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Now Hear This: Colosseum | Transmissions Live at the BBC

I'm getting caught up on the good albums that have come out lately. Like this one.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This is the BBC Radio 1 Service. We proudly present one of the world’s greatest bands… Colosseum!” Fans tuning into their wireless sets during the great age of progressive rock would have been thrilled to hear the announcer introduce one of their favourite bands about to hit the airwaves. They wouldn’t be disappointed. Few bands played with such power, fire and intensity whether in a club, at a festival or even in the confines of a radio station studio. Led by drumming legend Jon Hiseman, Colosseum were guaranteed to give an exciting performance as soon as the red recording light went on and the engineer gave the thumbs up.

It may have seemed like a fleeting moment — that once the broadcasts were over they were never to be heard again. But many of the shows — during which Colosseum roared into epic arrangements like Walking In The Park, Daughter Of Time, Tanglewood ’63 and Rope Ladder To The Moon — were captured on tape for posterity, not only by the BBC but by listeners armed with their own home recorders. And they’ve been collected in Transmissions Live At The BBC. The six-CD set contains from some 60 performances, recorded between 1969 and 1971 on shows like John Peel’s Top Gear and Sounds Of The 70s. We hear the earliest version of Colosseum with founder members Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Dave Greenslade and Tony Reeves joined by guitarist/vocalist James Litherland. Later lineups include Dave Clempson on guitar with Chris Farlowe (vocals) and Mark Clarke (bass), plus guest appearances by Barbara Thompson (sax/flute) and the New Jazz Orchestra.

This vast treasure trove of material has been rescued from the BBC and Colosseum archives, along with rare recordings by fans and enthusiasts. It has been painstaking collected, collated, restored and digitized by the combined forces of historian and archivist Colin Harper, Jon’s daughter Ana Gracey and Repertoire Records’ own audio genius Eroc. With liner notes by Chris Welch including new interviews with Dave Greenslade, Tony Reeves and Chris Farlowe, this promises to be the biggest classic rock album release of the year. The Machine Demands A Sacrifice? Here it is!”