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Peter Hammill - The Peel Sessions CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.65 | 35 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars It is often a great pleasure for me to listen and review a Peter Hammill album (even if some of them got only the two stars rating). This great man moved me as early as in 1973 and belongs to the great persons in my musical environment. To listen to these Peel sessions is worth but at times one can get disappointed as well.

One of out many of my beloved VDGG songs ("The Emperor In His War Room") is quite down-scaled here: Peter on vocals and piano: of course he is passionate, but I can't help: the original and mighty was way much better IMHHO. This one is to be considered as a more intimate and personal interpretation. Still, very good.

There are indeed some deep VDGG oriented songs as "The Sub Mariner", but I already had the same feeling while reviewing the good "In Camera" album. Some additional friend is also welcome on this album; namely Graham Smith on the violin. He adds some depth and feel (if needed) to the songs in which he is involved.

The devoted fans or connoisseur of Peter's huge oeuvre can only be moved with his interpretation; for the casual man in the street: it might not be the same. It is true to say that Peter's work is not easy to approach. It needs some time and comprehension. Once you've been through these first barriers, you will be quite rewarded for sure.

I remember a mail from my friend Febus who reproached me to be quite generous with my ratings about Peter's work. I simply replied that I was charmed (for half of his work or so) and that I couldn't prevent to be laudatory about some of his great songs. How much I miss Febus mails by now?May you see these lines my friend!

I saw the man only once live. With "Van Der Graaf" in Brussels (Cirque Royal) a very, very long time ago (October 76). It was quite an evening and I really am sorry to have missed the opportunity some two years ago for health problems to see him again in Belgium. But maybe he'll show up again not too far from my place.

Not all tracks are great on this album (both "X" songs are rather weak), and the second half of this album can't compete with its first and very good counterpart. Passion is there, emotion as well; but song writing is just not on par. "Auto" and "Invisible Ink" are a total disaster to tell the truth (both were originally present on the average "In A Foreign Town".

In other words, you need to be deeply involved with the man to fully appreciate this set. I wouldn't recommend this album as an entry point to his huge contribution to music. For those of you willing to discover his work, I can only mention that his great albums from the seventies (each of them) are probably easier of reach than this one.

Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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