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Jeff Wayne - Highlights from The War of the Worlds CD (album) cover


Jeff Wayne


Crossover Prog

2.05 | 5 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars They survived the Martians, but still ended up butchered

The title here is slightly misleading, as the tracks included are not simply extracts from the full album. Since the double LP version ran to just over 90 minutes or so, one might reasonably expect all but around 10 minutes of the original album to be squeezed onto a single compact disc, not so. This CD runs to a mere 56 minutes, about 8 of which are occupied by a couple of remixes (not included on the LP version). Thus we actually have less than 50 minutes of original music from the albums.

Most of the songs which appear on the full version are included here but in edited, no make that butchered, format. "Eve of the war" is abruptly abbreviated from 9 minutes to 4, while "Horsell common..", which has been slightly remixed, loses about 7 minutes. Most of Richard Burton's narratives, which did so much to give the album its continuity, are consigned to the not required bin.

Even the order of story is not respected, with "The fighting machine" appearing after the criminally edited "Forever Autumn" and thus between "Forever autumn" and "Thunderchild". Phil Lynott's wonderful performance on "The spirit of man" becomes a shadow of its 17 minute running time on the double album, while the closing "Epilogues" vanish altogether.

The music is of course excellent, and no amount of interference can completely remove the quality of the writing and the performances. One does however have to ponder on the logic behind a release such as this. Even if the objective was to cash in by issuing a single CD set to the budget market, this miserly offering completely fails in its objective.

The bonus remix of "The eve of the war" dates from 1989, Ben Liebrand bringing out the dance beat while distorting Richard Burton's narrative and developing the orchestration. As remixes go, this is pretty good. The 1996 reworking of "Forever autumn" on the other hand adds an inappropriate and superfluous disco beat to the song, resulting in what can only be described as a mess.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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