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Van Der Graaf Generator

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Van Der Graaf Generator First Generation / Godbluff album cover
3.39 | 12 ratings | 1 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD1 (70:41)
1. Darkness (11/11) (7:27)
2. Killer (8:07)
3. Man-Erg (10:21)
4. Theme One (3:15)
5. Pioneers Over C (12:05)
6. A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers (23:04)
- a. Eyewitness
- b. Pictures / Lighthouse
- c. Eyewitness
- d. S.H.M.
- e. Presence of the Night
- f. Kosmos Tours
- g. (Custard's) Last Stand
- h. The Clot Thickens
- i. Land's End (Sineline)
- j. We Go Now
7. Refugees (6:22)

CD2 (58:40)
1. The Undercover Man (7:00)
2. Scorched Earth (10:10)
3. Arrow (8:15)
4. The Sleepwalkers (10:26)
5. Forsaken Gardens (Live) (12:23)
6. A Louse Is Not A Home (Live) (10:26)

Total Time 129:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hammill / Lead Vocals, Guitar, Pianos
- Hugh Banton / Keyboards, Bass Pedals, Bass, Vocals
- Guy Evans / Drums, Percussion
- David Jackson / Saxophone, Flute, Vocals
- Nic Potter / Bass, Electric Guitar (1-2)
- Mike Hurwitz / Cello (7)

Releases information

2CD Virgin; 5099901503326 (2012 Europe)

Thanks to Glimpse for the addition
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VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR First Generation / Godbluff ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR First Generation / Godbluff reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 220

'First Generation (Scenes From 1969-1971)/Godblufft' is a very special compilation of Van Der Graaf Generator. This is a package including their compilation album 'First Generation /Scenes From 1969-1971)', released in 1986 and their fifth studio album 'Godbluff', released in 1975, on a double compilation album. So, it includes also one of their best studio albums which are also one of the best progressive rock albums ever. But it includes also a compilation album based on three of their best studio albums either. This is really a very strange thing, a compilation including another compilation. This isn't a common thing and we must question the needing of such kind of things on prog rock music.

As I've already reviewed all these albums previously on Progarchives, in a more extensive way, I'm not going to do it again. So, if you are interested to know, in more detail, what I wrote about them before, I invite you to read those reviews. Still, here I'm going to write something about them in a more short way. So, of course, I'm not going to analyze them exaustivelly, as I made before, but I'm only going to make a global appreciation of the album and compilation.

'First Generation (Scenes From 1969-1971)': This is a compilation of Van Der Graaf Generation which was released in 1986. It's a compilation that includes tracks from three studio albums of them, their second studio album 'The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other', released in 1970, their third studio album 'H To He, Who Am The Only One', released also in 1970, and their fourth studio album 'Pawn Hearts', released in 1971. However and curiously, it doesn't include any track from their debut studio album 'The Aerosol Grey Machine', released in 1969, an album of their first phase too. This is a compilation of Van Der Graaf Generator with a great selection of tracks. Some of their best and most legendary tracks are here. The selection of 'Darkness (11/11)' and 'Refugees' from 'The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other', couldn't be better. They are, for me, the two best songs on the album and they are also two of the best tracks ever made by them. About the selection of 'Killer' and 'Pioneers Over C.' from 'H To He, Who Am The Only One', I've nothing against. The album is so good that any of its songs could be part of the compilation. Relatively to the selection of 'Man-Erg' and 'A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers' from 'Pawn Hearts', both suffer from the same problem of 'H To He, Who Am The Only One'. The tracks are also so good that if it was 'Lemmings' to be selected, it would also have been absolutely perfect. Finally, 'The Theme' is a very beautiful and different track, which fits very well on it, too. Still, this compilation can't substitute those albums by any mean. So, it's good but it's not really an essential purchase.

'Godbluff': This is my favourite Van Der Graaf Generator's album. Despite I deeply love, practically all of their musical studio works of the 70's, it always had and it always will have a very special place into my heart. The only four tracks of the album showed a unity, coherence and a musical inspiration, which appear as having been cut from the same cloth. An attentive listening of the album show that the group had changed, abandoning the aesthetic of their earlier albums in favour of a more direct and streamlined approach. However and unfortunately, Van Der Graaf Generator never quite managed to make the same impact on the generality of the public of the 70's as Genesis, Pink Floyd and Yes, had done. They always differed from the traditional progressive rock groups. If we want to define the band, we can say that probably, they are the band that clearly defines the dark side of the progressive rock music. To finish, even if we can enjoy more or less the band, and if 'Godbluff' is the best Van Der Graaf Generator's album or not, which is really truth is that 'Godbluff' is one of the best albums ever made. Besides, 'Godbluff' belongs to one of the rare albums that belong to the glorious pages on the progressive rock music. Very few albums and bands were enabling to do that.

Conclusion: So, 'The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other', 'H To He, Who Am The Only One' and 'Pawn Hearts' belong, with their debut studio album 'The Aerosol Grey Machine', to their first musical period. These three albums are, without any doubt, the better of their first four studio albums. 'H To He, Who Am The Only One' and 'Pawn Hearts' are also considered with 'Godbluff' and 'Still Life', from their second musical period, the four greatest masterpieces from the band. 'Pawn Hearts' and 'Godbluff' are even considered two of the best progressive rock albums ever made. So, we can consider that the material on here is all of the first class, undoubtedly. But, for those who have already all these albums, like me, this compilation only can be interesting as an addition for those who are progressive collector's fans. So, we can also question ourselves why we need these kind of compilations, especially of progressive rock bands. The only thing that occurs to my mind is to make a bit more money for the bands and record labels. It's even truer in this case because this compilation can never substitute all those amazing studio works. It's true that we have 'Godfluff' in a complete version. But the rest of it is very short to can substitute minimally those three albums. So and despite all I said before I'm going to give it 3 stars because it realy has an amazing set of progressive rock tracks.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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