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England - The Last Of The Jubblies CD (album) cover

THE LAST OF THE JUBBLIES

England

 

Symphonic Prog

3.24 | 49 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
4 stars Now, let me first speak a little about the term "masterpiece". I find it to be sort of a troublesome word. What is the definition, really, and what does it mean? Is it purely an album of flawless material? An album where every song is as brilliant as the other, seemingly made of gods? Well, partly. To me a masterpiece means an album where all songs are great, yes, but one has to, I think, also bear in mind the overall feeling, such as originality and vision. All put together I would say that there are many albums I could rate a masterpiece, though the rating five stars only apply to a certain few. The difference can sometimes be thin as the hair of an atom but still, isn't that an integral part of the musixal experience, to feel something sublime, a twitch and sensation to special to put down in words? I would say so.

Anyway... I think that the first, or only real as it were, album by England ("Garden shed") is a testament to the thoughts starting this review. In my opinion it is a masterpiece, though not necessarily a five star album. I love it to bits. So, with that feeling of love within me I had to get a hold of this album, "Last of the jubblies". Some say it is a follow up to "Garden shed" and while I respect that notion I would rather not. It is completely made up of demos and outtakes and these songs were really not, as far as I am aware, intented to constitute the next album. But that is not important, at least not in any big way. The importance of this album lies in something else. What could have been and furthermore as a testament to the brilliance of the guys in the band, sadly neglected in it's time.

The sound quality of the album is so and so at times. Though I need to say that the sound really does not get that bad. I enjoy every second and never is the audio an issue. The issue is rather that the vocals aren't always in key. The recordings are demos and outtakes, so if you're looking for flawless recordings you won't find it here. I have come to find peace in the flaws and mistakes. If you give this album a go, I think you will to.

Now to the songs...

The first track, Creepin', is surely everything you'd expect from England. Great pompous, symphonic prog. From the very beginning it is clear that you are listening to one of the best bands around from the mid 70's. It holds a great pace and shifts and turns in a very pleasant way. The next track, A one-legged day tale, is one of the longer tracks on the album. A fantastic number with a raw riff and good melody line. Would not have been out of place on Garden shed. Sausage pie is a shorter piece, about five minutes in length, and is really one of the quirkier songs on the album. It is a great track, showcasing all that is England. The amazing keyboards, humorous lyrics and sense of melody.

The other lengthy track is Tooting Bec rape case and starts off ominous with percussion before the keyboards enter the scene. It is also an intriguing piece of music which would have been great to hear in a more worked through version, put on a follow up to Garden shed. Mister Meener is a raw sounding track with very distorted guitar and lovely organ. A nice little titbit indeed.

The only track I was familiar with prior to getting "Last of the jubblies" was Nanogram, which appears as a bonus track on my "Garden shed" album. Now there's a piece! Beatiful! A lost classic, if you ask me,

All of the tracks would have fit nicely into "Garden shed" which is quite an effort, or rather they would have made up the contents of a follow up. As a collection of demos and such, it is such a full bodied album. The best of the rest, as it seems, are gathered here making this more than just a visit to the curiosity shop. It is a visit to the very halls of England, the very heart of the garden shed (as it were). These tracks aren't throw-aways. These aren't refuse meant to be theown away on the dung heap. These tracks are the very produce of the muscial harvest made during the mid 70's. Though there are some flaws and mistakes it does not matter. This album is a collection of lovingly crafted songs which by itself would be just enough to render England the title of a lost classic. It is that good. If you are new to England I would, though, recommend you to explore "Garden shed" first.

So, is it a masterpiece? Well... No. Maybe not. Or could it be a minor one? I can't put the label masterpiece on "Last of the jubblies". Primarily due to fact that it is a collection of demos and really not an album as such. It is however a precious testament to the brilliance of England a to me it is worth four stars. Just like that.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |

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