Various Artists CD: "Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal"

Sleeve and track listing

Island 982 295-0. (4 stars!)

Disc 1

  1. Art Supernatural Fairy Tales
  2. Traffic Paper Sun
  3. Wynder K Frog Harpsichord Shuffle
  4. Nirvana Rainbow Chaser
  5. Tramline Pearly Queen
  6. Spooky Tooth Sunshine Help Me
  7. John Martyn Dusty
  8. Fairport Convention Meet On The Ledge
  9. Jethro Tull A Song For Jeffrey
  10. Clouds The Carpenter
  11. Heavy Jelly I Keep Singing That Same Old Song
  12. White Noise Black Mass: (Electric Storm In Hell)
  13. Free Over The Green Hills (Part 1)
  14. Free Worry
  15. Quintessence Giants
  16. Amazing Blondell Queen Of Scots
  17. Traffic Feelin' Alright?
  18. Blodwyn Pig Sing Me A Song That I Know So Well
  19. Fairport Convention A Sailor's Life

Disc 2

  1. Jethro Tull A New Day Yesterday
  2. Traffic No Time To Live
  3. Nick Drake Three Hours
  4. Spooky Tooth Lost In My Dream
  5. John & Beverley Martyn Stormbringer
  6. Dr Strangely Strange Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal
  7. Quintessence Notting Hill Gate
  8. Fotheringay Banks Of The Nile
  9. Cat Stevens Wild World
  10. The Incredible String Band Painted Chariot
  11. King Crimson Cat Food
  12. King Crimson Groon
  13. Sandy Denny The North Star Grassman And The Raven
  14. McDonald & Giles Suite in C; Including Turnham Green/Here I Am and Others
  15. Amazing Blondel The Siege of Yaddlethorpe

Disc 3

  1. Emerson Lake and Palmer Knife Edge
  2. Mott The Hoople Thunderbuck Ram
  3. Nick Drake Northern Sky
  4. Alan Bown Thru The Night
  5. Robin Williamson Dark Dance
  6. Spooky Tooth I Am The Walrus
  7. John Martyn Glistening Glyndebourne
  8. Free Fire And Water
  9. Blodwyn Pig See My Way
  10. Vinegar Joe See The World (Through My Eyes)
  11. Cat Stevens Peace Train
  12. Clouds Watercolour Days
  13. Traffic The Low Spark Of The High Heeled Boys
  14. Heads Hands and Feet Song For Suzie

Review

Various artists type compilations are two a penny, and invariably include material that's appeared on countless compilations beforehand. This one, however is different. It draws on material from 1967 to 1972 and includes most of the "progressive" artists on Island's roster. Thus you get well-known names such as Free, Traffic and Jethro Tull as well as lesser-known names like Clouds and Fotheringay.

Mott The Hoople fans will immediately be drawn the disc 3, for it includes the rare "Bumpers" version of Thunderbuck Ram which, at the time of writing (2006), is unavailable elsewhere. This features Verden Allen's organ high in the mix - it was left off the regular Mad Shadows version.

Interest will also be shown in the three Spooky Tooth tracks, which feature Luther Grosvenor on guitar - he would, of course, become Ariel Bender on joining Mott. His guitar work here is quite tasty - fans may wonder why he appeared to lose it (especially on the Hoople album, which had to be arranged around keyboards as a result).

Finally there is Traffic's Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys, which many in the Mott camp thought to be about Mott (and not in a flattering way either).

Mott fans, therefore, may find this an essential purchase but more casual fans who remember the 70's (and the 60's) will find plenty to like here as well.

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Copyright © 2006-2018 Adrian Perkins