Lee Speaks About Music… #138

Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live At The Royal Festival Hall – Steve Hackett



Another concert release which is nothing unusual these days to see from Steve Hackett though he does still continue to make his own solo studio albums. Speaking of which I did purchase his last 3 studio albums along with this new release this year and still have them to review though as I am behind with my reviews it will have to be in the new year when I get around to doing them.

This is actually the third in a series of Genesis Revisited Live concerts Hackett has released since he originally released a couple of studio albums in the same series that started back in 1996 with Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited. Though in reality you could also count his last couple of live releases The Total Experience Live in Liverpool and Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham simply because both of those concerts also feature material from his solo career as well as material from his formative band Genesis.

For many people having all of this live material could be like having too much of the same thing, but every concert is different and the difference we have with Live at the Royal Festival Hall is that the band is accompanied by an orchestra. But does the orchestra really make a major difference one might ask? In reality it should do and, in this review, I hope to unveil just how much of a difference it makes and to see if this concert is worthy of purchasing. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The 3 discs come in a cardboard well put together 4-panel DigiPak that has plastic trays to firmly hold the discs in place and it also has a handy pocket to store the booklet. The 12-page booklet consists mostly of pictures from the concert and contains no informative information but does contain all the production linear notes and credits. The cover design was done by Thomas Ewerhard with the use of photographs by Howard Rankin, Lee Millward and Mick Bannister.

The concert was released in 2 formats only which offered you the choice of either a 2 X CD & DVD or 2 X CD & Blu Ray package. Out of the 2 packages it is only the Blu Ray release that comes with extra bonus material and I myself purchased the 2 X CD & Blu Ray package from Amazon for £15.88 which was a very reasonable and respective price.

Live At The Festival Hall In Review…

Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall was released on the 25th October 2019 and captures Steve Hackett plus band and orchestra performing live at The Royal Festival Hall, London on the 4th October 2018. Speaking of his band it was not long after this concert and towards the end of the same month that the drummer Gary O’Tool announced his departure from the band to which he had been playing with for near enough the last 20 years. So, this could be the last Steve Hackett live release we get to see him on and that is sad news because he was not only a BRILLIANT! drummer but he also came with a GREAT! voice.

Since Steve Hackett decided to do a series of live concerts under the title of Genesis Revisited which kicked off at the Hammersmith Apollo in London back on the 10th May 2013. It has very much put him back in the limelight and he has certainly become more popular and once again able to play more bigger venues just like we seen when he took the band to The Royal Albert Hall later on in that same year on the 24th October 2013. Concert ticket prices to see him live have risen tremendously and gone are the days where you could see him live at smaller venues for the price of a Genesis tribute band such has The Watch and The Musical Box who also do quite an incredible job performing the Genesis back catalogue of songs.

No doubt it is not cheap to hire the bigger venues which does account for the higher ticket price and when you are dragging along a 41-piece orchestra as well as top class musicians it becomes even more of a gamble to make any money at all from putting on such a show. It can also go entirely wrong and end up costing you more money and leaving you out of pocket. But so far things have gone very well for him and I am glad to see he is doing well and still bringing good entertainment to his fans and even for those like myself who cannot afford the price of a ticket can still get to enjoy the show at home at a very respective and reasonable price point. Which is a lot more than I can say for Camel’s latest concert they have just released on Blu Ray and are charging £30 for it and it does not even come with any CD’s FFS :))))).


The one thing I can say about Steve Hackett is that he does give you genuine value for the buck and I only paid £30 from Amazon for the Deluxe Edition of Live At The Albert Hall and it comes with 2 CD’s, 2 DVD’s & 1 Blu Ray in a 11¼” x 11¼” 44 page art-book with liner notes, photos and bonus interview features. You can still buy it on Amazon for £33 so how on earth Camel can justify the price of £30 for 1 single Blu Ray in a standard plastic case is beyond belief and well overpriced.

The CD’s.

The concert has been split of over the 2 CD’s that come with the package however, it excludes all the talking in between the songs so you do not quite get the whole show here, but you do get all the songs that were played at the concert. The first CD contains 8 tracks and comes with an overall playing time of 53 minutes, 18 seconds. The second CD comes with 6 tracks and has an overall playing time of 61 minutes 6 seconds.

The Blu Ray.

The Blu Ray gives you more of the total experience and I always prefer to watch a show rather than just listen to it in audio only. Although no recording is ever gonna capture the genuine feel and atmosphere of a live concert, but it can in most cases let you see a lot more of the band than you would have done at the concert itself depending on your seating arrangement that is, especially if you are right at the back and the band on stage are smaller than action men figures. I actually prefer to watch football on the TV rather than waste my money watching it live where you simply have not got a chance of seeing everything that is happening on the pitch.

To be perfectly honest I am really disappointed with many of the new neo prog bands these days who are under the impression that they have to whack everything up loud so that they can get a decent recording of the concert. Having seen both Transatlantic and Frost* live I can honestly say I would not waste my money on travelling to see them again never mind wasting my money on the price of the concert ticket. Those live shows were completely dreadful and amongst the worst concert experience I have ever had the misfortune of witnessing. Bands in my local pub sounded way better than those idiots and their sound engineers were total idiots to even think that in the first place. Have they never heard of a recording level meter or know how to use one FFS!

All concerts are loud but there is no need to play the levels of Wembley Stadium in the small venues they played at. I did see Gryphon play the same venue that Frost* played at the Robin 2 twice and they sounded awesome. I even seen The Watch at the same venue and they sounded GREAT! too. Transatlantic’s Whirlwind Tour at the Shepherds Bush Empire I seen them at never made the live DVD they put out sound any better for playing at those ridiculous levels. But least I could hear the concert finally on that DVD to which the sound was bouncing off all the walls in the venue making them all sound out of tune with each other at the concert itself. It was a complete waste of my money and completely spoilt my day. These days you might be better off with the DVD or Blu Ray if this is what they do live.

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The Blu Ray’s main menu presents you with a looping bit of HD video footage from the show and displays individual mirrored pictures of the band set to the backing music of “Shadow of the Hierophant” from the show. It also presents you with 5 options to choose from which are “Play Concert”. “Track Select”. “Audio Select”. “Documentary” and “Videos” and everything is easy to navigate and the picture looks nice and pristine being of Blu Ray quality. The Blu Ray authoring was done by Ray Schulman and he’s done a very neat and tidy job on the menus.

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I like the way how everything functions on the one screen and by clicking on any of the options it does not have to load another screen and simply displays it on the Blu Ray’s main menu in a drop-down menu as you can see from the picture above where I have clicked on “Track Select” and it simply displays all the tracks of the concert.

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The “Audio Select” (as shown above) gives you the choice of 2 audio soundtracks and both the LPCM Stereo and 5.1 DTS Master surround mixes are in formats of 48/24. You will notice that each of the drop-down menus when you click on them hide the other options below and you have to close the drop-down menu to see them.

The other 2 bonus features which are the “Documentary” and “Videos” are included on the Blu Ray edition only and are not on the DVD edition. The documentary has an overall running time of 42 minutes 9 seconds and shows you behind the scenes footage and interviews with Steve Hackett and the other members of the band and various others from the orchestra talking about the concert and is mostly filmed around the complex of the Royal Festival Hall. It’s quite interesting and a good extra feature to have and the audio is in 48/24 LPCM stereo.

The final bonus feature is that it includes 3 videos that was made for 3 of the songs for his latest album At The Edge Of Light which was released at the beginning of the year in January. They are “Under The Sun“. “Beasts In Our Time” and “Peace” and come with a standard stereo audio format of 48/16. The drop-down menu gives you the choice of playing them all or playing them individually and overall the bonus features you get on the Blu Ray are very good to have.

The Picture & Film Editing Quality.

The concert was filmed, edited and produced by Film 24 Productions who specialise in high-definition multi-camera filming and have filmed many other well-known artists. The company is run by Paul Green who also directed and done the editing and post production and overall, he and his team have done a GREAT! job of capturing the band and orchestra and the show has been very well edited. He also filmed the behind the scenes documentary too. The picture quality is very good and you can tell that the concert footage was shot in HD and not with SD cameras.

The 5.1 Surround & Stereo Mixes.

Both the stereo and surround mixes were done by Steve Hackett’s long-time live recording engineer Benedict Fenner of Front of House Sound. The 5.1 surround mix does give you more than the stereo mix however, the 6 channels have not been utilised in the way they should have been and this 5.1 mix offers nothing in the exciting department and the rear channels in particular are their mainly for the audience and the odd reflection of sound rather than any of the instrumentation being placed in the rear. This does help give the mix a lot more body and depth but does very little for the band and especially the orchestra to which more channels could of been utilised to give more separation to the instrumentation for it to stand out more.

Most 5.1 mixes of live concerts can be disappointing however not all of them are and I have some excellent ones that have been given the right treatment with more qualified engineers who have more of a vision to work in this field. Unfortunately, Benedict Fenner is not one of those engineers who has the right vision for how a 5.1 mix should be treated but has done better 5.1 mixes in the past. For example, both Somewhere In South America: Live In Buenos Aires and Hungarian Horizons: Live In Budapest he mixed back in the early 2000’s and I regard them as his best 5.1 mixes and are better than what he is doing today. Although the 5.1 mix he done for Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham was very good too.

But overall with how he has gone about things here there is no denying it does add more width, depth and space and the sound does project a lot better than the stereo mix. You are also better off listening to the concert with the 5.1 mix over the stereo mix although the stereo mix perhaps benefits more to the use of headphones.

Musicians & Credits…


Directed & Produced by Paul Green. Conductor Bradley Thachuk. Musical Arrangements by Bradley Thachuk, Steve Thachuk, & Thorvaldur Bjarni.  Concert Sound Recording by Martin Knight. Stereo & 5.1 Surround Mixes by Benedict Fenner. Editing & Post production by Paul Green. Design by Thomas Ewerhard. Photography by Howard Rankin, Lee Millward & Mick Bannister. Blu Ray Authoring by Ray Schulman.


Steve Hackett: Guitar/Vocals.
Roger King: Keyboards.
Rob Townsend: Saxophone/Woodwind/Percussion/Vocals/Keyboards/Bass Pedals.
Jonas Reingold: Bass/Bass Pedals/Variax/Twelve String Guitar/Vocals.
Gary O’Tool: Drums/Percussion/Vocals.
Nad Sylvan: Vocals/Tambourine.

Special Guests.

Amanda LehMann: Vocals/Guitar.
John Hackett: Flute.

The Concert In Review…

Unlike the CD’s the Blu Ray gives you the whole concert which has a total running time of 2 hours, 1 minute and 22 seconds it’s also the best way to experience it as well I personally think. The concert is played in two sets which allows the musicians to have a break in between and both set-lists feature both Genesis and Steve Hackett’s solo material and this concert is no different to The Total Experience Live in Liverpool and Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham in the way both sets of material run along. For example, they have not split the show up into a set of Genesis and Hackett songs and have combined them both together. The only difference between this concert and his other concerts is the 41-piece Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra he has on stage with him conducted by Bradley Thachuk.

The concert was performed at the Royal Festival hall which is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, England on 4th October 2018. This particular venue is used these days for concerts, dance and talks and has a seating capacity of around 2,900 seats. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are resident in the hall and it was originally built as part of the Festival of Britain for London County Council, and was officially opened on 3 May 1951. The building is built like a complex and includes several reception rooms, bars and restaurants. It’s also known as the Southbank Centre.


The Festival Hall was one of the first concert halls in the world to be built using the application of scientific principles, both theoretical and experimental. The building underwent a substantial renovation between 2005 and 2007 aimed at improving the poor acoustics and building layout. The refurbishment was estimated to have cost in the region of £91 million and a film documenting the refurbishment, entitled “This Is Tomorrow” was also made. Many well-known artists have played live at the Festival hall and continue to do so today.

Steve Hackett took the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra and his band on a short UK Tour with him during October in 2018. Besides playing at the Royal Festival Hall on the 4th of that month he also played at 7 other venues starting at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham on the 1st. Bridgewater Hall Manchester on the 3rd. The Birmingham Symphony Hall on the 5th. The Sage 1 in Gateshead on the 7th. The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on the 8th. The Regent in Ipswich on the 10th and ended up at the London Palladium on the 11th. It was a bit of gamble and only 3 of the shows were sell outs which were this one at Royal Festival Hall and the shows in Manchester and Birmingham.

The band Steve Hackett had with him is more or less the same band line-up (including the special guests) that was with him for the tour of the Wind and Wuthering album shows earlier in the same year and who appeared on the Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham Blu Ray/DVD apart from the bass player. Nick Beggs may have been busy touring with Steve Wilson or working on another album and was replaced by the Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold.

On With The Show…

The show kicks off the first set-list with a Genesis number which was the opening track on the Trick Of The Tail album “Dancing On A Volcano” to which they perform very well. But what I do find is the band can be too overpowering for the orchestra to be heard dynamically enough and you can hear the odd fart coming from the brass section in parts and more of a fine blend of the orchestra bleeding through later on in parts of the song. “Out Of The Body” is up next and here the orchestra can be clearly heard a lot more and I do find that the orchestra does have more of a say and the dynamics work better on Hackett’s own material more so than that of the Genesis material in some respects and “The Steppes” that follows this also works out very well for the band and orchestra.

The Genesis classic “Firth of Fifth” is one of the Genesis songs where the orchestra can be heard more clearly and the orchestra does help lift the song up and more space has perhaps been given to the orchestra. The band have perhaps gone less heavy with the bass pedals and not so overpowering like they were on the opening song. “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight” also works out quite well with orchestra and they add a bit more power to the song. Although I had to laugh when the camera was focused on some woman in the brass section blowing into her instrument and you could not hear bugger all coming out of it, and I find this with a lot of live shows that have not been recorded so well.

Blood on the Rooftops” is up next and I was so glad that Gary O’Tool was still with the band to sing it and he does a GRAND! job singing it too. Hackett plays a short 19 second intro on his nylon guitar before going into the song and for some reason they have counted it as an extra track on the CD. To be honest I do not think the orchestra really adds anything that much to this song simply because Tony Banks always orchestrated it so well on the original album with his keyboards. I also think that by Rob Townsend playing his sax in the middle section does not really help the orchestra to say anything more, although I like his contribution that ends the song off and they give it a bit more of a jazzy flavour to the ending.

The first of the special guests Amanda LehMann gets introduced to sing the next song “Shadow of the Hierophant” which ends off the first set. I think she does an OK! job but she does not possess the operatic qualities that Sally Oldfield has in her voice to pull it off like she does on the original album. It’s very much one of Hackett’s classics and even though the orchestra is more effective in the powerful ending of the song the dynamics are washed away by the either the recording or too much going on with the band and orchestra at the same time. In many respects you would have had to have been at the concert itself to get the best out of it though the singing section has been captured very well.

The second set kicks off with a couple of tracks once again from the Wind and Wuthering album and both “In That Quiet Earth” and “Afterglow” were on his last live release Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham and even though we have an orchestra here it’s perhaps too much of the same thing. Although the orchestra does inject a bit of power to first of these tracks the latter of the two is about as effective as the orchestra lent to “Blood on the Rooftops” and the only real difference is a bit at the end. I could think of many earlier Genesis songs that would have worked much better for the orchestra to play “Seven Stones” and “Stagnation” for example.

Hackett then proceeds with a couple of his own numbers “Serpentine Song” and “El Niño” and for the first of them he reintroduces Amanda LehMann back to the stage who contributes some backing vocals and guitar to the song. I am pretty sure she does only feature on a couple of the songs. He also brings on his brother John Hackett and once again he only gets to appear on one of the songs which is this one. Both John Hackett and Rob Townsend play more of integral part on this song than what the orchestra really lends to it.

I think the problem is with this song is that once again it’s more keyboard orientated and most of the orchestration is played on the keyboards by Roger King which does not offer a lot of scope for the orchestras strings to say anything different and apart from the guitar the best orchestration is played by both John Hackett and Rob Townsend on the flute and sax respectively. The second of these two pieces “El Niño” is where the orchestra does get to work much more just like we seen on “Out Of The Body” in the first set and on this the orchestra does get its own short section on its own and for me personally this is best piece out of the lot that utilises the orchestra the best.

Up next we have the epic “Suppers Ready” which for many including myself is the classic of all Genesis songs and here you get 28 minutes of it. Jonas Reingold plays guitar all the way through this song, he does on a couple of other songs and the bass is played on the bass pedals. This song and the instrumental piece “Out of the Body” are the only two tracks out of everything here that was not played at the Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham. The orchestra is effective in some parts and does inject a bit of power to the ending of it.

At the end of “Suppers ReadyHackett introduces the band and the conductor and orchestra and they leave the stage and come back to play the final encore which is “The Musical Box” and another old Genesis classic song. The orchestra only add slightly to this song and for most of it I am pretty sure that even though they are on the stage with the band, it’s the band that is playing the biggest part of it and if anything the orchestra adds more to the powerful ending of it. It winds up the show good enough though and at the end the special guests are come back onto the stage and they all bow gracefully to the audience in appreciation.


To sum up Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall by Steve Hackett and my original question in the introduction regarding of does the orchestra really make a major difference one might ask? Personally, I do not think it makes a major difference at all basically because the orchestral arrangements and the orchestra are too in line with the band and effectively the orchestra is merely following the band. Unlike the arrangements that was given to the couple of Genesis Revisited studio albums which were of a major difference and did make the songs sound and feel different, the live material here is more or less playing the songs how the original band played them in the first place, only you have an orchestra following along in the same path which is not enough to make the songs sound that much different at all.

That’s not to say that it’s not an enjoyable concert to watch, but if there were any real major differences here they have not been captured by the recording and you would have had to have been at the venue itself to hear the orchestra work more effectively. The only piece out of the whole set that is of a GREAT! difference is “El Niño” and the only other piece I would say the orchestra works extremely well on is “Out of the Body“. Both of which are of Hackett’s own solo material. The orchestra does work well in some other parts of the other songs but for most the concert the orchestra and band are more or less playing at the same levels and that does affect the overall dynamics of the orchestra being able to push their way through at times.

The 5.1 mix is better than the stereo mix but it’s nothing to write home about and is quite poor for Benedict Fenner’s standards and sound quality wise the Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham Blu Ray is a lot better. Both shows were recorded by the same recording engineer Martin Knight and the only logical thing I can think of why this concert was not recorded that well is down to them all playing too loud and they had not quite got the balance between the orchestra and the band sorted out. The overall sound is far from a disaster but something does seem amiss here and it should of been mixed a lot better I personally feel and my personal highlights from the show are “Firth of Fifth“. “Suppers Ready“. “The Musical Box“. “El Niño“. “Serpentine Song” and “Shadow of the Hierophant“.


To conclude my review of the concert I would say that at its price point you cannot really lose here. However, even a concert like this can seem like you are getting too much of the same thing especially with how the material that was chosen is far too close to the set-list you got on the Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham Blu Ray. To be perfectly honest I much prefer Steve Hackett’s earlier concerts he put out where he plays his own material and only the odd Genesis song rather than a concert like this and if you are going to do a Genesis Revisited concert he should stick to that material alone and not mix it up like he has done here and with his other more recent concerts with his own material.

I do admire Steve Hackett for keeping the spirit of Genesis going and I love the early Genesis material more so than his own solo material. But even though he was very much part of that band many moons ago and he perhaps does have more rights to play the old Genesis songs. to be honest I could not buy a concert done by a tribute band even if I can enjoy watching them. So, in a way Hackett does have an advantage over a tribute band even if he is playing a tribute to their music, but you cannot beat the original band. I think I will always miss Peter Gabriel’s voice and even Phil Collins to some degree especially with how he sang “Suppers Ready” on the double live Seconds Out album.

I think Nad Sylvan does do quite a good job and his voice is fairly close to Gabriel’s but nowhere near as close as Simone Rossetti of The Watch who is perhaps the nearest, I have ever heard to Gabriel’s voice. But then again, it’s not about having a sound alike otherwise it would be even more of a tribute band like Yes have become and I cannot buy them since they went down that road either. I guess that is why I like Gary O’Tool singing “Blood On The Rooftops” and the best performance of that I have heard him do can be found on the DVD of Somewhere In South America: Live In Buenos Aires where he was near enough 20 years younger.

To be honest I enjoy those earlier concerts more so than the ones he has put out more recently and can play them a lot more. Even the Steve Hackett Live concert that was released on VHS Video back in 1992 is a superb concert to have and he plays all his own material on that that one and it was recorded in the TV Studios in Nottingham. An edited down version of that same concert was also put out on DVD under the title of Live Legends and it’s well worth sorting out either of those releases. Although the VHS version will most likely not be in good condition and I completely wore my tape out with the amount of times I have played it.

Overall, I do think there was better Genesis material that could have been chosen to suit the orchestra and it would have been better to have more of a different set-list. But you cannot have everything and we are all different with how we see things and for many others this concert might be the bee’s knees. The bonus material I do think is very good and well worth getting the Blu ray over the DVD and at its price point it’s a worthy enough purchase.

On A Finale Note…

I would like to thank all my readers who have taken an interest in my reviews and wish everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2020. I would also like to say that I am behind in my reviews of the albums I have had given me or purchased this year. So, my annual awards 2019 will be delayed till the end of January due to still having 4 albums to review.

The Pied Piper Takes His Children Underground…

The 2 CD Track List is as follows:

Disc 1.
01. Dance on a Volcano. 6:36.
02. Out of the Body. 2:30.
03. The Steppes. 7:15.
04. Firth of Fifth. 10:44.
05. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. 8:33.
06. Acoustic guitar solo. 0:19.
07. Blood on the Rooftops. 5:53.
08. Shadow Of The Hierophant. 11:27.

Disc 2.
01. In that Quiet Earth. 5:19.
02. Afterglow. 4:24.
03. Serpentine Song. 7:10.
04. El Niño. 4:04.
05. Supper’s Ready. 28:01.
06. The Musical Box. 12:08.

Lee’s Overall Package Rating…

The Price Point Rating. 10/10.

The Picture Quality Rating Score. 9/10.

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 6/10.

The Stereo Mix. 7/10.

The Bonus Material Rating Score. 7/10.

The Overall Concert Rating Score. 7/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #137

Every Move You Make – The Studio Recordings (Box Set) – The Police



Well it’s been a good while since I’ve heard The Police and I have to confess that even though I considered them a really good band and liked their albums enough to buy all 5 of them on vinyl has each one came out many moons ago, they are not the type of band I would play these days and their music can even sound on the outdated side of things. The fact that my turntable has been stuck in my loft along with my vinyl records since the late 90’s also would play a part in as to why I would not play them these days and even though I did buy most of Stings solo albums on CD, I never did buy any of The Police albums on CD.

I doubt very much if I still have the albums on vinyl simply because when I did relegate my turntable to the loft, I did end up selling the biggest majority of them and only kept a few. Over the many years of buying records I have most likely sold just as many albums on vinyl and CD than what I have left in my collection now, in fact possibly a lot more. I have even brought many albums all over again some many times over and the pride and joy that sits on my shelves these days is mostly of surround mixes and they mean more to me than anything you can put on a CD or a vinyl record. Unlike those conventional stereo formats, they also hold their value and can fetch a lot more than what you paid for them as well.

But in all formats, there is generally something of a collector’s item you will pay a lot more money for, but in general CD’s and Vinyl albums can be had on the second hand market for PEANUTS! Which also happens to the be the title of one of the songs on the bands debut album and the very reason I brought this box set in the first place. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork first.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The albums come in a Clamshell Box and in total you get 6 albums on 6 CD’s and I was well surprised to see that all 6 CD’s come in Gatefold DigiSleeves and not just the single cardboard wallets you get in most of these type of cheap box sets. The one thing the box set does not include is a booklet though the linear credits and production notes have been included on the CD’s but it does not include lyrics or any informative information about the band. But overall no expense has been spared here and this box set offers you amazing value for the money and has been very well presented. I pre-ordered it from Amazon and got it for £16.66 which is around the same price I paid for the bands 5 albums on vinyl many moons ago.

The same box set was released on Vinyl last year to mark the bands 40th Anniversary and it does include a booklet but it also comes with a very hefty price tag of around £119 on Amazon. For the life of me I am sorry to say that I fail to see where there is any real value here in relation to the CD box set apart from the booklet. It’s ridiculously well overpriced and I thank my lucky stars I no longer collect vinyl.


Every Move You Make – The Studio Recordings Vinyl Edition

Although no doubt there are many vinyl lovers out there who would argue that it’s the best quality recording you can get. But in reality, the vinyl record has always suffered with its restrictions of what you can fit onto its format and is nowhere near as robust as the CD and is very fragile in relation to it. It also suffers from surface noise which does not help and regarding recording quality the CD is very much the real winner I am afraid. Where the vinyl album really wins is with the size of the artwork. But in reality, these days even DigiPaks cost more to make than a vinyl album cover which is also where I fail to see why a vinyl album should cost more money.

I gave up on the vinyl format 2 decades ago and can honestly say I do not regret it, because it is inferior in today’s world especially in relation to the more immersive experience 5.1 surround has to offer. SACD/DVD & Blu Ray are more superior formats and, in all honesty, this little poem I wrote I have entitled “Just For The Record” speaks the true reality of the vinyl record and I dare anybody to question the reality of it all simply because it speaks the truth.

Viny L your plastic pal the plastic all round mover
Whenever he took a needle he became a bit of groover
His surface was nice and shiny and needed a lot of attention
Otherwise he would snap crackle and pop which very few would mention
He attracted static and even scratched although he could not rust
Not even his anti static bag could keep away the dust
And if the needle got clogged up and stuck he would start to stutter
Viny L could even warp and was made to wow and flutter

But of course, for many the vinyl record has that nostalgic vibe and feel about it that many people cannot let go of. It is without doubt still a great format that still offers a good enough decent recording quality that is all well and acceptable and I have nothing against those who still prefer it. But as for how its price has shot up since the format came back from the dead from 2017 onwards. There is no way on this earth that it should cost any more than a CD and I do feel people are being ripped off.

The Police In Brief History…

The Police burst onto the scene at the same time Punk Rock had exploded here in the UK. The band even tried and make out they was a punk rock band with their first record “Fall Out” although it was merely a plan of action to try and gain a bit of reignition and get themselves noticed and they had no intention of being a punk rock band at all. They never did like that record they made either and even excluded it from this release. Although the fact that it was not included in this box set may not have even had anything to do with any of the band members at all, and this box set may very well have been compiled by the record company.

The Police were originally formed in January 1977 by American drummer Stewart Copeland and the English singer/bassist Sting (so nicknamed due to his habit of wearing a black-and-yellow striped sweater mirroring a wasp) the pair had originally bumped into each other in 1976 and exchanged phone numbers. Copeland was playing with the prog rock band Curved Air at the time and he originally worked as road manager for the band back in 1974 on their reunion tour and then as drummer for the band during 1975 and 1976. Having made two studio albums with the band they then decided to call it a day and the band broke up.

Sting on the other hand was a former schoolteacher and was playing in a jazz-rock fusion band called Last Exit in his home city of Newcastle and had been since 1974. It was in the beginning of 1977 that the band relocated to London but after a few gigs half of the band returned to Newcastle though Sting decided to stay and look for other work and sought out Copeland for a jam session. Having got together they decided to put a band together and brought in Corsican guitarist Henry Padovani to complete the line-up and spent some time playing mainly as s support act in various pubs around London.

It was this first incarnation of The Police that made the bands first record “Fall Out” to which was recorded at Pathway Studios in Islington, North London on 12 February 1977 with a budget of £150, was released in May 1977 by Illegal Records. Later on, in that same year they added a 4th member to the band the English guitarist Andy Summers who was a decade older than the other members. Summers started his musical career as guitarist for the British rhythm and blues band Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band in the mid-sixties. He also had stints with many bands and artists from the mid 60’s into the 70’s including the likes of Soft Machine, The Animals, Kevin Coyne, Jon Lord, Joan Armatrading, David Essex, Neil Sedaka and Kevin Ayers. In October 1975 he participated in an orchestral rendition of Mike Oldfield’s seminal “Tubular Bells“.

Summers first introduction to both Sting and Copeland came through Gong’s ex-bass player Mike Howlett who had quit the band and was putting a band together called Strontium 90 to which all 4 became a part of for a very short period of time. It was during this short period that the band had recorded some demos and one of them was “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” a song that was to later appear on The Police’s 4th album Ghost In The Machine. The foursome also performed at a London club as ‘The Elevators‘ in July 1977.

As a 4-piece band The Police only ever performed live twice in 1977 and Summers was never happy with the band as a 4-piece outfit and delivered an ultimatum to the band and Padovani was dismissed. The Police’s power trio line-up of Copeland, Sting, and Summers performed for the first time on 18 August 1977 in my home town at Rebecca’s club in Birmingham. What was to happen next very much became history though it was not until 1979 that they really made an impact and exploded onto the scene.

The Albums In Review…

Every Move You Make (The Studio Recordings) box set by The Police was released on CD on the 15th November 2019. Just like the vinyl release that got released in 2018 it comes with 6 CD’s. Because this is a box set and there is a lot to get through, I am only going to focus on the highlights of the albums and not go into great depth of all the individual album tracks like I do on most reviews. I shall also review each album as they were originally released in chronological order. So now without any further ado, let’s get down to the album reviews.


The bands debut album Outlandos d’Amour was released on the 2nd November 1978. The album contained 10 tracks all written by Sting (bar a couple which he co-wrote with the other two members of the band) and comes with an overall playing time of 38 minutes 11 seconds. The album never got the band off to a flying start and initially performed poorly due to low exposure and an unfavourable reaction from the BBC to its first two singles, “Can’t Stand Losing You” and “Roxanne” (about suicide and prostitution, respectively). The BBC even banned both the songs from air play and they never even dented the charts.  The reason they had a problem with ‘Can’t Stand Losing You‘ was because the photo on the cover of the single had Stewart standing on a block of ice with a noose around his neck, waiting for the ice to melt.

If it was not for Stewart Copeland’s brother Miles the album would have never got made because it was, he who decided to manage the band and put up the money to make the album. It was also him who had seen something in both “Can’t Stand Losing You” and “Roxanne” to release them as singles from the album. But all was not lost because the potential he did see in those records did pay off in the end when they got re-released a year later in 1979 and both became major hits and smashed into the top 20 of the UK Singles Charts. By 1984 the album had also sold over a million copies and went platinum.

The bands first 2 albums were recorded at Surrey Sound Studios which was a studio that a former doctor namely Nigel Gray had set up in 1974 and functioned as a recording studio between 1975 – 1987. Gray was a qualified medical doctor who followed his passion into music and was able to use his kindly bedside manner to coax three extraordinarily successful records from a band operating at the time on the tiniest of shoestring budgets. The first two albums were recorded in his converted studio above a dairy in Leatherhead in Surrey.

Surrey Studios

At the time the bands debut album Outlandos d’Amour was recorded in 1978 it was only recorded on 16 tracks and it was not until the following year that it got upgraded to a 24-track studio. Nigel Gray sold the studio in 1987 and retired in Cornwall. But during his time at the studio he got to record quite a few albums for other bands and artists such as Wishbone AshGodley & Creme, Hazel O’Connor, Siouxsie and the Banshees and more. He died in 2016 and all 3 members of the band paid tribute to him and said they could not have done it without him.

Most of the reviews for the album were unfavourable although the one it got from Tom Carson of the Rolling Stone magazine I did find interesting as he gave it some high praise for its technical abilities of all three band members, but was relentlessly disparaging of their attempt to tackle sophisticated rock and reggae while posturing as punks.

Personally, I myself thought it was quite a good album but far from solid and no doubt when The Police first came out they were posturing as punks like he stated, but that was really down to the Punk Invasion still being popular in England around that time. Where I give more praise to The Police more than anything is that they did create a style that was quite unique to anything that had come before it by fusing reggae with pop and rock and that is what really made me take notice of them in the first place.

I myself could never stand reggae music and I still detest it today just like punk rock. But they did something better with it by not making it so boring. Andy Summers was far too good of a guitarist to just stand there and look like a cardboard cut-out doing the reggae chop on his guitar and to me being a guitarist in a reggae band has to be the most boring job any guitarist on the planet could have :))))). I am not saying there is not an art to it but in all honesty, it just bores the life out of me and says the same TING! TING! thing with its rhythm and beat. If The Police were either punk or reggae there is no way on this earth I would brought them in the first place.

However, no matter how I look at The Police they have always come across to me as more of a pop band rather than any hard hitting rock band and though I quite like them and enough to buy them, they were never amongst my personal favourite bands I have in my record collection and no doubt it is their hit making potential that made them and not so much the other tracks that was on their albums. You could effectively say they were more of a singles band than an albums band and that is the difference between popular music and rock and prog rock music that came out earlier on.

The album Outlandos d’Amour is more or less driven by the 3 tracks that were put out as singles to which are “Can’t Stand Losing You“. “Roxanne” and “So Lonely” and I would also say they were by far the better written songs on the album. But that’s not to say that some of its album tracks do not have something to say and overall their debut album is quite an energetic album that is driven along at high speed in parts.

The album also kicks off at a high speed with its opening energetic song “Next To You” which drives along like a bullet. Although I do not think personally that this is such a good song and is really only driving along at this high speed to try and rock things out and like many punk rock bands who also done the same sort of thing at this high pace only did so to try and make it rock. But potentially it just does not work I am afraid and will never rock like the music many rock bands did such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin for example. It’s not a bad song but it does have a false pretence about it and fails to carry a lot of weight.

I could also say the same thing about “Truth Hits Everybody” and if I was looking for another track on this album that does stand out as a really good album track, that would certainly go to “Hole In My Life” which I do feel is up there with the potential the 3 singles had from the album and is a really good song. I quite like “Born In The 50’s” and that might be down to me being born in the 50’s and both “Peanuts” and “Be My Girl – Sally” are fun songs and are OK. The final track on the album “Masoko Tanga” is the longest track of them all and is perhaps more of a gap filler though it’s got some good rhythm to it and it is more reggae based, though I can take it in small doses.

Overall the bands debut album Outlandos d’Amour is far from a solid album and it’s not my favourite album of the bands either. It does however contain a few classics and my personal favourites from the album are “Roxanne” and “Can’t Stand Losing You” and I find it hard to separate them to make one more of a favourite than the other. I would not say it’s a bad album either and I have no problem putting it on and listening to the whole album without having to skip a track. But like most of the bands albums these days they very rarely get played and if I was to pull out an album of theirs to play this would not be my first choice.

Oddly enough the Rolling Stone magazine rated the album much later on as one of the best debut albums and in their poll, it reached number 38 out 100 of the best debut albums. In all honesty I have quite often found that magazine ridiculous and this album is nowhere near solid enough to even be considered as one of the best debut albums. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Roxanne“. “Can’t Stand Losing You“. “Hole In My Life” and “Born In The 50’s“.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced & Arranged by The Police. All songs written by Sting (except track 5. by Sting & Copeland and track 9 by Sting & Summers). Recorded between January – June 1978 at Surrey Sound Studios London, England. Recording Engineers Nigel & Chris Gray. Originally Mastered by Tony bridge. Art Direction by Michael Ross. Photography by Janette Beckman.


Sting: lead & Backing Vocals/Bass guitar. Harmonica (Track 2) & Butt Piano (Track 3)
Andy Summers: Guitar/Backing Vocals. Spoken Word & Piano (Track 9)
Stewart Copeland: Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals.

Additional Musicians.

Joe Sinclair: Piano (Tracks 4 & 10)

I See You’ve Sent My Letters Back And My L.P. Records And They’re All Scratched…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. Next To You. 2:52. 2. So Lonely. 4:49. 3. Roxanne. 3:13. 4. Hole In My Life. 4:49. 5. Peanuts. 3:55. 6. Can’t Stand Losing You. 2:59. 7. Truth Hits Everybody. 2:54. 8. Born In The 50’s. 3:41. 9. Be My Girl – Sally. 3:19. 10. Masoko Tanga. 5:40.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 6/10.



The bands second album Reggatta de Blanc was released on the 2nd October 1979 and contained 11 tracks span over and overall playing time of 41 minutes, 50 seconds. The other members of the band had more on an input into the writing especially Stewart Copeland. However, the bands hit making potential always came from its main writer Sting who really was the brains of the outfit. It was also the hits off this album that Sting wrote that had catapulted the band into the limelight so to speak. However, it could also be said that the re-release of “Roxanne” earlier in the same year did draw a lot more attention to the band and certainly helped to increase the sales of their debut album.

Once again, the band decided to record the album at Surrey Sound Studios despite their record company A&M wanting to equip the promising band with a bigger studio and more famous producer. I am sure the band made the right choice too especially in that the small budget (between £6,000 and £9,000) was easily covered by the profits of their previous album, Outlandos d’Amour, further ensuring that the record label would have no control over the actual creation of the band’s music. This also relieved a lot of the pressure on the band.

The band recorded the new material for their second album from scratch and it only took around 4 weeks over a period of several months. However, during the recording sessions they did find themselves short on having enough new material to make the album, they even considered re-recording “Fall Out” at one point. Both Sting and Copeland had to dig through old songs they had previously written in their former bands and used other elements to create new songs with some of them. For example, a lot of the lyrics to “Bring On the Night” were recycled from Sting’s Last Exit song “Carrion Prince (O Ye of Little Hope)” and “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” similarly started as a Last Exit tune. They were that short for songs for the new album that they even used the B’ Side of the single “So Lonely” they wrote in the previous year which was “No Time This Time” as a gap filler to complete the album.

Despite the problems they had to come up with new and existing material to put their 2nd album together, Reggatta de Blanc was an instant smash upon its release and not only did the album hit number 1 in the UK Album charts but it also spurned out a couple of number 1 singles in the UK’s charts. The album proved both more popular and successful than its predecessor Outlandos d’Amour and in the following year of 1980 the albums self-titled track earned the band their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

The album’s title of Reggatta de Blanc is a pseudo-French translation of “white reggae”. There is no doubt that the music The Police were making was certainly a different breed of reggae in relation to where the music originated from. What this band were doing was giving it far more structure to the music by fusing elements of rock and pop into it. Even the chord structure of their songs was far more sophisticated than most of the 2-chord crap that was associated with 90% of the reggae music that surfaced from across the shores here in England in the early to mid 70’s.

The easiest way to cover any song is by doing a reggae version of it and you could do practically any song in 2 chords by doing so. This is why I despised reggae music so much and why it bored my pants off. To be honest the only way most reggae bands could play the smash number 1 hit that came off this album “Message In A Bottle” is by doing it in 2 chords and most would struggle like hell to play it how they play it. It’s quite sophisticated and a very well written structured song and it happens to be my all-time favourite song by The Police.

Message In A Bottle” was my first real introduction to The Police and the first time I ever really took any notice of them, the moment I heard the second single “Walking On The Moon” which also hit number 1 here in the UK it very much made my mind up to go out and buy the album. To be honest I vaguely recall hearing “Can’t Stand Losing You” beforehand in the charts and although I quite liked it, it did not convince me to go out and buy their previous album at the time. I think if I had of heard “Roxanne” besides, it would have enticed me to buy Outlandos d’Amour but somehow that record completely avoided me hearing it on the radio.

By the time of the release of their 2nd album Reggatta de Blanc in 1979 The Police had ditched the punk rock scene and any ties they had with it. Gone were the 100 miles per hour songs that I thought did not do their debut album any real justice to make way for some better structured material. Although I would not say this album was solid by any means either and the couple of songs I feel that let it down are the inclusion of the last two tracks on the album “No Time This Time” and “Does Everyone Stare“. I would also say that “Deathwish” which was one of the two written songs by the band is not exactly anything to write home about either and is more of a filler. But apart from those I do feel this album does work more like an album with the material that was written for it.

Band album 2_Fotor

Like I mentioned earlier I have always seen The Police as more of a singles band rather than an albums band and it is without doubt Sting’s writing that contributes to bands hits. But being an albums man myself I have never really seen an album of hits make a good album and that is why I stay clear of compilations and Greatest Hits albums.

Hit records are all well and good and no doubt in most cases they are best songs you will find on an album. But they can also be the songs you can get tired of hearing all the time and force you to skip them on the album so you can listen to something you do not hear as much. What makes the album Reggatta de Blanc work more like an album is the fact that other band members also had as much input in the writing as Sting and out of all 5 albums The Police made, this is the only album were the other members had something more to say.

Stewart Copeland’s contributions in particular make this album work more like an album and it contains some of the best material he has ever written for the band. “Contact” is an excellent song he wrote and more of a rocker than most of the bands songs and “On Any Other Day” is more of a fun song but nevertheless very well written. “It’s Alright for You” is more of your standard rocking song that he co-wrote with Sting but it works pretty well and sits well on the album. The albums self-titled track “Reggatta de Blanc” which was written by the band is a really GREAT! track and Copeland even chose it has the best Police record in the Modern Drummer magazine.

The other couple of songs that Sting wrote are very well written and “Bring On The Night” is up there with the couple of number 1 hits he wrote from the album and was in fact released as a single in the US, Germany and France. Though it was only in France that it made a dent and peaked at number 6 in the charts. “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” is perhaps one of the nearest songs The Police have been to reggae and in terms of a reggae song this is purely a classic and I personally think it’s a damn site better than anything that Bob Marley ever wrote in his life.

Overall, I do feel that the bands second album Reggatta de Blanc is only slightly marginally better than their debut album and it does tend to flow and run along and work more like an album in some respects. However, as an album it’s still not my go too album of theirs but it does contain my all-time favourite record of theirs and my personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Message In A Bottle“. “Walking On The Moon“. “Bring on the Night“. and “Contact“.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced & Arranged by The Police & Nigel Gray. All songs written by Sting (except tracks 7, 9 & 10. by Copeland. Tracks 2 & 5 by Summers, Sting, Copeland and track 3 by Sting & Copeland). Recorded at Surrey Sound Studios London, England between February – August 1979 (except track 11 recorded in 1978) Recording Engineer Nigel Gray. Originally Mastered by Tony bridge. Art Direction & design by Michael Ross. Photography by Janette Beckman (back cover) and James Wedge (front cover).


Sting: Lead Vocals (except tracks 2 & 7)/Bass & Double Bass/Backing Vocals & Bass Synth (Track 9).
Andy Summers: Guitar/Synthesizer (Tracks 1,6,9 & Piano Track 10)
Stewart Copeland: Drums//Backing Vocals/Lead Vocals (Tracks 7, 10 & Guitar Track 3).

Only Hope Can Keep It Together…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. Message In A Bottle. 4:51. 2. Reggatta de Blanc. 3:06. 3. It’s Alright For You. 3:13. 4. Bring On The Night. 4:16. 5. Deathwish. 4:14. 6. Walking On The Moon. 5:02. 7. On Any Other Day. 2:57. 8. The Beds Too Big Without You. 4:27. 9. Contact. 2:38. 10. Does Everyone Stare. 3:46. 11. No Time This Time. 3:20.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 7/10.



The bands 3rd album Zenyatta Mondatta was released on the 3rd October 1980. The album contains 11 tracks spanned over and overall playing time of 38 minutes 22 seconds and once again the album hit number 1 in the UK Album charts and it produced another number 1 and a top 10 hit in the UK Singles charts. I have to say that with how music was changing by now with the new wave, romantics and electric retro hitting the scene it was good to see that The Police were still just as strong as ever without having to change their style to fit in and stay in the limelight so to speak.

Mind you they were not the only band to still fit in with how much music was changing when we hit the 80’s and Dire Straits were in every inch just as popular and in my opinion a much better band than The Police too and were more suited to my particular taste. Dire Straits also created music that had a lot more longevity about it and I can still play them a lot today, were as The Police made records that can easily wear out and appear to sound a bit more on the outdated side of things today.

Although the album was once again co-produced by The Police & Nigel Gray for tax reasons, they could not record the album at Surrey Sound Studios even though they would of liked to have done. So, they decided to drag Nigel Gray along with them to the Netherlands so they could record the album there. This cost them more money to make than their previous two albums did combined together and was made for around £35,000. However, that figure was still exceptionally cheap for someone who by now were well established stars.

The Wisseloord Studio in Hilversum, Netherlands was officially opened on 19th January 1978 by Prince Claus who was the husband of husband of Queen Beatrix and the Prince Consort of the Netherlands from Beatrix’s ascension in 1980 until his death from Parkinson’s disease and heart and respiratory ailments in 2002. The studios were founded by electronics company Philips, to enable their PolyGram artists to record in a professional environment. Initially there were three studios, nowadays there are four and a lot more has been developed and added to it.

Dutch Coolage S

In the early days the studios were mainly used by Dutch artists. Later, international musicians such as Elton John, Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Scorpions, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Tina Turner, U2 and many more have used the facilities. The studio is still running strong today and in 2010 it did close for a refurbishment and a major refit and these days it is much more than just a studio and it even has a writing campus.

The album is noted as being the last of the bands era regarding it’s style of fusing reggae and punk along with other musical elements though to be honest I don’t think the band ever really changed their style by any great margin at all. The material they wrote quickly too and would have been written whilst they were on their second live tour, much of it was recorded in 4 weeks. The band members have often expressed disappointment over it and it was down to them not being able to use the same studio and how they could only get to use the studios to do a couple of a songs at a time in between being on the road doing their live shows.

The bands third album Zenyatta Mondatta as always been my GOTO! album out all the 5 studio albums the band ever made. I think there are reasons for that too, and the first would be that even though most of the material was written by the bands potential hit writer Sting, most of the material he did write for the album was less commercial. The second reason is really down to the fact that a lot of the songs are way less commercial it makes the album work more like an album and more so than its first couple of predecessors. No doubt both “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” are the stronger written songs that stand out like hits, but the thing I like about the other songs Sting wrote is that they are not hit making material but still very well written songs that can say just as much in some respects.

Zenyatta Mondatta is the nearest album The Police ever got to be an albums band at this point in their career and it was more than a hit potential singles band and that is perhaps why it is my GOTO! album out of the bunch. What makes a good album is not the hits, those are the things you are most likely to skip because you have heard them more than the rest of the album tracks like I have mentioned before. Elton John’s Greatest Hits is never gonna be as good as his album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road for example. Simply because there are far better tracks on that album than the 4 singles that was released from it. I could say the same for Queen and many other artists and that’s why I do find most compilation albums boring.

However, when it comes to making very good albums personally I do not think The Police got it quite right like those artists I mentioned and many others. But this album is perhaps the nearest that they ever did. Besides the two hits Sting wrote for the album songs like “Driven To Tears” and “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around” are really very good album tracks the first of those was one of the first politically themed songs The Police released, and the first that Sting wrote. But one of my particular favourites of his he wrote for this album is “Canary in a Coalmine“.

I also like “Man In A Suitcase” and that’s perhaps because I loved the TV Series from the 70’s starring Richard Bradford. Although the song does not pertain to that TV series. However, both “Voices In My Head” and “Shadows In The Rain” he also wrote are amongst my least favourable tracks on the album. The latter of those I thought he did much better on his first solo album The Dream of the Blue Turtles.

I personally do not think the couple of songs Stewart Copeland wrote were as good as the material he wrote for the bands second album Reggatta de Blanc. “Bombs Away” is another politically themed song that pertained to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan it was also recorded on a tape that Nigel Gray had just used with Siouxsie and the Banshees. “The Other Way Of Stopping” is an instrumental track and they are both not bad contributions and I prefer them to those couple of songs that Sting wrote.

I also quite like the instrumental track “Behind My Camel” which is the only writing contribution Andy Summers gave to the album. I think it would make a good theme for a TV series too and Sting hated the piece enough to even refuse to play the bass on it to which Summers had to play himself. It’s also said that whilst they were recording the album that Sting found the tape of it lying around and took it and buried it in the garden. Copeland was not that keen on the piece either but it was the first piece he had composed solely by himself during his career at the time and it even won a Grammy Award in 1982 for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Overall, I would not say the bands third album Zenyatta Mondatta is any stronger than their second album Reggatta de Blanc regarding the written material that is upon both albums and the one thing The Police never did make in my personal opinion is a solid album. But there is just something about this album that draws me towards it more than their other albums, and it may be down to it sounding less commercial. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Don’t Stand So Close To Me“. “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da“. “When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around“. “Canary In A Coalmine” and “Man In A Suitcase“.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced & Arranged by The Police & Nigel Gray. All songs written by Sting (except tracks 6, & 11. by Stewart Copeland and track 8 by Andy Summers). Recorded at Wisseloord Studio Hilversum, Netherlands between July & August 1980. Recording Engineer Nigel Gray. Originally Mastered by Marv Bornstein and Frank DeLuna at A&M Studios (Hollywood, CA). Art Direction by Michael Ross. Design by Michael Ross and Simon Ryan. Photography by Janette Beckman (front cover). Watal Asanuma, Miles Copeland and Danny Quatrochi (back cover).


Sting: Lead & Backing Vocals (except track 8)/Bass/Synthesizer.
Andy Summers: Guitar/Backing Vocals/Synthesizer & Bass (Track 8) Piano Track 4)
Stewart Copeland: Drums//Backing Vocals.

Strong Words In The Staff Room The Accusations Fly…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. Don’t Stand So Close To Me. 4:04. 2. Driven To Tears. 3:20. 3. When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around. 3:38. 4. Canary In A Coalmine. 2:26. 5. Voices In My Head. 3:53. 6. Bombs Away. 3:09. 7. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da. 4:09. 8. Behind My Camel. 2:54. 9. Man In A Suitcase. 2:19. 10. Shadows In The Rain. 5:02. 11. The Other Way Of Stopping. 3:28.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 7/10.



The bands 4th album Ghost in the Machine was released on the 2nd October 1981 and contained 11 tracks spanned over an overall playing time of 41 minutes, 15 seconds. The album done very well and spurned out 3 UK top 10 singles one of which hit the number 1 spot. The album also done very well hitting number 1 in the UK Album charts and it went on to go into multi-platinum sales in the US selling over 3 million copies. Once again it was down to the bands successful writer Sting who wrote most of the material and for the bands fourth album, they decided to make a few changes.

By now the band were looking to get a different sound and decided to no longer go along with the budget idea of making the album and it was also by now Hugh Padgham was one of the producers making quite a name for himself and one of the hottest producers around at that time in the 80’s. I have to confess that these days 90% or more of the production work Padgham did for many major artists and bands back in those days does sound today mostly outdated and that outdated that I can no longer play it.

He was credited for creating the gated reverb drum sound that was so prominently used on Phil Collins‘ single “In the Air Tonight“, to which became the template for much of the recorded pop drum sound of the 1980s. He had this idea that because the drums sound so deafening when close up to them being played that the drums should sound larger than life on the record. Every single production he did for both Collins and Genesis back in those days was what made them unplayable today. To even think this guy won several awards for his production skills is beyond belief. Although in all fairness his production work did work for some artists and I do think he done quite a good job on this particular album.

The new material for the album was recorded between January and September 1981 and the band recorded all but one of the tracks for the album at Air Studios located on the Caribbean island Montserrat. Montserrat is nicknamed “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” and producer George Martin fell in love with the island and decided to build the ultimate, get-away-from-it-all recording studio. AIR Studios Montserrat opened in 1979 and offered all of the technical facilities of its London counterpart, but with the advantages of an exotic location.

Air Studio Collage

Many well-known artists used the studio and during the decade it ran for over 70 albums were made at Air Studios in Montserrat. The Police even recorded their final album Synchronicity at the studio. Dire Straits recorded their famous album Brothers In Arms at the studio too and Elton John used it to make 3 of his albums, the first of them being Too Low For Zero to which produced a couple of his hits “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” and  “I’m Still Standing“. However, it was unfortunate that a decade later in 1989 whilst the Rolling Stones had just finished their Steel Wheels album that disaster struck and Hurricane Hugo devastated the island and the Montserrat facility was severely damaged and was forced to close.

Damage Collage

Other artists who made their albums their included the likes of Ultravox, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Gerry Rafferty, Rush, Black Sabbath, Midge Ure, Little River Band, Duran Duran, Sheena Easton and more. Hurricane Hugo destroyed 90% of its structures. The building and its equipment were irreparably damaged. The buildings are still standing but their roofs are failing, leading to extensive damage to the floors of the accommodation area and inner part of the studio complex making them unsafe to walk on. The facility is now a modern ruin, and is closed to the public.

The band had touched on political themes with a couple of their songs from their previous album Zenyatta Mondatta and they were to touch on it more with the material that was wrote for Ghost In The Machine. Sting was inspired by the Hungarian British author and journalist Arthur Koestler and the title of the album was the title of one of his non-fictional books he wrote back in 1967.

One of the other interesting things I have just found out some near enough 40 years later about this album is to do with the albums artwork which was designed by Mick Haggerty. The front cover displays a 16 segment as seen below.


Ever since I brought the album on its release back in 1981, I had always seen the digits on the albums cover to be that of a display from a LED Calculator that had gone wrong or had been damaged. The fact that it had gone wrong very much reflected the albums title of “Ghost In The Machine” in the way of a Gremlin or Ghost getting into it causing it to malfunction. I would also say that my observation of how I seen the albums front cover was the most logical explanation as to what it represents.

I have to say the whole concept of what this 16-segment display was intended for is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. It’s said to represent the hair styles of the 3 band members and the band was unable to decide on a photograph to use for the cover at the time and settled for this graphic display of their hairdos. Sting’s hairdo is in the middle as he was the one with spiky hair. The album’s cover is ranked at No. 45 in VH1’s 50 Greatest Album Covers.

In all honesty I am pretty sure I could find 50 album covers done by Roger Dean that would absolutely wipe the floor with this album cover and to find out some 38 years later that the digits were supposed to be hairdos has me rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter LOL.. It has to be the stupidest thing I have ever come across :)))))).

As daft as a brush that the idea the band came up for the albums front cover artwork might sound, the album does sound a hell of a lot better and this is an album that I first noted for its bass drive and I very much used to use this as a reference album to test out the bass in my room when positioning the speakers for my HiFi back in those days. I have always nicknamed it the DUB album way before that genre came to light much later on and the bass on this album has more of a mass than any other album I have ever brought, and I have brought quite a few in my lifetime.

The bass drive on this album is to die for and it was not until 8 years later when Elton John released his 22nd album Sleeping With The Past in 1989 that I ever got to hear this same bass drive again and it was only ever on the 1st track of that album on a song titled “Durban Deep“. Still to this day no other album I have ever heard has this bass intensity as what this album and that track of Elton’s does. It’s so well controlled too in a way that it does not overdrive or override your HiFi system. I dare say there are other albums that have it and they most likely would come from reggae music which to me is more drum and bass and the fact that I do not like most forms of reggae music is why I have no other albums in my collection that have this intensive mass of a bass drive on them.

What used to draw me to play this album quite a lot back in those days was the bass more than anything, however once again this is an album where the 3 singles that got released off it are once again the best of the material on the album. The album also kicks off with all 3 of them which do give you the feeling that you are in for a good album. But the album does change its mood after those 3 opening hits and the right feel of how the album started off does not really return to the final 3 tracks on the album.

Invisible Sun” was the first of the 3 singles to be released and it broke into the top 10 in the UK charts and only just missed the number 1 spot and reached number 2. “Spirits In The Material World” was the 3rd single to be released from the album and although it did not quite make the top 10 it did reach number 12 in the UK’s charts. Sting wrote the song on a Casio keyboard whilst he was in the back of a van and it’s also said the it was the first time; he had ever played a synthesizer before in his life. Well if that was the case, I rather find it strange that he was also credited for playing the synthesiser on the bands previous album that was released in the previous year. So, someone has their wires crossed.

The number 1 UK hit was the second single to be released from the album “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and this was the only track on the album that was not recorded in the Caribbean at Air Studios and was recorded at Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada. Considering it’s the only song on the album that does have more of a Caribbean vibe and feel about, I find it strange why they went to Canada to record it. The song was originally a demo that Sting wrote back in 1976 and its notable for featuring a pianist (uncommon in Police songs) and the piano and keyboard arrangements were done by  Jean Alain Roussel who was noted as a session player for many artists during the 70’s and 80’s and was perhaps more notable for his work with Cat Stevens.

The following 5 tracks “Hungary For You“. “Demolition Man“. “Too Much Information“. “Rehumanize Yourself” and “One World (Not Three)” are perhaps more reggae based than their norm in the way they generally fused it with other elements on their first 3 albums. Sting also contributes saxophone on these tracks too, although the sax is used more like an horn section than anything else.

Hungary For You” he mostly sings in French and it’s quite a good track.  “Demolition Man” is the longest track weighing in at some near enough 6 minutes and I personally prefer the version that Sting later went on to do or even the version Manfred Mann’s Earth Band did over this version. I know Grace Jones also covered the song and it was used in the film of the same title starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes that was released in 1993 and it became a hit in that year too. “Too Much Information” is none too clever and “Rehumanize Yourself” penned by Sting & Copeland is something more along the lines of Bad Manners in some respects, and “One World (Not Three)” is perhaps the most REGGAEFIED! track on the album though it’s not too bad.

The final 3 tracks on the album are the better album tracks in my opinion and production and sound wise they are more fitting with the opening 3 tracks on the album. “Secret Journey” is the final song Sting wrote for the album is a very good song and was even released as a single in the US & Canada though not in Europe. Stewart Copeland’sDarkness” was used as the B’-Side and is quite a good song too and so too is the only contribution Andy Summers contributed to the writing with “Ωmegaman” which is perhaps the rocker of the album. It was actually chosen by A&M to be the first single from the album, but Sting refused to allow its release in single form.

Overall, the bands 4th studio album Ghost in the Machine could have been the best album of material they ever put together. However, where it falls down is in the way the album actually flows and changes direction with the atmospheric sound to make it sound like all the tracks marry up and belong on the same album. It’s very much jarred by the way overall sound does sound completely different on tracks 4, 5 6, 7 & 8 in relation to tracks 1, 2, 3, 9, 10 & 11. The bass drive is the actual thing that holds it all together in the way that it does work and that effectively is the best thing about this album. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Spirits In The Material World“. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic“. “Invisible Sun“. “Secret Journey” and “Ωmegaman“.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by The Police & Hugh Padgham. All songs written by Sting (except track 7 by Sting & Stewart Copeland. Track 9 by Andy Summers and track 11 by Stewart Copeland). All songs recorded between Janury – September 1981 at at Air Studios, Montserrat except track 2 recorded at Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec Canada. Recording Engineer Hugh Padgham. Originally LP Mastering by Ted Jensen. Remastered by Dave Collins & Bob Ludwig. Art Direction & design by Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff, Mick Haggerty, Vartan. Photography by Duane Michals.


Sting: Lead & Backing Vocals – Bass & Double Bass – Keyboards – Saxaphone.
Andy Summers: Guitar – Backing Vocals – Keyboards.
Stewart Copeland: Drums – Percussion – Keyboards – Backing Vocals (Tracks 5 & 11).

Additional Musicians.

Jean Alain Roussel: Piano – Synthesizers (Track 2).

It’s A Big Enough Umbrella But It’s Always Me That Ends Up Getting Wet…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. Spirits In The Material World. 3:00. 2. Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic. 4:21. 3. Invisible Sun. 3:44. 4. Hungary For You. 2:53. 5. Demolition Man. 5:58. 6. Too Much Information. 3:43. 7. Rehumanize Yourself. 3:10. 8. One World (Not Three). 4:47. 9. Omegaman. 2:48. 10. Secret Journey. 3:34. 11. Darkness. 3:17.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 6/10.



The bands final studio album Synchronicity was released on the 17th June 1983. The original vinyl album came with 10 tracks and had an overall running time of 39 minutes, 49 seconds. However, both the Cassette and CD releases included the extra track “Murder By Numbers” to which is also not included on the CD in this box set. But they have included it on the bonus disc you get.  The album was nominated for a total of 5 Grammy Awards in 1984 and won 3 of them including the album of the year. It was the bands most successful album selling over 8 million copies in the US and once again was produced by the band and Hugh Padgham.

Once again, the album was recorded at Air Studios Montserrat and all the overdubs were done at Le Studio in Quebec, Canada and the title of the album and much of the material Sting wrote for the album was inspired by Arthur Koestler’s book The Roots of Coincidence. The album was recorded between December 1982 – February 1983.

Le Collage

Le Studio was a residential recording studio set in the Laurentian Mountains near the town of Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada built in 1972 by recording engineer and producer André Perry, Nick Blagona and Yaël Brandeis (who was Perry’s wife) and was later renamed Studio Morin Heights. André Perry gained fame as a recording engineer working for John Lennon. Along with the Olive Company he went on to develop one of the first recording consoles with motorized faders feeding two 24 track Studer’s synchronized to provide 48 tracks. He moved to Morin Heights, where he owned a lake, and built his studio there. The idea was to give recording artists a venue where they could record and live in a creative atmosphere, near the Laurentian Mountains.

The Canadian band Rush made most of their 70’s albums at the studio. Other notable artists to use it was David Bowie, Cat Stevens, The Bee Gees, Chicago and many others. Perry sold the studios in 1988 and in 2008 the studio had gone out of business, and as of 2015 the property was up for sale. In 2017 the building was partially destroyed by a suspicious fire and the residential area of the studio was completely destroyed.

As an album Synchronicity is without doubt the most solid album the band ever made and it’s also more like a proper album regarding the material that was written for it. By now The Police had ditched most of the traces of reggae that was associated with the 4 albums that came before it and even though the album produced 4 hit singles the rest of tracks are more like album tracks and are mostly very well written and very good. Even though this is not my GOTO! album of the band I do think it’s the best album they ever made, and “Every Breath You Take” is amongst the best hit songs Sting every wrote and is up there with “Roxanne” and “Message In A Bottle“.

Both “King Of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” are also excellent well written hits and the 4th single release “Synchronicity II” is another really great song. But the other GREAT! thing about this album are also some of the album tracks and “Walking In Your Footsteps“. “O My God” and “Tea In The Sahara” are certainly amongst the best of them. The opening track “Synchronicity I” is also quite good and Sting’s writing on this album is pretty much solid. The weakest tracks on the album are the ones written by the other 2 band members though “Mother” penned by Andy Summers is quite funny and Stewart Copeland’sMiss Gradenko” isn’t that bad either and there is not really anything remotely that bad on this album at all.

Overall, the album Synchronicity contains the strongest body of work that as ever been put on any of the bands albums it’s easy to see why they gained so much success and where at the ultimate height of their career when this album was released. It came as quite a shock when Sting decided to put an end to The Police whilst they were on top of the world and dominating the pop charts. The Police were one of the most successful pop bands of all time and very much went out on a high. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Every Breath You Take“. “Wrapped Around Your Finger“. “King Of Pain“. “Tea In The Sahara“. “Synchronicity II“. “Walking In Your Footsteps” and “O My God“.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by The Police & Hugh Padgham. All songs written by Sting (except track 4 by Andy Summers and track 5 by Stewart Copeland). All songs recorded between December 1982 – February 1983 at at Air Studios, Montserrat & Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec Canada. Recording Engineer Hugh Padgham. Mastering by Dave Collins & Bob Ludwig. Art Direction & design by Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff &Norman Moore. Photography by Duane Michals.


Sting: Lead & Backing Vocals – Bass & Double Bass – Keyboards – Drum machine & Sequencing (Track 1) – Saxophone (Track 3) – Oboe (Track 4).
Andy Summers: Guitar – Backing Vocals – Keyboards – Lead Vocals (track 4).
Stewart Copeland: Drums – Percussion – Marimba – Co-Lead Vocals (track 5).

Additional Musicians.

Tessa Niles: Backing Vocals.

I’ll Be Watching You…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. Synchronicity I. 3:23. 2. Walking In Your Footsteps. 3:36. 3. O My God. 4:03. 4. Mother. 3:05. 5. Miss Gradenko. 1:59. 6. Synchronicity II. 5:03. 7. Every Breath You Take. 4:13. 8. King Of Pain. 4:58. 9. Wrapped Around Your Finger. 5:13. 10. Tea In The Sahara. 4:17.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 9/10.



The bonus disc Flexible Strategies is an album that was included in both the vinyl and CD box sets of Every Move You Make. It’s also seen unofficial releases mainly from Russia since the vinyl box set was released back in 2018. Effectively it’s just a bonus album that features Non-Album B-Sides and the album consists of 12 tracks over an overall playing time of 43 minutes, 33 seconds. “Flexible Strategies” to which they have decided for the title of this extra album was the instrumental track that appeared on the B’-Side “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic” from the bands 4th album Ghosts In The Machine from 1981 and much of the material here goes back way further than that too and is an album were all 3 members of the band had more of an input in the writing rather than being mostly an album of tracks written mostly by Sting.

To be honest since having the box set I myself tend to play this album more than the others basically because I never had most of the material what you get here so it is all quite new to me even if it was made many years ago. I would not say the material was up to the heights in relation to the material that wound up on their albums but it certainly is an interesting album and well worthy of digging out and playing.

Some of the tracks on the album are very explicit and contain foul language and the album kicks off with “Dead End Job” which was co-wrote by Sting & Copeland. This song was performed live by the band before Andy Summers had joined them, however this recorded version was recorded when Summers had joined and Henry Padovani was no longer in the band. The original studio recording of the song was done when The Police were a 4-piece outfit in 1977. The version they included here was 40 seconds longer and recorded in January 1978 and was used for the B’-Side of “Can’t Stand Losing You“. It’s quite a raw powered and driven song and I love the banter at the end by Sting & Summers which is the explicit side of things.

Landlord” was another song that was originally performed live before Summers had joined the band. This version however was recorded much later and is credited to all 3 members of the band and was used for the B’-Side of “Message In A Bottle“. it’s one of those songs that runs along at 100mph. “Visions Of The Night” was written by Sting back in 1977 and although this song was used for the B’-Side of “Walking On The Moon” it’s the only studio song which features all four members of The Police including Henry Padovani’s rhythm guitar. “Friends” was the B’-Side of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and was written by Andy Summers. He got the inspiration for the song from Robert A. Heinlein’s sci-fi novel Stranger in a Strange Land. It reminds me a lot of Ian Dury with how Summers puts it across with his speaking voice, it also has Sting chanting along in it like he does on “Synchronicity II“.

A Sermon” was written by Copeland and was originally written for the band debut album Outlandos d’Amour but was left off the album. Eventually it found its way on the B’-Side of “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” in the UK and was also used for the B’-Side of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” in the US. The instrumental track “Shambelle” was written by Summers and was used for the B’-Side of “Invisible Sun“. Like I already mentioned “Flexible Strategies” was the B’-Side of “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and that was credited to all 3 members of the band. It’s quite a funky little number too.

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Low Life” is a really GREAT! song and was written by Sting and he wrote the song in Hamburg whilst they were working on the bands second album Reggatta de Blanc. It’s my favourite song on this album and should have been an A’-Side in my opinion or included on the album at least. However, in the end it wounded up on the B’-Side of “Spirits in the Material World“. It also features Olaf Kübler on saxophone who can play the instrument a damn site better than Sting. “Murder By Numbers” was the B’-Side of “Every Breath You Take” it was also included on the Cassette release of the album Synchronicity and later on the CD release of the album, although it was omitted from the original vinyl release. The song was co-written by Sting & Summers.

The much slower version of the song from their debut album Outlandos d’AmourTruth Hits Everybody (Remix)” was re-recorded during the sessions for their Synchronicity album in 1983. It’s a song the band toyed around with a lot and this version originally featured on the B’-Side of the maxi-single release of “Every Breath You Take” in the UK only. “Someone To Talk To” was written by Andy Summers and was used for the B’-Side of “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and the final track on the album “Once Upon A Daydream” was co-written by Sting & Summers and was the B’-Side of “Synchronicity II“.

Overall the bonus disc Flexible Strategies is a very welcoming inclusion to the box set and gives you a glances into some of the more earlier recordings the band did as well as some other songs that they recorded during the sessions they had putting all the material together for their 5 studio albums. For those like myself who were more album collectors this will feel like having a new album worth of material and even though the songs have been placed on the album in chronological order it still makes quite an enjoyable listen hearing them all put together like this.

It’s not a solid album by any means and after all this is a body of work of songs they were never really considered to put on an album in the first place and were mostly songs they wrote for the B-sides of their hit singles. But there is some really good songs here and my personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Low Life“. “Friends” “Dead End Job“. “Visions Of The Night“. “Murder By Numbers“. “Flexible Strategies” and “Someone To Talk To“.

No Rewards For Your Infatuation…

The album track listing is as follows: 1. Dead End Job. 3:35. 2. Landlord. 3:02. 3. Visions Of The Night. 3:06. 4. Friends. 3:36. 5. A Sermon. 2:32. 6. Shambelle. 5:10. 7. Flexible Strategies. 3:42. 8. Low Life. 3:45. 9. Murder By Numbers. 4:43. 10. Truth Hits Everybody (Remix). 3:47. 11. Someone To Talk To. 3:05. 12. Once Upon A Daydream. 3:34.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 6/10.


Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up and conclude my review of Every Move You Make (The Studio Recordings) by The Police. I would say that it is a box set that gives you the chance to rediscover and capture the magic of this band all over again and its super low price point of around £16 – £18 gives you the perfect opportunity to do so. However, if you already have all their albums and even the Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings 4 Disc box set that was released back in 1993 this box set is not going to give you anything new apart from all the tracks being more up to date with the remasters.

Regarding the remasters which would of been done in 2018 I do feel they do sound quite good, although from what I can gather in many reviews for a better overall sound quality you might be better off sorting out the individual releases of the albums that was released on CD back in 2003. I would also say that the cardboard Digipaks that came with those earlier remasters were of better quality than the ones the albums come in this box set which are more on the thinner side of things with how they have been constructed and the print quality would of also have been much better.

I personally do not think these new remasters are better than the quality of the original vinyl albums I had when they came out and there has been some slight compression used on these new remasters though it’s not really over the top. I certainly would not lash out the extra bucks for the vinyl edition of this box set and they would have been remastered the same and you would be better off with earlier remasters or the original vinyl albums that got released when they originally came out. But once again for the price point of the CD box set you cannot really complain and the quality is certainly good enough and represents good value for the buck.

The Police were without doubt a truly GREAT! pop band that had their own unique sound which was much different to many pop bands and it was down to fusing reggae with pop and rock that gave them that distinctive style that stood out a mile from the rest. It was also Sting’s voice that also had those unique distinctive characteristics and his writing that made the band what they were and why he still continued to be just as popular and successful with his own solo career. They churned out many hits and they was without doubt more of singles chart-topping band rather than a band that made good solid albums with good album material on them apart from their final album Synchronicity.

They captured the limelight and was never ever really out of it and disbanded at the highest peak of their career. They made their mark and put their stamp on musical history and will never be forgotten. However the music they did write may have been more appreciated back in its day rather than how it stands in the longevity stakes certainly personally for myself and it was the fact that they was more of an hits band is why I personally could not play these albums as much today and it is perhaps down to that rather than their music sounding on the outdated side of things.

But I did enjoy revisiting the band again and this box set gave a bit more with the bonus album Flexible Strategies that was included in that most of the material on that I had never heard before. And at this price point its certainly worthy of every penny.

Lee’s overall Complete Box Set Value Rating…

The Box Set Presentation Rating Score. 9/10.

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #136

One Of A Kind To Me (Expanded & Remixed CD/DVD) – Bill Bruford



Another individual release put out last month from the Seems Like A Life Time Ago Limited-Edition Box Set that Bill Bruford released back in 2017. Bruford’s second solo album One Of A Kind very much features the same line-up of musicians that appeared on his debut album (minus the singer) and followed along quickly in succession after his decision to quit the band UK after both John Wetton & Eddie Jobson fired guitarist Allan Holdsworth down to musical differences who Bruford had originally brought in to complete the bands line-up. He also took some of his own written material that was intended for UK’s second album to which wound up on this particular album. 

Now some 40 years later the album comes expanded and remixed. Although I would hardly say that one previously unreleased bonus track to which is only an out-take is much of a way of an extension or expansion, but nevertheless you do get that little extra thing on this re-issued release. The other thing you do also get is a DVD with a 5.1 mix and the original flat transfer of the album but before we take a closer look lets first take a look at the packaging and artwork as usual. 

The Packaging & Artwork…


The packaging is very much the same as they were in the original box set and the both discs are stored in a 2-panel cardboard gatefold DigiSleeve that is a miniature replica of a double vinyl album.  It also comes with a 12-page booklet which also slots into one of the sides and it contains some informative information and comes with an essay written by Sid Smith along with the usual credit and linear notes. 

Just like the individual release of Feels Good To Me it also comes with black cardboard sleeves that the discs slot into (as seen below) and they might not of been included in the way they came in the box set and could of been added for the individual releases only. But not having the box set I could not tell you. I would also suggest you do store them upright and not how I have displayed them here which was done for display purpose only. unless you want your discs to drop out and end up damaging them. 



The album cover was made up of photos by photographer John Shaw who done the photography for many artists albums during the 70’s and early 80’s including the likes of Jethro Tull, Wings, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, and even for UK’s live album Night After Night. Whatever the object is that Bill Bruford has his hands around reflects the albums title and it could be a Globe of light or a Cymbal with a light burst around it. It could also be Hell’s Bells for all I know :))))) and its sort of OK! Though perhaps something more like a one-off mythical creature or fiend might have also worked. The Art & Design for the 2017 layout was done by Martin Cook. 

One Of A Kind Album In Review…

The original album was released sometime back in June 1979 and contained 10 instrumental tracks (apart from some narration) spread over an overall playing time of 46 minutes, 28 seconds and just like his previous album was recorded at Trident Studios in London, England and recorded by the same studio engineer Stephen W. Tayler who also assisted Bruford in producing the album. 

Bruford was glad to get back to working on his next album after quitting UK and if the truth be told so was Alan Holdsworth who did not get along with both John Wetton and Eddie Jobson. But then again Holdsworth did find it hard to get along with most musicians and later on in many interviews expressed that he was not happy with the music UK was making and was glad to get out of it. 

The new Expanded and Remixed Edition of One Of A Kind was released on the 8th November 2019 and comes with 1 extra bonus track and in total has 11 tracks that span over and overall playing time of 52 minutes, 3 seconds. Once again it comes with new stereo and 5.1 mixes done by Jakko Jakszyk assisted by Bill Bruford. The CD features an extra previously unreleased bonus track which is an out-take of the 6th track on the album “Five G“. It was also not included in the 2017 Seems Like a Lifetime Ago box set. Most likely included to entice those who did purchase the box set to buy this individual release as well. 

Just like the individual release of Feels Good To Me that I previously reviewed it is only the CD in the package that does contain the new stereo mixes which were done by Jakko Jakszyk under the guidance and approval of Bill Bruford. Where I felt that Jakszyk had done quite a good job of the new mixes he did for Bruford’s debut album Feels Good To Me I cannot really say I am impressed with what he’s done on this release. It does seem to be on the lightweight side of things and the bass sounds too thin in the mix. It also does not really in any way present to you with what many new remixes will give you and sounds more like it’s been remastered rather than newly mixed. 

I certainly do not think it’s an improvement over the original mix on the DVD or the CD I brought back in the 90’s and you might be better off sticking with whatever other release you had before. To be honest the bonus track which is the out-take of “Five G” dynamically sounds much better than any of the other tracks on the CD. It is very much quite different too and only Bruford, Berlin and Stewart are playing on it so the bass is more dominant in the mix. So, with the CD out of the way let’s see if we can salvage anything out of this package as we take a look at the DVD that comes with it. 

The DVD.

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The DVD’s main menu is very basic and simplistic and presents you with the choice of either playing the new 2017 surround mix or the original 1979 album mix. Only 1 audio track has been assigned to each of the mixes and the surround mix comes with a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with an audio format of 48/44.1khz and does not include a DTS or Stereo mix. To listen to the new stereo mixes you will have to play the CD.

The original 1979 album comes with a stereo audio track with a basic audio format of 48/44.1khz and does not include a Hi-Res 24-bit format. It’s unfortunate that everything about the way things have been done and presented here are so BOX STANDARD! I very much think that for all those surround FREAKS! who forked out the money for the Box Set just to get their hands on the 5.1 mix must have been hugely disappointed and it does suffer for not having a DTS audio track here.

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By clicking on any one of the 2 choices offered to you from the main menu it presents you with the albums playlist as shown in the picture above. Here you can simply choose a track to play or play all if you want to listen the whole album. The surround mix does not include the previously unreleased bonus track “Five G Outtake” but they have included it on the original album mix. 

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Whilst playing the album it presents you with the title of the track that is playing as shown in the picture above. It does not have any pictures in the way of a slideshow and the only other visual effect it does have is that at the end of each track the title fades out and fades in the name of the next track. Overall everything about how they put together the DVD is as basic as you can get and is presented in the same way that they done with the debut album.

The 5.1 Mix.

Once again, I do feel that this is one of Jakko Jakszyk’s better 5.1 mixes. I would also say that because the new stereo mixes he done do sound like more of a remaster and do not do anything sonically to make any improvement over the original mix, that even though there is no DTS track here you will get more from the 5.1 mix even with its lower format of standard Dolby Digital. He really has done well with placement of the instruments across the 6 channels and it’s a very well balanced and quite an exciting mix in some respects and will give you a GREAT! immersive experience. 

I think regarding both the 5.1 mixes he’s done for this album and Bruford’s debut album you are better off playing them on a day when you have not played anything else first to get the benefit and the most out of them, simply because of the fact that he has used the lowest of the low 5.1 formats. The 5.1 mix is by far the best thing in this package where as it was the CD with the new stereo mixes that were the best thing in the Feels Good To Me package and that is basically down the fact that he has not used DTS to make it sound sonically better. Because of that this 5.1 mix still only scores 7 out of 10. 

Musicians & Credits…


All compositions by Bill Bruford except for tracks 6 & 11 by Berlin Stewart, Bruford. Track 1 Stewart & Gowen. Track 3 Bruford & Stewart. Track 7 Holdworth. Track 9 Bruford & Jobson. Produced by Bill Bruford. Assistant Producer Stephen W. Tayler. Recorded between January & February 1979 at Trident Studios London. Recording Engineer. Stephen W. Tayler. Original Sleeve Photography by John Shaw. 2017 Art & Design by Martin Cook. New Stereo & 5.1 Surround Mixes by Jakko Jakszyk & Bill Bruford. Mastering & DVD Authoring by Ben Darlow.


Bill Bruford: Drums/Cymbals/Marimba/Voice.
Dave Stewart: Keyboards.
Allan Holdsworth: Guitar.
Jeff Berlin: Bass.

Additional Musicians.

Eddie Jobson: Violin (Tracks 8)
Sam Alder: Narration (Track 5)
Anthea Norman-Taylor: Voice (Track 5)

The Album Tracks In Review…

Bruford’s second album One Of A Kind is seen by many has his best output from his solo career and many of the GREAT! reviews have pointed to that too. I myself find it quite hard to separate it from his debut album in terms of a rating basically because the material that was written for both albums is very strong. Musically the album could be said to be more mechanical in some respects and the other band members also had more of an input into the writing side of it as well. I would also say that this album is more rocked up to give it more of a PROGMATIC! side over the fusion and the production side of things is not so much like Brand X and has its own style about it. 

The other notable thing about this album is that unlike his debut album Feels Good To Me which was put out under his full name as a solo album. Bruford decided that this album was going to be more like a band and this was something he did discuss with the other musicians and he wanted them to be more involved in it like a band. Hence why the rest of his albums in this project was put out under his sir name only. However, this was to be Allan Holdsworth’s final album he did with Bruford and he left to go on to do other things just before the tour of the album and was replaced by John Clark. So’ let’s now take a closer look at the album as I go through the individual tracks. 

Track 1. Hells Bells.

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The album kicks off in a very promising energetic exciting and vibrant way and in all respects that is exactly how his debut album kicked off too. It’s a piece that mostly written by the keyboard player Dave Stewart (not be confused with the guitarist from the Eurythmics) who also has the same name.  However, he did borrow a couple of bars in the melody line from his fellow band mate Alan Gowen to which they both was part of the Canterbury Scene and in a jazz fusion band who went by the name of National Health. The band also actually managed to churn out a couple of their own albums in the same year that Bill Bruford was putting his second solo album together. He also got the bass player Neil Murray from the same band to help him out on his debut album.

Hells Bells” is very much a piece that is built around the main structure of the opening lead moog synth lines and it is the synth that carries the main melody to allow both Bruford and Berlin to play around. As the piece transcends along it gets further developed with a couple of transnational changes, the first to allow Holdsworth to fly some lead lines over it on his guitar and the second to make way for a bass solo and piano before falling back into its main melody back on the synths. It’s a very well worked out short piece and favourite with many, it’s also more of a prog rock piece and is a very strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! 

Track 2. One of a Kind (Part 1)

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The albums self-titled track comes in two parts to which the first part is the shorter of the two, the first part also runs along the lines of prog rock and it’s only really Holdsworth’s jazzy guitar lines that do add to the fusion here more than anything. Once again this is another heavy synth-based track like many on the album and this is perhaps where this album does differ slightly from the debut album Feels Good To Me. But even though it is a heavy synth-based album it does also offer bags of room for Holdsworth’s guitar and his guitar does feature more so on this album in relation to Bruford’s debut album. 

Once again there is some GREAT! melodies that are constructed from the synths which do make the piece have quite a statement so does Holdsworth on the guitar and the way they have incorporated it into the 2nd part is by simply bringing everything down to allow a smooth transition into it. 

Track 3. One of a Kind (Part 2)

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The 2nd part is more of the jazz fused section and with Stewart switching onto the Rhodes we get that Eumir Deodato feel like we got on the 2nd part of “Seems Like A Lifetime Ago” from his debut album. This also allows Berlin, Bruford and Holdsworth to work their way into it all to which they do exceptionally well. The first part was written by Bruford whereas this 2nd part he co-wrote with Stewart and you can see how Stewart had more of a part in how this 2nd part is constructed around the keys. 

As the piece runs along it builds its way back into the 1st part again eventually and it contains some really GREAT! interplay between all 4 musicians. This has to be another strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT! and is a very TASTY! piece of work indeed. 

Track 4. Travels With Myself – And Someone Else.

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Time to dim the lights and simmer things down to a smoother mood and feel and this piece certainly does that superbly and in style. Its title could be seen as one sentence but is split into two parts for some reason and it does give the appearance that there are two tracks all rolled up into one here, although this is one piece that has been very well constructed and was penned by Bruford. I would also say that Holdsworth is more restrained on this piece and plays the odd subtle lush ambient chords on his guitar and the only lead lines he plays are more or less at the end where it fades out. 

It’s a piece that showcases some fine keyboard work from Stewart in particular with the melody lines and he even incorporate a bit of nice theme into it as well. Bruford does a lovely more subtle job on the kit whilst Berlin works in some GREAT! bass lines and gets to throw in a bass solo along the way too. It really is another excellent track on the album like they all are I feel too. 

Track 5. Fainting in Coils.

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Another piece penned by Bruford and besides the drums he also throws in a bit of narration along with Sam Alder and Anthea Norman-Taylor who happened to be Brian Eno’s wife at the time. Fainting in coils is taken from Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland he wrote back in 1865 under the pseudonym name of Lewis Caroll.  It is also considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre and the sentence “fainting in coils” is spoken by the Mock Turtle in the story and in this case by Bruford whilst Alder does the most of the narration and Norman-Taylor does the voice of Alice.

Fainting In Coils” is the longest track on the album and weighs in at 6 minutes 53 seconds it’s also the most PROGMATIC! track on the album and goes through quite a few really GREAT! transitional changes incorporating different themes and melody lines from Stewart’s keyboards and Holdsworth’s guitars. All 4 musicians do an excellent job on the piece. I’s also my personal favourite track on the album and merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 6. Five G.

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This next piece was written by Berlin, Bruford and Stewart and is a piece that would have been constructed around Berlin’s bass line and he does work his butt off on this track too and does an excellent job on the slap bass. Holdsworth flies over this track and is on fire too and it’s another excellent track that interoperates jazz funk into prog rock and is another firm favourite with many and is another stand out track on the album in contention for the albums TOP SPOT! 

Track 7. The Abingdon Chasp.

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This piece was written by Holdsworth and he plays both electric and acoustic guitar on this piece and constructs not only some fine melody lines but stronger themes with how he’s overdubbed his guitars into the piece. The piece was not intended to be for Bruford’s album and Holdsworth was asked to write and record a demo track for Virgin Records and he was joined in the recording session by Bill Bruford, keyboardist Jeff Young (later Steely Dan, Sting, etc), French bassist Francis Moze (Gong), and alto saxophonist Ray Warleigh (a long-time jazz partner who had “discovered” Allan back in Bradford). It was one of the rare occasions that Holdsworth wrote a piece without having a title for it first and it was sitting around for quite a while before he came up with one.

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Holdsworth also like the odd pint of beer or two and liked to travel to places that served fine ales and it was whilst he was in Abingdon in Oxfordshire England that he came across a fine pub which exclusively serves ale from the Morland brewery, and after a few pints with his mates the English word “chaps” got to be pronounced “chasp” and that’s how he came up with the title.

After doing the demo for Virgin they didn’t follow through and said the music was too ‘eccentric’ for their tastes. So, Bruford suggested that they could record it again and use it for this album and Holdsworth did a very TASTY! job of replacing Ray Warleigh’s sax with his guitar and I rather think that this is another contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 8. Forever Until Sunday.

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I love the way this track opens up and it reminds me of a bit of “Small Hours” from John Martyn’s 1978 album One World in some respects though it soon goes down a few other roads on that score. It features Eddie Jobson on violin who was originally uncredited on the original album. Although it was penned by Bruford this piece was actually performed live by UK prior to it appearing on this album. Jobson’s violin plays a beautiful melody which is then later replicated by Holdsworth’s guitar and they both do a sensational job on the piece.

Track 9. The Sahara of Snow (Part 1)

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The final piece on the album is split into two parts and the first part was written by Bruford. The opening ambient section portrays the title very well and it’s spiced or vamped up by Stewart’s hypnotic 7/8 piano rhythm to which allows Bruford & Berlin to get into the 7/8 groove of things and the second part of the vamped piano is backed up very well by the marimba and allows Holdsworth to work his way into the piece on the guitar and the first part is certainly the more interesting part of the two here. It’s also the longer of the 2-part piece.

Track 10. The Sahara of Snow (Part 2)

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The 2nd part of the piece was co-written by Bruford & Jobson and both parts were played live by UK on the last tour that both Bruford and Holdsworth played with them. It’s a bit more straight forward with both the piano and the bass vamping along and with the addition of the claps its perhaps a small party piece that would work well live for the audience to join in on the claps. Holdsworth’s lead guitar lines work closely with the groove harmony and even though its perhaps a less interesting piece it rounds off the album well enough. 


To sum up Bill Bruford’s second album One Of A Kind just like my previous review of Feels Good To Me in this section I am mainly going to focus my attention on this new EXPANDED & REMIXED! Edition that was originally done back in 2017 and included in the Seems Like A Lifetime Ago box set. By having both new individual releases of these albums they do have some of the same drawbacks and some differences with how they have been mixed.  

For example, the same things I am seeing on both of these releases from the box set is the shoddy workmanship of not including a DTS Soundtrack for the 5.1 mix and their incompetence not to remove the unnecessary long pauses in between some of the tracks on the album. The only real major difference between them both is how Jakko Jakszyk has done the new stereo mixes, and where I felt he had done a good job on the debut album I honestly cannot say the same with how he’s done the new stereo mix for One Of A Kind and it is quite disappointing and not what I would expect to get from a new mix.  

In all honesty the CD that comes in this package may very well be the worst mix the album has ever received out of all the revisions and remasters that came before it, and it is simply not good enough. The best thing in this package is the bonus track and that may not have been remixed at all and the 5.1 mix. But even that could and should have been done better by including a DTS Soundtrack. That is really the only thing that lets the 5.1 mixes down on both albums because I do feel they have been done very well by Jakszyk. 


In conclusion One Of A Kind by Bill Bruford or in the terms of a band sense Bruford is another quite solid album with the material that was written for it. It’s an album I have always enjoyed just as much as his debut album and terms of a rating I personally could not separate the first two albums and they are in every inch as good as each other. 

If anything, I would say that the album One Of A Kind does tend to be more prog rock based and does not have some of the more refined jazz elements that we got on the album Feels Good To Me. In many ways his debut album does have more finesse and a bit more in variety department. But both are very enjoyable albums that you can instantly like and feel at home with and they also have the longevity to stay with you. My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Hell’s Bells“. “One Of A Kind (Parts 1 & 2)“. “Fainting In Coils“. “Five G” and “The Abingdon Chasp“. 

Overall regarding both of the new individual releases from the box set. I was glad to see them finally get released and the price point of £12.99 each does give you something but I may have returned them for a refund if they were priced any more. Simply because a lot more could have been done to present these albums with the quality, they both deserved to have. It’s such a shame with how they have gone about things here and the standards are low in comparison to the many other artists who are presenting their back catalogue of music by giving them a new lease of life with new stereo and 5.1 mixes by doing things properly and also giving the respect their albums deserve. 

Drawing, Sketching And Fainting In Coils

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Hell’s Bells. 3:47.
02. One Of A Kind (Part 1). 2:20.
03. One Of A Kind (Part 2). 4:01.
04. Travels With Myself/And Someone Else. 6:15.
05. Fainting In Coils. 6:53.
06. Five G. 4:46.
07. The Abingdon Chasp. 4:51.
08. Forever Until Sunday. 5:47.
09. The Sahara Of Snow (Part 1). 5:21.
10. The Sahara Of Snow (Part 2). 3:24.
11. Five G (Outake). 4:38.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 8/10

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10

The New Stereo Mix Rating Score. 5/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 7/10

The Original Album Rating Score. 9/10

Lee Speaks About Music… #135

Feels Good To Me (Remixed CD/DVD Edition) – Bill Bruford



Since the breakup of King Crimson back in 1974 Bill Bruford went on to doing various other things with the likes of artists such as Gong, Roy Harper, Pavlov’s Dog, Genesis, Steve Howe and Chris Squire till he decided what he wanted to do. I guess the inspiration came from seeing how his old band mates from Yes was working on their own solo projects and it was at the beginning of 1977 that he decided it was time to work on his own solo career and put together an album. He had a couple of pieces of music he had been working on for it and he called upon keyboardist David Stewart to help out on a few of the tracks.

I have to confess that I myself much preferred him back in the days with Yes and thought he was absolutely BONKERS! to leave at such a pivotal moment and time to join King Crimson. But I guess it was his love for jazz that was deep rooted into his soul that made the decision in the end and I have always liked how his own distinctive style stands out well enough for one to instantly recognise who it is behind the drum kit.

I think many of the bands and projects Bruford has been involved in over his musical career have always been interesting and have something to say, some more than others. I quite liked most of them apart from Earthworks which was perhaps a bit too much straight jazz for my particular taste, but have always highly regarded the 3 solo albums he made between 1978 – 1980. In many ways the jazz fusion that is contained on his solo material is very close to the same style that the UK band Brand X did and contains aspects of FUNK! only its perhaps got a bit more finesses to it and is not too flamboyant. It does also incorporate some straight jazz into it but overall the balance between fusion and jazz does work very well and is very well refined.

Perhaps “refined” was more of the word I was looking for when comparing Bruford’s solo work with Brand X and interestingly enough there is also a Brand X connection in particular with his debut album in that it was co-produced by Robin Lumley and Bill Bruford, and as well as having the bands keyboard player at the time lending an hand on the production, the bands guitarist John Goodsall also features on one of the tracks. Although unlike the guitarist Alan Holdsworth he roped in who he barely knew at the time, he had already done a few stints with Brand X.

It was having heard what the American bassist Jeff Berlin had done on Patrick Moraz’s debut album The Story Of I that made Bruford want to work with him and having already worked with the singer Annette Peacock back in 1975 was the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle to assemble his debut album Feels Good To Me. Now the album comes with a new stereo and 5.1 surround mix and that would certainly feel good to me as a rule. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork first.

The Packaging & Artwork…


Released last month the new REMIXED version of the album comes in a cardboard 2-panel DigiSleeve that represents a miniature version of a gatefold double vinyl LP. Both the discs are stored in the same way of a double vinyl album and are housed in the both sides of the DigiSleeve. It also comes with a 12-page booklet which also slots into one of the sides and it contains some very informative information and comes with an essay written by Sid Smith along with the original sleeve notes by Richard Williams and all the usual credits, linear notes and lyrics.

The discs are also stored in black cardboard sleeves that slot into the sides of the DigiSleeve as seen below. Though I would suggest you do store them upright and not how I have displayed them here which was done for display purpose only.


Overall, it’s a very tidy neat package and presentation and I pre-ordered it from Amazon UK and it arrived on the day of its release. It also came at a very respectable price of £12.99 and as his 2nd album One Of A Kind was also being released on the same day. I pre-ordered both and got them both at the same price each.


The albums front cover is a photograph that was taken by Gered Mankowitz who Bruford had last posed for on the sleeve of King Crimson’s album Red. The original sleeve design was done by David Larkham whose sleeve design company was called Cream and was located in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Art & Design for the 2017 layout was done by Martin Cook.

Feels Good To Me Album In Review…

Feels Good To Me by Bill Bruford was originally released sometime in January 1978. The album contained 10 tracks to which are mostly instrumental and it comes with a playing time of 48 minutes 16 seconds. This particular new REMIXED edition of the album was released last month on the 8th November 2019 and contains the same 10 tracks over the same time slot and no bonus tracks are included. It was previously released in in a box set entitled Seems Like A Lifetime Ago along with the other 2 studio albums and live album he made, plus another live concert and some demos that were previously unreleased.

It was back in 2017 Bill Bruford did release the 8 disc Box Set made up of 6 CD’s & 2 DVD’s to which he limited to 2,000 copies only. I am pretty sure a few more copies had to be made as well to cater for all those who had pre-ordered it and it was only made available to order from his own website and priced at around £88 here in the UK.


I was aware at the time that the box set was being released but like many box sets they do tend to be well overpriced which is why I never bothered pre-ordering it. In all honesty this particular box set should of retailed for around £35 – £40 and not the £88 price tag he was asking for it. I was glad a couple of years later he had seen sense to release his first two solo albums individually, because they were the only things in it of real interest to me simply because they were the only ones that came with the DVD’s with the 5.1 mixes on. You can also see that they came in the same DigiSleeves as well.

There is no doubt that Bill Bruford kept himself busy after his departure from King Crimson in 1974 and the time he spent between 1977 – 1979 he was not only working on his own solo project but also both Bruford & Holdsworth joined up with John Wetton and Eddie Jobson to form the supergroup UK. Bruford spent around 6 months in 1977 from January – June writing the music and then spent 3 weeks rehearsing it before going into the studio in August to record and mix the album.

The rest of the year was spent working on the UK album and both albums were recorded and mixed in the same studio by the same engineer Stephen William Tayler at Trident Studios. The both albums were released in the following year as well and even though the UK album was released a couple of months after it did sort of overshadow the release of his debut album Feels Good To Me. To be honest I was not even aware that Bruford had even started his own solo career until a couple of decades later but I did buy the UK album on its release.

Trident Studios was located at 17 St Anne’s Court in London’s Soho district between 1968 and 1981. It was constructed in 1967 by Norman Sheffield who was the drummer of the 1960s group the Hunters, and his brother Barry. It was Manfred Mann’s successful 1968 hit song “My Name is Jack” that helped launch the studio’s reputation and later in the same year the Beatles recorded “Hey Jude” and part of their double album known as the White Album.


Other well-known albums and songs recorded at Trident include Elton John’sCandle in the Wind“, David Bowie’s the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Harry Nilsson’sWithout You” and Queen’s first 3 albums Queen, Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack. If it was not for the Sheffield brothers Queen may never have been noticed today it was them that managed the band and took a gamble in launching their debut album having struggled to find any companies to release it.

Trident also gained a reputation for the sound of its piano, which can be heard on the Beatles‘ “Hey Jude“, Elton John’sYour Song“, Queen’sKiller Queen” and many other tracks. It was a handmade C. Bechstein concert-sized instrument that was over one hundred years old.

Over the 13 years the Sheffield brother ran the studio many more well-known artists used it and albums and singles came out of it including Bee Gees, Carly Simon, Chris de Burgh, Frank Zappa, Genesis, Brand X, James Taylor, Joan Armatrading, Joe Cocker, Kiss, Tygers of Pan Tang, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Marc Almond, Marc and the Mambas, Soft Cell, The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, Tina Turner, T-Rex, Van der Graaf Generator, Yes. John Entwistle, Supertramp and many more.

Trident Studios was sold in December 1981 and Trident Sound Studios Ltd, opened in 1993 and specialises in voiceover and ADR work. Although not related to the original Trident Studios, it was named in recognition of the original facility.


On 15 June 2017, a British Plaque Trust permanent blue plaque was unveiled outside the building at 17 St Anne’s Court, London in the recognition of the multiple David Bowie albums recorded there. Today the building is quite popular with tourists and no doubt it does hold a lot of fascinating musical history.

The new stereo and 5.1 mixes were done by Jakko Jakszyk & Bill Bruford who I feel have done quite a good job of both the stereo and 5.1 mixes. However regarding the 5.1 mix of this album there is a down side to it, and I rather think because of the lack of intelligence not to include something and the negligence not to remove something puts me more in the frame of mind that it was done by amateurs rather than professionals who knew what they was doing.

I shall go into what should have been removed later on in my review and it’s perhaps only a little niggly gripe I have that is down to laziness more than anything else that does effect both the stereo and 5.1 mixes. But on the whole the DVD that is included in this package is not up the standards of many other artists and is perhaps more of a SHABBY! presentation with how they have gone about things here. So, let’s now take a look at the DVD.

The DVD.

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The DVD’s main menu is very basic and simplistic and presents you with the choice of either playing the new 2017 surround mix or the original 1978 album mix. Only 1 audio track has been assigned to each of the mixes and the surround mix comes with a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with an audio format of 48/44.1khz and does not include a DTS or Stereo mix. To listen to the new stereo mixes you will have to play the CD.

The original 1978 album comes with a stereo audio track with a basic audio format of 48/44.1khz and does not include a Hi-Res 24 bit format. It’s unfortunate that everything about the way things have been done and presented here are so BOX STANDARD! I very much think that for all those surround FREAKS! who forked out the money for the Box Set just to get their hands on the 5.1 mix must have been hugely disappointed and although I do feel the surround mix is quite good. It does suffer for not having a DTS audio track here, making the new mixes on the CD sonically sound better than anything on the DVD.

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By clicking on any one of the 2 choices offered to you from the main menu it presents you with the albums play list. Here you can simply choose a track to play or play all if you want to listen the whole album. Both the surround and stereo mixes have the same number of tracks and no bonus tracks have been included.

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Whilst playing the album it presents you with the title of the track that is playing as shown in the picture above. It does not have any pictures in the way of a slideshow and the only other visual effect it does have is that at the end of each track the title fades out and fades in the name of the next track. Overall everything about how they put together the DVD is as basic as you can get and personally I feel a child would of done a better job.

The 5.1 Mix.

Both the stereo and 5.1 mixes done by Jakko Jakszyk & Bill Bruford are very good and it’s only the fact that they have not included a DTS 5.1 mix that really lets the surround mix down. To be honest the way everything has been panned out across the 6 channels it does sound like one of the better mixes Jakszyk has been involved in. I cannot fault the stereo mix on the CD at all and both sonically and dynamically it does sound better than the 5.1 mix.

But I blame the both of them here and in all honesty the whole presentation of the DVD does look like it was done by someone with no real experience at all and they were doing it for the first time. This is the sort of job you would expect back in the mid 90’s not in 2017 and really should of been done with more hindsight and done a lot better. You could not get more BASIC! if you tried lol…

In terms of a rating I do feel if they would have included a DTS 5.1 mix it would have had the potential to score somewhere between an 8 – 10. But as it stands, I will give it a 7 out of 10 down to the fact that at least they got a good overall balance and placement across the 6 channels and it still will give the immersive experience even though sonically the CD sounds better. Regarding the inclusion of the original stereo mix that is included on the DVD. They might just as well of put it on a CD and I am sure they were playing cowboys when they worked on the DVD :)))))).

Musicians & Credits…


All compositions by Bill Bruford except for tracks 5, 8 & 9 by Bruford & Stewart. Track 10 music by Bruford words by Peacock. Produced by Robin Lumley. Recorded & Mixed in August 1977 at Trident Studios London. Recording Engineer. Stephen W. Tayler. Original Sleeve Design by Cream. Original Sleeve Photography by Gered Mankowitz. 2017 Art & Design by Martin Cook. New Stereo & 5.1 Surround Mixes by Jakko Jakszyk & Bill Bruford. Mastering & DVD Authoring by Ben Darlow.


Bill Bruford: Tuned & Untuned Percussion/Kit Drums/Tunes & Final Say.
Dave Stewart: Keyboards/Reasonably Advanced Harmonic Advice.
Allan Holdsworth: Guitar.
Jeff Berlin: Bass.
Annette Peacock: Vocals (Tracks 2 3 & 10).

Additional Musicians.

Kenny Wheeler: Flugelhorn (Tracks 3. 7 & 9)
John Goodsall: Additional Guitar (Track 6)
Neil Murray: A bass player when I needed one.

The Album Tracks In Review…

Bill Bruford’s debut album Feels Good To Me as been regarded by many as his personal best output from his solo career and to a certain degree I might go along with that myself. I did buy all 3 of his studio albums and his live album back in the 90’s and can honestly say I like them all and they are all pretty much quite solid albums. To be honest I have never really paid too much attention to his Earthworks project or brought any of those albums. I am not saying I do not like straight jazz but its perhaps a bit too much brass for my liking and more like big band music in some respects. To which there is nothing wrong with that either and I love to death Frank Zappa’s 1972 album The Grand Wazoo but there is a hell of a lot more going on in that.

Out of the other couple of musicians who I have not mentioned who feature on the album, one who does not at all is the bass player Neil Murray. He only stood in for Jeff Berlin at times during the rehearsal sessions of the album and does not actually appear on any of the album tracks, unlike Kenny Wheeler who does get to play on 3 of the tracks and does a GRAND! job too. Murray did also play bass for them live as well at times and can even be seen captured playing the bass for them when they did the live session to promote the album for the Old Grey Whistle Test back in 1978 which you can still find on YouTube. So, let’s now take a look at the individual tracks of the album.

Track 1. Beelzebub.

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The album opens up in quite an exciting and menacing way and the funked fusion vibe here is more along the lines of progressive rock and familiar with the band Brand X and this is an instrumental piece that could easily be seen as the best track on the album and a firm favourite with many I would of thought. The first couple of tracks on the album “Beelzebub” and “Back To The Beginning” were amongst the first tracks that Bruford had written for the album and he did write them before he sat down to work on the album at the beginning of 1977.

It was in the late part of 1976 that Bruford had got together with both Rick Wakeman and John Wetton and they were working together on putting a project together though it never got off the ground and was aborted. But during the time they spent rehearsing as a trio they did perform both “Beelzebub” and “Back To The Beginning” and having heard how well the tracks sounded it did encourage Bruford to continue pursuing with his writing.

I have to admit that when you look at any band its very hard to visualize a drummer as a writer. But being as both the drums and piano are part of the percussion family in an orchestra it’s not unusual to see that most drummers can play the piano to some extent and Bruford does also use the piano in the way of a tool and implement to write music with, though he will also tell you that the process can be laborious and take ages.

The name Beelzebub is a mythological creature and can be associated with the Canaanite god Baal. In theological sources, predominantly Christian, Beelzebub is sometimes another name for the devil, similar to Satan. He is known in demonology as one of the seven princes of Hell. The Dictionnaire Infernal describes Beelzebub as a being capable of flying, known as the “Lord of the Flyers”, or the “Lord of the Flies”. This piece certainly does fly and goes through some well good transitions and is an excellent piece of work and I guess why this is my personal favourite track on the album and merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! But to be perfectly honest the next 4 tracks that follow it could also easily merit that award.

Track 2. Back To The Beginning.

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The first of the 3 vocal tracks on the album and I must admit Annette Peacock certainly does have a very strange and unusual voice and this album was the first time I had heard her voice as well. When I first heard it I have to admit it had me thinking WTF! at first :)))))). My initial reaction to it had me thinking this woman cannot sing for TOFFEE! but it soon grew on me and I got to see how well defined the character of her voice sat in with the music and fitted it like a glove.

The lyrics Bruford wrote for the song are very well written and pertain to how the many same mistakes we make throughout life are from our imperfections and go back to the beginning of the garden of Eden with Eve. You could say the devil had a hand in how we are caught in the circle. In some ways the way that Peacock does express the words in both a singing and talking manner sort of throws a 60’s melancholic carefree hippie presence and feel to it all even if the music does not. She also reminds me a bit like one of the female vocalists on the 1969 electronic album An Electric Storm by White Noise.

Oddly enough her career stretches back to a year before that album and in 1968 she was said to be the first person to compose music for the synthesizer and play it live. However, she did get booed off the stage and folks were not quite ready for it. In the following year of 1969, she became one of the first people to experiment with Rap. In 1972 David Bowie turned up unexpected at her studio with Mick Ronson and asked her if she would play some synthesizers on his new album, he was working on Aladdin Sane. She refused and more or less told Bowie that you’re a musician go home and learn how to play them. She was the one who also recommended the keyboard player Mike Garson to Bowie who had dome some keyboard work on her own debut album at the time, and he ended up getting the job and played live and on a few of Bowie’s albums

Most of the information I just stated came from this rare piece of footage I found on the Tube of her. I cannot vouch how much of it is true especially regarding the David Bowie side of things and her being the first to compose music for the synthesizer and play it live to which I do believe goes back a bit further than that. But I do know that Mick Ronson played guitar on one of her albums and that Mike Garson played keyboards on Peacock’s 1972 debut album I’m The One.

To be honest in some of the interviews I have also read in my research she does tend to comes across a bit too Cock-Sure of herself but having also checked out some of her music I can perhaps see why Bowie was influenced by her and she is quite unique in what she does. I am also tempted to delve a bit more into her music and perhaps buy some of it in the future.

Although this next piece of video footage I grabbed from the Tube is perhaps not as good quality wise in comparison to video I seen of them on the Old Grey Whistle Test. You can hear how Peacock’s voice does sound like it does on the studio version and this also features the original line up of the band that is on the studio album.

Back To The Beginning” is another really excellent track on the album and although it may look like Annette Peacock stole the show here it does also feature some excellent work from the other guys and some truly GREAT! guitar work from the late GREAT! Allan Holdsworth. It’s also a very strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 3. Seems Like A Lifetime Ago (Part One)

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This GORGEOUS! piece comes in two parts to which the first part is a vocal track that simmers and mellows things down a bit more. Annette Peacock’s voice is very much a lot sweeter on this one and it’s also perhaps worth noting that it’s not only her voice that does sing sweetly here either, and Kenny Wheeler’s flugelhorn also sings along BEAUTIFULLY! I think the both parts put you in the picture and would have easily sat in well in a GREAT! movie.

Once, again I am well impressed with Bruford’s lyrics and he really has thought about the words and not just written any old thing that will fit sort of thing. The lyrics do pertain to love and are quite poetic and relate to how over the years the warmth of love can dim and fade and I like how he’s likened it to how the seasons change too. It really is a GREAT! song and one that tailspins into the 2nd part which is perhaps more of an action scene that would fit in another part of a movie.

Track 4. Seems Like A Lifetime Ago (Part Two)

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Apart from a few words at the beginning this piece is very much an instrumental track and one that has some GREAT! vibes on the Rhodes from Dave Stewart whilst Jeff Berlin gets the funk back out on the bass and both Bruford and Holdsworth also get into the swing and groove of things too. This piece is very well built up and is very much like a piece that comes in 3 parts with how it changes its musical direction. For example, the first section changes the mood completely from the part one and picks things up by working around some fine punctuating melody lines from the guitar and synth and it’s like a theme from a TV Series sort of thing.

Then it comes down and goes into the vibe section on the keys which is more like something that Eumir Deodato did with Richard Strauss’sAlso Sprach Zarathustra” back in 1973 in the way of jazz funk. This is where they all get into the swing and groove of things and there is also a bit of a clapping section that works well for audience participation for live shows too. The final section falls back into the melody lines that made up the song in part one and ends it off superbly.

To be perfectly honest I find it hard to believe that Bill Bruford wrote this piece on his own and it does feel more like a band effort with how everyone is contributing and executing their parts so well. The musicianship is TOP CLASS! and they really do the DOGS BOLLOX! here.

I very much brought Deodato’s single version of Also Sprach Zarathustra” back in 1973 and the B’ Side was entitled “Spirit Of Summer” and although they are nothing alike I do feel that the first part of “Seems Like A Lifetime Ago” could be seen as the spirit of summer and the way the second part runs along could also be seen as the same sort of jazz funk in all respects to the A’ Side and the two parts as an whole have to be also very strong contenders for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 5. Sample And Hold.

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Another strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT! and “Sample And Hold” is another one of the instrumental pieces that runs along the lines of prog rock and this one is a bit like a cross between Brand X and the Dutch band Focus. This is one of the 3 tracks on the album that was co-written by Bruford & Stewart and features some more lovely vibes on the keys by Stewart and some superb bass work from Berlin. Holdsworth plays some nice short very tasty lead work on this track too whilst Bruford keeps it all under control, compact and tight as ever.

Track 6. Feels Good to Me.

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The albums self-titled track is another one of the many instrumental tracks on the album and this is written around some fine melodies and themes on the keys that would suit a TV Series apart from the more tangent section where it runs along in a bit of frenzy that would also be familiar to something Brand X would of done. You can certainly tell that Robin Lumley was behind the production and this is another very fine piece of work and one where perhaps Dave Stewart has his work cut out more than most on the keys. It also features some additional guitar from Lumley’s band mate John Goodsall and another excellent player he is too.

Track 7. Either End of August.

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The second track on the album to feature Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn and another fine job he does on it and it perhaps plays one of the more finer melody lines in the piece and one that makes quite a bold statement. Stewart contributes some fine piano work on the piece and Holdworth’s lead guitar lines are perhaps more poignant towards the end of the piece. It’s quite a mysterious piece and perhaps the odd track on the album but it has some fine moments along its just over 6-minute journey.

Track 8. If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

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Another of the exciting little pieces on the album like the opening track on the album. It features great vibes and keys from Stewart and Bruford and some well tasty guitar work from Holdsworth who gets to fly along this one and so too does Berlin on the bass. It’s another of the co-written tracks by Bruford & Stewart and another really GREAT! track that once again runs along the lines of prog rock fusion and something once again familiar to the Brand X style and they cook this one up very well indeed.

Track 9. Springtime in Siberia.

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Time too sooth and simmer things down again and this is the second shortest piece on the album and once again penned by Bruford and Stewart. It’s also the last of the tracks to feature Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn and I am pretty sure its only Stewart and Wheeler who are playing on the track. It’s another BEAUTY! and the piano and flugelhorn work wonderful together.

Track 10. Adios a la Pasada (Goodbye to the Past)

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The album rounds itself up very well with the final vocal track of the album with Annette Peacock not just providing the vocals but also the lyrics. Basically the lyrics are pertaining to complexities of how hard it is to live our lives with everything bad that’s around us and how life is more precious and the only thing that is priceless enough for us to accept it for what is and release ourselves from the past and continue to live it peacefully. It would most likely be AMAZING! if everybody could and it is perhaps only love that could conquer all things if it was aloud too.

This is the longest track on the album and weighs in at 8 minutes, 41 seconds and has a real good build up to it before Peacock’s voice comes into play and it features some really GREAT! lead work from Holdsworth throughout most of the song and all the musicians do quite a SPECTACULAR! job on it. To be honest I do feel the song does not really go anywhere regarding the progression side of things especially over this distance, but nevertheless it is another really GREAT! song and puts the album to bed very well.


To sum up Bill Bruford’s debut album Feels Good To Me. In this section I am mainly going to focus my attention on this new REMIXED! Edition that was originally done back in 2017 to which Bill Bruford did with having Jakko Jakszyk onboard at the helm to help out with both the new stereo and 5.1 mixes of the album. I do feel that the way both the box set and these new packages that came out of it (which have just been released) do need to be addressed regarding the quality and how they both went about it.

These days Bill Bruford has very much retired from public performance and has been since around 2009. He spends much of his time still talking about music and gives the odd lecture now and then. He also took some time to work on his autobiography and operates his record labels, Summerfold and Winterfold Records which is why we are seeing these new reissues of his back catalogue of music and have been since he started to work on them back in 2016.

I think it’s GREAT! that he is spending his time reissuing his back catalogue of music and I am truly grateful that he has seen sense to re-release in particular his first two albums that he could locate all the original multi-track tapes to do 5.1 mixes with them. However, with all the time he now has on his hands I do feel there has been a certain amount of laziness in the way things have been done.

For example, when I mentioned earlier that the lack of intelligence not to include something and the negligence not to remove something puts me more in the frame of mind that it was done by amateurs rather than professionals who knew what they was doing. I was not kidding and for most surround FREAKS! like myself this will be quite disappointing. In all honesty I am so glad I never forked out the money back in 2017 to buy the box set. But it’s not all bad though things could have, and should have been done a lot better and for any 5.1 mixing engineer not to see the sense to also include a DTS audio track certainly does not give them a good reputation as an engineer.

It’s a shame really because I did feel that Jakszyk had done one of his better jobs on the 5.1 mix and it was only the fact that he used the lowest of the low 5.1 formats is where the quality fails to impress leaving the CD the best quality item in the package. I am sure that most surround FREAKS! like myself do not buy these packages for the CD’s that come with them. To be honest it’s very rare I will even play the CD at all and I only ever really rip it onto my computer into a 320kbps MP3 format so I can listen to music with my headphones whilst I am working away on my computer.

Regarding the 5.1 mix there is no doubt that the immersive experience it will give you is still there, and it is only how it sonically presents itself to you that lets it down. So much that even by listening to a much lower quality MP3 format of the new stereo mix on headphones taken from the CD does sonically and in terms of fidelity quality sound much better. There is always going to be a difference between a new stereo mix and a 5.1 mix and as a rule both of them will bring something out a lot more for you to enjoy when done right. In all honesty I do feel that both the mixes were done right but it’s the lack thought and attention that has been given to the DVD in this package that lets it down badly and you simply could not get more BASIC! if you tried like I originally said.

The other thing I have not mentioned is the thing they never took away and once again this goes to prove just how lazy everything was done here. Now this is only a minor niggly thing and does not affect the recording but it still exists and for the life of me I do not know why, simply because I had always seen it has an error in the first place. To be honest I have never had the album on vinyl and only CD before but I am sure the very thing I am about to mention does exist on every recording of the album.

Now you could say that this very thing I am about to mention might have been left in for purists. But I rather doubt that by removing it would have any bearing on this package simply because these are new remixes. The very thing I am talking about is that for some reason 3 of the tracks on the album have much longer pauses of silence in between them. Now I could perhaps understand if it only had one longer pause in the middle of the album on the CD to make you feel that that was the point where you had to get up and turn the original vinyl album over. But why 3 of them and this as always confused me and is why I always seen them as an error. For the life of me I cannot see why they never removed them and the very fact that they never just go to show the lack of attention that was given to this whole project in the first place.

I am not surprised to read the many bad reviews the Seems Like A Lifetime Ago Box Set received since it was released back in 2017 and they do outweigh the good reviews it got by quite a long margin. Since re-issuing both Feels Good To Me and One Of A Kind individually out of the box set a month ago I have yet to find one review of them. Nothing further has been done with these re-issues and they still represent many of the disappointing things I have read about them. Although what I give praise to is the new remix of Feels Good To Me on the CD and I do think it is better than the original mix I had on the CD I had back in the 90’s and sounds better for it.


In conclusion I shall focus mostly on the debut album itself and there is no doubt that the album Feels Good To Me does have a Brand X feel about it, but not all over it and there are some finer elements of a Jazz that do reflect on some of the tracks on the album. It is my favourite album out of the 3 Bill Bruford did make though I do feel pretty much all of them were quite solid and had very well written material upon them. The track placement is very well thought out and the album in many respects flows like a river that has never really dried up and outdated itself.

To put it in a nutshell this is an album you could still very much stick on today and will not regret doing so, and it will still give you plenty of satisfaction regardless of you having the new REMIXED version or not. I do like the new REMIXED version and at its price point of £12.99 I would say it was worth it. But I certainly do not think it is worth any more for this package given the poor job that has been done with most of it.

I think where this album works very well is by including a few vocal tracks to break it up a bit more and no doubt the musicianship and the participation of everyone on it is class. The lyrics are very well written too and it is a very hard album to pick a personal favourite with how well everything was done here. My highlights from the album are as follows: “Beelzebub“. “Back To The Beginning“. “Seems Like a Lifetime Ago (Parts One & Two) and “Sample And Hold“. But I could just as easily include the whole album.

Personally I have always felt that the Bill Bruford’s debut album Feels Good To Me as always had the longevity to make it still stand out and shine today and that is something I could not say of the album he did with UK at the time. I also think the material on this album is much stronger too. Coming up next will be my review of the new Expanded & Remixed Edition of Bill Bruford’s 2nd album One Of A Kind.

No Use Making The Same Mistakes Forever And Ever Amen

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Beelzebub. 3:33.
02. Back To The Beginning. 7:23.
03. Seems Like a Lifetime Ago (Part One). 2:32.
04. Seems Like a Lifetime Ago (Part Two). 4:33.
05. Sample And Hold. 5:20.
06. Feels Good To Me. 3:56.
07. Either End Of August. 6:05.
08. If You Can’t Stand The Heat. 3:39.
09. Springtime In Siberia. 2:44.
10. Adios a la Pasada (Goodbye to the Past). 8:41.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 8/10

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10

The New Stereo Mix Rating Score. 8/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 7/10

The Original Album Rating Score. 9/10