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Catherine Travels Through Her Record Collection...

Catherine Warr

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For the past couple of years I’ve held a strong interest in records. Ever since discovering a small stack in a draw at my dad’s house I’ve, over the years, spent far too much time and money buying and listening to them. So I decided to write a timeline through the years of all the records I’ve bought and what I think of them. (The years are of the albums’ release date; if I was to do it all in years I’d have bought them it’d only be about three years at max.)

Those with an asterisk * are ones which I’ve bought myself. The rest were either given to me, or ones I’ve stolen borrowed from my dad. That way you can see the musical tastes of both of us ;)

On another note; I am sad to say there is only one Led Zeppelin album in this list. (BLASPHEMY, HOW DARE YOU ONLY OWN ONE, GO TO HELL-) The simple reason is the going rate for a normal quality Led Zeppelin vinyl at a car boot sale or a shop is around £25. The only reason I have Led Zeppelin IV is because that was included with my purchase of The Wall. If I had the money, I’d buy some Zeppelin stuff, but sadly I’d only pay around £15 at most due to the fact I am a teenager and teenagers have no money.

Also these aren’t the only records – I’d say there are about 75 odd – so these are ones I’ve selected personally. A few notable records not included are by the likes of The Moody Blues, Leonard Cohen and the soundtrack from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

So, with all the social niceties out of the way, on with the list.

Part I - 1967 - 1972

1967 – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn – Pink Floyd

Kicking off our list is the oldest record in my collection. Pink Floyd’s debut album went rather…flat. I was lying in bed, with this spinning in the record player beside me. I’ve never been a proper prog fan, so maybe I’m the wrong person to appreciate it, but it didn’t really move me much.

1968 – A Saucerful of Secrets – Pink Floyd

Again another one by the Floyd. This time it’s even worse than the first, although with the introduction of David Gilmour I can start to see some light at the end of the tunnel of Syd Barrett Floyd. Not anything against the bloke – he’s a genius, and he started the band as well, but instead of creating Pink Floyd prog we all know and love he just created acid-induced prog. Slightly worse than normal Floyd prog, but I can’t complain much. I’ve got the bloody record at least.

1969 – Abbey Road*, In the Court of the Crimson King, Stand Up – The Beatles, King Crimson and Jethro Tull

We’ll tackle this at the top. Abbey Road. I’ve bought all my Beatle records, as my dad took one look at I Want To Hold Your Hand and thought every single other song must sound like that. Needless to say, he doesn’t like The Beatles. Or Bowie for that matter. Personally I find Abbey Road to be overrated slightly – certainly not the greatest album of all time, maybe a close second or third, but not the best. The first side is solid enough, apart from Oh! Darling, which sounds like Paul’s death wails, and includes possibly George’s best song, Something, and Ringo’s masterpiece – Octopus’s Garden. (Despite the fact that George “helped” him with it.)

The same cannot be said for the second side. From Sun King onwards it turns monotonous and boring. Blasphemy, I know, to call a Beatle song(s) boring, but it happens.

Next we have King Crimson’s debut piece. I have to admit I only liked one song – and that was 21st Century Schizoid man – and the bit before the jazz kicks in! Beginner mistake, I know, but I still was a bit confused about this strange thing called “prog,” so I guess its screeching middle section must have scared me off King Crimson for a while.

As for the rest of the album – meh. It sounded too similar to the opening track and I still had the scars from the first track. On another note, it has a brilliant album cover.

Jethro Tull – probably the only prog group I like, with Pink Floyd a close second. This album is hugely underrated, and still has that bluesy feel of 1969 that sadly would leave Tull when the late seventies and eighties rolled around. It also manages to combine folk music of the era into prog really well, although sometimes it sounds like I’m listening to some Irish pub band. However, they manage to pull this off most of the time. The best track is A New Day Yesterday.

1970 – Atom Heart Mother, Black Sabbath, Paranoid*, Abraxas, In Rock* – Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath (twice), Santana, Deep Purple

Wow. 1970 was a BIG year for music. Starting with Atom Heart Mother, yet another slightly underwhelming output from the Floyd, this time each member of the band with an individual performance. Not much to say on this one that hasn’t been covered by my other Pink Floyd reviews.

Right! How about a bit of OZZY! Genuinely one my favourite albums of all time, even better than their next output, Paranoid. Every track (apart from Behind the Wall of Sleep) is top notch, and gave birth to what we now call heavy metal. The only let down is the last track, Warning, which is just a ten minute long collection of short, thirty second jam tracks.

Paranoid is still a good album – Paranoid, the lead single, reportedly only took around 25 minutes to make. The only reason I like the first album more is I feel that Paranoid has a more production sheen about it, whereas Black Sabbath sounds more raw and fuller.

Onto our favourite Mexican band, Santana. Apart from Black Magic Woman, their most famous track from the album, there’s not much more I like of the album. The rest of the songs are mediocre at best.

Deep Purple. I’m like a schizophrenic with this album – the voices are telling me to like it for its bluesy, hard rocking sound, but the others are telling me to dislike for its change in direction from their previous orchestral, progressive sound. So I’m in the middle with this one. On the one hand, it’s very much like Led Zeppelin II, but on the other, it’s like The Beach Boys making a concept album. Doesn’t quite fit with their previous work.

1971 – Hunky Dory*, Meddle, Relics, the Eternal Fire of Jimi Hendrix*, Meaty Beaty Big & Bounty, Led Zeppelin IV* – David Bowie, Pink Floyd (twice), Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Led Zeppelin

These lists keep getting bigger each year, don’t they? We came from 1, to 3, to 5, and now to 6! Better start now.

Hunky, Dory, best Bowie album hands down. The only track I don’t like is Eight Line Poem, but it’s clever how they use this downright terrible track to make you think the rest of the album is going to be really bad, when they suddenly swoop up next with Life on Mars to restore your faith in the Bowie. Clever, really.

Sigh. Another Pink Floyd album. Greatest thing about this one is that Floyd are finally breaking free from the shackles of Syd Barrett – you can hear them progressing into familiar territory like The Wall, Dark Side of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. David Gilmour is also really developing his guitar work. And he’s really hot in this period.

Relics - Don’t be disheartened, it’s only a greatest hits album. I was going to make a joke about how I don’t know how many greatest hits Pink Floyd has before I realised it would be best if I didn’t. These are just tracks from their previous records, so I won’t bother reviewing them as I’ve done that already.

This next album isn’t a Jimi Hendrix greatest hits album. It’s a collection of the greatest Jimi Hendrix songs that you haven’t heard which isn’t quite as exciting as it sounds. There are a few good songs, but nothing you would guess to be Hendrix work.

Meaty and Beaty, this is The Who’s stab at a greatest hits album. As much I love The Who, many of their albums contain maybe about 3 really good songs and are saturated with mediocre ones. This suffers the same fate, although the number of good songs is a lot higher than 3.

The big one. Led Zeppelin IV. I only like a few songs – (BLASPHEMY! TREACHERY!) – And they would be Black Dog, Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven (obviously) and When The Levee Breaks. I think it’s one of their weaker albums, apart, of course, from Presence and the like.

No 1972, so the next part will go straight to 1973.

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No, you're safe Catherine, pitchforks and torches only come out when someone mentions Stairway backwards or "remastering".

All Zeppelin fans seem to have a wide range of musical influences, like the band had.

P.S. I am a Presence and the like fan...... :mad:

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Interesting concept, Catherine. But I have to say it doesn't reflect well on the UK record market that you cannot find Led Zeppelin vinyl for less than 25 quid. That is scandalous! Around here, you usually find good quality Led Zeppelin vinyl for $10-$15...less than £10. Not mint, mind you, but playable G to VG vinyl. For "The Song Remains the Same", "Presence", "In Through the Out Door", and "Coda", it's even less...you can find these for $3-$7.

A suggestion for your future posts...for clarity's sake, it is best to just list the album and artist at the same time instead of listing the album titles and then the artists. For example: "Abbey Road" - The Beatles; "In the Court of the Crimson King" - King Crimson; "Stand Up" - Jethro Tull.

Going thru the years, I had a few thoughts...

1967-68: I had a similar reaction the first time I listened to Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. But after a few listens, it began to grow on me. First, I had to reconfigure my notions of Prog. You have to remember that Prog came from the term 'progressive' and in 1967, just about anything that wasn't on Top 40 radio and didn't conform to the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus song format was labeled 'progressive'. Moody Blues, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Velvet Underground, Iron Butterfly, Pink Floyd. Even the Beatles with their landmark song "Strawberry Fields Forever". It wasn't until later that progressive begat Prog and people thought of long-winded solos and multi-part song-cycles when they heard the term 'Prog". Syd Barrett embodied more the eccentric, English surrealist strain of Prog...think Robyn Hitchcock, on whom Syd Barrett was a huge influence.

1969: A nice trio of albums. But I'm confused...which version of "In the Court of the Crimson King" do you have? Because on the album I have, the rest of the album sounds nothing like "20th Century Schizoid Man". "I Talk to the Wind" is as different to "20th Century Schizoid Man" as you can get, and "Moonchild" and "The Court of the Crimson King" are similarly more orchestral and moody pieces.

1970: Agree with much you have to say about these albums...although "Electric Funeral" and "Fairies Wear Boots" is enough to put "Paranoid" just ahead of "Black Sabbath" in my book. For the original "Black Magic Woman", seek out the Peter Green-Fleetwood Mac album "English Rose" or "The Pious Bird of Good Omen". It was Peter Green who wrote the song and recorded it first.

1971: You're damn right about "Hunky Dory"...my favourite Bowie album, too! "Life On Mars", "Oh! You Pretty Things", "Kooks", "Changes", and "Queen Bitch", which is what we used to call back in the day 'a mover'. It is sad, though, that your first Hendrix album should be the regrettable piracy of "The Eternal Fire" and not "Are You Expereinced?" or "Axis:Bold as Love" or even the "Essential Jimi Hendrix" compilation. I hope you are able to rectify such an oversight in your collection soon. As for "Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy", it isn't "a stab" at a greatest hits album...it IS a Who Greatest Hits album. A damn good one at that; for my money the best compilation of the early Who that was available at the time. With the exception of "A Legal Matter" and "Boris the Spider", every track on this album is recognized as a Who classic, so I am curious which ones you find mediocre?


Another "Presence and the like" fan. ;)

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The ones I don't really like from Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy are all the songs apart from I Can See For Miles, My Generation, The Seeker and Pinball Wizard. So pretty much all the songs everyone else likes

I did consider doing the song title then the album, but due to the way I sorted them (remembering them and quickly jotting them down before I forgot) meant I had to do the title first as it was the easiest to remember and gives you a quick glance at what's in the paragraph.

Yeah...the Presence and the like thing. IMHO Presence used too many studio effects and didn't get that rawness of Zep I or II. Everything kinda slipped after PG.

I have the UK version of Court of The Crimson King, and I must admit the last time I listened to it was last year! All the memories probably mixed together over time. I'll have to re-listen and then make a post script about it.

I had to make do with the cheap Hendrix record as the proper ones I can't find anywhere apart from ebay and proper record shops, the latter of which mostly sell in bumped up prices . Thanks for your suggestions. Looking back now I should have gone more indepth with things like Hunky Dory and Led Zeppelin IV, but I think I just wanted to get it out there as quickly as possible ;)

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Part II - 1972 - 1976

(These parts go in gaps of 5 years. Just thought I'd split it up than have one block of text.)

1973 – Band On The Run* - Paul McCartney, The Beatles 1962 – 1966*, The Beatles 1967 – 1970,* Dark Side of The Moon – Pink Floyd

Macca proved to John Lennon he COULD make great albums without the Beatles. And he did. My only gripe with this album is it’s almost easy listening feel, the type of music to be played at bars and the like. Filled a few good hits like Band on The Run and Mrs Vanderbilt, a solid album but not as good at Paul’s first solo attempt.

The next album(s) kind of introduced me to The Beatles, so I hold it in high regard. It’s a greatest hits album of Beatle songs from 62 – 66, and from 67 – 70, which means most of the songs are good.

Possibly one of the greatest albums of all time – and probably the Pink Floyd album I like the most. Here we have the Floyd evolved into full form, with songs flowing neatly into each other. The only trouble is Money. The trouble with this song is that it is a radio friendly song, which means it breaks up the flow of the album a bit. Other than that it’s great. (Finally! A Pink Floyd album Catherine actually likes! God be praised!)

1975 – Frampton Comes Alive!* - Peter Frampton, Rolled Gold* - The Rolling Stones

The first time I actually heard Peter Frampton was on David Bowie’s Time Will Crawl – he played the little fills. And I’ve fallen in love with him ever since. Not only does this live recording make you feel like you were actually there, it gives a fairly good example of the soft rock, radio friendly rock of bands like The Eagles.

Rolled gold is just a compilation album. I like a fair few Rolling Stones numbers, but my only complaint is that they never really moved away from the blues. Not that that’s a big problem, but I do like to see some progression. Even today their latest stuff sounds exactly the same as their earliest recordings. Although, I’d rather see them do that than do a song with a rap group. *cough* Aerosmith *cough*

1976 – The Best of The Doors

Again another greatest hits. I’m in a mixed bag with The Doors. On the one hand I like their “selling out” song, Hello I Love You, and their progression to their keyboard oriented songs like Light My Fire and Riders on The Storm. And then there’s the times where you accidently confuse the lyrics to Light My Fire with Take That’s Relight My Fire.

“Come on baby RELIGHT MY FIRE! YOU’RE LOVE IS MY ONLY DESIRE! Try to set the night on fire!”

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The B side of Abbey Road boring?............lol

One of my last projects was with a Beatle cover band and we found out the hard way, what a bitch this side was actually when trying to reproduce it. The vocal harmonies and the melody lines may not be the most commercially succesful pieces ever written, but damn, it is very hard to play all the intricate details.

A far cry from boring, it's art.

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The B side of Abbey Road boring?............lol

One of my last projects was with a Beatle cover band and we found out the hard way, what a bitch this side was actually when trying to reproduce it. The vocal harmonies and the melody lines may not be the most commercially succesful pieces ever written, but damn, it is very hard to play all the intricate details.

A far cry from boring, it's art.

I can see it's art, but I found it less "catchy" than the other songs. Now comes all the prog fans saying it's all about the art an catchyness is fro evil pop ;). But generally, I have to get hooked into a Beatle song to like it. I just didn't with this side.

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I didn't have any records for that era. You could say "why not do albums on the internet?" It's because it's the feeling of knowing that was the only way of listneing to them and you've got to make use of what got. Anyway, I needed to listen to them all.

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I can see it's art, but I found it less "catchy" than the other songs. Now comes all the prog fans saying it's all about the art an catchyness is fro evil pop ;). But generally, I have to get hooked into a Beatle song to like it. I just didn't with this side.

Certain things need time to grow.

Cathchiness is a number one thing, but discovering the layers of some songs takes a lot of time, appreciating some songs also takes some certain uhmmm moodswings which may come in time.

Since you are still young I guess you will know in time what I mean to say.

If it were just the catchiness of songs I would still listen to Kiss on a daily base, but there is a long long way to go, and that's a good thing.

Have a nice voyage (and a decent couple of headphones to make things easier)

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PART III – 1977 – 1981

1977 – Bat Out of Hell* – Meatloaf, Changes One* - David Bowie, Classic Rock* - London Symphony Orchestra, Rumours – Fleetwood Mac, Let There Be Rock* - AC/DC, The Light Shines On* - Electric Light Orchestra

Yet another 6 parter! Starting with Bat Out of Hell, Meatloaf’s most famous album, a mix of hard rock, heavy metal and piano. The songs are mainly ballads, most of them stretching well over five minutes. I’m quite a fan of this album, although I only really like about half of the songs on the album.

Changes One is a compilation of David Bowie songs up to about 1977. It has all the classics, although some of the song choices do puzzle me as they’re not exactly the greatest.

Classic Rock is basically an album full of instrumental, classical versions of famous rock songs. The only reason I actually bought this was because I was studying Music for GCSE, and most of the lessons revolve around classical music. As I hadn’t actually listened to classical at all in my life, I used this to slowly introduce myself to it. It contains rock’s best, with things like Bohemian Rhapsody, Life On Mars and Whole Lotta Love.

I’ve never really been into Fleetwood Mac, as they often cross into folk territory, and I’m not a real big fan of folk. Around half of the album is straight up folk, but with a few exceptions like The Chain and Go Your Own Way that are slightly less folky. It’s like Pink Floyd; I don’t necessarily like the music, but I like it enough to appreciate the talent required.

AC/DC’s 1977 release is pretty much like all their albums released in the middle period of the seventies; apart from High Voltage, their debut album, it contains maybe two or three hits and the rest are regular fillers. On top of that most of the songs generally sound the same, and that trend has carried through right up to present day.

Electric Light Orchestra suffers the same fate; over the stretch of their 13 albums maybe only seven or eight songs are solid numbers, although each of their songs sounds different from each other. This album, which is a compilation album, has about four good songs.

1978 – The Second Movement – London Symphony Orchestra, Powerage – AC/DC

The second album in the classical rock series is just as good, if not better than the first. This time including songs like Space Oddity and Hey Joe (the Billy Roberts version; i.e. a cover of a cover.)

Powerage again suffers the same fate as Let There Be Rock, this time with only maybe two good songs, the rest sounding the same and acting as B-sides or fillers. The good thing is that you only have to wait another year for possibly their best album, Highway to Hell, but sadly that’s not on the review list as I’ve not got it.

1979 – ELO’s Greatest Hits – Electric Orchestra, The Wall – Pink Floyd

As you can tell the first album is a greatest hits one, so you’re guaranteed basically for it to have good songs in it. I’m not going to spend too much time on it as there’s not much else to say about it.

The Wall. Probably only known to most people for its anti-education song, (you know the one, so I won’t bother playing it) and the fact that it’s a very famous concept album that probably brought about the end for Pink Floyd. It’s a double album, which means most of the time you’re listening to a series of songs that act only to carry on the storyline, a tale of a rock star named Pink who, through a bad childhood full of over-protective mothers and bad education decided to shut himself in a wall in his mind. It also has giant butts, too.

In terms of actual song quality, around half of them are good, with certain songs like The Thin Ice and Happiest Days of our lives standing out particularly well.

1980 – Heaven and Hell* - Black Sabbath

There’s only one entry for 1980, and it’s the first album in which Ronnie James Dio takes over from Ozzy Osbourne. Personally I feel that once Ozzy went the real sound of Black Sabbath went with him, but I do appreciate Dio’s voice, as he is able to make softer, more acoustic songs sound just a bit better with his softer voice than Ozzy’s wild droning. He also gets +1 for effort.

1981 – Greatest Hits* - Queen, Time* - Electric Light Orchestra.

Queen. Undoubtedly one of the best groups of all time. And this album is no different. Despite the fact that my record has a huge scratch on side 2 which makes that side virtually unplayable. Derp. I, luckily, managed to find it online so now I can listen to side 2 in comfort. Needless to say, it’s great.

Time was Electric Light Orchestra’s attempt at making a concept album. At first I was sceptical, thinking that they wouldn’t be able to pull it off. (Remember Rolling Stones’ infamous concept album?) Surprisingly, it actually works. It tells the story of a man living in the 1980s who finds himself in 2095 and coming to terms with his surroundings. I didn’t expect this from a mainly singles oriented band, but it works really well.

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Maybe it's the paternal instinct in me, but reading your posts Catherine I find myself asking where are your parents or an older brother/sister to help guide you and save you from wasting good money on dodgy albums?

It's one thing if you're only spending a quid or two, but as you've made clear, vinyl albums are expensive in England. So allow Uncle Strider to pass along some friendly advice.

Let's start with AC/DC. Great band who were a little uneven in the studio. In fact, it took a little time before they found their footing in the studio and their albums matched their live shows. Their sound doesn't vary much and once they hit paydirt they essentially remade the same album over and over. It's unnecessary for you to get every album in the AC/DC catalogue...especially at UK prices.

Lucky for you, the AC/DC catalogue can be boiled down to essentially five albums.

The Bon Scott years:

1. IF YOU WANT BLOOD YOU'VE GOT IT...A cracking good live album that has all the best songs of the early years. As you have already noticed, the first four or five albums featured a song or two and filler for the rest. By getting "If You Want Blood You've Got It", you eliminate the need for "High Voltage", "TNT", "Live Wire", "Powerage", and "Let There Be Rock". Recorded at a blazing gig in Glasgow, Scotland in 1978, it's primo Bon Scott-era AC/DC in concert.

2. HIGHWAY TO HELL (1979)...The first great studio album by AC/DC. Nearly every song is a treat. Absolutely essential.

3. DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP (1976)...perhaps the best of the pre-Highway to Hell studio albums.

Brian Johnson years:

4. BACK IN BLACK (1980)


That's it...everything else is flotsam and jetsam. With the exception of the live DVDs "Let There Be Rock" and "Live at Castle Donnington", everything else is to be approached with extreme caution. Unless you're made of money and are a completist.

You can use the money you save to buy Thin Lizzy albums instead.

Now let us talk ELO: Again, you're wasting your hard-earned money on dodgy money grabs like "The Light Shines On"(Vol. 1 and 2), which was the Harvest label's attempt to take advantage of E.L.O's newfound popularity. In fact, ELO's catalogue is plagued by dodgy compilations. "ELO's Greatest Hits" is the only one you need.

But if you're like me and like to avoid "greatest hits" packages unless there's no other alternative, there are four ELO albums that not only have the hits that everyone knows but have rewarding and interesting deep album cuts. These four studio albums were released consecutively and it begins with ELO's first concept album...yes, years before "Time".

1. ELDORADO (1974)

2. FACE THE MUSIC (1975)


4. OUT OF THE BLUE (1977)

Aftee this, ELO fizzled away into irrelevance, as Jeff Lyne dabbled in disco and fired the string section. No other ELO records are needed after 1979's "Greatest Hits" compilation.

You seem to have a lot of Pink Floyd, yet your feelings about your Pink Floyd albums come across as ambivalent. I don't get the sense you passionately love Pink Floyd...which is fine. But my question is, why continue buying albums from a band you don't love? Are you buying Pink Floyd because other people have told you how great they are and you feel obligated to have Pink Floyd in your collection?

It's your money, Catherine. If you don't feel passionately about a band, there's no reason to keep spending money on them. Don't let critical or popular opinion sway your own feelings.

It is hard to get a reading on how you feel about Prog...you've mentioned King Crimson along with Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. King Crimson is another band that has had several lineups and gone thru changes in their sound. For a different King Crimson than the one you hear on "In the Court of the Crimson King", check out 1974's "Starless and Bible Black" and 1981's "Discipline".

Finally, as you like Led Zeppelin, I assume you like blues-rock in general, and in going through your list I see that you don't have any of the great albums the Faces, Mott the Hoople, Alice Cooper, Rory Gallagher, and Robin Trower all released roughly from 1970-75. Next time you're record shopping, look for any early-70s album by any of these bands.

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Most of the albums I get are very cheap (anything from £1 - £5) so the only really expensive ones were Led Zep IV and The Wall. I mainly shop for them in car boot sales which means most of the really valuable ones are either too expensive or simply not there, that's why there's a lot of not so good ones. I do actually have a few Thin Lizzy ones, but I've lost them somewhere, and the main reason why I've bought all the Pink Floyd ones is because they were sold in a bundle (I think about five of them for a fiver) so I thought I might as well get them whilst they're available.

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I can't listen to Abbey Road without hearing Polythene Pam.....and Eldorado still gets an occasional spin after all these years. ELO went down a bad road after Face the Music, imo.

Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy was played to death in my youth....until I could afford all of the albums. Great package.

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