After I published the first compilation of the VDGG BBC sessions, a certain Vlad Tepes, whose blog is called isles of noises published a post with a much more complete session content than mine (unfortunately most links are dead), citing Forgotten Songs but being not Italian speaking I didn' understand what it was said. Surely that my compilation omitted several sessions which I admit. But no use to make a silly comparison between blogs. We're not "concorrente"? Are we? Anyway, here's a much more complete compilation of the BBC sessions that VDGG recorded between 1968 and 1971. Of course there are some tracks missing (even our dear Vlad Tepes had to admit that some songs were lost without a trace), and some others are from poor quality sources. I did my best to improve the sound but honestly sometimes it was "mission impossible". Moreover, sometimes, the band played more than indulgent and forgettable material and the loss was not so dramatical (eg. "Squid", "Dambusters March" or the dumb "An Epidemic Of Father Christmases"). So here are 23 songs among the 27 listed in most archives. Catch it here.
I'm sure many among you will appreciate this post cos' it gathers on the same fake LP (a double one if it really existed, and a double CD it would be) all the sessions Van der Graaf Generator (and without the Generator) have recorded for the BBC. Until now, there was only the Maida Vale album, now very expensive to buy and not easy to find on blogs, and the VDGG box, but never had they been pooled in chronological order on any CD. Here is the way to listen to them in their continuity. Listening to these 17 performances is simply stunning. This band, and particularly Peter Hammill, has brought to music something unique that no-one else would have done but him. If the classic line-up has recorded most of the sessions, the first and last line-ups have recorded the 1st and last ones and they are also great. Contrary to most progressive bands (but VDGG has never been really a progressive band), the live versions had something different, an increased intensity compared to the studio ones, and that's what we feel here. Moreover, the 2 versions of "Darkness" show how the band was not unidimensional in their playing. But enough said, this is simply extraordinary. Years pass but I don't change on this point. This band is great, and is still great today, in its trio personification. Just one last thing: the sound is quite uneven. The oldest sessions seem to come from rather rudimentary recording but most of them have a perfect production.