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UK - Concert Classics Vol. 4  CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 47 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Uk did two magnificent albums at the end of the seventies. Both albums are generally considered as masterpieces of progressive rock. Some prog lovers prefer the debut album because of the fusion influences while others like "Danger money" more for the adventurous keyboard parts. Everyone agrees on the fact that there's not much resemblances between the two albums. A lot of people are wondering what would the band would have been like if Bruford and Holdsworth stayed on board. This album is your chance to catch a glimpse of what could have been. It features material from both albums performed by the original line up at the time "Danger money" was to be released. It seems tracks like "the only things she needs", "carrying no cross" and "caesar's palace blues" were actually written without song writing contributions by the two previous members which could be considered as a sign all was not going well between the members. Although the guitar isn't adding any substantial melody lines, the overall atmospheres on these tracks is surely benefits from the fusion elements and the sound which is more diverse compared to studio versions. After you heard "Carrying no cross", you can easily understand why this band split up. I presume Jobson was playing his parts always the same while the guitar lines changed for every single gig. Sometimes these two parts go in separate directions but some parts do sound excitable. At the time this was been performed live, the songs from the second album were nothing more than work in progress. This version has some parts which later have been deleted or replaced ; the keyboards sound less Keith Emerson than on the album but truly a great track anyway ; the reflective lyrics beautifully sung by Wetton in the beginning and ending parts with an astonishing instrumental duel in between.

"Caesar's palace blues" is a great up-tempo track with leanings to folk music. Here the lyrics are definitely not finished as Wetton sings the melody line without any words at some parts ; really funny ! The guitar just follows the violin and sometimes it's annoying cause it takes an effort to listen to the vocals which are buried by the violin and the guitar. Not my favorite version.

"Thirty years" is one of the most adventurous tracks combining atmospheric prog with fusion. This is the first time I heard a live version and it's awesome ! This sounds more laidback and less pompous but for me this is the excellent highlight. Not many times have I heard 4 musicians to play their parts complementary to each other without ending up in chaos. On this live record the sound of the bass is more noticeable in the bands sound. This is an improvement as it proves to be an essential part of the songs.

Many people regret the fact that UK only delivered 3 albums. Well two studio ones anyway, it was obvious this band was capable of much more excitable material but history decided otherwise. Somewhere in the nineties there was a rumour Wetton and Jobson would reunite but somehow it never happened. This is your long awaited chance to hear some excitable stuff from a transitional period between the first and second album. If you haven't seen them playing live after the debut album was released, get this album ; it is available. On the artwork there's a lot of covers shown from live albums, bootlegs I suppose but I've never spotted one of these items in a record store. I believe "Concert classics volume 4" is an official release and the sound quality of these recordings is excellent.

Fishy | 4/5 |


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