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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Marmalade you'll need, 8 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Fine Cuts - The Best Of Marmalade (Original Recordings) (MP3 Download)
Well, maybe not entirely all the Marmalade a dedicated fan would need - for that, some of the original albums would be required too. But for most of us, this is an excellent selection, covering as it does every stage of the band's lengthy career.

Most folk who were around at the time will remember Marmalade as the first Scottish band to score a UK number one hit single, which they did with the Beatles song "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" back in 1969. It's in this collection, of course, but it's not exactly representative. There's plenty of material from the early years, before the hits came, and it's surprisingly hard rock material. Then come the big hits of the late '60s, with their lavish productions; followed by the Junior Campbell phase; then the Hugh Nicholson material; and finally the lesser-known songs from the band's later years.

Interspersed throughout the collection are plenty B-sides and album tracks: most of them are songs that won't be familiar to many of today's listeners, but there are a few surprises too, notably an interesting and worthwhile version of "Hey, Joe". Yep - the "Hey, Joe" of Jimi Hendrix fame. Marmalade started out as a rock band and, in spite of their commercial success in other styles, they never lost their dedication or ability in the rock field. It shows.

In fact, they never lost their dedication or ability in any field. They were an unusually accomplished group of musicians, and a surprising degree of precision is readily apparent in their playing and singing throughout the collection: pretty much perfect timing and pitching, in the days before these things could be corrected by stacks of electronics and software.

For those who were around at the time, this collection will be a pleasant surprise. Marmalade's material doesn't get much airplay these days, so that even the big hits have probably faded somewhat in our memories. We remember them, but not in detail. Hearing them again after all those decades rejuvenates the memories. And the reality of the recordings is even better than our recollections of them from the days when they were new.

A personal example of this is the Junior Campbell song "Rainbow". Bitterness, sweetness and warmth all wrapped up in a minor-key melody; the music lodged in my barely teen-aged memory despite my being too young to understand its subject. But now, hearing the song again after an interval of half a lifetime, all is clear. "Rainbow" is perhaps the warmest and most affectionate song ever written about an unfaithful girlfriend. Conflicting emotions fly in the face of logic, but Campbell encapsulates it all beautifully and the band perform it to perfection. We hope, along with Campbell, that we will follow the rainbow to the pot of gold at the end; but something tells us that the girl will let us down again on the way. And yet, we follow her rainbow. The lyric speaks of the hope; the minor key of the ultimate disappointment. A little gem.

Musicianship, it seems, stands the test of time. Age does not weary it, nor the years condemn. It's been a pleasure to listen to this collection: the musical equivalent of opening a bottle of vintage wine.
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Initial post: 19 Jan 2014 21:55:58 GMT
sixze65 says:
An excellent thoughtful review - many thanks.
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