If there are any dedicated Tullies who were wondering whether this may be just another rehash of old material, not really worth investing in, rest assured that it is a must for your collection.
Although this is a re-recording of the original Aqualung album, there is enough originality about this work to justify the outlay, even for those who do not consider themselves to be die-hard fans.
Recording in front of a small but enthusiastic (not to mention damned lucky !) bunch of fans gives it a 'live' feeling but with more intimacy than a full blown concert performance (a bit like an 'unplugged' set maybe ?).
Most of the tracks have a newish feel, especially the superb Mother Goose and Hymn 43, and the only downside is that you will wince as Ian strains sometimes to reach some of the notes with the same power as before, which has also become more noticable in some recent concert performances.
There are several 'bonus' tracks at the end where Ian and Martin muse about riffs and life and so on, and when his tombstone is prepared, it will surely have "Look, it really really wasn't a concept album you know !" chiselled on it in huge letters :-)
The decision to give all royalties to charities for the homeless surely clinches it, as Ian says in the sleeve notes : "To put this recording on general release as a full-price, money-grabbing "new" album would hardly be appropriate". The only downside is that as a Limited Edition release availability might become an ...
The further demise of Sunderand AFC ('A' for Association being the Sunderland and District Teachers' Association which originally formed the club in 1879) is yet another gruesome chapter in the history of the club. Last July I got to speak to Gatesy, Malcolm MacDonald and Bernie Slaven on Century FM's Ten Grand Fan challenge (yes, I got to the 2nd round and then blew it big time !), and they asked me what I thought SAFC would do in the coming 2005/6 season. Live on air (shudder) I suggested that we should be aiming for a top ten finish, and if last time was anything to go by (1999/00), we could even be pushing for a spot in Europe.
Gatesy went very quiet.
MacDonald sniggered, and opined that I was being incredibly optimistic.
Slaven lost it completely and seemed to be saying I had completely lost my marbles, although I was scarcely listening by this point.
And all I said was we should be AIMING for a top half finish ...
Now if I had been a Wigan or West Ham fan saying the same thing at that time I could have understood their mirth, since hadn't we just left them in our wake in the Championship, and didn't we have ground capacity and support - and hence presumably financial resources - way ahead of both of them ? And yet they would have been hopelessly wrong in both cases, which only goes to make our utter humiliation - and I'm writing this after Easter Monday - even worse to take.
I saw my first match in 1971, and have lived in London for the last 25 years. ...