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Bryan Ferry is showing little sign of slowing down.
At 65 it could be argued that he should know better
but I feel perfectly happy that he seems unwilling to
take to a deckchair on Bournmouth seafront just yet!

I first encountered Mr Ferry at a Roxy Music gig in
a dark and mouldering small-town rock club in 1972.
He was an exotic creature. A peacock. A lothario.
A star! That voice; the screwed down shoulders; the
shiny jackets. He was beyond "glam". He was essential.

'Olympia' may not be prescribed listening for anyone under
forty but I find myself hoping that a new generation
(or two) will pin back their ears and give him a chance.

There are ten tracks in the collection and it's all vintage
stuff. No big surprises and all the better for it!
His vocal skills and inimitable vibrato are remarkably intact
and unravaged by the passing years. It's too late to change now!

Mr Ferry can still strut his stuff on a dancefloor groove
and there are a few crackers to contend with here.

Opening track 'You Can Dance' is as good as anything he's
done in a long and distinguished career. He croons and
simpers and lopes his way through the dark and dangerous and
perfectly groovy arrangement like a cougar circling its prey.
One step away from the kill and savouring every moment!

'Heartache By Numbers' is a classy composition too. The
collaboration with Scissor Sisters seems entirely fitting.
The dream-like pop-anthem finds our hero warbling away as
happy as a sand boy, lost and smiling in the naive melody.

'Shameless' is a shuffling piece of blissed-out staccato funk.
Rhythmically teasing and curiously soulful at the same time.

The cover of Tim Buckley's lovely composition 'Song To The Siren'
is given a humble, simple and simply beautiful interpretation.
For my money it is the album's crowning glory. Stunning stuff!

Final track 'Tender Is The Night' is a curiously fragile piece, it's
constituent parts held together by hoarfrost and silver cobwebs.
The Man In The Moon and Mr Ferry are old friends. With this strangely
affecting ending I suspect that both had stars in their eyes!

'Olympia' and pure JOY are made of the self-same stuff!
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on 25 October 2010
Bryan Ferry is one of the most influential figures in modern music today. In many ways this is because he can look as an outsider at trends and movements and then adapt, distort and refine them into an addition to his own aural architecture. He is a true musical chameleon. In many ways the work he carried out in the 1970s,1980s and 1990s has become so much part of the `scaffolding' of modern music -a point of reference that everyone uses-that it is not so much that his contribution is forgotten but is assumed to be automatically present. But then a new album comes along and everyone realises/rediscovers the genius of this musical icon.
In modern media, Ferry is comparable to Orson Welles-both have the same sense of perfection and perhaps most importantly, a sense of the integrity of their own vision. When Welles died, an actress was interviewed who hoped that reels of film would be found hidden somewhere because he was always refining and retaining his cinematic art. Ferry was quoted (by Neil McCormick) as describing his work as `like sculpture', he records `a lot of stuff and then filter it and edit it.' Ferry also has a tendency to work on material over a number of years-he describes songs as canvases which he ' turns to the wall' and then returns to later. At the present moment, his collaboration with Bjork remains unheard as does his work with Chris Difford The quality of his work and standing among musicians can be seen in the people who will turn up on a Ferry record. On this one, Roxy Music members, Phil Manzanera (co-writing BF Bass(Ode to Olympia)),Eno and Andy Mackay are present. But significant contributions are made by Nile Rodgers (who has described how Chic were influenced by Roxy and then filtered their own influence back in Roxy's own dance-inspired period),Dave Gilmour, Scissor Sister(co-writing `Heartache by Numbers'),Groove Armada (co-writing `Shameless), Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead and Dave Stewart(co-writer on several songs).
`Olympia' is not a good Ferry record it is a great Ferry record.
The disturbed urban architecture of `Alphaville' is complimented by some great lyrics and a funky bass by Nile Rodgers:

`Another night
A night in Alphaville
You say you won't
But girl I know you will
The World goes 'round
But here it stays the same
In Second Class
Nobody knows your name'
Ferry proves his mastery with covers by his beautiful interpretation of `Song to the Siren' by Tim Buckley (complete with whale song) and Traffic's `No Face, No Name No Number'.
`Heartache by numbers' sounds like a potential chart hit for Ferry with a catchy chorus but also containing Ferry's sense of romantic loss in the lyrics:

Midnight to daybreak
I can't believe the pain
The way you look
The way you talk
The way you walk away

The final song is one of Bryan Ferry's most beautiful ever ballads: `Tender is the night'

It makes no sense, you'd think of me
When I'm out of place in your society
I want to be, where strangers meet
I want to hold you at the dark end of the street
At one point in this song Ferry asks the question:

Is this the end, then let me know
Are you wanting me to stay, or should I go?

On the evidence of this record we will be wanting him to stay for a long time-one of music's true originals-surprising us again!

OlympiaOlympia (Deluxe Edition)Olympia [Standard Edition]Olympia (2CD+DVD+Hardback Book)
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on 30 October 2010
Bryan Ferry has still got it, even at 65. Here we have the classic Ferry sound - textured, smooth and polished - but also a very strong collection of songs (with the exception of just one for me: BF bass). Highlights are the seductive vibe of Alphaville, the sexy groove of "Shameless", the majestic (and star studded) cover of "Song to the siren", and the beautiful, moody closing tracks "Reason and Rhyme" and "Tender is the Night". If you are a fan of Avalon-era Roxy and subsequent Ferry solo albums then, like me, you will love this.
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on 4 November 2010
We had tried not to think about it, but of course we really missed him. We really did.

Being a Roxy/Ferry aficionado was rather a challenge from 1990 to 2009: no Roxy albums appeared, while Mr Ferry himself delivered only five records. Three comprised only covers (not the reason why we love him), and the other two consisted mostly of self-penned material that was ofren good but just as often unfocused and oddly unfinished. Oh, and aeons between releases were no great help in easing frustration, as you can imagine.

But now "Olympia": out of the blue, here is the album that should have appeared after "Bête Noire". Sharp, funk-flecked and interspersed with supreme balladry, it really belongs up there at the Gods' table, ambrosia flowing under cerulean Greek skies.

And like Ferry's best work, "Olympia" is shot through with deep existential angst, which on first hearing is deliciously masked by its gilded, slinky arrangements. Listen closer though, and feelings of loss and the sadness of things will start to get under your skin. This is the core of Ferry's art: beauty and decay, artistic élan and transience, heaven and hell in a sigh or the batting of an eyelash. In this respect, he is as apocalyptic as Mr David Tibet of Current 93.

To further details, though:

- Ferry's voice is more whispery and Billie Holiday-inflected on this release, and all the better for it. Like fondant chocolates savoured by the fireplace, it melts on your soul with a pleasantly bitter caress.

- The two covers (Buckley, Traffic) are definitely inspired. It is a good thing that he abandoned the tried and tested route when choosing other people's songs.

- The eight originals are fabulous, full of references to his past, both musically and lyrically, but showing nonetheless great personality and a fresh, relevant style. The uptempo numbers strike first ("Shameless", the insatiable "Alphaville"), but the ballads will conquer you forever with their graceful, quietly smouldering despair. Exquisite long shadows, indeed.

As for the future: shall we have to wait another eight years for a follow-up? We honestly think that Mr Ferry should 'do a Johnny Cash': that is, release an album of this calibre every year for the next two lustres. He probably has vaults full of marvellous songs, he only needs the confidence to get down and record them properly.

We know he can dance.
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on 3 May 2011
Bryan Ferry's Olympia 3 disc box set is a work of art. Stunning photography, great art work, high quality printing and a superb concept which perfectly accompanies the music contained within. Olympia is a reference to the Manet painting of the same name which featured a 16 (17th?) century femme fatale and Ferry clearly had Kate Moss in mind as the modern equivalent of notorious, yet glamorous beauty. I'm not a Kate Moss fan but she looks incredible and enticing in the colour and monochrome images on featured on the artwork and cover. Sound wise the album is the most sophisticated, soulfull, heartfelt record ferry has produced to date. This is what Avalon would have sounded like if recorder in 2010! Ferry's voice is superb, the playing wonderful and the lyrics interesting, playful and seductive. (Ferry's love of word play is also present and correct - "i'd can can if i could" {You Can Dance}). Some of the songs have dense soundscapes made up of many different artists and instruments which could easily have sounded a mish/mash and yet somehow works incredible well. With each new listen you hear something new.Ferry/Roxy fans are often as interested in the visuals and art work as they are the music and if thats your thing then Olympia will not disappoint. The second CD features some very enjoyable dance style remixes. I'm not normally a fan of such things but they work well here. Overall a major achievement from all concerned! 10/10!
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There is a great five-second opening to Bryan Ferry’s 2010 ‘Olympia’ CD, reminiscent of ‘Avalon’, and this opening track – ‘You Can dance’ – is certainly in possession of a good groove. Track two – ‘Alphaville’ – also is solid, incessant, and sultry – and a perfect track to play when making out. But there the praise ends, for the rest of the CD is a disappointing melange of mediocrity with only the occasional spark of brightness.

I’ll cover these later in this review, but really Ferry’s ‘Olympia’ has nothing new to say. He’s said it all before. But it’s worse than that, for with a team of top-notch session musicians the material itself rarely rises above all the talent. And one major flaw is that Ferry’s own voice is often too low in the mix.

And there’s something wrong with Ferry’s personal style. My CD copy comes with a lush booklet featuring Kate Moss amongst its pages, that is Kate Moss as object, dressed up in sexual poses, adorned with jewels, completely out of keeping with the spirit of the twenty-first century. The year 2010 was not the year for this type of ‘glamour’. My CD also included a ‘Making of’ DVD, which I will review later, but first things first: the music!

Taking the remaining tracks in order, I was repelled by the chorus of ‘Heartache by Numbers’; ‘Me Oh My’ goes nowhere; whilst ‘Shameless’ reaches a midpoint where it feels as if Ferry himself doesn’t know what to do or say next. Interest is then saved by ‘Song to the Siren’, a beautiful ballad with a striking six-note descending melodic figure, allied to a solid beat and sustained strings.

But the album fodder returns with ‘No Face, No Name, No Number’, which is ironically No Great Shakes and one wonders why it was on the album at all. ‘BF Bass (Ode to Olympia)’ just annoys and has no saving qualities. A last blast of quality does appear in ‘Reason or Rhyme’ with its romantic piano and heartfelt wailing, but ‘Tender is the Night’ is a poor way to end the set.

My CD contains two bonus tracks, which really should have been on the main album: the Lennon cover ‘Whatever Gets You thru the Night’, and ‘One Night’ where Ferry does a Roy Orbison. Both tracks are far superior to the likes of at least five of the songs that otherwise made it to the final set.

Now for the DVD, directed by Isaac Ferry. Its twenty-eight minutes take us through the album track by track. Interviewees range from Ferry himself to the likes of Rhett Davies, Andy Newmark, and Nile Rodgers, as well as the musicians of the younger generation (and therefore unknown to me) that also feature on the album. The video of ‘You Can Dance’ is an extra.

Overall then, this is a lavish package (in more ways than one), but one that is really not justified by the basic musical material.
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on 10 February 2011
Another smooth, at times slightly soporiphic, LP from Mr Ferry. Best tracks are Alphaville (with it's whispered French voices and title, presumably a nod to French filmakers like Godard), a sumptuous but rather over-produced cover of Tim Buckley's Song to the Siren (This Mortal Coil's (aka Cocteau Twins) sparse rendition remains the cover of choice for me), Reason or Rhyme and the atmospheric closer, Tender is the Night. Heartache by Numbers, a collaborative effort credited to Ferry and Scissor Sisters, injects some much-needed energy, has a guitar-lead that sounds vaguely Frippertronic, an insanely catchy chorus and also clearly boasts the oboe of Mr Andy Mackay. In contrast, the earnestly funky BF Bass (Ode to Olympia), which is co-written with Phil Manzanera, doesn't quite take off. Having bought Olympia as a download, I am not sure who played on what track, but much has been made of the fact that Ferry reunited with some former (by which I mean Brian Eno) and current Roxy Music members in the studio to try and fashion some new material nearly four years ago, and they are all apparently credited on this album. I don't know what the fallout of those recording sessions was (Ferry denied they were trying to make an out-and-out Roxy release, others suggested that had been the plan, with them even getting together in their old London studios), but it looks likely that Bryan has incorporated some of those session elements into this LP along the way. Eno certainly sounds prominent on Tender is the Night, which is a piano-driven ballad over electronic washes and muted shrieks, shortwave radio and arabic voices. So something to cherish really, the nearest we will almost certainly now get to any new material credited to Roxy Music.
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on 2 November 2010
I've always been a fan since hearing the 1st Roxy album back in '72 as a lad of 15 and being blown away by a sound that ushered in something completely new to me, stylish, melodic, exciting and mesmerising, a world away from anything else that was happening at the time and although coming along with the whole glam rock thing, along with Bowie they stood right out from the rest of the crowd. Bob Harris commented after they appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test 'if that's the future of Rock and Roll you can keep it' I thought that I probably would. I've always looked forward to any forthcoming release from Ferry / Roxy since then, never easily classified he's always remained unique and melodic. I was hoping that he would have reformed Roxy for a new album after hearing that they were going too record some new material, however what we have in its place is quality enough and his old Roxy mates are playing on it anyway although you'd be hard pressed to know where, it's been worth the wait for the most part.

Getting older myself now and having a penchant for a mellower type of music these days I still enjoy listening to any Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music album and the majority of his output has a timeless quality and broad appeal to it. This latest effort is not a disappointment. Olympia incorporates and moulds a lot of the atmospherics and styles that he's used on previous albums over the last 30 years to good affect here and he's added a new quality to them also with the help of a few esteemed collaborators. He's getting on a little now and has never been the most highly prolific in the studio, certainly with new material. I was a little unsure about how his voice would be holding out after seeing Roxy play the Lovebox festival in the summer when I thought he was struggling a little with the some of the notes, even so they were still pretty good. Although his voice is showing signs of age now it still has a beguiling quality and there is no evidence of much strain on this recording. Tender is the Night is such a shimmering melodic ballad that's as good as anything I've heard by him for years. The single Heartache by Numbers has an instantly catchy hook and a vitality and edge that belies his age. I liked the line 'from Grey Square to Jesmond Dene and the mention of the old 'Dolce Vita' nightclub, a canny, knowing reference to his Geordie roots on the first track 'You Can Dance', also sampling from the Avalon track 'True to Life', a novel way to open the album. There's the obligatory couple of covers - Tim Buckley's Song to the Siren and Traffic's No Face, No Name, No Number here, great songs and he always makes covers sound like his own. Stylish and classy as ever really if a little over produced in parts for my own taste, and sometimes a little bland, his voice does get a little lost in the production sometimes, having said that I do love the sonic and atmospheric sounds on the album. All round it's good to know that Ferry is still out there producing quality new stuff at 65. There's a lot fallen by the wayside in the years since I was completely blown away by those early albums and he's still around and doing it in some style. Long may it continue.
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on 10 February 2014
This product comes in a package which gives the impression that it is a vinyl album.
This is a fantastic product featuring superb photgraphs with in depth analysis of this artists work.
Worth every penny.
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on 26 April 2013
I am a Brian Ferry fan and own most of his CDs both alone and with Roxy Music. Much as I like most of his previous work (my favourites being The bride stripped bare and Frantic) I found Olympia vaguely disappointing. Despite multiple listening, none of the tracks left a lasting impression. It seems stuck in-between modernity and the classic ballads Ferry likes to makes covers of. Recommended to fans only.
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