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Styx

Lady: Encore Collection

Review by Gary Hill

Since I reviewed the brand new masterpiece from Styx in this issue, it seemed appropriate to go back to the beginning for a companion review. I've reviewed all the early music in the past, though. Well, this compilation disc has songs from that period of the band, making it a great substitute. If you want a good primer on the early Styx music, this is definitely a worth while starting point. It should be noted that since I've already reviewed all the songs here before, the track by track reviews on this disc will be copied or modified from the original reviews for the sake of consistency.

Track by Track Review
Lady

This was Styx’ first hit and it seems likely that most people reading this review will have heard this one. It’s a prog-like powered up ballad and still holds up extremely well despite its age.

Best Thing

A hard edged riff makes up the main impetus of this track. Layers of keyboards and a classic “wall of sound” Styx vocal arrangement pulls it more into the progressive rock realm. They move it out into a smoking hard rock jam later in the track. Then it’s taken down to a prog ballad approach. As more vocals are added I can definitely hear a Captain Beyond leaning here. Some more instrumental work takes us back to the song proper. With all the changes and alterations I’d consider this progressive rock – even though it has some straightforward segments.

Southern Woman

With a straightforward hard rocking basis, this one is a solid cut, if not a standout. It has some cool bursts of instrumental fire here and there.

Man of Miracles

Dramatic, but mellow, progressive rock sounds start us off here. It drops back and drums that call to mind the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey herald the next section. They power in with one of their typical powerhouse vocals on top of vocals section. This carries it for a time and then gives way to a smoking riff driven guitar based section. When the vocals enter I am really reminded of Kansas quite a bit. They take us out through a number of cool changes and musical motifs as this is built into quite the intriguing piece.

You Need Love

From Styx II, this comes in with a keyboard dominated jam and then shifts out to a fiery guitar oriented movement. A vocal segment that’s at once vintage Styx, Starcastle and Yes serves to herald the song proper. Fast paced this is a cool jam that’s got heavy dosages of Styx rock and roll and progressive rock. After the chorus they fly out into a series of segments that encompass a number of types of music.

I'm Gonna Make You Feel It

This definitely has more classic Styx sound. The vocal presence we are used to hearing from these guys is all over this and it’s a fast paced rocker. There a few intriguing twists and a killer keyboard solo.

What Has Come Between Us

The section that leads this off with its fast paced changes and cool instrumental work really calls to mind early Yes quite a bit. They drop it way down for a slow balladic motif for the first vocal. With some varying segments and some great instrumental textures and killer vocal arrangements, this is really a progressive rock ballad. Mind you, that represents the bulk of the song. We get several harder edged, but still quite progressive rock oriented movements on this.

Rock & Roll Feeling

This is straightforward hard rocking number that’s quite cool.  Somehow it reminds me a little of White Witch, of course with a Styx angle. They pull it out into a jam that is one hundred percent Styx, but then shift out to an almost honky tonk based jam that really calls to mind WW even more.

The Grove of Eglantine

A Renaissance (the period of time, not the band) inspired segment starts us off here. This grows out into a fairly straightforward, but still proggy, piece that’s got a lot of energy and some cool touches.

Witch Wolf

Keys start us off here and this is a powerhouse progressive rock jam. It’s got both a classic Styx sound and plenty of prog in the midst of this arrangement. This is quite a strong cut and a great way to bring us into disc two in style.

 

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