Fanny- the female Beatles
R. Banker | United Kingdom | 10/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My interest in Fanny was sparked years ago, by the record review, saying that Nickey Barclay played keyboards like Jerry Lee Lewis. I found out how right that was when I laid hold of the `Charity Ball' LP and that sheer breadth of talent burst forth. To my eternal regret, I never saw them in concert nor bought the other albums. This collection makes good that omission and then some.
The tag `the female Beatles' sounds just about right. It is important not to single out any front woman singer/ musician but to absorb the total blend of talent.
First off, the flawless wall of harmonies echoes the Fab (Male) Four very neatly along with the individually distinct and varied lead singing, from Jean Millington's archetypal gritty rock singing, June Millington's clear melodic tones, Nickey Barclay's ballad or blues style and, surprise, Alice De Burgh's endearing screechy style on the wonderfully funny/serious `Rock bottom blues' with muttered cursing aside.
Second, Jean Millington plays those classic propulsive curling basslines, no better showcased on `Soul Child' while Alice De Burgh's drumming nails those songs down with tight precision. Nikki Barclay shows mastery of her rocking piano and hard driving organ which doesn't miss out on the delicate nuances while June Millington has a wonderful mastery of every guitar style of one of the most creative eras in music, everything from Eric Clapton, Abbey Road era George Harrison, archetypal slide guitar right down to the acoustic strumming on `Long Road Home.'
Third, Fanny follow Beatles tradition by their prolific and varied output of songs. In addition, their choice of covers give originals a good run for their money (Cream's `Badge', the Beatles `Hey Bulldog' and while I haven't heard Steven Stills own `Special Care' the guy would have to work hard to beat Jean's virtuouso singing and the ensemble hard driving piece, shifting tempo and wall of harmonies. The comparison only doesn't quite fit where combinations of three fine songwriters is augmented by a clutch of Alice De Burgh's contributions.
Lastly, the lyricism never falls below the standard of good rock lyrics and inspired moments of verbal expressiveness abound in the `road weary' `Long Road Home' , the `mother to son' dedication of `You've Got a Home' and the introspection of `What's Wrong With Me' that equals Crosby Stills and Nash at their best.
Artfully, disc 4 leads with `demo' songs i.e `self produced version of songs with verbal `count ins' kicking off alternate versions as right as the official (?) version on Mother's Ride. Disc 3 features Fanny in concert highlighted by `Charity Ball' gloriously expanded from the short sharp album opener.
Most important of all, their music is totally confident and awash with self belief. They define what a band should aim to be, not just female band. Grab the record set and fast and, oh yes, I echo, the other fine dedications here.
Great Box Set - Beware of Unscrupulous Sellers!
P. E. REYNOLDS | Lees Summit, MO USA | 05/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a terrific box set by a great band, but for those who are thinking about making a purchase, please know that as I write this (5/25/09) rhinohandmade is still offering the set NEW for about $80. I see one seller is asking nearly $300 for it! Buyer beware."