The Vinyl Collection 1979-1982 (Amazon Exclusive Edition) [VINYL] Box set, Limited Edition, Extra tracks
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Gillan - The Vinyl Collection houses together all 5 UK studio albums by the legendary rock powerhouse. All have been recreated as first pressing replicas, so Future Shock has the original 12x12 booklet and Glory Road contains the bonus LP 'For Gillan Fans Only'. All pressed on 180g heavyweight vinyl housed in a rigid slipcase. Mr Universe - 1979’s Mr Universe was Gillan’s second album and the first issued in the UK. This album cemented the classic line up of former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan, guitarist Bernie Torm?, bassist John McCoy, pianist Colin Towns and drummer Mick Underwood. High energy classic hard rock from beginning to end. Glory Road - Issued in 1980, at the height of the NWoBHM, Glory Road took Gillan to new levels of energy and success, cementing them as Top Of The Pops regulars. Classic British hard rock at its best. For Gillan Fans Only - Originally issued as a limited edition bonus disc to 1980’s Glory Road, For Gillan Fans Only features b-sides, studio outtakes and specially recorded material, interspersed with quips and irrelevance, all showcasing the band’s creativity and humour. This also features the side project The Split Knee Loons. Future Shock - Gillan’s 1981 album Future Shock saw these Reading Festival regulars at their lyrically most personal and diverse, taking on religion and the cold war. Aptly futuristic artwork encompassing a blistering cover of New Orleans, and No Laughing In Heaven an early rock meets rap chart hit. Double Trouble - Gillan’s third album in 15 months saw this 1981 double album Double Trouble feature new guitarist Janick Gers (later of Iron Maiden), and a slightly more melodic approach. Two chart hits and a bonus disc of live material from the Reading Festival . Magic - Magic, issued in 1982, was Gillan’s swansong before singer Ian joined Black Sabbath and then a reformed Deep Purple. There most melodic and underrated album, it featured the blistering Demon Driver and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Living For The City. The catalogue ended on a high.
Amazon Exclusive Edition contains bonus 7"" Single for Spanish Guitar.
Top customer reviews
The pressing quality is also quite nice. Quiet playback, no scratches, well centered. A couple of records were slightly warped but most of them were pretty much perfectly flat.
So far, so good. But the most important thing, the sound quality, is very disappointing in my opinion. I suppose this is all a matter of taste, but these recordings were severly EQ'd during mastering, jacking up bass and treble like it is often common on modern CD remasters (the source for this set seems to be high-res digital and not CD quality though). Some might find that attractive because the original recordings sound a bit flat on some albums, but it is definitely not to my liking because it just doesn't sound natural at all anymore, and I can't listen to that type of mastering at louder volumes due to listener fatigue.
Since in the end, the sound quality is the main reason I listen to vinyl, this set is not recommended by me, unless you mainly want to get it for the artwork/presentation and/or you like this type of mastering.
Be that as it may, in terms of quality (first pressing replicas on 180g heavyweight vinyl), presentation (each record sits within a recreation of the original record sleeve, all housed in a rigid, black slipcase featuring the famous blood red "Gillan" signature logo) and as a collection, this set is a timely and serious reminder that Gillan albums works best in 12” record form; they live, breathe, heavily rock and melodically roll across the ol’ vinyl grooves.
Unlike previous, individual Gillan CD reissues you won’t find any bonus material here (although Amazon are carrying the 7” single and non-album track 'Spanish Guitar' as an exclusive extra) but that’s not the point of this collection – this is the famous five as originally released and in the form with which they made their not insignificant impact (all five were UK Top 20 Album successes with Glory Road and Future Shock making the Top 5).
Following 1979’s Acrobat label released Mr Universe, featuring the progressively charged title track and one of the finest rock albums of Ian Gillan’s career (and that’s including his Purple patches), Virgin Records took the reins and helped to establish, through their support and promotion, that Gillan (not to be confused with the singer’s earlier, jazz-rock fusion outfit the Ian Gillan Band) were a serious contender and a hard rock force to be reckoned with.
Each subsequent album also managed to deliver everything that was good about vinyl and the 12” format – Glory Road (a firm fan favourite from rollicking 'Unchain Your Brain' opening to 'Nervous' ending), included a limited edition bonus record For Gillan Fans Only (reproduced for this set).
Containing out-takes, rarities, some whimsical nonsense and a hidden gem or two (such as an extended version of 'Abbey of Thelema' from the never released in Europe Gillan album of 1978), For Gillan Fans Only both predated and predicted the bonus disc/ bonus tracks era.
Future Shock, the band most successful album (#2 in the UK Album Charts, the last to feature guitarist Bernie Tormé and containing a stonking version of the Gary U.S. Bonds hit 'New Orleans') came complete with a gatefold sleeve and sixteen page, 12”x12” booklet (also reproduced here).
Double Trouble meanwhile was just that; an extra helping of Gillan via a second record of live material (primarily recorded at the 1981 Reading Festival) and another gatefold sleeve.
While the studio side of Double Trouble was spotty (a couple of songs didn’t live up to what came before on the Mr Universe, Glory Road, Future Shock power trio and bedding in future Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers (a very different guitarist from Bernie Tormé) clearly took an album), the band ended on a high with Magic.
The 12” gatefold format of Gillan's final record accentuates artwork that contains the 'Magic' within; the band positively snap ('What’s The Matter'), progressively crackle ('Demon Driver') and commercially pop ('Long Gone') across the grooves of their swansong album.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Unchain my Brain for forty five minutes of groove infected Glory Road fun.
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