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Various Artists (Label Samplers) - Strange Pleasures CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Label Samplers)


Various Genres

4.00 | 5 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I've listened to quite a many prog compilation boxes, and this is among the most useful of them. On three full-length CD's is represented the prog(-related) wing of the Decca label - and even if this is a follower to another set ("Legend Of A Mind", which I sadly haven't yet heard), you get the feeling that you are on a threshold of a treasure cave full of interesting things you've never heard before. Also the physical setting is exactly up to my taste: a small box for three simple CD containers and the finely edited booklet, including the band introductions in alphabetical order.

It's too typical for large compilations to give extra notice to the major acts by e.g. including two or three tracks from them, and that's one of the less interesting features in here too. I mean, isn't it very plausible that the target audience is already very familiar with bands such as MOODY BLUES and CARAVAN? (They should have left 'Best Way to Travel' and 'Waterloo Lily' out because IMHO they're below the normal standards of these bands.) TEN YEARS AFTER didn't get me interested with any of the three tracks. Perhaps surprisingly another three-track artist here is BILL FAY who was a new name for me. Pretty good... Guess which band comes at first. GENESIS! 'In the Beginning' from their unmature debut. And right after it comes an early psychedelic gem by AL STEWART (1966). For the rest, they're almost all more or less "new" acquaintances to me. Of course not CURVED AIR or THIN LIZZY, but anyway the latter's delicate 'Sarah' was a nice surprise.

The running order is chronologic (except for the opening track). On the first disc you hear mostly hazy psychedelic stuff, most of which very interesting and enjoyable (by bands such as THE ACCENT, TINTERN ABBEY, 23rd TURNOFF and SUNFOREST). Later on you hear e.g. less known Canterbury-based bands EGG or KHAN. Funny to read how the same key figures (Dave Stewart, Steve Hillage etc) popped up under various monikers. (Sad that the mother of all Canterbury bands, WILDE FLOWERS, is not here...)

I don't remember the year on which this comes to an end (somehere in mid-70s), but on these roughly ten years Decca was very daringly releasing lots and lots of innovative bands and artists, most of which were doomed to minor sales and all too short album-releasing careers. But that's the very thing that makes it all more interesting now, more than 30 years later. You're warmly recommended to get a hold of this box, especially if you can borrow it. And if you're a serious old proghead wishing to get snippets of as many lesser bands as possible, it's surely worth buying too.

Matti | 4/5 |


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