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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Scritti Politti compilation, 25 July 2005
By 
Ted Maul "Ted Maul" (Cowsick) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Early (Audio CD)
This is a logically-titled compilation of early Scritti Politti tracks.In the sleevenotes Green Gartside says he finds the tracks on here "winceworthy".Maybe if he afforded himself some distance he would see them the way everyone else sees them:unbelievably good.
Indeed,the likes of Is And Ought The Western World and Opec-Immac are as good as any of the other post-punk anti-anthems by the likes of Gang Of Four or Joy Division, and the opening Skank Bloc Bologna is up there with To Hell With Poverty,Transmission,Poptones,Life During Wartime,Nag Nag Nag etc...
This CD also includes the 'breakthrough' song,The "Sweetest" Girl,which features beautiful keyboards from Robert Wyatt.This is truly an essential purchase,although if you get this you may also want to get yourself the two Scritti Politti album masterpieces Songs To Remember and Cupid And Psyche.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Early' Scritti Politti, 25 Feb 2005
By 
Eddy (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Early (Audio CD)
This release is so long overdue. Scritti Politti, to me, encompass everything that was right and good about 'post-punk' in the UK at the time - the DIY ethic, exemplified by the hand-stamped labels on the first Peel session release, and the detailed sleeve notes regarding the 'means of production'. A fine and unique voice has Mr Gartside, and also a genius for improvised tunes, and innovative production tricks on a shoestring. I love this band like no other, and I glory in their intelligence and musical ability.
This scratchy, intense yet spare music, nodding at dub reggae, nodding at punk at such a tangent...is so fragile, yet it holds together. Lyrically dense, and of course dealing with Marxist themes, related to late '70s Britain - just listen to 'Hegemony'- music, voice, words melded in a unique and intoxicating melange of sonic brilliance. This 'early' Scritti are nothing like the intelligent and uber-slick pure-and-perfect-pop of later Scritti, and all the better for that.
I own all the songs included here on the original vinyl, they are rare apparently, so it's a shame it seems to me that Rough Trade couldn't source and include the second Peel session which featured 'The Humours of Spitalfields', 'Knowledge and Interest', a different version of 'Doubt Beat' (as featured on the 4 'A' sides ep) and '5.12.78' a new version of the instrumental featured on the Skank Bloc Bologna ep. It would have completed the collection. I wonder if this second session was ever released?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beez Knees, 15 Feb 2005
By 
Martin Smith "musicbymartin" (The Industrial North) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Early (Audio CD)
Being one of the (very few) proud owners of the original "Peel Sessions" 7-inch, I already knew what to expect with this release. Miniature, gnomic "compositions" which have more in common with improvisational jazz than with the punk/new wave it's often lumped with. Scratchy, skeletal and skillful, resonant with disembodied voices and oddly double-tracked vocals. Highlights for me are "Is and Ought of the Western World" which alternates between skiffle-punk and way-out dub, and "PAs" in which Green warns of impending Nazism and sounds like improvised heaven. The collection also includes "The Sweetest Girls" and it's B-side, "Lions After Slumber", both beautiful songs, but somehow out of place in amongst the scary ramblings of the rest of the material. Perhaps we can better understand the origins of this famous song, but it does serve to illustrate the fact that as Scritti embraced technology and supposed sophistication, they left something behind.
Also, it must be said, my version of "Messthetics" on vinyl ends quite differently to this version - have these dubby reverberations been lost? Still, it's OK, because I know how it sounds-s-s-s-s-s!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gems unearthed at last., 29 July 2006
This review is from: Early (Audio CD)
As an owner of the original vinyl of these songs I was suprised that they had made it out into the light after all these years. I bought this album to save me the grief of getting my dusty record player out of the cupboard and i'm glad I did! To anyone who has not heard these tracks before I would say this........these are some of Green's first recordings and as such yes they are slightly experimental/amateurish and rough round the edges. The later tracks are much more musically accomplished (sweetest girl, faithless) BUT, listen carefully and you will find interesting lyrics, catchy tunes and raw passion that is rare these days. The sound is unique, although influences can be identified, yet even 25 years after their initial release they don't sound dated! Green's sleevenotes describe the songs as slightly "winceworthy" but let's face it, no true artist loves their own work!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why not?, 16 Jan 2012
By 
N. Rice - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Early (Audio CD)
I feel that this is probably a redundant review - presumably anyone looking to buy this would already be familiar (and therefore in love, because that's how it works with Scritti) with their other releases.

My copy was delivered a few days ago now and I've done nothing but listen to is since, it's a collection of not-particularly polished songs, and they're all the better for it - their rough-edges go in tandem with the songs, I don't think these rough, post-punk and often hyper-political songs would lend themselves well to a remastering...

I'm in love with Scritti Politti and I'm in love with these songs; if you feel the same about Scritti, you'll adore them as I do. If you're a casual fan or an erstwhile admirer, they really are worth a listen, and the frankly paltry fiver they're priced at means you won't regret it even if you somehow take a disliking to them (???).

I'll stop boring you know, though one last tip as a parting gift - the 'add to basket' button is on the top right. You're welcome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very early Scritti, 21 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Early (Audio CD)
It always seems Green Gartside is somehow embarassed when asked about the first Scritti Politti recordings. Seeing the great success of the band during the 80's, who would think that Gartside's straightforward pop (however subversive) was preceeded by this sum of disjointed instruments? I had already heard Skank Bloc Bologna (one of the songs that, for me, defines a whole strand of post-punk) and its quality was enough to persuade me to buy this compilation. I think this CD of all Scritti's early singles and EP's has more than just a "historic" value. Maybe the rest of the songs don't achieve the quality of the opening "Skank" (that said, it is very difficult to do so, though various of them come close) but they are a testimony of the approach many musicians of the late 70's took on in order to experiment with the limits of pop music.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scritti Politti: the D.I.Y.-years..., 23 Jan 2005
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Early (Audio CD)
'Early' offers a side of Scritti Politti (a name taken from Gramsci)that many may not be familiar with- knowing Green Garside's outfit as a pop-act who had hits with 'The Word Girl', 'Oh Patti' & 'She's a Woman.' These tracks have been notoriously hard to find (though 'Skank Bloc Bologna' featured on Rough Trade's Post-Punk compilation)& haven't been heard by many (I'm unfamiliar with much here- the compilation I was dying for though!). Influenced by the DIY-post-punk aesthetics of The Desperate Bicycles, the squat-speed-driven outfit released some of the most experimental tracks of the era. These take in SP's formative-years, ending on the transitional (& key!) track The 'Sweetest Girl' (more on that later).
Leeds University student Green (mentioned in Marc Almond's 'Tainted Life' who also attended) had relocated to London with a DIY-punk-notion and a headful of philosophies: Gramsci, Lacan, & Derrida (who would later be immortalized in song). This music sits somewhere between the early, experimental sound of Cabaret Voltaire & the alien-sounds of Robert Wyatt & could reasonably sit alongside such oddities of the era as Chrome, Swell Maps, PIL, Throbbing Gristle & The Slits. This is music/lyrics that you really do need to have a degree for (it's amazing how music-journos always like to go on about this lot- see parents it was worth me going to Uni to semi-understand Derrida & co!!!)- opener 'Skank Bloc...' typifies the oblique nature of proceedings: "the Skank Bloc Bologna/Keeping all of us alive/Something in Italy...Rockers in the town with an overestimation/Now they've got a notion/& they're working on a hope/A Euro-ruled vision & a skank in scope..." ?????
The 7" e.p./Peel Session and the '4-A-Sides' e.p. are the key sources here- originally coming in self-designed/created sleeves and with notes relating to cost/production etc (post-modern artifacts that should win a retrospective Turner-prize and fetch thousands in future markets...) Green & co were railing at the burgeoning era of Thatcher with tracks like 'Scritlock's Door': "Problem at hand at Scritlock's door/the issue on your airway/Because out in the world the BT groups and the market-forces play/No wishing, no arty, no grab-it-and-run will rid us of this disease/It lays down the laws, the wills and the won'ts and it f.... up liberties..." 'Bibbly O-Tec', 'Hegemony', 'Messthetics', 'Hegemony','Is and Ought the Western World', 'Opec-Immac', 'P.A.S.'- this is a challenging & highly experimental take on post-punk- where could it have gone from here?
Green was rumoured to have gone into meltdown/had health-problems and when recuperating in Wales, came up with a new pop-vision of Scritti Politti (as he wrote a book on jazz-theory or semiotic-pop?). The result of this was the version of SP that released the critical-favourite 'Songs to Remember' (1982) and would lead to the classic 'Cupid & Psyche 85.' From that version of SP we get an alternate version of 'Lions After Slumber' & the masterpiece 'The Sweetest Girl.'
Featuring Robert Wyatt on keyboards, 'The Sweetest Girl' was the C-80-classic that bridged the DIY-noise of early SP and the lover's rock-inflected pop that would follow. The lyrics adhere to Derrida's notions- "The weakest link in every chain/I always want to find it/The strongest words in each belief/Find out what's behind it..." While Green appears to be plumping for love rather than politics- "When the government falls- I wish I could tell/When, oh when necessity calls- I never can tell/It's just loving/Ooh, loving..." Love is the order of the day- and 'The Sweetest Girl' could be the last love-song ever really- the industrial-beat beneath nodding to the past (it also sounds very effective when played back to back with Robert Wyatt's 'Sea Song'). 'The Sweetest Girl' remains one of the key-singles OF ALL TIME- and one that easily stands up to/next to stuff like 'Like a Rolling Stone', 'Higher Than the Sun', 'I Know You Got Soul', 'Everything's Gone Green', 'Warm Leatherette', 'O.Superman', 'Try Again' or [insert here]. 'Early' is already candidate for compilation of the year and a treat, as well as a history lesson...
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Early by Scritti Politti (Audio CD - 2007)
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