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Reegs - The Definitive Collection

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 24 / 10 / 2009



Reegs - The Definitive Collection
Label: Blue Apple Music
Format: CD

intro

Excellent double CD collection comprising of everything which the Reegs, the 90s band of Chameleons guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding, ever recorded


‘The Definitive Collection’ is the second release of the Blue Apple label, which is run by the Chameleons’ manager, Simon Lawlor. The Reegs,w ho came from Manchester, consisted of Gary Lowery on vocals and keyboards, and Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding on guitars. Reg and Dave formed the Reegs after the Chameleons’ singer, Mark Burgess, and drummer, John Lever, formed the Sun and the Moon, without telling them that the Chameleons were over. The Reegs’ releases were usually limited and hard to find even at the time. They did, however, release two albums, 1991’s ‘Return of the Sea Monkeys’ and 1993’s ‘Rock the Magic Rock’ on the Imaginary label, before it eventually went bust. Their first releases, however, were two early 12 inch singles, and several covers which appeared on a series of tribute albums that Imaginary released for the Kinks, The Stones, Dylan, and the Velvet Underground. ‘The Definitive Collection’ collects together over two CDs both albums, the singles and covers, and also a few previously unreleased tracks. The first CD consists of ‘Return of the Sea Monkeys’ and also some additional songs. ‘See My Friends’ opens the album and was the Reegs’ first ever release on Imaginary’s Kinks tribute. It also later became their first single. The original Kinks song appeared on their 1965 album, ‘Kinda Kinks’, and the Reegs’ version is like a lost psychedelic masterpiece, wonderful and full of colour. ‘Is There a Mother-in-Law in the Club?’ features a banjo and is a world away from the Reegs and the Chameleons’ familiar jangly guitar sound. It is a yodelling number and also includes a Dylan like mouth organ solo. ‘Savage Garden’has more of the feel of the Chameleons. With its earthy keyboards and jangly guitars, it is a perfect trip of a song. ‘Chorus of the Lost’ was the Reegs’ second single. With its Gothed-up sound, it seems like the band are dressed in immaculate black, and the smoke machine has been left on full blast. ‘Pond Life’ was the first song that the band ever worked on as a group. It is haunting and beautiful, sounding like a trippy Smiths number while Gary’s lyrics recall those of Julian Cope. ‘Start to See’ is a beefy-sounding instrumental, which is in the vein of the Smiths again, but this time one of their longer dance numbers. ‘These Days is Joyous Pop’ is exactly, as its title implies, an exuberant dance number, while ‘Turn It Up’ has a big Manchester rock sound, and again is reminiscent of the Chameleons, being very trippy and lush. ‘All Tomorrow's Parties’ is an excellent cover of the Velvet Underground’s number, but this time rewritten for the Hacienda crowd, ‘Jesus Came to Manchester ‘and ‘Snooker Hooligan’ are co writes with Manchester street poet and pool champion, Reckless Robbie, who has since passed away. On ‘Jesus…’ the band sound like they are being fronted by the new John Cooper Clarke, while ‘Hooligan’ has an eerie ‘Clockwork Orange’ style sound ‘In Disbelief’ is a fine example of Dave and Reg's jangly, but lush style of playing guitar, while ‘Oil and Water’ again recalls the Chameleons. ‘As You Leave’ is a song to get lost in, while ‘Out of Body Experience’, is baggy in sound and reminiscent of Depeche Mode. ‘The second CD consists of ‘Rock the Magic Rock’ and also some album tracks, It opens with ‘JJ180 ‘which has a warm glow to it, and, with its jangling guitars and dance-paced keyboards, has a great groove to it too. ‘Blind Denial’ has a more commercial sound and brings back memories of the Mission at their most Gothic, while ‘Goodbye World’ is a beautiful acoustic guitar-based number with smooth keyboards and a minimalist vocal. ‘The Dream Police’, which again sounding like the Chameleons, has a deeper drum sound, and Gary’s vocals are warm and again Gothic. ‘The Nasty Side’ features both a smooth acoustic guitar and also a lonesome piano sound. The guitar lifts the tune slightly, but it remains throughout a moody piece. ‘The Dolphins Enemy’ is another instrumental, and while recalling the Chameleons in its guitar and keyboards sound, features a heavy drum pattern. ‘In Disbelief (Radio Session)’ is as strong as the studio version, and a magical track that shows the band at their peak. ‘Oil and Water (Radio Session)’ is also given a decent reading, while ‘Running to a Standstill’, has a soft, slow almost Spanish vibe to it. ‘The Nasty Side (Instrumental)’ works just as well without the lyrics, while ‘You Told Me Before’ is soft in tone with a strummed, but lush guitar sound. ‘Bosnia 209’ is the most political song on the album, and, a song about losing a friend., is very moody and atmospheric. ‘Subject to Status’ is dubby in feel, and has an early 80s edge to it, but that said also sounds like the early Stone Roses. It ends with their cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘The Last Time’, which is given a more straightforward reading than their over covers. A fine collection indeed!



Track Listing:-
1 See My Friends
2 Is There A Mother-In-Law In The Club
3 Savage Garden
4 Chorus Of The Lost
5 Pond Life
6 Start To See
7 These Days
8 Turn It Up
9 All Tomorrows Parties
10 Jesus Came To Manchester
11 Snooker Hooligan
12 In Disbelief
13 Oil And Water
14 As You Leave
15 Out Of Body Experience
16 JJ180
17 Blind Denial
18 Goodbye World
19 The Dream Police
20 The Nasty Side
21 The Dolphins Enemy
22 In Disbelief (Radio Session)
23 Oil And Water (Radio Session)
24 Running To A Standstill
25 The Nasty Side Instrumental
26 You Told Me Before
27 Bosnia 2009
28 Subject To Status
29 The Last Time



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interviews


Interview (2009)
Reegs - Interview
The Reegs were a 90s offshoot of the Chameleons and recorded two albums in their lifetime. With a new double compilation of their work out, we are reprising this interview from 1998 in which Anthony Strutt for his former publication Independent Underground Sound spoke to guitarist Dave Fielding


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