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The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings

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Album Review

Remastered and repackaged, this is a treasure trove for die-hard Styx fanatics waiting for a proper reissue of their early works. But casual buyers best beware: this isn't the Styx that sang "Come Sail Away" or "Mr. Roboto," but a different though no less enjoyable group altogether. This two-disc set comprises their first four records under the Wooden Nickel imprint: Styx, Styx II, The Serpent Is Rising and Man of Miracles. While the arena rock anthems and compositional sensibilities are underdeveloped, the pomposity of their prog rock roots clearly shines through with the inclusion of "Fanfare for the Common Man," "Little Fugue in G" and the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah. It's also a document showcasing the evolution of their flare for theatrics and storytelling, which didn't entirely put them on par with their British and Italian prog rock counterparts, but close enough for people to take notice. Aside from "Lady," there isn't much here that casual listeners will identify with, but Styx loyalists will be pleased with proper documentation of the group's formative years, something all too neglected until now.

Customer Reviews

Great songs mixed withsome unknown songs

I bought these songs because it had movement for the common man on it which wouldnt let you buy it seperate. I was happy I bought the whole the thing though because it came with songs i never heard of and know I act like those songs were why Styx is a band. These songs are my favorite Styx songs.

Belated Praise for John Curulewski

I started being a Styx fan with Pieces of Eight and worked forward and backward in their works from there. Back in the early eighties I bought (you're welcome gents) these four albums from a "record store" (remember those?) However, as a huge Tommy Shaw fan, I tended to discount the guy he replaced. To my adult ears all these years later after I bought them again (your welcome again gents) I find that JC's work is the most complex, deep, and interesting in this collection. So I don't know what issues came between him and the rest of the group (or perhaps just DDY) but he could have done well in the adult alternative genre that arose later. Serpent or A Day could have been hits in another time.

So many great songs you might never had heard...

I was thrilled when I saw this collection. These albums have been all-but-impossible to find on CD, but contain so many really great--although rarely heard--songs I immediately bought the whole package. If you need a sampling first, start with Best Thing, Man of Miracles, and The Serpent is Rising (hands down my favorite guitar solo in all of rock 'n' roll). These guys can really play, and despite their occassional cheesiness managed to produce some really amazing stuff unlike any other band I have heard.


Formed: 1970 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although they began as an artsy prog rock band, Styx would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late '70s and early '80s, due to a fondness for bombastic rockers and soaring power ballads. The seeds for the band were planted in another Chicago band during the late '60s, the Tradewinds, which featured brothers Chuck and John Panozzo (who played bass and drums, respectively), as well as acquaintance Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards). By the dawn of the '70s, the group...
Full Bio
The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings, Styx
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  • $17.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Pop, Pop/Rock
  • Released: Feb 15, 2005

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