available to buy there and then, and it was being released on the 4th May. So I pre-ordered it and it arrived on the day of it’s release and cost me £12.47. Very reasonable indeed I will say. I do believe he is now even releasing the album on vinyl as well. I am sure Paul Whitehead’s artwork will look great on it.

So before I get stuck into the review of the album and just who Fernando Perdomo is?. Let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The CD comes in a very slim cardboard Digipak that looks pretty neat and is a nice presentation. Although the CD seats well enough in the side pocket, the fact that the cardboard the disc is seated in does not have a gloss coating, will not protect the disc from getting the odd scratch mark, and your most likely going to get your fingerprints on the surface of the disc by retrieving it from it’s pocket. So one needs to be a bit more careful with it.

These are not the best quality grade Digipaks and are cheaper, but never the less even though they may not protect the disc as well as a standard plastic jewel case. I sill prefer this type of Digipak over them, and like I said they do look neat.

The CD does not come with a booklet however the production notes are on the back of the sleeve. The inside of the sleeve shows you all the guitars he used in making the album and also contains a brief bit of background history of how he was inspired by so many influences as a child and how he has progressed today.

The Artwork.

As I mentioned earlier the artwork was done by Paul Whitehead. Whitehead is a British painter and artist who was perhaps more known for his surrealistic work he did for Charisma Records back in the 70’s. His more noted album covers were done for the bands Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator.

To be honest I had no idea Paul Whitehead was still creating artwork for album covers and I quite like this one a lot. So glad to see he is still active and busy.


I also pulled out the 3 albums he did for Genesis from my box set too, and this cover is perhaps more like the Foxtrot album with its colour and the ripple of the sea.


But of course you will find better examples on Paul’s website by clicking on the following link here: http://www.paulwhitehead.com/Default.aspx

To be honest I have no idea how much professional artwork such as this costs, but I dare say it’s not entirely cheap. But it seems to be doing the trick and attracting the attention. I have even noticed that Cherry Red Records here in the UK have also noted it and are advertising it and selling it on their website too. I would even expect the vinyl release to do well too and that no doubt will display the beauty of Whitehead’s work the best.

So Who Is Fernando Perdomo?…

Well straight off like I said earlier, I have never heard of the guy. So I had to do a bit of research to find out a bit more, and the first thing I can tell you is that he’s an American singer-songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. As a record producer judging by the amount of artists albums and tracks he’s produced since 2010. The list is as long as the arms of a good few football teams. Though I cannot say I have heard of any of the artists or the material he has produced. But then again it’s a very big world, and I do not live in that part of it.

The other thing I can tell you is that he’s played in a couple of bands who I have also never heard of, and he also does not play prog rock as a rule, but does have many influences from a wide variety of genres, and even his record collection does contain quite of bit of prog rock from the 70’s. He’s also an extremely busy guy who tends to knock out music and albums every month judging by some of his releases, and I have to confess that I do not have enough body parts to sell to keep up with an artist who churns out music at this high rate :)))))).

And on a final note of what I discovered in my research. Is that he looks like an extremely cool dude and he’s a very talented musician who certainly knows how to craft, carve out, and produce quality music and songs. Creativeness seems to flow in his genes as you can see by this short video he posted on his Youtube channel.

No doubt his production techniques are very good and you can see that just by this very cool bit of creativity that he is a guy full of ideas. So let’s now get on to the album review.

The Album In Review…

Out At Sea by Fernando Perdomo was released originally on Bandcamp on February 9th 2018. The official UK release of the CD was released much later on the 4th May 2018. The album itself contains 8 instrumental tracks and comes with an overall playing time of 43 minutes, 4 seconds. Musically the album is very much mainly done in the way of a tribute, and was inspired by the many great progressive rock bands that came out in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

All the instruments guitars, bass, keyboards and drums were played by Fernando Perdomo with the exception of track 6 “The Dream“. To which the drums were played by Eddie Zyne. I found this following video of an interview of Fernando talking about the album very interesting and informative, it gives you a very good insight into his influences and even his record collection.

So now let’s take a look at how well the album came out, as I take you through all 8 tracks individually in my review here.

The Album Tracks In Review…

Not all the tracks on the album Out At Sea are tributes, and there are some that were influenced by other things, and although most of the album does contain mainly new written material, it also includes a couple of reworked older tracks that Fernando felt would work on an album such as this.

Track 1. The Architect. (Tribute To Peter Banks)

The opening track on the album is very much a tribute to Peter Banks back in the early days of Yes before Steve Howe had replaced him as the bands guitarist. I have to say that Perdomo has captured Banks’s style of guitar playing really well even down to all the right guitar tones and effects he used.

Musically he’s structured the piece around some of the melody lines of “Astral Traveller” and perhaps incorporated some of the other guitar sounds from Yes’s first and second albums they did back in 1969 and 1970. Perdomo has done a really great job here by not copying the original melody but reshaping parts of it and doing his own thing around it, yet it still sounds quite like Peter Banks. It’s a really great track and certainly a strong contender for the top spot on the album.

Here he is doing a live studio version of it with a band that he only just recently posted on his Youtube channel a week ago.

Both he and the band have executed the song very well and I wonder if he’s planning to take the band he has assembled here out on the road to play some live shows featuring the material from the album.

Track 2. Out To Sea.

The music to this piece was inspired by the albums front cover artwork done by Paul Whitehead. To be honest Perdomo perhaps sees something different in this artwork than I do on that score. For example even though there is nothing in the painting quite as bizarre as what was on those early Genesis album covers, there is still something about it that reminds me a bit of Genesis.

But musically this album says nothing about the band Genesis. But I do not think that was his intention at all here, and after all this is the artwork for his album and not that of Genesis.

The music we do have has quite a bit of power, and this is more like a battle on the sea. It’s got some great theme work and some fine progression along its path, but it does not tend to go in many directions and sticks closely to the theme work and melody lines of the musical structure. It also features some blistering lead work on the guitar and is quite good track on the album.

Track 3. De Boerderij. (Tribute To Focus)

No doubt that Perdomo has listened closely to the Dutch band Focus and I like this one quite a lot. That much that it’s my personal favourite track on the album and merits the top spot award. Once again Perdomo has sculptured his own melody lines and managed to make it all sound quite like the band.

There is plenty of diversity here and some fine transitional changes, along with beautiful melody lines played on the lead guitar. This one really is an excellent piece of work that has a lot thrown into the pot over its short distance.

Track 4. Roses Spread All Over the World.

The pace comes down here a bit and this is perhaps the ballad track of the album. “Roses Spread All Over the World” is quite a beauty of a piece that features some quite Steve Howe like guitar sounds, such as the choral sitar and even the flute like melody in the background on the intro reminds me of the English folk songwriter Alan Hull and is quite familiar with the flute on his 2nd solo album Squire.

No doubt this another contender for the top spot on the album and it’s title was inspired from a girl he knew, who went around selling roses.

Track 5. The Future According to Roye (Tribute to Roye Albrighton and Nektar).

The 2nd longest track on the album is a really superb piece that goes into plenty of places with its progression and diversity. It’s got some well tasty beautiful melody lines amongst all the power and energy we get here too.

To be honest I have never heard of the artists he’s paying tribute to here, but this to me is perhaps the most prog rock track on the album, and it was very difficult for me not to give it the top spot award. For many I dare say this could be their favourite on the album. No doubt this is a very high contender for the top spot on the album and it really is a superb piece of work and really great track.

Track 6. The Dream.

One of the two shortest tracks on the album and this lovely piece is built up using a strong theme played on the guitar that in some way even reminded me of the Dutch band Focus and the sort of material they did on their 1975 album Mother Focus.

It’s another really beautiful track and well crafted composition. “The Dream” is an older track that also featured on an earlier album of Perdomo’s and features Eddie Zyne on drums.

Track 7. Sonja. (Tribute to Sonja Kristina and Curved Air).

The shortest piece on the album is a tribute to the band Curved Air. This piece is quite up-tempo and has a bit of pace about it, and besides the rather tasty guitar playing the harpsichord is also put to good use, and that instrument was always one of Francis Monkman’s choice of keyboards too, who incidentally was the bands guitarist and keyboard player.

To be honest I do not know a lot about Curved Air and I really need to check them out, because I loved Monkman’s compositions the most when he was in the band Sky much later on in the 70’s. Perdomo also done a collaboration with the female singer of the band Sonja Kristina but his inspiration for this piece came from the bands 2nd album which was actually entitled Second Album they done back in 1971.

Track 8. Dreaming in Stereo Suite.

The final track on the album happens to be the longest and weighs in at just over 16 minutes. Once again Perdomo uses strong themes and melodies to craft out the piece and there is plenty of diversity and progression along it’s lengthy journey. It goes through quite a few nice transitional changes, moods and different styles too.

This is another one of Perdomo‘s older tracks that was originally from his band project Dreaming In Stereo back in 2010. The original music for that album did also contain words and vocals, and he felt has it was more prog rock it would suit this album. So he made up the suite we have here out of the instrumental sections of some of the tracks from that album and pieced it all together for this album.

It’s another really excellent piece of work and great track that’s very much another  strong contender for the top spot on the album, and puts an end to a very well crafted album.


Overall Out At Sea by Fernando Perdomo is an album that does not disappoint in any way and it’s quite a solid album from start to finish. Everything about the material that’s on it works very well, not only with the right placement of the tracks but also with the way he has combined some of his older material with the newer material he has written for it.

The way he’s crafted all the tracks out so well with strong themes and melodies makes it very hard to choose a favourite track to be honest, because they all are so very well done. My personal highlights from the album are “The Architect“. “De Boerderij“. “Roses Spread All Over the World“. “The Future According to Roye“. and “Dreaming in Stereo Suite“.


To conclude my review of Out At Sea by Fernando Perdomo. I very much think it’s an album that says everything about it that’s written on the tin. The tribute work to the fine artists very much reflects those artists down to a tee, and he’s gone about it with his own melody lines and a few reshaped ones along the way and captivated these great artists with use of his guitar and effects.

It’s a very well crafted album and even as an instrumental album it works really well and provides hours of enjoyment in that it begs you to return to it and give it more spins. I very much think he’s on to a winner with what he’s produced here, especially for those who are into prog rock.

But there is perhaps a bit more here too, in that the album contains elements of beauty with the lead guitar lines and fine melodies, and this is an album that will appeal to more than just your prog rocker on that score. I certainly think it’s an album that’s worth checking out and I highly recommend doing so. It might be just what you’ve been looking for and your cup of tea so to speak. It certainly floats my boat too.

Out At Sea can be purchased from most outlets in the form of a Digital Download or CD & Vinyl. You can hear the album for yourself here on the following link on Bandcamp : https://fernandoperdomo.bandcamp.com/album/out-to-sea

Wandering Where Lights Go, Leave Out The Body Load.…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. The Architect. 4:10.
02. Out At Sea. 4:15.
03. De Boerderij. 3:10.
04. Roses Spread All Over the World. 3:44.
05. The Future According to Roye. 6:23.
06. The Dream. 2:45.
07. Sonja. 2:34.
08. Dreaming in Stereo Suite. 16:03.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 07/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #78

Who’s Next (SACD) – The Who



Well I must admit I have always been a Rocker and I have always quite liked The Who. Though I have to confess I was never that mad on them, and the only album I did buy of the band was the 1973 double album Quadrophenia and a couple of live DVD’s of the band they done a few decades later. I did like some of their well known singles back in the 60’s and early 70’s such as “My Generation” and “Substitute” and have always admired Roger Daltrey’s great voice and the rest of the guys in the band on that score.

There is no doubt The Who rocked, but I suppose they rocked a bit differently in relation to the other rock bands that grabbed more of my attention back in the early 70’s such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Those are the type of bands that really rocked my world back then and very much floated my boat more so than what The Who ever really spoke to me. To me The Who were perhaps your more light hearted rockers in relation to the more heavier side of those bands, they were also perhaps a bit more commercial too.

I remember seeing the film Tommy back in the 70’s on the TV and I thought it was perhaps one of the most bizarre things I had ever seen. I am pretty sure I only watched it because I knew Elton John was also featured in the film, and I was quite a fan of Elton’s music back in those days too. But not even he could rescue that film and I thought it was just totally nuts and dreadful.

A close friend of mine back in those days quite liked The Who and had the album Tommy and lent it to me to listen too. The album just never said anything to me, and the only track that did on the album was “Pinball Wizard” and I even thought Elton John’s version of the song was a damn site better than what they ever did with it.

A few years ago the same old friend of mine even lent me the 5.1 version he had brought on SACD and the album still never said anything to me. I thought they did a great job of the 5.1 mix but the material I felt was so weak, and no way was I buying the album just because it sounded good in 5.1 :)))))).

To be honest even the 2 live DVD’s of The Who I only brought in the first place because they was in a bargain basket in Woolworth’s and both of them was brand new and dirt cheap. The one was The Who And Special Guests Live At The Royal Albert Hall which is a double DVD and cost me £5 and the other one was a triple live DVD entitled Tommy and Quadrophenia Live With Special Guests. Which cost me £7.97. The price tag is still on it as you can see in the picture below.

1 Who DVDs

As much as I love the album Quadrophenia I cannot say I am fond of the live version they do of the album on the latter of those 2 DVD’s. I think the guests they have got on it just ruins the whole thing and I would of preferred The Who to do the whole thing themselves. Actually the best DVD in that triple DVD set is the last one in there in which they play a lot of their hits. I quite like that one. The one at the Royal Albert Hall is very good I will say, and they do a lot of the material from this album Who’s Next as well.

So just what possessed me to go out and buy another album by The Who?.

Well I suppose I have to thank my good friend Dirk Radloff who I met on Soundcloud a few years ago. He’s quite a fan of the band and I noticed a post about the band he had put on his Facebook wall just recently.

Basically I told him my thoughts about the band and how it was only really the album Quadrophenia that only really spoke to me apart from some of their earlier hits. To be honest it’s come up before in an earlier discussion about the band we had. But not being so hooked on The Who myself I have not heard all the albums they made, and during this discussion Dirk recommended me to listen to the album Who’s Next.

Well the first thing I did was check out the band a bit more, and I noticed that this particular album was released after Tommy in 1971 and it was the album before their 1973 album Quadrophenia. Being as the 70’s is very much my favourite decade and I practically still live in it when it comes to great music. I located the whole album on Youtube and decided to give it a blast.

To my surprise I quite liked it, enough to even go out an buy it. Though I have to admit I did do a very silly thing regarding the format and the price I paid for it. More about that later under the heading of “Expensive Snake Oil” but first let’s as usual take a look at the packaging.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The SACD comes in a standard plastic jewel case. You would think for the price of the thing it would come in a quality cardboard Digipak but never the less it offers great protection for the disc. The booklet that comes with it is mainly in Japanese and the only thing inside the booklet itself that is printed in English are the song lyrics.

Thankfully they have also printed the linear notes and production credits on the back of the booklet in English. But as for any other informative information. Unless you can read Japanese there is nothing else here to see :))))))).

The Artwork.

The front cover and the photography for the album was done by the American photographer Ethan Russell. Russell had previously done a lot of photography for The Rolling Stones and The Beatles he even did all the photography that inside The Who’s 1973 album Quadrophenia though he never did the front cover of that album.

The photo shoot was taken in a coal mining town in County Durham England known as Easington Colliery. The band had just urinated on a large concrete piling sticking out of a slag heap and the fact that the slab of concrete looked like the monolith from the 1968 film 2001 A Space Odyssey led both Entwistle and Moon suggesting the idea for the album cover.

According to Russell not all the band members had urinated over the concrete piling so he used to water from a canister to add to the effect. The photo Russell took for the rear of the album cover was taken at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester whilst the band were backstage. The layout of the album was done by John Kosh.

Expensive Snake Oil…

Over the decades Japan as always had quite a good reputation regarding the quality of their imported CD’s and no doubt you do pay slightly more for them. I have brought a few in the past, especially of artists who are lesser known in relation to pop artists such as Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman as an example, and their albums always tend to go out of print. In general I have always been satisfied with the quality of the recordings on them, and you could pay up to £5 more for such an import back in those days.

These days some people expect you to sell a body part to be able to pay for an album that’s gone out of print :))))) prices can shoot through the roof. Over the years I have seen some good things come out of Japan. This is a country who were world leaders in electronics and technology and were innovators when it comes down to new technology, and they are still are a country to be reckoned within that field.

But I have to confess they are also a country that can do some silly things at times. For example this is a country who have many brand name electronic companies such as Sony. Yamaha. Pioneer and so on, and these are companies that make Surround Sound Home Cinema HiFi and components. Yet for some reason when it comes to making high quality audio SACD’s they are not interested in producing them with a surround mix on them, and only tend to make them in stereo only.

They even refuse to use Hybrid SACD discs that come with a dual layer and they only use single layer discs, and the way they achieve this higher audio quality is by using a substance known as snake oil in the process of making their SACD’s.

Now many will find this process of using snake oil very strange and even questioning if the audio quality is any better than a conventional compact disc. To be honest this type of process is far from anything new, and years ago even back in the mid 80’s when CD Players first hit the market, some people did do some funny things that they reckoned worked in getting their CD’s to sound even better.

For example if you get a green felt tip pen and just run it all the way around the edge of the round disc. When placed into the CD player the laser will read the disc faster, therefore making some improvement over the overall sound quality. So the idea behind using snake oil mixed into the surface of a single layered disc will improve the way the laser reads it and it even adds a bit more stability to the disc, so they say.

Now most people will call this a load of old codswallop and quite personally I am not a fan of this process at all, and as a rule I genuinely avoid buying any SACD that comes with a Stereo mix only. As far as I am concerned you can use any magical substance you like on a stereo mix, you can even make the disc out of 24 Carat Gold for all I care. But no way on this earth will any stereo recording, no matter what you put on it, will it ever compete with the sound quality of a 5.1 surround mix.

You do not need any magical substance on the surface of a disc that comes with a 5.1 surround mix to bring out the quality and make it shine. The very fact that this is a multi track recording played through a 6 separate channel amplification stage is all the magic you need. 6 Channels are far more superior than 2 channels.

For starters the separation via using 6 channels is way beyond any 2 channel stereo amplifier could ever produce. It’s this factor that brings out far more clarity and much more superior dynamics out of any recording. To put it in a nutshell when Stereo recordings and HiFi replaced Mono back in the 60’s it left Mono in the dust. Just the same as multi-track recordings and 5.1 Home Cinema HiFi left Stereo in the dust as far as I am concerned. Though I still do like stereo myself and can enjoy it still. But as for mono you seriously have to be kidding me :)))))).

Personally for me putting a stereo mix on an SACD is pointless. No doubt it will sound better than any CD. But no way on this earth can that extra bit of sound quality justify some of the prices these things are sold for.

For example if a brand new CD cost £10. A Stereo SACD of the same album should cost you no more than say £12 – £15. That in reality is how much better the stereo SACD sounds over the CD. So roughly were talking 20 to 50 percent. Now the margin of sound quality between a CD and 5.1 SACD would work a lot higher and I would say its around 50 to 100 percent better. All of this depends on how good the mixing engineer was in the first place of course.

I have to confess I did make a silly mistake when I ordered Who’s Next on SACD. At the time I was looking at reviews for both the SACD versions of Who’s Next and Quadrophenia and naturally thought that because Quadrophenia had a 5.1 mix, that Who’s Next would be the same.

SACD’s can be very expensive and hard to get hold of for a decent price in most cases. For example on Amazon you can get Who’s Next on CD for £5.50. The SACD on Amazon is £65 and no way was I paying that. But I managed to get it from America in the end for £30. Still very pricey and at the time I did order it, I thought it came with a 5.1 mix.

After I had placed my order I spent an hour or so looking up more reviews about the SACD version of Who’s Next (to be honest all the reviews for the SACD pointed to it being excellent) but it suddenly tumbled in that this SACD and the album had never been recorded with a 5.1 mix in the first place, and was only in Stereo.

So I immediately emailed the place in America to cancel my order and asked for a refund. But unfortunately they was having none of it, and told me I was too late as they had already dispatched the item to me.

This is the very first SACD I have ever brought with just a stereo mix on, and had it of come with a 5.1 mix I would not of batted an eye lash over the price I paid for it. To be honest being a fan of Peter Gabriel. Many years ago when he released a lot of his albums on SACD I was going to buy them. But the fact that they was all in stereo only. I never bothered buying them, and I am not interested in buying them either. Maybe if they was £5 each I would. But these days even second hand copies will cost you an arm and a leg to buy and are sold at ridiculous prices.

The SACD Release…

The Who’s 1971 album Who’s Next was first released on an SHM SACD in Japan on the 25th August 2010 as a limited edition. Due to it going out of print Japan decided to reissue the limited edition again on the 26th November 2014. This later reissue is the one I got and both SACD’s only came with a stereo mix, and there as never been a 5.1 surround mix of the album.

I find it rather strange why The Who released both the albums Tommy and Quadrophenia with a 5.1 mix and not this album that lies smack bang in the middle of them. In general the main reason why no 5.1 mixes were made is because the multi-track master tapes have been lost. Yet all reports and reviews point to this album being mixed directly from the original master tapes to the SACD and not from a remastered copy.

Even upon the release of the SACD they was never sold at a cheap price and its retail price was sold at $50 in America. That’s £37 here in the UK and bloody expensive considering it’s only in stereo.

Back in 2014 you could still buy Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon on SACD with a 5.1 mix for around £12 new, and I can honestly say that would leave this thing in the dust :))))))). I actually got it on SACD in the early 2000’s for £5 brand new in Woolworth’s and I have to say it’s freaking awesome.

The Album In Review…

The bands 5th studio album Who’s Next was originally released on the 25th August 1971 here in the UK 11 days after the American release. It’s an album that contains 9 tracks spanned over a playing of 43 minutes and 38 seconds. 8 of the 9 tracks where written by Pete Townshend and John Entwistle penned the other one.

Pete Townsend was working on writing new material for a follow up to their previous album and rock opera Tommy to which he filed under the name of the Lifehouse Project. Much of the material from that abandoned project ended up on this album.

Prior to the release of the album an edited version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was released as a single in the UK a couple of months before the albums release. It broke into the top ten of the singles charts and peaked at number 9. It must have had a good effect because when the album Who’s Next was released it was the first album The Who had ever had that hit number 1 in the UK album charts. For many the album Who’s Next was considered to be the bands best album.

Musicians & Credits…


Recorded and mixed by Glyn Johns at the Olympic Studios London and Stargroves between April – June 1971. Produced by The Who. Associate Producer Glyn Johns. Executive Producers Kit Lambert. Chris Stamp. Pete Cameron. Violin on “Baba O’ Riley” Produced by Keith Moon. Album Design by John Kosh. Photography by Ethan Russell.

Pete Townshend: Guitar/SCS3 Organ/A.R.P. Synthesizer/Vocals/Piano (On “Baba O’ Riley”)
Roger Daltrey: Vocals.
John Entwistle: Bass/Brass/Vocals/Piano (On “My Wife”)
Keith Moon: Drums/Percussion.

Additional Musicians:
Dave Arbus: Violin (On “Baba O’ Riley”)
Nicky Hopkins: Piano (On “The Song Is Over” and “Getting in Tune”)

The Album Tracks In Review…

The recording sessions for the bands album Who’s Next began in April of 1971 at Mick Jagger’s house Stargroves using The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio in which they managed to get down the backing track for “Won’t Get Fooled Again“. Although the band had first tried to record the song a month earlier at the Record Plant in New York City. They then decided to record the rest of the album at the Olympic Studios London.

It was whilst they was at the Record Plant that they ran into the band Mountain and their guitarist Leslie West played the lead guitar on “Won’t Get Fooled Again” But it proved to be a bit too difficult for Kit Lambert to mix, so they decided to start from scratch again a month later. West also played the lead guitar on “Baby, Don’t You Do It” a song originally written by Holland–Dozier–Holland to which they used as one of the bonus tracks on the 1995 reissue of the album. He also played on a few other tracks too.

It was back in England a month later that Glyn Johns was brought in to help with the mix and production. Even Townshend’s synthesizer on “Won’t Get Fooled Again” that he recorded in New York was too inferior to use, so Johns decided to use the synthesizer parts from Townshend’s original demo tapes. Most of the bulk sessions of the albums tracks were recorded in May.

Just before the band started work on recording the album Joe Walsh gave Pete Townshend a guitar. It was a Gretsch 6120 and Townshend used it as his main guitar on the album.


So let’s now take a deeper look into the tracks on the album and see if it lives up to being what’s considered as The Who’s best album.

Track 1. Baba O’ Riley.

The song was originally written for Townshend’s Lifehouse Project and it’s title came from a couple of his mentors who had a philosophical influence on him who was Meher Baba and Terry Riley. Roger Daltrey takes on the biggest part of the vocals on the song and it’s lyrical content is based around the effects that music has on the younger generation at large music venues, Woodstock as an example and how they can get brain damage from the use of drugs at such places. The words “Teenage Wasteland” is a reference put into context to describe such large concert venues. “Teenage Wasteland” was also the original working title for the track.

Musically the song uses a 1-5-4 chord progression and was written in the key of F Major. Though it was not recorded in concert pitch and the strings are tuned higher to 446 khz and not your standard tuning of 440 khz and is played on the A instead. The synthesizer on the intro is a built up sequence and it plays an integral part throughout the track. The song also features Dave Arbus from the prog rock band East Of Eden on violin.

Baba O’ Riley” was also released in some European countries as a single, though it never had a single release in the UK or America. The song was also used as the main theme for the American TV series CSI New York which ran from 2004 – 2013. It’s really great song and very much a strong contender for the best track on the album.

Track 2. Bargain.

The “Bargain” is a really great rocker of a song and it even sounds like the material Townshend wrote for the album Quadrophenia. The combination of the acoustic and electric guitars work very well, and no doubt both Entwistle and Moon are doing the business on the song too. Once again the main part of the vocals are handled by Daltrey and his voice projects with great power as ever.

The lyrics that Townshend wrote were once again influenced by the Indian mystic Meher Baba and though they pertain to a love song, they are very much based around giving up everything to be at one with God. This is another contender for the top spot on the album and a really great song.

Track 3. Love Ain’t For Keeping.

The shortest track on the album and one of the few tracks on the album not to have any synthesizers on it. This is another really great song and I like its much more acoustic guitar side of it. Although they did record the song first at the Record Plant in New York and it did have synths on it. It even had more of an heavier electric approach to it all too, and featured Leslie West on lead guitar.

Townshend does a great job on multi-tracking the acoustic guitars on it, and Daltrey’s voice once again shines throughout it all. Keith Moon plays the drums on a Ludwig Kit rather than his usual Pearl Kit. Even though Entwistle’s bass is more restrained, its still very dominant and sounds great in the mix.

The song has a great country blues feel about it, and even sounds a bit familiar with what Rod Stewart and the Faces where doing back then too. It was also another song that was intended originally for the Lifehouse Project. I really like this one and it’s another cracking song and contender for the top spot.

Track 4. My Wife.

The only track on the album that was not written by Pete Townshend and was penned by John Entwistle. The song features Entwistle on the lead vocals and besides the bass he also plays the piano and the brass horn section lead break. The particular horn section and the melody played around it, reminds me a bit of “5:15” which never appeared for a couple of years later on the Quadropenia album.

The lyrics are quite funny and he concocted a fictitious story about what his wife will do to him after him being contained in a police cell for a few hours for being drunk, and him thinking of ways to protect himself when she does finally catches up with him. I personally do not think it’s on par with the opening 3 tracks on the album, but it was perhaps a good bit of fun.

Track 5. The Song Is Over.

Another song that that came from Townshend’s Lifehouse Project and was intended to be the last track to finish off the story to it all. Both Townshend and Daltrey share the lead vocals on this track and it works very well with Townshned’s sweeter voice on the verses and Daltrey’s more hard edge vocals on the chorus. It’s very much a ballad of a song that also has a bit of power with how they have worked out the vocal sections between them. It’s also one of the two songs on the album that features Nicky Hopkins on the piano.

Lyrically it’s quite poetic and pertains to a dying man’s last words and how he would still like to be remembered after he’s gone. Once again this song reminds me like some of the material that was written for Quadrophenia and has that production feel about it. It’s another really great song.

Track 6. Getting In Tune.

Another great track on the album that shows both the melodic and and hard cutting edge of Daltrey’s vocals. Once again the session player Nicky Hopkins is at the piano and his work on this song is really excellent. Keith Moon is flying along on the drums on as ever and even though his drums and Entwistle’s bass are very domineering, I quite like how everything else manages to cut through the mix so well. It was another song that came from the Lifehouse Project and another of the few tracks that does not contain any synthesisers on it.

Track 7. Going Mobile.

A song that features Pete Townshend on lead vocals and Roger Daltrey sat out of this one and left the band as a trio to do it. Once again the song came from the abandoned Lifehouse Project. It’s not a bad song and Moon’s drums do a grand job on it. I personally do think Townshend’s voice does not do it any great justice, but then again the key that this song is played in may not of suited Daltrey’s voice either. Personally I think this song and “My Wife” are perhaps the only two songs on the album that do not quite make the grade.

Track 8. Behind Blue Eyes.

A fine ballad of a song and it’s great to see Daltrey once again on the vocals, especially after the last track :)))))). The song is alleged to have been written by Townshend back in 1970 after he was tempted to go with a female groupie after a concert they played in Denver. It’s also thought that his beliefs in his new spiritual leader Meher Baba prevented him from doing so.

The song was also first recorded at the Record Plant in New York and featured Al Kooper on Hammond Organ and just like many of the songs from those first recording sessions they were released as bonus tracks on later reissues of the album. This song also comes from the abandoned Lifehouse Project.

Track 9. Won’t Get Fooled Again.

The final track on the album also came from the Lifehouse Project and is the longest track on the album. Just like the opening track on the album the intro on the synthesizer carries it all the way through the song and is the songs main melody for everything else to play around it. A lot of the synthesized work was inspired from Townshend’s visit to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Townshend had the idea that he could capture the thoughts in peoples minds with the use of electronics and synthesizers and feed the pulses of their brain patterns into electronic devices. Sounds like quite an experiment though in reality you could produce the same sound virtually on any synthesizer with a sequencer in it :))))))). I am pretty sure he was off his head at the time. But no doubt he created quite an effective sound and it works really well on the track.

Won’t Get Fooled Again” is my personal favourite track on the album, and I would expect that to be the case with most of those who brought this album. It merits my top spot award and the whole band play an integral part of making it all work so well. It ends the album off superbly.


Overall Who’s Next by The Who is a very good album. I personally do not think it’s a solid album or the bands best album for that matter, but never or less it does contain 7 really good songs out of the 9 your getting on the album. I also personally think the material that was written for this album was a lot stronger than their previous album Tommy.

There is no doubt that Tommy was the album that changed the bands style more than anything, and was more of a commercial success for the band and set them in the right direction. It was also the starting point of where Roger Daltrey’s voice started to come more to shape with it’s own unique identity. His voice projects better on this album and the album that followed it Quadrophenia.

I personally feel Daltrey’s voice has even more balls on Quadrophenia which is perhaps why it’s my favourite album of theirs. Although I do also feel the material was very strong for that album and it is without a doubt a solid album on that score. But Who’s Next is a very worthy album and certainly one of the bands better albums. For any fan of The Who this album is still very much a must to have without a doubt.

To be honest I was never a massive fan of The Who but quite liked their distinctive style, and effectively it’s as if all 4 members of the band are playing lead lines and quite strange how it all works out so well. I cannot recall another band functioning that way either. Their style is very unique and it’s what makes them stand out from the rest.

I personally do not think I have heard another drummer like Keith Moon either. There is no sense of a pattern to how he plays the drums and it’s almost like a guy who’s never played the drums before in his life and getting up on the stage and saying I can play the drums and bashing the hell out of them :))))). You simply could never rehearse his style and I do not think he ever did either. He just done it there and then at the moment and somehow it worked so bloody well. He was perhaps the perfect natural.


To conclude my review of the album Who’s Next by The Who. I would say it’s an album that’s up their with their very best albums and a very worthy album of having. My personal highlights from the album are “Won’t Get Fooled Again. “Baba O’Riley“. “Love Ain’t For Keeping” and “Bargain“.

Although no way would I recommend buying this SACD version of the album and at it’s price point of £30 or more it certainly does not justify it’s expensive price tag over the CD or vinyl album.

To be honest I have never had the vinyl LP or CD to make any real comparison. But from the many albums I do have on CD and have heard. I would say the overall sound quality of this SACD is no more than 20% better than the CD you could buy for £5.50. No way is it worth it’s price tag and no stereo SACD is ever gonna give you that extra quality that a 5.1 recording will give you.

You can even buy the Deluxe Edition of the album that comes with 2 CD’s for £7.99 on Amazon and I would certainly recommend that over what little bit of extra quality you will get from this SACD.

I can honestly say with all my heart regarding Stereo Only SACD’s, I would never buy another one, and I certainly Won’t Get Fooled Again:)))))))).

Pick Up My Guitar And Play, Just Like Yesterday…

The SACD track listing is as follows:

01. Baba O’Riley. 5:09.
02. Bargain. 5:34.
03. Love Ain’t For Keeping. 2:10.
04. My Wife. 3:42.
05. The Song Is Over. 6:15.
06. Getting In Tune. 4:50.
07. Going Mobile. 3:43.
08. Behind Blue Eyes. 3:42.
09. Won’t Get Fooled Again. 8:33.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 08/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 2/10.

Lee’s SACD Rating Score. 5/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #77

Fish Out Of Water (Deluxe Edition) – Chris Squire



The latest re-release of Chris Squire’s 1975 album Fish Out Of Water is another one of these releases from Esoteric Recordings. Having more recently discovered Esoteric Recordings myself, I have to admit they are perhaps a company that do some good things with these new releases, but they also have some bad points about them too, and do not always play the ball game in doing the right thing, and can be a company who want to milk you out of as much money as they possibly can.

For example the clamshell Sky Box Set I purchased last month, may seem like a good buy considering it was only £25 for all of Sky’s 7 studio albums and a DVD of a live concert thrown in to boot. To be honest the quality of the recordings of those studio albums on the CD’s is really excellent. But the fact that they could not be arsed to include a booklet in a box set such as this. In all honesty it’s ludicrous.

Just who in the right mind would go out of their way to make such a box set and not include any information about the product they are selling you. This is where this company really need to get it’s ass into gear. But half the time they just want to rush the whole thing out, and get their hands on your money.

Now I am not saying there is something missing in this Deluxe Edition release of Chris Squire’s Fish Out Of Water. But Esoteric Recordings are devious and cunning bastards in the way they have gone about releasing it. And I will go further into detail about how this company are not playing the ball game a bit later on in my review here. But first let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The Deluxe Edition comes in a nice well made box that replicates the vinyl album cover very well. The box is slightly bigger than the 12 inch vinyl album and is around half inch thick in depth so that all the contents that comes with this package fit like a glove inside it. I honestly cannot fault how they have gone about things making this package and it really is very well made and nicely presented.

Besides all the media contents that come in the box set it also comes with a 36 page book. To be honest for the price of a box set like this I would of expected it to be an hardbound book, but never the less the book is very well made and I have no gripe with that. My biggest disappointment is really down to the little information you get here. Though it is quite informative. OK you do get all the production credits, notes and lyrics here. But as for the so called essay by Sid Smith that features interviews with Bill Bruford. Patrick Moraz. and Gregg Jackman. I very much think these so called interviews were done a good while ago and are nothing really new at all.

Considering this so called book comes with 36 pages there is very little in it to read. The biggest majority of it is filled with pictures and production credits and lyrics. I think Sid Smith got about 4 pages and Jakko Jakszyk only got 1 page :)))))). For vinyl collectors a presentation box such as this is not really going to present them with a problem of storing a package like this. I myself gave up on collecting vinyl a few decades ago now, and my old vinyl records and turntable are still in the loft. Even the original vinyl album of Fish Out Of Water is still in the loft that I brought on it’s original release back in 1975. And I have no intention of dragging my turntable out of the loft to play the newly remastered vinyl album that comes in this box set or the 2 vinyl singles for that matter.

But for people like myself a box set like this is certainly more harder to store and as you can see by the space it has taken up in my storage unit to display it in the picture below. This one has taken up the space you could quite easily of put 60 – 70 CD’s in.

CS Storage

Being more of a surround freak myself. I am much more into 5.1 surround recordings than any vinyl album or CD for that matter. Though I do still  buy CD’s, simply because not all artists can afford to make their albums with a 5.1 mix. Some are not even bothered with 5.1 and still prefer stereo in relation to it.

So the biggest majority of music media that interests me comes on the media formats of SACD. DVD & Blu Ray and my shelving system does not really cater for a larger package of this sort and it will be a lot harder for me to store. I decided to make a little video so I can display the contents and how this is all very well packaged up and how everything fits nice and snug.

The Artwork.
The cover design, layout and photography for the album was done by Laurence Bernes. However the photograph of Chris Squire’s face behind the closed elevator doors on the front cover, was taken and provided by Brian Lane the manager of Yes at the time. The snap that Lane had taken was whilst Yes was on their US Tour in 1974 and it was taken at the Detroit Hilton on a Polaroid camera that Lane had just brought that day.

The poster that comes with the album of a fish is a picture that was taken of a stained glass window that Chris Squire had brought in France and had it put in his bathroom. Squire got his nickname of the fish from the other band members of Yes back in 1970/71. They gave him the name because he always took such a long time in the bathroom.

1 Fish

The name very much stuck with him enough to title his own contributed piece on the Fragile album “The Fish“. He also decided to use it in the title of this debut album of his, and the title of Fish Out Of Water is a reference to him working on dry land so to speak, and out of the comfort zone of the band Yes he was always more at home with.

The Art Of Greed…

The very reason Esoteric Recordings did not release the 5.1 version as an individual release is very much a tactical ploy to entice more people to buy the more expensive Deluxe Edition Box Set. This is where companies like this can be real bastards and are not being fair to the genuine music buyers or Chris Squire’s fans for that matter.

During the time I had pre-ordered the Deluxe Edition I got to read many of the comments that people had left not only on Esoteric Recordings Facebook page where they was promoting the release, but also on many other places on the internet who was also advertising it too. I can tell you now that at least 87 percent of the many comments I read where from surround freaks like myself who were complaining about them not releasing the 5.1 mix of the album as an individual release. Most of those people were that disappointed by Esoteric Recordings tactical ploy and scam to squeeze more money out of people’s pockets, that they stated they would not be buying the box set.

Some of them even asked if Esoteric Recordings had any intention of releasing the 5.1 surround mix in the future, to which Esoteric Recordings replied “it depends on how well the box sets sell”. In other words when all the box sets have been sold, which could take at least another decade judging by the disappointment by the biggest majority of the public. Then they will try and milk more money out of people by releasing the 5.1 mix in another package along with a couple of CD’s. To be perfectly honest I myself usually avoid more expensive box sets like this, where companies like this are being nothing more than greedy bastards by not giving the artists fans what they want, and exploiting the artist after they have died.

Chris Squire himself stated that he would love to have a 5.1 mix of his solo album Fish Out Of Water. I am pretty sure that if he was alive today he would be just as disappointed how Esoteric Recordings have gone about this release and their tactical ploy to try and squeeze more money out of his fans for them to get their hands on it. I very much think the poor guy is turning in his grave right now. It was in an interview back in 2004 that Chris Squire made a statement that he would love to have a 5.1 mix of his solo album Fish Out Of Water. But unfortunately at that time the multi-track master tapes could not be located and were thought to be lost.

In 2007 despite still not being able to find the multi-track master tapes and the album was out of print. Chris Squire decided to re-release the album again on his own label, Stone Ghost Records, distributed by Castle/Sanctuary Records. This 2007 release came with a CD with bonus tracks and a DVD and was was released on 25 June 2007 as a Deluxe Expanded Edition. It even claimed that the album was remastered, though most reviews tended to point to remaster having little or no improvement at all.

To be honest I did not buy that release so as to how good it sounded I could not tell you. I did however buy the CD back in 90’s and that sounded dreadful in relation to the vinyl album I already brought back in the 70’s. But the DVD that came with the 2007 Deluxe Expanded Edition is the same bonus DVD that comes with this 2018 release by Esoteric Recordings. The other DVD that comes in this Esoteric Recordings release, contains the very first 5.1 surround mix of the album after the multi-track tapes were finally found, and it’s a shame that Chris Squire never lived long enough to hear it.

The Deluxe Edition Release…


The Deluxe Edition of Chris Squire’s Fish Out Of Water was released by Esoteric Recordings on Friday 27th April 2018. This Deluxe Edition Box Set comes with the vinyl album. 2 X 7″ Singles. 2 CD’s and 2 DVD’s. I pre-ordered it Amazon on a couple of months earlier on the 2nd February and it arrived on the day of its release. This particular box set is priced up on Cherry Red Records for £69.99. At the time I pre-ordered the box set on Amazon it was priced up at £77.22.

Now as a rule most pre-orders from Amazon do come down and you end up paying more or less the same price it was priced on Cherry Red Records. But for some reason Amazon’s price remained the same on the day of its release and I did end up paying £77.22 for it. In reality this about the same price it will cost you on Cherry Red Records by the time they have added the price of the postage and packing on a large item like this. However as an Amazon Prime Member. One should not be paying the cost of the postage and packing, and I do feel that Amazon are playing the dirty here and I shall be putting in my complaint and keeping my eye on future pre-orders.

They also released the 2 CD version on the same day which is priced up at £14.99. But the one thing Esoteric Recordings did not release separately was the 5.1 mix of the album which comes on one of the DVD’s in this Deluxe Edition Box Set. So let’s now take a further look at what you get for the money here:

The LP & Singles.
The new 180 gram pressing of the vinyl album and the 2 X 7″ 45 RPM Singles have been remastered by Paschal Byrne. All of them was cut at Abbey Road Studios in London. The replica is spot in every detail to the original 1975 vinyl release, even down to the label on the LP. Out of the two 7 inch singles that come with this release. Only one of them was released in America only back in 1975 which was a shorter edited version of “Lucky Seven“. Chris Squire was not even aware that Atlantic had released the single at the time. The other single of “Run With The Fox” was released much later on in October 1981.

CD 1.
The first of the two CD’s contains the new stereo mixes of the 5 original album tracks, and was mixed by Jakko Jakszyk. I quite like these new mixes and the mix does feel more closer to you in the way all the tracks present themselves to you. There are a couple of things you will notice straight away regarding these new mixes. The first being that it does not have the reverb that you could feel so much on the original mix. This makes this mix have a bit more punch about it, which is what you perhaps need to project Chris Squire’s bass and Bill Bruford’s drums. These have been brought up more closer and work really well for it.

The second thing you will notice, is very much something you never heard before on the original album. It was whilst Jakko Jakszyk was going through the original master tapes that he noticed that although there was no additional material on them he could use for extra bonus material. He did however notice that some of the parts on the original master tapes did contain some additional recordings that were muted. These muted parts were never included on the original album.

So he decided to listen to the muted sections that had been recorded at the time, and he quite liked them that much he thought it would be a good idea to include them in this new mix. I am so glad he did and overall it does present the album in another light to some extent, and it’s quite interesting hearing these new orchestral sections that were not included in the first place. Even the long ride on Bruford’s cymbals.

CD 2.
The second of the CD’s contains the 5 original tracks plus 4 bonus tracks. This disc does contain a new remaster by Paschal Byrne and I have to say it does sound a lot better for it, and sounds a damn site better than the CD I brought back in the 90’s. The bonus material is the same as what you get on the two 7″ singles.

To be honest the both edited down shorter versions of “Lucky Seven” and “Silently Falling” that you get here are really a waste of space, and I would much sooner listen to the full versions that was included on the original album. The other 2 bonus tracks are more worthy additions and great to see here. “Run With The Fox” is a really great song that I have always loved, and it has that Christmas spirit and feel about it. This song was done by both Chris Squire & Allan White and released as a single in the UK back in 1981.

It was recorded just after their collaboration with Jimmy Page to which they was working on putting a new band together with him called XYZ. It was a project that they knew would not take off, so both Squire & White knocked this song out instead. They also roped in former King Crimson member Peter Sinfield to help out with the lyrics, and this song is credited to all 3 of them.

The other bonus track “Return of the Fox” was the original B-Side and is an instrumental version of the A-Side. I quite like this version as well, especially the lead synth work that plays the vocal line which incidentally was played by Alan White who played the piano and keyboards on these tracks besides the drums. Both of these tracks also feature the boys of St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir and orchestration by Andrew Pryce Jackman.

DVD 1.
SS 1

The DVD loads up and the album cover picture on the left hand side zooms in and out. The same goes for the picture on the 2nd DVD too. This first DVD contains the 5.1 Surround Mixes and Stereo Mixes and they are all in a high quality sound format of 96/24.

The DVD’s main menu presents you with 2 options and the first one contains the 5.1 Mixes of the new album mix by Jakko Jakszyk. The second option contains the original album mix in stereo only. Personally I would of loved a 5.1 mix of both the new mixed album and the original album. But I suppose you cannot have everything. By clicking on the first option it presents you with the following screen.

SS 2

This menu gives you 3 options, “Play Album”. Track Select”. “Audio Select” and the back button is to return to the previous menu. Both the Surround Mixes and the Stereo Mix are of the 5 original album tracks only, and there are no bonus tracks on the DVD. By clicking on “Audio Select” it presents you with the following screen.

SS 2 BHere you can select your preferred audio choice.  By default it’s set to the 96/24 Stereo LPCM Mix. My preferred choice is the DTS 96/24 5.1 Surround Mix. The 3rd choice is the Dolby Digital Surround Mix. As the music plays it presents you with the picture of the front album cover, just like the one on the previous screen shot but without writing on and just the name of the song title of the track that’s playing.

The 5.1 Mix.

Jakko Jakszyk’s 5.1 mix is quite subtle and with most of his mixes I do not personally think they have Stephen Wilson’s qualities in this field of mixing 5.1. But never the less he’s paid good attention to the placement of the instrumentation and not taken too much away from the stereo field in the front speakers to place in the rear, so that the album does not lose the way it originally sounded.

I quite like how he’s utilised the placement of the backing vocals and placed them in the rear speakers. You get to hear more of the clarity in the mix for doing so. Other things gets panned nicely here and there too, and the orchestral sections sound very well detailed too. It’s perhaps not an album that you will benefit more in the dynamic department that a lot of recordings will benefit from a 5.1 mix. But overall it’s quite good but perhaps not that exciting in comparison to many real good 5.1 mixes done by other great more experienced sound engineers.

Personally I would have preferred him to have mixed the original album in 5.1 rather than his own new mix. This is simply because the new mix he done does contain things that was never on the original album in the first place. These of course are the muted sections that never got used on the original album, and not things he has recorded himself to put on here. But for me the whole idea of any 5.1 mix is that it will bring out things from an original recorded album that could never be heard before, and placing these now un-muted parts in the mix is gonna distract you in some ways from hearing a lot of the other parts one could never hear before.

I will always prefer an original mix anyway in relation to any new mix where people have altered things. I like the new mixes, but I think any sound engineer with half a brain would have the common sense and decency to do a 5.1 mix of the original recorded album from the multi-track master tapes, and use his new mix for the CD only. That way he is getting more less two credits instead of one if he’s done the job right. If your gonna be 5.1 sound engineer. Do the job properly and always put the original album first not second. If you want to do a 5.1 mix of your new mix, then make sure you do a 5.1 mix of the original album too.

DVD 2.
SS 3

The 2nd DVD features the bonus material. Most of this if not all of it is actually floating about on Youtube and I have seen before. But it’s still great to have it here too. All of this was also done back in 2006 when Chris Squire was working on the Deluxe Expanded Edition of the album that got released a year later in 2007. The 2 promo videos of “Hold Out Your Hand” and “You By My Side” were made back in the 70’s. I can actually remember both of them back then as well because they were included in the film of Yessongs that got shown in some of the cinema houses. I went along to the Odeon Queensway in Birmingham with a mate of my mine to see it, and it was a late night screening and the film did not start till midnight.

Just like Yessongs the picture quality was never that good, and this is very much old nostalgic footage more than anything else and is not of any real good quality. The other thing about these two bits of film, is that even though they present themselves to look as if it came from a live concert. They was in fact recorded in a studio and were only miming along and not playing live at all. Even the orchestra were paid to mime and it cost Squire around £3,000 for half an hour of their time to do so.

The next bonus feature is a 42 minute interview with Chris Squire to which was conducted by Jon Kirkman back in 2006. This I have seen before a few years ago now and it might of been Classic Rock’s website rather than Youtube if I remember rightly.  I am not sure if it’s still on Youtube. But this is really much more interesting and here they discuss the making of the 1975 album. I was glad to have this, because you will get a more information about the album from this, that you will not find in the book that comes with this box set. It’s especially useful to someone like myself to do my review here.

The final bonus feature I have seen on Youtube awhile back now and this is not Audio Commentary at all like its suggested in the way they have titled it here on the DVD. This is perhaps something they would call more so today as a “Vinyl Drop” and you get to see Chris Squire with your own eyes talking about the album as he plays the whole album to you. So this is not like watching a movie and pressing a button so you can hear the actors talking about it in the background and you cannot see them. That is very much is what’s known as “Audio Commentary” and not what we have here. It’s another great bonus feature and runs for around 53 minutes.

Musicians & Credits…

Written. Arranged & Produced by Chris Squire. Recorded in Virginia Waters Surrey and Morgan Studios London between spring and Summer 1975. Sound Engineer Gregg Jackman. Assistant Sound Engineer Nigel Luby. Mastering by Trevor Spencer & Graham Preskett. Album Cover Design & Photography by Laurence Bernes. Front Cover Photo by Brian Lane. New 2018 Mixes & 5.1 Mix by Jakko Jakszyk. 2018 Remastering by Paschal Byrne. Lyrical ideas from Peter Sinfield. DVD Authoring by Ray Shulman at iSonic.


Chris Squire: Lead & Backing Vocals/Basses/12 String & Electric Guitars.
Andrew Pryce Jackman: Acoustic & Electric Pianos/Orchestration/Conductor.
Bill Bruford: Drums & Percussion.
Patrick Moraz: Organ & Bass Synthesiser.
Mel Collins: Saxophones.
Jimmy Hastings: Flute.
Barry Rose: Pipe Organ. (Track 1)
Nikki Squire: Backing Vocals. (Track 1)
Julian Gaillard: String Leader.
John Wilbraham: Brass Leader.
Jim Buck: Horns Leader.
Adrian Bett: Woodwinds Leader.

The Album In Review…

The original album Fish Out Of Water by Chris Squire was released on the 7th November 1975. The album contained 5 tracks over a total playing time of 42 minutes, 34 seconds. It was also quite well received by the critics upon its release and reached number 25 in the UK album charts.  It was towards the end of 1974 that the band Yes had finished off their live tour that promoted their 1974 album Relayer. After the tour the band thought it would be a good time to take a break and work on their own solo album projects. I have to confess I was a massive fan of Yes around this time and I personally felt it was a bad idea.

Though in all honesty looking back on it now, it was perhaps understandable why they took a break, especially having just made an album that was so far into the future, just where on earth do you go from there to be able to continue. Being the Yes fan I was back then I brought all 5 albums of the individual members of the band, as they came out. Steve Howe’s solo debut album Beginnings was the first to materialise a month before this album of Squire’s. It was not until mid 1976 that the other 3 members solo debut albums appeared. To be honest I liked them all. But I always felt Chris Squire’s Fish Out Of Water was the best of them.

I am pretty sure Jon Anderson’s solo debut album Olias Of Sunhillow was the last one to be released, and his was perhaps the most Yes like album of them all. Though that was perhaps more to be expected because of his voice. Allan White’s debut album Ramshackled was perhaps the furthest away you could get away from Yes music. But it did have one song on it that was Yes like to which featured Anderson on vocals and Howe on guitar, which was “Spring-Song Of Innocence“. And Patrick Moraz”s debut album The Story Of It was perhaps a continuation of the futuristic music that he did with Yes on Relayer. Though he did also throw in some Brazilian percussion and even the jungle :)))). He even threw in the odd pop song, but it was a very exciting album. Oddly enough I am pretty sure that Chris Squire’s Fish Out Of Water was the only album out of all of the 5 members of Yes that never had the Yes Logo stamped on it.

Chris Squire set to work on his studio album in the spring of 1975 and had it completed a few months later in the summer of the same year. Having already brought a new house, well mansion :)))) in the previous year and set up his own personal studio in the basement, which was also were Yes had recorded the album Relayer. Squire’s home would also be the perfect place to record his new album. Though he did also do some recording for it at Morgan Studios as well.

In most interviews you seen of Chris Squire he always tended to look back on his past and his choir boy days. One of his closest friends Andrew Pryce Jackman from those days was also in the same choir. The both had been friends since they was about 5 years old, and both were also in the band the Syn which was active between the years 1965 – 1967. It was Jackman who also suggested to Squire that he should take up the bass guitar. Jackman was a keyboard player but Squire took note of how he was also a great arranger. Jackman had also learnt to read and write music on a musical manuscript and he could hum the tune and write it down without even having an instrument in his hands. He was more or less a classical arranger and this impressed Squire enough to bring in his close friend to help out on his new album.

Chris Squire even offered Jackman writing credits for his work on the album Fish Out Of Water and honestly thought he had contributed the most to the songs on it. But Jackman refused to take any credit for it at all. Another old friend Squire brought in to help him out from his days of being in a choir with Jackman. Was the cathedral organist and Choirmaster Barry Rose. Rose was also in the same St Andrews Choir and he went on from their to be the Choirmaster at St Paul’s cathedral where they all played their first real gig as choir boys. Rose was one of Squire’s first real influences.

The other musicians Squire brought in was two previous members of Yes. Bill Bruford who had quit Yes to join King Crimson back in 1972. And Patrick Moraz who only not long decided to quit Yes and start a new solo career. He also brought in King Crimson’s Saxophonist Mel Collins and Caravan’s Jimmy Hastings to play a bit of flute.

The Album Tracks In Review…

Most reviews of Chris Squire’s album Fish Out Of Water tend to point as it being likened to a Yes album. I beg to differ and even though it may contain a few bass lines that was used on the Yes track “Close To The Edge” it sounds nothing like a Yes album. Unless you was to go back to their 2nd album Time And A Word which perhaps had familiarities with it having an orchestra.

But that early album of Yes as good as it maybe is not exactly what I would call Yes Music like the change we had when Steve Howe first joined the band. That was the first real change in a new musical direction and this album of Squire’s contains more of a jazz and pop influence on that score.

Fish Out Of Water is not a guitar album and is more focused around the bass guitar to which no doubt Chris Squire was a truly great bass guitarist and one of the very best. Besides his bass playing he has such a great voice to even be a lead vocalist, and this is where he wins over on this album as well in relation to some of the other members of Yes such as Steve Howe for example who is not the best of singers :)))))). So let’s now delve a bit deeper into the album as I take you through each track.

Track 1. Hold Out Your Hand.

A song that perhaps has a pop approach about it in the way that it flows and perhaps more so with the melody of the vocal line and the way Chris Squire projects his fine voice on the song. It very much opens up with the pipe organ which was played by Barry Rose and recorded not long after midnight on the church organ in St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Immediately after the opening bar or two on the pipe organ enters Squire’s bass guitar which is a very dominant feature throughout the whole album. Squire’s bass works like a lead guitar sculpturing some truly superb bass lines that weave their way along immaculately. His bass guitar not only speaks with authority but it sings certainly as good as his voice that next comes into play.

I have to confess I have no idea what the lyrics are trying to put across or convey on this song. I know he did seek out some ideas for the lyrics from former King Crimson’s lyric writer Peter Sinfield but these are more like the lyrics Jon Anderson would write more than anything else. They perhaps pertain to more of a symbolic meaning in the way they have been writ. No doubt many will have their own interpretations of what these lyrics are all about, and my own interpretation is that they pertain to perhaps waking up to a lovely day, being thankful and appreciating everything around you, and good things will come to you.

I am sure there may be a lot more to them than what I have described here, but in all honesty these lyrics are far out, and are no way the type of lyrics one would write for a pop song :)))))). Chris Squire’s wife Nikki also backs him up on the chorus and it’s great to hear Squire playing around Bill Bruford’s drums again, no doubt Bruford’s work on this album is also immaculate. The song has a great change around the 2:30 mark with some excellent lead work on the bass, followed by a great little keyboard solo on the pipe organ.

Then at the 3:50 mark we get to hear the small chamber orchestra conducted by Andrew Pryce Jackman for the first time which brings in the ending to the song and leads it nicely into the next track that immediately follows it. No matter how bizarre the lyrical content is on this song “Hold Out Your Hand” is a very strong song on the album, it’s the shortest song on the album, but certainly a very strong contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. You By My Side.

You By My Side” is slightly longer than the opening track and no doubt this perhaps is even more of a pop song than the album’s opener too. The lyrical content is much more easier to understand and this is a love song that Squire wrote for his wife. The song features Andrew Pryce Jackman on the piano and was most likely written around the piano on that score. I love how it all comes down for the break in the middle section which features Jimmy Hastings on the flute and it’s got a lovely melancholy feel about it. No doubt Squire’s choir practice certainly came in handy and too fruition on the vocal harmonies he does along this section too.

It’s perhaps the least favourable song on the album for many I have seen over the years in reviews of the album, but personally I cannot fault it and its a lovely song. I love how the orchestra rounds it all off too at the end, and the one hit on the tubular bell that brings it to a close and leads it into the next track.

Track 3, Silently Falling.

The final song on side 1 of the original vinyl album and the whole of side one of the album sort of runs like a concept album with how all the tracks on this particular side run into each other. Though it’s not a concept at all. “Silently Falling” is my personal favourite track on the album and merits the top spot award. It’s opening is played by the woodwind section of the orchestra. It’s a most beautiful section that utilises the oboe and flute and reminds me a lot of the orchestration that was used on Elton John’s 1971 soundtrack album Friends.

It’s a song that has a terrific build up and is quite powerful. Squire’s bass work is once again superb throughout and he even plays some fine rhythm work on the electric guitar on this track. It has great vocal sections and one massive break that starts around the 3:04 mark. Once again Andrew Pryce Jackman is on the piano and Patrick Moraz does a superb lead job on the Hammond Organ that comes into play around the 3:58 mark. It all comes down to a stop at the 6:28 mark and 2 seconds later the piano and orchestration bring it back into play for the next vocal section and I love the change that comes in at the 7:25 mark for the final section of the song to drive it’s way home.

The string section of the orchestra features in this final section and it gradually builds up to another crescendo before it starts it’s fade out and Bruford’s drums hit hard and drive it very well home. It’s the 2nd longest track on the album and a really great track. I am sure for many this will also be their favourite track, although the final track on the album is also a massive contender.

Track 4. Lucky Seven.

This is one that was most likely inspired by the jazzy flavour of Bill Bruford’s drums. They do feature superbly on this song and “Lucky Seven” does have that element of jazz fusion about it, though it’s also got more of a mellow soul element about it as well. I can see why Atlantic would of put out an edited out shorter version of it as a single. It’s a very strong well written song that has a great hook and groove about it all.

The lyrics for the song are by far the best on the whole of the album, and they have been very cleverly written in the form of some really great poetry. “Lucky Seven” could be seen in the pretence to be about gambling or rather taking a gamble and edging your bets so to speak. But effectively it’s about a night on the town and going to a nightclub to see what bird you could pull :))))). The whole musical vibe of the song captures that scene perfectly. Besides the great work by Squire & Bruford the song features Andrew Pryce Jackman on the electric piano and some excellent sax playing from Mel Collins. I really love this song and it just as to be another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 5. Safe (Cannon Song).

The final track on the album is the longest track weighing in at some 15 minutes and 5 seconds. Musically the introduction with the piano and orchestra has that dreamy ocean sea voyage about it all. As it all builds its way along it soon starts to settle out into more of a structured song for the verse sections.

Once again Squire plays both bass and guitar on this track, and it also contains quite a few overdubs on the bass. The bass plays a very dominant role throughout the piece, and this is also the track where the orchestra is also most dominantly utilised more heavily. In some respects the orchestration contains the power that you might find on the Rick Wakeman album The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table being a perfect example.

It’s also said that Squire used some bass lines that he played on “Close To The Edge” by Yes though it’s perhaps hard to really spot them. But his bass work on this track is superb and speaking of Rick Wakeman. I absoloutly love Chris Squire’s bass work on the whole of the 1st side on his 1977 album Criminal Records. Squire only played bass to the first side of that album, but it’s every inch as good as this if not better.

Once again the lyrics are quite good on this song and they pertain to keeping ones family safe from harm no matter what storms are thrown at them. I suppose the (Cannon Song) bit in the title pertains to the strength of it all, and this is very much like being on a sea vessel on the ocean fighting a battle and a very dramatic one.

It really is another fantastic track and for some this will be their favourite track on the album too. The ending can be a bit repetitive in the way it does tend to repeat itself but it’s strength and build outweighs that side of things and carries it all. It’s certainly my second favourite track on the album and is a very high contender for the top spot on the album and brings the album to a close superbly.


To sum up the album Fish Out Of Water by Chris Squire I personally think it’s a solid album and the best album he ever made outside of Yes. It’s his only solo album in reality that he did write, and it’s a shame he never got to make more of them. His only other solo album Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir he did in 2007 is a milestone away from this album and is merely a collection of traditional Christmas songs. I quite like the albums he done with both Billy Sherwood in 2003 and Steve Hackett in 2012. But once again they do not have the strength this album has to offer, and this album is a classic in comparison to those.

Fish Out Of Water if anything is a Chris Squire album that displays the best side of himself. It does not claim to be a Yes album and is nothing like a Yes album on that score. It displays and says everything about how a solo artist should go about making a solo album and it shows just how well he can do so without being tied to a band in wanting to sound like the band he was in. To put it in a nutshell this an album that perhaps shows that Chris Squire could of easily functioned as a solo artist and even had a comfortable enough solo career if he put his mind to it.

The album does have quite a bit of variety along the way, but the production helps blend  all the tracks together remarkably well and makes it all work together. No doubt the music contains the diversity that one will find in a progressive rock album, but it also contains some pop, folk, classical attributes and jazz elements that also make the album work so very well.

There is also no doubt Andrew Pryce Jackman played a massive part on this album, and just as much as he would not take any credit for his work on this album. These are his musical arrangements and not Chris Squire’s. He even contributed to some of the writing too without a doubt. I personally feel that this album could not have been achieved without his close friend. Both Andrew Pryce Jackman and Chris Squire will no doubt be sadly missed.


I am going to conclude my review around this particular 2018 new Deluxe Edition box set release by Esoteric Recordings. There is no doubt that this is quality package that’s perhaps worthy of it’s price point of £70. But as with any box set that is made up of one album, does one really need the vinyl album, the CD and the DVD that comes with it saying exactly the same thing more or less.

People should be given a choice of what format it comes in, and the items in this box set should be made available and sold individually apart from say the book you get with it. The box set in reality should offer you the chance to buy all the individual items in one go at a cheaper price, for those who want all of them. Esoteric Recordings are far from the only company doing things this way and some other record companies are charging even twice the price of a box set like this for the same deal.

The biggest incentive for me and many others in this box set will be the 5.1 release of the album. By not offering that side of things to the artists fans in an individual package is very much the wrong thing to do, and goes to show just how greedy record companies like this can really be.

They are treating the artists fans like a piece of shit and quite frankly I would not blame anybody for refusing to buy a box set like this. I myself was considering cancelling my order on many occasions and even the on the day before its release before Amazon had took my money, I was humming and harring as to whether to cancel it. In the end I never and apart from the 2 DVD’s the rest of this box set to me will just be something to look good on display.

Forward Motion, Life Promotion To Reverse Is To Repeat…

The 2 CD track listing is as follows:

CD 1. (2018 New Mixes)
01. Hold Out Your Hand. 4:15.
02. You By My Side. 5:01
03. Silently Falling. 11:21.
04. Lucky Seven. 6:56.
05. Safe (Canon Song). 15:01

CD 2. (2018 Remasters)
01. Hold Out Your Hand. 4:16.
02. You By My Side. 5:02.
03. Silently Falling. 11:57.
04. Lucky Seven. 6:56.
05. Safe (Canon Song). 15:05.
06. Lucky Seven (single mix). 3:29.
07. Silently Falling (single version). 2:59.
08. Run With the Fox. 4:11.
09. Return of the Fox. 4:02.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 7/10.

Lee’s 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 7/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #76

A Can Of Worms – Parallel Or Ninety Degrees



Well for those who read my review of Not As Good As The Book by The Tangent I posted last month, you may have noticed that I mentioned the name of this band Andy Tillison was in prior to forming The Tangent to which that band was merged together by some of the members of Parallel Or Ninety Degrees and The Flower Kings.

You may have also noticed that I did mention that I had never heard anything by Tillison’s previous band and I was thinking of getting this 2 CD compilation of the band that was released back in 2009.

I have to admit it’s very rarely I will buy a compilation album of any artist and prefer original albums. But the one thing I did notice when looking at the discography of Parallel Or Ninety Degrees is that there was more chance of a dead cat crossing the road than getting your hands on most of their albums.

So for me this compilation 2 CD Set which also contains unreleased material from 2002 of the band, very much seemed the way to go. But it was also the unreleased material on this particular compilation album, and the fact that it contained an unreleased track of the original version of “Four Egos, One War” that did make me want to get this particular compilation album.

Plus the fact that being as most of their albums was no longer available and out of print, it would give me the chance to listen to a lot of their earlier material that came off those albums back in the 90’s before The Tangent were born so to speak.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The 2 CD’s are housed in a double CD plastic Jewel Case that comes with an inged flap that holds both the CD’s firmly on both sides of it. It also comes with an 8 page booklet that is very informative in that it gives you a good insight of how the band was put together and how The Tangent came off the back end of it. It also contains all your usual linear production notes and I have to say the booklet makes a very interesting and quite funny read.

The Artwork.

The front cover was done by MBL Graphics and is a noodled photograph of the band and displays some of the bands album covers. It’s perhaps not as interesting or as funny as the photograph on the back of the booklet which was taken by Antonio de Sarno from Nobody’s Land. The funny side about this particular photo, is that the band are sitting on the steps outside Abbey Road Studios and they never even recorded an album there :))))).

The Compilation Album In Review…

The double compilation album A Can Of Worms by Parallel Or Ninety Degrees was released on the 27th January 2009. The very reason Andy Tillison decided to release this compilation album was down to the fact that most of the bands albums were out of print and hard to get your hands on.

The story behind the band Parallel Or Ninety Degrees how Tillison describes it in the booklet is really funny and the band were originally signed to a small record company known as Cyclops Records. I am pretty sure Robert Reed’s band Cyan were also signed to the same record company before they changed their name to Magenta. Both Parallel Or Ninety Degrees & Cyan never even dented the market when it came to record sales, and hardly anybody at all knew them at all.

Both bands became more successful when they put together and formed the name of the bands they now play in today The Tangent & Magenta and they both were signed up to Inside Out Music around the same time back in the early 2000’s. The very fact that both The Tangent & Magenta were now more known, caused a mad rush all of a sudden for their fans to buy all their earlier albums from Cyclops Records that they made in their previous bands, and that’s why Parallel Or Ninety Degrees & Cyan albums soon were hard to get hold of and went out of print.

As a matter of fact even this compilation album A Can Of Worms that was released in 2009 is not that easy to get hold of at a reasonable price. And most sellers on Amazon are charging over £20 for it. I managed to snap it up on ebay for £7.99. I cannot remember if it was sold as new or second hand. But it’s in mint condition and looks as good as new and it arrived all the way from Guernsey in a couple of days.

Both of the CD’s that come with A Can Of Worms are packed to the hilt and rammed with various tracks from their earlier albums from 1996 – 2001 and it also contains a few unreleased tracks from 2002 as well. There is barely any seconds of space left on both discs, and the recording space as been used to the maximum.

CD 1.
The 1st disc contains 9 tracks and comes with an overall playing time of 79 minutes, 40 seconds. The material has been placed in no particular order regarding the chronological order of the years the albums were released that the songs originally appeared on, and the material ranges from the years of 1996 – 2002 and includes 1 previously unreleased track on this 1st disc.

CD 2.
The 2nd disc contains 6 tracks and comes with an overall playing time of 79 minutes, 35 seconds. The material here ranges from the years 1997 – 2002 and 3 of its tracks are previously unreleased.

No doubt Andy Tillison had opened another can of worms when he released this compilation album in 2009. He also got the band back together in the same year to make a new album that was also released in the same year.

Over the years Parallel Or Ninety Degrees were together, just like the band The Tangent they had several line-up changes. Andy Tillison was also the main writer of the both bands material.

Musicians & Credits…


Compiled and remastered by Andy Tillison Diskdrive 2008. Artwork by MBL Graphics. Photography by Antonio de Sarno. An MBL Production for Progjam Management and Progrock Records.


Andy Tillison: Keyboards/Vocals/Guitars/Occasional Drums.
Sam Baine: Keyboards.
Graham Young: Guitar (Disc 2. Track 1.)
Lee Duncan: Drums (Disc 1. Tracks 2,6. Disc 2. Tracks 1,6)
Jonathan Barrett: Bass (Disc 1. Tracks 2,6. Disc 2. Tracks 1,6)
Gareth Harwood: Guitar (Disc 1. Tracks 2,3,6,8, Disc 2. Track 6. Lead vocals (Disc 1. Track 6)
Guy Manning: Acoustic Guitar (Disc 1. Track 2) Vocals (Disc 1. Tracks 4,6) Electric Guitar (Disc 1. Track 4)
Alex King: Drums (Disc 1. Tracks 1,3,7,8,9. Disc 2. Tracks 2,3,4,5)
Ken Senior: Bass (Disc 1. Tracks 1,3,7,8,9. Disc 2. Tracks 2,3,4,5)
Dan Watts: Guitars & Devices (Disc 1. Tracks 1,7,9. Disc 2. Tracks 2,3,4,5)
Roine Stolt: Guitar/Vocals (Disc 1. Track 7)

The Album Tracks In Review…

As many may know back in 2002 some of the band members from Parallel Or Ninety Degrees merged with some of the band members from The Flower Kings to make up the band The Tangent. It was during this process that Parallel Or Ninety Degrees were working on a new album that was to be titled A Kick In The Teeth For Civic Pride.

But due to some of the band members new commitment to their new band The Tangent the album was never completed and got shelved. The 3 unreleased tracks that are on the 2nd disc of this compilation album were the tracks they had written for that album back in 2002.

The first thing I noticed when I stuck A can Of Worms on is that it’s a very punchy mix. To be honest I do not think I have came across a mix like this anywhere and in parts some of the instruments really kick you in the teeth and are quite powerful. I think the only time I ever heard anything like this before was back in 1990 when I brought Mike Oldfield’s album AmaRok.

That was an album that Oldfield had purposely whacked up the volume levels after about 10 minutes to annoy his manager at the time Richard Branson who he had fell out with at that time too. He knew Branson listened to his albums with headphones at quite a loud level. AmaRok was an album that Oldfield wanted released on a new record label and not on Virgin Records. But because he was still contracted to Virgin Records to make one more album, he thought he would get his own back on Branson.

In some ways some of the instruments on some of the tracks on A Can Of Worms do accentuate at louder volume levels and to be honest it works pretty well for it as well. So let’s delve a bit deeper into the individual tracks on the both discs that come with this compilation album.

CD 1.

Track 1. A Man Of Thin Air.

The opening track on the album comes from the bands 2001 album More Exotic Ways To Die. The song was penned by Andy Tillison & Dan Watts. The line up consisted of Andy Tillison on vocals and keyboards. Dan Watts guitars. Ken Senior bass and Alex King on drums.

The back line of the bass and drums are very punchy on this one and it also sounds like it was recorded in a cardboard box for some reason, though I do like the spring like sound of the bass guitar.

The drive on the guitars and keyboards is where the volume tends to accentuate louder, some parts in short spasm bursts. Other parts where the band raise the game are quite deafening and powerful, but the recording does tend to be a bit on the saturated side of things.

It’s perhaps more of a rocker of a song rather than anything I would associate with prog rock on that score, and Dan Watts does the business on the lead guitar towards the end of the song. Lyrically there is not a lot about it, and the lyrics are straight forward. It’s not a bad song but I would not go crazy about it.

Track 2. The Single.

Bit of a strange name for a title, and if the band were considering releasing it as a single I very much doubt that it would of made a scratch never mind a dent in the charts :)))))). The song was penned by Tillison and comes from the bands 1998 album The Time Capsule and features Andy Tillison on vocals & keyboards. Sam Baine on keyboards. Gareth Harwood on guitars. Guy Manning on acoustic guitar. Jonathan Bennett on bass and Lee Duncan on drums.

The way the song as been cross faded in from the previous track, you would perhaps think it came from the same album as the first track on the album. But I guess Tillison did it to save disc space so he could get as many tracks on the both CD’s as he possibly could.

Lyrically it’s perhaps another one of his protest songs and he’s having a cynical stab at the BBC and Cable news media about what’s put on it. It’s pretty hard to capture all the lyrics on this recording, and I cannot seem to locate the lyrics anywhere on the internet either for me to decipher them that well.

But it perhaps pertains to how the media have their moments blurting out fake news and how Tillison can perhaps have his moments and speak more truth with an ancient computer, a CDR and a cheap guitar :)))))). I could be totally wrong but I would need the lyrics to get the real gist of what he’s trying to portray here.

Overall it’s not a bad song and perhaps contains a bit more diversity than the opening track. Features some fine work on the keyboards and I suppose he gets to the point with whatever he’s trying to convey.

Track 3. Unbranded.

Another one of the many songs penned by Tillison and this one is the self titled album track from the 1999 album of the same name. It features the same band line-up as the previous track except that Alex King replaced Lee Duncan on the drums and Guy Manning is not on this track.

This one’s more of a longer track too than the first couple of tracks and it perhaps has more of prog rock feel about it. To be honest the laid back way Tillison sings this one it sort of reminds me a bit of Roine Stolt. The lyrical content is based around how kids and younger people tend to want clothes with a brand name, rather than some cheap crap from Taiwan :))))).

I do not know if it’s true, but apparently he got the inspiration from a conversation he had with Roger Waters who he met by chance on an aeroplane. But in all honesty he could of got the same inspiration from Water’s solo album Amused To Death he done back in 1992. “Unbranded” is one of the better tracks on the album and is a contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 4. Modern.

This track comes from another 1999 album entitled No More Travelling Chess and the only two musicians who are on it are Andy Tillison on lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums and Guy Manning on guitar, keyboards, backing vocals. The song itself was written by Peter Hammill of the band Van der Graaf Generator and the whole album was done in tribute to that band.

According to what I have read most of the material on the album No More Travelling Chess was done originally back in 1991 whilst they went under the name of Gold Frankincense & Disk Drive. They released the album on a cassette a year later in 1992. Both Tillison & Manning were nuts on the band and I guess that’s why he decided to re-release it in 1999.

I have to confess that Van der Graaf Generator was a band I could never get into, and anybody who says they was progressive rock wants locking up in a loony bin :)))))). They was very much more Avant-Garde than anything and no doubt Peter Hammill could play and sing, but half the time he just made a racket for my ears.

Modern” is very much my contender for the worst track on this whole album, it quite easily wins it too and sounds bloody dreadful :)))))))). Not even these guys can rescue this one I am afraid, and I am pretty sure you will find something better that’s been thrown in a garbage can :))))).

Track 5. The Media Pirates.

This track was originally on the 1996 album The Corner Of My Room. It’s thought to be the bands debut album and even though they had written other albums before it that were only ever released on Cassettes and CDR’s. This album only really surfaced as an official release when Cyclops Records signed them up in 1998. 

Once again the album this song came off only featured 2 musicians Andy Tillison on vocals, Hammond, keyboards, guitar, electronic drums, and his partner back then Sam Baine on piano, keyboards, electronic rhythm guitar.

According to what I have read up from reviews for the album The Corner Of My Room it was another album that was heavily influenced by Van der Graaf Generator. It’s even said to have some influences from the band the Nice too.

This particular track from that album was penned by Tillison and sounds a bit like a cross between the Nice and Jethro Tull. Once again there is great diversity and chord progression and it’s not that bad, though I would rave about it.

Track 6. Promises Of Life.

The “Promises Of Life” is another song that was originally from the album The Time Capsule and written by Tillison. It’s quite a nice laid back number this one and features some fine acoustic guitar from Gareth Harwood and a rather tasty job by Jonathan Bennett on the bass. It sort of sinks into the sunset with use of the effects and percussion at the end too. It’s another contender for the top spot on the album and I quite like this one.

Track 7. Blues For Lear.

Blues For Lear” was also originally from the 1998 album The Time Capsule only this version is an unreleased version of the song that Andy Tillison had writ for that album. This version was re-recorded in 2002 and it was recorded whilst both Tillison and Stolt got together and were working on putting The Tangent together. It was also intended to be used for The Tangents debut album but got left off in the end. 

This for me is certainly better produced and more precisely played. It features Roine Stolt on lead vocals and guitar. Andy Tillison on keyboards, and lead vocals. Sam Baine keyboards. Dan Watts on lead guitar. Ken Senior on bass and Alex king on Drums. To be honest even though I have never heard the original version, even if I was to get the album The Time Capsule. I really do not think it would sound as good as this version.

No doubt “Blues For Lear” is an excellent track and one of the high contenders for the top spot on the album.

Track 8. Space Junk.

Another track written by Tillison as most are and it’s another track from the 1999 album Unbranded. “Space Junk” is a real flyer of a track and is perhaps more like The Tangent in relation to the some of the other material on this album. No doubt this another high contender for the top spot on the album.

It’s got some great pounding drums and percussion, some well tasty keyboard work and the bass guitar even does the business. No doubt the songs are certainly picking up towards the end of this first disc and this one even explodes with the action you get here.

Track. 9. Petroleum Addicts.

The final track on the 1st disc is the longest track on the this disc and weighs in at some 16 minutes and 42 seconds. It’s another track that was originally from the 2001 album More Exotic Ways To Die and was credited to Andy TillisonSam Baine.

Although “Petroleum Addicts” is in fact only 11 minutes, 2 seconds long but still the longest track. You then get a 25 second gap of nothing, then a secret track which starts to play for the remaining time to which is a live recording of another song that may have come from the same album. It does not mention it in the booklet, and I cannot find any reference to it on the internet.

Petroleum Addicts” is another great track and it has a great come down section in it as well. The live track is not too bad either, and it rounds off the first disc very well.

CD 2.

Track 1. Afterlife Sequence (Including Dead On A Car Park Floor)

The 2nd disc starts off with the only track that is featured on the compilation album that comes from their 1997 album Afterlifecycle. Though this in the longest track on the entire double album and it’s near enough 28 minutes long and takes in most of the Suite that runs into various other sections that was on that album. This album must obviously be a concept album.

This is perhaps one of the bands better albums, and if it’s all like this it’s got to be worth sorting after I feel. Though this is a remastered version of the piece, and might sound better on that score. But if it was remastered and re-released, I would certainly add it to my collection.

This epic journey goes through several transitional changes and shows the band at what they do the best with the diversity and progression along its path. It features Andy Tillison on keyboards, guitar, electronic percussion, vocals. Sam Baine on keyboards, guitar, vocals. Graham Young on guitar. Jonathan Bennett on bass and Lee Duncan on drums. It’s another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. Embalmed in Acid.

Another track from the 2001 album More Exotic Ways To Die and by its title you can tell :))))). It’s quite another fine track that does have that Tangent feel about it, and along with “Petroleum Addicts” I pretty much think both of those tracks are the best out 3 that are from that 2001 album.

Track 3. Four Egos One War.

The first of the 3 unreleased tracks that was intended for the 2002 album A Kick In The Teeth For Civic Pride that was never released. This track is the reason I brought this album for in the first place and a newer version of it was recorded and put on the limited edition of The Tangents 1978 album Not As Good As The Book that I just recently brought and reviewed.

To be honest I do not see how Andy Tillison hung on to this song for so long without releasing it. I thought it was a superb track on Not As Good As The Book and even though this features a different band line-up it’s still very much a stand out track and almost identical to the way that The Tangent played it.

All of these 3 unreleased tracks feature Andy Tillison on vocals, keyboards, guitar, and percussion. Sam Baine on keyboards. Dan Watts on guitar and Alex King on drums.

This is my personal favourite track on this album and it merits my top album spot award. Even this band do the dogs bollox on the track and it’s got to be the best prog rock track on the album.

Track 4. Fadge, Pt. 1.

Well I guess the band never got around to making a part 2 and again this is another unreleased track from the abandoned album A Kick In The Teeth For Civic Pride. It’s the only song also that was not written entirely by Tillison out of the 6 tracks on this 2nd disc. It’s another song Tillison he co-wrote with Dan Watts.

It’s also the shortest track on the entire double album at 3 and half minutes and has quite a driving force behind it and totally rocks. Not a bad cuppa tea at all I must say.

Track 5. A Kick in the Teeth.

The self titled track from the abandoned album that never seen the light of day till 2009 on this album. It’s a track that starts off quite smoothly and then unleashes it’s power and kicks you in the teeth. Another great track that would not gone a miss on a Tangent album I feel.

Track 6. Unforgiving Skies.

The album finishes off with another track from The Time Capsule album released back in 1998. Once again this features some nice acoustic guitar from Gareth Harwood and the song builds up very well and a lot more power gets injected into it as it transgresses along. It’s also another one of those tracks that claims to be 16 minutes long even though the original song was only just over 9 minutes long.

My guess is that is also includes the track that followed it on the original album which was most likely an instrumental track entitled “The Sea” unless somehow Tillison extended this version here. Once again there is nothing about it in the booklet, and it’s another fine piece of work that puts the album to bed very well indeed.


Over all the album A Can Of Worms by Parallel Or Ninety Degrees gives you a good enough incite as to what this particular band were all about, and as a compilation album it works really well. In my opinion if you have not heard this band before, A Can Of Worms is perhaps the way to go about it. Listening to the double album it will certainly give you more of an idea of what was their better albums and the ones that never quite made the mark so to speak.

No doubt this is a band that had some fine moments and something to say, but they were perhaps not that consistent enough with every album they released. So they was a bit of an hit an miss on that score. There is no doubt there is quite a few Gems to be found within’ the discography of Parallel Or Ninety Degrees and there is a few on this compilation that may steer you towards wanting to investigate the band even more so.

For me personally I think apart from the unreleased material from 2002 you get here, to which is really good. I also think both the 1997 album Afterlifecycle and 1998 album The Time Capsule are worth investing more, and perhaps even trying to obtain if they can be found cheap enough.

It may also be a good idea for both Andy Tillison and Robert Reed to take a leaf out of Roine Stolt’s book by releasing the discography of Parallel Or Ninety Degrees and Cyan in a box set sold at a budget price like we got with the Flower Kings box set A Kingdom Of Colours. I am sure they would attract some interest if they did.


To conclude my review of the double compilation album A Can Of Worms by Parallel Or Ninety Degrees. I would say there is no doubt you’re perhaps getting your money’s worth with the abundance of material that has been crammed on to the both discs. I think it’s also certainly got more good points than bad with the written material here too. It’s not a solid album by an means and no doubt it contains some material that’s not even worth shouting about. But like I said there are some Gems here to be found.

You can certainly see how Andy Tillison‘s writing as improved over the years since he formed the Tangent. Though there is quite a few well written tracks that will very much remind you of the Tangent as well. So for any fan of The Tangent I personally feel that this 2 CD compilation is not really gonna disappoint.

If you can get it for the price of £7.99 that I paid for it, or even £10 – £12. I would say it’s well worthy of doing so. Though I would not personally pay silly money more for it. My personal highlights from the album are Four Egos One War“. Afterlife Sequence (Including Dead On A Car Park Floor)“. “Blues For Lear“. “Space Junk” and “Unbranded“.

Running Round In Circles From The Cradle To The Grave…

The 2 CD track listing is as follows:

CD 1.
01. A Man of Thin Air. 5:05.
02. The Single. 5:51
03. Unbranded. 8:33.
04. Modern. 6:31.
05. The Media Pirates. 10:12
06. Promises of Life. 7:41.
07. Blues for Lear. 8:29.
08. Space Junk. 10:32.
09. Petroleum Addicts. 16:46.

CD 2.
01. Afterlife Sequence. 27:46.
02. Embalmed in Acid. 5:44.
03. Four Egos One War. 19:57.
04. Fadge, Pt. 1. 3:31.
05. A Kick in the Teeth. 6:34.
06. Unforgiving Skies. 16:03.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 7/10.