Alan Price

Geordie Boy: Anthology

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A double-disc anthology of Alan Price? Better hope they've discovered how to cram more than 80 minutes of music on to a CD, then. Of all the artists currently crying out for the big box-set treatment, the former Animal is yowling louder than most. But, in the meantime, this 46-track collection will do nicely, as it swoops across Price's entire solo career, to scoop up every hit, every key album track, and even a couple of rarities, to paint the most vivid picture yet of the man's lengthy, and ever-changing career. From a strictly musical point of view, disc one is where the real meat lies, as it traces Price from his escape from the Animals in 1966, and on through the run of half-a-dozen U.K. hits that established him as the rocky side of the bubblegum pop movement -- songs like "Don't Stop the Carnival" and "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear" may be a long way from "Gonna Take You Back to Walker" and so forth, but they evince a driving beat and shout-a-long madness that wholly defied Price's growing reputation as a "family entertainer."

His union with Georgie Fame is highlighted by another hit, "Rosetta," before we lurch into the 1970s, and what looked, at first, like a musical meltdown -- little of what Price threw into the marketplace even dreamed of selling, a drought that peaked when his label of the day, Reprise, brusquely scrapped his 1973 album Savaloy Dip. But Price bounced back with his best-selling LP yet, 1974's Between Today and Yesterday," and scored his first solo hit in six years, the joyous semi-autobiography of "Jarrow Song." Since that time, and across disc two of this collection, hits have remained sporadic (just three more through the 1970s, one in 1988, and nothing since). But Price has continued recording and performing, and there are so many surprises leavened across the latter half of the Geordie Boy: Anthology that even the latter-day remakes of some early Animals numbers pass by without causing offence. And, until the powers that be do give him the full box, Geordie Boy will do very nicely indeed.

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