Roxy Music vinyl box offers a second shot at ’70s art-rock

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By Steve Newton

I wasn’t the artsiest rock-music fan to grow up in Chilliwack in the seventies; there was way too much Molly Hatchet in my vinyl diet for that.

But every now and then I’d venture beyond guitar-based boogie and try something a little more involved, like Roxy Music.

I remember buying Stranded when it came out in ’73–not just because of the cover!–and being blown away by the sheer wildness of tunes like “Mother of Pearl”. This was not what I was used to, although about a minute in Phil Manzanera provided my requisite rockin’ jollies with a flaming guitar wipeout. Thirty seconds later, though, the song gears down and turns into something else, a slow-burning backdrop for Bryan Ferry’s swaying, sophisticated poetry.

“Flirtin’ With Disaster” it was not.

I remember playing the heck out of Roxy Music‘s 1975 album,Siren, as well, being particularly fond of the funked-up “Love is the Drug” and torrid “Both Ends Burning”, but by the time the band released its final album, Avalon–with its smooth pop hit “More Than This”–my little sister was into Roxy Music, so obviously I couldn’t be.

In between the group released albums like Manifesto (1979) and Flesh and Blood (1980), which I never got around to listening to for one reason or another. And my ignorance of Roxy Music’s first two albums, Roxy Music (1972) and For Your Pleasure (’73) isn’t something I’m proud of, either.

The good news for me and others who might have missed out on the original Roxy Music experience is that last month Virgin Records released Roxy Music: The Studio Albums, a limited-edition box set which combines all eight of the band’s albums on 180-gram vinyl.

They’ve also been mastered at half speed, which is good…I guess.

Here’s some promotional bumph from Bryan Ferry’s website:

Roxy Music: The Studio Albums presents Roxy Music’s studio albums as they were originally meant to be seen and heard. The band’s album covers are legendary and became an integral part of what Roxy Music represented: cinematic imagery set to startling, otherworldly music.

This elegant vinyl release allows a new generation of music fans to discover why Roxy Music, with Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno for the first two albums, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson, is considered one of the most influential British bands: adventurous, bewildering, stylish, sexy and beguiling.

For all their imitators and admirers, no one has ever successfully cloned the unique and indefinable fusion of elements that made Roxy Music.

Tracklisting

Roxy Music (1972)

Side A
1. Re-Make/Re-Model
2. Ladytron
3. If There Is Something
4. 2 H.B.

Side B
1. The Bob (Medley)
2. Chance Meeting
3. Would You Believe?
4. Sea Breezes
5. Bitters End

For Your Pleasure (1973)

Side A
1. Do the Strand
2. Beauty Queen
3. Strictly Confidential
4. Editions of You
5. In Every Dream Home a Heartache

Side B
1. The Bogus Man
2. Grey Lagoons
3. For Your Pleasure

Stranded (1973)

Side A
1. Street Life
2. Just Like You
3. Amazona
4. Psalm

Side B
1. Serenade
2. A Song for Europe
3. Mother of Pearl
4. Sunset

Country Life (1974)

Side A
1. The Thrill of It All
2. Three and Nine
3. All I Want Is You
4. Out of the Blue
5. If It Takes All Night

Side B
1. Bitter-Sweet
2. Triptych
3. Casanova
4. A Really Good Time
5. Prairie Rose

Siren (1975)

Side A
1. Love Is the Drug
2. End of the Line
3. Sentimental Fool
4. Whirlwind

Side B
1. She Sells
2. Could It Happen to Me?
3. Both Ends Burning
4. Nightingale
5. Just Another High

Manifesto (1979)

Side A
1. Manifesto
2. Trash
3. Angel Eyes
4. Still Falls the Rain
5. Stronger Through the Years

Side B
1. Ain’t That So
2. My Little Girl
3. Dance Away
4. Cry, Cry, Cry
5. Spin Me Round

Flesh And Blood (1980)

Side A
1. In the Midnight Hour
2. Oh Yeah
3. Same Old Scene
4. Flesh and Blood
5. My Only Love

Side B
1. Over You
2. Eight Miles High
3. Rain, Rain, Rain
4. No Strange Delight
5. Running Wild

Avalon (1982)

Side A
1. More than This
2. The Space Between
3. Avalon
4. India
5. While My Heart Is Still Beating

Side B
1. The Main Thing
2. Take a Chance with Me
3. To Turn You On
4. True to Life
5. Tara

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