Valentyne Suite Box set, Deluxe Edition, Double CD, Original recording remastered
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Top Customer Reviews
To have seen musicians of the calibre of these performing the Valentyne Suite, both back in the early Seventies, and more recently until the most untlimely death of Dick Heckstall-Smith (we miss you, Dick), was a privilege.
The double disc version comprises the original UK album plus two Top Gear recordings, and the "The Grass is Greener" US album compiled from tracks that were recorded as soon as Clem Clempson joined the band.
Please avoid the Essential remastered single disc release of 1998. It was incorrectly mastered with one channel of the stereo mix populating both channels. This was corrected for the Castle release of 2000, CMAR631.
The Valentyne Suite (when I were a lad) only had 5 tracks - but is almost perfect. Hiseman's drumming is astonishing, Dave Clempson's guitar playing on a par with Clapton, along with the incredible Dick H-S (RIP) on sax - and the swirling organ from Dave Greenslade.
1. Kettle - Roaring start to the album. Everything a jazz-rock track should be, but with that special, distinctive, Colosseum magic.
2. Elegy - just beautiful, with delicate strings. Tears to the eyes.
3. Butty's Blues - Yes, it's a Blues piece with great sax
4. Machine Demands A Sacrifice - Hiseman's drums tear along and then a VERY strange ending - never did work out what was going on...
5. Valentyne Suite - The best bit on the album - three movements that showcase the entire band (including some wonderful phased drums), and some spine-tingling organ from Mr. Greenslade.
The suite showcases each musician throughout, but the stand-out players for me are Dave Greenslade, Jon Hiseman and Dick Heckstall-Smith.
Dave Greenslade's Hammond sounds about as wonderful as a Hammond should, and there are a number of notable passages of play where he wrings the most amazing sounds out of the organ, something like Keith Emerson did when with The Nice, but never losing sight of the theme. A highlight comes at around five minutes in where he makes the thing whine like a tortured tom cat, possibly using the fantastically complicated technique of switching it on and off.
Jon Hiseman's drumming is magnificent throughout: tight, accurate, hard as nails and underpinning the suite with a rock solid foundation. There is again a brief but special treat for fans when Jon's drums are phased, just like Mitch Mitchell's on Jimi's superlative Bold as Love album track from '67.
Dick Heckstall-Smith's sax adds that intangible jazzy mood something to what would otherwise be a flat-out rock romp, and it's a very enjoyable addition too, full of raw energy and commitment.
The other two players aren't half bad either, but maybe not much above average for what was an extraordinary time in the history of rock music. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce ... It would be a struggle for any guitarist to stand out in that company, but James Litherland and Tony Reeves make a worthy contribution to the suite.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This album is significant as being the first release on the Vertigo label. It certainly is a pretty good example of Jazz/Rock/Prog fusion from the late sixties/early seventies. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Peter Steward
fantastic band got to be recommended to any one into progressive musicPublished 11 months ago by david crompton
brill---brill--brill---need i say more--the original album and extra tracks--brill--well now you know its good--BUY IT !!!!Published 19 months ago by graham cole
Every bit as great as I remembered it! So glad to have eventually found it on CDPublished 20 months ago by Richard Pedrick