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The Nice - The Immediate Collection CD (album) cover

THE IMMEDIATE COLLECTION

The Nice

Symphonic Prog


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A Nice compilation

The untimely demise of the Immediate record label led to the artists who were signed to them losing control of their catalogues. The situation was further complicated in the case of the Nice by the fact that the band had long since split up, with one Keith Emerson going on to form a third of a successful prog combo. In an effort to make as much money as possible for the labels creditors, the administrators sold the rights to the band catalogue of bands such as the Nice far and wide. This has resulted in many compilations of material by the Nice becoming available. Given that they only released three studio albums during their brief existence, this in turn has led to many of the compilations offering essentially the same material. Only a handful of such compilations are currently listed on this site.

What makes this particular compilation more worthwhile than virtually all the others is that is contains their three studio albums pretty much in their entirety. Also thrown in are a handful of single A and B sides, some alternate versions, and a demo of the Brandenburger interpretation which appeared on Ars Longa... I say pretty much in their entirely, as some of the extra tracks here replace the original album versions of the songs rather than supplement them. This is a pity, as space is in fact available to include more than one version of some tracks. On the downside, the quality control takes a nosedive with the omission of the final track on The Nice album, She belongs to me. This track is listed as being included according to the sleeve notes, but in an unforgivable lapse of attention to detail, does not actually feature.

That is the only grumble though, as the presentation is pretty good, with a detailed biography of the band's career by the improbably named Hugh G. Rection.

Given the rather patchy nature of the Nice's output, this is probably the best way to acquire most of their essential tracks. All that is needed to complete the picture is the Five bridges live album.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#158317)
Posted Friday, January 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars Important for their influences and impossible to ignore.

Before Emerson joined supergroup Emerson Lake & Palmer, and before prog rock took off in the early 70s there was The Nice. They consisted of Keith Emerson: Organ, piano, vocals; Keith Lee Jackson: Bass, guitar, vocals; David Davy O'List: Guitar, vocals and Brian Blinky Davison: Drums, percussion. They were as eclectic as a band could be in their heyday, creative geniuses who needed a foothold on which to display their talents. They found it in 1967 with the release of the groundbreaking The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack. On this compilation the tracks from this are Flower King of Flies, Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, Bonnie K, Rondo, War And Peace, Tantalising Maggie, Dawn and The Cry of Eugene. The whole album!

The second album, Ars Longa Vita Brevis is represented well here too with "Daddy, Where Did I Come From", "Little Arabella", "Happy Freuds", "Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite", and the epic suite "Ars Longa Vita Brevis: (19:20)". Once again the entire original album. So you have 2 classic The Nice albums with the best of their other material from albums such as Nice / Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It from 1969. Tracks from this album are Azrael Revisited, Hang On to a Dream , Diary of an Empty Day, For Example, and the wonderful Rondo '69'. A great collection from this album overall.

So this album is worth purchasing to quickly get hold of the classic tracks from their first 3 albums and a few surprises such as demos and rarities. Of course the classic track America is here in all its bombastic glory. It is an arrangement of Leonard Bernstein's America and includes pieces from Dvořák's New World Symphony. And a bit of "West Side Story" in the mix. The single ends with a soundwave of a child who can be heard saying America is pregnant with promises and anticipation, but is murdered by the hand of the inevitable. It is Quintessential proto prog.

I can recommend this compilation due to the influences and important place it holds in the beginning of the genre. I also recommend the 2 CD package compilation which has similar material, though some great live material too, "The Essential Nice". These 2 comps are about as good as it gets - choose 1 and you will have all you need to experience this band. Five Bridges is of course the other essential album and well worth a listen.

Generally, this compilation features a great cross section of the best material from these important progenitors of symphonic prog - The Nice.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#186449)
Posted Monday, October 20, 2008 | Review Permalink

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