Disraeli Years

Various Artists

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Disraeli Years Review

by William Ruhlmann

"The ultimate 60's collection," reads a cover statement on the box of this unwieldy album, but nothing could be further from the truth. Spanning 90 tracks in more than five hours, Disraeli Years (its title and cover illustration deliberately and deceptively evoking Cream's Disraeli Gears album, to which it otherwise has no relationship) combines two previously released various-artists albums, Daytrippers and Sixties Apocalypse. The pairing is appropriate in that those two collections shared many artists and an overall concept. That concept may not be apparent to the uninitiated at first listen. And why should it? Music has nothing to do with it; it's about business. The slippery folks at Dressed to Kill somehow amassed rights to various minor record catalogs of 1960s and '70s performers, then threw tracks on these albums in any old order. Let's see, there's the much abused Immediate Records catalog, which includes the Small Faces and others. There's the Buddah Records catalog, with such artists as Melanie (whose many selections here are from the early '70s, not the '60s at all), and, through Kama Sutra Records, the Lovin' Spoonful. There's Pye Records' cache of Donovan folk recordings. There's the blues label Blue Horizon, with acts like Fleetwood Mac and Alexis Korner. There are various British hit singles, and some unauthorized live recordings by the likes of Chicago and Santana. From the looks of things, Dressed to Kill might have dumped all the titles into a computer and had it choose the selections at random. The combination of the two existing albums into this box also results in repetition: the Moody Blues' "Go Now" and Humble Pie's "Natural Born Bugie" each turn up twice. This is an album that should not be purchased at anything above a rock-bottom price, if then.

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