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263 of 266 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a thought
Love this compilation to bits BUT
AN IDEA
Has Island thought about issuing the CD versions of all those wonderful compilations of 'You can all Join In'. 'Nice Enough to Eat', 'Bumpers' and 'El Pea'?
You could release them just like the 'Classic Album Series of artists with neat little reproductions of the sleeves in cardboard.

Think if all 5...
Published on 15 Aug. 2009 by Glenn Cook

versus
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric selection
This is a somewhat eccentric selection, neatly skirting some of the best output from Island Records output in its independent period between 1962 and 1988, but including a reasonably representative selection from the artists who graced this label in the late 60s and early 70s. It is particularly strong on folk and the blues-based rock sound, championed respectively by Joe...
Published on 26 Jan. 2006 by Nicholas Oatridge


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263 of 266 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a thought, 15 Aug. 2009
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Records Anthology 1967-1972 (Audio CD)
Love this compilation to bits BUT
AN IDEA
Has Island thought about issuing the CD versions of all those wonderful compilations of 'You can all Join In'. 'Nice Enough to Eat', 'Bumpers' and 'El Pea'?
You could release them just like the 'Classic Album Series of artists with neat little reproductions of the sleeves in cardboard.

Think if all 5 were included it would sell like hotcakes.

Just look at re releases like the B52s, The Pogues, The Pretenders, Jefferson Airplane and their like.
Fools like me would buy and enjoy them and it would be a wonderful addition to the pension funds of some of those grate (sic) performers?
A little bit like Bob Monkhouse did with the Royalties for his TV show 'Mad Movies'. Lots of actors were on the breadline and he ensured that royalties were paid to the septuagenarians.

Just a thought... Please tick to say my review was of use and heck you never knows Island just might take heed watch this space!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blast from the past still holds up, 19 Jun. 2009
By 
Nicholas Oatridge (Basel, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Records Anthology 1967-1972 (Audio CD)
This anthology covers the period between 1967 and 1972 when Island Records was transformed from an importer of reggae to an incubator for some of the more experimental fusions of folk, the classics, jazz, electronics and blues-based rock that were emerging at the time. With airplay dominated by the singles charts, one of the main vehicles for promoting these less commercially-oriented acts was the budget-priced sampler, and Island Records produced probably the most eclectic and engaging series of any record company. Bumpers arguably represents the most broadly-based example but by the time of the last of the series, El Pea, the underground sound was becoming more mainstream and in some ways less innovative.

Sadly the overlap between this anthology and the samplers is not complete - no reggae or jazz/rock - but most of the featured artists are represented and the ensemble captures very well the spirit of the original samplers and, probably more relevantly, the musical tastes of a specific market. Alongside great tracks from obscure artists like McDonald & Giles, Nirvana, Heavy Jelly and Heads, Hands & Feet, are strong tracks by Traffic, Nick Drake, Fairport Convention and others.

If you owned any of the old Island samplers you will probably love this anthology. If you are too young to have heard these songs first time round, you are in for a pleasant surprise. This collection not only captures the spirit of those original samplers but also demonstrates that the quality of those artists largely still stands up today.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely good, if a little weird, 10 Nov. 2005
By 
N. Mason (Taunton, Somerset United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Anyone who remembers buying the Island budget albums in the late 60's and early 70's such as 'Nice Enough to Eat' and 'Bumpers' will enjoy much of the music on this excellent value triple album. It has to be said that not every track is a classic by a long way but there is enough truly original music from the early 'progressive rock' years to keep everyone happy. There are some excellent examples from the early 'Island' catalogue and tracks such as 'Northern Sky' by Nick Drake make any album worth the money. It is good to see that, although there are repetitions from those early sampler albums there are lots of tracks that were not on those albums - highlights include tracks from Fotheringay, Jethro Tull, Mott the Hoople, Blodwyn Pig and a couple of superb Traffic tracks.
You may find yourself pushing the forward button occasionally but so many tracks for £12-99 you can't go wrong - great value
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106 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a time when music was magical., 25 Feb. 2006
By 
This 3 CD set is superb in every way. Thirty odd years ago I owned a double Island Sampler called "El Pea". I always regretted the fact that I no longer have a means of playing vinyl, but this box set has filled my need. It contains much of what was on El Pea and coming from Island, that most innovative of record labels, the music here is inventive and the true meaning of progressive becomes apparent. From a time when you had either singles or albums bands, most of the acts on this collection never ever had a hit recording. Most were big on the university circuit (oh those heady days). There are exceptions like Free, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Cat Stevens, Jethro Tull and Traffic, all of whom did enjoy singles chart successes. But what a joy to again hear the likes of early Mott the Hoople, Dr Strangely Strange, Quintessence and Heads, Hands and Feet. Stalwarts like King Crimson and Fairport Convention are also represented here as are the Incredible String Band and Spooky Tooth.
The box set comes complete with a well written booklet and, a touch I especially like cosmetic though it is, the CD's themselves look like the old record label, an idea that seems to be growing to my delight.
So I'm stuck in a time warp but who cares. When you have music of such quality I'm pleased to be a 50 something who still remembers "Sounds" and Radio One In Concert on a Saturday night fondly. The set covers Island acts from 1967 to 1972 and is a must for the discerning muci lover. Come back Chris Blackwell. We need you.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Enough To Eat, 29 Aug. 2009
By 
This review is from: Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Records Anthology 1967-1972 (Audio CD)
Totally agree with Glenn Cook (above), especially the first two, "You can all join in" and "Nice enough to eat" (the original, not the punk compilation). A number of the tracks from these appear in this compilation but those two compilations from forty years ago, along with the "Rock machine" CBS albums, formed the foundation of our listening for a whole generation of lovers of the underground. Island - you're sitting on a goldmine.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No more cat food?, 14 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Records Anthology 1967-1972 (Audio CD)
I have just looked again at my version of this box-set as I saw that the current version on the web site is a 2009 reissue of the 2005 release which I have. On checking the track listing of the current version, both King Crimson tracks, Cat Food & Groon have disappeared. Why? They are on the 2005 version.I don't believe less is more, so docked one star.

Also want to add my name to the list asking for the original 4 samplers to be reissued.I know there would be serious duplication of tracks, but mugs like me would buy them like a shot!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Odyssey of Prog, 7 Jun. 2009
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ha ha, this has to be a put on right? No?
A compilation of erstwhile proggers and trippers appearing on Island Records between 1967 and 1972 - a veritable golden age.

See, me being a complete expert on all things prog, I wouldn't really need a compilation like this, which is basically a luxurious sampler of a cruelly maligned rock sub-culture; packed as it is with excellent songs by the likes of Fairport Convention, Traffic, Jethro Tull, King Crimson and Mott the Hoople as well as lesser known but no less worthwhile turns such as Fotheringay, Vinegar Joe and Quintessence.
It's probably aimed at the prog novice, just finding his way through the minefield and not the seasoned creased participant..like your modest reviewer.

Defining itself by its huge length and pinkness; 'SSBON' is a cynics dream. Vast songs with loooong guitar solos, freaky titles, crazy lyrics; not forgetting the thick booklet of info which could quite easily pass as the current edition of 'Centre Parting Weekly'; each page crushed to the borders with splendid snaps of ravine-deep furrows.
A fantastic pic of The Alan Bown Set prods the meaningless observation that all 27 of them has C P's - even the bald guy (I think he paints his on)!
A lot of people think this is just childish, irrelevant and has nothing to do with music and that's probably true; but I can hardly press the keys for giggling, knowing as I do, I'm enforcing a stereotype I invented but has a definite basis in reality.
Bravo, by the way, to the singer from Heavy Jelly who has a bouffant! What a rebel!

It's all about aesthetics of course, which I think are vitally important when you're projecting a music.
How much less fun would we have if they were all skinheads?

Anyway, centre-partings to the side(!) 'SSBON' is THE place to start if you're thinking of setting out on the windy psychedelic journey to personal karma and peace.
The only provisions you need are a floral shirt, faded loons, some wacky-baccy and a comb with 4 inch teeth! Experienced campaigners will have most of the stuff here, but it's kinda nice to think of a nervous, wide-eyed postulant, just coming to the world-that-is-prog, kicking back and being transfixed by the sounds here.
You just know he won't be the same again...

Value wise (and I know how important money is to some of you!), there's over 3 ½ hours of music here (that's if you include White Noise 'Electric Storm in Hell' which I thought was 'Hull', and is Hammer Horror film racket), most of which, despite my follicle based ribbing - is genuinely and lastingly good.

No-one is taking themselves too seriously, the fun-factor is encouragingly high and the whole collection doesn't waiver in its mission to drive prog into the hearts and minds of vituperate disbelievers in all the corners of civilisation.

And it's not a massive leap to imagine people whistling 'Glistening Glyndebourne' on their way to work, or humming 'the Siege of Yaddlethorpe' while they're washing the car.
Strangely strange, but oddly normal indeed.

And wouldn't the world be a better place if it had more people called Wynder K. Frog in it?
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric selection, 26 Jan. 2006
By 
Nicholas Oatridge (Basel, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a somewhat eccentric selection, neatly skirting some of the best output from Island Records output in its independent period between 1962 and 1988, but including a reasonably representative selection from the artists who graced this label in the late 60s and early 70s. It is particularly strong on folk and the blues-based rock sound, championed respectively by Joe Boyd and Guy Stevens. There are some very ordinary tracks here but also some stunning ones and a few that are nicely quirky.

Amongst the highlights are the sublime "Northern Sky" by Nick Drake, "Meet on the Ledge" by Fairport Convention, "Low Spark of the High-Heeled Boys" by Traffic and "Wild World" by Cat Stevens. The quirky include excellent tracks from Heads, Hands and Feet, the original Nirvana, McDonald and Giles and one-hit wonders, Heavy Jelly. King Crimson, ELP, Spooky Tooth, Mott the Hoople and Blodwyn Pig are reasonably well represented but the track selection for Free (including a 30 sec intro) and White Noise are unrepresentative, and it would have been good to see a better choice of tracks for Jethro Tull, John Martyn and Quintessence. Still, it's nice to find artists like Art, Tramline, Alan Bown, Wynder K Frog and Clouds make it out of the vinyl age onto a widely available CD, even if you can understand why they never appealed to a wider audience.

Missing? Well it woulh have been good to see Bronco here, and Renaissance. If also produced some outstanding jazz on Island too. Perhaps there were licencing issues that precluded their inclusion. The biggest weakness of this selection, however, is the omission of reagge. Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley both released albums on Island around the period covered, and Chris Blackwell, Island's founder, originally made his name releasing reggae singles.

Minor quibbles, however. In fairness, Bob Marley never appeared on an Island sampler, and this anthology has, if anything, tried to recreate the tone of the classic Island samplers of 1969 to 1971. It is a shame that "Nice Enough to Join In", combining most of Island's first two samplers on one CD, is out of print. I also think a re-release of Bumpers or El Pea would probably have been a better ensemble piece, but what this collection lacks in consistent quality it makes up for in breadth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Like Another Chance..." - Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Anthology 1967-1972 (2005 3CD Mini Box Set), 29 Sept. 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Records Anthology 1967-1972 (Audio CD)
The 'Island Record Label' - enough to put a Weightwatchers smile on the face of even the most overweight Fiftysomething. And this rich, crazy, inspiring 3CD 48-song Mini Box Set covering their Rock, Prog and Folk Rock late Sixties and early Seventies output will only have you doing guitar windmills in your living room once again. It's a lovely thing indeed. Here are the low sparks and high heels...

Originally released December 2005 - "Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Anthology 1967-1972" is on Universal/Island 9822950 (Barcode 602498229507) and breaks down as follows (all catalogue numbers are UK):

Disc 1, 19 tracks, 79:09 minutes:
(Jethro Tull, Amazing Blondel, Free and Quintessence on the card artwork)
1. Supernatural Tales - ART (on "Supernatural Fairy Tales", 1967 Mono LP on Island ILP 967)
2. Paper Sun - TRAFFIC (A-side of the 7" single released 1967 on Island WIP 6002)
3. Harpsichord Shuffle - WYNDER K. FROG (WKF is a pseudonym for Mick Weaver - on "Out Of The Frying Pan", 1968 Stereo LP on Island ILPS 9044)
4. Rainbow Chaser - NIRVANA (A-side of the 7" single released 1968 on Island WIP 6029)
5. Pearly Queen -TRAMLINE (on "Moves Of Vegetables Centuries", 1969 Stereo LP on Island ILPS 9095)
6. Sunshine Help Me - SPOOKY TOOTH (A-side of the 7" single released 1968 on Island WIP 6022. Also featured on the Stereo album "It's All About" on Island ILPS 9080)
7. Dusty - JOHN MARTYN (on "The Tumbler", his 2nd album released 1968 on Island ILPS 9091)
8. Meet On The Ledge - FAIRPORT CONVENTION (on "What We Did On Our Holidays", 1969 Stereo LP on Island ILPS 9092)
9. A Song For Jeffrey - JETHRO TULL (on "This Was", their debut album from 1968 on Island ILPS 9085)
10. The Carpenter - CLOUDS (on "Scrapbook", their debut album on Island ILPS 9100)
11. I Keep Singing The Same Old Song - HEAVY JELLY (Stereo mix taken from the Island Records label sampler album "Nice Enough To Eat" released in 1969 on Island IWPS 6. The Mono Mix was released as the A-side to the UK 7" single on Island WIP 6049)
12. Black Mass: (Electric Storm In Hell) - WHITE NOISE (on "An Electric Storm", 1969 album on Island ILPS 9099)
13. Over The Green Hills (Part 1) - FREE (on "Tons Of Sobs", their debut 1968 Stereo album on Island ILPS 9089)
14. Worry - FREE (as per 13)
15. Giants - QUINTESSANCE (on "In Blissful Company", their 1969 debut album on Island ILPS 9110)
16. Queen Of Scots - AMAZING BLONDEL (on "Evensong", 1970 album on Island ILPS 9136)
17. Feelin' Alright - TRAFFIC (An 'Alternate Version' from the double-album "Dave Mason Scrapbook" released 1972 on Island ICD 5. The original mix of this Dave Mason song is on their 1968 "Traffic" album on Island ILPS 9081)
18. Sing Me A Song That I Know So Well - BLODWYN PIG (on "Ahead Rings Out", 1969 debut LP on Island ILPS 9101)
19. A Sailor's Life - FAIRPORT CONVENTION (on "Unhalfbricking", 1969 album on Island ILPS 9102)

Disc 2, 15 tracks, 73:34 minutes:
(Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, McDonald & Giles, Cat Stevens and The Incredible String Band on the card artwork)
1. A New Day Yesterday - JETHRO TULL (on "Stand Up"9172), 1969 LP on Island ILPS 9103)
2. No Time To Live - TRAFFIC (on "Traffic", 1968 album on Island ILPS 9081)
3. Three Hours - NICK DRAKE (on "Five Leaves Left", 1969 LP on Island ILPS 9105)
4. Lost In My Dream - SPOOKY TOOTH (on "Spooky Two", 1969 LP on Island ILPS 9098)
5. Stormbringer - JOHN and BEVERLEY MARTYN (on "Stormbringer!", 1970 album on Island ILPS 9113)
6. Strangely Strange But oddly Normal - Dr. STRANGELY STRANGE (on "Kip Of The Serenes", 1969 album on Island ILPS 9106)
7. Notting Hill Gate - QUINTESSANCE (A-side of a UK 7" single released January 1970 on Island WIP 6075)
8. Banks Of The Nile - FOTHERINGAY (on "Fotheringay", March 1970 LP on Island ILPS 9125. Features SANDY DENNY and members of FAIRPORT CONVENTION)
9. Wild World - CAT STEVENS (on "Tea For The Tillerman", November 1970 LP on Island ILPS 9135)
10. Painted Chariot - THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND (on "Liquid Acrobat As Regards The Air", 1971 LP on Island ILPS 9172)
11. Cat Food - KING CRIMSON (on "In The Wake Of Poseidon", May 1970 LP on Island ILPS 9127. It's credited in the booklet as the A-side 7" single edit (at 2:47 minutes) but it plays the full album version at 4:54 minutes)
12. Groon - KING CRIMSON (non-album track, B-side to the March 1970 UK 7" single of "Cat Food" on Island WIP 6080)
13. The North Star Grassman And The Ravens - SANDY DENNY (on "The North Star Grassman And The Ravens", September 1971 LP on Island ILPS 9165)
14. Suite In C (Including Turnham Green, Here I Am And Others) - McDONALD & GILES (on "McDonald & Giles", 1970 LP on Island ILPS 9126. Ian McDonald (Saxophone and Keyboards) and Michael 'Mike' Giles (Percussion, Vocals, Writer and Arranger) were with KING CRIMSON. The track also features STEVE WINWOOD on Keyboards)
15. The Siege Of Yaddlethorpe - AMAZING BLONDEL (on "Fantasia Lindum", 1971 album on Island ILPS 9156)

Disc 3, 14 tracks, 76:18 minutes:
(Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Alan Bown, Traffic and Heads, Hands & Feet on the card artwork)
1. Knife Edge - EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER (on "Emerson, Lake & Palmer", their November 1970 debut album on Island ILPS 9132)
2. Thunderbuck Ram - MOTT THE HOOPLE (on "Bumpers", 1970 UK Double-Album Label Sampler on Island IDP 1. The mix on this double differs to the original version on the album "Mad Shadows" from 1970 on Island ILPS 9119)
3. Northern Sky - NICK DRAKE (on "Bryter Layer", November 1970 2nd LP on Island ILPS 9134)
4. Thru The Night - THE ALAN BOWN (on "El Pea", exclusive to the 1971 double-album label sampler on Island IDLP 1)
5. Dark Dance - ROBIN WILLIAMSON (on "Myrrh", 1972 album on Island HELP 2. Robin Williamson is from THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND)
6. I Am The Walrus - SPOOKY TOOTH (on "The Last Puff", a cover version of The Beatles classic released 1970 on Island ILPS 9117)
7. Glistening Glyndebourne - JOHN MARTYN (on "Bless The Weather", an instrumental on the November 1971 LP on Island ILPS 9167)
8. Fire And Water - FREE (on "Fire And Water", June 1970 3rd album on Island ILPS 9120)
9. See My Way - BLODWYN PIG (on "Getting To This", April 1970 2nd album on Chrysalis ILPS 9122)
10. See The World (Through My Eyes) - VINEGAR JOE (on "Vinegar Joe", their debut album from 1972 on Island ILPS 9183. Both ELKIE BROOKS and ROBERT PALMER shared Vocals in the band)
11. Peace Train - CAT STEVENS (on "Teaser And The Fire Cat", September 1971 LP on Island ILPS 9154)
12. Watercolour Days - CLOUDS (on "Watercolour Days", 1971 LP on Chrysalis ILPS 9151)
13. The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys - TRAFFIC (on "The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys", 1971 LP on Island ILPS 9180)
14. Song For Suzie - HEADS, HANDS & FEET (on "Head, Hands & Feet", 1971 LP on Island ILPS 9149. The band featured ALBERT LEE on Guitar)

Not surprisingly the box's artwork (as well as the CD labels) uses the famous 'pink' Island colouring and the 48-page booklet is both a joy to look at and a fascinating read. Compiled by reissue heroes MARK POWELL and remastered to stunning effect by PASCHAL BYRNE (Audio Archiving) - you get three and a half hours of audacious scope and at times hippy nonsense. There's a small history of the label - then each artist is lined up (in alphabetical order) with a very detailed biography by Powell - and all of it peppered with loads of album sleeves and period photos. And the remasters are fabulous...

Some might argue about the choices and the alignment of the songs (Robin Williamson gets a one minute instrumental yet a whole page of Biography) - but time after time you're hit with the sheer diversity of British Rock bands - Traffic, Jethro Tull, Spooky Tooth, Blodwyn Pig and ELP. And the singer-songwriters like John Martyn, Nick Drake, Sandy Denny and Cat Stevens shine even brighter. And how good is it to see bands like Clouds, Vinegar Joe, Quintessence, Fotheringay and Heads, Hands & Feet get an airing. The 11-minute McDonald & Giles "Suite In C" is a complex Prog masterpiece and it's clever of the compilers to include those "Bumpers" and "El Pea" exclusives by Mott The Hoople and The Alan Bown. A favourite - the near twelve minutes of Traffic's "Low Spark" is an awesome thing (lyrics from it entitle this review)...

A fantastic reminder of a time when musically - anything seemed possible -and on the evidence it this - it clearly was...
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Island !!, 15 Nov. 2005
By A Customer
For years I have been hoping that Island would re-release "Bumpers" on CD as my vinyl copy is full of scratches. This set has the same feel as "Bumpers"; it's lots of fun. There are a few rarities, like alternate versions of songs by Traffic and Mott the Hoople. Island, please re-release "Bumpers" and "El Pea" !!!
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