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SIZZLING PLATTERS OF THE WEEK: Phil ManzaneraThe 801 Series (Expression/MVD Audio) :: 801 was the Plastic Ono Band of mid-'70s progressive supergroup rock ensembles, a nebulous ever-shifting central shaft around which revolved some of the greatest English art rock adherents ever: Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera, Eno, Andy Mackay, Paul Thompson and Eddie Jobson; 10cc's Lol Creme and Kevin Godley; Quiet Sun's Bill MacCormick; Curved Air's Francis Monkman; and many others ranging from Tim Finn to Simon Phillips. Now for your pleasure, Manzanera has assembled his 801 tape archive into the following four separate live albums, all of which are on his Expression Records label in the UK which is distributed in the US by MVD Audio.

801 Live :: When it came out in 1976, 801 Live was immediately acclaimed as being one of the greatest sounding live rock albums ever released — and that goes double now that it's been reissued in this definitive new expanded dual disc edition. The first platter contains the original live album augmented by a few numbers, which were left off the original vinyl pressing due to space limitations. The highlights include blistering versions of songs from Eno's first three solo albums as well as Manzanera's own underrated Diamond Head record. The second disc finds the live album duplicated track for track, only this time in a studio setting during a rehearsal recorded a few days before the gig.

801 Manchester :: Shortly thereafter, 801 hit the road to support their new studio album — which explains why there's a surfeit of surefire songs from Listen Now performed, along with an unexpected Roxy cover that's literally out of the blue.

801 Live @ Hull :: Getting back to mono, this excellent audience recording captures the band in a form that's arguably even fiercer than on the above-noted sonically superior stereo Manchester tape — which was rabid enough to begin with.

801 Latino :: If it proves anything at all, this incongruous Latin throwdown proves that Manzanera does not live on art rock alone.

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