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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Chapman years +, 9 April 2012
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Another cracker of a collection from Chrysalis; this time covering mainly the Paul 'Tonka' Chapman era - 5 albums over 5 discs, with extras certainly can't be faulted on value for money but what about the music? Arguably, this set documents UFO's peak and gradual decline and disintegration so although there is some classic material here - particularly in the first two albums, which proved that, yes, there was life after Schenker - it is also obvious that things started to unravel (increasingly numerous personnel changes never being a good sign).

First up then, "No Place To Run". Often criticised for former Beatles' producer George Martin's 'polite' production values. If his lack of experience dealing with a hard rock act shows in the restrained sound, I've always found the answer is to turn the volume up (try to 11 if you like). And there is much to enjoy in the production, with multi-layered guitars and subtle touches like added backwards guitar notes. As for the songs themselves, the atmospheric (instrumental) "Alpha Centauri" leads straight into "Lettin' Go" - a punchy rocker - and the high quality is maintained throughout. If (for many) the title track stands head and shoulders above the rest - another reason why the rest of this album is often overlooked - the original album closer "Anyday" shows just how well UFO could do 'light and shade' - superb stuff. There's only one track - "Money Money" - that falls slightly short here. A great, though often under-rated, album.

And then we have "The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent". As for taking risks, dispensing with a producer - any producer - at this point in the band's career was chancing it. High stakes indeed. The result, however, was astonishing - despite the defection of Paul Raymond to the Michael Schenker Group. Having taken control over their own destiny, UFO's remaining members captured their sound and energy perfectly. I'd go as far as to say that, arguably, this was the strongest set of songs since "Force It" (controversial, maybe, I know!). Most would feature in the live set - great songs and some stunning lead guitar (although there is less emphasis on this). From the opening bars of "Chains Chains", with Tonka's menacing slide guitar, this album means business. "Long Gone", which maintains the stellar standards with a great guitar solo and a clever outtro with added strings and "Lonely Heart", with new member Neil Carter (ex Wild Horses and Gilbert O'Sullivan!) on saxophone, both show that this was a band that knew it was a class act not afraid to try something different. The title track and "Makin' Moves" are also absolute classics! Can't praise this album highly enough.

A case of self-inflicted "How to follow that?" then and the subsequent release of "Mechanix" (ironically with a producer at the helm) showed some worrying signs from the start. The instrumental middle section of the opening track, "The Writer", sounds confused, with keyboard solo, followed by guitar solo, sax solo and then another guitar solo. Sometimes taking risks pays off. Here it didn't. As a one-off, sax had worked brilliantly on "Lonely Heart" but by now the novelty had clearly worn off - guitar/keyboard/guitar would have worked so much better. A questionable choice of cover then follows - Eddie Cochran's "Something Else". Although this isn't a bad album, unfortunately it couldn't build upon previous successes and only towards the middle of the album is normal service resumed, with three typically 'up-to-UFO-standard' numbers - "Doing It All For You", "We Belong To The Night" and "Let It Rain".

On to "Making Contact" and the departure this time of bass player/composer/performer Pete Way signaled the continuing sorry slide - if not quite into oblivion. Again, there are some strong songs - particularly "Blinded By A Lie", "Diesel In The Dust" and "When It's Time To Rock" and as a straightforward rock album it works but the classic - distinctive - UFO sound was starting to lose its edge.

Finally, "Misdemeanor" saw the return of Paul Raymond and the departure of all bar singer Phil Mogg and (recent replacement) bassist Paul Gray. More emphasis on '80's' keyboards (not a good thing), with Raymond's 'colour-wash' chords not a patch on his previous keyboard contributions. A very American-sounding album, but not in a good way (MSG had also fallen into this trap). Lots of flashy lead guitar, again often typical of the time, from Tonka's replacement 'Atomic Tommy M'. As another straightforward rock album, it's OK but it just doesn't stand up well against the best of the UFO's considerable MS & TC back-catalogues.

So on to the 'extras'. Relatively few here and of greatest interest is definitely the "BBC In Concert" from 1980. Unfortunately spread over two discs, the "Previously unreleased on CD" claim is misleading as many of the same tracks from this show are contained on a previously released CD, "BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert UFO". Still, the 'added' tracks are welcome and Tonka's able interpretation of the Schenker-era material shows that these really were great songs and not simply vehicles for Michael's superb guitar solos.

As for the other "bonus" material, the single versions & B-sides fall mainly into the 'nice but not essential' category. Big disappointments, however, are in the unused space on Disc 3, which is only the "Mechanix" album + single B-side (already included on the last remastered edition) and the limited live "Headstone" material (taken from the original Headstone compilation album). OK, so the longer concert was released in 2009 but it was recorded in 1983 and if only a handful of tracks was going to be included here, why not the 'missing ones' from that time? Other than that there are some U.S. re-mixes of "Misdemeanor" material, presumably to make an American-sounding album even more American for commercial reasons.

Anything else? Well, the CD box itself is improved on 'Vol. I' in that Disc 2 is easier to access - this time from behind the booklet, which includes another entertaining (as you'd expect) interview with 'The Moggmeister'. Completists will buy this new collection (obviously) but for anyone new to UFO, this box-set, along with 'Vol. I', is a great introduction to a band which - at its frequent best - has written and performed some of the finest hard rock this world has ever heard.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the one!, 3 April 2012
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What a great collection of the Chapman-era UFO albums - 5 in all - plus the Misdemeanor album (featuring the superb Meanstreets)

One major gripe is with the fade-in at the start of Mystery Train: for me this ruins the song & I don't know how this could have happened with the remasters. My original LP had a scratch on this track so there was a percussive click at a certain point in the song - for years I thought it was supposed to be there... But the opening twang is crucial and was there on vinyl - here it sounds clumsy & botched.

Great music, great sounds. Amazing how talented Chapman was.

The booklet notes are unnecessary - this release is surely for the converted and more detailed history/backing info can be found elsewhere/online. There are several pages of writing/production credits and Phil Moggs recollections/quotes add nothing of substance (why give space to thinking High Stakes happened in the mid 80s??)

If only music was made like this nowadays...
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5.0 out of 5 stars UFO re-mastered cd's sound so much better and louder ., 30 April 2014
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This re-mastered UFO cd is so much clearer and louder that the old cd . I just have to tell people to go and get these re-mastered cd .
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chrsalis Years UFO 1980 -1986, 4 April 2012
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ken (Livingston, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This has to be one of the best value CD packs around with no less that 4 stunning albulms on all remastered with bonus tracks along with with some rare "live stuff". This is by far UFO`s best work prior to the current set up, but if you are a true rock fan, or if you want to re discover UFO, this complimation is the best by far, the stunning Albulm, "misdemeanor" way too advanced for its time when originally released, mixed in with the Awesome "no place to run", simply tremendous buy, tell all your friends, this complimation you play over and over again and rediscover new things at every spin. Beilive me great selction of music from the world smost underated Band, as of now and time of writing, they are just finishing their UK tour, having toured to launch their new Albulm "seven deadly"
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great band., 19 Nov 2013
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Mr. Derek McNaughton "DMAC" (Barrow, England) - See all my reviews
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The mighty UFO! what is not to like about this great box set. The albums are superb, the extras are a treat, and throughout it all, a lesson from the absolute masters, to todays pretenders, that this is indeed how it should be done!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply stunning ufo years, 30 Aug 2012
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this cd is tremendous value for money for the output. for me misdemeanour is the weak album of the 5, the other 4 being ufo at the very peak of their game. simply superb. i never tire of listening to these cds. magnificent guitar work, song writing, mogg vocals and so on.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 27 Aug 2012
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a lot as been said abouty ufo over the last 40 years about what what was the best period, well to me this is it 1980 to 1986.
The schenker period not for me, vinnie moore no.
i first came upon paul chapman back in 1978 at the free trade hall in manchester playing in lonestar, he is the only reason i got into ufo, paul chapman to me come ahead of jimmy page, and just behind paul kossof. i think he is the most underated guitarist at this moment in time
i have followed his through lonestar ufo waysted goust and gator country.
getting back to the chrysalis years 80-86 the stand out tracks are the live, one rock bottom,and young blood
i saw them live with this line up in bradford in 80,81 and 82.
perhaps one day paul will return to ufo , or even waysted
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Good, 8 April 2012
This the companion release to the 1973-1979 set.
This period saw the departure of Schenker & (eventually) Pete Way.
Worth getting for the price but not as good as 73-79
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