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Marillion - Garden Party CD (album) cover





3.92 | 50 ratings

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3 stars Between 1980 and 1982 Marillion had worked on a strong live reputation, and earned a large and fanatic cult following. In the end it was EMI that recognized their huge potential, culminating in the debut album Script For A Jester's Tear (1983) and a serie of singles since Market Square Heroes (1982). The collaboration with Mark Wilkinson and his mindblowing artwork contributed to the magic of early Marillion. I was lucky to find my first regular job in 1982 so I could purchase all those (pretty expensive) early Marillion singles and t-shirts, embellished with the highly imaginative Mark Wilkinson artwork.

One of my favourite Marillion singles is Garden Party. In an interview on the Internet Fish explains the content: "Garden Party is a cynical outlook, the microcosm of Cambridge where the upper class is used to uphold a plastic facade rather than a reality and it becomes and act that rather a lot of people feel the need to maintain at Cambridge (where Fish lived with his girldfriend, EN). I objected especially to a guy who told me all about the troubles in Palestine when he'd never ever been there because Palestine was a very hip thing to discuss at wine and cheese parties, you know? I reacted very, very aggressively to that situation." And about the subtitle The Great Cucumber Massacre: "Two of the most common delicacies at garden parties are cucumber sandwiches and egg sandwiches. In Britain the construction of a sandwich is much simpler than here in the US - it is: slice of bread, butter, filling, butter, slice of bread. At the `best' garden parties such sandwiches will have had the crusts removed and be cut into little triangles. Many hundreds of these will be consumed hence 'The Great Cucumber Massacre' sub-title."

I own the 12" Version (and the t-shirt, it still fits after 35 years, haha!).

Side A :

Garden Party - full version (7:11) This song became a stage favourite, in fact Garden Party is more rock than prog. But Marillion their fresh new progressive rock (labelled as neo-prog) appealed to many young people and also many women, they loved the melodic and welcoming approach in the music and on stage. Here on Garden Party 'it's neo-prog party time', and no huge and clinical distance, like between the Seventies progrock dinosaurs and their audience. So enjoy the catchy beat, the cheerful synthesizer flights, the rocky guitar and, last but not least, Fish his strong and distinctive venomous vocals and sarcastic lyrics. One part of the lyrics was very popular during the concerts: 'I'm punting, I'm beagling, I'm wining, reclining, I'm rucking, I'm f xxx ing'! This final word (on PA I had to censore it) was loudly screamed by the fans, they felt one with their neo-prog messiah Fish! And the Scottish giant loved these provocative language, I presume inspired by Jim Morrison.

Charting the Single - live version, London Hammersmith Odeon 18 April 1983 (6:30).

Pleasant neo-prog featuring a very inspired Fish and a tasteful colouring by powerful guitar and varied keyboards, a typical song that comes more to live on stage, as you can hear.

Side B :

Margaret - live version, Edinburgh Playhouse, 7 April 1983 (12:17).

A homegame for Fish in this excellent live track entitled Margaret (an old van?) that starts with a Scottish folk tune, featuring Fish and Steve Rothery, then a keyboard that sounds like a Scottish bagpipe, what a great live atmosphere! The song turns into a catchy beat with powerful vocals and strong work on guitar and keyboards, fuelled by a dynamic rhythm-section. To emphasize that great live atmosphere, Fish introduces all band members who play a short solo on their instruments, there is even some Peer Gynt Suite from Grieg (the bridge between classical and neo-prog) and finally a huge crowd participation, and lots of clapping and yelling, the fans loved it!

My rating: 3,5 star

TenYearsAfter | 3/5 |


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