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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate folk rock, 12 Mar. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Granite Years: Best Of 1986-1997 (Audio CD)
For those who remember the folk-rock revival of the early 1990s spearheaded by the Levellers, and wonder where on earth it came from and where it went, this album is an absolute must because it answers both questions with ringing clarity. The Oysterband in many ways reinvented the folk-rock sound for the English post-punk audience; like their Celtic contemporaries The Alarm and Big Country they managed a combination of thunderous instrumentation and powerful social and political commentary whilst still managing to move the heart to mourn, or to dance. This compilation is very nearly a "best of", and with two very full CDs' worth of music it is one that is difficult to tire of. I say "nearly" a best of, because there are a few flaws to this compilation - the fact that virtually the whole of the "Holy Bandits" album appears on disc 1 smacks of some less than thorough editing on behalf of the record company, and the inexplicable absence of all but one track from the seminal "Freedom and Rain" collaboration with June Tabor is just mystifying. Nonetheless, there's enough material on here to cover all shades of emotion - from the faultless, infectious opening of "When I'm Up..." to the dark melancholy of "Put Out the Lights" - and a host of social and political comment that sounds no less relevant today than it did in the mid 1980s. I came to this compilation already well acquainted with a select few of the Oysterband's albums, and this has certainly whetted my appetite for more. Personal favourite tracks: "The Road to Santiago" with its leftfield but affectionate take on the quirks of religious rituals; "The Deserter", a simply spine-tingling piece which seems to reveal new shades of meaning every time I listen to it; "All That Way for This", which seems peculiarly pertinent when stuck in traffic on the M1 on the way to work; and "Coal Not Dole/Bells of Rhymney", a nod back in time to the great protest songs of the folk tradition, becoming a heavy-metal guitar anthem guaranteed to have you screaming out along with them exactly what you think of Mrs. Thatcher...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy "best of", 9 Jun. 2006
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This review is from: Granite Years: Best Of 1986-1997 (Audio CD)
The Oysterband are part of Britain's often-ignored folk-rock scene. With a more refined sound than the raggedy folk-punk of The Levellers or The Pogues and a more rock edge than old-skoolers Fairport Convention, the Oysterband actually thrive in this middle ground, producing a fine selection of modern rock songs and ballads with a definite traditional sound.

This album takes a selection of tracks from the 10 year period of the title in order to give newcomers (like I was) a taste of the Oysters' sound. The first most obvious advantage that the Oysterband have is the quality of the vocals. Their singers are very skilled and the lead vocalist posesses a much cleaner and more melodic voice than many contemporaries (comparable perhaps to the Devon acoustic-rock act Show of Hands). The songs vary in tempo from the up tempo "When I'm Up I Can't Get Down" and title track "Granite Years" to the more sedate "Put Out The Lights" and "Coal not Dole", but all are skillfully performed and well-produced.

On the whole, if you like Folk-Rock as a genre, there's a very good chance you'll like this album.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the most striking songs collection of songs this uniq, 8 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Granite Years: Best Of 1986-1997 (Audio CD)
Oysterband have released numerous albums over the years, but have never, until now, released a compilation of such varied and striking music. The sheer variety and diversity of styles is a sure fire winner to win new fans and please old fans alike. As an introduction to the band and a very distinctive style of music I would recommend that this is a potential fan's first purchase and the 'hardened' fans favourite cd uniting their best songs onto one cd set. A MUST for your collection!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great double CD!, 15 April 2003
By 
A. B. Nielsen "Anne" (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was relatively new to Oysterband, and had only heard some of their music from a friend. But this "best-of" collection is a great introduction, full of really good songs. I just love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Nov. 2014
By 
JW (HEREFORDSHIRE) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Granite Years: Best Of 1986-1997 (Audio CD)
Great band and this cd covers a great period in their history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 29 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Granite Years: Best Of 1986-1997 (Audio CD)
Brilliant
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2 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great band, crap politics., 15 April 2011
By 
OldCarliol. (Carlisle, Cumbria, England.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Granite Years: Best Of 1986-1997 (Audio CD)
I've loved this band from day one, folk rock at its very best and Granite Years is the ultimate starting point for any newcomers to the band, though I fail to understand why 'Sail On By' wasn't included in what is a career retrospective of their best material.
Sadly, the guys let themselves down by continually shoving their left-wing political drivel down our throats. It's dated and unworkable, as has been proven on numerous occasions by the sad old defenders of their faith, the Labour Party. Give it a rest lads and concentrate on what you do best, playing stonking folk-rock.
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Granite Years: Best Of 1986-1997
Granite Years: Best Of 1986-1997 by Oysterband (Audio CD - 2010)
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