VA - Refugees: A Charisma Records Anthology 1969-1978 (2009) Remastered 3CD Set
VA - Refugees: A Charisma Records Anthology 1969-1978 (2009) Remastered 3CD Set
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 1.52 Gb (incl 5%) | Scans ~ 63 Mb | Time: 03:51:25
Genre: Progressive Rock, Art Rock, Folk Prog | Label: Charisma/Virgin | # CASBOX 2

Refuges: A Charisma Records Anthology tells the audio story of one of the most innovative labels of the '60s and '70s. Though this collection only spans a mere decade in the history of Rock (1969-78), it is a decade filled with musical innovation and excitement. Though most of their releases may have hovered outside the Top 40 in the U.S., the label's roster consisted of artists that are just as influential today as at any other time in the last 30-40 years. Features 44 tracks including cuts from Peter Gabriel, Van Der Graaf Generator, Genesis, Monty Pythons, Hawkwind, Bo Hansson, Rare Bird, The Alan Parson Project, Lindisfarne, Peter Hammill, Keith Emerson, String Driven Thing and many others.
In some ways, this very fully packed triple-CD set is akin to a gift from heaven - who could have expected, so far into the 21st century, that some producer would assemble the highlights of the Charisma record label in so thorough a manner? Charisma Records wasn't quite like any other record label in England (or anywhere else). Whereas other U.K. companies such as Decca, EMI, and Pye created special imprints devoted to their more adventurous musical acts at the end of the 1960s - Deram, Harvest, and Dawn, respectively - Charisma was founded as a progressive rock label from day one; it was never "mainstream" except to the degree - and revisionists may dispute this, but they would be wrong - that progressive rock became mainstream in the first half of the 1970s. The company had its share of future superstars, most notably Genesis, and stars in the guise of Lindisfarne and Van der Graaf Generator, and also a brace of artists that, sad to note in the context of this set, never did find suitable homes elsewhere, following the demise of the company and its founder, Tony Stratton-Smith (an ex-sports journalist with an interest in music). In many instances, the most familiar artists here (Genesis, the Nice, Van der Graaf Generator, et al.) are represented by relative obscurities, such as single edits and B-sides, which gives this set some appeal to completists, while the genuinely obscure people, such as "Topo D. Bill" on "Witchi Tai To" (actually Legs Larry Smith of the Bonzo Dog Band), do manage to get airings amid this august company, all to their advantage. And the makers have left few stones unturned, even including the Monty Python "Spam" song plus other bits of inspired madness and '70s-era U.K. whimsy. All of the expected bases are touched, not only Genesis, Peter Hammill, Peter Gabriel, et al., but also Lindisfarne and their offshoot group Jack the Lad, plus Alan Hull's solo work. And the Nice successor group Refugee gets a good accounting as well. And speaking of progressive keyboard music, Bo Hansson (of Lord of the Rings album fame) commands some space here, along with the first incarnation of Rare Bird. The sound is excellent and producer Phil Smee has not skimped on the annotation on this nicely designed triple-CD, 40-track package. The only caveat might be that, as one might expect, this set is for the already converted - anyone not already enamored of progressive rock or the more adventurous sides of U.K. folk-rock of the 1970s may remain unmoved by much of what's here (Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" will be the most familiar track to casual listeners). But as an overview of a label that dominated that field as much as any of the majors, this set is a top choice, if not exactly an ultimate or all-encompassing resource.
Review by Bruce Eder,

01. The Nice - America (06:07)
02. Topo D Bill - Witchi Toi To (03:29)
03. Rare Bird - Sympathy (02:33)
04. Van Der Graaf Generator - Refugees (05:20)
05. Lindisfarne - Lady Eleanor (04:13)
06. Brian Davison's Every Which Way - Bed Ain't What It Used To Be (09:28)
07. The Nice - Country Pie / Brandenburg Concerto No 6 In B Flat Major BWV 1051 (05:41)
08. Peter Hammill - Reawakening (03:57)
09. Genesis - Looking For Someone (07:06)
10. Bell & Arc - High Priest Of Memphis (03:30)
11. Jackson Heights - Doubting Thomas (04:13)
12. Audience - The House On The Hill (07:28)
13. Monty Python's Flying Circus - Spam Song (02:25)
14. Bo Hansson - The Black Riders And Flight To The Ford (04:07)
15. Lindisfarne - City Song (03:05)
16. Van Der Graaf Generator - Theme One (02:54)
01. Rare Bird - Hammerhead (03:11)
02. Audience - Jackdaw (07:29)
03. Van Der Graff Generator - Pioneer Over C (12:37)
04. Hot Thungs O'Riley - Grass for Blades (03:52)
05. Genesis - Twilight Alehouse (07:45)
06. Alan Hull - United States of Mind (03:05)
07. Jack the Lad - Why Can't I Be Satisfied (04:00)
08. Capability Brown - I Am and So Are You (03:57)
09. Refugee - Ritt Mickley (05:56)
10. Clifford T. Ward - Gaye (03:35)
11. Keith Emerson - Freedom Jazz Dance (03:04)
12. String Driven Thing - Heartfeeder (06:35)
13. Bo Hansson - Excursion with Complications (03:26)
14. Monty Python's Flying Circus - Mrs. Niggerbater (01:05)
15. Peter Hammill - Red Shift (08:10)
01. Hawkwind - Steppenwolf (09:44)
02. Peter Hammill - Nadir's Big Chance (03:36)
03. Steve Hackett - Star Of Sirius (07:08)
04. Alan Parsons Project - The Cask Of Amantillado (04:28)
05. String Driven Thing - Starving In The Tropics (05:17)
06. Brand X - Nuclear Burn (06:22)
07. Van Der Graaf Generator - Arrow (09:44)
08. Bo Hansson - Attic Thoughts (05:31)
09. Genesis - Match Of The Day (03:24)
10. Hawklords - PSI Power (06:07)
11. Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill (04:22)
12. Brand X - Sun In The Night (04:24)
13. Nik Turner's Sphynx - God Rock (07:35)
All thanks to original releaser - Fragile59

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