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Great band, but they deserve a far better 'best of'.
on 23 October 2004
Don't get me wrong, I think Aztec Camera (and also Roddy Frame's solo work) are wonderful. After hearing John Peel playing 'Pillar to Post' back in 1982 (I think) I bought anything of theirs I could find. High Land Hard Rain definitely ranks among the very greatest debut albums and few would deny that Roddy Frame never bettered it (personally, I blame Mark Knoppfler for his smothering production on the second album, 'Knife') - indeed, I would argue that High Land Hard Rain is much more deserving of the title "The Best of Aztec Camera" than this assortment is. This collection has one or two too many tracks from 'Love' , only a couple from 'Stray', just one from 'Dreamland' and nothing at all (!) from the underrated 'Frestonia'. Ideally, a new 'best of' would now include many tracks from Roddy Frame's excellent 'Surf' album.
However, track selection is not my real gripe here. What really chokes me is the version of Van Halen's 'Jump': I saw Aztec Camera live in London in 83/84 and Roddy finished with his totally over-the-top guitar-god version of Jump which ripped the proverbial out of the original. They had the good sense to record a similar version for the b-side of the 'All I need is everything' 12" single. Although I already owned all their other CDs I rushed to buy this album purely because I saw that it contained 'Jump'. I cannot exaggerate my disgust at finding that they have faded out the last half of the track... THE BEST BIT!!! Fortunately, I have since been able to source the glorious full version, but I still cannot bear to play this CD.
My advice: Buy Hard Land Hard Rain (and Surf). Borrow Frestonia, Dreamland, Stray, Love, North Star and (if you must) Knife to see which suits you. Then steal (or obtain by any method possible) the FULL version of Jump.