Sunday, 7 June 2009

“The Band Played On” by BACK STREET CRAWLER. A Review of the 2004 USA-Only Wounded Bird CD (Reissue of a 1975 Album).


Free are part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

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"...The Thing I Didn't Realise...Was The Price I'd Have To Pay..."

"The Band Played On" was issued in the UK in October 1975 on Atlantic K 50173 and Atco SD36-125 in the USA - this 2004 USA-only Wounded Bird label CD (WOU 125) is a bare-bones reissue of that long-forgotten Free/Paul Kossoff related album.

Typical of Wounded Bird releases, the inlay is a gatefold slip of paper which barely reproduces the albums credits - there's no added liner notes, no interviews, no history of the album, no outtakes, no demos...bugger all.

While there's no mention of master tapes or even a remaster, the sound quality is good throughout - not great - but good. Give it enough muscle on the volume control and you'll get a decent punch out of it.

Musically its very mid Seventies rock - some songs are great - some are mediocre. I love the slow blues of "It's A Long Way Down To The Top" with its prophetic lyrics (above) and Mike Montgomery's piano playing working off Koss's fantastic guitar work. The funkier rock tracks like "Jason Blue" and "Hoo Doo Woman" also remind me of "The Don Harrison Band" album (another 1975 LP on Atlantic) - a record that's a little Free meets a little Creedence meets a little Bad Co. Nice!

My personal fave is "Train Song" where Kossoff is ably supported by a great band - it funks along with Koss soloing away as only he could - so Free sounding...so funky...a criminally forgotten gem.

It's a shame WB didn't dig deeper and put up some bonus tracks, but as this is the only way you can get the album - I'd say it's still a worthy buy.

Docked a star for the less than stellar presentation though.

PS: the band's second album "2nd Street" from 1976 is also available on Wounded Bird (WOU 138) - it features John 'Rabbit' Bundrick on Keyboards with Terry Wilson-Slesser again on Lead Vocals

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