On February 2, 2018, Roxy Music's self-titled 1972 debut album will be released in an expanded 45th Anniversary Edition packages by Virgin/UMe, As a triple-CD, single DVD Super Deluxe Edition box set; a double-CD and digital Deluxe Edition; and a 180-gram vinyl LP Edition. -
From the first lines of the opening track, "Re-Make/Re-Model" -- "I tried, but I could not find a way, looking back all I did was look away" -- to the final "Should make the cognoscenti think" lyric of the closing song, "Bitters End," it was immediately clear that Roxy Music's first record was an album of note.
By the time the record dropped, on June 16, 1972, the band had fewer than ten gigs to their name, they had no two tracks in their repertoire that were alike, and critics simply couldn't pin down their influences. As Richard Williams said at the time in Melody Maker, "If Roxy Music go very much further, they'll be one of the great success stories of modern times."
45 years later, with the group's involvement, we get an opportunity to assess the album and listen as Roxy evolved and developed. The box set provides a thrilling insight into the world of Roxy Music in 1971/1972, starting with the demo tape that caught the attention of writer Richard Williams that ultimately led to their deal with EG Management and then Island Records.
Included are the John Peel BBC Sessions which saw the group honing their craft as they prepared to record their debut album. The second CD in the set captures something very special with unheard glimpses into Roxy's working methods in the studio. Alternate session versions are offered for every album track, plus their first single, "Virginia Plain."
The original album is presented in the 1999 Bob Ludwig master, while the remainder of the audio has been mastered by Frank Arkwright at Abbey Road Studios.
The set's DVD includes promos and BBC TV appearances, as well as rare footage of Roxy at the Bataclan Club in Paris in November 1972, the only surviving visual document of this line-up live on stage. To round off the audio/visual elements of the set, lifetime admirer Steven Wilson has mixed the album into 5.1 DTS 96/24 and Dolby AC3 Sound.
The box set also contains a 136-page book, featuring many rare and previously unpublished photographs and an essay by aforementioned Guardian journalist and author Richard Williams, the man who first wrote about the group in Melody Maker in 1971.
Speaking today about the band's debut, guitarist Phil Manzanera commented, "At 21, my musical dreams came true, recording this album with these wonderfully talented and unique band members. Magical times, magical music."
Saxophonist Andy Mackay recalls, "Late '71/'72 Roxy was our Arts Lab. The place where we exchanged ideas and dreams freely and created and explored a new sound landscape. We stepped into Command Studios with a complete album in our heads (and half the next one) and it only needed the tape to start running… no album was as easy to record again."
Drummer Paul Thompson: "The first Roxy Music album was my opportunity to create. I wasn't used to this type of line-up, I was used to being in guitar-based bands but always wanted to broaden my horizons and here was my chance. A landmark in the history of pop!"
Looking back on the album, Bryan Ferry reflected, "We never really felt accepted, I can see how the old guard would have felt threatened by it, because it was so jammed full of ideas and a massive amount of energy. But we hadn't paid our dues, not in the same way. And we're still not a part of it, not really, even to this day. That's been very hard over the years, to try and make it work without being one of them. The 'them' is always different, but we're not part of it. It's been one of the triumphs, that we've managed to stay sane. Or sane-ish. We're a part of it all, somehow, but still on the outside."
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