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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Echo & The Bunnymen - Crystal Days 1979-1999 ( Box Set )

Released : 17 July 2001
Recorded : March 1979 – 15 March 1999
Genre : Post-punk
Label : Rhino
Producer : Compilation/Andy Zax, Original Recordings/Lars Aldman, David Balfe, Bill Drummond, Echo & the Bunnymen, Kevin Howlett, Hugh Jones, Laurie Latham, Ray Manzarek, Gil Norton, Alan Perman

The answer is a resounding yes -- Echo & the Bunnymen's Crystal Days: 1979-1999, a four-disc set boasting a great built-in book with a biography and track-by-track commentary, is worth every penny. Through 71 tracks, it does an excellent job by catering to the longtime fan and merely curious, running through all the hits and selecting standout album tracks, rarities, and unreleased curiosities, all worthwhile. The very fact that compilation producer Andy Zax was driven to put this project into motion after realizing he just had to find a way to get stellar B-sides like the Velvets-meets-Byrds heaven of "Angels and Devils" and the Peel Session version of the experimental "No Hands" into circulation tells you right off that you're in good hands. If this great-sounding box proves anything, it's that the Bunnymen don't deserve to be merely regarded as an excellent '80s band; sure, they've had some bumps along the road, but despite having thrived in a decade known for plasticity and fad crazes, this collection establishes that their legacy exists apart from the negative connotations the "'80s band" tag carries. And by carefully selecting songs from their '90s incarnation, they throw a pie in the face of those who believe all reunions are artistic no-nos. The first three discs run chronologically through the band's first 20 years, occasionally throwing surprises into the mix with alternative versions and outtakes. The only gripe one might have is the favoring of the "All Night Version" of "The Killing Moon" over the original, which would be nitpicky. The final disc is chiefly occupied by live covers, including a great set-closing combo of the Velvets' "Heroin" and their own "Do It Clean." This is no mere nostalgia kick -- it's just solid, ageless rock & roll with attitude and brains.


disc 1

Monkeys (Original Version)
The Pictures On My Wall (Original Single Version)
Read It In Books (Original Single Version)
Villiers Terrace (John Peel Session)
Simple Stuff
Stars Are Stars
All That Jazz
The Puppet
Do It Clean
Show Of Strength
Over The Wall
A Promise
Heaven Up Here
All My Colours
Broke My Neck (Long Version)
No Hands (John Peel Session)
The Subject

disc 2
The Back Of Love
The Cutter
Way Out And Up We Go
Heads Will Roll
Gods Will Be Gods (Alternate Version)
Never Stop (Discotheque)
Watch Out Below (John Peel Session)
The Killing Moon (All Night Version)
Silver (Tidal Wave)
Angels And Devils
Crystal Days
Seven Seas
My Kingdom
Ocean Rain
All You Need Is Love

disc 3
Bring On The Dancing Horses
Over Your Shoulder
Lover I Love You
New Direction (Original Version)
Ship Of Fools
All My Life
The Game
Bedbugs And Ballyhoo
Lips Like Sugar (Single Version)
People Are Strange
Don't Let It Get You Down
I Want To Be There (When You Come)
Nothing Lasts Forever
What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?

disc 4

In The Midnight Hour
Start Again (Live, 1987)
The Original Cutter - A Drop In The Ocean
Heads Will Roll (Summer Version)
Bedbugs And Ballyhoo (Original Single Version)
Zimbo - With The Royal Burundi Drummers (Live, 1985)
Angels And Devils (Live, 1985)
She Cracked (Live, 1985)
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Live, 1985)
Soul Kitchen (Live, 1985)
Action Woman (Live, 1985)
Paint It Black (Live, 1985)
Run, Run, Run (Live, 1985)
Friction (Live, 1985)
Crocodiles (Live, 1985)
Heroin (Live, 1983)
Do It Clean (Live, 1983)


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