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BBC Sessions [Live]

Cocteau TwinsAudio CD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

BBC Sessions + Lullabies to Violaine: Singles & Extended Plays 1 + Lullabies to Violaine: Singles & Extended Plays 2
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B00001X5BO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,496 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Wax And Wane
2. Garlands
3. Alas Dies Laughing
4. Feathers-Oar-Blades
5. Hearsay Please
6. Dear Heart
7. Blind Dumb Deaf
8. Hazel
9. The Tinderbox (Of A Heart)
10. Strange Fruit
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Hitherto
2. From The Flagstones
3. Musette And Drums
4. Pepper-Tree
5. Beatrix
6. Ivo
7. Otterley
8. Serpentskirt
9. Golden-Vein
10. Half-Gifts
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

The Cocteau Twins were one of the more distinctive recording acts of the 1980s and their dreamy, atmospheric sound provided an ethereal sonic template for many Euro-pop groups of the time. With Elizabeth Fraser's haunting vocals and Robin Guthrie's innovative use of guitars, drum machines, and other electronic instrumentation, the Cocteau Twins created a rich, textured sound that endured over a large number of recordings. This double disc serves nicely as a greatest-hits package as well as a lengthy memento of the band's evolution from 1982 through 1996. Including shimmering renditions of old favorites like "Musette and Drums" and "Ivo," as well as a stirring rendition of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," this collection is a must for all Cocteau Twins fans. --Mitch Myers

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Journey December 8, 1999
Format:Audio CD
This new double disk compilation will both exhilarate and disappoint. Nonetheless, it is well worth buying. Long-time fans will find the tracks on the first disk recorded with BBC's John Peel in the early 80's too familiar if still great. Such early classics as "Wax and Wane" and "Musette and Drums" vary little from those appearing on 1983's Garlands and Head Over Heals, although live versions. Tracks 5-8 of disk 1 actually appeared on the UK version of Garlands. Notable exceptions are a wonderful "in our anglehood" from Head Over Heals and an interesting 1983 rendition of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit." And disk 1 does offer newer admirers of CT an excellent retrospective that captures the essential early CT sound, a sublime display of the band's punk sensibility and origins. Disk 2, on the other hand, is exceptional. The 14 tracks, three from a 1983 Saturday Night Live performance, illustrate Liz Fraser's live vocal explorations, offering up the incredible range of her affecting voice and demonstrating the musical and technical maturing of bandmates Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde. Yet anyone who has seen them live will probably agree that CT can offer even more than is demonstrated here. Unlike the Pink Opaque, where "Pepper-Tree" fell so forcefully into "Musette and Drums," they have reversed the order here because the tracks are organized chronologically by recording session, with "Musette and Drums" part of the Saturday Night Live session and "Pepper-Tree" from a 1984 Peel session. If some of the drama is lost, both are still nice. Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly magnificent June 1, 2003
Format:Audio CD
This is an album you should enjoy and enjoy a lot. Incidentally when a BBC sessions album is released by a band it doesn't really mean it's a live album. It's just the band recording the songs at BBC's studios so that it can be broadcasted on radio at a particular time. So for those who were wondering why there were Liz's voice in the background as well as at the forefront should rest at ease - there was a little bit of studio trickery there. I just I should point that out lest someone gets confused
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good November 5, 1999
By loteq
Format:Audio CD
This box set is clearly a must-have for fans, but it also is a good first purchase for newcomers. However, disc one could be a surprise for those who are only familiar with the dreamy soundscapes of the Cocteau's "middle-era". Some lesser known songs have already appeared on their first 12" release "Lullabies" and on the European edition of the album "Garlands". All in all, the performance makes the Cocteaus sound darker and more rock-oriented than they used to be. Disc two is a surprise too, because the clinical production of songs from "Milk and Kisses" is stripped away, and these songs definitely sound more "underground". I think the whole album is a great new way to listen to the Cocteau Twins and it proves that they were among the most innovative and enjoyable '80s dark wave groups.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a second look at those powerful early days October 18, 1999
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
While packaged in a somewhat overly fussy sleeve, with the same info repeated several times, this is wish fulfillment for fans of pre-BLUE BELL KNOLL Cocteau Twins. The alternate versions of early songs esp. highlight Liz's uncanny, howling delivery (I never understood all the comparisons to Siouxsie). "Strange Fruit" is a jaw-dropping fusion of post-punk and the blues... whew! while some tracks are redundant and strictly fan-friendly, nothing seems like filler. The later tracks are a bit weak. However, they feature Liz belting things out in a manner that became increasingly RARE (in the studio at least) after, say, 1988. The band that once sounded like it had at least two vocalists was starting to sound a LOT like its imitators. However, this is highly recommended, especially for those that like they're Twins simple and STARKLY, DARKLY beautiful, rather than obviously "pretty"...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent otherworldly rock May 15, 2000
Format:Audio CD
The first thing to know about this set is that roughly three-quarters of the tracks are recordings made in the early 80's, when the Cocteau Twins sound was heavier and darker. Stronger rhythms and more droning guitars than what you might be familiar with from their later works. If you liked Garlands or other releases from that era, you'll love this.
The remaining tracks are mostly from Milk and Kisses. On these tracks, especially, it's easier to hear details and nuances of Fraser's vocals that get lost in the highly produced studio versions of the tracks. This is especially noticeable in the quiet and personal "Half-gifts" and some of the heartier signing in "Seekers Who Are Lovers".
My only quibble with the album is that it's questionable just how "live" some of these performances are, particularly the recordings from the 80's. In spots, Fraser is obviously singing along with tapes of back-up vocals (either that or she brought a clone into the studio). Nearly the first minute of "The Tinderbox (of a heart)" sounds identical to the studio version.
In contrast, the tracks from the 90's sound more "live" (either the drum machines are better, or there are real musicians sitting in), and Fraser doesn't use any taped backing vocals. Since there's a lot of multi-tracked vocals on these tunes, Fraser has to choose which parts to sing. Although this helps you hear her singing more clearly, the absence of some of these parts leaves the songs sounding incomplete (especially true of "Violaine").
Still, those minor complaints aside, this is a great listen. Fraser's unique vocal style is why most of us love the Cocteau Twins, and it's great to be able to hear it front and center over the long evolution of the group's sound.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
I was slightly disappointed by disk two.Some of the tracks lose their magic live.
But disk one and a pretty good chunk of disk two are still good. Read more
Published on August 14, 2010 by New Boy
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant enough but don't listen to it straight through
I am not a huge Cocteau Twins fan but find their music works well as a background for when I am working. Read more
Published on December 11, 2002 by Indian music lover
2.0 out of 5 stars I love them, but live Cocteau Twins isn't optimal
I'm as big a fan as they come, but live Cocteau has a problem -- there's just one Elizabeth. On studio albums, as you know, there are numerous vocal tracks, creating a rich,... Read more
Published on March 3, 2002 by Erik D. Robson
4.0 out of 5 stars ~ dig deeply ~ make it raw ~ make it real ~ cocteauuuu
WOW. If you're like me, you NEED this. CD1 highlights- tracks 1, 2, and especially "Hazel" are essential whether you were into CT's first rough albums or not. Read more
Published on March 5, 2001 by old_hyperbolic_squiggly
4.0 out of 5 stars One more chance to relish their music
Like anyone who is bound to review this compiliation, I am a big fan of the Cocteau Twins' wonderous music. Prior to this, I had heard two live Twins recordings. Read more
Published on February 14, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent CD set, but somewhat lacking
A remarkable collection of live songs by the Cocteau Twins. Unfortunatly, no tracks are included from certain albums, and I really would've liked to have heard those songs live. Read more
Published on December 3, 2000 by Green Jeanz
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent "live" performance!
Beeing a fan of Cocteau Twins since 1992 my reference album was and still is Heaven or Las Vegas. The BBC Sessions allowed me to understand more of the CT, specially the early... Read more
Published on July 4, 2000 by Antonio
4.0 out of 5 stars cocteau's delight
this very nice set overcame my good-but-not-great impression of CT. another reviewer called their performances here "coarse" and that's exactly right: in a few places... Read more
Published on March 26, 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars Live jibe erroneous
I have to take issue with "A music fan from San Diego" regarding the Cocteau Twins live. I saw them in Manchester (U.K. Read more
Published on January 4, 2000 by DMDW
3.0 out of 5 stars An essential for the hardcore fan
For the hardcore Twins fan, this is a must-have. The material is familiar, and the mixes and vocals interesting, if not overwhelmingly new. Read more
Published on December 27, 1999 by "violaine"
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