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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

"Original Album Series" by TERRY REID Including The Albums "Bang, Bang You're TERRY REID" (1968 USA), "Terry Reid" (1969 USA and UK), "River" (1973), "Rogue Waves" (1979) and "The Driver" (1991) (April 2015 Rhino/Warners Music Group 5CD Mini Box Set) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…Hold Your Peace..."

Fans of the mighty pipes of British Rock Vocalist TERRY REID have been quietly waiting for something like this - a decent spread of his better albums in reasonable sound and at an affordable price (two quid a disc for Gawd's sake). And that's exactly what "Original Album Series" delivers - and in an aesthetically pleasing manner too (albums from 1968, 1969, 1973, 1979 and 1991). Here are the detailed Super Lungs...

UK released Monday 27 April 2015 (May 2015 in the USA) - "Original Album Series" by TERRY REID on Rhino/Warner Music Group 0825646163960 (Barcode the same) is a 5CD Mini Box Set with 5" Card Repro Sleeves and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (50:45 minutes)
1. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
2. Tinker Taylor
3. Erica
4. Without Expression
5. Sweater
6. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart [Side 2]
7. Season Of The Witch
8. Writing On The Wall/Summertime Blues
9. When I Get Home
10. Loving Time
Tracks 1 to 10 are his debut LP "Bang, Bang You're TERRY REID" - released December 1968 in the USA on Epic BN 26427 (no UK release - Produced by Mickie Most). All tracks written by Terry Reid ("Loving Time" co-written with Eric Leese) except - "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" which is a Cher cover (written by Sonny Bono), "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart" which is a David and Jonathan cover (written by Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook and also made famous by Gene Pitney), "Season Of The Witch" which is a Donovan cover and "Summertime Blues" which is an Eddie Cochran cover. A 2004 Remaster is used for the CD.

Disc 2 (37:32 minutes):
1. Superlungs My Supergirl
2. Silver White Light
3. July
4. Marking Time
5. Stay With Me Baby
6. Highway 61 Revisited/Friends/Highway 61 Revisited [Side 2]
7. May Fly
8. Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace
9. Rich Kid Blues
Tracks 1 to 9 are his 2nd LP "Terry Reid" - released November 1969 in the USA on Epic BN 26477 and in the UK on Columbia SCX 6370 (Produced by Mickie Most). It was reissued September 1971 in the UK with a different sleeve as "The Most Of Terry Reid" on EMI/Music For Pleasure MFP 5220. All songs are written by Terry Reid - except "Superlungs My Supergirl" (Donovan cover), "Stay With My Baby" (Lorraine Ellison cover) and "Highway 61 Revisited" (Bob Dylan cover). A 2004 Remaster is used for the CD.

Disc 3 (36:28 minutes):
1. Dean
2. Avenue
3. Things To Try
4. Live Life
5. River [Side 2]
6. Dream
7. Milestones
Tracks 1 to 7 are his 3rd album "River" - released April 1973 in the UK on Atlantic K 40340 and March 1973 in the USA on Atlantic SD 7259. Produced by Tom Dowd (1 to 5) and Eddie Offord (6 and 7). No CD Remaster date is specified.

Disc 4 (42:12 minutes):
1. Ain't No Shadow
2. Baby I Love You
3. Stop And Think It Over
4. Rogue Wave
5. Walk Away Rene
6. Believe In Magic [Side 2]
7. Then I Kissed Her
8. Bowangi
9. All I Have To Is Dream
Tracks 1 to 9 are his 5th album "Rogue Waves" - released February 1979 in the UK on Capitol E-ST 11857 and in the USA on Capitol ST-11857 (Produced Chris Temsey and Terry Reid). All tracks written by Terry Reid except "Baby I Love You" (Ronettes cover), "Walk Away Rene" (Left Banke/Temptations cover), "Then I Kissed Her" (Beach Boys cover) and "All I Have To Do Is Dream" (Everly Brothers cover). No CD Remaster date is specified.

Disc 5 (45:19 minutes):
1. Fifth Of July
2. There's Nothing Wrong
3. Right To The End
4. The Whole Of The Moon
5. Hand Of Dimes
6. The Driver (Part 1) [Side 2]
7. If You Let Her
8. Turn Around
9. Gimme Some Lovin'
10. Laugh At Life
11. The Driver (Part 2)
Tracks 1 to 11 are his 6th album "The Driver" - released April 1991 in the USA and June 1992 in the UK on CD on WEA (Produced by Trevor Horn). All tracks are written by Terry Reid except "Fifth Of July" (written by Louise Goffin the daughter of Gerry Goffin and Carole King and Reid Savage of Sore Throat), "The Whole Of The Moon" (Waterboys cover with Enya on guest vocals) and "Gimme Some Lovin'" (Spencer Davis Group cover). No CD Remaster date is specified.

As is mostly the norm with this series - none of these discs have any extras and are straightforward transfers of the original vinyl LPs (with repro artwork front and rear). As you can also see from the lists given above - the first two albums use a remaster which is from the May 2004 EMI 2CD set "Super Lungs: The Complete Studio Recordings 1966-1969" transferred by Top Engineer PETER MEW at Abbey Road Studios. The audio is terrific - full of great presence and power. Mew has a very long and distinguished remaster track record - Jethro Tull, Dr. Feelgood, Deep Purple, Jeff Beck Group, Kevin Ayers, Ten Years After, Man, Blodwyn Pig, Donovan, Robin Trower, Free, Sandy Denny, Horslips (all reviewed) - the list of albums he's worked magic on is huge.

Audio-wise the other three are non-specific. The 1991 "Driver" album has a highly stylized big hairdo Nineties sound by Yes and ZTT Producer Trevor Horn (amongst a host of other Producers) - so you could say that it's least in need of an audio polish amongst the five. But the other two - "River" and "Rogue Waves" are unspecific. Beat Goes On has done three superb remasters of 1973's "River", the missing album in this set 1976's "Seed Of Memory" (see my reviews for both) and 1979's "Rogue Waves". Both the albums "River" and "Rogue Waves" sound great here - nice and clear - no cheap Eighties transfers - so that's a relief.

"Bang Bang, You're TERRY REID" came out in late 1968 in the USA-only on Epic Records. Reid sings and plays guitar, Eric Leese on Organ and Keith Webb on Drums. It opens with his cover of Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" (written by Sonny Bono) and immediately gets into a very Reid groove - a sort of funky Rock strut. His "Tinker Tailor" continues in that vein while "Erica" starts out as a ballad, which morphs into a shuffle, that includes some cool brass arrangements (the remaster is excellent too). We get a bit hippy-dippy with the awful "Sweater" (not one of his finest compositions) - far better is the almost Zeppelin 1 sounding organ and guitar version of "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart". But these are trumped by the album standout - his wicked 10-minute take of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch" where all the fey pop stops and we get into a cool Blues chug that stays and stays  - fabulous stuff. He goes for a hit with "When I Get Home" and ends the album on the slightly Prog tip of "Loving Time" where the organ playing of Eric Leese goes to the fore (he co-wrote the song with Reid). Those seeking the May 1968 UK-only 7" single on Columbia DB 8409 with "Better By Far" b/w "Fire's Alive" will found those rarities on the 2004 "Super Lungs" double (along with outtakes and Jaywalkers earlier material involving Terry Reid).

Things got more ROCK and far better on his 2nd outing the self-titled "Terry Reid" - reissued in 1971 on EMI's budget MFP Label as "The Most Of Terry Reid". Stuff like his cover of Donovan's "Superlungs My Supergirl" and his own superb "Silver White Light" rock so good. But things go stellar on "July" - an acoustic slice of magic where his voice is echoed like its live in a small nightclub and he lets rip with that utterly astonishing voice. You can ‘so hear' why Page wanted him to front Led Zeppelin (Reid couldn't for contractual reasons but generously led our Jimmy to both Robert Plant and John Bonham and the world has owed him a debt ever since). "Marking Time" is Funky Rock again while his slowed-to-a-crawl cover of Lorraine Ellison's torture ballad "Stay With Me Baby" was a natural for his voice and passions. But for me you're then hit with a one-two of Terry Reid genius (both written by him) - the utterly gorgeous "May Fly" and the jangle-rock of "Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace" - like the Small Faces on a roll - stunning stuff. These tracks are everything the first LP was trying to be.

The 7-track "River" is an album I can't be rational about - I've loved it for decades. Here the opening "Dean" and "River" (from Side 2) are admittedly hissy - but then they always were. The other Funk-Rock tracks like "Things To Try", "Live Life" and "Dream" sound fabulous - properly chunky for all the right reasons. It isn't the BGO remaster but it gets close I'm glad to say - loads of clarity and not in any way muffled or muddied.

The problem for me with "Rogue Waves" has always been the Production. Reid's voice is often echoed or simply disjointed from the mix in a weird way with the guitars rammed right up in your face. As you see from the garish album cover - it's a ROCK LP - and his radical re-working of three covers reflect this. His ballsy rocker version of "Baby I Love You" by The Ronettes and The Left Banke/Temptation's "Walk Away Renee" will be acquired tastes for sure - while for me his re-working of "Then I Kissed Her" amounts to butchery - its truly awful - the kind of dreadful pretentious Rock Punk was destined to blow away. But his fourth cover version on the record - the album finisher "All I Have To Do Is Dream" (Everly Brothers) is stripped down to him and an acoustic guitar - and even though his voice is slightly echoed - it works - it's a gorgeous take on an overly familiar song and melody and really shows off those incredible lungs of his. "Bowangi" comes out of the speakers too with force - really great sound. A good album though rather than a great one.

"The Driver" elicits mixed reactions - I think it's a blinder personally and opens with the lovely "5th Of July" (written by Louise Goffin - daughter of Gerry Goffin and Carole King - along with Reid Savage of Soar Throat). The 1991 album has been deleted decades now - so it's very cool indeed to have Driver's 11 tracks back in circulation and not costing a packet (Trevor Horn along with many other Producers on the album turned in a very slick finished article). Reid does wonderful covers of The Waterboys "Whole Of The Moon" and the Spencer Davis Group classic "Gimme Some Lovin'" - taking both up a notch and winning. I love the title track "The Driver" with its slick swirling synths (co-written with Hans Zimmer and Trevor Horn) sounding contemporary yet old too (in a good way). Reid's version of Gerry McMahon's "Right To The End" is the kind of Rock Love Song that makes people mushy inside. The Acoustic "Hand Of Dimes" is gorgeous highlighting how good his vocals are even when he tones it down. He ups the pace and rocks out big time on the fab "If You Let Her" sounding not unlike the best of Nineties Rolling Stones. What a cool little album -and it ends the whole listen on a high...

When the "Original Album Series" began in March 2010 it was entirely a WEA affair. But with EMI's acquisition into the fold - we're now getting compilations from those amazing umbrella of EMI labels (Liberty, Parlophone, Regal Zonophone, Chrysalis, Harvest and United Artists to name but a few). Frankie Miller, Barclay James Harvest and Dr. Feelgood will probably be coming soon (amongst others) - maybe even a Pub Rock 5CD Mini Box or a Stiff Records set. In the meantime - we get this absolute corker from the man who almost fronted Led Zeppelin as a lead vocalist (couldn't get out of a contract) and instead generously put guitarist Jimmy Page towards singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham - thereby claiming his own stake in the creation of a legendary rock band that has shaped all modern music.

I've loved rehearing this tremendous run of albums - what great memories. Long Live Terry Reid. I'm off now to lash into the Jimmy Webb set that arrived this morning too...

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