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Fish: Bouillabaisse- The Best Of Fish

It seems almost a lifetime ago that Poet Singer Derek Dick left the Progressive Rock giant Marillion for a solo career. Derek, who everyone knows as Fish, was a key part of the bands original success with his lyrical thoughts that were more poetry than songs. His stage presence very strongly inspired by Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Fish often wore makeup and costumes on stage. I viewed the early Marillion CD's were works of genius all together and the group took a wide angle change when Fish decided to leave and pursue his own endeavors. The CD release of Bouillabaisse: The Best Of Fish is a two CD collection broken up into one CD called "The Balladeer" while the other bears the label "The Rocketeer". I will speak on each of them separately to make more sense of the release.

On "Balladeer" you get all of the heartfelt tracks that Fish did so very well. Full of the rich emotion he invoked on the rocker tracks these touched you a little closer to the heart. One of my very favorites "Just Good Friends" is not the version I remember, and instead features Fish accompanied by a female vocalist. It works for the tune, but I was curious why the original version was not used. The re-recorded track is good but I liked the original from the perspective it was to be taken from. I was also surprised to find some key Marillion tracks on the release since I felt it would only showcase his solo material. Granted Fish created some masterpieces in this band but I felt that taking the tunes "Kayleigh" and "Lavender" from Misplaced Childhood and separating them ruined the context in how they were meant to be heard. Some good inclusions are "The Company" and "Cliché" but Fish always did know how to make one reflect with his ballads. My personal favorite was "Caledonia" as it brings a lot of his heritage to the front.

With "Rocketeer" you are treated to the more up tempo material that Fish gave to us over the years. This side of his solo work was full of fantastic tunes and I refer to his first three albums as "must have's" in one's collection. Highlights of this CD are "Credo" and "Big Wedge" from his first two releases and define the rocker aspect of Fish. This CD also includes the Marillion track "Incommunicado" and while it's a nice inclusion we find tracks such as "Shadowplay" and "Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors" missing. "Brother 52" holds down one of the best grooves on the release and I found "Moving Targets" to remind me the most of his Peter Gabriel influence.

With 32 songs I have to say that though I enjoyed the disk very much. I did have some reservations on his inclusion of the Marillion material and felt as result this should be listed more as a "Career encompassing" release. The tunes that Fish did with this band are vital to the fan of this man, but it is very difficult to appreciate them out of the context of the records they originate from. This is however a nice sampling of an amazing musicians career and should be investigated by those that enjoy quality song-writing as well as song structure.

Track Listing (CD1: Balladeer)

  1. Just Good Friends (with Sam Brown)
  2. Shot The Craw
  3. A Gentlemen's Excuse Me
  4. Kayleigh
  5. Solo
  6. Incomplete (with Elizabeth Troy Antwi)
  7. The Company
  8. Fortunes Of War
  9. Our Smile
  10. Lavender
  11. Lady Let It Lie
  12. Cliché
  13. Scattering Crows
  14. Tara
  15. Caledonia
  16. Raw Meat

Track Listing (CD2: The Rocketeer)

  1. Big Wedge
  2. Credo
  3. Incommunicado
  4. Goldfish And Clowns
  5. Long Cold Day
  6. Brother 52
  7. Clock Moves Sideways
  8. The Perception Of Johnny Punter
  9. Moving Targets
  10. Plague Of Ghosts
  11. (i) Old Haunts
  12. (ii) Digging Deep
  13. (iii) Chocolate Frogs
  14. (iv) Waving At Stars
  15. (v) Raingods Dancing
  16. (vi) Wake Up Call (Make It Happen)

Added: December 15th 2005
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: The Company-Official Fish Website
Hits: 4377
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Fish: Bouillabaisse- The Best Of Fish
Posted by Keith Hannaleck, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-12-15 20:46:49
My Score:

The day I heard Raingods With Zippos I was hooked on the music of Fish. It goes without saying how important his contributions to Marillion were, he helped to put them on the map in the 80's. I think Fish has really blossomed since leaving the limitations of a band and the collaborative processes involved, he is much better left to his own devices as his very successful solo career has proven through several extremely distinctive albums.

Bouillabaisse-The Best Of Fish does very well in outlining his solo career by breaking down one disc into the ballads and the second into his rockers. The definition of Bouillabaisse is-A combination of various different, often incongruous elements: a bouillabaisse of special interests. I do not think there is a better way to describe what you will hear on this best of collection (so far).

There are several reasons why I enjoy Fish and this particular set. First, you can understand the man when he sings, he has lyrics that for the most part make sense and have oodles of emotion and meaning, and he always manages to get one killer band to back him. I think most people familiar with Fish place high expectations on anything he releases-I know I certainly do. I grab his material without listening to any samples, and I just know it will be good. He has not disappointed me yet.

I found this two-disc set very satisfying in that it covers all the facets of Fish, all the elements that make him tick, the hopeless romantic, the cynical angry man dealing with the tough realities of life, everything that the man is. He is not afraid to let us know what goes on inside his head and what stirs in his soul. For all of these reasons I love the music of Fish and Bouillabaisse most certainly covered the highlights of his solo career to date.

» Reader Comments:

Fish: Bouillabaisse- The Best Of Fish
Posted by Henrik B. Hager on 2005-11-13 10:45:10
My Score:

"One of my very favorites "Just Good Friends" is not the version I remember, and instead features Fish accompanied by a female vocalist. "

Absolutely one of my favorites too.
The singer is Sam Brown. People might remember that she made a great single named "Stop".

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