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Testify 2016

Phil Collins - Testify (Deluxe 2CD)

New edition: Collins most recent original album remastered and with bonus trackss


Please note that this review is about the new edition of the Testify album. Go here for a full review of the album itself.


The Artwork

The artwork keeps up the concept of the new versions having the old artwork with a new Phil. There is not much of a wow effect here, as the photo on the original cover is only 14 years old, which makes it comparatively young. There is not that much change apart from the odd wrinkle.


 

The Remaster

As on the previous two remasters there is no really audible improvement, at least not for the average listener. Since the original album is not that old we shall dispense with a technical analysis of the album.

 

 

 

The Bonustracks – „Extra Testimony“


 

High Flying Angel (B-Side)

This B-side of Can’t Stop Loving You is also a bonus track in the Japanese and Australian versions of Testify. According to Phil’s sleeve notes this song should have been on Testify. We second that notion; it is, after all, a complete, full-size song and the album would not have been the worse for it.

 

Crystal Clear („B-Side“)

This song is nothing less than a very surprising rabbit from the hat. It has been labelled a B-side, but it was unknown to the most hard-core fans. You can hear it is from the Testify sessions, and, unlike High Flying Angel, this sounds rather like a B-side than a real album candidate, though it has never been either.

 

Hey Now Sunshine (B-Side)

Testify CoververgleichA merry song with carefree lyrics. There is no hiding the close relationship with Testify. This song came out as the B-sides for Wake Up Call and The Least You Can Do.

 

TV Story („B-Side“)

This is the second surprise Collins has snuck in. TV Story was to be have been included in Testify, and, like High Flying Angel, it would have provided some diversity. The lyrics are very close to Don’t Get Me Started, though. The sound is quite similar to Wake Up Call. Perhaps it was because of these parallels that the song has been shelved until now.

 

True Colors (live rehearsal)

This wonderful version of Phil’s Cindy Lauper cover was allegedly recorded at the Toulouse soundcheck on the First Final Farewell tour. It is not an unpublished version, however, since the very same version was included in the Love Songs sampler. The studio version appeared on …Hits in 1998, which puts the song in the Dance Into The Light rather than Testify period.

 

Come With Me (live)

It’s Not Too Late (live)

Can’t Stop Loving You (live)

These three are almost the only songs from Testify that have been played live. The only other song to be played live (three times) on the Testify promotion tour was Driving Me Crazy. Unsurprisingly, not version of that song appears in the reissue extras. It is a pity, though. Come With Me and It’s Not Too Late were no safe bets for live performance during the First Final Farewell tour, but they really grew live and developed in a very positive way. And that is what Phil wants to demonstrate with the extras that accompany the reissues.
All three songs were recorded in Paris in 2004, so they are available on the Finally … The First Final Farewell DVD. The sound of the recordings is very good throughout.

 

It’s Only Loving (Demo)

This demo of an utterly unknown and unreleased track completes the trio of surprises on this bonus CD. A song with a great groove, slightly repetitive and slightly shallow lyrics that tend to get boring, but this could have been turned into something more relevant. The chirping synthesizer is a bit irritating. This demo shows that Phil Collins does not shy away from more modern sounds – and that that can sound good.

 

Tearing And Breaking (Demo)

The final version of this song was the selling point of the Love Songs sampler for fans. The demo version we are getting here is close to the final version, albeit still a bit raw an unpolished.

 

Our assessment of the bonus material

Extra Testimony is a well-rounded bonus bundle and perhaps one of the best bonus CDs in this reissue campaign as far as quality is concerned. There is a fine mixture of B-sides, live and demo tracks with three big surprises thrown in for good measure. We have already mentioned that these three are almost full-blown songs. They do not sound like material that had to be struck off the album because of its quality. In fact, they raise our curiosity for what else may be slumbering in the archives of the drumming singer / singing drummer. One may note that there is not demo version of an album track, but that does not matter much compared to the other bonus material.
With the live songs there would have been some room for surprises, but they have been chosen to be on the safe side, and that is okay, too.

 

All in all

There is no improvement in the album because such an improvement is hardly possible. The excellent bonus CD more than makes up for that. Whether the bonus CD is a big selling point for people who listen to Phil Collins only occasionally is anyone’s guess. The material is very interesting, though, and it sounds not worse than the album itself. The biggest challenge with the re-issued has been mastered well, sometimes surprisingly well.
Perhaps the overall package will cause casual listeners as well as fans to give the album, which is usually considered Collins’ weakest, a second chance. It will probably still fail to overpower the other albums, but the overall impression may improve with this new edition. The album deserves it and so does Phil, who, after all, put his heart into the album.


by Ulrich Klemt
English by Martin Klinkhardt

 

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