Woolly Wolstenholme

Black Box Recovered

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For fans of Woolly Wolstenholme, this set will require little introduction or description. For those less familiar with the in and outs of the former Barclay James Harvest keyboardist's musical career, a bit of background is in order. In 1979, Wolstenholme quit BJM and embarked on a solo career, launched the following year with his excellent Maestoso album. A second album was planned but it was shelved, and the keyboardist decided to remove himself from the music world. However, in 1989, the very limited-edition fanclub-only cassette Too Late was made available, containing five songs from the unreleased set -- "Too Much, Too Loud, Too Late," "Deceivers All," "Has to Be a Reason," "Down the Line," and "All Get Burned." Then, in 1994, with Wolstenholme's interest in music reactivated, Songs from the Black Box appeared, which brought together on CD the unreleased album and its predecessor. Maestoso itself was later reissued separately with bonus tracks, which brings us to Black Box Recovered. Now Wolstenholme's second album gets its own release, doubled in length with the inclusion of nine previously unreleased bonus tracks. A trio of them were recorded live in 1981 at a show in Vienna, a quartet are demo versions of Maestoso tracks, "Why Remains" was recorded in the early '80s, while the final number is new, recorded in 2003. It's a sumptuous set, and even though not all of the tracks within are finished mixes, the entire album sounds surprisingly good, even the live recordings have a finished feel to them. An album long awaited, and now even better in this recovered fashion.

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