introThis is a wonderful trip to memory lane. “The Definitive Edition” of a true classic album that was originally released in the eighties. I am talking about the debut album “Fact and Fiction” of Twelfth Night, the band with the late Geoff Mann as their singer and front-man. This 3 CD set that has been released on the F2 Music label is a little gem that will give you an inside glimpse of how the original tracks developed through the various processes of writing, rehearsing, demoing, recording and finally being played live. And as a bonus you can find on the third CD a number of cover versions that will show you how other artists interpreted the tracks. All this packed in a beautiful digipak with extensive sleeve-notes and never before seen scans of some of Geoff’s original handwritten lyrics and sketches. A must buy for the Twelfth Night fan and collectors.
Brain Devoil - drums, percussion; Geoff Mann - vocals, tape effects; Clive Mitten - bass, keyboards, classical guitar; Andy Revell - electric and acoustic guitar; Jane Mann - additional vocals on World Without End and Fact and Fiction
Other musicians on the Live recordings:
Rick Battersby - keyboards; Andy Sears - vocals; Dean Baker - keyboards; Roy Keyworth - guitar; Mark Spencer - bass
reviewDisc One of this wonderful set includes all the recordings done at Revolution studios, the album, the single and the original version of “Human Being” which shows that “Human Being” was originally linked to “East of Eden”. “Fact and Fiction” is not a concept album in the traditional sense but has major themes about dystopia, political control, state aggression and mental instability ... but also with of a touch of hope. According Jane Mann the lyrics were triggered by George Orwell’s view of the world expressed in his book “1984”. Personally I enjoyed revisiting this album very much. The two opening songs, “We are Sane” and “Human Being” are off course classic songs. And “We are Sane” and “Creepshow” are songs of epic proportions. And what about “Love Song” .. a personal favorite of mine ... “Love is a, Love is a, Love is an open door”. Besides a great singer and performer Geoff Mann had a way with words. They demonstrate clearly his strong sense of social justice, and the absurdity of the political principles and practices of the western society in the eighties. And those themes are nowadays still strikingly relevant.
Disc Two includes a live version of each album track compiled from a number of different sources enabling you to hear how the band interpreted the songs on stage. Several of these recordings are previously unreleased. And given the fact that Twelfth Night was an amazing live act, this disc will be treasured by the fans. The live tracks are followed by the demos. You will get a nice picture of the times of these years. It was the time of the first affordable drum machines, so to save time the band often used them when recording demos. For the first time the demo of “Creepshow (closing section)” has been added which starts with a completely different speech. Originally titled “After the Bomb Drops”, this was later replaced by the “Nerve Centre, Mirror One”. You will hear planning for nuclear war references.
Disc Three contains at least one version of all the original eight tracks. Mark Spencer has made an own interpretation of the whole “Fact and Fiction” album. The first idea was to include this as Disc Three Of this set. But of the the strong results this deserves an own release. But you can hear some of this material here. Tim Bowness, Clive Nolan, Coburg recorded their tracks especially for this release, as did Galahad’s Dean Baker and Stuart Nicholson. The day after a brilliant Galahad gig in The Netherlands which included Lee Abraham on guitar, I received my review copy of this set and was surprised to see all those names with a Twelfth Night / Galahad connection. Did you know that in the early days Galahad played several songs from “Fact and Fiction”? On this disc they play the title track “Fact and Fiction”. Another Galahad connection, Dean Baker is playing keyboards with Twelfth Night On a version of “Creepshow” out of 2010 which was first released on the MMX DVD. One of my personal favorites. You can also find Pendragon’s version of “Human Being” on this disc. This was originally released on the Geoff Mann tribute CD “Mannerisms”. The version of “Love Song” on disc three, arranged by Mark Spencer and performed by Alan Reed and Kim Seviour, was released in 2014, in aid of cancer research. The disc ends with two live performances of the Eh! Geoff Mann Band. “Fact and Fiction” and “Love Song” ... a worthy ending of disc three of a remarkable 3 CD set
Source for this review:
The wonderful booklet of this release and the website of Progressive Rock Specialist progrock.co.uk the home of F2 Music / Festival Music.