21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Refugees: An Anthology Of The Famous Charisma Label 1969-1978 (Audio CD)As a collector of Charisma records since I bought my very first record; '...and then there were three...' by Genesis in 1978, I feel quite well placed to comment on this package.
Following the 'Charisma Box' released some years ago now (where have those years gone?) comes this new three disc set capturing the cream of the label in the years 1969 to 1978; some would say the heyday for the label. It's a very mixed bunch with prog, folk, AOR and even comedy from the Pythons. Something for everyone, and a tribute to the talent spotting of label founder, the late Tony Stratton-Smith. But despite the diversity, it's all good!
The set itself has been lovingly produced with a thick booklet packed with facts about the artists featured and many photos. The design and effort that has gone into this is superb; even down to the 'pink scroll' designs on the three discs. Each track has info about its original release and the track included by Bell+Arc makes its first appearance on CD.
Individual tracks that for me stand out are 'Refugees' by VDGG, 'Twilight Alehouse' the rare Genesis B-side from the 'I know what I like' single, 'City Song' by Lindisfarne from the 'Fog on the Tyne' album (containing some wonderful production by Bob Johnston, especially on the echoing harmonies), Clifford T Ward's timeless 'Gaye' and Peter Gabriel's finest solo hour in 'Solsbury Hill'. There's hardly a duff track on here really.
A few minor quibbles I do have which would have resulted in 4.5 stars if that had been possible (I rounded up to 5). There is duplication of artists and an exclusion of other contenders from the Charisma stable in this period. Gary Shearston's 'I get a kick out of you' is a major omission. I would also have liked to have seen included a track by Pacific Eardrum (one of the few Charisma bands featuring a female band member); Levinsky/Sinclair whose soaring 'Only feel this way' should have been a big hit; The Blue Max with 'Dream Machine' and finally Chris White whose Beach Boys style rendered a minor hit in 1976 with 'Spanish Wine'.
One final thought; Charisma shared catalogue numbers with B&C (Beat and Commercial)records until mid 1972. The two labels released a similar eclectic range of music and some B&C songs would not have been out of place on this set. Perhaps a collection of B&C recordings is due?
...and also, since this set covers 1969 - 1978, perhaps a second set from 1979 - 1984 should follow?