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Styx - The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings CD (album) cover




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3.35 | 23 ratings

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3 stars Now -this- is how you do a collection

Often band collections and compilations are a waste of time but here is one which ticks off all the boxes. It has purpose, it's complete, and it's a good value. Styx is a great American rock band who began their recording career with a small Midwest label and albums quite different than the mega-platinum ones they would release down the road. It has often not been easy for fans to check out the early years with original guitarist John Curulewski and his more progressive rock musings. In years past some fans have paid big bucks to procure these individual albums. Here, for under $20 bucks, you can have all -four- maiden albums in their entirety, with good remastered sound and fresh biographical notes.

The set includes the foot-stompin' Styx debut with their early epic "Movement for the Common Man," and a sound that bounced all over the map, from British progressive rock, hard rock, blues, and Southern rock The second Styx album included the big hit "Lady" and John Curulewski's fantastic "A Day." Third came their most experimental and diverse set called "The Serpent is Rising," when for a brief moment they gagged Dennis DeYoung and stuffed him in the closet, handing over the control to JC. Some people, DeYoung included, hate this album but I think it's a blast. The fourth album "Man of Miracles" was a disappointment but included a few DeYoung tracks in which you could really hear his songwriting skills developing.

These albums set the listener up for Equinox and Crystal Ball, the two transition albums which marked the replacement of Curulewski by Tommy Shaw. They were all commercial failures but served their purpose in honing the skills of the musicians and building a fan base. Some fans belittle this first era, while a few think it is better than the big time successes of later. In any case, success didn't come easy for this band. They were together a decade before releasing their first album and 15 years before they really hit the big time. In my opinion both halves of their first recording decade are very enjoyable in their own ways.

This is an excellent set which provides great value and puts four albums into your hands. If you have any interest in the band and don't have this material, jump on this release before it goes out of print.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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