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Essential compilation from Manchesters finest!
on 21 October 2004
This 2CD retrospective is an excellent overview of the work of one of our greatest unsung heroes, namely guitarist Vini Reilly. Tirelessly championed by Tony Wilson, who signed the band to his fledgling Factory Records back in the late 70's, Vini as Durutti Column has produced a string of first class recordings ever since, treading his own particular path of introspective musical brilliance.
Vini's guitar tone is unmistakeable. By turns haunting and delicate, next biting and attacking, there are plenty of prime examples of it here on such classics as "Sketch for Winter", "Prayer" and "Jacqueline", the latter a particularly personal favourite. The guitar is always to the fore, though he is ably supported by the excellent Bruce Mitchell and other empathetic musicians throughout. In later works, Vini added more synthetic textures, experimenting with synthesiser, sequencers and computer programming, all done in his own inimitable style. His use of samples, which he used extensively on the "Vini Reilly" album is sublime, especially on tracks like "Otis". His vocals are fragile and subdued but well suited to his style of songwriting. For instance "The Missing Boy", written about Ian Curtis could not be made more poignant sung by anyone other than Vini. I am particularly pleased that "Fado" is included, a really brilliant piece, upbeat with blistering guitar work throughout. The whole compilation ends fittingly with the moving "Requiem for Mother", recorded the evening before Vini's mothers funeral.
This compilation has been carefully produced. The nicely laid out booklet has endearing notes by Anthony Wilson, which show genuine affection for the man and his work. Vini's own brief track by track notes are insightful and show a deprecatory attitude towards his oeuvre.
There are 30 tracks on this compilation, but it would be easy to conjure up another 30 of equal quality, such is the prolific output of the man. There is nothing here that is not essential, despite what Vini may argue in his liner notes.
If Anthony H Wilson is remembered for anything, it is for having the vision and fortitude in bringing this frail man's music into our world. This is an essential compilation.