Review Max Webster - "The Party" (box set)

album review

rtbuck

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Max Webster "The Party"

Number of Discs - 8
Label - Ole'
Year - 2017
Format - CD & Vinyl

Disc: 1
1. Hangover
2. Here Among the Cats
3. Blowing the Blues Away
4. Summer Turning Blue
5. Toronto Tontos
6. Coming Off the Moon
7. Only Your Nose Knows
8. Summers Up
9. Lily

Disc: 2
1. High Class in Borrowed Shoes
2. Diamonds Diamonds
3. Gravity
4. Words to Words
5. America's Veins
6. Oh War!
7. On the Road
8. Rain Child
9. In Context of the Moon

Disc: 3
1. Lip Service
2. Astonish Me
3. Let You Man Fly
4. Water Me Down
5. Distressed
6. The Party
7. Waterline
8. Hawaii
9. Beyond the Moon

Disc: 4
1. Paradise Kisses
2. Charmonium
3. Night Flights
4. Sun Voices
5. Moon Voices
6. A Million Vacations
7. Look Out
8. Let Go the Line
9. Rascal Houdini
10. Research (At Beach Resorts)

Disc: 5
1. America's Veins
2. Paradise Kisses
3. In Context of the Moon
4. Night Flights
5. Lip Service
6. Sarniatown Reggae
7. Here Among the Cats
8. Gravity
9. Waterline
10. Charmonium
11. Hangover

Disc: 6
1. In the World of Giants
2. Check
3. April on Toledo
4. Juveniles Don't Stop
5. Battle Scar
6. Chalkers
7. Drive & Desire
8. Blue River Liquid Shine
9. What Do You Do with the Urge?
10. Cry Out for Your Life

Disc: 7
1. Let Go the Line (Live Reunion Show-2007)
2. Oh War! (Live Oshawa-1979)
3. Deep Dive (Contraband-1982)
4. Battle Scar (Contraband-1979)
5. Walden 5 (Contraband-1979)
6. In the World of Giants (Contraband-1979)
7. Better (Contraband-1979)
8. Madcap Scene & the Dread-Lock Theme
9. Research at Beach Resort
10. No Matches, No Cigarettes (Live Oshawa-1979)

Disc: 8
1. Kids in Action
2. Miss Demeanor
3. Big Best Summer
4. Tennessee Water
5. Chain of Events

It was during my Junior year of High School(1980) when I was first introduced to the Madcap Scene & the Max Machine when a couple of friends talked about how great the band Max Webster was. I was about to find out because I had tickets to go see Rush at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium on May 21, 1980 & Max Webster was opening the show. I wasn't sure what to expect & as the show began there was singer/guitarist Kim Mitchell wearing pajamas onstage. This band was a little strange(I'll always remember Kim introducing one song as "Cocaine Colored Computer Cards..."which later I found out it was actually Beyond the Moon) but despite myself not knowing any of their tunes they were phenomenal & I became an instant fan. Soon after seeing Max Webster live it was off to Record Theater to purchase my first 2 Max Webster albums which were Mutiny Up My Sleeve & Their s/t debut album which the US version was titled "Hangover". I loved these albums so of course over the next month I picked up the rest of their albums including their brand new album "Universal Juveniles" which included the great song "Battle Scar" which featured all 3 members of Rush. In 1981 a Best of Max Webster album called "Diamonds Diamonds" was released with 2 unreleased tunes. I figured things were still going well but these were the pre-internet days so I had no idea the band broke up until I seen that Kim Mitchell was playing a show at a local club called Stage One in Buffalo. That show was great as he mixed some old Max tunes & introduced a bunch of new tunes which most of them ended up on his first EP. To this day I still rarely miss a Kim Mitchell show in Buffalo...

Okay on to the Party...

The Party is a great set & the sound is phenomenal(you definitely can tell the difference with these remasters of the Max Webster catalog). Disc 1 is their s/t debut which kicks your ass on the opening track & showstopper "Hangover". If you're looking for more kick ass hard rock you have it with "Here Among the Cats", "Only Your Nose Knows", & "Coming off the Moon". "Blowing the Blues Away" is just a great feel good song & then there is "Toronto Tontos" which will be one of the strangest songs you'll ever hear but you will love it after a few listens. Disc 2 is the "High Class in Borrowed Shoes" album & my personal favorite album as every tune is a stand out track. The album rocks hard on the opening track "High Class in Borrowed Shoes", "America's Veins", & another showstopper "Oh War". "Diamonds Diamonds" is a mellow tune that will have you singing along by the second verse. "In Context with the Moon" is an outstanding track that mixes hard rock with a bit of progressive. Author Martin Popoff wrote an excellent book on Max Webster & wrote that during the recording of this album Kim Mitchell was listening to the Sensational Alex Harvey band which was an influence on the record. Disc 3 is the "Mutiny up my Sleeve" album and this album contains my favorite Max tune & the namesake for this boxset "The Party". "The Party" is just a phenomenal hard rocking tune & one of the best parts of the tune is the wild guitar lick at the very end of the tune. "Lip Service" is a great pop tune & "Beyond the Moon" is one of those Far out groovy tunes with great guitars and really "Out there" lyrics by the group lyricist Pye Dubois ("...Cocaine colored computer cards...coding cosmic zipper skies..."). Disc 4 is the Million Vacations album which figures their big hit in Canada "Paradise Skies". The album showcases keyboardist Terry Watkinson on lead vocal on two tracks that he wrote "Charmonium" & the beautiful "Let Go the Line". Drummer Gary McKracken also sings lead vocals on a track which is the rockin' "Million Vacations". "Rascal Houdi" is one of those fast paced crazy tunes which goes right into the final cut "Research at Beach Resorts". Disc 5 is the "Live Magnetic Air" album which is a good live album but I always thought it was missing a few classic cuts. Disc 6 is the Final Max Webster album "Universal Juveniles" which is a great album despite the band being on its last leg. The album kicks off with one of the widest guitar licks I've heard which leads into the fast paced "World of Giants". The 2nd tune is another blast of hard rock "Check". "Battle Scar" is a classic & perhaps the most well known Max tune as they team up with Rush on this tune."Cry out for Your Life" is an incredible tune(maybe a bit progressive jazz ??) but the guitar solo in the last 50 seconds needs to be heard. Disc 7 is a bonus disc of live cuts & demos which features a super fast rockin' version of "Deep Dive" from 1982 which first surfaced on Kim Mitchell's 1990 live album "I am a Wild Party". Also there is great live version of "Oh War" from 1979, a live version of "Let Go the Line" from a 2007 Reunion show, a cool live version of "Research at Beach Resorts", and a few other tracks. Disc 8 closes out the set & it's the Kim Mitchell EP from 1982 which has been out of print for a long time. I love this EP as every tune rocks especially "Kids in Action" & "Big Best Summer". Overall it is a great set from a great band...I bought mine at Music Vaultz where it's $59.99(Canadian currency which I think I paid $49.99 US currency)
 
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rtbuck

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The one thing I forgot to mention is that the cd Boxset does not come with a booklet but the vinyl version does come with a nice booklet with rare photos from what I've heard... but it didn't matter much to me as this set is great
 

Big Ears

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The first album I bought was A Million Vacations, which is consistently good. The remainder and Kim Mitchell's solo albums are pretty good too.
 

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