A feast of Roxy Music: encore…

The two main Roxy Music programmes on BBC Four tonight were a mixed bag.

The Roxy Music Story, a new documentary, successfully evoked Ferry’s genius – he had the vision for a wholly original new rockpop combo and the talent, drive and organization to execute it.

Roxy were one of the most important English rock bands. More enduring, to this writer at least, than the Beatles.

The programme mixed delicious performance clips with all the talking heads you’d hope for. The story was well told. The judgments were sound. Recommended.

Roxy Music: Frejus, turned out to be most of The High Road, the long-available video of the 1983 gig on the French Riviera. By then, the joins were showing.

“Roxy Music” had been watered down into Bryan plus backing musicians – a pity because Andy Mackay delivers a solo which demonstrates what a superior alto sax he could blow when the spirit moved him.

But when an American blues-rock anthem – Like A Hurricane – is the gig highlight, you knew that the Roxy magic had long gone. And – final indignity – one of the musos was wearing jeans!

Gerry Smith

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EARLIER RELATED ARTICLE

Here’s a reminder to (fellow) fans of English art rock: tomorrow sees a feast of Roxy Music, with three different programmes on BBC Four:

2100 The Roxy Music Story – a new documentary
2155 Roxy Music: Frejus (live) – interview and gig from the 1970s
0125 Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music – presumably clips from BBC shows like Old Grey Whistle Test.

They should be viewable online for a week via:

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer

Rumours of a new Roxy album that abound don’t interest this Roxy/Ferry fan. The legacy is the quartet of early 1970s masterpieces: Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure, Stranded and Country Life. The Best Of Roxy Music (2001) is a fabulous compilation, widely available at about £5.

Roxy Music bridged the gap between pop and high culture. That’s why their art lives on, true music for grown-ups, while the work of most of their poprock contemporaries is best avoided.

Gerry Smith

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