Marcy Levy is a legend. Throughout the 70s and 80s, she put in some seriously hard yards as a session vocalist and touring singer, working with Eric Clapton, Bee Gees, Alice Cooper, Belinda Carlisle and many others. Clapton’s mellow blues ‘Better Make It Through Today’ aside, Marcy’s contributions to the guitarist’s 1975 album ‘There’s One In Every Crowd’ are the record’s highlight, and on recordings from the 1977 tour for ‘Slowhand’, she and second guitarist George Terry can be heard doing some seriously heavy lifting as the heart of the best band EC ever had. In the late 80s, Levy became famous as Marcella Detroit, one half of sophisticated pop duo Shakespears Sister; her unmistakable vocal gymnastics turned ‘You’re History’ from a good pop track into a great one, and she will be forever associated with their 1991 mega-hit ‘Stay’. Never one to be stuck in a musical rut, Marcella’s career powered forth and in the mid 90s, her second solo album, 1994’s ‘Jewel’ was a massive success.

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THE FALL – Fall Sound Archive Vol 8: The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country On The Click)

The Fall’s twenty third studio album had a tricky birth. In 2003, a release called ‘Country On The Click’ was almost ready to make its way into the world, but plans changed at the eleventh hour. Depending on which stories you believe, the original release was either cancelled because Mark E. Smith was unhappy with the final mix, or shelved because it’d somehow found its way onto file-sharing services and bootlegged. Either way, a second version of the record – now titled ‘The Real New Fall LP (formerly Country On The Click)’ – made it onto Britain’s record shop shelves in October of that year.

Initial reviews were generally positive, and over the years, it’s become somewhat of a fan favourite in “later period Fall” terms, and it’s pretty easy to hear why. The bulk of the material adopts a fairly typical “Fall sound” – if, indeed, there ever was such a thing – but the arrangements are often superb, and Smith appears in particularly great form throughout, armed with lyrical barbs and a suitcase worth of obtuse lyrical references that serve some superb riffs and angular noises. It doesn’t seem to matter which way you approach ‘The Real New Fall LP’, it plays very strongly.

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HOWARD JONES – Live In Japan

The huge box set reissue of Howard Jones’s ‘Humans Lib’ was a real treat for fans. A multi format set, it presented the classic album with a wealth of bonus materials, including unreleased demos, alternate versions and radio sessions. The biggest draw, though, came from its visual content. The lavish set finally gave a DVD release to the long out of print ‘Live In Japan’ VHS, much to the delight of almost everyone.

Unfortunately, that box was both prohibitively expensive and a really limited run, meaning that only hardcore fans would get to see that footage in decent quality, and in some cases for the first time in many a long year. Luckily, the 2022 release ‘Live At The NHK Hall, 1984’ comes to the rescue, since it offers the same film at an affordable price, but improves upon the previous release by presenting it alongside an uncut version of the audio soundtrack.

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FLASH – In The USA: Live Recordings 1972-73

In terms of their very limited studio output, Flash were, and remain, one of the most overlooked bands of the early 70s. Despite featuring two ex-members of Yes – Peter Banks (guitar) and Tony Kaye (keyboards) – their work isn’t often mentioned with the revered tones it so deserves. Their first two albums (‘Flash’ and ‘In The Can’) are home to some brilliant sounds, mixing elements of blues and prog with bits of hard rock. Although sometimes less fussy than the band Banks and Kaye left behind, Flash’s work is no less grand. At their best, they could fuse jazz rock elements with ethereal vocals (‘There No More’), or hit upon a great 70s rock groove and pepper that with obvious Yes-like flourishes (‘Children of The Universe’). Their work could occasionally be derivative of Yes; their albums sometimes felt like cobbled together collections rather than truly cohesive works, but Flash were never dull.

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Marillion: Fugazi deluxe edition box set details confirmed

On 10th September 2021, Marillion will release a super deluxe edition of their second album, ‘Fugazi’. Originally released in 1984, ‘Fugazi’ saw the band take a much darker turn, both musically and lyrically, but it also scored them two hit singles in ‘Assassing’ and ‘Punch & Judy’, with the latter promoted with their first “in person” appearance on Top of The Pops.

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