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GURU GURU Reissues SPV (2006)

Formed in the early 70s, Guru Guru were a German prog band of some renown, and 1974's Dance Of The Flames (Revisited SPV304932CD / REV043) was their 6th album.

Unusual to find a 3 piece prog band without keyboards, it's a decent sound, although the vocals are slightly annoying, especially on the opener 'Dagobert Duck's 100th Birthday' (Now there's a silly title if ever there was one). The sound has a freeform edge, making it sound arranged live, which is fine to a point bit you keep expecting to hear an audience.

The music is good, in the main solid, but the jazz side of the freeform is also a tad offputting where it becomes disjointed. 'The Day Of The Timestep' kicks off with no real structure - great guitar solo but it's like that for far too long. **

1979's Hey Du! (Revisited SPV304942CD / REV044) saw the band rechristened Guru Guru Sunband, and saw the band expand too, with the music, being more cohesive, a little new wave. Elements of Jethro Tull in 'Starway', and the keyboards work in well too.

The elements of funk and jazz are less annoying than on the previous album, think 80s King Crimson, but the vocals in the German language really are offputting, abrupt, and just yeauch. **½

Both albums are well annotated (don't struggle with the German liner notes, they're in English over the page, and they're in digipaks and come with extra tracks too.

The 30th Anniversary concert, 30 Jahre Live (Revisited REV045 / SPV 304952) was originally released in Germany as a 2CD concert and in Japan as a 3CD, augmented by a remastered 1971 bootleg. This reissue is that entire 3CD package, digipak, booklet, the repackaging works.

And while Disc 1 comprises of the 1998 line-up of the band, there's numerous guests and on disc 2 a ‘super-session', so at various points you also get various ex members of the band plus musicians from Can, Kraan etc.

All in all a great package and live set - if you're a fan, shame about the music if you're not already a die-hard. Not actually bad but just decidedly average over extravagant self indulgent German prog. Tight, solid, just no sparks, no magic, no mind blowing tunes.

Very hard work but a good attempt. Fans would say excellent but it's for them only. **½

Not the best starting place for German rock but enjoyable in small doses.

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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