The primary reason for buying this album is the inclusion of the entire 'Farewell To The Real Magnificent Seven' album, which forms the backbone of CD1. Like the Zombies' superb parting shot Odessey and Oracle, the album was released as the band broke up. The difference, however, is that it was a collection of singles and leftovers. Incredibly, it sounds like a masterwork and has a consistency that their debut album for Deram lacked.
The big hits, 'Half As Nice' and 'Hello Susie' are both included and there is more gorgeous pop in the form of 'At Last I've Found Someone To Love' and 'Mr Nonchalant'. The big surprise is the plethora of weighty rock numbers. 'Evil Man's Gonna Win', 'Lady Riga' and 'Welcome To The Club' are especially impressive as is the rousing 'Hey! Hey! Girl'. Most impressive is 'Farewell...', an extended workout with a wordless vocal arrangement. The theme song to the horror film 'Scream And Scream Again' also appears. The three covers are arguably the least interesting tracks. 'Get Back' was a mistake, while 'Proud Mary' is decent, but I was never a fan of The Band's ponderous 'The Weight'.
Apart from a few bonuses, the album is completed by Amen Corner's live album which fills CD2. This reveals that they were a fine live act, though it is also a reminder that pop bands were still being screamed at in the late 1960s, a feature that mars several live albums of that decade. Nevertheless, this collection contains a wealth of great, but relatively unheralded music.
Before signing to the Immediate label, Amen Corner (lead singer Andy Fairweather-Low) had three major UK hits for Deram - Bend me shape me, Gin house blues and High in the sky. You'll find live versions of those hits here, but you must buy a separate compilation for the original studio recordings of those three songs. This compilation presents everything that Amen Corner recorded for Immediate. The first CD contains their studio recordings while the second CD is a straight re-issue of their live album, The National Welsh Coast Live Explosion. The studio recordings include the two UK hits that they had for the label - If paradise was half as nice (a number one hit) and Hello Suzie (a top five hit) together with covers of Get back (Beatles), Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and The weight (The Band). There are many other great songs too, including Evil man's gonna win, Farewell to the real magnificent seven, Lady Riga and Long chocolate limousine. I'm not always keen on live albums but the one featured on the second CD is certainly one of the best I've heard. After the collapse of the Immediate label, the group evolved into Fairweather and had a UK top ten hit on RCA with Natural sinner, but the group disbanded soon afterwards. Andy Fairweather-Low had a couple of UK top ten hits in the mid-seventies with Reggae tune and Wide-eyed and legless. So this compilation stands on its own merit, but if you enjoy the music here you might also enjoy their earlier music as well as Andy's solo music.