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The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 2
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From the great to the near great to the not-so-great, from legends to obscurities, it's all here on The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 2, an entertaining compilation of pop music performances from England's seminal live music TV program (well, mostly live--in some instances, the musicians are clearly miming to pre-recorded instrumental tracks). The show aired from 1971 to 1987, and the thirty complete songs occupying this lengthy (about 150 minutes) disc cover virtually every style that was in vogue during that period, along with some that weren't. When Whistle Test (so named for the notion that if a certain grey-haired doorman whistles your tune, then it's a hit) started, singer-songwriters were much in vogue, and that brigade is well represented by already-were or soon-would-be stars (Loggins & Messina, Jim Croce), others who never hit it quite that big (Joan Armatrading, Suzanne Vega), and still others whose legends have since eclipsed what they actually accomplished at the time (cf. Tim Buckley, whose "Dolphins" from '74 is a highlight). Glam rock was popular as well, so we get Roxy Music and the New York Dolls (the riotous "Jet Boy"), who bridged the gap to punk; the latter is represented by bands little known in the States, like the Adverts and the Undertones. The dubious virtues of New Wave are represented by the likes of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Siouxsie and the Banshees, hard rock by Montrose (featuring a very youthful Sammy Hagar), and classic rock by the Who, Argent, and Meatloaf (whose "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," featuring singer Karla DeVito, is a sweaty, salacious, over-the-top delight). Add to that the pop-cum-soul of the Average White Band, Hall & Oates, Simply Red, and the Style Council, and you've got something for pretty much everyone. Brief artist profiles and some amusing audio commentary by a Whistle Test presenter (i.e., host) and "archivist" are among the extras. --Sam Graham
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Top customer reviews
I found myself seeking out and finding the albums by artists that i never had truly listened to before, like Head Hands and Feet and Tim Buckley, both of whose performances are stellar. The Jim Croce and New York Dolls clips are wonderful and if you mocked the 1980's you will find yourself pulling out your old Stlye Council and Aztec Camera records after watching their clips. Prefab Sprout were a great band. OK, so i still want to see the Runaways "School Days" on the next volume 3, but this collection is well worth having and i for one am addicted to this series.
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But better U don't see the frogs in Urs sleepy times!
Greetings from Tartu, Estonia!
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