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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Amen Corner - If Paradise Was Half As Nice/The Immediate Anthology (1969 uk, psychedelic pop, blue eyed soul with a blues feeling, double disc plus bonus live tracks)

The band is named after Amen Corner, a small residential area on the edge of Bracknell in Berkshire.  Initially they specialised in a blues and jazz-orientated style, but were steered by their record companies into more commercial pastures.

Their first singles and album appeared on Decca's subsidiary label Deram, but they left at the end of 1968 to join Immediate,  where they were instantly rewarded with a No. 1, "(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice" (originally a song by Lucio Battisti) in early 1969,  followed by another top five entry with the Roy Wood composition "Hello Susie".

After recording a live album, Farewell To The Real Magnificent Seven, and a final single, a rather premature cover version of The Beatles' "Get Back",  they disbanded at the end of 1969.

While sax players Alan Jones and Mike Smith went on to form Judas Jump, guitarist and vocalist Andy Fairweather-Low led Dennis Byron (drums), Blue Weaver (organ), Clive Taylor (bass) and Neil Jones (guitar) into a new band, Fair Weather.  The band scored a UK No.6 hit with "Natural Sinner" in 1970 and recorded one album before disbanding a year later.

Fairweather-Low went on to a successful solo career in the 1970s, notably with the top ten hit "Wide Eyed and Legless" (1975);  he became a regular player with Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Roger Waters. He also worked with The Strawbs and the Bee Gees.

Amen Corner's Decca back catalogue has been reissued as part of 'The Collection' series; and their Immediate work, as a double CD, including their singles, live album and material recorded for an unreleased studio album, under the title "If Paradise Was Half as Nice: The Immediate Anthology".

Disc 1
1. (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice (Mono) - 2:47
2. Hey Hey Girl (Mono) - 3:03
3. Hello Susie (Mono) - 2:36
4. Evil Man's Gonna Win (Mono) - 4:02
5. Get Back (Stereo) - 2:41
6. Farewell To The Real Magnificent Seven (Stereo) - 6:36
7. Lady Riga - 3:18
8. Proud Mary - 3:06
9. At Last I've Found Someone To Love - 3:47
10.Scream And Scream Again - 3:36
11.Sanitation - 2:46
12.Mr Nonchalant - 3:31
13.The Weight - 5:50
14.Welcome To The Club - 3:05
15.Recess - 2:29
16.When We Make Love - 2:51
17.Things Ain't What They Used To Be - 2:07
18.Long Chocolate Limousine - 3:13
19.Natural Sinner (Mono) - 4:14
20.(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice (Stereo Album Version) - 2:49
21.Hello Susie (Stereo Album Version) - 2:55
22.Hey Hey Girl (Stereo) - 3:06
23.Evil Man's Gonna Win (Stereo) - 3:40

Disc 2 (Live)
1. Introduction-Macarthur Park - 3:39
2. Baby Do The Philly Dog - 2:36
3. You're My Girl (I Don't Want To Discuss It) - 2:17
4. Shake A Tail Feather - 1:45
5. So Fine - 2:44
6. (Our Love) Is In The Pocket - 3:16
7. Penny Lane - 3:04
8. High In The Sky - 3:15
9. Gin House - 3:51
10.Bend Me Shape Me - 4:02
11.(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice - 3:20
12.Outro-Stag-O-Lee - 2:59

Amen Corner
* Andy Fairweather Low -Vocals
* Neil Jones - Guitar
* Allan Jones - Saxophone
* Blue Weaver - Keyboards
* Mike Smith -Tenor Saxophone
* Clive Taylor - Bass
* Dennis Byron - Drums

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