“Bouillabaisse: The Best Of Fish” by Fish

Artist: Fish
Title: “Bouillabaisse: The Best Of Fish”
Label: Snapper Music
Release Date: 10/25/2005
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 7/10

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)

Official Web site: www.the-company.com

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