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Fish For Whom the Bells Toll album cover
3.90 | 30 ratings | 2 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (62:23)
1. Vigil (9:08)
2. Credo (8:14)
3. Tongues (7:32)
4. Family Business (6:16)
5. Incubus (15:04)
6. The Company (9:19)
7. Shadowplay (6:50)

CD 2 (62:12)
1. Shadowplay (12:44)
2. Dear Friend (9:58)
3. Lucky (6:02)
4. Big Wedge (6:33)
5. Heart of Lothian (5:25)
6. Forgotten Sons (9:47)
7. Internal Exile / Market Square Heroes (11:43)

Total Time 124:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Fish / vocals
- Frank Usher / guitar
- Robin Boult / guitar, backing vocals
- Mickey Simmonds / keyboards
- Kevin Wilkinson / drums
- David Paton / bass, backing vocals

Releases information

New Years Eve

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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FISH For Whom the Bells Toll ratings distribution

(30 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(63%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

FISH For Whom the Bells Toll reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Actually, I was not interested to purchase this CD. But, .. it's Fish man! It's an ex frontman from the band that I loved so much .. Marillion! So finally I purchased it. As this is an official bootleg, the cover is not good at all. Surprisingly - knowing well that this is a bootleg record - the quality of sound is really excellent. I sometime think that this is like an official live album of Fish. I'm really satisfied by the record quality. Let's have a look on the performance. It's recorded from Edinburgh Playhouse at New Year's Eve of 91. You know by the time Fish just released second album "Internal Exile". So you would find songs were taken from the first two albums plus some Marillion's.

The album starts with the opening track of debut album "Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors". This track is performed better at this live version because it's much dynamic than the original studio version. The band that accompanies the show could emulate the studio version better. Fish could control his pitch during this emotive song. I have no problem at all with this version. In fact I'm very happy because this excellent song can be performed excellently - plus excellent live vibes from the crowd. At the end of the opening track Fish does some communication to end the song.

"Credo" (8:14) is basically not a good track as per my taste when I look at the studio version. But here Kevin Wilkinson plays the drums better than the studio version. Fish uses this song to communicate the crowd and makes them hot. I actually like the chorus line - especially the guitar part is stunning. After "Credo" Fish makes a conversation with the crowd with his Scott accent.

"Tongues" (7:31) is also taken from the second album "Internal Exile". It has specificity on singing style that spells nicely the title meaning. Fish' singing style emphasizes on the "tongue" control. I am amazed with the fact, again, that this track is better in live version - it's got better bass sound than the studio version. The band performs better than in the studio version. The song that actually does not attract me on the studio version but now with this live version I do enjoy well. I love the way Fish scream "Auuuummm. auuumm" backed with howling guitar sounds that accompany him.

"Family Business" (6:16) is really a great track from debut album and I do enjoy it very much - one of my favorite Fish tracks. After conversation with the crowd, the soft guitar sounds backed with bass guitar lines in spacey nuance enters the music. Fish enters his voice brilliantly. Again, I love this live version of catchy melody song.

Right after "Family Business" Fish does a lot of conversations with the audience before he finally sings "Incubus" from Marillion's second album "Fugazi" released in 1984. In general, actually I tend not to like Marillion's song being covered by other band including Fish and his band because the soul is different. Frank Usher's howling guitar is different than Rothery's guitar style. But for a change, I can enjoy this track as well even though I opt the original version. One thing needs to notice here is the piano work Mickey Simmonds is really good. The guitar solo is also enjoyable in a way that sounds like two players playing the guitar: Frank Usher and Robin Boult. The improvisations with different notes after vocal break at the end of the track is really stunning. It entertains me in a way that actually my preference is the original band plays this song. But it's okay because Fish band gives another version. The guitar solo deserves attention even though the soul of the music is far way from the original version.

"The Company" (9:19) is one of Fish great creation from his debut album. The music is completely great and also the lyric is so captivating. The vocal line is full of accentuation and the melody is catchy. As far as music style I don't think that Marillion has ever thought of making music such wonderful as The Company. The opening part in this version is not as good as studio but it's more dynamic in terms of vocal and, most importantly .. the crowd sing together with Fish. I like when the music interlude starts to roll in the middle of the track where the string section enters with some traditional notes - it's so beautiful! This is a song that I always repeat when I play the debut album CD. So powerful and uplifting! After this song Fish does his story telling again with the audience.

"Shadowplay" (6:50) is the opening track of Fish's second album "Internal Exile". Again, this is another favorite of mine because it has all the qualities of great Fish songs. It has powerful low register notes and vocal aggression by Fish. It starts beautifully with an ambient guitar sounds and keyboard followed wonderfully by a blast of music that combines vibraphones, drums, bass, guitar and keyboard make this song so energetic. Fish vocal enters with powerful accentuation. The chorus line "I saw your life as a shadowplay. In a trance I was held by the shadowplay. In the spell of the shadowplay. From Celtic Illumination. I see the Celtic Illumination. The Celtic". The part where Fish does his narration in the middle of the track is also very attractive. It pumps my adrenalin to run faster!

Disc Two starts with another Fish conversation, a story telling again. I don't know why "Shadowplay" is being repeated again at the start of Disc Two. It's probably to fill-up the disc space. "Dear Friend" (9:58) is a ballad from second album followed with "Lucky" (6:01) from the same album. The band retursn back to debut album with "Big Wedge" (6:32) which does not favor me.

"On the outskirt of nowhere on the ringroad of nowhere ." says Fish as the opening of "Heart Of Lothian" (5:25) followed by piano work by Mickey Simmonds. Again, soul-wise it's not as great as the one in "La Gazza Ladra" live set but it's okay for bringing memory backs to the past days of Marillion. "Forgotten Sons" (9:47) is also not better than the "Real to Reel" version but I enjoy Mickey Simmonds keyboard sounds and guitar solos by Usher and Boult. It's just another version of the best Marillion song I have ever known - that's why I keep putting "Peace on earth and mercy mild .." at the end of my review because this song is really a killer! The music interlude that so far has killed me is now delivered a bit different from Marillion, and it's still rocking! "For a second you'll be famous but labeled posthumous.."

The live album ends with "Internal Exile / Market Square Heroes" (11:42). Market Square Heroes is a regular encore in early Marillion's concerts.

Overall, this is an excellent live record of Fish solo with some songs of Marillion. I'd rather have Fish plays his solo albums than Marillion with his band. He should not look back his past days. He must have learned from Peter Gabriel who has never looked back his days with Genesis. Life moves on without Marillion! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Warthur
4 stars The December 1991 portion of Fish's Internal Exile tour is actually rather well-represented in live releases - some might say over-represented. You see, come 1993, Fish was setting up his own independent label, and he needed to get some product out there. He was also very aware that bootlegs of his performances had been selling well - so he decided to release a clutch of "official bootleg"-type recordings off his own bat. Packaged in the sort of cheap and cheerful format which bootlegs at the time used, but sourced from soundboard tapes and given some mild polishing, the idea was that by providing a better-sounding product at a comparable price he could beat the bootleggers at their own game.

By itself, it wasn't a bad plan - Fish wasn't the first artist to do something like this (remember Zappa's Beat the Boots series?), and he wouldn't be the last. His old bandmates in Marillion would try a similar idea with the Front Row Club of soundboard recordings aimed at hardcore fans, after all - which is unsurprising given that Fish and Marillion made their mark in the first place off the back of a strong DIY attitude and a close connection to their fans.

The problem here was that Fish's solo career was still fairly young. so he didn't exactly have a deep bench of tapes to choose from. This led to the somewhat muddled spectacle of him releasing three live albums in 1993 which were all recorded in the same month (December 1991), and with extremely similar setlists. Those would be For Whom the Bells Toll, Derek Dick and His Amazing Electric Bear, and Uncle Fish and the Crypt Creepers.

For superfans who absolutely cannot get enough Fish, this might be a real boon, but for someone who's less of a completist - interested enough in Fish's live shows to want a nice show from the Internal Exile Tour but not interested enough to want multiple very similar shows from the same general leg of it - which one to pick? For Whom The Bells Toll is the first one of these I've encountered, and I wouldn't say it's so essential that I desperately want to hear the others - but it's a great little show and I'm pretty satisfied with this one.

The reason this is the odd one out is that is the New Year's Eve show in Edinburgh (with the exception of the concluding medley, which was taken from a slightly early show in Paris since the set-closer of Internal Exile and Market Square Heroes was missing from these tapes). This means that Fish and the crowd are in a merry mood, seeing in 1992 partway through the set and generally in a boisterous mood.

This adds a welcome dose of additional levity to proceedings and provides a somewhat more positive energy to proceedings, which is helpful because (as Fish himself notes in his patter with the audience) 1991 was a rough old year for him. You wouldn't know it to hear the album though, which runs through the best of the Internal Exile and Vigil In a Wilderness of Mirrors albums with a few select dips into the Marillion repertoire. Musically, Fish was really stepping out of the shadow of his Marillion career at this point, even though in terms of critical and commercial reception he was still having difficulties, but the business troubles evaporate here to leave behind a great art-rock set.

Not a five star live show because the tapes aren't without their flaws and there's only so much that can be done to tidy them up - but it's a very solid offering, and short of doing a "best of" version of the setlist taking the best performance from this and its two companion live releases the presentation on For Whom the Bell Tolls is about as good as live Fish from this era gets.

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