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Fraternity - Complete Sessions 1971 - 72 CD (album) cover

COMPLETE SESSIONS 1971 - 72

Fraternity

 

Eclectic Prog

3.23 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

sl75
3 stars Most of Australia's progressive/underground bands from the early 1970s are lucky if anyone acknowledges they ever existed, let alone if they can keep their albums in print. Fraternity ensured they would not be forgotten for some time by installing Bon Scott as their frontman, thus ensuring that their albums would long be tracked down by obsessive AC/DC fans wanting to learn about their hero's pre-history. This is both blessing and curse. The blessing is their material has remained in print, in the form of this compilation. The curse is that the discussion of their place in history is dominated by those AC/DC fans and their musical values - and AC/DC's neanderthal thudding rawk is the antithesis of progressive music.

Hence this CD is credited to "Bon Scott and Fraternity" instead of just "Fraternity". Hence the extensive liner notes are written by Bon Scott's biographer, an AC/DC fan. They therefore focus on Bon's role, rather than the rest of the band, and treat it as a journey on the way to AC/DC. As you can guess, it is far from complimentary. Fraternity's music is dismissed with all the usual putdowns - 'ponderous', 'overwrought', 'pompous', 'pretentious', 'esoteric' - while the biographical sketch does its best to paint the band as lazy and out of touch with reality. The whole package is such a massive insult to anyone who might be genuinely interested in Fraternity (as opposed to an AC/DC completist), that one wonders why Raven bothered to release it. Finally, the album includes grabs from two radio interviews with Bon. Both are from the late 1970s by which time Bon had made the big time with AC/DC. Neither of them mention Fraternity. For a Fraternity fan, they have no legitimate reason to be there, but this compilation is not being marketed to Fraternity fans.

Now at least one charge made against the band - that they were lazy - is well-deserved, as this compilation makes clear. Both of Fraternity's albums are included in full, and the first thing one notices are the almost identical track listings - Fraternity hardly managed to write any new material in time for the second album (recorded two years later), so they simply recycled most of the first album with minimal rearrangement. As such, disc one of this compilation has most of the essential material, while disc two has the lesser quality rearrangements and a handful of less interesting new songs. I've split the difference between the two albums and given this compilation three stars.

sl75 | 3/5 |

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