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Customer Review

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply great!, 1 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Cavaliers [An Anthology 1973-1974] (Audio CD)
I'm in total agreement with the first two reviewers of this set!

As both previous reviewers have said, most fans will buy this for CD3, the demos album. The funny thing is I thought it was strange that EMI had not previously decided to release expanded CDs of both albums and then they go and release a 4 CD set which is then made available at the cost of one full price CD!

As I type this review up I am listening to the live album (CD4) and it is brilliant. I got the CD set yesterday and have played CD3 over and over. If you are already familiar with the Menagerie and Psychomodo albums then hearing the demos and early versions are a real treat.

If you have not already heard Menagerie and Psychomodo (where have you been for the last 38 years?) then this is an unbelievable bargain! I bought Psychomodo in '74 and it has remained one of my all time favourite albums throughout. It is a great album from beginning to end with no 'fillers'. Personally I think this album shows Harley at his most creative and slightly avant-garde and it is for that reason that the album does not appear 'dated' in the way that many 70's albums do. The Human Managerie was a very strong first album with a number of great songs however, at the risk of alienating Rebel fans, I always found Sebastian vastly over-rated. If I had to pick a favourite song from Menagerie it would have to be Crazy Raver. The inclusion of Rock and Roll Parade (b side to Sebastian) is very welcome.

This set is obviously some sort of tie-in with the Symphony Hall gig coming up on the 24th November 2012. I already have my ticket for the gig and very much looking forward to it. Hopefully the gig will be recorded for either a live CD release and/or a DVD release. Time will tell.

On the negative side, the booklet would have benefited from having the lyrics. However, my main criticism is that the cover is awful! Sadly the cover looks like an afterthought and more akin to some shoddy CD sold at motorway service stations. Both albums originally had great front covers and, as both albums have the same band members, I'm sure a suitable photo could have been found of the group. I remember the Fame compilation album from the 1990's(?) had a great band photo. Please don't be put off by the cover as the contents are first class!

Cockney Rebel were a truly original band that in 1973/74 were slightly outside of mainstream pop but close enough to have commercial success and still retain a large degree of credibility.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Nov 2012, 17:19:44 GMT
I agree with you about Sebastian - though I think in my case it's simply over-familiarity as I played it to death back in the day. I also agree with you about the packaging. In its defence, it does capture something of the Seventies with its contemporary fonts and colours. But it would have worked a lot better on a printed digi-pack or cardboard cover and not housed in the awful plastic, just-ready-to-break-at-any-minute jewel case. And I find the sleevenotes deeply disappointing. There is nothing of any substance about how the band formed and later fell apart, or any detailed discussion about the creation of the work. And, as you point out, no lyrics. Of course I am being picky, after all the box set is a bargain. I for one, however, would have gladly paid a bit more for the sort of packaging that was both built to last and aesthetically more pleasing.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2012, 08:05:42 GMT
Raintown says:
I too agree about "Sebastian". Never been a big fan of "Mr Soft" either.

Posted on 9 Nov 2012, 12:13:45 GMT
K. Phillips says:
In full agreement with your review except I love "Sebastian" and my least favourite track is "Crazy Raver". I have been playing disc 3 over and over and it is a sheer delight. My only negative thought being Harley's notes. He name checks his old flat mates and the people behind the desk i.e. Parsons and Harrison but no mention of the band, without who.............. well, who knows.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Nov 2012, 12:22:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Nov 2012, 12:23:54 GMT
M. A. Green says:
The band were very important to the sound of these two albums. The inclusion of a violin in a band was very unusual for the period and electric piano was not that common either. These instruments helped to give Cockney Rebel their distinct sound. The subsequent three SH&CR albums were much more 'mainstream' pop.
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