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Blue Skies & Free Rides - The Best Of 1986-1989
Format: Audio CDChange
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2008
So says Nicky Wire of the Manics regarding the Weather Prophets, and I can't help but agree. This is a collection of heart warming songs, each one a curio with it's own charm. The two demos at the end, 'She Comes From the Rain' and 'Naked as the Day You Were' born, I really enjoyed them, obviously they're more stripped down that the album versions, just Pete Astor and his guitar, but for me, that makes them all the more intense.

This collection touches a lot of other important bases too- 'Joe Schmo and the Eskimo' is lyrically excellent, and loveable for its salsa beat, fairground organ and spring-away chorus guitar riff- such a gem. 'I Almost Prayed' was the killer single in the indie charts of the day, and here you get the non-album version- 'Just Like Frankie Lymon' was a single too methinks- Pete Sings more like a young Lou Reed than Frankie Lymon, admittedly, but this one's all about tenderness and earnest yearning.

I've always thought of the Weather Prophets as a gentler version of the Stone Roses; less ready to shoot you down with guitar perhaps, but just as filled with a sense of wonder and just as sharp lyrically. All the songs here have their own charm and witty observations, the sleeve notes are comprehensive, and guess what, it has album version or alternate takes of the bulk of the songs on the out-of-print Mayflower album.

I bought this compilation when it first came out, and it was on heavy rotation for over a month... now I've written all this, I think I'll go and put it back on again, see ya ; )
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2011
First things first, Pete Astor is a brilliant songwriter, The Weather Prophets were a brilliant band and Cherry Red are an excellent label when it comes to reissues, however if you are looking for a comprehensive overview of the Weather Prophets, this isn't the purchase for you. It has some cracking tunes on here (Worm In My Brain, the original Creation Records single version of "Almost Prayed", later classics such as "Chinese Cadillac" "Hollow Heart" and "Joe Schmo and the Eskimo").

However (and I suspect this was a result of licensing issues) there is nothing from the band's best studio album "Mayflower" other than radio session versions and very rough demo's of some of it's tracks which results in a very inconsistent album.

Hopefully the band and Cherry Red will get around to giving "Mayflower" a proper reissue at some point as presently it's only available on CD in Japan which generally means paying upwards of £40 a copy.

This album is a bit of a wasted opportunity really.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2004
Finally, a collection of highlights from one of the better 'Indie' bands of the late 1980s. Or is it? Frankly, this collection is an opportunity missed. Many of the band's greatest recordings are overlooked in favour of inferior demo or radio-session versions of the likes of 'Almost Prayed', 'She comes from the rain' and 'Naked as the day you were born' among others. The definitive versions (as found on the superb 'Mayflower' which, inexplicably, is still unavailable on CD) of these songs were quite magnificent and their inclusion would have earned Blue Skies and Free Rides at least two more stars. As it stands, however, it's hard to find anything to recommend this to those unfamiliar with the band.
An opportunity missed? More like the record company keeping their powder dry for a future reissue of the classic 'Mayflower'.
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