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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2009
If you're reading this then you are probably familiar with at least one or more of these albums.
It's rather ironic that the cover shows the band with John Verity & John Grimaldi who joined the band after these first five albums, so had nothing to do with them. This package covers the output in which Russ Ballard was the lead singer.

The first has a real feel of an album with many of the Zombies influences, which is understandable. Ring of Hands finds the band carving out the direction which would find them their greatest success. The highlights are Rejoice, Pleasure & Lothlorien.
All Together Now features Hold your Head up, Tragedy, and another two tracks that became live favourites Keep on Rollin' and Dance of Ages.
In Deep features It's only Money & God gave rock & roll to you. This was Russ Ballard at his creative best and there's much to enjoy here.
Nexus sees the band going in a more progressive direction with Rod Argent showing his keyboard talents to the full. It was a direction that prompted Russ to jump ship which was a shame.
The body of work here is classic Argent. Some of it sounds a little dated now, but there's some great songwriting and if you haven't replaced your old vinyl from the early 70's, this is a good place to start.
The Zombies have been touring regularly in recent years with great success, but a reunion of the original five members of Argent that recorded these original album classics, would generate huge interest.
They probably just don't realise the extent of their popularity still today.
A must buy!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This excellent value mini-box set enshrines the classy musicianship and song craft of Argent, one of the Uk's most underrated Prog Rock bands. When Russ Ballard was with them, he brought not only a strong sense of the melodic in his guitar work (never overly flash, always about playing the right notes, and not too many of 'em, either), but also a sense of economy in the songs. Sure, prog was always about musical virtuosity, but Ballard and Rod Argent, both having been with 60s Pop acts (The Unit 4 + 2 and The Zombies respectively), still had more than vestigial traces of Pop in there. Ballard was also a great, soulful singer, and he's in top form throughout. 'In Deep' is an underrated Brit Prog classic, although there's good stuff all over these five albums - even if the slip case photo features their post-Ballard line-up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I was never a big fan of Argent, having been originally unimpressed by my solitary hearing of their debut album on vinyl. I love The Zombies' Odessey and Oracle, however, and for the price offered thought it was worth paying to hear more of Rod Argent's work. My view of their debut album has, as a result, now changed. You can tell that it's just pre-1970s by the lighter sound and harmonies. The first seven tracks won me over, especially 'Be Free' and the playing on 'Dance In The Smoke'. 'Schoolgirl' meanwhile is an obvious retread of The Zombies' last hit, 'Time Of The Season'.

Of the other albums my favourite is probably 'Nexus', which I didn't expect. As the track titles suggest this leans more toward a prog style than the others. The last two tracks on this nail it perfectly. 'Ring Of Hands' is my least favourite. I don't feel the content is good enough, but, as on all of the albums, its main strength is the musicianship on display. Argent didn't noodle as much as the likes of Yes or even Genesis, but they were clearly a formidable unit, whatever style they played. Most of the showmanship comes from Rod Argent himself.

I expected 'All Together Now' and 'In Deep' to be their strongest efforts, not least because the first was their breakthrough album and because both feature their biggest hits. There is a dilemma here, however, as two approaches sit uneasily together. The extended 'Hold Your Head Up', with its twinkling atmosphere, has a prog feel to it, but is then followed by a series of driving, barroom r&b songs. On 'Keep On Rollin'' and 'He's A Dynamo' in particular, the band are hot, but the songs themselves are nothing special. The album then finishes with the twelve minute, ultra-prog 'Pure Love' which jars against the other tracks. Though well-executed as usual, it again is nothing special. 'In Deep' is perhaps more consistent in style, but the same applies: great playing, so-so material.

I'm glad I bought this collection. Argent, like many artists of the era, put the vast majority of later bands firmly in the shade, but I'll be extremely selective with which of the discs I'll listen to.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Hardly the most beautiful of objects to behold - five skinny singular Repro Album Sleeves slotted into an outer hard card box with zero info other than track lists. Still - it does at least bring together Rod Argent's best music from the Seventies in one usable lump (and it sounds pretty damn good too). Unfortunately this particular Box Set in Sony's ongoing series of 5/3CD album reissue sets has been deleted many years now and subsequently acquired a bit of a price tag. So here are the details, tragedies and the heads held up...

Released March 2009 - "Original Album Classics" is a 5CD Mini Box Set on Epic/Legacy 88697445472 and breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 is "Argent" (40:39 minutes):
1. Like Honey
2. Liar
3 Be Free
4. Schoolgirl
5. Dance In The Smoke
5. Lonely Hard Road [Side 2]
6. The Feeling Is Inside
7. Freefall
8. Stepping Stones
9. Bring You Joy
Tracks 1 to 10 are their debut album issued in 1970 in the UK on CBS S 63781 and in the USA on Epic BN 26525

Disc 2 is "Ring Of Hands" (42:52 minutes):
1. Celebration
2. Sweet Mary
3. Cast Your Spell Uranus
4. Lothiorien
5. Chained [Side 2]
6. Rejoice
7. Pleasure
8. Sleep Won't Help Me
9. Where Are We Going Wrong
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 2nd album issued in 1971 in the UK on Epic S 64190 and on Epic KE 30128

Disc 3 is "All Together Now" (41:42 minutes)"
1. Hold Your Head Up (Album Version)
2. Keep On Rollin'
3. Tragedy (Album Version)
4. I Am The Dance Of Ages
5. Be My Lover, Be My Friend [Side 2]
6. He's A Dynamo
7. Pure Love: (i) Fantasia (ii) Prelude (iii) Pure Love (iv) Finale
Tracks 1 to 7 are their 3rd album issued in April 1972 in the UK on Epic S EPC 64962 and in the USA on Epic KE 31556

Disc 4 is "In Deep" (45:24 minutes):
1. God Gave Rock And Roll To You
2. It's Only Money (Part 1)
3. It's Only Money (Part 2)
4. Losing Hold
5. Be Glad [Side 2]
6. Christmas For The Free
7. Candles On The River
8. Rosie
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 4th album issued in 1973 in the UK on Epic S EPC 65475 and in the USA on Epic KE 32195

Disc 5 is "Nexus" (42:10 minutes):
1. The Coming Of Kohoutek
2. Once Around The Sun
3. Infinite Wanderer
4. Love
5. Music From The Spheres
6. Thunder And Lightning [Side 2]
7. Keeper Of The Flame
8. Man For All Reasons
9. Gonna Meet My Maker
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 5th album issued in 1974 in the UK on Epic S EPC 65924 and in the USA on Epic KE 32573

Each card repro is a single sleeve - the UK gatefold artwork for "Argent", "Ring Of Hands" and "All Together Now" (including its 4-page insert) is NOT reproduced on these issues; while the "Nexus" title uses the 'US' artwork, which is different to the UK issue. However, Sony/Legacy has the full details and booklets for each title downloadable from www.musicmadesimple.info

As you can see from the song numbers listed above, none of the CDs contain extra tracks - in particular the 7" single edits of "Hold Your Head Up" and "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" or the unique US mixes of their first 2 singles "Liar" and "Rejoice". You have to buy those separately and they're all available on a USA 2008 18-track Epic CD compilation called "Greatest - The Singles Collection" (it's also available via an iTunes download).

It doesn't say who's remastered what or where, but the sound is good overall - superb in some places ("All Together Now") - but unfortunately only mediocre in others. For instance, "In Deep" and "Nexus" got lumped together as 2 albums on one CD a few years ago which received bad reviews - in particular to do with its mastering (some even suggesting that vinyl was used). That's not the case on these versions of those two albums - tracks like "Losing You" from "In Deep" and "Once Around The Sun" and "Man For All Reasons" from "Nexus" (lyrics above) all have quite patches in them - but there's no clicking or popping here. What there is a certain kind of top-end muddiness - I think it's inherent to the way they were recorded. I'm afraid I've found a lot of Legacy issues like this (not all of course) - they're good - but hardly great.

And in that Seventies progressive kind of a way, some of the music is of course horribly dated too, but other portions of it (especially the excellent first 2 albums) is truly superb 70's rock well worth re-discovering.

Overall - a fairly good way of acquiring now quite pricey albums on original vinyl - and a revelatory jaunt down a not-so-familiar rock path...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2009
Pure Class! I'd forgotten how good a band Argent were and these re-mastered re-issues show off their combined talents to the full. In Deep (one of my all time favourite albums) is still the real jewel in the crown of this pick but all the others are not far behind. Only disapointment is no insert or booklet to tell their story - still the music does that very well for them. Great value for the money and highly recomended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2014
Packaging:

- the usual minimalist reproductions of the original vinyl (front and back) covers;

- the advertised website for full album credits (www.musicmadesimple.info) has not existed for some time ‒ it currently redirects to www.moniker.com, a domain name registration site.

As a music lover rather than a 'collector', only the second point bothers me - exactly how difficult and/or expensive is it to maintain such a basic website?

Audio quality:

- the first album, Argent, is a vinyl dub - needle noise can be heard at the end of tracks 2 and 5 and there is extensive sibilance and bass distortion;

- I haven't listened to the other 4 discs yet, but have no reason to think that they will be any different.

The outright contempt for the consumer that this practice reveals is only the latest in a long line of shady practices that the music corporations have engaged in since Day 1 - the sooner they are bankrupted by Internet sharing the better.

DO NOT BUY THIS ITEM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2010
This is one the best bargains I have ever bought. Argent were one of the finest bands around in the early 70's and these five album show their evolution very well. The most commercially successful albums were 'All together now' and 'In Deep', but give 'Ring of Hands' and 'Nexus' a good listen they too are gems.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The only complaint I have is that my copy has a different cover shot than the thumbnail image Amazon features - but it's a minor quibble, as it seems to feature the original lineup (which the other photo does not) who were present for most of these albums. As these albums are difficult to find in the States, this is a great way to get them; there are no bonus tracks, just the 5 original albums in mini-LP covers in this cardboard sleeve, no notes, and really not much info beyond what was printed on the album covers. But it's reasonably priced, and really, what more do you need? A fine introduction to Argent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2010
Five great albums for a very good price. The music is just as good as I remember. A great mate was a mad Argent fan at school in the seventies, we saw them live four tjmes over the years. Pity there isn't any of the sleve notes ,they would really make the collection.
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on 8 April 2013
So, there I was perusing my record collection, well CD collection, but old habits die hard, and I realised that the As were missing some Argent, so I Argently (ouch - ed) made my way over to Amazon and found this little collection, a few clicks and an order was placed.
What arrived was a little cardboard box containing five CDs. Just what I ordered.
For the money it's very good value. Whilst Argent weren't a premier league band they were a good lower league keyboard driven semi PROG band, showing that there is life after Zombiedom.

So BUY! It doesn't cost a lot and doesn't take up a lot of room, what have you got to lose?
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