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Old 09-06-2018, 01:22 PM
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aleuzzi aleuzzi is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
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Originally Posted by golddustboy71 View Post
I’m a highly aware obsessive of everything 1975 onwards... but I want to begin with the pre era... what’s the best album to start with?
It depends on what you're hoping for. If you want smooth, mid-tempo pop expertise, MYSTERY TO ME and HEROES are pretty sophisticated. MYSTERY is usually bright, catchy, and clever. It's only downfall (I think) is the way it was recorded--too close to the speakers with little dynamic shifts. That's probably the result of using the RS Mobile Unit. HEROES is moodier, darker, and honestly more difficult to listen to, in part because Welch was clearly transitioning from folkie mystic to jazz-medal sophisticate. But the actual sound of the recording far surpasses MYSTERY--and Christine's contributions to both albums are excellent.

PENGUIN is spotty and usually dismissed as a transitional record, but what works on it actually has genuine warmth and vitality. All of Christine's songs are really well done, and Welch's hippie mysticism manifests itself as folk (Bright Fire), jazz (Nightwatch) and pressure-cooker jam rock (Revelation). I think both the David Walker songs are well performed but out of place on the record.

BARE TREES and FUTURE GAMES are probably the most consistent and quality recordings from the era, thanks in large part to Kirwan. Christine was still growing (as a vocalist and songwriter) though Welch started with a lot of strength. FUTURE GAMES plays out like one gorgeous sigh across both sides, a gorgeous mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation with a lot of dynamic elements. Kirwan's three songs are lovely; Christine's "Show Me a Smile" is simple and VERY effective; and both of Welch's contributions (the epic, moody, Pink Floyd-esque title song and a hard-rock blues tune) are fantastic. BARE TREES is as fine as FUTURE GAMES though this time the soft, dynamic sound has been replaced with a harder-edged blues rock. All of Kirwan's tunes alternately charge and sting; Christine's "Spare Me" shows her moving towards a more confident pop; and Welch's "Sentimental Lady" is a charming love song. But it's Kirwan's album, really--unlike FUTURE GAME which feels more like a group effort.

As someone already mentioned, of the pre 1971-74 albums, THEN PLAY ON is a universal classic. My personal favorite is KILN HOUSE, which mixes the acid-rock blues of the former with California Sun Sound of the late 50s. It's not for everyone--but I simply love it.

Beyond this, a Blue Horizon package would suffice for the 1967-68 material.

Last edited by aleuzzi; 09-06-2018 at 01:24 PM..
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