Georgie Fame

Funny How Time Slips Away: The Pye Anthology

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Georgie Fame was only on Pye Records for a year, but in the course of that year he cut two whole LPs and, for the first time in his career, contributed in a big way to the songwriting on one of his records. This CD assembles 20 of the 22 songs he released through the label -- the material off of Right Now and That's What Friends Are For (title song by Elvis Costello) are shuffled together, which can be a little annoying, as they have two distinctly different sounds. The material off of the earlier album, produced with an orchestra and arranged by Karl Jenkins, formerly of the Soft Machine, while the material from the second album was much more stripped down. Either way, they mix together decently -- though this collection seems biased in favor of the stuff off of That's What Friends Are For. Fame sounds better and more comfortable on the stuff he produced himself, but the Jenkins-arranged songs give him a chance to stretch out as a singer in ways that he would not have in less opulent musical surroundings. The result is a combination of stripped down, bluesy, edgy jazz-based rock and more lyrical and upbeat pop/rock, and it's all eminently enjoyable; indeed, it sounds better here than it ever did on those poor-selling, seldom heard Pye LPs out at the end of the 1970s.

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