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The Winstons - Live in Rome CD (album) cover


The Winstons

Canterbury Scene

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Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I do have the DVD as well but haven't watched it. One of the biggest surprises of 2016 for me was THE WINSTON's self titled debut. An Italian trio sounding like an early 70's Canterbury band and sounding so authentic. It's mainly because of the vocals which are very Wyatt-like but organ and drums lead the way here long with those vocals. This live record was released the same year as the studio album and is 68 minutes long including that bonus track. Right from the first spin I felt this recording sounded a little flat. It was missing that energy that so many bands have when playing live as they feed off the crowd. It sounds like there's a dozen people in the audience, there's probably way more than that but I don't know. The studio album has this bright and passionate sound to it and I find that that is missing here.

Love all the black and white photos in the liner notes, especially the ones where the band members are smoking their cigarettes. It's refreshing to see. I don't smoke tobacco but am old enough to remember when smokers had it made. You walk into a restaurant with clouds of smoke as almost everyone is smoking including the waitress and cook. Just a different time where smoking was glorified in the movies and all the cool people did it. So yes it's no surprise that the opener is "Nicotine Freak" haha. A top three and sounding almost perfectly like the studio version to start and when it kicks in with vocals I'm smiling. A catchy and energetic start like you want with a live opener.

This is a very playful album and the band thanks Wyatt, Allen, Hopper and Waters in the liner notes among others. "She's My face" is a top three with the opening strummed guitar as beats and vocal melodies join in, organ too then vocals. A jazzy vibe to this one. Fun stuff. I'm a huge fan of "Number Number" as well. Just a more serious sound to my ears and the vocals are completely different. It brightens some a minute in with vocal melodies and organ leading as drums beat away. I just like those organ sounds on here more, again a more serious vibe. Themes are repeated. Sung and partly composed by Japanese artist Gun Kawamura who did the backdrop for the stage that night and the cover art on the debut album. He also helped compose "Diprotodon" and those two songs have japanese titles besides the english ones.

I just get a lot more enjoyment out of the studio album which I consider to be a top 30 Canterbury album by the way. Still it hurts not giving that fourth star as there's so much good stuff on here. And I'm not a big fan with the way it ends with "Tarmac" a stripped down version of the band with vibes, vocals and piano only, just sayin'.

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Posted Sunday, November 6, 2022 | Review Permalink

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