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Albatross in new colours,
This review is from: The Pious Bird Of Good Omen (Audio CD)
This is a rather different pious bird to the previous CD incarnation of the same album, which was a straight reissue of the LP that first appeared on vinyl courtesy of their old record label in 1969, at the same time as their Reprise album Then Play On. Two tracks taken from the first two albums and two of the band backing Eddie Boyd have been dropped from the new release (although there was room for them), leaving from the original album only the first four singles the band released, in 1967 and 1968: Rambling Pony/I Believe My Time Ain't Long, Black Magic Woman/The Sun Is Shining and Albatross/Jigsaw Puzzle Blues, between them totalling less than fifteen minutes.
Need Your Love So Bad appeared before in its original edit, fading after 3:45 (its B-side, an alternative take of Stop Messin' Round, was not included, and has not been added), but now this album in its new plumage is a protracted homage to the 1955 Little Willie John standard, as about forty-seven and a half minutes of the CD are taken up with various working versions and remixes. We hear the first abandoned try-outs of the song from 11 April 1968, the first three takes from the second session of 28 April and the completed 6:55 master of take four, with overdubbed horns, and strings arranged by Mickey Baker (who played guitar on Little Willie John's original). At the end, Peter Green can be heard to say, "I mucked the ending up." This didn't matter for the single edit, but when the full-length mix was proposed for an American B-side, he returned to the studio in October to re-do his vocal and guitar parts for it, and this superb 'USA Version' (which was never used) closes the album.
The other additional track is an early take of Like Crying, a song that featured on Then Play On, featuring Danny Kirwan and Peter Green alone. All the tracks have been mixed anew from the session multi-track tapes and sound stunning. Bits of studio chat and the odd musical fluff have been allowed to stand, making this more of a documentary study of a band at work than a "best of" collection.