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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Humble Pie

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★★★★½
(9 Reviews)

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A landmark release, this special edition features both the new CD and DVD formats of the album completely restored from original analogue tapes and digitally re-mastered by Bob Ludwig, in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. As well as the original 1975 videos for ’Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ’You’re My Best Friend’, the DVD also contains brand new video footage for the other 10 tracks, along with archive audio commentary from all four members of Queen, including the late Freddie Mercury.As Queen guitarist Brian May explains in the new liner notes: ”Months of craftsmanship by true perfectionists have gone into wringing every ounce out of the original master recordings and into this hitherto unequalled ’high definition’ domain. Never has the recording been so carefully balanced, so carefully cleansed of clicks and pops from so many sources, some of which were even present on the original mix master tapes. In the stereo sound on this DVD, every nuance of the analogue character of these human-made mixes is more faithfully reproduced here than ever before. In addition, for the surround track, a whole set of 5.1 mixes has been created from microscopically accurate digital sound files, mirroring the original multitrack tapes. For the first time this includes a new surround mix of the final track ’God Save the Queen’, and some improvements to the surround mixes previously issued to a small audience on the DTS DVD-Audio release.”May continues: ”This DVD also features for the first time visuals for every track on the album ­ some, like the original ’Bohemian Rhapsody’ video, carefully digitally restored and re-graded, and some, like the stunning new video for ’Good Company’, created especially for this release. There are also some special commentaries, ancient and modern, from all four Queen members on facets of the tracks, and… yes, this is quite simply the best ’Night At The Opera’ ever produced. I doubt if it can ever be bettered!”Nothing succeeds like excess–at least that’s the case with Queen’s breakthrough classic, A Night at the Opera. On one level, the title is a reference to the band’s operatic pretensions, best in evidence here on the classic ”Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was championed by headbangers a generation before being revived by the Wayne’s World set. Of course, A Night at the Opera was also the title of a Marx Brothers movie, and the reference isn’t lost on Queen, who seldom scaled the heights of pomprock without a knowing wink. The album is remembered for its meticulously produced bombast, but the truth is that there’s a wide variety of material here, from the gorgeous piano-based ”You’re My Best Friend” and the McCartneyesque ”39” to the music-hall-style ”Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” and the pedal-to-the-metal rockers ”Death on Two Legs” and ”I’m in Love with My Car.” A Night at the Opera is viewed by most as the quintessential Queen album, and justifiably so. –Daniel Durchholz

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  • This is a good sample of the classic metal group Humble Pie.If you like this there are some other heavy groups similer to this with their own Millenium collection: Wishbone Ash, Savoy Brown, Cream, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple. If you enjoy heavy metal from the late 60’s and early 70’s, you will love these compilations. Humble Pie was a British band that tried to play as loud and hard as possible. They were very good and when the group featured Peter Frampton on lead guitar, they could give any heavy group of the time a run for their money (including Led Zeppelin).

    Posted on November 13, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • With the release of both anthologies Millennium and Hot ‘N Nasty, music fans should be able to restore Humble Pie to their rightful niche in rock history as one of the founding fathers of seventies hard rock. The tragedy is that Steve Marriott, until the day he died, wanted to be an r and b/soul singer instead. This explains the presence of the Blackberries; though they are luscious background singers (especially on “Black Coffee” their one cut included here), their straight rhythm and blues vocals often clashed with the Pie’s harder rocking sound. Thankfully, the band’s hard rock material, not the later blue-eyed soul Pie, is featured here: “Four Day Creep,” “Hot ‘N Nasty,” the underrated “Big Black Dog,” and “30 Days in the Hole” (complete with memorable rehearsal introduction) are all included here, plus a fantastic cover of the Muddy Waters classic “Rollin’ Stone” that proves that hard rock and blues can and do indeed mix to perfection. “Shine On” is a great Peter Frampton cut, but his best number is of course “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” still a staple of his live performances today. It really rocks the Fillmore and proves that he and Steve enjoyed a special chemistry together that neither could fully replicate alone. Enjoy this tasty slice of pie with a cup of strong, fresh-brewed black coffee! Bottoms up!!!

    Posted on November 13, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • All of the songs on this collection are great–not a lemon in the bunch. But with only 52 minutes of music, it’s an inadequate offering. There is so much else that could have been added including: Get Down To It, Honky Tonk Woman, I Can’t Stand the Rain, 99 Pounds, Road Runner, Good Booze and Bad Women, Every Single Day, The Fixer, Anna and many others. Also, the 20 second introduction to I Don’t Need No Doctor was chopped off.

    Posted on November 13, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • First: Even though the Pie was just redone a couple years ago for the “Hot ‘N Nasty” collection, this CD sounds even better. I don’t know who’s doing all the remastering now, but the Pie [and recent James Gang remasters] sound better than they have in years!Even the selction was made with some care, including the “probably not best of” songs ‘Four Day Creep’ and ‘Big Black Dog’ alongside Pie classics like ‘Hot N Nasty’, ‘30 Days in the Hole’, ‘Stone Cold Fever’ and the powerful live take of ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ just reinforces how strong this band was. This is a CD you can just groove right along with all day long. Lots of air guitar predicted.My gripes are only the inclusion of ‘C’Mon Everybody’ (just never did it for me) and ‘Rollin’ Stone.’ I would have liked liked ‘Buttermilk Boy’ and maybe one more track from “Eat It” or “Rock On.” But that’s just MY 2 cents worth.Great starting point for beginers, great for reintroducing yourself to one of the ‘lost’ English blues/soul bands (Re: influence on the Black Crowes) or a great gift for an uncle (or your Dad) for raiding his record collection back in the day.

    Posted on November 13, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I was pleased that the Cd started with the band’s first UK hit single , “Natural Born Woman” .This is essential blues music for me , being a classic rock fan , and no blues purist.The band used the best of both: Progressive Blues , integrated with the modern -for-the-time Rhythm and Blues Rock that was known at the time as “Rock”. “Big Black Dog” is the rarity – previously only released as a B side vinyl single in Europe and non-U.S. countries.It stands with the rest of the repertoire strongly.”Stone Cold Fever” is likely their strongest number , featuring Steve Marriott’s feverishly electrifying vocals( clearly one of the best male vocalists of the century) and tasteful harmonica. Peter Frampton’s lead guitar is one of the most original and unique stylings from the 70’s on this song- a mixture of Wes Montgomery style Jazz and Claptonesque Blues.”Rolling Stone” is an equal performance both of them .The rest of the album is a wise selection of Hits and Covers, like “Black Coffee”( Ike and Tina Turner), “I Don’t Need No Doctor”( Ashford and Sompson), and “Ninety Nine Pounds”(D. Bryant).Bassist/ Vocalist Greg Ridley is one of the best Bassists in the feild , who always played it like a real bass – soul music style.His roots were obviously , like Steve , deep in Mowtown and Stax.His vocals are a treat , a growly and manly personna that was a perfect foil for Marriott’s over-the-top-too-soul-to-be-white charisma.The arrangements were original and entertaining – often a verse each from Marriot, Ridley and Frampton ( “Shine On” featuring Peter)The collection wouldn’t reflect the demeanor of the band if it didn’t include the Live numbers, Like “…Doctor”, and for 12 songs, I will say this is a good testimony of the band for those too young to have known them before and old fans alike.

    Posted on November 13, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now