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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Am I really 52 next birthday?
I bought the first album when it came out and it did funny things to my head, but nevertheless it was one of the most original pieces of work I'd ever heard and appealed to my adolescent ear. Had I have bought the second album at the time I would have been hugely disappointed with it. However, having heard it for the first time 2006 I think To Keep From Crying is actually...
Published on 21 Dec 2006 by K. Box

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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acid/folk oddities output compiled
In Greek Mythology Comus is the god of revellery. I'm not sure about gods, but I'm confident most mortals would have a hard time finding much to get revelatory about listening to Comus. This compilation takes in their only two albums, "First Utterance" made in 1971 and "To Keep from Crying" 1974 plus an unreleased song and singer Roger Wootons solo single.
"First...
Published on 30 Sep 2005 by russell clarke


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Am I really 52 next birthday?, 21 Dec 2006
By 
K. Box "whereami?" (Worcester,England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
I bought the first album when it came out and it did funny things to my head, but nevertheless it was one of the most original pieces of work I'd ever heard and appealed to my adolescent ear. Had I have bought the second album at the time I would have been hugely disappointed with it. However, having heard it for the first time 2006 I think To Keep From Crying is actually rather good, much better than some of the reviews may have suggested - and much better than the band themselves may have intimated.What sets it apart from other albums of the time, as with First Utterance,is the completely bonkers mad vocals - how does Bobbie sing in that register? It must almost be off the vocal scale! O.k., it is more "commercial" than First Utterance, and the production could be better in places. They could have made a more consistent piece of work, but what the hell - this is top quality "acid folk" which blows most of that ilk out of the water. There is very little out there as weird and wonderful as these two albums,and Roger Wootton et al should really be pleased with their efforts all those years ago. Granted,the lyrics on First Utterance may sound a bit sick in places (much more so than some of the death metal and heavy stuff about at present) but it is ethereal, evocative, well played,quite mad, but still has its moments of beauty. What more do you want? If you compare this with the early efforts of bands like early Pink Floyd and all the other supposedly wacky late sixties and post psychadelic stuff, there's no real comparison. Comus are a one off and I defy anyone to name a band that comes anywhere near the sheer audacity of what to do with mainly acoustic instruments and the male and female voice. Put it on your your i-pod, go down into the cellar in the dark and see how long you last before calling out for mummy........
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, demented, almost essential, 15 Oct 2005
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P. Bryant (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
Note - this is a review of the first album on this cd release. The second album is different!
In 1971, when hippies still roamed the earth , many strange records were made, and none stranger than this one. It's a complete one-off. Where to begin. Shall I describe it as an acoustic death metal album? Could be. It's not so much a piece of music as a pagan ritual involving some kind of sacrifice, and Comus are not a band, they're a very small cult. One thing which is sacrificed from the get-go is traditional song structures. Like the Incredible String Band, these melodies stretch out, meander, get lost, find themselves again, always surprising the listener with sudden flights of beauty as the two gorgeous high choirgirl female voices twine together creating lovely dreams which get pulverised by the guy with the goat-like bellow, a dead ringer for Roger Chapman (from Family, a contemporary band) and also strangely called Roger (Wootton).
The album creates its own unique style with acoustic guitars, violin, flute, percussion (as opposed to drums), and its two opposing male female ugly/beautiful lustful/chaste voices. It's demented, exciting, disturbing and really creepy, and very compelling, and it couldn't be sustained at this pitch - when they were allowed to make their second album, a couple of years later, the magic had completely vanished and they were just another second-rate folk band.
In 1971 Comus were completely ignored, and understandably so - too nasty and weird for folkies, too acoustic for anyone else. But great music will always survive, and so Comus crawls like an unstoppable cockroach back to the surface.
This record is for the adventurous.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary lost gem, 23 July 2010
This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
I can't imagine why it took me so long to become aware of this group and the beautiful music they created in their debut album, First Utterance. Let's be clear; the second album in this collection is not in the same class - it's here for interest only, and because there is one good track - Children of the Universe - where some of the original magic shines through. But the first album continues to blow me away, rewarding repeat listenings. It has been described as music you wouldn't want to listen to on your own in the dark. Don't be put off; weird it may be, but there is a simply fantastic creativity in it and a genuine beauty. I like acid folk and progressive music. I like Circulus and Espers and Dead Can Dance. If you like something a bit off the wall, treat yourself; buy this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I was persuaded, 19 Jun 2008
By 
Peter Duff (london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
First off I would not call myself a fan of the acid folk scene of the early 70's. After hearing this perhaps it is my loss and i shall be checking similar items out in future. I came to this cd as one of the Amazon recommendations due to other items purchased. The reviews were universally good and having an interest in the avant garde side of music i decided to take a chance. From the first listen I knew this was a masterpeice. Descriptions can always be misleading but some other reviewers here have done fair justice to it. If you are a fan of say Captain Beefheart, Danielle Dax, Nick Cave etc then this may be the long lost gem you've been searching for. Truly inspirational.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Beautiful, Violent and utterly brilliant., 28 Feb 2007
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This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
This collection is brilliant just because it exists; it is truly wonderful that someone has seen fit to re release the music of Comus so that we can enjoy it. I give it five stars because of this, even though the content of the collection as a whole varies wildly in quality. Disc one, with their astonishing album, 'First Utterance', is a soul wrenching journey through eerie passages of Frenzied folk rock, which deals with such themes as rape, martyrdom and mental illness. All of its songs are different and unlike anything you have heard before, capturing with brilliant musicianship and a wide range of instruments a similar feel to the creepy pagan feel of 'The Wicker Man' film and its soundtrack. This is why I rate this album with 5 stars. Just ignore the second disc!

Comus are just one of those bands which formed and made something amazing, and having done what they had to do, petered out. This is why their second album, 'To keep from crying', was such a mistake. While the content of the second disc is at least varied, the album has not any shred of the genius which made 'First Utterance' and not one song offers even a moment of its haunting passages. And Wooton's two disastrous solo project songs tacked on at the end are nothing short of vomit inducing, and are quite amusing to compare to the debut of Comus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great memories, 2 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
I remember these guys when they performed at The Three Tuns in Beckenham on a Sunday night & rushed out to buy the album when it was released, I still have it but daren't play it - too precious!
My husband hates Comus, too weird for him but I have re-established my love of First Utterance & it takes me back to wonderful times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comus - Opera Omnia, 5 Jun 2009
By 
M. Ranchicchio (Rome, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
This double CD set covers all of Comus' heritage, with two albums, one EP, one single and an unreleased song. Probably worth buying just for their first album "First Utterance", but on also on the second - with Gong's Didier Malherbe on sax - some stand-out tracks like the beautiful title-track or "Children of the Universe" make it a satisfying experience.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acid/folk oddities output compiled, 30 Sep 2005
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
In Greek Mythology Comus is the god of revellery. I'm not sure about gods, but I'm confident most mortals would have a hard time finding much to get revelatory about listening to Comus. This compilation takes in their only two albums, "First Utterance" made in 1971 and "To Keep from Crying" 1974 plus an unreleased song and singer Roger Wootons solo single.
"First Utterance is considered a classic of the Acid Folk movement (Was there an Acid Folk movement?) and copies have been much sought after. The more commercial follow up is even harder to come by, but is generally perceived as a doomed exercise in turning them into a more mainstream act and is thus shunned. It's certainly true that "First Utterance "is the more ambitious and challenging listen. Whether it's entirely successful is another matter entirely. Wootons acerbic lyrics taking in mental illness ( "The Prisoner"), martyrdom ( "The Bite") murder ( "Drip Drip") and insatiable lust ( "Diana") and aggressive vocal style are counteracted by Bobbie Watson's astonishing high range angel pure vocals and their skewed take on folk/blues and queasy chamber rock using mainly menacing guitars , violin, the twirling woodwind of Rob Young and hand percussion . For this reviewer too much of "First Utterance "rambles. The instrumentals twitter annoyingly on, the sort of music muso types salivate over, but this listener, ostensibly a lover of pop and rock music finds it all unbearably precious and tedious. There is however no denying the electric charge and marauding tension implicit in songs like "Diana" which is wonderful. "The Herald" is a thing of shimmering pastoral beauty but at over 12 minutes goes on a bit. "In the Lost Queens Eyes" is a bilious medieval hymn. "Song to Comus" is all over the place, completely bonkers. The violins great though. "Winter Is a Coloured Bird" starts out like the theme tune to a seventies kids show but soon the arrangement mutates in complexity with twittering woodwind and spindles of guitar.
The album was sabotaged by a postal strike which badly affected its distribution and promotion and varied reviews didn't help. It's also not too difficult to conclude that his was music way too caustic for the folk set, yet too complex and impenetrable for rock fans. By the time they recorded the follow up "To keep From Crying" three years later the line up had changed with several members departing and members of Gong and Henry Cow coming on board. Considering how these albums are viewed now this is a bit controversial but I prefer "To Keep from Crying "to "First Utterance". It's amore polished slick affair sure, and definitely more mainstream ,but the songs more conventional structures actually suit them and some of them are terrific songs, all be it made with a frisson of experimentation that make them even more compelling. Watson's voice is really allowed to soar on songs like "Children of the Universe" where her vocals duet with stunning effectiveness with Wooton, s. The material veers from songs with multi harmonies like "Children of the Universe" to plangent pop/folk crossovers: "Down (Like a Movie Star)" to electronically based mood pieces a la Eno Like "Get Yourself a Man".
Released on the fledgling Virgin label who gave it scant promotion, with no single releases off the album, it bombed and Comus promptly split up. Wooton recorded a solo single the unfortunately titled "Fiesta Fandango" included on this CD, a bizarre up tempo exotic pop song with twirly flutes, steel drums and some hilarious pronunciation. Lovers of "First Utterance were probably as baffled by that as most of us are on hearing "First Utterance" which is nicely ironic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you like good music?, 9 Jan 2011
By 
70s "arrow" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
This is so wonderful, it doesn't need me to say so. Imagine Family with a female co-vocalist. As commented elsewhere, the second cd is a bit more MOR, but still interesting. I guess most folks will buy this collection for the first cd. The first cd is certainly worth investigating, with its strange folky rock atmosphere, blended in a mixer to produce an atmosphere that is the aural equivalent of the Whicker Man films atmosphere.Recommended
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars aha!, 26 Jun 2009
This review is from: Song To Comus - The Complete Collection (Audio CD)
The mother lode of acid-psych-wierd folk....

Around the time of Comus unfortunately a sort of braying vibrato was deemed a great way to sing, led by Roger Chapman of Family... a man whom Simon Cowell would have instantly dismissed from a talent show or held up to ridicule in the "wierdos who come at the end" section of relity talent shows.

Anyway... so a lot of brayers were allowed to make record deals, and here we have one of most brayingest. This album has rightfully achieved cult status, although perhaps "legendary" is a bit overdoing it.

But violin, angelic female voice, furious guitar passages all mashed up with what sounds like a group of leering demonic old perverts or satyrs make a compelling but ultimately toxic brew.

This is music which even in its quieter moments sounds decidedly odd, and so it is no surprise that it has attracted those who revere the Wicker Man, because it is the kind of deranged stuff that might go on on a midsummers eve in Summers isle behind a standing stone or two. Biut you do have to ask... what WERE they thinking??? A commune in the unlikely environs of Beckenham and Bromley??

"Diana" starts of the collection at a cracking pace and gives you the template for the rest of the first album, which is what all the fuss is about. Another favourite.... the completely overtop acoustic guitar intro to "Drip Drip".
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