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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.48 | 1975 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This was my first VDGG contemporary album. I purchased it at the time of release (1975). Before this one, I got already acquainted with their work (I had their major three albums : "The Least", "H To He" and "Pawn Hearts"). But I bought them all in 1974 (after their release) at the age of fifteen.

You can consider that I am a die-hard VDGG fan both generations, but I prefer the band after their first break (which is actually their second one if you consider that they broke already before the release of "The Aerosol..."). They will produce more accessible music, and two masterpieces of prog music, IMO.

"The Undercover Man" is one of my all time VDGG fave (all periods). Light flute in the intro, "peaceful" vocals to start. Very melodious. The rest of the band then joins : first Hugh with subtle organ in the background, then Guy with very light percussions. Vocals then turns out to be incredibly sentimental while the band plays crescnedo and reaches full power. What a great track ! A pure beauty. The middle instrumental section is very strong but never enters into this weird trip so typical of VDGG first generation. Its finale is so emotional and beautiful. I remember that I was really charmed by this song when I got the album. An absolute highlight.

With "Scorched Earth" we enter their more classical repertoire, less melodious, darker, intricated. It is a very well bulit song, with a very tortured Peter and some outrageous sax from Jackson. He is so skilled at his instrument that he (but also Peter) turned me into a fan of their music although I usually do not like sax at all. The finale is just great. Another highlight.

"Arrow" is a very complex song, wild at times and difficult to enter into. Great drumming from Evans and very strong sax from Dave (this guy is really great). This is the most reminiscent track of their first era. This makes of "Godbluff" the missing link between "Pawn Hearts" and "Still Life".

My second best here is "The Sleepwalkers" I really like it a lot. The intro is just nice and gentle, but when the vocals start, it turns out to be another scary one. We'll have a cha cha cha break for some relief before an incredible strong sax part and marvelous, melodious Peter. The instrumental break shows the whole band in its full power : Banton, Evans and Jakson accomplishing a great moment of VDGG music. Really powerful and almost sublime (really). These 10'31" summarizes very well the second era of this wonderful band. Melodious at times, just complex enough during others (it would not be VDG otherwise) ! This track is so intense with the whole band playing at his best than I just felt in love with it.

On the remastered CD, there are two bonus songs from Peter solo's repertoire (both from "The Silent Corner & the Empty Stage"). The sound quality is rather poor, but hey man, these are documents (they were recorded during a concert at Rimini (Italy) on August 9th, 1975) ! They are welcome since the original album was quite short (at least to VDGG standards).

I would of course suggest you to buy the Godbluff DVD produced by the Belgian TV and recorded in Charleroi (not the fanciest place in Belgium for a prog concert). I will tell you more about it in my review for this work though.

Five stars for this great come back and a must owned in your prog collection.

ZowieZiggy | 5/5 |


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