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Various Artists (Label Samplers) - A Breath Of Fresh Air: A Harvest Records Anthology/ 1969-1974 CD (album) cover

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR: A HARVEST RECORDS ANTHOLOGY/ 1969-1974

Various Artists (Label Samplers)

 

Various Genres

4.00 | 3 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars I guess the previous three-discs early 70's prog label anthologies (Islands, Decca, Vertigo) sold well enough to encourage others to try out their luck. Actually the Island anthology made babies, since there is a green boxset concentrating on folk, and a yellow boxset concentrating on reggae. But up to now, all of these attractive anthologies came in cardboard clamshells with the discs coming in mini-Lp sleeves and this made comfortable and easy to use in case of travelling. But EMI decided not to use or imitate Universal, and chose to around with their own system. Soooo instead of these cardboard clamshells, we have this ugly fatboy double jewel case with these discs never holding in place, just when you thought you'd finally be rid of them fatboys. As it turns out EMI is not a quick learner since it repeated this huge mistake with the upcoming Charisma label, but let's look beyond the "attractive package", now. With an artwork playing alternative cover to an old sampler called Picnic ? Breath Of Fresh Air being used as artwork? it is also a bit of a departure since it is the first time the then-actual label logo is not being featured on the cover. No idea why too, because the yellow-and-green Ying logo is rather cool.

Harvest includes two of the highest selling-groups to come from the late-60's the Purple/pink Deep Floyd and of course they will be featured, but not abused. The first disc is out on a bad start with one of the crummiest E Broughton Band track, but the rest of the discs is more digestible, with some delightful Battered Ornaments, Piblokto (both with Pete Brown singing), Third Ear or even Bombadil, the later having recorded only one single. Of course every label has its share of misses and here Panama Limited is embarrassingly bad, other artistes are a bit out of the scope of the label, thus creating some considerable sonic diversity, sometimes a bit uncomfortable for the ears. Whenever possible, the track version chosen is a different one from the albums; and comes either from another compilation or a non-album single.

This three-disc boxset is not ant better or worse than the previous ones in terms on contents, but the package (the fatboy double JC) it comes in is certainly unworthy of the label's heritage. But then again, this is the third compilation of the label after the single disc Showdown and the full-size 5-disc boxset of 99. Your choice on this one.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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