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Roxy Music - Heart Still Beating  CD (album) cover

HEART STILL BEATING

Roxy Music

Crossover Prog


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Raff
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I give this album three stars on the strength of most of the songs, but it must be said that it is far from being an essential purchase - unless you're a die-hard fan of the band. The problem with this record is that it feels somewhat cold (which is not a good thing for a live album), and particularly Brian Ferry does not sound very interested in what he's performing. I saw Roxy Music perform live in the early '80s, and from what I remembered they sounded much more exciting than what you can hear here.

That said, McKay and Manzanera are excellent as always, especially on the less commercial songs of Roxy Music's back catalogue. In any case, I quite like some of the more recent tracks which are a bit easier on the ear: "Avalon" is haunting and intriguing, "My Only Love" is one of my all-time favourites from the band, and I'm also quite fond of Ferry's take on John Lennon's "Jealous Guy". Ferry's vocals may not be to everyone's taste, especially when he started sounding more like a '50s crooner than a rock singer; however, I've always found him very good for the band's style. Here, though, he seems a bit too detached from the proceedings for comfort.

A pleasant record overall, but certainly not the best of Roxy Music's live output.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#54863)
Posted Sunday, November 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Flush from the listening pleasures of Viva! Roxy Music, I decided to expand my Roxy catalog with another live document, Heart Still Beating, recorded in France in 1982. Suffice to say that's ten bucks I won't see again; if Roxy's heart was still beating in 1982, you wouldn't know it from this lifeless performance. Nowhere in their prior catalog, including Flesh + Blood, is there an indication that Bryan Ferry and the band could walk through the music with so little passion. Andy Mackay is a virtual nonentity, his half-hearted squeaks no better than David Bowie, while Phil Manzanera fails to step forward and fill the void. But the real disappointment is Ferry, who hardly skims the surface of the roiling passion beneath such classics as "Editions of You" and "Love Is The Drug." Even on the more recent material, which constitutes most of the show, Ferry is on auto-pilot, allowing himself to be upstaged by his own backing singers on "Avalon." And don't even get me started on the cover! So it seems I've taken one for the team, which isn't bad if it saves at least one person from making the same mistake I made. If you need to hear Roxy Music live, listen to Viva! If you're still hungry for more, listen to Viva! again, ad infinitum, until the hunger goes away. Under no circumstances should you consider Heart Still Beating a viable alternative. It's the lamest Roxy Music album I own, and that includes The Atlantic Years. It may be better than The High Road, but this is a road best not taken.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#57196)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Roxy fan has not been submerged by live efforts to say the least. The previous official live recording was Viva ! released in 1976 after their first split / break. Although it is mentioned on the sleeve that it was recorded in Frjus this album seems to be a mixture of shows from several dates in Europe in 1982. They were mixed together as one show. I really wonder why Roxy have waited for so long (eight years) to release this live record from the supporting "Avalon" tour.

The first "real" track "Can't Let Go" belong to Ferry solo repertoire. It will be featured on the album "The Bride Stripped Bare" released in 1978 and sounds completely as Roxy track (of course, should I say).

"Out Of The Blue" is solidly rendered here : a gorgeous and wild closing part brings a plus to this version. "Dance Away" is superior by far (IMO) to the studio one.

"Impossible Guitar" comes from Manzarena album "Primitive Guitars" released in 1982. It's an intrumental and wild ... guitar number. To show Phil's virtuosity, I guess. Succeeded.

While I reproached to Viva! to have forgotten most of Roxy's smash hits or great numbers, we get some other ones here : "Out Of The Blue", "A Song for Europe", "Love Is the Drug" and "Editions of You".

We have a very good cover version of a Neil Young song : "Like a Hurricane" : this song will be completely Roxy-cised if you see what I mean. One of the highlights. Fantastic guitar work from Phil.

There are a few tracks (four) from their late albums but not too much (which is fine with me, since I do not really like it). The finale of "My Only Love" is really extraordinary.

"Both Ends Burning" was already featured on Viva! Since it is one of my Roxy fave, I do not complain. The problem with this version, is that for almost four minutes it is hardly recognizable and very weak. Only the last portion features again a great solo from Phil. This great numbers is poorly rendered here and that's a pity.

Their homage to John Lennon is a good way to close this live album. Melancholic, tranquil and nice. It was only released as a single and it will be the only one to have reached the first spot in the UK charts.

In terms of entertainment, Bryan does not excell in this genre. I mentioned this already in my Viva! review. I confirm this fo having seen them three times live (as a band or performing solo).

So, no surprise here. No joke, (almost) no comments. Still, I would rate it four stars (but I'm quite a Roxy fan).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#112104)
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The title of this posthumous live album, belatedly released eight long years after the band's 1982 studio swan song "Avalon", is almost too appropriate: what you're hearing is the comatose fossil of an all but exhausted creative spirit, its vital functions maintained only by the artificial life support of constant touring.

They may not have officially broken up yet, but the group on stage in southern France in 1982 was only a thin facsimile of the Roxy Music that had blazed such a glamorous path across the previous decade. The backbone beat of drummer Paul Thompson was gone; the signature sound and presence of Eddie Jobson's Plexiglas violin was gone; and of course the one and only Eno had retired his feather boas and VCS3 doodles years earlier.

What remained was strictly a vehicle for the debonair crooning of Bryan Ferry, with old-timers Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera, who as much as anyone had defined the classic Roxy Music sound, reduced to the level of near-anonymous hired hands. For proof, you only have to compare the negligible differences separating the last few Roxy albums from the subsequent arc of Ferry's solo career in the mid- to late-1980s.

The silver lining is that these guys could still play, even when simply going through the motions. Lend an ear to the energetic reading of "Can't Let Go", from Bryan Ferry's underappreciated 1978 album "The Bride Stripped Bare", and to the stately "Song For Europe", featuring a rare moment of ecstatic soloing by sax man Andy Mackay, showing more passion than he was normally allowed in the otherwise strictly regimented Roxy hierarchy.

Master guitarist Phil Manzanera also shines (albeit briefly) during the band's cover of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane". And he takes the spotlight even more forcefully in "Both Ends Burning", the only song in the entire set diverging to any noticeable degree from its original studio version, in this edition stripped down and buffed up to a smooth, high-gloss sheen.

Elsewhere the album is nothing less than impeccably produced, thoroughly professional, and totally lifeless. It probably didn't help that the band was by then performing in large, impersonal arenas, in this case to a crowd that (even on tape) sounds more like a mechanical abstraction than a genuine flesh and blood audience. Add to that the obligation to play the same old songs night after night, and it's no wonder they lost their motivation.

I suppose as an ersatz greatest hits collection (with clapping) it almost makes sense. But as a musical valediction, forget it. Fans would have to wait another decade for true closure, in the 2003 twin-disc "Roxy Music Live" reunion package.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#142364)
Posted Saturday, October 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I was surprised to see this live CD from Roxy Music´s Avalon tour of 1983 to be released only seven years after the event. At the time the only thing available was the four track EP The High Road, which had the excellent version for a song Ferry had recorded solo before, the brilliant Can´t Let Go. I just loved that track! So when I found Heart Still Beating in a store, and saw it had all the EP´s tunes, in the early 90´s, I bought without even listening to it beforehand.

Was it worth it? Well, at the time it was. Contrary to what happened to many big rock names of the 70´s and 80´s, there was not a flood of live recordings of RM on the market throught the years. In fact, there are only a few around. So I was glad to have this one along with Viva. Viva was much better, of course, since it was the classic line up, but it also lacked so many good songs it made me feel a bit frustrated. Heart Still Beating has lots of good stuff, even if the overall quality is a little uneven.

The tracklist is great, the perfomances not that much. Remember, this was not the same band that shaked the rock´n roll scene when they arrived in 1972. By the time Heart... was recorded, only vocalist Bryan Ferry, sax player Andy McKay and guitarrist Phil Manzanera remained. The others were just hired guns. Good musicians, ok, but nothing like the real thing. So it was no real (pun not intended) surprise to find that the old stuff here sounds a bit tame and not that interesting (just compare Viva´s delicious, energetic, semi chaotic version of Both Ends Burning with the bland one here. They sound like two completely different songs)

On the other hand I must admit that their latter tunes are actually sounding better here than on their original albums. This is specially true on songs like My Only Love and Dance Away. Not to mention the very good Can´t Let Go (not available in any other RM CD). Roxy´s versions of Neil Young´s Hurricane and John Lennon´s Jealous Guy are also very well done (the latter became quite a big hit in the UK). The sound quality is very good and I wished it was truly a one show affair: it is very clear that the tracks are from various venues wrapped up to sound like just one.

Conclusion: a good live album. It has some strong live renditions of their latter studio stuff and two very interesting covers. Not essential, as Viva, but still worth it. 3 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#272350)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | Review Permalink

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