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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly delightful, 4 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The World Turned Upside Down (Audio CD)
The brilliant Leon Rosselson is underrated only because his ideological leanings don't conform with the mainstream. He has been recording since the early 1960s, and this 4CD overview offers a superlative selection of his oeuvre, including material from vinyl albums that, unfortunately, are ever likely to be reissued in any other format. As a British songwriter, Rosselson is unequalled in the past half century. Much of his oeuvre is in the French chanson mould of Brassens, although he is invariably categorised, not surprisingly, as a folk singer. He surfaced in the early 1960s as Britain's answer to Tom Lehrer -- but with a great deal more gravitas. His collaborators over the decades have included Martin Carthy and Roy Bailey, both of whom are well-represented on this collection. My only quibble is that this excellent compilation features his Blair-era revised version of "The Battle Hymn of the New Socialist Party" rather than the Hugh Gaitskell-era original, issued on a Topic 10-inch more than 30 years earlier. But that's a minuscule criticism of a set I will cherish for the rest of my life, not least because it includes contemporary songs such as "Where Are The Barricades?" that are year to appear on any regular albums. I sincerely hope ALL of Rosselson's recordings will, before, long, be made available, at least in a downloadable format.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Nov 2012 18:28:33 GMT
Good review and totally agree with your assessment of Mr Rosselson.

Posted on 22 Jul 2013 17:47:17 BDT
Terry Wilson says:
To be fair, "Battle Hymn" had to be updated, since the only studio version available was a remake done for "Palaces of Gold" in the 1970s. By then the original line about Clause 4 had been changed to "By the Social Contract we have planned / to institute the promised land" - which wouldn't make much sense in the modern era. The third version (Raise the red rose on high" etc) in fact pre-dated Blair. It was made in 1992 for use in the compilation "Guess What They're Selling At The Happiness Counter".

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2013 03:49:54 BDT
Mahir Ali says:
Thanks for your intervention, Terry. I have no issue with Battle Hymn being updated, I just feel that in a retrospective it might have been better to include the original version owing to its historical value. I'm familiar with the Palaces of Gold version, but have never heard the Clause 4 variant. Hopefully it will turn up one day on Topic's digital reissue of archival material.
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Mahir Ali
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Location: Sydney, NSW Australia

Top Reviewer Ranking: 742,629