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Marillion - B'Sides Themselves CD (album) cover





3.44 | 190 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This compilation highlights sufficiently how great was Marillion's material in their Fish-era (my preferred one). Can you imagine that all songs featured here (except one) are great ones ?

"Grendel" is IMO their best song ever written and one of the strongest epic that prog rock has delivered. I do not want to enter into the intellectual debate to reject this song because it is too much in the vein of one of the greatest epic we all love. I would say that I feel sorry for the guys who think that way.

I just love "Grendel" an awful lot (but I have said this many times sufficiently already for you to know it). It backed their first EP, which also featured "Market Square" and "Three Boats Down From The Candy".

The only song that does not fit with the title is "Market Square Heroes" which was their first single (A side). It was backed with "Charting the Single" in October 82. So, the first four songs form this album really belongs to the early Marillion days.

"Margaret" was backing "Garden Party" and release in June 83. It is the only weak number of the whole. This traditional theme has been revisited by Marillion. The intro miming Hendrix is really out of purpose and poorly done (sorry Steve). The mood is strongly hard-rock here.

Lyrics are rather explicit concerning illegal substances : "You'll take the acid an' I'll take the dope, an' I'll be stoned before you" ! This song is recorded live and seems to be the last song of a concert during which Fish presents the whole band. After the useless intro, each one will get his little solo to highlight his skills. Of course the audience participate jovially, since it was recorded in Edinburgh.

I strongly believe that Marillion had produced far much better B-sides than this one ."Heart Of Lothian", as well as a live version of either "Chelsea Monday" or "White Russian" for example could have beneficially have replaced our dear "Margret".

We'll jump a bit in time with "Cinderella Search" which backed "Assassing" in April 84. After "Grendel", it is the most complex song of this album. Very subtle vocals from Fish. One of my fave here (even if this version has been edited).

"Lady Nina" backed "Kaleigh" and was released in May 85. "Freaks" also comes from the "Misplaced" sessions and backed "Lavender" (August 85).

The last one in chronological order is "Tux On". B-side for "Sugar Mice".

Again, all these songs are very good. Most are on the commercial side of the band of course. At the time of release, I guess it was really of great value. Today, most of these songs have been added as bonus tracks on the double CD remastered edition of the four albums from the Fish era so that this compilation is rather obsolete nowadays. Nevertheless, a very good album indeed which sells for very cheap. Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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