Various Artists

British Rock Legends [Fuel 2000]

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British Rock Legends rounds up tracks by 15 bands, most of whom are indeed British rock legends from the 1960s. Almost all of the songs are taken from the Immediate Records archives, with only tracks by Donovan and Eric Burdon (more on these later) taken from other sources. The disc does indeed compile some excellent British rock, including two Yardbirds songs, the mellow "Man of the World" by Fleetwood Mac, the swirling orchestral version of "Paint It Black" by the always restrained Chris Farlowe, and the Small Faces' wonderful "Afterglow." The rest of the disc falters either from weak selections by good bands (Humble Pie's tepid "Natural Born Budgie," Rod Stewart's boring blues ballad "So Much to Stay") or questionable choices, like the track by the All Stars featuring Jimmy Page, which is a lame boogie-woogie pastiche. But these are mild complaints next to the absolute horror to be experienced by anyone who buys this disc hoping to hear the original "Season of the Witch" by Donovan or the original "Boom Boom" or "It's My Life" by Eric Burdon & the Animals. They are live (in the case of "Boom Boom") or redone versions that pale next to (or in the case of "Season," puke on) the originals. Nowhere on the record's sleeve does it make mention of this fact. Business as usual at Fuel 2000, one of the worst reissue labels to pop up in recent memory. Add to this poor to scandalously bad sound quality and you have one lousy disc that hopefully no one will have the misfortune of purchasing.

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