Mark Burgess

Spring Blooms Tra-La

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AllMusic Review by

Recorded at a live German date in 1994, Spring Blooms is easily the equal and arguably the superior to Manchester, 1993. The recording quality is a touch less crisp than on the other Sons of God concert record -- apparently it was an audience tape, though it was a very well recorded one, with only a slight boxiness on Burgess' vocals. This said, the song list and performances are simply stellar throughout, beginning with a lovely version of the Chameleons' rarity "The Healer." Other tracks that surface here which weren't on the other live album include "Time," "Tears," and a sprightly run through the Burgess solo tune "World on Fire," with a guest appearance on congas by Nils Cordes from the Convent, a German band Burgess has long been friends with. The Sons of God show both an increased confidence and familiarity with the material, with the extended creep-out introduction to "Monkeyland" sounding even more disturbing than before. Burgess' well-known Beatles love surfaces here once again, adding the opening lines of "Please Please Me" at the end of "Second Skin" (similar to the performance on Manchester, 1993) and prefacing a strong performance of "Soul in Isolation" with the chorus to "Eleanor Rigby." He also throws in the chorus from the James Bond theme "You Only Live Twice," covered by him on Zima Junction, as the start to a strong version of "Caution." As before, it's perfectly incorporated into the song's flow. Burgess plays around with his own lyrics from time to time as well, adding in a slightly naughty bit to "Perfume Garden" at one point. As a welcome bonus, some copies include an additional CD with the three songs from the Manchester, 1993 album -- "Swamp Thing," "Paradiso," and "Refugees" -- not performed on the Spring Blooms date.

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