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Roxy Music - The Thrill of it All* CD (album) cover


Roxy Music


Crossover Prog

4.40 | 15 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars For someone that owns all of the Roxy Music studio albums on vinyl, this is the perfect box set to have on CD. It has several tracks from each album on its first 3 CDs and one complete CD of rarities, b-sides and extended versions.

The First 3 CDs

The first CD has 6 of the 9 tracks from the debut album (excluding 'The Bob', 'Would You Believe' and 'Bitter's End'), 7 of the 8 tracks from 'For Your Pleasure' (excluding 'Gray Lagoons', and 3 tracks from 'Stranded'.

CD 2 has 3 more tracks from 'Stranded' meaning there are 6 of the 8 tracks from 'Stranded' on this box set (excluding 'Psalm' and 'Serenade'), 8 of the 10 tracks from 'Country Life' (excluding 'If It Takes All Night' and 'Triptych'), and 5 of the 9 tracks from 'Siren' (excluding 'End of the Line', 'Whirlwind', 'She Sells', and 'Nightingale').

CD3 has 6 of the 10 tracks from 'Manifesto' (excluding 'Still Falls the Rain', 'My Little Girl', 'Cry, Cry, Cry' and 'Spin Me Round'), 6 of the 10 tracks from 'Flesh + Blood' (excluding 'In the Midnight Hour', 'Eight Miles High', 'Rain, Rain, Rain', and 'Running Wild'), and 6 of the 10 tracks from 'Avalon' ('The Space Between', 'India', 'The Main Thing' and 'True to Life').

The 4th CD ('Rarities')

The fourth CD is going to have the most value for the die-hard fans in that there are several tracks here that are only available on other collections or out of print singles and etc. I said earlier that this is the best collection for those that have all of the albums on vinyl and want to have a good collection on CD for music on the go, and, short of getting all of the albums on CD, this is the best way to get a lot of their best tracks plus some harder to find tracks.

Starting off with a fairly well-known non-album single 'Virginia Plain' (though it was released on the US version of the debut album), you get that upbeat and somewhat noisy sound of early Roxy Music that is somehow very appealing. 'The Numberer' comes next, and is the b-side to 'Virginia Plain', also not available on any of the regular albums. It is all instrumental with a smart 50's sounding vibe and an excellent sax led track which later changes to a harmonica, but with all the RM traits of the art-dance vibe. 'Pyjamarama' is another well-known, non-album single, that has appeared on a few other collections. Ferry's vocals are more vulnerable on this one, but that leads to the song's appeal, and the sax hook and the later guitar solo are excellent. The b-side to this follows, 'The Pride and the Pain'. Again, this is an instrumental, but this time it is a slow, pensive, emotional and lovely track led by clarinet and later guitar, with various whip snapping effects and spoken vocals, later with almost rhapsodic piano and wordless vocals.

Now there are a series of b-sides that were not available on any of the albums. Next up is a re-make of the title track from 'Manifesto', which was originally the b-side to the single 'Over You'. It has a steadier beat to it than the original, making it a more danceable track. It really doesn't do much for the original. 'Hula Kula' was the b-side to 'Street Life', and features a Hawaiian sounding effect on the guitar, kazoos, and the island style strumming but done without a ukulele. It's a silly- sounding instrumental with some background spoken vocals. 'Trash 2' is the flip-side to the 'Trash' single. It features a slightly longer introduction before Ferry's vocals start. The beat is a more straight forward rhythm, but the melody itself is quite mediocre. But it is more danceable than the original 'Trash' at least. After these last 3 mediocre b-sides, things get much better.

'Your Application's Failed' was the b-side for the 'All I Want is You' single. It is an instrumental with a nice heavy back beat and sax, guitar and organ led melodies on the 'verses' and a much noisier, heavy 'chorus', but all quite listenable and well done with the RM signature sound. 'Lover' was the b-side for 'Same Old Scene'. It is a more mellow dance style with nice jazz influences and Ferry's vocals that are more restrained and laid-back, but in a similar style to the single that it supported. 'Sultanesque' is the b-side to 'Love is the Drug'. It is one of RM's more experimental tracks that is all instrumental. It begins with a strange, warbly guitar effect and ticking percussion. After a few minutes, electronic percussion and a warbly synth comes in over the guitar effect. In the background, there is a mid-eastern sound mixed low in the sound. After a while, a loud cymbal rolls in bringing in the guitar, and then that fades while the electronic theme continues.

Next it the extended version of 'Dance Away', taken from the 12' single. It expands wonderfully on the original track, making the song smoother, more danceable in a 'soft rumba' kind of way. I actually love this remix better than the original, with Ferry's lovely vocals and the infectious beat and melody. This remix takes away the progressive edge of the song, but quite honestly, it actually fares better because of this especially in regards to the lush and emotional vocals. The middle section features a percussion solo which retains the beat throughout. 'South Downs' was the b-side to the 'Oh Yeah single. It is a minimalist style track with a drone-like sound supporting a hazy synth, the entire track based off of 2 interchanging chords. 'Angel Eyes' is another extended remix that features a faster, almost disco style rhythm with a slapping guitar strum setting off the beat, the sax becoming more prominent with a cool riff, and Ferry's lush vocals again. Once again, this extended version improves on the original even with the steady beat. There are so many other instrumental riffs and layers that keep this track from getting stale.

'Always Unknowing' was the b-side to the 'Avalon' single. This non-album track follows in the beautiful lushness that was the recipe on the entire Avalon album, and why this was left off of the album is beyond me, it would have fit right in and enhanced the entire album, since it was a bit short anyway. It has the traits of the songs on that album with melodic sax, guitar, percussion and synths supporting it. Very nice track. Next there is another extended remix, this time of 'The Main Thing'. The track features a heavier beat that continues through the track, and this version relies on the synth and guitar riffs more to drive the track forward. It works okay, but tends to last a little too long. 'India' comes next, and is actually not a rare track, but is a short intermediary track from the album 'Avalon' and was also used as a b-side for 'More Than This'. The collection ends with an extended version of John Lennon's 'Jealous Guy'. This cover is an excellent cover of this song which I like even better than Lennon's version. It originally appeared on the EP 'The High Road' which was released after 'Avalon' to support the concert DVD of the same name.

For those of you who have a hard time locating Roxy Music's back catalogue, this is an excellent option. Sure it doesn't contain all of their songs, but it does contain about 2 / 3rds of their studio output. For those that do have their full catalogue, the 4th CD is all full of rare material, which is for the most part, essential and worth it. This collection will serve anyone interested in Roxy Music quite well. I find it perfect for my required RM collection, all vinyl copies and this box set on CD for when I want to take it with me. 5 star collection.

TCat | 5/5 |


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