Manzanera’s 801 Live Gets Deluxe 2-CD

 

Groundbreaking Prog album now to include unreleased tracks.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

On August 11 Roxy Music
guitarist Phil Manzanera’s Expression
Records
will release The 801 Series,
comprising 801 Live Collector’s Edition,
801 Manchester, 801 Live @ Hull and 801
Latino
. All four albums have been digitally remastered and repackaged with
extras. The original classic album, 801
Live
, is presented in a book form with an extra CD containing
previously unheard rehearsal footage from Shepperton Studios as well as new
photographs and text.

 
Phil Manzanera explains the
origin of the series: “Over the years I’ve been sent photos from these
gigs, which led me to go back to the original concert tapes, and then [fellow
band member] Bill MacCormick came across yet more photos and struck gold with
the audio of the 801 Shepperton Studios rehearsals.  So that was the
impetus for this 801 Live  Collectors 
Edition
and series.”

 

801 Live was
originally released in 1976 to rave critical reviews and an enthusiastic
reception by Prog fans and Anglophiles. It boasted material penned by Manzanera
and MacCormick as well as songs by Brian Eno (then a member of the group), the
Kinks (a Prog-rock take on “You Really Got Me”) and the Beatles (likewise, with
“Tomorrow Never Knows”).

 

In 1976, while Roxy Music had temporarily disbanded, 801 (also referred to as THE 801) got
together as a temporary project and began rehearsing at Island Studios,
Hammersmith, about three weeks before their first gig. The name of the band was
taken from the Eno song
“The True Wheel”, which appears on his 1974 solo album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). The refrain of the song — “We are the 801, we are the
central shaft” — reportedly came to him in a dream.

The original sextet included Manzanera,
Brian Eno, Bill MacCormick, Francis Monkman, Simon Phillips and Lloyd Watson, and after a warm up show
in Cromer in Norfolk, that line-up played just two gigs – at the Reading
Festival (with John Peel acclaiming them ‘the musical high point of the
weekend’) and at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. This memorable concert was
subsequently released as ‘801 Live’.

Appearing at the height of the punk rock revolution in the UK, the LP was
not a major commercial success, but it sold well throughout the world, due both
for the superb performances by the musicians and for its groundbreaking sound
quality.

(Although live albums were by then becoming increasingly sophisticated in their
production — thanks to the advent of portable multi-track recorders and mobile
studios — most were hampered by relatively poor sound quality. Up until this
time, the standard procedure for both front-of-house mixing and live recording
was to capture the sound of amplified instruments such as guitars by placing
microphones in front of the amplifiers. Although many superb performances were
captured, the results were still markedly inferior to studio recordings and
live recordings often suffered from a range of problems such as distortion,
noise, sound “leakage” between instruments, poor separation and
intrusive audience sounds.)

 

As Melody Maker put it at the time, “During the concert, these people
collectively reached a point where virtually anything is possible. The music
seemed to me to embody all the virtues of the very early Roxy Music, with the
freedom to try and the freedom to fail. Except that now they’re more confident,
more able, more eloquent. Manzanera, Eno, and the rest of the
“school” to which they belong have, if they wish, a lengthy and
increasingly fascinating creative life ahead of them. As the words of ‘Tomorrow
Never Knows’ suggest, “801 Live
may well be simply the end of the beginning.”

 

Track listing:

CD 1Lagrima, T.N.K,
East Of Asteroid, Rongwrong, Sombre Reptiles, Golden Hours, The Fat Lady Of
Limbourg, Baby’s On Fire, Diamond Head, Miss Shapiro, You Really Got Me, Third
Uncle
.

CD 2 (Recorded at Shepperton
Studios during rehearsals Aug 23rd 1976) – Lagrima, T.N.K, East Of Asteroid,
Rongwrong, Sombre Reptiles, The Fat Lady Of Limbourg, Baby’s On Fire, Diamond
Head, Miss Shapiro, You Really Got Me, Third Uncle, Lagrima
(Reprise)
 

 

 

 

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