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on 26 March 2006
Ah Chicken Shack. I bought the first album, watched them tear the place up at the Redcar Jazz club, triumph at festivals, but then what? "I'd Rather Go Blind". A triumph or an "Albatross" around their collective necks? Was it just Christine McVie's departure that halted their progress to superstardom or, as the estimable Mike Vernon argues in the notes accompanying this excellent compilation, did they lack Fleetwood Mac's "street credibility". Just unlucky I guess. Three CDs is probably more Chicken Shack than most of us need but make no mistake there's some really fine material here. Christine Perfect (as was) would have been a superstar whatever, but her melancholy understated singing and righteous blues piano playing is a revelation and could make a compilation of its own. There's still time for her to make the R&B album I know she has in her. The rhythm section is on the button throughout which just leaves Stan the man. And therein lies the problem. Is he a Freddy King impersonator, a heavy rock guitar hero, a sensitive singer songwriter or just a bloody good blues player and singer? He was and is all four. But I guess fame and fortune wanted something a bit more marketable. If you like early Chicken Shack and good British blues, buy this.....I doubt you'll be disappointed, and you might wonder, as I do, what could have been?
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Across its 56 tracks and 3 CDs - this fantastic UK/EU release on Columbia/Blue Horizon 82876734942 (released February 2006) offers you 4 full albums from 1968 to 1970 - six non-album 7" singles and their rare B-sides - and even 2 Previously Unreleased songs. The first generation original master tapes were digitally transferred and remastered by DUNCAN COWELL at Sound Mastering in London and overseen by label Supremo MIKE VERNON. And as usual with all the Blue Horizon reissues - the sonic results are just stunning. Every track is clear, warm and fresh sounding. And with each of Chicken Shack's original British vinyl issues pushing £80 to £100 a throw (if you can actually find them in playable condition) - this is a welcome release. Here are the one hundred ton chickens and the roosters in the farmyard:

Disc 1 (74:16 minutes):
Tracks 1 & 2 "It's Okay With Me Baby" b/w "When My Left Eye Jumps" are the band's 1st UK 7" single on Blue Horizon 57-3157 released January 1968 - both songs were non-album with Christine Perfect Lead Vocals on the A, Stan Webb on the B. The A is a CP original while the B is A Willie Dixon song closely associated with Buddy Guy.

3. The Letter (B.B. King cover)
4. Lonesome Whistle Blues (Freddie King cover)
5. When The Train Comes Back (Christine Perfect song)
6. San-Ho-Zay (Freddie King cover)
7. King Of The World (John Lee Hooker cover)
8. See See Baby (Freddie King cover)
9. First Time I Met The Blues (Eurreal "Little Brother" Montgomery cover)
10. Webbed Feet (Stan Webb song)
11. You Ain't No Good (Christine Perfect)
12.What You Did Last Night (Stan Webb song)
Tracks 3 to 12 are their debut UK album "Forty Blue Fingers Freshly Packed & Ready To Serve" released July 1968 on Blue Horizon S 7-63203

Tracks 20 and 13 are "When The Train Comes Back" b/w "Hey Baby" - their 3rd UK 7" single released 1968 on Blue Horizon 57-3146 and both songs are non-album. [Note: there's a version of "When The Train Comes Back" on "Forty Fresh Fingers..." but it's different to the single release - the 7" pushes the brass section more into the mix.]

14. Baby's Got Me Crying (Stan Webb song)
15. The Right Way is My Way (Stan Webb song)
16. Get Like You Used To Be (Stan Webb song)
17. Pony And Trap (Stan Webb song)
18. Tell Me (Howlin' Wolf cover)
19. A Woman Is The Blues (Stan Webb/Christine Perfect song)
Tracks 14 to 19 are Side 1 of their 2nd UK album "O.K. Ken?" released February 1969 on Blue Horizon 7-63209

Disc 2 (71:52 minutes):
Tracks 1 and 2 are "Worried About My Woman" b/w "Six Nights In Seven" - their 2nd UK 7" single released September 1968 on Blue Horizon 57-3143 - both non-album. [Note: Track 1 is the 7" single version that features what you would call a `guitar' version of the track, with Webb's guitar work to the fore. However, Track 19 is the `album' version of "Worried About My Woman" - wittily tagged with the word "Still" in front of it, because although it's the same song, the version is very different. It features Paul Raymond's Organ work far more to the fore of the mix - almost Georgie Fame and The Blues Flames in its feel - and a far louder Webb guitar - he rocks like a mother on this one - fantastic!]

3. I Wanna See My Baby (Stan Webb song)
4. Remington Ride (Stan Webb song)
5. Fishing In Your River (Aaron Walker cover)
6. Mean Old World (Herb Remington, Hank Penny cover)
7. Sweet Sixteen (Big Joe Turner cover)
Tracks 3 to 7 are Side 2 of their 2nd UK album "O.K. Ken?" (as per Disc 1)

Tracks 8 and 9 are "I'd Rather Go Blind" b/w "Night Life" - their 4th UK 7" single released May 1969 on Blue Horizon 57-3153. Both non-album - the A is an Etta James cover, the B a Willie Nelson cover

10. The Road Of Love (Clarence Carter cover)
11. La Ma, I'm Cryin' (Freddie King cover)
12. Evelyn (Stan Webb song - Instrumental)
13. Reconsider Baby (Lowell Fulson cover)
14. Weekend Love (Clarence Carter cover)
15. Midnight Hour (Clarence Brown cover)
Tracks 10 to 15 are Side 1 of their 3rd UK album "100 Ton Chicken" released March 1969 on Blue Horizon S 7-63218

Track 16 "Tears In The Wind" is the non-album A-side to their 5th UK 7" single released September 1969 on Blue Horizon 57-3160. Its non-album B-side is "The Things You Put Me Through" - Track 3 on Disc 3 (both are Webb originals)

17. Horse & Cart (Stan Webb song)
18. The Way It Is (Stan Webb song)
19. Still Worried About My Woman (Stan Webb song) [see Note on 1 & 2]
20. Anji (Davey Graham cover)
Tracks 17 to 20 are Side 2 on their 3rd UK album "100 Ton Chicken" (as per 10 to 15 above)

Disc 3 (51:08 minutes):
Tracks 1 and 2 "Smartest Girl In Town" and "Hideaway" are previously unreleased, recorded in May 1969 with the Stan Webb (Guitar), Paul Raymond (Organ), Andy Silvester (Bass) and David Bidwell (Drums) line-up featured on both. The A is a Stan Webb original - the B a cover of the famous Freddie King song

Track 3 "The Things You Put Me Through" is the non-album B-side to "Tears In The Wind" (Track 16 on Disc 2)
4. Diary Of Your Life (Stan Webb song)
5. Pocket (Stan Webb song)
6. Never Ever (Stan Webb/Paul Raymond song)
7. Sad Clown (Stan Webb /Paul Raymond song)
8. Maudie (Stan Webb /Paul Raymond song)
9. Telling Your Fortune (Stan Webb song)
10. Tired Eyes (Stan Webb song)
11. Some Other Time (Stan Webb /Paul Raymond song)
12. Going Round (Stan Webb /Paul Raymond song)
13. Andalucian Blues (Stan Webb /Paul Raymond song)
14. You Knew You Did You Did (Stan Webb song)
15. She Didn't Use Her Loaf (Stan Webb /Paul Raymond song)
Tracks 4 to 15 are "Accept" - their 4th and last album for Blue Horizon released June 1970 on S 7-63861

Track 16 "Maudie" is the non-album A-side to their 6th UK 7" single released January 1970 on Blue Horizon 57-3168

(Note: Track 13 "Andalucian Blues" is the B-side to "Maudie" their 6th UK 7" single
Track 7 "Sad Clown" and Track 10 "Tired Eyes" make up the A & B side of their 7th and last Blue Horizon 7" single (57-3176) from 1970
This 3CD set allows you to sequence all 14 tracks on their seven UK Blue Horizon singles as a compilation.)

Featuring Stan Webb (Guitar & Lead Vocals), Christine Perfect (Keyboards and Lead Vocals), Paul Raymond (Piano), Andy Silvester (Bass) and Dave Bidwell (Drums) - England's CHICKEN SHACK was always about the blues and the bar-brawling boogie that came out of that tradition (they took their name from a 50's R&B tune by Amos Milburn). Mixing raucous cover versions with equally impressive originals, the first 3 albums featured shared vocals/song-writing credits between blues-nutter Stan Webb and a young Female Singer of the Year, Christine Perfect. (Christine married John McVie in 1969 and later joined Fleetwood Mac - retaining the McVie surname to this day).

As you can see from the track lists provided above - the first album is a fest of the Kings - B.B. and Freddie with some John Lee Hooker thrown in. These are allied with an impressive quad showing of Stan Webb and Christine Perfect originals (two each). "See See Baby" is just fantastic - the great mixture of rocking Blues done by Blues enthusiasts feeling it in every corpuscle. By album two Webb has firmly taken over the songwriting reins with strong Bluesy R'n'B like "Baby's Got Me Crying" sounding not unlike John Mayall does Buddy Guy via B.B. King.

The Shacks albums also featured guest Sax work from Johnny Almond and Paul Raymond and his Organ/Piano work came on board from "100 Ton Chicken" onwards. The music is infectious blues based rock with the occasional funky moment (the instrumental "Evelyn" is a good example). What is surprising is how little interest was shown in their rocking "Accept" album from mid 1970 - only released later that year in the States on the back of a tour with savoy Brown. Mainly featuring Webb originals co-written with Paul Raymond - I often think it's a bit of a lost 1970 classic like "Kiln House" or the Humble Pie debut on A&M. Check out the blistering rocking on "Perfect" that then slows down (wicked). Stan Webb kept Chicken Shack going after Blue Horizon to do two more rawk albums for the Deram label - "Imagination Lady" in 1972 and "Unlucky Boy" in 1973 - both of which I love.

If I was to say there was a downside - it's the lack of unreleased material. And it's a damn shame that these four Chicken Shack albums didn't receive the Fleetwood Mac Blue Horizon Box Set treatment - I would love to have seen all of them in Repro Card Sleeves (gatefolds in some cases) - each topped up with bonus tracks. But alas...

As it stands "The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions" is another jewel in the Blue Horizon crown. Never less than brilliant on any of the discs - and at a few squid above a ten-spot - this superb release is a steal, a deal, sale of the century etc...
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on 31 August 2014
I imagine if you are reading this you know who Chicken Shack were so I won't go into lengthy explanations of their part in the history of British blues rock of the late 60's. The 4 albums all have some really excellent tracks but they also have tracks which could be considered weak, but don't let this put you off having a listen. The price is very good, the remastering is great, informative booklet included and you have all their A and B side singles which are well worth owning. Stan Webb's guitar playing has been under rated in the past, but I think it's great as he puts so much feeling and expression into both his choppy attack and his more melodic ventures. Good blues vocalist as well, makes a change to the sometimes overly gruffness some blues singers have. On Ok Ken on the original LP there was a whole load of goofy humour at the beginning of about half the tracks, i am pleased to say they have not been included here. I had not heard the 4th album Accept before and was pleasantly surprised to find such a wide range of styles, very good mixture. I should also mention that Christine Perfect is on the 1st 2 albums and her vocals adds a nice contrast, great on Hey Baby (B side)
Now, I don't quite understand why sony/bmg have not given more details on the singles.
It took me a while to work this out especially when they were released where I had to go to other sources. This probably won't bother a lot of people but for those who are interested I have listed the information below.
TRACK TITLE 45 Side Month Yr
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on 2 October 2008
I get nervous buying music I haven't heard for over 30 years! Do I remember right? Has my taste changed? And this is 3 long CD's! Chicken Shack do not disappoint at all! Stan Webb's guitar playing throughout is magnificent and really sensitive, boy can he play the blues. I thought that the later tracks without Christine Perfect might seem a bit lame, but not at all! The Shack up the anti adding fabulous Hammond B3 played by Paul Raymond. I was lucky enough to see Chicken Shack many times in the early 70's! and my memory does serve me well. Chicken Shack were the best British blues band by far. Eat your heart out Mr Clapton! Stan the man wore the crown! If you like blues at all you'll love this!
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VINE VOICEon 31 August 2009
John Mayall, Savoy Brown, Pretty Things, The Yardbirds .......Chicken Shack. Some of the best British blues around in the 60s. Chicken Shack had the added bonus of a fabulous female vocalist in Christine McVie, her smooth, languorous voice weaving in & out of the melodies. (Who can forget her superlative reading of I'd Rather Go Blind?) This CD set is an 18 carat gold ingot: full of wonderful treasures to revisit, or discover for the first time. I'm revisiting, & it sounds as good as I remember it first time around. If anyone is interested in British Blues bands & haven't got Chicken Shack in their collection, there's a huge gap that needs filing, & this set will do that.
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on 8 February 2015
Chicken Shack were a really good band and here you get the best of their early blues stuff when they were on the Blue Horizon record label. 2 1/2 discs that are great - and and 1/2 disc which is only of historical interest - i.e. the very dated stuff when the Shack ventured into what I think was called then prog rock. The blues stuff on the rest is really good. The line up at one time featured 2 great vocalists. Christine McVie ( nee Perfect) and we get a reminder of what a great singer and competent piano player before she sold out to earn muli millions playing complete pap with Fleetwood Mac 2. Stan the man has been as is the mainstay and happily after the ghastly rock stuff rehabilitated himself as a bluesman. As a singer - very accomplished and several different voices. As a guitarist - well lets remember Eric Clapton warned not to get on the stage with Freddy King as he'd tear you to shreds - that didn't stop Stan and Freddy always acknowledged Stan as a great guitarist - what higher recommendation is there? Stan along with Peter Green were the brits who got the feel right - others played the notes. Andy Silvester's bass playing was rather pedestrian and on a few tracks mixed way too high - but you can live with that - this is a great catalogue of one of the best blues bands that emerged from our shores.
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on 21 January 2013
CHICKEN SHACK along with FLEETWOOD MAC were among the premier British blues groups.
the Blue Horizon recordings are timeless they sound as good today as they did then.
anyone interested in sixties blues groups should have these recordings
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on 6 March 2012
I enjoyed this bit of nostalgia although it isn't something I will want to play every day, or even every week. The nostalgia is partly because 'I'd Rather Go Blind' was the first single I ever bought!
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on 3 March 2011
Anyone wanting to listen to Chicken Shack's blues at its best will love a lot of this CD package. The first 2 CDs make tremendous listening but after track 3 on the third CD, there is a sudden change to a weird sixties style pop music which took me completely by surprise. If they had used up all of the Chicken Shack blues tracks available, I think it would have been better to stick to a double CD. However, at the price, it is still excellent value for money for 2 CDs.
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on 26 May 2014
I discovered Chicken Shack in the early 70's by accident - largely through me following Fleetwood Mac on the Blue Horizon label.This initially led me to Christine Perfect (as she then was) and then Chicken Shack.I then went on to see them live @ Newcastle Mayfair when they supported Rod and The Faces in the early 70's (what a night that was - apart from plastic glasses that is).I felt priveliged to be there that night when they performed in the middle of the dance floor.This set of music brought back those memories of the sometimes quirky but always good output of a band that never got the overall success I believe they deserved.To everyone that has an interest in that era buy it and enjoy!
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