Author Topic: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"  (Read 9940 times)

Brundle-Fly

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2016, 04:28:05 PM »
The only Stones stuff I like is Aftermath / Between the Buttons / Satanic Majesties, but that - as with my XTC stance as quoted in the opening post - is due to my personal taste rather than any signifier of quality. Bluesy rock stuff has never interested me, but jangly 60s psych-pop is right up my street.

Other than It, Pulp are difficult to categorise as they never made massive leaps, instead evolving gradually from one record to the next. Myself, I actually find Freaks very dull, but love Masters of the Universe - that aside, I generally like them from It through to His'n'Hers and then not very much afterwards. I like the cheap sounding production and slightly smaller line-up. The big punchy later stuff just sounds wrong to me, and I find a lot of the songs seem too stretched out. I'd enjoy Different Class and This is Hardcore a lot more if most of the songs had a minute or two trimmed off them.

Hmm, Tangerine Dream are a band who evolved gradually from release to release, but there are some blurred cutoff points.
Some people only like their first four, krautrock albums
The 'classic' sound has probably the most fans, although interestingly this only seems to span three albums (Phaedra, Rubycon and Ricochet), plus Stratosfear and the Sorcerer soundtrack at an absolute push
Force Majeure is a bit of a one-off
The '80s era with Johannes Schmoelling, 1980-1985, is the other really popular era with fans, although even the last of these, Le Parc, is considered the start of the band's decline by some; others count the first album with Paul Haslinger, 1986's Underwater Sunlight, as their last great album
The first post-Chris Franke album, Optical Race, is another album commonly considered to be a cutoff point in quality (certainly around / shortly after this point they started churning out a worrying amount of anonymous muzak-sounding stuff)
The run of early/mid '90s albums Rockoon, Turn of the Tides, Tyranny of Beauty and Goblin's Club has its fans, but I think by almost all parts of the fanbase is considered the group's low point.
1999's Mars Polaris is usually considered, if not a return to form, the first album in a long time to capture something of what made TD popular for such a long time.
2005's Jeanne D'Arc and 2007's Springtime in Nagasaki seem to mark what is considered a bit of a renaissance in the band's creativity - a lot of fans consider this to have continued through to the present day.

Myself, I like the majority of their studio albums from the start through to 1990's Melrose. After that I only really like Goblin's Club (1996), Mars Polaris (1999), Jeanne D'Arc (2005), Springtime & Summer in Nagasaki (2007), Purple Diluvial (2008), Mala Kunia (2013) and Quantum Key (2015). With the departure of Paul Haslinger in 1990, there was definitely a change from a co-operative group format to effectively members contributing solo or largely solo tracks, and I think that's reflected in the popularity of those later albums. 2005 - 2008 seemed promising but the number of Edgar solo releases after that just watered it down to him putting out three or four interchangeable albums every year until Ulrich Schnauss joined.

Nice and comprehensive. Where do you stand on Can?

Serge

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2016, 07:49:54 PM »
>Insert joke about 'on Jaki Liebezeit's shoulders' here.

Serge

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2016, 07:58:21 PM »
I think The Beatles were pretty consistent over their eight year span as a recording group - although the earlier stuff often gets overlooked[1], 'With The Beatles' and 'A Hard Day's Night' are two pretty amazing albums which I think any band would be proud of.

I've always had a cut-off point for the Stones of 'Goat's Head Soup', though I think 'Exile' is overrated, but reading that Uncut Special on them has whet my appetite to explore everything up until 'Tattoo You' at some point.

I've always been a Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac man, though have recently come around to the Danny Kirwan era (everything up to 'Bare Trees'), but will never be reconciled with the ghastly Buckingham/Nicks era, and have been astonished to find that that's now 'the cool era'. I think 'Rumours' is the worst fucking album ever made, but that's a matter of personal taste of course.

Roger Waters all the way with Pink Floyd.

There is no CAN era I dislike, and I think they only ever made on bad album - 'Out Of Reach' - but I think it goes Damo Era>Malcolm Era>Afterwards for most people (though with no real drop to speak of between the first two eras, but they are different groups in many ways.)
 1. Compared to their later stuff, as opposed to Compared with anyone else.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2016, 08:13:49 PM »
Catatonia: low-selling early singles and 1st album are great, and an interesting side-stream of Britpop.

Massive-selling stadium indie hits after that, not worth any notice.

purlieu

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2016, 09:00:20 PM »
Where do you stand on Can?
I quite like Tago Mago.

Howj Begg

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2016, 10:37:04 PM »
Interesting you mention The Beatles, I'm not sure I've ever encountered someone who doesn't prefer their latter output to their early work. In fact, I've come across very few ardent fans of their pre-For Sale oeuvre if any.

I narrowly prefer 1962-1966 to 1967 - 1970. Later Beatles is often listless, perfunctory, 'will this do?' or just plain embarrassing. The energy of the early years, which is at least half their eternal charm, is often missing.

monkfromhavana

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2016, 10:51:21 PM »
The Prodigy  - early stuff is great, 3rd album variable, after -   total dross in the main.

Pepotamo1985

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2016, 11:15:15 PM »
There is no CAN era I dislike, and I think they only ever made on bad album - 'Out Of Reach'.

Now that's interesting, largely because it's such ingrained wisdom that everything post Future Days is wank I never bothered investigating any of that output. I'll have to have a look-see-listen now.

Pepotamo1985

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2016, 11:33:42 PM »
Animals and, honest, Atom Heart Mother have always been my favourite Floyd albums.

Interestingly (or not), I'd say the same. Don't rate everything on AHM but its highlights are so excellent I can look past the weaker stuff. By way of contrast, Meddle is home to Echoes, perhaps their greatest song, but the rest of that album is AIDS.

Unlike most, I really struggle with most Syd era stuff - far too twee for my liking.

There's some lovely psychedelic pop littered around that era (mainly the singles, but Piper has a few choice cuts too), but I'd largely agree with that. I think at least some of Piper's cachet comes from the mythology surrounding Syd's implosion peddled by the music press, as if it's a rare opportunity to hear a genius at the height of his powers and wonder what he could've achieved if drugs didn't enter the mix. The childlike nursery rhymes are charming enough initially but withstand little scrutiny or replays.

I'd take everything they released after that over either of those.

Really? AMLOR and TDB easily rank among my most hated records ever.

the science eel

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2016, 11:54:13 PM »
Now that's interesting, largely because it's such ingrained wisdom that everything post Future Days is wank I never bothered investigating any of that output. I'll have to have a look-see-listen now.

Landed is ace. And 'All Gates Open' (which comes from their 1979 album Can - supposedly well past their peak) might be my favourite Can track of all.

Jockice

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2016, 04:48:15 AM »
What about my hero Lawrence then? I think latter (yres, thats post Deebank) period Felt and early Denim is his golden period but there's a lot to be said for early Felt and the later Denim/Go Kart Mozart stuff. There's none of it I really dislike anyway, even though some of it is, shall we say, an acquired taste.

Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2016, 09:46:05 AM »
I don't really like early Cocteau Twins stuff very much because it sounds too dated, their best period is from Blue Bell Knoll onwards.

Serge

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2016, 10:32:51 AM »
Now that's interesting, largely because it's such ingrained wisdom that everything post Future Days is wank I never bothered investigating any of that output. I'll have to have a look-see-listen now.

I don't know how much of this comes from Julian Cope's 'Krautrocksampler', though he even dismisses 'Future Days', to be fair. The albums after FD are patchier than before, but, with the exception of 'Out Of Reach', there's always something worth hearing on them. 'Saw Delight' and the final[1], self-titled album are my favourites post-FD. 'Saw Delight' kicks off with 'Don't Say No' which, yes, is basically a retooled 'Moonshake', but is one my favourites, and also has the epic 'Animal Waves'. The final album has 'All Gates Open', 'Safe', 'A Spectacle'[2] and 'Sunday Jam', and I even like the cheesy version of 'Can Can', though I admit that would appall a lot of people!
 1. Final from the original era, not counting 'Rite Time', the reformation album.
 2. Happy Mondays have definitely heard this one.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2016, 11:32:36 AM »

Primal Scream: Maybe because I bought their first singles on Creation Records and saw them live around that time too, but I still have a great fondness for their first two albums. I like lots of their other stuff too but they're still probably my favourites.

They're a bit like The Shamen in that respect. Started off being The 13th Floor Elevators/ The Seeds type sike band, went to a nightclub in 1987 and subsequently added sequencers and beatz into the mix.

Christopher Mayhew Says
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE5AexBSnIw

I would say I prefer all the first experimentation with electronics era :In Gorbachev We Trust (1988), Phorward (1989), En-Tact (1990) but like a lot of old fans, was rather bewildered by the introduction of Mr C after Will Sinnot's tragic drowning accident. The huge success of Boss Drum (1992) even blindsided the band and they conceded it slightly tarnished their reputation. I have a soft spot for that No 1 single but it wasn't THE Shamen as far as I was concerned.

During the Britpop wars and the continuing rise of DJ culture, I never bothered with the next three: Axis Mutatis (1995), Hempton Manor (1996), UV (1998) believing it to be more of the same. After doing a bit of research, the last two are apparently nothing like Boss Drum, and mostly darker instrumental affairs that basically finished their career. They had an acrimonious split with label, One Little Indian who wanted hits again. I may have to investigate these now.

Jockice

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2016, 12:18:40 PM »
They're a bit like The Shamen in that respect. Started off being The 13th Floor Elevators/ The Seeds type sike band, went to a nightclub in 1987 and subsequently added sequencers and beatz into the mix.

Christopher Mayhew Says
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE5AexBSnIw

I would say I prefer all the first experimentation with electronics era :In Gorbachev We Trust (1988), Phorward (1989), En-Tact (1990) but like a lot of old fans, was rather bewildered by the introduction of Mr C after Will Sinnot's tragic drowning accident. The huge success of Boss Drum (1992) even blindsided the band and they conceded it slightly tarnished their reputation. I have a soft spot for that No 1 single but it wasn't THE Shamen as far as I was concerned.

During the Britpop wars and the continuing rise of DJ culture, I never bothered with the next three: Axis Mutatis (1995), Hempton Manor (1996), UV (1998) believing it to be more of the same. After doing a bit of research, the last two are apparently nothing like Boss Drum, and mostly darker instrumental affairs that basically finished their career. They had an acrimonious split with label, One Little Indian who wanted hits again. I may have to investigate these now.

Me too!

The prime example of their early stuff being better is of course Simple Minds No further comment is needed.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2016, 12:53:50 PM »
Me too!

The prime example of their early stuff being better is of course Simple Minds No further comment is needed.

And while we're on this tip, OMD and Ultravox seem to fall into 'early = best' category with the pop intelligentsia.

great_badir

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2016, 01:25:52 PM »
Really? AMLOR and TDB easily rank among my most hated records ever.

Yep, really.  Aside from Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell (both infinitely better live), I absolutely hate The Wall.  Final Cut is marginally better, but still shit.  And it is effectively just stuff that was left over from The Wall anyway.  I'm not a fan of Waters' solo stuff at all, and those two have the least amount of input from the rest of the band, so they are basically just Roger Waters solo albums with Pink Floyd as the backing band.  On paper Animals is the same, of course, but there's an awful lot of Gilmour and Wright pumping through those veins.

Admittedly they're easy listening, but at least AMLOR has Learning To Fly, One Slip, Terminal Frost and Sorrow, whilst DB has What Do You Want From Me, Take It Back and Keep Talking.

massive bereavement

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2016, 02:41:33 PM »
It's impossible for me to separate artists from the period in which they recorded their work. Music in general got better as the 1960s progressed, peaked around 1970 and then took a serious dive from 1973ish. Every artist active during that period pretty much reflected that trajectory. The Velvet Underground bucked the trend but they lost a key member.

For everybody who's come onto the scene since, I can't think of a single act that didn't become progressively worse, usually very swiftly. I'm relatively old now but I still cannot get into ageing rock stars' music, it's no different to football for me. Once you hit 33 you need to retire or become a producer.


Brundle-Fly

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2016, 03:38:40 PM »


For everybody who's come onto the scene since, I can't think of a single act that didn't become progressively worse, usually very swiftly. I'm relatively old now but I still cannot get into ageing rock stars' music, it's no different to football for me. Once you hit 33 you need to retire or become a producer.

That's quite a stricture you've got there. I couldn't disagree more. Some of my favourite artistes have done some of their best work in their forties.

I wouldn't want to be stuck in 1971 forever. And I'm damned if I'm only going to solely listen to music made by twenty one year olds in their bedrooms in 2016.

Disclaimer: Although, I'm know there is some great stuff out there recorded by young people etc blah blah.

But only the early stuff made back in February.

Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #49 on: June 29, 2016, 07:03:51 PM »
My taste in music changed almost exactly in tune with how Blur matured as a band, loved their first few albums and thought The Great Escape was the best thing ever, then got massively bored with them and they started to reinvent themselves and by the time Think Tank came out I was well on board with the change. The Great Escape loving 10 year old of my past would never have listened to Think Tank.

Beetlebum came on when I was in the Co-Op about half an hour ago, I involuntarily started humming to myself then realised I was also tapping my feet a bit and probably looked a bit of a tit in the queue.

Pepotamo1985

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #50 on: June 29, 2016, 07:25:32 PM »
Aside from Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell (both infinitely better live), I absolutely hate The Wall.

Yeah, it is pretty dreary. I recently revisited The Final Cut, previously being mildly positive on it, and found it miserable and stultifying. 23 Daves once described Waters' lyrics as the rantings of a cab driver, and I find that hard to fault.

As for your point about them basically being Waters solo records, TFC very literally is listed as Roger Waters with Pink Floyd, isn't it?

On paper Animals is the same, of course, but there's an awful lot of Gilmour and Wright pumping through those veins.

I think Gilmour has stated Waters hogging every writing credit (save for Dogs, which he shares with Gilmour) on Animals was the point he realised the band was basically done. The bass parts on the record were almost definitely written (and definitely played) exclusively by Dave, given that they're excellent and Waters is a terrible player. Musically, it's far too interesting to be Waters' solo handiwork.

Admittedly they're easy listening, but at least AMLOR has Learning To Fly, One Slip, Terminal Frost and Sorrow, whilst DB has What Do You Want From Me, Take It Back and Keep Talking.

Yeah, I'm with you on those highlights - save for Keep Talking, which I never liked.

Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #51 on: June 29, 2016, 07:58:08 PM »
I'm in a very tiny minority on this but I consider Undercover to be the last great, or at least consistently good, Stones album. It's of its time, but I prefer that to the rigid traditionalism of their last three albums; they've certainly been nowhere near as playful since. That said Bridges to Babylon is quite fun and Voodoo Lounge has some real gems on it; they're the ultimate example of a band who suffered from the expanded capacity offered by CDs.

Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #52 on: June 29, 2016, 08:13:54 PM »
As far as Can goes I would say the big shift wasn't actually Damo leaving it was moving to Virgin and recording in a multitrack studio rather than the previous live performance cutup method. Soon over Babaluma recorded more the old way is IMHO not far off the previous three albums where as I think Landed(I do love Half Past One) forwards things become patchier bar the terrible Out of Reach.

I'v encountered a few people who only really like the Mooney/Velvets inspired earlier era and give up after Soundtracks or Tago Mago.

I think Gilmour has stated Waters hogging every writing credit (save for Dogs, which he shares with Gilmour) on Animals was the point he realised the band was basically done. The bass parts on the record were almost definitely written (and definitely played) exclusively by Dave, given that they're excellent and Waters is a terrible player. Musically, it's far too interesting to be Waters' solo handiwork.

Indeed, I actually think that Animals sounds the most "Gilmourish" of any of Floyds big albums, you listen to his solo album from 78(way better than The Wall) and I think his contribution to that album becomes obvious and really what gives it most of its soul.

Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #53 on: June 29, 2016, 08:21:20 PM »
The other big Krautrock shift would I spose be Popul Vuh moving from the Synth sound of the first couple of albums to the more relaxed stuff using conventional instruments from Hosianna Mantra onwards.

Like both but I have a preference for the latter stuff as I think its a bit more unique.

the science eel

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #54 on: June 29, 2016, 08:47:24 PM »
As far as Can goes I would say the big shift wasn't actually Damo leaving it was moving to Virgin and recording in a multitrack studio rather than the previous live performance cutup method. Soon over Babaluma recorded more the old way is IMHO not far off the previous three albums

It's rubbish, that one. Just a load of wispy 'soundscapes'. I'd take pretty much any other Can album over it.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #55 on: June 29, 2016, 09:03:04 PM »
The received wisdom on The Kinks goes roughly like this.

Early rock/R'n'B albums: patchy, but Ray was finding his feet as a songwriter. Enlivened by the occasional proto-punk stormer.

Mid-to-late '60s "quintessentially English" pop albums: The Kinks at their best. Hell, British pop music at its best.

Early '70s albums: A more rock-tinged continuation of the above. Still essential, but the end was nigh.

Mid-'70s theatrical rock albums: Self-indulgent toss. Ray had lost his mind by this point.

Everything from the late '70s to the early '90s: horrid, sell-out, quasi-metal, stadium rock. A betrayal of everything The Kinks were about. A sad, prolonged death rattle for a once great band.

WELL LET ME TELL YOU THIS.

Their run from Face to Face (1966) to Everybody's in Showbiz (1972) is peerless. Some of the greatest pop-rock albums ever made. "Genius" is an overused, redundant word, but Ray Davies' songwriting was beyond compare in those days. Incredibly prolific, yet constantly inspired. A staggering body of work.

However, the notion that Ray suddenly lost it during his "conceptual" phase is bunkum. Yes, he was no longer filling albums with classic pop songs, but taken as a whole, the likes of Preservation Act One, Soap Opera and Schoolboys in Disgrace are cohesive, thoughtful, impressive works. Also, songs such as Sweet Lady Genevieve are up there with their best. It's just that they never appear on Greatest Hits comps.

Their late '70s AOR albums, while containing their fair share of bland, dubious filler, are an interesting example of an idiosyncratic English songwriter applying his talents to a mainstream American rock style and, for the most part, beating his contemporaries in terms of lyrical insight and songwriting craft. Airless production and all, Misfits is a beautiful song.

Low Budget, however, is a horrible album. It's Ray writing a heavy stadium rock album to order, and it reeks of lazy cynicism. Naturally, it's still their biggest-selling album in the States. They really had lost it by this point.

HOWEVER, I really like their early '80s New Wave-influenced albums. It's The Kinks being inspired by the skinny-tied bands they inspired, and Ray seems fired up by the challenge. Despite containing some outright shite, Give The People What They Want, State of Confusion and Word of Mouth feature songs that the likes of Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, Squeeze and Madness would kill to write. Come Dancing is often described as a fluke comeback hit, but it was a hit for a reason. It's as good, if not better, than anything released by younger British art-pop bands at the time.

Then they really did turn to shit. But that was in the mid-'80s, 20 years after they released their first album. That's quite a legacy.

the science eel

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #56 on: June 29, 2016, 09:46:45 PM »
'Sweet Lady Genevieve' is an absolute belter, you're right. I've been a major Kinks' fan for many years but didn't hear that one until about three years ago - mainly because I'd accepted the usual line about them not doing anything of much value after Muswell Hillbillies.

You should go and listen to 'Sweet Lady Genevieve' now, folks, if you haven't heard it already.

great_badir

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #57 on: June 29, 2016, 10:33:35 PM »
Musically, it's far too interesting to be Waters' solo handiwork.

Imagine my tremendous disappointment when I went to see Waters at the NEC "Playing the Music of Pink Floyd" on the In the Flesh tour (cos at the time it was the closest you could get to the real thing), only to discover that what that actually meant was mainly The Wall and, yeurk, Amused to Death.  Still, nice to hear Saucerful of Secrets, and Snowy White and Doyle Bramhall were good value during Dogs and Comfortably Numb.

purlieu

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Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #58 on: June 30, 2016, 10:22:55 AM »
The Final Cut is my favourite Floyd album.

I'll just let that sit there.

Re: "I prefer the early stuff" Vs "Oh, they got so much better"
« Reply #59 on: June 30, 2016, 11:13:57 AM »
The Final Cut is my favourite Floyd album.

I'll just let that sit there.

Same here, I've always found it tremendously moving from start to finish.

Y'all can come at me.