Top positive review
The Goon Show Compendium Volume 8 - It's all in the mind you know...
29 October 2012
Finally. The BBC has decided to take its crown jewels and give them the treatment they deserve. Following from the excellent series of collectors editions of `Round The Horne' and `Navy Lark', the show we have all been waiting for is, at last, being restored, given some interesting extras and released in a definitive, comprehensive edition. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the highly esteemed Goon Show!
The BBC only holds recordings from the beginning of series 5 onwards. Some series 4 episodes exist (and are finally being released in a separate edition here: The Goon Show: Series 4, Pt. 1 (Golden Age of BBC Radio Comedy)). Series 1-3 are, sadly, totally lost to us. Hence, this definitive collection began with series five, and aims to release all extant recordings the BBC still hold from all subsequent series.
If you're looking here you don't need to be told how good the humour is, so I will just review the release itself. Volume 8 collects the final eleven episodes from series 8, broadcast January-March 1958 across 7 discs, with some usual fascinating extras on the last disc. The remastering is worthy of especial praise. In the main these episodes sound much better than they have in any other release. Much material has been restored, unfortunately this often comes from poor quality sources, so these restored sections are sometimes not of the same audio quality of the rest of the program. The restored snippets add much to the shows though. I'm very impressed with the overall quality. This really will be the definitive collection when finished.
This release contains 7 CDs, with two episodes per disc and extras on the 7 disc. These are collected into two 4 CD jewel cases, encased in a flimsy cardboard outer. There are two booklets, one in each case, with essays, details for each episode and original Radio Times listings.
The String Robberies
The Moriarty Murder Mystery
The Curse of Frankenstein
The White Neddie Trade
Ten Snowballs that Shook the World
The Man Who Never Was
World War One
The Spon Plague
The Evils of Bushey Spon
The Great Statue Debate
Extras are a celebrity tiddlywinks match between the Goons and Cambridge University and various snippets of rehearsals and prerecording warm ups. .
This really is as good as it gets. 5 stars for the episodes, and 5 for the quality of the release.
Goon Show releases seem to be a bit like busses, we waited over a year between compendiums 6 and 7, and now this one is out a mere 2 months after 7 was released. Hopefully this is indicative of the future release schedule and we will have the collection completed soon? The remaining series (and I really hope the `Vintage Goons', a series of re-recordings of series 4 episodes broadcast in 1958 between series 8 and 9 are included in the next compendium) were all a lot shorter than series 1-8, and by my estimation there are about 38 episodes left to be released, or about 3 Compendiums worth. Here's hoping that there is some way of tying up the series with a compendium of the EMI episodes held hostage these 50 plus years? Their omission from the previous releases has been the only mar on an other wise excellent set. Come on EMI, there's money to be made out of these episodes, and your prospective market is not getting any younger! Their continued withholding of this material defies all commercial logic.
Having said all that, well done BBC, keep them coming! And any chance of a proper release for Men From The Ministry or I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again?