Edsel [Release date 27.10.17*, 16.03.18**]
Saxon seem to be enjoying a resurgence even more impressive than their 2007-2010 revival. With a remarkably relevant new album ‘Thunderbolt’ and a raft of reissues and box sets, we can at least luxuriate in their sustained longevity.
10 Years Of Denim And Leather* captures their July 1990 gig recorded for Central Television in Nottingham. Truth is this was originally released as ‘Greatest Hits’ on CD, VHS and DVD (as ‘Live Legends’) which had the bonus track ‘Strong Arm Of The Law’. This latest package includes that track and also on the accompanying DVD.
Historically this gig features a band in transition with Graham Oliver soon to depart (Steve Dawson had gone in 1986). The “hits” are all present and correct and the setlist is a fair resume of their career to date.
Biff Byford as ever is the engaging frontman and stamps his mark too with excellent vocals. The lack of any liner note to provide context is a glaring omission in this package seeing as how Edsel normally excel in this department. ****
The CD Hoard** (or Vinyl Hoard if you are that way inclined) is a 5-CD trawl though a selection of the band’s live performances and provides some continuity with the 1990 recording. The Dogs Of War, from 1995, is chronicled on two CDs and is an early live account with newbie guitarist Doug Scaratt. This was previously released as The Eagle Has Landed II and ‘Denim & Leather’ features the rather unlikely appearance of Yngwie Malmsteen.
Fast forwarding to 2004 and the Lionheart tour is chronicled and with a substantially different setlist lacking anything earlier than 1995′s ‘Broken Heroes’.
Together with 2005′s A Night Out With The Boys both originally appeared in 2006 as The Eagle Has Landed III .
Completing this set is Rock Sound Festival from 2006 and originally available on vinyl and DVD as ‘To Hell & Back Again’. In that sense, this is a first CD outing for the gig, although it has been previously available on download.
For those who are just curious or wish to catch up on the heavy metal phenomenon that is Saxon this is a good place to start with minimal duplication across five CDs. With artwork by Saxon specialist Paul Gregory, the Amazon special edition comes with bonus postcards. As our resident Saxonologist Joe Geesin wrote, in 2006, ” Enjoy, and relish with pride. Trad British metal still rules, and here’s the proof.” ****1/2
Review by David Randall
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