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Rage before Beauty

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Rage before Beauty

Artist: The Pretty Things
Genre: Rock
Release Date: March 1999

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
3 stars out of 4

"Rage Before Beauty," the 1999 release from The Pretty Things, was dedicated to the late Peter Grant (manager for Led Zeppelin and other groups). It took the Pretties twenty years to get this album together. Its no wonder they suffered from lack of motivation, they made great music for so long with little reward. This recording put them back on the musical map and created some awareness of their history and importance as one of rock music's (forgotten) pioneers.

"Passion Of Love" is a good jump start to an overall energetic album, and then its followed by "Vivian Prince," a contagious ditty with Dick Taylor playing some sprite acoustic guitar while Phil May adds his patented delivery to make it an instant rock-pop jewel. There is plenty more after that number to shake those cobwebs loose and rattle yer bones. "Love Keeps Me Hanging On" is a good song, but a bit overdone, clocking in at over eight minutes. "Not Givin' In" is classic Pretties with attitude; its one of the best songs on the album, and Phil sounds particularly inspired. On the remake of "Mony, Mony," the boys steal a page out of the book of Eddie Money as Ronnie Spector joins in on vocals. Actually Ronnie toured with Phil and the boys back in 1964 on a Ready, Steady, Go, tour, so I think it's safe to stay that May has the edge on the Moneyman for original ideas for duets. I thought the younger crowd might be able to remember Money doing the same thing with Spector back in the eighties. The show closes out with a soulful and heartfelt "God Give Me The Strength (To Carry On)."

This is the kind of album that will grow on you with each listen, even if there is a rather lame version of the Rolling Stones' "Play With Fire," it's all together one helluva recording. There is one thing you will always get with a Pretties album, a lot of heart and feeling. They proved once again how resilient and strong they were by releasing this album and backing it with a series of back catalog releases remastered in all their glory.

Right, your bloody well right, its time you discovered this great group. If you pick up this album or any other…you will love it.

The Band:

Phil May-Vocals, acoustic, harp
Dick Taylor-Lead guitar, acoustic
John Povey-Keyboards, vocals
Wally Waller-bass, acoustic, vocals
Skip Alan-Drums, percussion
Frank Holland-Lead guitar, acoustic, vocals


1. Passion of Love (May/St. John) - 3:22
2. Vivian Prince (Holland/May/Povey) - 5:15
3. Everlasting Flame (Holland/May/St. John) - 3:46
4. Love Keeps Hanging On (May) - 8:55
5. Eve of Destruction (Sloan) - 3:02
6. Not Givin' In (May) - 4:01
7. Pure Cold Stone (May/Taylor) - 5:46
8. Blue Turns to Red (Holland/May) - 4:00
9. Goodbye, Goodbye (May/Povey) - 2:45
10. Goin' Downhill (May/Tolson) - 4:11
11. Play With Fire (Jagger/Richards) - 4:07
12. Fly Away (May) - 4:30
13. Mony Mony (Bloom/Cordell/Gentry/James) - 4:44
14. God Give Me the Strength [To Carry on] (May/St. John) - 6:03



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