I was a bit sceptical about this before I ordered it mainly as it seemed expensive for what I incorrectly assumed was a BBC sessions cd. In fact there are 3 music discs, plus a dvd and an excellent essay by Paul Morley. Siouxsie makes a small contribution too. What makes this special? Well the packaging is fantastic - a sturdy hardback book cover; really, really comprehensive sessions spanning the Banshees entire career which is after all, a long one but the favourite for me, is the dvd. Not the usual promo videos nor just the obvious OGWT sessions, but some great hidden gems which I've never seen before, or only remember vaguely from my youth :) (a LONG time ago!!!). I can't recommend this highly enough. It's incredibly comprehensive in all ways and an absolute bargain!!!!
I was really looking forward to getting this set and I was far from dissapointed. The first CD contains already released material, although I hadn't heard them before and it was interesting to see the early songs, particularly Metal Postcard, in a different light. The second and third CDs also contained some live performances, mostly from albums like A Kiss In the Dreamhouse, Tinderbox and Peepshow, with some songs from other albums too. The live songs were particularly enjoyable, especially, Melt! one of my favourate banshee songs. It was nice to hear early gems like Hong Kong Garden performed live too.
My favourite part of the set was undoubetdly the DVD. All the clips except from a couple like Love in a Void and Overground, were in outstanding quality. It is a nice document of performances spanning almost across the banshees entire career, particularly up to the tinderbox era, with only a few clips of the latter material. Despite that, it is a really good watch as it shows how the band grew from their primitive punk sound, to the more theatrical, fairground sound of peepshow.
All in all, one of the best Siouxsie and the Banshee compilations ever.
Having seen The Banshees at the peak of their career two times in Finland during their 1982 Scandinavian tour, which at the same time was the band's live intermission between JuJu, which I still rank, alongside The Scream and A Kiss In The Dreamhouse, on the trilogy of the Banshees's most brightest and innovative musical moments. Especially the 1982 Dave Jensen session with very raw versions of the songs like Cascade or Green Fingers, before the band lost themselves into psychedelic depths with producer Mike Hedges on Dreamhouse, and painted the songs with more Klimtian colours using flowerish and very rich, keyboard- and loop-orientated production colouring the songs which the band composed during their 1982 spring break, to follow up the single Fireworks, which still had the unique 1980-1982 era Banshees's trademark with Steve Severin's pulsating bass, John McGeoch's flangered guitar parts and Budgie's tumultous drumming.
Beside this unique four songs session you will find the 3 CD + DVD box set including all the Banshees's Peel sessions, on which it is verty easy to see, how the band's musical evolution on the Chuck Berry or T Rex -orientated glam/rock riffs of the first ever recorded version of Love In A Void from 1977 to the final echoes of ecstatic Into The Light from spring 1981. The production quality on the 1981 Richard Skinner session is a bit poorer compared to the others, but the raw version both on Arabian Knights and Head Cut are just worth of checking, beside the other pearls. Even with the 1979 Peel session Banshees show their music rooting more on the early 1970's glam or psychedelia than punk rock, with the Edgar Allan Poeishly horror-echoing lyrical alienation no progressive rock band could had ever been able to create. What is so strange, that the band never did a Peel session at 1980, with their musical enflowerement and new enlightment, but at least we see the band doing playback version of Happy House on TOTP at 1980.
Live Warwick thing was available even as a video bootleg back to late 1980's, and I am happy the recording with the best Banshees line-up and the set list that makes anyone to gasp from the excellent live version of Israel to the nightmarish noise of the final guitar flanging of Voodoo Dolly. It's really shame that the band never did a live record with guitarist McGeoch, because he actually was the innovative power on the band from 1980 to 1982, and was the one, who re-created the band sound (he was into th 1979-1980 Nigel Gray -produced The Police, which you can hear on the guitar and drum sounds especially on the Kaleidoscope -era songs) into the new heights.
The two BBC live concerts are also great, thre 1985 Oxford Apollo show shows the greatness of the guitarist John Valentine Caruthers, and the power of Tinderbox album, and 1988 show's the band more as a theatrical, but still interesting and innovative group. My top 5 unavailable from anywhere else (like last year's Banshees's Peel sessions CD)from the box are:
1) Fireworks TOTP 1982 2) Green Fingers Jensen 1982 3) Israel Warwick 1981 4) Jigsaw Feeling OGWT 1978 5) Happy House TOTP 1980
if youre a banshee fan, then this is a brilliant addition to your collection, worth every penny just for the rock goes to college footage alone!!. ok so there are a few repeat totp performances, but thats just a minor gripe, its worth listening to just to hear the development of a band from the earliest peel session in 77 through to royal albert hall in 88..buy buy buy
This is indeed a happy house! I remember listening to those early John Peel sessions before the band signed to Polydor and bought the 1st 3 albums (Metal Postcard was an instant hit with me and The Scream will always be in my Top Ten of all time!).
This release give me direct access to all the BBC recorded sessions, several live gigs and a host of TV appearances. Although the TOTP appearances are my least favourite I'm afraid that we have to embrace them (after all the band agreed to go on the show!).
No, I'm well chuffed with my purchase - at the price it currently is (£22-23) it's a steal - go on do it!
I was invited by Amazon to write a review for these 3 CDs 1 DVD and have no problem recommending Siouxsie Sue and her gang's work in the studio, on stage and on TV for the BBC. I had recently heard the re-issues on the original albums, containing many the original versions of tracks on this box set, and the versions here are excellent too. Peel (and others) sessions, Live and an entire Concert make up the CDs , but the real treat, is the DVD , all TOTP Old Grey Whistle test and other TV appearances and a concert filmed by the BBC. The only downside is a picture gallery on the DVD would have been a bonus as well as an interview or possibly the excellent Queens of British Pop series which ran on BBC around the same time as this release, which Siouxsie Sue , rightly , featured extensively. Just a thought perhaps all the "already paid for" material held by the BBC should be made available.