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Midnight Blue / Live & Let Live

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Album Review

Recorded in 1980-1981, at a time when early-'70s folk heroes Magna Carta were forgotten even by their original (vociferous) fan club, Midnight Blue is a surprisingly pleasing album, one that overlooks all the odds that were stacked against it (just one original member, no deal to speak of, and a decade having elapsed since their last LP of note) to drift on the edges, instead, of the folk movement that was just beginning to push its way out of punk rock. Of course, it was another decade too early to truly take advantage of those currents, and the band was still firmly locked into the gears that ground around its original incarnations. But hindsight blesses the original album with a lot to be thankful for, while half a dozen bonus tracks continue the story through the next 20 years of outtakes. The second disc in this package is also dominated by those same two decades; although the subtitle insists listeners are in for a truly career-spanning live retrospective, all but two of the 12 songs ("Sponge" from 1971 and "Fields of Eden" from 2007) were recorded during the 1990s and early 2000s. That said, there is a timelessness to the set that illustrates why this band is still so adored, and the opening (2000) recounting of "Airport Song" is priceless.


Formed: 1969

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

In progressive rock circles, Magna Carta are a bit like the Little Engine That Could -- from relatively modest beginnings in 1969, they've endured across 36 years and counting, even as their louder, more heavily amplified rivals from the same era have long since been consigned to history. Acts such as King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer may be better (and much more widely) known, but Magna Carta have stayed together, making music decades longer. The group was founded in 1969 by Chris Simpson...
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Midnight Blue / Live & Let Live, Magna Carta
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