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Van Der Graaf Generator

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Van Der Graaf Generator Second Generation (Scenes from 1975-1977) album cover
3.37 | 50 ratings | 7 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Undercover Man (7:25)
2. Scorched Earth (9:46)
3. The Sleepwalkers (10:32)
4. Pilgrims (7:12)
5. Still Life (7:20)
6. When She Comes (7:58)
7. The Siren Song* (6:04)
8. Cat's Eye / Yellow Fever (Running)* (5:20)
9. Wondering (6:33)

Total Time: 68:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitars, pianos
- Hugh Banton / organs, bass pedals and guitars, mellotron, piano (except no *)
- Guy Evans / drums and percussion
- David Jackson / saxes, flute (except no 7, 8)
- Graham Smith / violin, viola (No 7, 8 only)
- Nic Poter / bass (No 7, 8 only)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Fassbinder for the last updates
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Second Generation (Scenes from 1975-1977) ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR Second Generation (Scenes from 1975-1977) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Man Erg
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A bit of an oddity.This is the first compilation of the re-formed and subsequently re-named VdGG/Van der Graaf.Peter Hammill had been persuing a solo career whilst the other members of the band had formed The Long Hello. This compilation starts with a trio of track from the stunning 'comeback' album,Godbluff. My personal favourite from that album ,The Arrow is omitted. What sort of marketing ploy Charisma were up to I can only guess at.Three tracks from a four track album! Needless to say these tracks are brilliant in all there austere,menacing beauty. Next we have a brace from the follow-up album ,Still Life.The first,Pilgrims is a fantastic song full of suspence and a very Hammill solo style melody in the songs final coda. Still Life follows.The polar opposite of Pilgrims.It is dark,eerie and almost Edgar Allan Poe- esque in it's lyrical imigery.Death and defication, 'Hers forever In Still Life' muses Hammill in probably one of the darkest love songs that you'll ever hear. When She Comes follows .It's an up-beat rocker for VdGG.Vaguely reminiscent of what Hammill was writing for his soon to be released solo album,Over.This is one of two tracks from the World Record album,the last studio album to feature Hugh Banton and David Jackson.Wondering,the other track from World Record is mysteriously stuck on the end of this record, out of sequence,it is a great track to end an album with it's yearning plea as to whether 'It's All Been True.Segueing When She Comes and Wondering are two tracks from the re-monikered Van der Graaf. This line-up features bassist Nic Potter from the Least We Can the Pawn Hearts band.The other new member is violinist Graham Smith formally of label-mates Sring Driven Thing. The two tracks from Van der Graafs only studio album,Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome. were a change in style. Lighter without losing the trade mark menacing edge.The sound also had a punky/new wave feel,contempory with the then current music scene. The music on this album cannot be faulted.Its just perfunctory.Buy The Box and the featured studio albums for a better over-view on the latter VdGG/VdG incarnation.
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars The record company (Virgin records which took over Charisma and decided to capitalize a bit on the back catologue in releasing compils of this kind) released two very good VDGG compilations at the same time. Each of them representing one period of VDGG. This one is not sub-par to the first one. I consider their second ... generation the best ones in terms of harmonies and catchy songs. Easier to enter into in comparison with their first era (IMO).

Both being quite remarkable in terms of quality output (second one ending, as far as I'm concerned, with "A World Record"). Like the previous compilation, I will compile my reviews as well (taking my original one from the according number present on this effort). I hope you got the idea.

"The Undercover Man" is one of my all time VDGG fave (all periods). Light flute in the intro, "peaceful" vocals to start. Very melodious. The band then joins : first Hugh with subtle organ in the background. Vocals then turns out to be incredibly sentimental while the band plays crescendo and reaches full power. How great a track ! A pure beauty. The middle instrumental section in the middle is very strong but never enters into this weird part so typical of VDGG first era. Its finale is so emotional and beautiful. I remember that I was really charmed by this song when I got the album (Godbluff).

With "Scorched Earth" we enter the more classical repertoire, less melodious, darker, intricated. It is a very well built song, with a very tortured Peter and some outrageous sax from Jackson. He is so skilled at his instrument that he (but also Peter) turned me into a fan of their music although I usually do not like sax at all. The finale is just great.

"The Sleepwalkers" : I really like it a lot. The intro is just nice and gentle, but when the vocals start, it turns out to be another scary one. We'll have a cha cha cha break for some relief before an incredible strong sax part and marvelous, melodious Peter. The instrumental break shows the whole band in its full power : Banton, Evans and Jakson accomplishing a great moment of VDGG music. Really powerful and almost sublime (really). These 10'31" summarizes very well the second era of this wonderful band. Melodious at times, just complex enough during others (it would not be VDG otherwise) ! This track is so intense with the whole band playing at his best than I just felt in love with it.

"Pilgrims" : a fresh, very emotional song full of hope; a bit like "Refugees". I quote : "I've been waiting for such a long time just to see it at last, all of the hands tightly clasped, all of us pilgrims". This quiet song for most of its duration ends in a torrid sax solo with great backings from the band. Superb. I have to admit that VDGG second generation pleases me a lot. More than "Mark I". Their repertoire turned from quite obscure, frightening, extremely difficult to perceive into an almost light and accessible music (for VDGG standards of course).

It is a marvelous song. IMO it is probably to best one of their whole career (only equalled by "Refugees"). It is amazing to notice how close they are in their atmosphere but at the same time quite far from each other in terms of release. Thank you guys to delivered such a great piece of music again.

"Still Life" : is a brilliant song : good keys, discreet sax and omni-presence of the smooth vocals from Peter : "What have we bargained and what have we lost ? Unlike "Undercover Man", this one is not a crescendo song. It switches straight form light to hard. From the most subtle VDGG moments to the strongest one : great keys and sax. How fabulous is Jackson again.

I can only be disappointed that I will soon see VDGG again after an enormous break (just over thirty years) but without Jackson...(he will not be touring with the band in 2007). Banton is also great during the instrumental break. The "finale" is full of emotion, with Peter almost alone in command (but he is used to this). This is one of my Van Der Graaf all time fave (together with "Refugees" as you might know).

"When She Comes" is a clone of "Sleepwalkers" but not as strong as the original. Weird atmosphere, this track combines Peter's emotional voice and the strenght of the band (Jackson being again in great shape - as usual I should say). Peter seems to have some problems though with his voice during the finale (starting around minute six). The track ends up in a chaotic maelstrom of great sax and keys. I really like this song.

"The Siren Song" is a melancholical and acoustic one. Deep vocals and nice violin. Somewhat reminiscent of "Pilgrims" at times.

With "Cat's Eye, Yellow Fever" I have the impression that VDG is trying to produce an ELO song. Not really successfull to say the least. Press forward.

"Wondering" : is a very nice ballad, full of lyricism and melody, a bit mellowish though (some orchestrations do not really deserves this track). All in all, a very good review for this part of their career, even if "Cat's Eye..." does not fit here. Four stars.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 153

'Second Generation (Scenes From 1975-1977)' is a compilation of Van Der Graaf Generation and was released in 1986. This is a compilation that includes tracks from four studio albums of them, their fifth studio album 'Godbluff', released in 1975, their sixth studio album 'Still Life', released in 1976, their seventh studio album 'World Record', released also in 1976, and their eighth studio album 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome', released in 1977.

'Godbluff', 'Still Life', 'World Record' and 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome' belong to their second musical period. About these four albums there isn't a consensual opinion among all the progressive rock fans, or even with the band's fans. Relatively to 'Godbluff' and 'Still Life' is commonly accepted that they are two truly masterpieces, being 'Godbluff' also considered one of the best albums ever made. 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome' is in general considered one of their weakest albums from the 70's, with their debut studio album 'The Aerosol Grey Machine'. With 'World Record' the opinions are slightly divided, because some people considered it an excellent album too.

'First Generation (Scenes From 1975-1977)' has nine tracks. The first track 'The Undercover Man' was taken from 'Godbluff'. It begins with Hammill's voice in a low timbre, accompanied by Jackson's flute and Evans' drums. The track develops, with a slow crescendo of Hammill's voice and Banton's organ. This is one of the most beautiful songs created by the band. The second track 'Scorched Earth' was taken from 'Godbluff'. It's a traditional band's track. This is a darker, aggressive and complex track. It has a great work by Jackson on saxophones, well accompanied by Hammill's aggressive vocals. It represents the closest track to their previous album, 'Pawn Hearts'. The third track 'The Sleepwalkers' was taken from 'Godbluff'. It represents the highlight of 'Godbluff'. This is the lengthiest track on that album and is one of their best songs. The fourth track 'Pilgrims' was taken from 'Still Life'. This is a very good track to open 'Still Life'. It starts with a gloomy and melancholic note, along with your own mood and then slowly pulls out its melancholy, ending in a not of an optimistic message. There is a beautiful Banton's organ with soft vocals from Hammill, but Jackson's saxophones make the real mood here. The fifth track 'Still Life' was taken from 'Still Life'. This is a very dark song that speaks about the death and one's own resignation before the death. It's about the consequences of the immortality and the inevitable paradoxes of the eternal life, if there is such kind of thing. It starts with Hammill's singing and Banton's playing organ. The song grows with intensity all over it. The sixth track 'When She Comes' was taken from 'World Record'. This is a song related with Peter's personal love affair. It relates how unstable and unpredictable the relationships are, and how we can live with a person that we didn't know as well as we thought. This is a very sarcastic song with with an excellent saxophone and organ works by Jackson and Banton. The seventh track 'The Siren Song' was taken from 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome'. This is a very calm and beautiful song conducted by piano and violin. It's a very melancholic and acoustic song with deep vocals. This is a song that came directly from the past with the same dark atmosphere of their previous albums. It seems a reminiscent of 'Pilgrims'. The eighth track 'Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever (Running)' was taken from 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome'. This is my favourite song on that album. It has a fantastic violin work which demonstrates the technical virtuosity of Smith, which raises this song to the perfection of a masterpiece. This is a very frantic and heavy song with an excessive vocal approach by Hammill. The ninth track 'Wondering' was taken from 'World Record'. It's the song that ends beautifully 'World Record'. This is a hymn with a note of hope and desperate questions. It's an optimistic song with great lyrics supported by high quality Banton's keyboards. It brings to us the hope that we need after the breakup on a relationship. It tells us we can return, arise and survive in this world. This is also a nice and perfect way to close this compilation too.

Conclusion: This is another compilation of Van Der Graaf Generator with a great selection of tracks. Relatively to the selection from 'Godbluff', 'The Undercover Man', 'Scorched Earth' and 'The Sleepwalkers', are absolutely perfect. Still, if 'Arrow' had been selected, it would have been perfect too. Relatively to the selection from 'Still Life', 'Pilgrims' and 'Still Life', it's excellent. But, I would have preferred the inclusion of 'La Rossa' instead of 'Still Life'. Relatively to the selection from 'World Record', 'When She Comes' and 'Wondering', it's also perfect. Still, I'm very sad that 'Masks' couldn't be included on it. Finally, and relatively to the selection from 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome', 'The Siren Song' and 'Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever (Running)', it's once more excellent. In my opinion, 'Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever (Running)' is the best track on the album. 'Siren' is also one of the best tracks, but if it had been replaced by 'Last Frame' or 'The Wave', it would have been nice too. However, and as happens with so many other progressive compilations, it doesn't can substitute those albums by any mean. So, it's only good and not an essential purchase.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars I reviewed First Generation some months ago and it is only appropriate that I review Second Generation too. A bit of a pointless compilation album in my view. But the music is good, so......... The album starts with five of the best ever VDGG songs. The Undercover Man, Scorched Earth, The ... (read more)

Report this review (#225641) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, July 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Absolutely great value for money. For those who want to explore this mighty band then this has to be a good place to start. Buy this and the First Generation CD and you will have a fairly comprehensive insight into VDGG. Then of course you will want to buy the rest of the catalogue if your conve ... (read more)

Report this review (#146712) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is a collection of songs from the last four studio albums of Vdgg (not counting Present and a new album that will hopefully be released), "Godbluff", "Still life", "World record" and "The quiet zone - the pleasure dome". All four albums were released during 75-77. To me the first three ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#104884) | Posted by sularetal | Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Work announced in 1986 "Second Generation". Work that collected tune from four albums announced after it forms again. It is the best compilation album that collected the tune from the work at so-called latter term. It can be said that selection with a good this album will be done. Collectors/f ... (read more)

Report this review (#47239) | Posted by braindamage | Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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