Welcome to Mark Barry's Review Blog - SOUNDS GOOD, LOOKS GOOD. It features in-depth reviews for Quality CD Reissues/Remasters - all with Discography Info (Amazon UK Top 10 Reviewer).
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Thursday, 24 April 2014
"Snakes And Ladders / Sleepwalking" by GERRY RAFFERTY – A Review Of His 1980 and 1982 United Artists and Liberty Albums - Now Reissued Onto 2CDs By EMI In 2012 as '2 Original Classic Albums'…
Here is a link to AMAZON UK to get this 2CD set at the best price:
"…Find A Way Home…" – Snakes And Ladders and Sleepwalking by
Having bought and reviewed the 2CD reissue of Gerry
Rafferty’s 1978 masterpiece "City To City" in 2011 – like most fans
I’ve been patiently waiting for EMI to get to the rest of his catalogue. Well
they sort of have – and this cheapo double CD reissue is one of the piddly
Released June 2012 – EMI 5099970475326 breaks down as
Disc 1 (48:48 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 12 are his 3rd solo album "Snakes And
Ladders" – released April 1980 on United Artists UAK 30296 in the UK and
on United Artists LOO-1039 in the USA
Disc 2 (37:15 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are his 4th solo album
"Sleepwalking" – released September 1982 on Liberty LBG 30352 in the
UK and Liberty LT-51132 in the USA
The gatefold slip of paper that acts as an inlay pictures
the front album artwork on the inner pages of each album – and that’s it. The
inners sleeves that came with both UK LPs are AWOL - as is all the musician and
recording info. No liner notes of any kind. In fact there isn’t even mention of
mastering - and as far as I can tell – these are exactly the same as the
Eighties CDs I’ve had for years. So the sound is very good – but a sympathetic
Peter Mew remaster would have elevated these cool albums to sonic greatness.
But while the presentation may be bog standard – the music
is a different matter. These are two great Gerry Rafferty albums (is there a
bad one?) – with the second definitely having the edge on the first.
"Snakes And Ladders" opens proceedings with the
Drum and Fife of “The Royal Mile” with that lovely melody of his. Ex Fleur Des
Lys guitarist Bryn Haworth plays his distinctive slide guitar on the superb “I
Was A Boy Scout”.Orchestra Arranger Wil
Malone and String Leader Gavin Wright add a huge amount to the melody of “Look
At The Moon”. Pete Wingfield (ex Jellybread) adds his keys to the jaunty “Bring
It All Home” which also features the “Baker Street” Saxophone of Raphael
Ravenscroft. Side 2 opens with the wonderfully languid “The Garden Of England”
and Rafferty returns to an old Stealers Wheel tune with “Johnny’s Song”. He
then goes all country swing with “Didn’t I”. Both Pete Wingfield and Bryn
Haworth guest on keys and guitar on the finisher “Don’t Close The Door” – an
Although there are 12 tracks on “Snakes” – the 8 on
“Sleepwalking” feel so much more mature and cohesive. I’d go as far as to say
that “Sleepwalking” is a bona fide lost classic – a masterpiece of an album.
“Good Intentions”, “On The Way” and “Sleepwalking” are all magnificent – 5 to 6
minute tracks allowed to breathe and linger. The funky and catchy “Cat And
Mouse” should have been a single and is so Radio friendly with a its chugging
guitar and matching vocal. “The Right Moment” is both sad and beautiful. But’s
its “As Wise As A Serpent” that blows me away every time – a genius Rafferty
tune – sly and slinky – it worms its way into your heart – making you want to
replay - again and again (lyrics above).
For four quid these 2CDs are ludicrously good value for
money – but let’s hope that one day soon - someone somewhere does his
EMI/Liberty catalogue a Remaster and Anthology favour. Frankie Miller, Ian
Hunter, Robin Trower, Ten Years After and so many others have all received that
Gerry Rafferty was lost to us in early 2011 – and it’s about
time that his memory and especially his musical legacy be given the loving
attention it’s always deserved…