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Henry Cow - The Road Volumes 1-10: 40th Anniversary 9 x CDs / 1 x DVD box set with two 60 page books in two solid boxes (due to size and weight, this price for the USA only)
HOLY COW (sorry - couldn't resist). This is IT. Chris Cutler has been talking about a multi-volume set of Henry Cow material for some time and it has finally arrived and it is more than ANY fan could have hoped for. This covers the band's career from the pre-Virgin days up to the band's demise in 1978.
These are all previously unreleased recordings, some live, some demo, some studio, all sonically enhanced by Bob Drake's painstaking re-mastering. We are treated to everything from early BBC sessions to somewhat later live improvisations, alternate recordings with Robert Wyatt, to the full 18 minute version of "With the Yellow Moon And Half Star" (The Bacchae).
Later material highlights include the original version of "Joan", as well as a 12 minute, hitherto unreleased piece by Lindsay Cooper, and great versions of "Erk Gah and "Viva Pa Ubu". There's also some immaculate improvising, including a 17 minute foray from the original RIO Festival, and Fred's "Waking Against Sleep" from the Western Culture sessions.
There are many compositions and improvisations new to anyone who only knows the album releases; the set also documents a number of one-off projects and events. Plus much, much more (I mean, we're talking NINE CDs!).
And if that wasn't enough to give you diabetes shock, the ONE video recording of the group, made for Swiss television was found and the DVD was made directly from the original video-tape master and it's here now for posterity! It's a full 75' long, professionally shot (for the time) television concert and it includes fairly incredible versions of "Beautiful As The Moon", "Living In The Heart Of The Beast", "March", "Erk Gah", "No More Songs" and a improvised piece.
Last but not least, there is a great deal of historical documentation in two 60 page booklets: photographs, posters, memorabilia, as well as a complete biography and a series of specially written essays, recollections, histories and commentaries on the compositions by all the members of the band.
Well. This really is the final word on this great band.
I ordered this when it came out and haven't regretted it at all, even though I was not *that* much of an HC fan. An amazing amount of really high-quality music.
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