Curved Air

Live at the BBC

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With eight recordings from their early 1970-71 days, and a final five tracks from a January 1976 performance, Live at the BBC is typical of BBC rock compilations, with alternate live radio versions that serious fans will find highly enjoyable, though more casual admirers will find the material unnecessary. The sound is very good throughout, and the band's blend of rock, classical-influence progressive arrangements, and some folky sensibilities is accomplished, though it's a bit idiosyncratically pretentious. As might be expected, the dominant ingredients are Sonja Kristina's dramatic, at times overarching vocals, and Darryl Way's aggressive, at times slashing violin. Songs from the first album dominate the 1970-71 recordings (cut at three separate sessions), with six of those eight numbers coming from the band's debut, Air Conditioning. The five tracks from the '76 session document a later, more conventional, and less interesting phase of the band, although they do include future Police-man Stewart Copeland on drums.