Although the band continued on for years into the future (and then came back a few years after that), the only Rooster that really mattered was the earliest, the 1970-1971 line-up that shrugged off the departure of drummer Carl Palmer, and hovered for a brief, but very real moment on the edge of a genuine commercial breakthrough.
Two hit singles, "Tomorrow Night" and "Devils Answer," are Roosters best known legacy, but "Death Walks Behind You," "Save Me," "Friday The 13th" and "Seven Lonely Streets" were just as powerful, and this odd little compilation captures the band at its most magnificent.
The sound quality is not what it could be, and neither is the advertising. Far from rounding up the five BBC sessions that Atomic Rooster recorded between 1970-1972, this is a mishmash that opens with three cuts recorded live (possibly for the Beeb) in 1971. Vinyl lifts of the singles "Play The Game" and "Devils Answer" follow, before we get into a pair of 1971 studio out-takes, the instrumental "A Spoonful of Bromide" and "Head In The Sky." A version of "Stand By Me," recorded for the BBCs Johnny Walker show in June 1972 is followed by three further tracks erroneously claiming to date from the same session ("Close Your Eyes," "Breakthrough" and "Save Me"), and the set wraps with three more live cuts, from French TV that same year.
With John DuCann
having made great swathes of the Rooster archive officially available,
this disc is a curio at best. But its also a reminder that, for
all the material that is on the streets, the world still awaits an authoritative
Atomic Rooster anthology. Most of this CD would find a happy home therein,
but its such a minor part of the story that you need to be a completist
to hunt it down on its own. -
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