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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic album, when blues rock and jazz came together, 4 Mar 2004
By 
R. J. Heath "djaitch" (Loughborough, Leics, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Those Who Are About to Die Salute You: Remastered (Audio CD)
An important pioneering album, which melded jazz rock and blues together, and at the time created something quite new (late 60’s/early 70’s). Ironically, way back then the music press announced the formation of Colosseum, within a few weeks of Timebox announcing they were folding (sic), because there was no call for bands that mixed jazz blues and rock - Colosseum proved differently (while Timebox became Patto).
TWABTDSY was and still is an ear-opener, showing what excellent musicians playing excellent music, can do. Hiseman had (and continues) played jazz and blues (check out his collaboration on Jack Bruce's first solo "Things We Like"). Dick Heckstall Smith (who could do a Roland Kirk and play several wind instruments simultaneously), had long paid his dues with Graham Bond and John Mayall and had become one the best known saxophonists on the UK rock scene. While the relative new names of James Litherland (guitar and vocals), Dave Greenslade (keys) and Tony Reeves (bass and producer), contributed in their equal ways, to produce an albums that remains a classic almost 35 years later.
The album kicks off with the best version of Graham Bond’s great R’n’B tune “Walking In The Park”, (although Bond’s own version, released as a single a few years early, is a close second). The following tunes cover a lot of musical space, as one might expect from the types of musician involved. Straight blues to jazz, and with Dave Greenslade’s presence, there is a smattering of serious and even prog rock. The whole drives along, and because of the mix of musical styles and influences should hold your interest throughout – whether with a slow burning blues or a more complex jazz-based solo.
The album coming right at the beginning of the 70’s, promised the decade would take rock music to new highs. Alas the hope for better things was short lived. James Litherland left too soon to be replaced by the “veteran” Chris Farrow on vocals. Personally I find Farrow gave Colosseum a rougher, and somewhat more unpleasant sound. In deed, the high point of this special album is the discovery of Litherland’s voice. His vocals may be ranked with the very best coming out of Britain’s blue-eyed blues period; others included Jack Bruce, Rod Stewart, Chris Youlden, Paul Rodgers and the long forgotten Spit James (of the Keef Hartley Band).
Having been made up of parts of Graham Bond's and John Mayall's bands, Colosseum split and reformed many times, and as Colosseum 2 had Gary Moore in its ranks. And too, the original Colosseum members went on to separately form early, memorable British rock bands such as Tempest, Greenslade and Mogul Thrash - but with this album you hearcan hear their roots.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still great after all these years, 8 Nov 2002
By 
Ted Marynicz (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Those Who Are About to Die Salute You: Remastered (Audio CD)
I first saw Jon Hiseman's Colesseum live in 1969 - can I really be that old? This album was the very first vinyl I ever bought and now I have it on CD too.
Dick Heckstall-Smith's soulful sax knits everything together nicely whilst Jon keeps the rhythm driving along.
Melodic instrumentals all played with real feeling. "Walking In The Park" features in my top 10 best all time tunes.
This is an album I turn to to cheer me up when I'm feeling down - let it do the same for you.
Not sure why that other review is here as it's obviously not for this album. Amazon - please fix!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and timeless..., 12 Oct 2005
This review is from: Those Who Are About to Die Salute You: Remastered (Audio CD)
Featuring some of the best, road-honed musicians from the UK's mid/late 60's R&B scene, Colosseum's first release is one of the most interesting & exciting albums of its era. Why? Well first off it's underpinned throughout by some quite superb playing, including Dick Heckstall-Smith's wonderfully gutsy, brilliantly executed sax breaks, and a series of strong, unforgettable melodies that, on their own, make it a stand-out record. But what elevates it into a different league is the way it takes "standard" British Blues and shakes it up into something very different by incorporating large elements of modern jazz and the emerging progressive rock scene into the formula. Sure there are moments of self-indulgence, in particular on "Beware the Ides of March", but even these somehow fail to intrude on the incredibly powerful drive that just keeps pushing everything along. And on the way this self-evidently enthusiastic, highly ingenious and unfortunately short-lived combination deliver some quite stunning numbers, including the magnificent "Debut", "Walking in the Park", "Plenty Hard Luck", "Backwater Blues" and "The Road She Walked Before".
Brilliant and timeless "Those Who Are About to Die.." is a marvellous example of jazz-rock crashing head-on into the blues to produce an album that remains as effective and enjoyable today as it was all those years ago.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff of its era, 26 Dec 2009
By 
Julian Stevens (BRISTOL, UK United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Those Who Are About to Die Salute You: Remastered (Audio CD)
The classic and, for my money, definitive Colosseum lineup comprised Jon Hiseman (drums), Dick Heckstall-Smith (tenor & soprano saxes), Dave Greenslade (organ & vocals), Tony Reeves (bass) and James Litherland (vocals & guitar). Yet, in that format, Colosseum recorded only two studio albums, namely this one and 1969's even better Valentyne Suite with its 16 minute all instrumental title track. After that, James Litherland left, to be followed not long after by Dave Greenslade, who went on to write and record a fairly successful string of albums under his own name, as well as a number of pieces for TV programmes. By comparison with James Litherland, who had a truly wonderful voice, his successor Chris Farlowe, first featured on 1971's disappointing Daughter of Time album, was a sorry substitute, whilst Dave Greenslade's ace Hammond B3 sound was also a serious loss. After that, Jon Hiseman rebranded the band as Colosseum II which was very much more fusion jazz/rock orientated, a genre which, to my way of thinking, we Brits have never managed to do as well as our American cousins.

So, basically, it's those first two albums that represent what Colosseum were really all about, as evidenced by umpteen subsequent compilations and live offerings. The sound and compositions are fresh and invigorating, even though I personally find Heckstall-Smith's sax playing decidedly wayward in places, particularly on Debut, which I just have to edit out every time I listen to Those Who Are About to Die. But most of the rest of the album is great, not least the roustabout Walking In The Park to kick off the whole set and the short but lovely The Road She Walked Before. It's a good strong mix of jazz, blues and rock, brought even more successfully to fruition on the Valentyne Suite which, for a short while, was available along with Those About To Die on a (quite reasonably priced) single CD. Though the sleeve notes don't mention it and I've not had an opportunity to compare it with either of the later single disc reissues (this and the Valentyne Suite), the 2-on-1 issue sounds quite as good as what might be expected from a good digital remaster.

So start with Those About To Die and, if you like that, I'd be surprised if you don't find The Valentyne Suite even better. Colosseum II is a quite different proposition that doesn't really bear comparison with the great first two albums.
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