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Zero She Flies

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 28, 2007
$149.99 $35.99
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Editorial Reviews

Released in 1970, Zero She Flies featured Trevor Lucas of Fairport Convention, and has never been available by itself on CD anywhere in the world. The bonus tracks 'Stormy Night', an unreleased track recorded with Peter White; 'News from Spain', a remix/edit of a track from the Orange album previously available only on an import, and 'Lyke-Wake Dirge', an unreleased, classic folk song featuring Mimi Farina on vocals!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 28, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collector's Choice
  • ASIN: B000MR9EP8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,490 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Al Stewart Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Al Stewart's early period can be said to be the four mostly introspective albums he released prior to his first album of historical and literary based songs on 1973's Past, Present & Future. Those early releases would be his debut with Bedsitter Images in 1967, his sophomore effort, 1969's Love Chronicles, Zero She Flies in 1970, and the somewhat transitional album Orange, in 1972.

Zero She Flies is far superior to any of the Stewart albums which preceded it, and it's better than Orange, which followed it. Yes, it pales in comparison to the next string of albums Stewart would release over the next decade, but by then, he had grown as a songwriter and musician to the point where all of the later releases must be viewed as a separate body of work.

But for listeners interested in exploring Stewart's earlier work, this is as good as it gets. The album opens with a beat poem by Pete Morgan, "My Enemies have Sweet Voices", mostly plucked on a guitar's bass sounding lower E string. There is lots of lyrical growth compared to earlier recordings in evidence here, and there are two fine instrumentals, "Burbling", and "Room of Roots", both of which showcase infectious rhythms of acoustic guitar. And for those looking for a foreshadowing of things to come, the album features Al Stewart's first foray into a historical theme, the beautiful "Manuscript", which masterfully blends memories of Stewart's grandmother as a young girl on a beach in England with historical vignettes from the first World War.

Zero She Flies is not a starting point for new Al Stewart fans. It is, however, a great place for fans already familiar with his later works to begin to explore his early period - that is, before arriving in the States, before the mega hits of the late 70's and early 80's, and before he discovered wine, Peter White, or Laurence Juber. It's the best of his early period - and if this is what the listener is ready to explore, there's no better place to start.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
2007 has been a great year for me as an Al Stewart fan. His first four albums have finally been released in the U.S. I had been intrigued by these albums for years, as I have owned the vinyl double album "The Early Years," which contains selections from three of those albums, plus "Love Chronicles" in its entirety. Strangely enough, I always thought "Love Chronicles" was the least impressive part of that compilation, so I never knew why it was the one they chose to make available in its entirety. But now the other three are available, so I'm happy.

"Zero She Flies" is, in my opinion, tied with "Orange" as the best releases of Stewart's early years, and I have already come to like these albums as much as his best later material like "Year of the Cat." Because these albums are dominated by acoustic guitar and feature relatively straightfoward production, they have aged quite well. Only five of the ten tracks on the original "Zero She Flies" album are fully developed songs, but all of them are good, and two of them--"Manuscript" and "Gethsamane, Again"--are among the best songs Stewart ever recorded. The guitar playing is outstanding throughout, in the songs as well as the (mostly brief) instrumental pieces, and the lyrics represent a huge leap from Al's previous work, with much more of a narrative and historical flavor.

The reissue is not all it could have been, unfortunately. The liner notes are decent, albeit brief, but the lack of a lyric sheet is disappointing. Thankfully, Al sings clearly, so you will have no problem learning the lyrics if you want to. It just takes longer to learn them without a lyric sheet. The bonus tracks also leave something to be desired. All of them were recorded well after this album was completed.
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Format: Audio CD
A somewhat less than stellar Al album is light-years ahead of just about everybody..

Even though the liner notes say Al doesn't remember much of the recording for this, the relationship fog he was in gave him an extra bit of something somehow making this album a winner... There isn't one song on here I'd toss off the record and the rare additions including the intense News from Spain are a great bonus.. Al shifts from mildly disheartened to deadly earnest to tongue in cheek and back again often in the same song.

The guitar playing is nimble and unique throughout.. Manuscript is perhaps the jewel of the collection.

If you like him at any stage of his career at all this album will definitely please you.. It's one of my top five A.S. albums now..
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Like many other Al Stewart fans, I wasn't one of the lucky ones who got to hear the work he recorded before his fifth album (Past, Present, and Future) received heavy airplay on college and "underground" radio stations in the mid-seventies. The song Roads to Moscow is the one that brought me aboard as an Al Stewart fan and I've been one ever since.
I knew of Orange and Love Chronicles, but until the recent re-release of Zero She Flies and Bed Sitter Images, I didn't even know there were other earlier Stewart albums! So when I discovered that last month, I immediately ordered those I did not yet own at a great price right here.
If I was fated to be disappointed, I was prepared. But Stewart surprised me with an album which showed him to be well along to being the kind of musician we know today. While Zero She Flies is no where near one of his best as one reviewer claims, it is filled with early promise. My favorites are the harmonica-driven My Enemies Have Sweet Voices, the well-developed Electric Los Angeles Sunset, the enigmatic Anna, the fine instrumental Room of Roots, the title cut, and the bonus cut News From Spain which carries on its notes all the portentious weight that we have come to expect from Al when he is at his best.
Undoubtedly, this will never become my go-to CD when I want to hear Al Stewart, but it is worth an occasional listen. I agree with the reviewer who said that this isn't the best starter album for new Al Stewart fans. That would be Year of the Cat. But it is a useful CD for longtime fans who have heard all of his later material and who yearn to hear where it is he came from.
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