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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on 15 June 2017
never heard of the Blue Orchids? Well they were relatively short-lived in this incarnation, but produced this gem. If you like the early VU the Fall and just generally love some well fashioned tunes then try. Martin Bramah's vocals (think Lou Reed from Lancashire) aren't to everyone's taste but I'm more than happy and this album hasn't aged one bit - an under-rated classic.
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on 19 September 2003
2002's Cherry Red compilation 'A Darker Bloom' detailed the brief joys of The Blue Orchids- much of that compilation stemmed from the period from 1980-82 when they released a clutch of singles/eps & their sole album of the 80s, The Greatest Hit (an indie LP #1 Hit that meant something, as indie hadn't become a loose term for Britpop retro...)
Now this reissue sees the complete album get reissued- The Greatest Hit one of the great albums of the 1980s, now recovered from history with bonus tracks from 1982's Agents of Change ep & a rare joy- a version of All Tomorrow's Parties with Nico on vocals, produced by Factory legend Martin Hannett.
Every track is wonderful- imagine Nuggets meets The Fall, or Television meets early Teardrop Explodes; as Marc Riley noted on the sleevenotes of A Darker Bloom, Martin Bramah was a non-singer (like the best really- think Nico, Lou Reed, MES, Tom Verlaine etc). Listening to this, you wonder if this would have been The Fall gone Krautrock- spacerock with them. The Greatest Hit extends on Baines & Bramah's work in (early) Fall- THIS IS TIGHT...
Faves include the pulsing Work, Dumb Magician (with its mantra "The only way out is UP"- as quoted on the sleeve of Julian Cope's Autogeddon/he'd know!), Sun Connection (as great as Cloud 149) & A Year With No Head (which is almost funky!). The absolute fave has to be Bad Education, which defintely predicts a band like Pavement "I think I've read too many books, watched too much TV, paid too much attention to a bad education". There's a wonderful melancholic quality to the track, perhaps due to the keyboards- which are as great as anything by Felt (all part of the same cult-continuum). The Agents of Change tracks are a bit more produced, but no less affecting for that (Release is my fave).
This reissue of The Greatest Hit is well worth getting, one of the four classic albums Martin Bramah has been associated with- see also Live at the Witch Trials, Extricate & Shiftwork. Along with the upcoming reissue of Felt's Forever Breathes the Lonely Word, ample proof that the UK underground of the 80s was a wild and wonderful and frightining place...Psychedelic music for post-punk speedfreaks? One you have to own...
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