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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | EG Records

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When Slave to Love: The Best of the Ballads was released in 2000, there hadn't been a true Roxy Music compilation in print for years. Street Life and More Than This were both grab bags of Roxy Music singles and material from Bryan Ferry's solo career. While it's logical to assume that fans of one artist would certainly be interested in the other, the approach never made for a unified compilation -- Roxy Music's sound shifted quite a bit over the years, and their earlier, edgier singles never sat well next to the smooth balladeering of Ferry's companion career. However, Slave to Love is the first Ferry/Roxy grab bag to make internal sense, because it's thematically limited to the Roxy material that most resembles Ferry's crooning solo style. By the time of 1982's Avalon, the gap between the two had narrowed so much as to be virtually indistinguishable, and this compilation captures the elegantly romantic sound that came to be inextricably linked to Ferry. Slave to Love shouldn't be taken as comprehensive, even in this narrower vein (there are several excellent late-period Roxy Music singles missing), but as an encapsulation of one specific part of their appeal, it makes for a strong listen. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | EG Records

When Jerry Hall, front-cover model on Roxy's Siren, left Ferry for Mick Jagger, his response was this interesting album, not a full success but by no means a washout. In part Ferry returned to the model of his solo work before In Your Mind, with half the tracks being covers of rock and soul classics. Thus, Sam and Dave's "Hold On (I'm Coming)," Al Green's "Take Me to the River" (which arguably sounds like a strong influence on Talking Heads' near contemporaneous version) and even the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On," among others, take a bow. Unfortunately Ferry's backing performers, mostly drawing on studio pros like Waddy Wachtel, don't seem to have the real affinity for the material like his earlier solo-effort cohorts did. If anything, though, there's also the sense of Ferry channeling his romantic gloom through a number of the songs, giving them a strong personal bite. The guitar and bass-only version of the traditional folk tune "Carrickfergus" works best of all, its lovelorn sentiments and slow pace connecting just right. As for Ferry's originals, his sentiments are all the more clear, right from the abbreviated charge of the opening "Sign of the Times," its fractured sentiments of disturbed, vicious romance matched by the clipped punch of the music and Ferry's own brisk delivery. The other originals don't cut quite so bloodily, but the sense of loss and confusion is all there, from the opening line "Well I rush out blazin'/My pulse is racin'" on "Can't Let Go" to the lonely sense of mystery on "This Island Earth," the album's conclusion. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | EG Records

With Roxy Music set aside for the time being, Ferry took the solo plunge with an album of totally original material. As such, the underrated In Your Mind makes a logical follow-on from Roxy's Siren, especially since usual suspects -- Thompson, Manzanera, Wetton, and many more -- assist him in the brief eight-song effort. While lacking early Roxy's long-gone freakouts In Your Mind still burns more fiercely than both the later solo and group albums, at least on certain tracks - like Siren, it balances between rockier and smoother paths, most often favoring the former. Ferry's lyrics remain in his own realm of intelligent, romantic dissipation, and are some of his best efforts. The strong opener "This Is Tomorrow" starts with Ferry and keyboards before moving into a big, chugging full band arrangement and a wistful chorus: "This is tomorrow callin'/Wish you were here." When Ferry aims for a calmer mood, rather than stripped-down melancholia, he lets everyone play along. Sometimes the arrangements almost swamp the songs, but "One Kiss'" combination of female backing vocals, sax, and straight-up rock for instance, make it a great woozy, end-of-the-night singalong before the bars close. There are a few blatant misfires -- "Tokyo Joe" has the chugging, dark funk/rock beat down cold, but the lyrics play around too much with Asian stereotypes (and let's not mention the opening gong and all too obvious attempts at "atmosphere" via the strings). On balance, though, In Your Mind remains the secret highlight of Ferry's musical career, an energetic album that would have received far more attention as a full Roxy release. © Ned Raggett /TiVo

Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | EG Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1986 | EG Records

The first compilation to attempt an all-encompassing overview of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music's career, Street Life was originally released in 1986, four years on from the band's break-up. And, across four sides of vinyl, it represented one of the most lovingly compiled tombstones any band could receive. Subsequent compilations have, of course, undermined it a little, but still it's difficult to criticize a collection that wraps up every significant hit single that the two parties enjoyed, from "Virginia Plain" and the oft-overlooked "Pyjamarama" through to "Jealous Guy" and "Avalon," via "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Slave to Love." The packaging is distinctive, with tempting stills from long-ago TV appearances mingling with all the relevant LP sleeves, and if you should ever be looking for a one-stop reminder of the combo's unerring brilliance, this is it. © Dave Thompson /TiVo

Artist

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