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Near the Beginning Original recording reissued

25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, December 1, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Their 1969 classic-a #16 album featuring the charting single Shotgun and three bonus tracks.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Shotgun
  2. Some Velvet Morning
  3. Where Is Happiness
  4. Break Song
  5. Good Good Livin' (Unedited Version)
  6. Shotgun
  7. People

Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 1, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Sundazed Music Inc.
  • ASIN: B00000GX0E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,506 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Shelby Lambert on January 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Whilst this might not be the band's "best overall album" (that honour usually goes to the previous album, "Renaissance"), I would certainly have to argue that this album represents the band's best playing. Obviously, there's not many songs on this disc, because the "Break Song" takes up about 23 minutes of it, but there's a lot revealing about the Fudge's music from what little you do get to hear.

This album's release coincided with the release of the first Led Zeppelin album (early '69, and there were plenty of technological advancements taking place in the music world in the months between the release of "Renaissance" in mid-'68, and "Near The Beginning" in early '69. And at the point where better technology met the improved musical proficiency of EVERY member of this band, was no apparent than on this album.

The most noticeable improvement throughout this album was definitely the guitar playing and guitar "sound" of Vinnie Martell. The two previous albums, you hear Martell's guitar sound getting progressively louder, to where it is no longer overpowered by Mark Stein's organ. But on this album, not only is Martell's guitar getting louder--his playing is getting better! Whereas on previous albums, you hear mostly power chords and a few single-note 'freak-outs' from Martell, this album finds Martell playing genuine, bluesy, guitar solos! Not only that, but to aid in his soloing efforts, he finds not only better, clearer-sounding amplification, but he also discovers a new 'toy'--the "wah-wah pedal'. And, oh, what fun he had with that toy--particularly on "Shotgun" and the "Break Song"!

The best example I can find on this album of every member playing at their very best together is the "Break Song".
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By W. Hetfield on January 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I bought this one and really liked it. These guys were local legends in the NYC area and unfortunately I was too young to check them out. I think if the Fudge had followed up the first LP with this instead of The Beat Goes On (ridiculous) or Renaissance (mediocre) they might've had a longer career. What made these guys interesting were their bizarre cover versions and this has two of the bizarrest: an over the top version of Junior Walker's Shotgun and their superb take on the Nancy Sinatra - Lee Hazlewood melodrama Some Velvet Morning. Good singing, good playing and a killer rhythm section. Folks that don't "get" the Fudge take rock music a bit too seiously. Testosterone laden fun stuff from the 60's.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Vanilla Fudge, one of the first 'american garage bands', if you permit me this short description...
This band includes two musicians who also played with JEFF BECK (Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice) in 'Beck, Bogert & Appice', and in an hard-rock boogie-blues outfit named 'Cactus'.
V.F. was most popular for their remake of the Supremes You Keep Me Hangin' On, taken off their excellent debut LP (1967).
Their albums were not all equally satisfying. Instead, this LP from V.F., entitled "Near the beginning", shows the group near the end. At least, the end of their union under the Fudge banner (forget their 1984 reunion, "Mystery", it's not as good as the original).
However, the merit of "Near the beginning" was that it captured the feeling of a live and heavy performance with fireworks in the organ and, above all, the guitar, bass and drums solo. At this point, you'll understand why Carmine Appice was considered one the most spectacular and powerful drummers in the world!
Also worth noting, the beautiful 'Some Velvet Morning' and 'Where is happiness' - a gorgeous psychedelic song, one of the best from V.F. in my opinion.
I subjectively prefer NTB to their 'Beat goes on' album - you know, the record on which you can hear excerpts from The President's words, bits of songs, a quite uneven collage of different tracks.
It won't be fair to forget to mention the other two albums worth buying, "Renaissance" (including Donovan's Season of the Witch), and "Rock & Roll" (the latter released in 1969-70, their last disc at the time).
All things considered, NTB is a good album. Still, four stars because the sound is only average.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rusty Rench on April 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
In that era, Vanilla Fudge was much more than a glorified garage band. When many groups were hastily thrown together by record producers to support a top 40 hit, the live performance ineptness of these bands left a bad taste in the mouths of their fans. Often, their ability to play live was lackluster compared to the recording. Sugarloaf was one such group. But VF was the real deal. They developed a very large loyal following for their live performances. Their acumen on their individual instruments was so intense it was scary. I saw the Fudge several times, once at the Hollywood Bowl with Hendrix. I also was in attendance at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles when the live side of this album was recorded. Contrary to one reviewer's comment here, the audience did not go to sleep during the "Break Song." Every eye and ear was glued to the stage for the entire 23 minutes. Tim Bogert's bas playing was light years ahead of his time. Carmine Appice's drumming was in a class by itself, matched only by Ginger Baker's paradiddles. Mark Stein's Hammond Organ was a classic enhancement of a huge rock sound and Vince Martell's guitar was inventive and melodic. All four of them sang, and sang very well. Tremendous harmonies. But the thing that is missing is their visual performance on stage. They were as dynamic even more than they were bombastic. If you never saw them, you missed something. And they thrilled you to watch them, all without makeup ala Kiss. The Fudge have reunited and they are touring on the East Coast. Here is hoping they come out West the summer of 2006.
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