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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cherry pickers v Collectors
Who are these boxed sets that anthologize the work of a band or artist across the decades intended to cater for? Is it the newcomer who wants an instant collection and expects to find the cream of their recorded output on one disc? Or is it the collector who has all the albums but is anxious to own digital copies of early singles and rarities, and hopes to find previously...
Published on 3 May 2006 by Lozarithm

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4 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bunnymen do the Box Set Thing
After the excellent Joy Division & Magazine box-sets, comes the Bunnymen equivalent. This takes in the years from 1979 to their final major label LP, 'What are...rest of your life'- a dull record made by the Electrafixion duo McCulloch/Saergent.
The Peel Sessions (released as an EP by Strange Fruit)are pre-Pete De Freitas and offer a sketch of the band that would...
Published on 17 July 2001 by Jason Parkes


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cherry pickers v Collectors, 3 May 2006
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Crystal Days: 1979-1999 (Audio CD)
Who are these boxed sets that anthologize the work of a band or artist across the decades intended to cater for? Is it the newcomer who wants an instant collection and expects to find the cream of their recorded output on one disc? Or is it the collector who has all the albums but is anxious to own digital copies of early singles and rarities, and hopes to find previously unreleased gold dust?

It seems the wary compiler has to steer a middle ground, whilst running the risk of alienating both parties. The cherry pickers don't want obscure early B-sides, the collectors resent buying loads of album tracks all over again to get to the goodies. 

Since this box set came out all the Bunnymen albums have been re-mastered and re-issued with bonus tracks. Many of the tracks that this set was criticised for omitting are now available on these re-issues, and from the lack of duplication in the majority of cases it would seem that they have been intended to complement the box set.

The set kicks off with their earliest release, Monkeys, with Julian Cope on keyboards, originally on a compilation called Street To Street - A Liverpool Album, and has both sides of the earliest Bunnymen single, on the Zoo label, The Pictures On My Wall/Read It In Books. It includes the magnificent 12" versions of Silver, The Killing Moon and Never Stop, and much loved B-sides such as Angels And Devils and Rollercoaster. There are a couple of Peel session tracks, alternate versions, tracks from a scrapped 1986 album and outtakes. The ten year jump to their 1997 reformation happens almost seemlessly and chronologically concludes disc three.

Disc four seems like an afterthought as it scatters a few more worthy rarities before presenting 50 minutes of concert material from 1982-1985, mostly previously unreleased, demonstrating what a fine live band they were.

Two important factors that can assuage the undecided buyer are the quality of the packaging and the price. Crystal Days is attractively packaged, with extensive notes and a track by track commentary from Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant. There are four discs, each with around 75 minutes of music, but value for money will depend on the current asking price and the number of tracks that duplicate those in your collection. Twenty-four of the seventy-two tracks come directly from original albums, exactly a third; perhaps slightly too many given that a few others have been on compilations such as Songs To Learn And Sing and The Cutter, but still leaving plenty for the collector to pick over. 

Since the cherry-picker should find that everything essential to him is here, I think on the whole the compilers have done a fair balancing act and done justice to the band.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but a missed opportunity, 7 Aug. 2001
This review is from: Crystal Days: 1979-1999 (Audio CD)
Firstly, lets discuss what you get. 72 tracks, 17 Previously Unreleased Tracks, 21 Rare Tracks and B-Sides never available before on CD. Despite that, I personally believe that a great opportunity has been missed here. I think it is fair to say, that a box set is going to appeal mainly to fans. So why waste space with material that almsot all fans will have already.
Disc 1 Is made up of the bands early work, some of which has never appeared on CD before. Track 1, Monkeys, is the original version, with Julian Cope on keyboards. Tacks 2-3 also being Original Single Versions, with Track 4 being a John Peel Session Recording. From an historical perspective, these tracks are a must for any fan as this was the sound of the early Bunnymen. However, very little else on Disc 1 is new to us. With the exception of Tracks 6, 17,18, 19, 20, all of which are B-sides to singles and 12 inch singles. Tracks 17 and 20 being of particular interest. Track 10 - The Puppet and Track 11 - Do it Clean did not appear on any studio albums and deserve to be here, however, that leaves a whopping 9 tracks that most if not all fans, would already have. I would have liked to have seen the remainder of the John Peel Session recodings that appeared on cassette, which included, Ashes To Ashes, Monkeys, Read It In Books. Also wasted, was the opportunity to release the tracks that appeared on the 1981 release EP Shine So Hard, which included brilliant versions of Crocodiles, All That Jazz, Zimbo, Over The Wall. All of which appear in a familar form on Disc 1 anyway.
Disc 2 Is much more interesting, despite 4 out of the first 5 tracks being familar recordings. Track 3 - Way out and Up We Go, a B-side to The Cutter, and a worthwhile addition. Tracks 6-11 are gems, all either being 12 versions or B-sides never available before on CD. All brilliant songs in their own right. Again however, here we see yet more missed chances to include worthwhile additional material. We do not get the accoustic versions of The Killing Moon, Stars Are Stars and Villers Terrace, which appear on the same 12 inch single as All You Need is Love.
Disc 3 Is by far the most interesting disc out of the four. Track 1, Bring On The Dancing Horses, again, could have been the 12inch version. Strangly, Tracks 2 and 6, both B-Sides to singles are included, but not the alternative version to Lost and Found, which appeared on the B-side to the same 12 inch as Track 6.
Track 3, Lover I Love You is a real find. I had never heard it before, although if you listen closely, you will recognise it despite it never having been released. Also new, Tracks 4 - Satisfaction and Track 5 - New Direction (Original Version). Tracks 7-10, again all familiar, missing the chance for the 12inch version of Lips Like Sugar. Track 12 - Rollercoster is a personal favourite and a must addition. The remaining tracks on Disc 3, all familiar.
Disc 4 Is the only disc that can actually be classed as completely worthwhile, despite being somewhat muddled. Track 3 - The Original Cutter, which is brilliant, Track 4 - Heads Will Roll (Summer Version) and Track 5 - Bedbugs & Ballyhoo (Original Version) all clearly belonging to either disc 2 or 3.
The live stuff is good to see, but with the inclusion of the live tracks I mentioned earlier, could have made this a worthwhile project.
All these things said, should not detract from the fact that the Bunnymen have finally had the Box Set treatment done. Andy Zax who compiled it, could have made better choices and made this a truly essential piece of Bunnydom, but when push comes to shove, it is simply an expanded best of.
However, with the obvious strength of ALL the tracks on this set, you MUST buy it anyway. It is packaged to die for. A glossy 66 page booklet is included and the long box itself is PERFECT.
I mention all the points above, I.E. the exclsuion of certain tracks etc, simply because I am a huge fan of this band and would like all their material on CD. However, there is only one piece of advice for anyone thinking of buying this - DO IT
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5.0 out of 5 stars On Strike!, 8 Mar. 2009
By 
Mr. Robert Barany "JackieWilsonSaid" (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crystal Days (Audio CD)
I bought this box set to get the live tracks on Disc 4. Most of them were originally on a vinyl bootleg called On Strike! back in the 80s. The source of this LP was a (pre?) FM tape recorded in Sweden.

The Bunnymen acted as their own opening act and went on and played great cover songs by some of their influences - Dylan, Doors, Stones, Velvets, Wilson Picket etc. It is great fun to hear their versions!

I'm at the moment re-discovering the original music by the Bunnymen, but I'm sure somebody else can do it more justice than me.

The box set is the height of a DVD box with a very enjoyable 64 page booklet in the middle. All in all, a bargain!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and must for any real Bunnymen fan, 16 Aug. 2003
By 
Mr. Muttley (Haslemere, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crystal Days: 1979-1999 (Audio CD)
This is an excellent collection and a must for any true Bunnymen fan. Although it is excellent it could have been better, there are some classic songs B sides etc. which could and should have been included to give the full story.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars echos from the past, 14 May 2009
By 
Mr. K. Fitzgerald (BRISTOL UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crystal Days (Audio CD)
NEW TO THE BUNNYMEN ? YOU ARE SO LUCKY.TO DISCOVERING THIS WILL BE LIKE FINDING GOLD,THEY ARE ONE OF THE BEST BANDS EVER. ALONG WITH JOY DIVISION AND THE CURE.WILL`S GUITAR SINGS WITH A BLISSFUL PRESANTS. WHILE IAN "KING OF COOL",DELIVERS A VOCAL PURE IN SOUND AND FEELING. THIS PACKAGE OF TUNES IS WONDERFULL.I KNOW I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO THEM MOST DAYS FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS. 10/10
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Or should you buy the original remastered and extended albums?, 15 Jan. 2010
By 
Ian Williams "ianw" (Sunderland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Crystal Days (Audio CD)
There's no question that there is some considerable overlap, particularly with the first four albums which I think are the band's best. I'm not going into every last little detail but suffice it to say that the best tracks (or versions of them) from the four are well represented on the first two albums. However, the remastered editions of these albums contain, obviously, all the original tracks plus a number of live/alternate cuts and b-sides which are often different from those on the box set. CD3 of the set covers highlights of the successive studio albums. CD4 is a superb collection of live cuts.

Now while the remasters have new liner notes by Max Bell, the box set has a substantial booklet.

There are pros and cons about which to go for. For someone who just wants one collection of E&TB, and although there are several best of's, I'd recommended this lavish box set. But it doesn't tell the full story. Ian McCulloch used to rant on about Ocean Rain being the best rock album ever. He's wrong, of course, but not that far wrong and it should be in every rock fan's collection. Buy the box set and you miss a number of great songs and the same can be said of the first three albums.

I recommend you do what I did. Buy the box set (which, at its current price, is a bargain), revel in it for a while, and then go back and buy the remastered extended versions of the first four albums, plus maybe a later live set for a bit variation. But whatever you do, even if it's just buying Ocean Rain, you win.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine collection, 13 July 2013
This review is from: Crystal Days (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Echo & the Bunnymen for some years now, and love all their albums. The collaboration of Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant never fail to surprise me, with that distinctive sound that simply electrifies my senses at each earing.

I could list all my favourite tracks, but I'd be here all day. This album covers pretty much most of their epic and ear tingling tracks. A great addition to any serious music collection. Would also recommend Ballyhoo.

But would also recommend:-

Reverberation (1990)
Evergreen (1997)
What are you going to do with your life? (1999)
Flowers (2001)
Siberia (2005) (listening to this as I write this review, track: In The Margins. A touching track)
The Fountain (2009)

Great band that has stood the test of time, and one of the greatest.
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4 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent retrospective of the band's first 20 years, 14 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Crystal Days: 1979-1999 (Audio CD)
After a brief peek at the boxed set Wednesday night, backstage at Irving Plaza (Pete Byrne quickly thumbed to the acknowledgements section, to show me my name, and I again thanked he and the band for the mention in "Flowers"), I got my copy from Rhino in the mail yesterday, and had a good look at it
BEAUTIFUL
It's like a book, with two discs mounted on clear holders inside the front cover, and two in back. when you pull the discs out, artwork and rare photos are revealed behind. Sandwiched between the discs - a 64-page book, with commentary from the compiler, Andy Zax, as well as Mick Houghton, Mac & Will...all put together in top form with more photos. Oh, and there's music too.
The tracks have a new depth and vibrancy, many having been re-mastered from the original source material. This boxed set is a must-have for fans old and new.
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4 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bunnymen do the Box Set Thing, 17 July 2001
By 
Jason Parkes (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Crystal Days: 1979-1999 (Audio CD)
After the excellent Joy Division & Magazine box-sets, comes the Bunnymen equivalent. This takes in the years from 1979 to their final major label LP, 'What are...rest of your life'- a dull record made by the Electrafixion duo McCulloch/Saergent.
The Peel Sessions (released as an EP by Strange Fruit)are pre-Pete De Freitas and offer a sketch of the band that would make 'Crocodiles'. The 'Stars are Stars'is a bit too sub-Bowie, while 'Villiers Terrace' demonstrates THOSE early hooks...'Crocodiles' was a brilliant album and the selections here prove it's one of the finest debuts ever (along with Patti's 'Horses' & Television's 'Marquee Moon'). 'The Puppet' offers a hint of the gloom about to envelope the Bunnymen with 'Heaven up Here' (its language is great "curtain would like to know..."). 'Do it Clean' is a one of their-and anyone's-best songs; when The Doors influences weren't quite so apparent...The 2nd album is rather overblown and boring, 'Show of Strength' a sonic gripe at Julian Cope and 'Over the Wall' seriously over the top...'Porcupine' was worse- a psychedelic mess- from which only the singles 'Back of Love' & 'The Cutter' remain of any note...'Never Stop' is a super pop-song, the Bunnymen do Haircut 100 and would lead to the string drenched high of 'Ocean Rain'...These are great songs, from a great album and the last time the Bunnymen were truly coherent. The following years 'Bring on the Dancing Horses' & 'Bedbugs & Ballyhoo' were as good- then with 'Songs to Learn & Sing' the band lost it...De Freitas went on an adventure, to be replaced by Haircut 100 & New Order drummers, until returning as a session musician...Ray Manazarek helps the band become the tribute band that the live tracks on the final disc here represent (the covers of 'Friction', 'Heroin', 'Soul Kitchen'). The versions of 'People are Strange' from 'The Lost Boys' are very good-if karaoke. The take on the 13th Floor Elevators 'Rollercoaster'is less interesting than the original or Spacemen 3's take at the same time...'The Game' is 'Ocean Rain' on autopilot, the eponymous LP it stemmed from- one of the blandest records ever released. Its best song was 'Lips like Sugar', as shallow as The Doors 'Touch Me'...McCulloch left to record the 'Ocean Rain' tribute, 'Candleland' and the others soldiered on following De Freitas death...McCulloch teamed up with Saergent for the Electrafixion cash in on Sugar and this lead to Pattinson rejoining and the so-so 'Ocean Rain' style LP 'Evergreen'. Sad they had to draft Liam G. in as a guest backing vocalist to get any attention; 'I want to be there'-sadder...Sadder, that McCulloch still thinks Echo are up there with U2. Or holy like Joy Division. With Pattinson gone, the 'Rest of Your Life' album signalled London dropping them. Songs like 'Rust' were bloodless affairs, set next to Radiohead & Verve releases at the time...The new Cooking Vinyl LP is not bad, but they'll never be the band who did 'Crocodiles' or 'Ocean Rain' again (and never could be)...The live stuff here is good- the Burundi take on 'Zimbo (all my colours)' is great and pre-dates Crowded House's excellent 'Together Alone'...If you feel like splashing out more than the 'Ballyhoo' compilation- there is a lot here good.And much lazy & mediocre...The liner notes talk the talk; the songs speak the reality...Less of a legend than bands like Joy Division, Pere Ubu, Associates & Magazine...It would have been better if this boxset had been comprisedof just rare & live tracks- it's somewhere between an overgenerous best of & a Bunnyfan's wet dream...For the 'Crocs' & 'Ocean' & live tracks alone-and the great title(from a bad song)- make this a sound purchase. CCCCCCC-cucumber!!!!
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Crystal Days: 1979-1999
Crystal Days: 1979-1999 by Echo & The Bunnymen (Audio CD - 2001)
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