ALICE COOPER – Old School 1964-1974

 

 

Universal ( Release Date – Out now )

It’s rare that an artist can have a career spanning 5 decades and still be as relevant and popular as they were in their heyday. Alice Cooper is no ordinary artist though, he is the embodiment of rock itself and has lived the lifestyle to the full. This box set takes the listener back to the very early days of the Alice story and brings together demos, interviews, live performances and the odd promotional ad or two over the course of four discs.

The first two discs are a collector’s dream drawing together rough demo tracks, live recordings, and the afore mentioned radio ads. The demo tracks are an interesting listen, hearing the stripped back ,original versions of songs that have been Alice staples for many years puts a whole new twist on tracks you thought you knew. Highlight for me is the demo version of ‘Halo Of Flies’ which is brimming with the raw energy of a band hungry for success. Another interesting addition is the footage from the recording session for the children’s backing vocals on ‘School’s Out’ which sounds as though Alice was having as much fun in the studio as the kids.

Disc 3 contains an interview with Alice which is an amusing listen whilst the final disc is a live bootleg recording from St Louis made during the Killers tour in 1971 which again captures the energy of the band. Again ‘Halo Of Flies’ features large as do excellent versions of ‘Is It My Body’ and ‘Killers’.

This box set probably isn’t the best starting point for someone not familiar with the band’s back catalogue. For fans though, or even someone with passing interest, this is an entertaining and interesting insight into the early years of Alice Cooper and the seeds that have grown over the intervening years which ensure that Alice continues to be a household name who can sell out concert venues worldwide forty odd years later.

****

David Wilson

Second opinion by Joe Geesin…

WOW has to be the first impression on opening this box – not only does it cover Alice Cooper the band (when Vincent was still Vincent, before he legally became Alice) in so much detail but it is presented so well.

A thick, and aptly desk shaped box, features 4 discs and a 60 page book, full colour, a lot of work has gone into this.

Also this is no Greatest Hits set, it’s rarities aplenty.

The first 2 discs are interesting and intriguing, opening with a 1966 track by The Spiders and is followed by demos, different takes, and radio ads. There are a couple of version of I’m Eighteen sound good; Pretties For You, Teenage Lament 74, Muscle Of Love and Love It To Death that exist in various forms, including pre production mixes.

Do we need so many demos and radio ads, early live versions et al?  Well, if you are a fan or collector, yes. Like I said it’s not marketed as a greatest hits, and it is so well presented. 

Disc 3 is full of Alice Cooper interviews – marked as “In Their Own Words”, with anecdotes ahoy.

Between the rough mixes and interviews you can see the development of the band’s (and Vincent’s  / Alice’s) theatrics and sound, as well as an insight to the man now a regular TV personality.

Disc 4 is an official bootleg from St Louis 1971.A little rough’n’ready, but the development of the sound and theatrics that were later polished. Be My Lover opens and with Killer, I’m Eighteen and Under My Wheels in the 10 track set it’s a real joy.

The 60 page booklet is very detailed, extensive notes and a lot of early photos and fliers.

Wonderful stuff. 

*****

Joe Geesin


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