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VINE VOICEon 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.
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on 1 November 2004
When I first heard the Durutti Column in 1989, I assumed that as a Factory Band they would be a Joy Division soundalike and was rather pleased that they were not!
My wife calls them the band with the nice guitarist who can't sing which is not a bad description...
In reality the DC can be by turns ambient, aggressive, austere or wistful. They are the only musicians in permanent residence in some form or another on my Cars CD changer and have been for some years.
What about the album then? A 25 year retrospective album of 30 tracks, some you would expect, some you would not. To be honest you could quite easily pluck another 30 equally valid pieces of music from the DC back catalogue. Why no place for Silence, Royal Infirmary or Red Square to mention a few? No matter, it is all beautiful stuff. The bonus being that if you do stumble across this album & like it you are in for a huge treat going through the tracks that didn't make it.
The final scene in 24 Hour Party People when God parts the clouds & reveals the time is ripe for a DC revival is of course the best joke in the film. DC were never fashionable enough to enjoy a revival and will continue to be ignored (I saw them twice on their recent mini tour and was one of the approximately 50 people who could be bothered to turn up at the Tunbridge Wells performance).
God bless you Vini, I don't expect things will ever change....
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on 13 July 2005
The Durutti Column have been furrowing their/his own furrow for two and a half decades now. Untroubled by the pressures of fame (as he says on his web site, he is unlikely to ever be seen on Top of the Pops) he has gone his own sweet way across a score or so of albums. His consistancy is remarkable, as is his invention. It is never easy plucking a best of from an ouvre this large, but Phil Cleaver has done a good job here. You can trace Vini Reilly's progress on this set, starting with the sparse Sketch for Summer, progressing through warmer sounds of The Missing Boy, the jazz(ish) workout of Without Mercy (2 extracts here, brilliant whatever Vini himself says), the elecro like LFO Mod, the return to roots Requiem Again, the wonderful vocals of Sing to Me (Vini worked well with guest singers) to the more recent fuller sounds of Woman and the poignant Requiem for Mother that closes the set.

It is almost impossible to come up with comparisons with The Durutti Column. They just don't sound quite like anybody else. There is the lovely percussion of long time collaborator Bruce Mitchell, the keyboard textures, Vini's own, delicate vocals and, most of all, there is that guitar. Vini Reilly, the secret guitar God.

This collection makes for a worthwhile investment for any lover of inteligent and distinctive music.
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on 14 January 2005
The Durutti Column play some of the most beautiful music imaginable. Some instrumental, with Vini's trademark echo to the fore, some with his unique vocal (described as 'bad' by many, I'd say more 'ethereal'. No, I would.), others with guest vocalists; all are outstanding. Buy this, love it, then buy all the albums while they're still available.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 November 2011
I knew nothing of the Durutti Column until a BBC4 programme on Tony Wilson and Factory Records, where he talks about playing this in his car all the time, and we get to see a little of Vini Reilly the guitar maestro playing.

This is really lovely stuff, largely instrumental and with guitar-driven beauty, some lovely warm keyboards, subtle percussion, some sax, and a whole range of other effects, some wholly mesmerising. Originally considered naming some favourite tracks, but there's just too much good music, and exquisite guitar here.

I find it great music to put on when I come home, and can just feel it start to massage away the cares of the day as I get on with cooking/reading whatever. However, even as background, there are always moments which get you up out of your chair to check what sublime effect/track you just heard. But if you sit down and really give it your attention, what a wonderful 148 minutes lie ahead. A wonderful introduction to a memorable musician, and a real bargain with 30 tracks to choose from. One of my favourite albums of all time.
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on 18 December 2011
I have come late to The Durutti Column and I really enjoy listening to their music. However, one could be excused for thinking each track is similar and I suppose it could become tedious.This Best Of is probably all I'll need to own of them. Nonetheless it is worth the purchase.
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on 18 October 2010
Very enjoyable CD, but there are tracks which I expected to be included, missing.
Some of the later stuff isn't up to much. The tracks are not laid down in chronological order, something I find quite annoying, but I'll get used to it.
Better to buy the original three albums than this.
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on 16 February 2009
Very comprehensive overview of Vinnie's work. An ideal beginner's guide. Tell them Vinnie sent you for the good stuff.
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on 5 March 2014
Rated among his peers as one of the greatest guitarists of all time this collection is fab. It's all that you need from the D.C & V.R
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on 10 May 2015
Hmmmm...some great tracks but probably doesn't warrant a double CD.
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