Universal/Mercury [Release date 19.11.12]
It’s about time 10cc’s excellent back catalogue got a decent airing. Up to now all we’ve really had is a set of distinctly average re-masters. That is, with the exception of the release of their classic Sheet Music album on Repertoire Records where the sound quality was second to none.
Now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their formation, and just in time for Christmas, we’ve got the obligatory box set, wrapped in Storm Studios (Hipgnosis) packaging. Unfortunately due to the Scrooge like nature of the record company we’re unable to pass comment on the artwork, the 100 page hardback booklet, or indeed, the dvd that includes promo videos, TV and live performances.
But what you’ll get if you invest is two cds that chronologically chart the band’s 32 singles issued between 1972 and 1992, although all the ‘best’ stuff is on disc one that covers Donna (1972) to People in Love (1977), and everything in between. It’s a treasure trove – Rubber Bullets. The Dean And I, The Worst Band In The World, Wall Street Shuffle, Life Is A Minestrone, I’m Not In Love, The Things We Do For Love and many, many, more indispensables.
Disc 3 again focuses on that glorious 1973 to 1976 period, bringing together huge chunks of the album tracks that made up the balance of Sheet Music, The Original Soundtrack, and How Dare You as well as a clutch of the better tracks off Deceptive Bends and Bloody Tourists – the albums that followed the departure of Godley and Crème, while disc 4 is probably the least essential, but one that will appeal to anoraks – the single B-sides from 1972 – 1978. But frankly, it’s little surprise none made it onto their long playing parents.
Some will argue that it would have been better to include the complete albums from Sheet Music through to How Dare You, but then you can’t keep everybody happy all of the time. Certainly, there’s enough marvellous material here to put a smile on the face of even the most ardent of fans.
The good news is that the re-mastering is as good as we’ve heard so far. But’s what unclear (without sight of the finished product credits) is whether Tenology has been sourced from the original master tapes. I have my doubts, and if that’s the case, then given the studio perfectionism of Messrs Godley, Crème, Stewart and Gouldman, it’s overdue. But in the meantime, Tenology is as good as it gets. Timeless, and quite wonderful. *****
Review by Pete Whalley
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