Roxy Music Super Deluxe
3 CD, Box Set
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Roxy Music release an expanded edition of their ground-breaking debut album to mark its 45th anniversary. The Super Deluxe Edition includes rare and previously unavailable material never-heard-before outside of Roxy’s inner circle. Audio includes the original album, BBC Sessions & In Concert performance, 1971 demo tape and ‘In-Session’ performances. DVD includes an unreleased Bataclan Paris performance (1972), UK TV performances and 5.1 album mix. Package also includes a 136 page hard-cover book including unseen photographers and memorabilia.
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I will admit that when I first bought this in the late 80s on LP (when you could buy used LPs for $5), this was a shock to the system as I was used to "Avalon" Roxy. As the years went by, I have come to appreciate this album more, especially knowing that a) it came out at the same time as David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust", b) was a debut album, c) no one sounded anything like them in 1972--no one had really fused rock, pop, and avant-garde the way Roxy Music did.
When I ordered the package, I didn't know what to expect other than 3 CDs, a DVD, and a booklet. Well, here's what you get:
1) Book: the images on the site make it look like you are getting a booklet. It is more like a coffee table book. Great essays inside, with some awesome, never-before-seen in-studio, cover outtakes, and other publicity pics. Not to mention pictures of the original annotations. The discs are sleeved on the back inside cover.
2) CDs: The first is the 1999 remaster, which most Roxy Music fans may have. The second is BBC and Peel sessions, which are fun to hear from a pseudo-live aspect. The third disc is demos and sessions, which most Roxy fans will enjoy. You can hear how songs were composed, with a young Bryan Ferry was obviously in the lead. Some of these are just certain instrumental tracks, some are skeleton pieces, but it is a treat to take a listen to songs you know being put together.
3) DVD: The DVD has a few live performance, including a two-camera Bactalan performance with a few numbers--this is a pretty raw but interesting to see how Bryan and the band presented themselves live back in 1972. However, the treat is the 5.1 mix by Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree). The mix even in stereo seem to be much cleaner than even the remaster.
As a longtime Roxy Music fan, I love it from a historical standpoint. I am hoping all the albums through Siren get the same treatment (I leave out Avalon only because the DSD mix is so awesome, but the Book treatment for Avalon would be awesome).
This was always my favorite Roxy Music album (came out of the gates with a huge burst of energy). With these BBC recordings we get to hear a variety of performances - some earlier and less polished, some more extended, all sounding good. "2HB" is perhaps my favorite prog rock song of all time (the layered sax instrumental in its middle is absolutely timeless and placeless), so hearing a live version on disc 2 is sublime.
Oh, and the little hard bound book it is presented in is top notch, including all the appropriate music credits and 22 pages of (long and detailed!) essay and photos.
Also this remastering brings up the micro dynamics I've loved at all the Roxy shows, the kind that you feel in the center of your chest and blows you back into your seat during the refrain, and ALL OF IT with an airy depth that has me hooked again on the sound of instruments in real space. IF you're a Roxy fan ( and face it: Most Americans are not) you will appreciate what has been done with this recording. I hope they give Country Life and Stranded the same treatment!
Oh, and some trivia: Bowie's Ziggy Stardust was released the same day.
Equipment: Early Rotel RCD 945AX, a Technics vintage SA505 with 63 watts continous connected with Kimber PBJ entry level interconnect, and Boston Acoustic A26 bookshelf speakers about 10 feet and canyed slightly inward
Edited 2 weeks later: the set’s price no longer represents good value for the money. Look for a good used copy b/c at $137, it’s not worth it.
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