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Gong - Love from the Planet Gong (The Virgin Years 1973-75) CD (album) cover

LOVE FROM THE PLANET GONG (THE VIRGIN YEARS 1973-75)

Gong

 

Canterbury Scene

4.51 | 7 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Well, here's the big one, at last: the entire RADIO GNOME TRILOGY finally together in an impressive box set, beautifully remastered, lovingly designed, coupled with SHAMAL (also newly remastered) and with no less than eight discs full of BBC radio sessions and assorted live performances. Shows that were hitherto only represented in bits (on albums such as LIVE ETC and LIVE AT THE BATACLAN) now appear in full (or as fully as possible) and two of the discs included (London - The Marquee Club Live, 9th and 10th Sept 1975) feature almost all of Steve Hillage's FISH RISING, immaculately recorded and spectacularly performed.

So was it worth the wait and is it worth forking out for? Here in the UK, where I'm typing these words, the box will set you back almost 100 - no small matter these days when most listeners prefer to acquire their music for free. It all depends on how big a Gong fan you are, really.... If, like me, you are keen to get your hands on the first proper remaster of FLYING TEAPOT and never owned LIVE AT THE BATACLAN or the crystal-clear 2004 remaster of YOU, this set may look like a very attractive proposition, especially when you consider it contains helpful notes on the recordings by Mike Howlett and Steve Hillage, an attractive hardcover book full of band pics (the box set is almost LP-sized; three quarters, I guess) and inner sleeves magnificently illustrated with Daevid Allen's original Pothead Pixie drawings.

Of the twelve CDs included in the set some of the live ones only run for 30-40 mins. and some people may feel short-changed by this, but the music performed is generally of high quality, at least if you don't get annoyed by Daevid's cod-French on pieces such as 'Ooby-Scooby Doomsday', by Didier Malherbe's clowning during 'Flute Salad' (I suppose you had to be there to see him!) and by Gilly Smith's (rather infantile sounding) 'I-am-a-witch-coming-to-get-you' interventions. Time after time I was struck by the inventivity of Steve Hillage's guitar solos, the liveliness of Didier Malherbe's sax improvisations and the sheer brilliance of Pierre Moerlen's drumming. Or perhaps you'll be swayed by the DVD, which contains 'quad remixes' of the entire YOU album? It'a a pity they couldn't find a way of including CAMEMBERT ELECTRIQUE as well, but at least its most celebrated tracks are represented here by electrifying live versions.

Anyway, I can tell this set will give me many, many hours of listening pleasure. As far as I'm concerned, the RADIO GNOME TRILOGY is still completely enjoyable, even in 2019. It's time I dug up my old Gong badge (featuring a 'Banana moon') which I bought in Dublin in 1977. Perhaps I'll even wear it to work!

fuxi | 4/5 |

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