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Don't Panic still a very lovely record!
on 19 April 2013
Some reviews of this album seem to get a little hysterical but don't worry too much. To the best of my knowledge there are two versions of "Flying Teapot" - the Original Virgin Records Vinyl from 1973 and a second version from 1976 licenced by BYG. All CD versions come from the 1976 version. The area of difference is track 2 - the 11+ minutes of the title track 'Flying Teapot'- it is a different mix but I can't say it's better or worse, it's just different. The best CD version I've come across so far is the Japanese mini LP type CD version - Cleaner crisper recording but can be pricy. In some ways it has better seperation and wider 'soundscape' even than the original Vinyl. Of course if the Vinyl version is burnt into your brain from obsessive listening under the influence of 'whatever' hoping to find the doorway to ultimate reality then the CD mix of track 2 might come as a bit of a jolt (not neccessarily a bad thing perhaps???)
There are some rather muddy CD versions out there so it is worth finding the Japanese import - but whatever you listen to "Flying Teapot" is a lovely album in the Gong discography. After all it's not like all the earlier stuff is neccessarily super-sonic Hi-Fi....ever listened to Bananamoon? It would be good to have the Virgin version on CD like the other 2 albums in the Trilogy and I much prefer the Original Cover of Daevid Allen's paintings and inside drawings. But what's available is certainly better than it not being available atall!
Recently I got the Vinyl put on to CD and listened to all versions on CD -- Any way you hear it it's a lovely album so all the anguish of different versions is a wee bit of a storm in a teapot? perhaps? Remember that Gong have never been a super slick hi-tech band anyway - It's a major part of their charm and Daevid Allen's creative whatchamacallit?