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Thread: AAJ Review: U.K. Ultimate Collector's Edition

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: U.K. Ultimate Collector's Edition



    Finally! My review of U.K.'s 18-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition box set, today at All About Jazz.

    Even if it were only definitive CD & high res Blu Ray audio of U.K.'s self-titled debut, plus the three live shows of various origins but cleaned up beautifully, this box set would be enough.

    I mean, we're talking Eddie Jobson, Allan Holdsworth, John Wetton and Bill Bruford here...

    There's more, of course - 12 more discs, in fact, including a reunion show with Jobson, Wetton, the great Alex Machacek and Marco Minnemann...on CD and, again, in high res Blu Ray....

    Anyway, here's the start of the review:


    Well, there's certainly been a wait for this one, but for fans of what may be the last high profile progressive rock group to emerge in the 1970s, U.K.'s Ultimate Collector's Edition proves well worth the wait. What began as an already sizeable 16-disc box for a group that, during its relatively brief tenure, released just two studio albums and one live recording, has become an 18-disc set with the addition of a recording of the group's final show in Nijmegen, The Netherlands on December 17, 1979, as well as a disc that features two interviews (from 1978 and 1979 respectively) with keeper-of-the-flame, box set producer and U.K. keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson and bassist/vocalist John Wetton--the band's two constants across the entire box.

    Bigger isn't always better, but in this case both discs are worthy additions; though the interview disc will likely only get a couple spins, it (along with the final performance disc) come at no additional cost, so they are true bonus discs. The 18 discs come, in an unusual and slightly inconvenient fashion, on six thick cardboard plates that hold three discs each (and, despite being unconventional, there's an inner logic that will be revealed...read on), along with a well-bound, 66-page softcover book the same size as the disc plates, all housed in an attractive black box with the U.K. logo that Jobson has been using since he began touring a reunion version of the band in 2009 with Wetton and, on some occasions, drummer ]Terry Bozzio = 18858, original member of the second incarnation of the group when its original lineup with über-guitarist Allan Holdsworth and equally renowned drummer Bill Bruford dissolved, largely due to artistic differences.

    The story of the band can, to some extent, be found in All About Jazz's reviews of Jobson's 2009 remasters of U.K.'s complete discography: 1978's U.K., with the initial quartet with Jobson, Wetton, Holdsworth and Bruford, and 1979's sophomore studio effort Danger Money and follow-up live album, Night After Night--both featuring the trio incarnation that replaced the departed Holdsworth and Bruford with Bozzio, whom Jobson first met during his year spent touring with the late, great Frank Zappa.

    The group was touted, at the time, as a progressive rock supergroup--and, indeed, was the last major progressive band to emerge in the 1970s at a time when many fans of the genre were deserting it in droves for the emergent Punk and New Wave. The term "supergroup" is certainly appropriate: Jobson--a child prodigy who began playing piano at seven and added violin at eight--had, by this time and, despite his relatively young age, played with Curved Air, Roxy Music and Zappa; Bruford, in addition to being a charter member of Yes = 21783 (one of the earliest rock groups to help define the progressive genre), left that group on the cusp of greater commercial success to join guitarist Robert Fripp's revamped, improv-heavy King Crimson, which came together in late 1972, releasing the first of four acclaimed albums, Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Island), the following year and, following that group's dissolution, became Genesis' touring drummer when Phil Collins stepped up as lead singer, following Peter Gabriel's departure (though it was a collaboration that didn't last all too long).

    Continue reading here...

  2. #2
    Great and informative review. Thanks for posting.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Yellow Jester View Post
    Great and informative review. Thanks for posting.
    Always a pleasure...seriously. Thanks for reading !

  4. #4
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    I see that the Boston show from 1978 omits Forever Until Sunday, which I have on the tape I made off the radio that night, not being allowed to get into the club due to age.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    I see that the Boston show from 1978 omits Forever Until Sunday, which I have on the tape I made off the radio that night, not being allowed to get into the club due to age.
    It would have been nice, but that was one of two shows sourced from CD recordings of radio broadcasts (nicely cleaned up, but who knows how many tape generations came before XFR to CD?

    As I wrote, only Penn's Landing was a complete show, with FUS and Sahara of Snow. Sourced from radio station's 2-track reel-to-reel, it's the best sounding of the three...so if any show is to be complete, that would likely be the best choice....

    That said, AH's playing is so off-the-chart amazing on all three shows that it's a shame Eddie's source was incomplete.....along with the first album Blu Ray, its these three discs I know ill spin the most....

    Cheers!
    John

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    The review says "stereo and surround Blu Ray high resolution versions of U.K.'s original three recordings (24-bit/96KHz)" I thought only Night After Night was remixed in surround for this box.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bazcrim View Post
    The review says "stereo and surround Blu Ray high resolution versions of U.K.'s original three recordings (24-bit/96KHz)" I thought only Night After Night was remixed in surround for this box.
    True...I should (and will) reword for greater clarity when I crawl outta bed in a few hours ... sorry for the ambiguity...

  8. #8
    Completely unsurprisingly, it's an excellent and comprehensive review, John

    If I can find a copy somewhere, I will likely go for it.
    Ephemeral Sun - because I gotta do something about these boxes of CDs in the basement: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    Completely unsurprisingly, it's an excellent and comprehensive review, John

    If I can find a copy somewhere, I will likely go for it.
    Thanks, man. I'm currently excited. Getting ready to review TFTO and now have the CD component of the upcoming Crimson '80s box in my hands, so plan to start listening very, very soon.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    True...I should (and will) reword for greater clarity when I crawl outta bed in a few hours ... sorry for the ambiguity...
    Done! And thanks, Bazcrim, for pointing that out. I do appreciate it when folks (nicely!) advise me of either actual errors or where something isn't as clear as, it should be.

  11. #11
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Here's Forever Until Sunday from my radio recording of the live broadcast on WBCN Boston as the show was happening. It was left off later when the show went to syndication. Had I been 6 months older, I could have attended the concert.

  12. #12
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    Completely unsurprisingly, it's an excellent and comprehensive review, John

    If I can find a copy somewhere, I will likely go for it.
    Each copy is still undergoing extensive laboratory tests.

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    Supposedly shipments started last Friday. Well, that's a week ago, so surely someone in the US must have received a box by now.

  14. #14
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazcrim View Post
    Supposedly shipments started last Friday. Well, that's a week ago, so surely someone in the US must have received a box by now.
    I checked the forum and didn't see anything. Hopefully you're right!

    Look, they're about to go through the inspection station!



    Then one final quality analysis:


  15. #15
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    The little guy who looks like me wings on my right shoulder had me convinced not to buy it but he got overruled by the little guy who looks like me with little horns on my left shoulder.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    The little guy who looks like me wings on my right shoulder had me convinced not to buy it but he got overruled by the little guy who looks like me with little horns on my left shoulder.
    May your copy be blessed with 18 discs of only UK lite's "Easy Money" in 18 different hi-res formats.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    The little guy who looks like me wings on my right shoulder had me convinced not to buy it but he got overruled by the little guy who looks like me with little horns on my left shoulder.
    I have those too, unfortunately.

  18. #18
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Any civilians receiving these damn things yet?

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    Nope. Not here.

  20. #20
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    We are now into the third week of shipments and as far as I can tell from scanning forums, facebook etc only a handful of people have received boxes. Now, I know the official word is that this can take a number of weeks, but the lack of info on shipping progress makes me wonder when do I expect to get this. This process does seem to be taking a very long time. After all the delays I thought getting these out quickly would be a priority.

  22. #22
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazcrim View Post
    We are now into the third week of shipments and as far as I can tell from scanning forums, facebook etc only a handful of people have received boxes. Now, I know the official word is that this can take a number of weeks, but the lack of info on shipping progress makes me wonder when do I expect to get this. This process does seem to be taking a very long time. After all the delays I thought getting these out quickly would be a priority.
    I'm sure Eddie has a large cadre of sloths and snails handling the shipping.

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    It was a priority to get it to the reviewers, which is curious as it is supposed to be sold out or nearly sold out.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    It would have been nice, but that was one of two shows sourced from CD recordings of radio broadcasts (nicely cleaned up, but who knows how many tape generations came before XFR to CD?

    As I wrote, only Penn's Landing was a complete show, with FUS and Sahara of Snow. Sourced from radio station's 2-track reel-to-reel, it's the best sounding of the three...so if any show is to be complete, that would likely be the best choice....

    That said, AH's playing is so off-the-chart amazing on all three shows that it's a shame Eddie's source was incomplete.....along with the first album Blu Ray, its these three discs I know ill spin the most....

    Cheers!
    John
    On the Jobson-forum your review is also received with good words, but is it correct that your track-listing doesn't mention Forever Until Sunday on the Cleveland recording, while the box-set includes it on that show.

    B.t.w. I'm one of the lucky civilians, who's not a reviewer (at least not for this release) but did receive the "damn", but beautiful thing.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    On the Jobson-forum your review is also received with good words, but is it correct that your track-listing doesn't mention Forever Until Sunday on the Cleveland recording, while the box-set includes it on that show.

    B.t.w. I'm one of the lucky civilians, who's not a reviewer (at least not for this release) but did receive the "damn", but beautiful thing.
    Oops! When you are copying lengthy track and personnel listings from box sets, sometimes you miss a track, as I did on the Cleveland recording. Thanks a lot for the catch - I've now corrected the review to reflect it after Carrying No Cross, where it belongs.

    D'oh!

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