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The classic years and beyond
on 29 March 2013
UFO fans will be increasingly thrilled or frustrated with the arrival of yet another retrospective live release. Many will already be familiar with the material here and it was the inclusion of the DVD that mainly tempted me to purchase this latest box set. For fans of Paul Chapman, 'Tonka' features heavily and there's a truckload of fine performances - which include his short-lived partnership with Michael Schenker.
So here's a quick fly by what's included here (and some of what isn't):
5 In Concert tracks from the Hippodrome, Golders Green on 6/6/74- a show which featured Michael Schenker and Paul Chapman together (although Chapman isn't credited). 3 of these - "Built For Comfort","Rock Bottom" and "Doctor Doctor" - appeared on the BBC CD released in 1992. (That disc also has "Shoot Shoot"). The two 'extra' tracks here are "Oh My" and "Space Child". On the previous BBC release, "Built For Comfort" had some crackles and sounded like it had been transferred from vinyl to CD. The CD's have all been remastered and this one sounds quite different - the crackles have almost gone (as has some of the audience, which alters the atmosphere). The booklet promises that "Every effort has been made to improve the overall sound quality" and adds "we hope that any audio flaws do not affect your enjoyment ..."
3 Bob Harris session tracks, which appeared most recently on the Chrysalis Years 'Vol.1' box set.
6 In Concert tracks from the from the Paris Theatre show on 11/12/75 - The BBC "The Archive Series: In Session and Live in Concert" (1999) release had included "Let It Roll", "Mother Mary", "Out In The Street" and "Shoot Shoot"from that live show. The two 'extra' tracks included here are "Doctor Doctor" and "Rock Bottom".
3 John Peel session tracks, which appeared most recently on the Chrysalis Years 'Vol.1' box set.
A live show from Hammersmith Odeon on 4/2/80, which which appeared recently on the Chrysalis Years 'Vol.2' box set spread over 2 discs. 8 of the tracks had previously appeared on the BBC single CD released in 1992.
A live show from Hammersmith Odeon on 28/1/84 and the original broadcast version - included previously in the Official Bootleg Box Set (so without "Lights Out", which was included as a bonus track on the expanded Regenerator version of that CD).
Live at Knebworth 22/6/85. A Friday Rock Show broadcast - previously unreleased on CD. 8 tracks featuring 'Atomik Tommy M' on lead guitar. "Blinded By A Lie", "Heavens Gate", "Wreckless", "Love To Love", "Night Run", "Only You Can Rock Me", "Lights Out" and "Doctor Doctor". Despite the line-up changes, I'd say Phil Mogg carries this one off with aplomb (although never having actually seen a plomb I can't be certain).
"Doctor Doctor" and "Cherry" from the Old Grey Whistle Test 16/1/79 (with Tonka).
3 Top Of The Pops appearances:
"Doctor Doctor" from 1979 - although mimed, it's not to the live 7 inch single from "Strangers ..." with Mr Schenker on lead guitar - it's a reworked version with Tonka.
"Young Blood" from 1980
"Lonely Heart" from 1981
3 numbers from the Oxford Road Show 1982:
"We Belong To The Night"
"Let It Rain"
"Too Hot Too Handle" - the tv credits cut the live visuals before the end and the DVD continues as audio with live stills.
The discs come in a 'clam shell' box, in basic cardboard sleeves, which for this price is as much as can be expected. A colour booklet includes photos and an interview with Phil Mogg and Paul Raymond, track details and some errors and omissions, as we've come to expect! A little more care over this shouldn't add to the cost and would add to the quality. For anyone new to UFO who's starting to explore the wealth of live material which is out there, Strangers In The Night is the one to visit first but after that, this collection neatly covers the classic years and beyond.