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Comus Song to Comus: The Complete Collection album cover
4.47 | 47 ratings | 10 reviews | 59% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (First Utterance (Dawn DNLS3019; released February 1971)) (71:51)
1. Diana (4:36)
2. The Herald (12:11)
3. Drip Drip (10:51)
4. Song to Comus (7:30)
5. The Bite (5:29)
6. Bitten (2:19)
7. The Prisoner (6:18)
8. Diana* (4:24)
9. In the Lost Queen's Eyes* (2:50)
10. Winter Is a Coloured Bird* (8:01)
11. All the Colours of Darkness** (7:22)

Disc 2 (To Keep from Crying (Virgin V2018; released August 1974)) (47:53)
12. Down (Like a Movie Star) (4:07)
13. Touch Down (4:46)
14. Waves and Caves (1:34)
15. Figure in Your Dreams (3:11)
16. Children of the Universe (5:38)
17. So Long Supernova (3:22)
18. Perpetual Motion (4:07)
19. Panophany (0:31)
20. Get Yourself a Man (7:08)
21. To Keep from Crying (5:40)
22. After the Dream (1:00)
23. Fiesta Fandanco*** (3:50)
24. New Tide*** (2:59)

Total Time 119:44

* -- Maxi single (Dawn DNX 2506; released January 1971)
** -- Previously unreleased
*** -- Roger Wootton solo single (Virgin VS113; released November 1974)

Line-up / Musicians

- Glen Goring / 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars, electric guitar, slide, hand drums, vocals
- Andy Hellaby / Fender bass, slide bass, vocals
- Colin Pearson / violin, viola
- Roger Wootton / acoustic guitar, lead vocals
- Rob Young / flute, oboe, hand drums
- Bobbie Watson / vocals, percussion
- Lindsay Cooper / wind
- Philip Barry / percussion
- Gordon Caxon / drums
- Didier Malherbe / saxophone
- Keith Hale / keyboards
- Tim Kraemer / cello

Releases information

2CD Sanctuary Records (2005)

Thanks to frenchie for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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COMUS Song to Comus: The Complete Collection ratings distribution

(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(59%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (4%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

COMUS Song to Comus: The Complete Collection reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars As might not be correctly annotated this is a double CD release (at a very democratic price I might add) containing the full works of Comus including the extremely rare maxi-single Diana that came with the same sickly painful character observed on the First Utterances artwork sleeve (it looks like Iron Maiden's Eddy mascot was nothing new in the rock business) and a Wootton never-released-solo single just released after the second album. Disc 1 stops at track 11 and disc 2 starts at track 12 on the above information.

Well for the two albums , please look at the separate entry reviews , but in short if the first one is a real gem, the second is not bad but rather tamed and lame in comparison with the debut, but it was never released (to my knowledge , anyway) on Cd format. The real inerest for those having already the debut album is the Maxi-single release tracks that contains a shorter version of Diana lp-track coupled with the beautyful In The Lost Queen's Eyes. The second track is the marvelous Winter Is A Coloured Bird. Both tracks are very worthy of the First Utterances album.

Disc 2 is well worth the listen as there are still many moments of greatness but also one or two duds that renders the playing of this disc a little less enjoyable. The bonus tracks on this record are Roger Wootton solo single and are best forgotten. The only other small negative remarks is that the Artworks are not fully resepected as if the debut is printed at half the size , the second album sleeve is completely forgotten.

Even if you have the First Utterances album (which I do ) , this double compilation is an absolute must have for the rare bonus tracks. Most of you will be delighted and sorry to learn that there were aborted plans for a second album with two tracks (they existed in written form and were played a few times) two side-suites about a concept descibed as Tolkienesque. Mouth-watering is it not?????

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Whether you're one of the few who love Comus, or of the many who've not yet given in to the diabolical seduction of this incredible band, this is the perfect album; it has everything they've ever recorded, it's fairly easy to find, and the transfer to CD seems to have been done quite well.

So you may wonder if you'll like Comus. You probably won't. I personally love them, and that's a pretty good indication that they won't appeal to many people. They sound like nothing else (well, except for maybe JAN DUKES DE GRAY, but even fewer people have heard of them), and are almost impossible to describe. Acoustic folk-prog, I suppose, but performed by the Grunting and Keening Pagan Sex Magick Arkestra (I just made that up...but you can use it for your band if you really think you've got the balls). Anyway, Comus is too scary to listen comfortably and too funny to be overly uptight about it all. Almost an acoustic precursor to CAN, in a way. The lead singer sounds like he's trying to molest you through your spreakers, in an IAN ANDERSON-meets-THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION sort of way. He's joined by a female voice which beckons you sweetly through the forest until she turns to devour you whole. Sometimes everybody chants, which is always wholesome and comforting...and there's beautifully eerie violin and flute and miscellaneous percussion and...oh just listen to it, already!

All of "First Utternace" is here, which is a Very Good Thing, and they even included the delicious Dawn EP, with the alternate take of "Diana" (of interest only to collectors, honestly- the album version is superior) and three tracks so good that you wonder why they didn't make it on the debut. "In the Lost Queen's Eyes" in particluar is good enough to recommend this collection.

Unfortunately, all of "To Keep From Crying" is also here. Please keep in mind that this is Comus after they had already disbanded; this album was thrown together after the label desperately begged the remaining members for more material. Pick the Yes album you love the most (just one?) and then the one you wish had never been made (just one?) and you'll understand the vast difference in quality from Disc One to Disc Two. Comus was all about primal urges and organic expression, so a contrived collection of semi-pop tunes doesn't do them justice. Still, there are a few moments of beauty and brilliance (just like that Yes album you picked before), so it's not a compete coaster of a disc. The Wooton solo stuff at the end is interesting, too, but quite forgettable.

Again, I urge you to get it, already. For the same price as a Supersize Value Meal for two, you can buy a dark and dangerous voyage into an ancient forest teeming with lascivious satyrs (with flutes and violins). How can you resist? Don't even wait for me to finish this sentence, go buy this album. I'll wait right the trees.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The one to get for new fans

If you don't own the vinyl and want to discover Comus in the 21rst century this is the definitive CD collection to purchase. The advantages are numerous. First, this collection includes everything Comus recorded to my knowledge. Chronologically speaking, you get the three song maxi-single which preceded their first album. Two of these songs have a slightly different feel than the First Utterance material and are well worth hearing. Of course the masterpiece "First Utterance" is included with the bonus of an Utterance outtake called "All the Colours of Darkness" which was recorded during those sessions. Just as importantly, you get their second album called "To Keep From Crying" which features a different line-up and a sunnier folk-pop sound but nevertheless is a great album. (See my reviews of the individual albums for more details on the music.) You will read lots of negative reviews about their second album-but if you like accessible folk-rock/pop and don't try to compare it to their first album, you just might love it as I do. As a last bonus you get two Roger Wootton singles recorded after the second album although these didn't do too much for me personally.

Second, this collection features superb sound quality, especially on First Utterance. I have read that previous CD versions were pretty lame and can assure you they cleaned this release up nicely. Third, the packaging is perfect. Rather than subjecting us to the "box set" hell that most bands put you through, with cheap materials and nightmare digi holders and bulky eco-wasting boxes, the Comus package fits two CDs snugly in a standard jewel-case with a simple but informative bio. Mother Earth can breath a bit easier and the Comus pagans can fit this right on their CD shelf. Comus doesn't screw us by leaving off one little thing that the fans want, in order to include it on another package later for increased sales. Everything is here and everything is done well for the fans. I do not give 5 star ratings out to compilations as I use them sparingly for individual releases, but this Comus set is as good as it gets. The best news is that Comus has re-formed and are playing live dates in Europe and America in 2009. Catch them while you can. "Song to Comus" is an essential collection for prog/acid folkies.

Review by Logan
5 stars Song to Comus: The Incomplete Collection since the release of 2012's Out of the Coma.

I originally only rated this album, and I gave it four stars, but I clearly think this is worth 5 stars.

First Utterance I often list as what I find to be the greatest acid folk album, but this compilation is better still. The bonus tracks, "In the Lost Queen's Eyes", "Winter is a Coloured Bird" and "All the Colours of Darkness" are brilliant. If I were to choose a favourite Comus song, I would choose "Winter is a Coloured Bird".

I originally dropped this down a star because I thought To Keep From Crying quite inferior to First Utterance. I always thought "Children of the Universe" and "To Keep From Crying" fantastic, and I loved "Touch Down", "Waves and Caves", and "Get Yourself a Man" but I grew to really like the rest of the album. It's not very consistent, but that's part of the charm.

Although the word underrated gets thrown about way too much, and really does generally come down to meaning "I like this more than most" rather than some objective notions of quality and truth, to me the To Keep From Crying album is of much higher quality than many state. I find it hard to fathom people who love First Utterance not liking any music off To Keep From Crying. It's still an eccentric album with pieces that people into F.U. should like.

What I love about this compilation is the contrast. Another reviewer said much the same, but First Utterance is a dark concept album and To Keep From Crying is light. To Keep From Crying is an album that I've recommended to many who say that Comus is far too disturbing due to First Utterance, but in my experience, very few people who dislike First Utterance ever give the follow-up a chance. And to those who disdain First Utterance for its disturbing lyrics and pagan aspects, realize that it is a concept album. Just because someone sings,writes a book, or make s film about a killer does not mean that that person condones murder.

I love Song to Comus and I like that you get the disturbing and the up-beat on it. Incidentally, it is interesting how high rated this is while one of the albums on it gets so derided. Light and dark can go beautifully together.

I hope we'll get more music from Comus and more complete collection at a later date -- if Out of the Coma were on this compilation I would prefer it still. :)

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Here you have it all. The entire COMUS output up to 2005 . And at a very fair price it is the perfect one stop shop if you want to explore the first two albums FIRST UTTERANCE and TO KEEP FROM CRYING along with the DIANA EP which contains the songs "In The Lost Queen's Eyes" and "Winter Is A Coloured Bird." Both of which are very good but not quite of the caliber of the first album.

Also included are the previously unreleased "All The Colours Of Darkness" which to me seems like a bridge between the divine of the first album and the hilarious of the second with beautiful instrumentation with not-quite-hitting-the-high-notes vocals AND the poppier-than-pop solo singles released by Roger Wooten.

This completely DIGITALLY REMASTERED compilation will give you all the highs of the first album, the lows of the second and the interesting quirkiness of the additional material. Perfect for newbies wanting to explore the entire history of the band and not just the phenomenal debut album.

Review by Warthur
4 stars A 2CD collection collecting the full output of Comus from their original incarnation. Admittedly, of this material only the debut album, First Utterance, is truly essential, but if you regard this as getting that plus the inferior second album (To Keep From Crying), plus the Diana single, plus All the Colours of Darkness (an unearthed track), plus a solo single from band member Roger Wootton. It's about as good a way to get an instant Comus collection in one purchase as exists, though if you decide you are only really interested in First Utterance, which is certainly the only part of this I end up listening to regularly.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Tyrannosaurus Rex or Comus? Because this is my doubt. Ok, I think that Comus or Tyrannosaurus Rex is not essential: both bands are extraordinary. But if i speak about Comus is clear that I speak about a great band but that remein obscure also today. And this is a pure mystery for me. This CD is ... (read more)

Report this review (#220258) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Monday, June 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars So how did First Utterance earn its whole 77 reviews? When I first got into Comus (actually not too long ago, about 2 years) I had hardly heard anything about them. They were simply an unknown gem that I happened to stumble across. Now look at them! Comus all over the place! This, interestingly, ... (read more)

Report this review (#171474) | Posted by tremulant | Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's folk rock Jim, but not as we know it. This comprehensive set includes just about everything Comus committed to vinyl - their much-lauded debut First Utterance, its unloved successor To Keep From Crying, an early EP, a couple of solo efforts by mainman Roger Wootton, plus the inevitable 'pre ... (read more)

Report this review (#166354) | Posted by Drachen Theaker | Friday, April 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 10/10 (Compilation) Perfect Well, I am not really going to rate the music on here (aside from the bonus tracks)...I am focusing on the construction of this compilation. This little set comes with everything, absolutely EVERYTHING you need to try out Comus' music. This was actually my first ... (read more)

Report this review (#145425) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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