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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time Machine A Vertigo Retrospective

This 3-CD set is a tribute to the swirling Vertigo label of its golden-era of 1969 to 1973. And it is filled with some bands and artists that hit the big time like Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Rod Stewart, and Gentle Giant to name a few while others were too obscure or ahead of their time with bands like; Colosseum, Gracious!, Jimmy Campbell, Affinity, and Manfred Mann's Chapter Three. Ahead of their time? No, they were fucking awesome on this compilation of the Vertigo label. Disc one starts off with the hard rockin shuffle of Colosseum's The Kettle. The piece appeared on their first album Valentyne Suite to feature a newcomer keyboardist Dave Greenslade, unfortunately the album was released without this track in the US called The Grass is Greener in 1970. Of course The Kettle is a heavy metal classic that could have gotten airplays back in the 1970's. You have some killing artists like Juicy Lucy, Affinity, Clear Blue Sky, and Cressidsa's jazz ballad of To Play Your Little Games. This box set shows that they were virtuoso performers to get the Prog gates open into another world of a new dimension that you never seen before. Disc Two contains the weirdness of the Vertigo label with artists such as Dr. Z's Evil Woman's Manly Child and Jimmy Campbell's stoner folk classic Half-Baked from his self-titled album while May Blitz get the proto-thrash metal treatment with For Madmen Only. You get the Vertigo treatment of a whirlpool terror of Jade Warrior, Patto, Tudor Lodge, Beggars Opera, Warhorse, Freedom, Magna Carta, and the glam rock cult heroes the Sensational Alex Harvey Band with their punk rock classic Midnight Moses appearing on the second disc. The last disc covers the end of an era for the Vertigo label featuring classic prog with germany's Atlantis with their 9-minute blues rocker Living at the End of Time and Status Quo's fast bullet train single Paper Plane. Other artists and bands to close it up include Vangelis experimental's Let it Happen from his post-Aphrodite's Child album Earth, while Gravy Train goes sinister with their flute and guitar work on A Ballad of a Peaceful Man and Black Sabbath's classic Spiral Architect gets the closing of a life time. The booklet is a treat to show the history of the band's line-up and history of the Vertigo label, ads, and Mark Powell's liner notes. A brilliant Time Machine to back in time where Prog was king back then.

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