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Roxy Music - Viva! Roxy Music CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

3.78 | 67 ratings

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4 stars VIVA is a terrific live set from original English art rockers Roxy Music. It captures a young band at the height of their powers, in front of enthusiastic audiences in various British venues. (Released in 1976, the album was actually recorded from 1973 to 1975.) Personnel include the original stalwart core of Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson, plus Eno replacement Eddie Jobson on violin and keyboards. Roxy never really had a permanent bassist, but we get the estimable John Wetton (King Crimson, UK, etc.) on five tracks. Other bass duties are ably fulfilled by session men John Gustafson (who'd play on four Roxy albums) and Sal Maida.

VIVA showcases material from the group's first five albums, during their more experimental and rocking heyday, and prior to the later disco and MOR leanings of their FLESH AND BLOOD to AVALON era. There are eight tracks in all, and each one is a winner. Standouts include "Out Of The Blue," where Jobson more than earns his pay on the violin, a blistering, breakneck "Do The Strand" and a sultry, spooky "The Bogus Man," where Manzanera's mesmerizing guitar really howls. Rollicking crowd pleaser "Both Ends Burning" is loads of fun, and should get your blood pumping and feet tapping -- you can dance if you want to. Mackay's sax shines here, and check out those great backing vocals courtesy of the beauteous Sirens! (That must be a Siren smiling and dancing so sexily on the cover photo; no one ever accused Bryan Ferry of surrounding himself with plain women on stage -- or off. Ooh la la!) My favourite number, however, is also the longest, at over ten minutes: "If There Is Something" from the band's self- titled debut, has always been one of my top Roxy songs, and the boys do it magnificently here. There's fabulous lead from Phil, committed vocals from Bryan (the necessary warble in his voice is still there), moody, magnificent keys and violin virtuosity from Edwin, superb sax from Andy, and pounding percussion from Paul. "Lift up your feet and put them on the ground you used to walk upon -- the hills were higher -- when you were young." Outstanding!

In closing, this is an excellent live album, and required listening for any fan. Viva Roxy Music!

Peter | 4/5 |


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