Monday, 4 June 2018

"The Last Of The Teenage Idols" by ALEX HARVEY (2016 Universal 14CD Box vs. 2017 4CD Book Set Reissue - Paschal Byrne and Ben Wiseman Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...








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The Last of The Teenage Idols 

2016 Universal 14CD 10"x 10" Box Set 
vs. 
2017 Universal 4CD Truncated Book Set Reissue 

"...Tomahawk Kid..."

There's an Amazon anomaly regarding the 'two variants' of the Alex Harvey anthology "The Last Of The Teenage Idols" that needs pointing out before we go ahead with a review.

First issued 31 March 2016 in Germany - "The Last Of The Teenage Idols" by ALEX HARVEY on Universal 536 212-0 (Barcode 00600753621202) came as a 217-Track 14CD 10" x 10" Box Set with 21 Tracks Previously Unreleased and 59 Songs Officially On CD for the first time. It included newly-remastered editions of all Alex's early solo work plus every Sensational Alex Harvey Band album along with outtakes, non-album singles, live recordings and BBC performances. It has a 64-Page Hardback Book with previously unseen photos from the family archives and exclusive interviews with friends, musicians and collaborators. But in June 2018 it has long since been deleted and is very hard to find.

Universal Germany then later truncated that original monster into a more manageable (and sellable) 4CD Book Set called "The Last Of The Teenage Idols – The Highlights" released 24 February 2017 on Universal 537 420-8 (Barcode 600753742082). This later variant comes in a Hardback Book Set with 78-Tracks and a reduced 42-page booklet attached inside. It is easily available on many sites (including Amazon) at somewhere between £25 and £40 depending on the seller.

The problem comes with Barcodes when you try to locate on Amazon the initial and more collectable 14CD set. I provide Barcodes in all my reviews because it gives buyers and fans a 'direct' cut-and-paste access to the 'right issue'. But for some computer-glitch reason when you use the Barcode 0600753621202 for the 14-disc set on Amazon UK, Germany or even the USA – you are automatically brought to the 4CD reissue on all three sites without any explanation. It is the only option provided using any other search. In fact it's as if the 14CD variant doesn't exist on any of those sites – nor indeed ever did.

Worse - If you use the Barcode for the 4CD Book Reissue (600753742082) – you are told it's not there either. But the Barcode 600753742082 is pictured in their reference B01N1O0G1H for £33.44 – a different entry entirely on their system. Bloody confusing I know. Also because Universal didn't change the front cover artwork of the 4CD reissue set to include the words "The Highlights" on the front (those words are only visible on the spine of the 2017 reissue) – both sets look identical in their generic front cover pictures. So you might be fooled into thinking you're getting a 14-disc bargain for £25 – you're not. If you want the bigger set - other auction sites are selling copies for wildly varying prices – one starts at £250 and goes upwards to £350 – while another famous Bay site occasionally has secondhand copies for about £125 or a bit more.

As I own both variants (which I’ve pictured below) - let's compare the two. At the base of each Disc list I’ve pointed out (a) Previously Unreleased (b) First Time On Official CD and (c) one entry for Previously Unreleased on CD. I’ve also added more detail and corrected a few catalogue number errors on the original box (all tracks credited to Alex Harvey unless otherwise stated):

Disc 1 (63:47 minutes):
1. What's Wrong With Me Baby
2. The Liverpool Scene
Recorded 3 October 1963 in Hamburg, Germany. Track 1 credited to Alex Harvey and His Soul Band – Track 2 credited to Alex Harvey and Scouser
Both songs first appeared as Previously Unreleased recordings on the 1999 CD "Alex Harvey and His Soul Band" on Bear Family BCD 16302
3. Going Back To Birmingham
4. Jailhouse Rock
Track 3 credited to Alex Harvey and His Soul Band - aka The Sabres
Track 4 credited to Alex Harvey and His Soul Band - aka James Dale and The Top 10 Allstars
Tracks 3 and 4 appeared on the German LP "Everything's Allright with Isabella Bond" by Isabella Bond on Decca SLK 16 333
They are live recordings from the "Top Ten Beat Club" Hamburg Reeperbahn, Nr. 2
5. Framed [Side 1]
6. I Ain't Worrying Baby
7. Backwater Blues
8. Let The Good Times Roll
9. Going Home
10. I've Got My Mojo Working
11. Teensville USA
12. New Orleans [Side 2]
13. Bo Diddley Is A Gun Slinger
14. When I Grow Too Old To Rock
15. Evil Hearted Man
16. I Just Wanna Make Love To You
17. The Blind Man
18. Reeling And Rocking
Tracks 5 to 18 originally issued 1964 in Germany as the LP "Alex Harvey and His Soul Band" on Polydor 46 424
19. Lord Randall
20. Born With The Blues
21. House Of The Rising Sun
Tracks 3 to 18 are FIRST TIME ON OFFICIAL CD
Tracks 19 to 21 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED - recorded Hamburg, Germany, 9 May 1963

Disc 2 (55:33 minutes):
1. Shout
2. Sticks And Stones
3. Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby
4. Long Long Gone
5. Penicillin Blues
6. Shakin' All Over
7. Outskirts Of Town
8. Tutti Frutti
9. My Kind Of Lovin'
10. Parchman Farm
11. Ten A Penny
12. Canoe Song
13. You Ain't No Good To Me
14. You've Put A Spell On Me
15. Hoochie Coochie Man
Tracks 1 to 15 recorded as Alex Harvey and His Soul Band, 2 September 1963 in Hamburg and then in London 14 August 1964 for the abandoned 2nd Soul Band album. Remastered from original tapes and presented here in the original running order.
16. Elevator Rock (Recorded 1963/4 during the Soul Band album sessions)
17. You Are My Sunshine (Recorded in London, 14 August 1964)
18. Ain't That Just Too Bad (Recorded in 1964, released as the A-side to a German July 1965 7" single on Polydor BM 56017, First Time on CD)
19. The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot (Recorded in London, 5 August 1964)

Disc 3 (57:40 minutes):
1. Trouble In Mind [Side 1]
2. Honey Bee
3. I Learned About Women
4. Danger Zone
5. The Riddle Song
6. Waltzing Matilda
7. T.B. Blues
8. The Big Rock Candy Mountain [Side 2]
9. The Michigan Massacre
10. No Peace
11. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
12. St. James Infirmary Blues
13. Strange Fruit
14. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
15. Good God Almighty
Tracks 1 to 15 from the Alex Harvey album "The Blues" released 1965 in Germany on Polydor 46 441
16. Agent 00 Soul
17. Go Away Baby
Tracks 16 and 17 are the non-album A&B-sides of a September 1965 UK 7" single on Fontana TF 610
Tracks 1 to 15 and 17 FIRST TIME ON CD

Disc 4 (58:57 minutes):
1. Work Song
2. I Can Do Without You
Tracks 1 and 2 are the non-album A&B-sides of a November 1966 UK 7" single on Fontana TF 764
3. The Sunday Song
4. Horizons
Tracks 3 and 4 are the non-album A&B-sides of a July 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12640
5. Maybe Some Day
6. Curtains For My Baby
Tracks 5 and 6 are the non-album A&B-sides of a September 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12660
7. Midnight Moses [Side 1]
8. Hello L.A. Bye Bye Birmingham
9. Broken Hearted Fairytale
10. Donna
11. Roman Wall Blues
12. Jumpin' Jack Flash [Side 2]
13. Hammer Song
14. Let My Bluebird Sing
15. Maxine
16. Down At Bart's Place
17. Candy
Tracks 7 to 17 are the album "Roman Wall Blues" - released October 1969 in the UK on Fontana TL 5534 (Mono) and Fontana STL 5534 (Stereo) - the Stereo mix is used.
18. Harp (Demo Version) - Music added by AH to a poem by Czech writer Miroslav Holub from a translation by Ian and Jamila Milner
Tracks 2, 3 to 6, 8 to 17 are FIRST TIME ON CD

Disc 5 (68:39 minutes):
1. Hair
2. Royal International Love-In
3. Bond Street Baby
4. Birthday
Tracks 1 to 4 by HAIR PIT BAND from the 1969 UK LP "Hair Rave-Up (Live From The Shaftsbury Theatre, London)" on Pye Records NSPL 18314
5. Ice Cold
6. You To Lose
7. Hole in Her Stocking
8. Wade In The Water
9. Born In The City
Tracks 5 to 9 are six of the eight-track album "Rock Workshop" by ROCK WORKSHOP that feature AH on Vocals - released June 1970 on CBS Records S 64075
10. The Joker Is Wild [Side 1]
11. Penicillin Blues
12. I Just Want To Make Love To You
13. I'm Just A Man
14. He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
15. Silhouette And Shadow [Side 2]
16. Hare Krishna/Willie The Pimp - Medley
17. Flying Saucer's Daughter
Tracks 10 to 17 are from the album "The Joker Is Wild" by ALEX HARVEY - released 1972 in Germany on Metronome MLP 15429
Tracks 10 to 17 are FIRST TIME ON CD

Disc 6 (75:37 minutes):
1. Framed [Side 1]
2. Hammer Song
3. Midnight Moses
4. Isobel Goudie
Part 1. My Lady Of The Night
Part 2. Coitus Interruptus
Part 3. Virgin And The Hunter
5. Buff's Bar Blues [Side 2]
6. I Just Want To Make Love To You
7. Hole In Her Stocking
8. There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree Mother, They're Burning Big Louie Tonight
9. St. Anthony
Tracks 1 to 9 are the debut album "Framed" for THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND - released December 1972 in the UK on Vertigo 6360 081
10. Harp
Track 10 is the non-album B-side to "There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree Mother, They're Burning Big Louie Tonight" released December 1972 in the UK as a 7"single on Vertigo 6059 070
11. Midnight Moses [Side 1]
12. St. Anthony
13. Framed
14. There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree Mother, They're Burning Big Louie Tonight
15. Hole In Her Stocking
Tracks 11 to 15 are SAHB recorded live for the BBC Radio 1 'In Concert' programme at the Paris Theatre in London, 2 November 1972. They first appeared on the April 2009 2CD compilation "Live At The BBC" on Spectrum Music 5312356.

Disc 7 (70:57 minutes):
1. Swampsnake [Side 1]
2. Gang Bang
3. The Faith Healer
4. Giddy Up A Ding Dong [Side 2]
5. Next
6. Vambo Marble Eye
7. The Last Of The Teenage Idols/Parts 1-2-3
Tracks 1 to 7 are the second SAHB album "Next" - released November 1973 in the UK on Vertigo 6360 103
8. The Faith Healer
9. Midnight Moses
10. Gang Bang
11. The Last Of The Teenage Idols
12. Giddy Up A Ding Dong
Tracks 8 to 12 are SAHB recorded live for the BBC Radio 1 'In Concert' programme at the Paris Theatre in London, 2 October 1973. They first appeared on the April 2009 2CD compilation "Live At The BBC" on Spectrum Music 5312356.
13. Next
14. The Faith Healer
Tracks 13 and 14 are SAHB recorded live for the BBC's TV programme 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', 20 December 1973. They first appeared on the April 2009 2CD compilation "Live At The BBC" on Spectrum Music 5312356.

Disc 8 (78:30 minutes):
1. The Hot City Symphony Part 1: Vambo [Side 1]
2. The Hot City Symphony Part 2: Man In The Jar
3. River Of Love
4. Long Hair Music
5. Hey
6. Sergeant Fury [Side 2]
7. Weights Made Of Lead
8. Money Honey/The Impossible Dream
9. Tomahawk Kid
10. Anthem
Tracks 1 to 10 are the 3rd SAHB album "The Impossible Dream" - released September 1974 in the UK on Vertigo 6360 112. As it runs to only 38-seconds - the "Hey" track ending Side 1 wasn't listed on the original 9-Track LP but is listed as a separate track on this 10-Track CD.
11. The Faith Healer
12. Giddy Up A Ding Dong
Tracks 11 and 12 were recorded live at the Ragnarock Festival, Oslo, Norway, 1974
13. Alex Harvey Talks About Everything
Track 13 taken from a Promotional Interview LP sent out in 1974 to US Radio Stations - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED ON CD

Disc 9 (67:14 minutes):
1. Action Strasse [Side 1]
2. Snake Bite
3. Soul In Chains
4. The Tale Of The Giant Stone Eater
5. Ribs And Balls
6. Give My Compliments To The Chef [Side 2]
7. Sharks Teeth
8. Shake That Thing
9. Tomorrow Belongs To Me
10. To Be Continued
Tracks 1 to 10 are the fourth SAHB album "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" - released April 1975 in the UK on Vertigo 9102 003
11. Give My Compliments To The Chef
Track 11 recorded live for the BBC's TV programme 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', 30 May 1975  
12. Action Strasse
13. Soul In Chains
14. The Tale Of The Giant Stone Eater
Tracks 12 to 14 are outtakes recorded at The Hammersmith Odeon, 24 May 1975 - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Disc 10 (72:34 minutes):
1. Fanfare (Justly, Skillfully, Magnanimously) [Side 1]
2. The Faith Healer
3. Tomahawk Kid
4. Vambo
5. Give My Compliments To The Chef [Side 2]
6. Delilah
7. Framed
Tracks 1 to 7 are the sixth SAHB album "Live" - released September 1975 in the UK on Vertigo 6360 122
8. Sergeant Fury
9. Gang Bang
10. Midnight Moses
11. Tomorrow Belongs To Me
Tracks 8 to 11 are outtakes recorded at The Hammersmith Odeon, 24 May 1975 - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
12. Delilah
Track 12 recorded live for the BBC's TV programme 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', 30 May 1975

Disc 11 (79:17 minutes):
1. I Wanna Have You Back [Side 1]
2. Jungle jenny
3. Runaway
4. Love Story
5. School's Out
6. Goodnight Irene [Side 2]
7. Say You're Mine (Every Cowboy Song)
8. Gamblin' Bar Room Blues
9. Crazy Horses
10. Cheek To Cheek
Tracks 1 to 10 are the seventh SAHB album "The Penthouse Tapes" - released March 1976 in the UK on Vertigo 9102 007
11. Tomahawk Kid
12. Isabel Goudie
13. Dance To Your Daddy
14. Framed
15. The Boston Tea Party
Tracks 11 to 15 recorded live at De Montford Hall, Leicester, 1975 - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Disc 12 (53:20 minutes):
1. Dance To Your Daddy
2. Amos Moses
3. Jungle Rub Out
4. Sirocco
5. Boston Tea Party [Side 2]
6. Sultan's Choice
7. $25 For A Massage
8. Dogs Of War
Tracks 1 to 8 are the seventh SAHB album "SAHB Stories" - released July 1976 in the UK on Mountain TOPS 112
9. Satchel And The Scalp Hunter
Track 9 is the non-album B-side to "Amos Moses" released August 1976 in the UK as a 7" single on Mountain TOP 19
10. Boston Tea Party
Track 10 taken from the BBV TV programme performance on 'Top Of The Pops' on 10 June 1976
11. Amos Moses (Longer Version)
Track 11 taken is 5:22 minutes long as opposed to 5:17 minutes on the LP - it is incorrectly listed as being from the US LP variant of "SAHB Stories" but it was never released Stateside - FIRST TIME ON CD

Disc 13 (64:36 minutes):
1. Rock Drill [Side 1]
2. The Dolphins
3. Rock & Rool
4. King Kong
5. Booids [Side 2]
6. Who Murdered Sex?
7. Nightmare City
8. Water Beastie
9. Mrs. Blackhouse
Tracks 1 to 9 are eight SAHB album "Rock Drill" - released March 1978 in the UK on Mountain TOPS 114
10. No Complaints Department - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
11. Engine Room Boogie
Track 11 is the non-album B-side of "Mrs. Blackhouse" released August 1977 in the UK as a 7" single on Mountain TOP 32 - FIRST TIME ON CD
12. King Kong
13. Midnight Moses
14. Rock & Rool
Tracks 12 to 14 credited to ALEX HARVEY with QUAD - recorded in session for the BBC Radio 1 programme 'Alan Freeman Rock Show', 6 March 1978 - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Disc 14 (68:17 minutes):
1. Introduction
2. Mrs. Grant Of Invermorriston
3. Billy Kennedy
4. I Love Monsters Too
Tracks 1 to 4 from the ALEX HARVEY LP "Alex Harvey Presents The Loch Ness Monster" - released 1977 in the UK on K-Tel NE 984. Richard O'Brien of "The Rocky Horror Show" fame narrates Track 1 - whilst Tracks 2 and 3 are spoken word by Alex Harvey.
5. Back In The Depot [Side 1]
6. The Mafia Stole My Guitar
7. Shakin' All Over [Side 2]
8. The Whalers (Thar She Blows)
9. Just A Gigalo/I Ain't Got Nobody 
Tracks 5 to 9 are five of the eight-tracks on the ALEX HARVEY - THE NEW BAND album "The Mafia Stole My Guitar" - released November 1979 in the UK on RCA Records PL 25257 (reissued February 1980).
10. Wake Up Davis (Sings the Oil Man Boogie)
Track 10 is the non-album B-side of "Shakin' All Over" released October 1979 in the UK as a 7" single on RCA Records PB 5199 - FIRST TIME ON CD
11. Big Tree (Small Axe) 
Track 11 is a non-album A-side released May 1980 in the UK on RCA Records PB 5252 (the B-side is the album track "The Whalers (Thar She Blows)" - FIRST TIME ON CD
12. Mitzi
13. Snowshoes Thompson
14. Roman Wall Blues
15. The Poet And I
16. Carry The Water
Tracks 12 to 16 are from the posthumous ALEX HARVEY LP "The Soldier On The Wall" - released November 1983 in the UK on Power Station Records AMP 2. Alex Harvey died of a heart attack in February 1982.
17. Billy Bolero (Home Demo Version) - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED








The 2017 4-Disc variant called "The Last Of The Teenage Idols - The Highlights" can be programmed from the 14CD Box using the following:

Disc 1 (79:43 minutes, 25 Tracks):
Tracks 5, 8, 11, 21 and 18 from Disc 1 - Tracks 1, 4, 6, 10 and 16 from Disc 2 - Tracks 1, 3, 8, 11 and 16 from Disc 3 - Tracks 1 and 3 from Disc 4
Track 4 from Disc 5 - Tracks 7, 13, 11 and 9 from Disc 4 - Tracks 2, 3 and 1 from Disc 6
Disc 2 (79:32 minutes, 16 Tracks):
Tracks 3, 6, 7, 12 and 13 from Disc 7 - Tracks 1, 2, 6, 10, 11 from Disc 8 - Tracks 1, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10 from Disc 9
Disc 3 (78:33 minutes, 18 Tracks):
Track 1 from Disc 9 - Tracks 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8 from Disc 10 - Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 from Disc 11 - Tracks 1, 6, 5 and 2 from Disc 12
Disc 4 (79:34 minutes, 17 Tracks):
Tracks 7, 8 and 9 from Disc 12 – Tracks 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 14 from Disc 13 – Tracks 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 17 from Disc 14

The 10” x 10” Box Set has three inlays with the first two containing the 14 CDs spread across foldout wallets – No. 1 with Discs 1 to 6 covers the Sixties Soul Band years right through the Hair Pit Band, Rock Workshop and the beginnings of SAHB (the debut “Framed” from 1972). Wallet No. 2 holds Discs 7 to 14 covering 1973 to 1983 all the way to a Home Demo made before his sad passing in 1982. The pencil-photograph artwork on each of the CD wallets (done by Rupert Lloyd) is nice and reflects the period of music contained within. But disappointingly all 14 CDs are the same colour (no original label variants) and the inner fold inlays are all blank across both wallets when they could have been filled with something relevant.

Making up for that - the hardback book is fabulous – crammed with fantastic black and white/colour photos from the family archive. We get early snaps of AH trying to be Scotland’s answer to Tommy Steel as he features on Ma Logan’s Rock & Roll show at the Metropole Theatre as far back as July 1957. Page 32 for instance has a display of four impossibly rare Deutsche Grammophon master tape boxes for the German 60ts releases when (like most everyone else) AH was immersed in American R&B and Soul. Page 63 shows the sixteen album sleeves covered by the Box (a huge haul of music) - while Pages 64 and 65 give a dizzying array of 7” single releases in colour (picture sleeves galore).

JOE BLACK arranged the compilation and tape research (aided by Brian McNeill, Joe Foster, Michael Ivarsson, Christer Lagergren and Jim Mclean) whilst the superb mastering is courtesy of a team I love and trust – PASCHAL BYRNE and BEN WISEMAN – two Audio Engineers who are no strangers to huge swathes of Rock, Blues and Soul CD reissues. Right from the tightly rehearsed Soul Band in 1964 through the nine SAHB albums and beyond – the AUDIO is superb – especially the Vertigo material where many people’s hearts will lie. For sure some of the singles from 1966 and 1967 aren’t audiophile by any stretch of the imagination but I suspect that’s down to their original get-‘em-out-by-Friday Production values and time constraints.

The set opens with two cuts from 1963 originally issued by Bear Family in 1999 on one their superlative CD compilations – and man can u hear their quality mastering. The debut album "Alex Harvey and His Soul Band" shows his prowess even so early on – tight, cool and with that fantastic Scottish lilt in his singing. Of the many covers on the debut live album it’s worth nothing that Leslie Harvey (his brother and an ace guitarist in his own right) would later bring the stunning Josh White, Jr. Blues ballad "The Blind Man" they covered on that 1963 LP to Scotland’s finest Blues-Rock band Stone The Crows (which he formed with James Dewar and Maggie Bell). Leslie and Maggie would absolutely nail it with the most fantastic version on their 1970 STC debut album. How cool is it to hear its first incarnation here – and legal too. Disc 1 finishes on a winning combo giving us the first three of 21 Previously Unreleased tracks. They have crystal audio and are sensational too – the Folk Traditional “Lord Randall” is AH and acoustic guitar while the great Scot gets real with the Brownie McGhee classic "Born With The Blues" – a poor soul trying to ditch the booze and the bottle but struggling to do so. Even a song I actually hate - "House Of The Rising Sun" (made famous of course by The Animals) gets a wickedly good AH going over.

After the R&B high of Disc 1 – Disc 2 comes as a big disappointment. You can so hear why the uninspired crash-bang-wallop of the second and unreleased Soul Band album was canned – much of it is poor and strangely old hat. The stragglers at the end of the Disc are even worse. Better is Disc 3 and the first Solo LP "The Blues" which is an unplugged set of covers – just AH and his brother Leslie Harvey on Acoustic Guitars and Vocals working through clever choices. Highlights include "Honey Bee" (Muddy Waters), "T. B. Blues" (Jimmie Rogers) and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" (Leadbelly). His shot at 1964 stardom in the UK with the Fontana single "Agent 00 Soul" is almost embarrassingly bad – but the first time on CD B-side "Go Away Baby" is one of his own compositions and is a 60ts R&B belter.

The three standalone-singles from 1966 and 1967 that open Disc 4 are uniformly awful but he finally finds his musical and artistic persona with the "Roman Wall Blues" LP in 1969. It’s as if the looming Seventies would finally catch up with him and his style. The lovely long hair hippy ideals of the “Hair” musical is good but hardly essential - while the Rock Workshop stuff sounds like Blood, Sweat & Tears meets Chicago’s debut with a Scotsman at the microphone. I’ll admit that the German Metronome Records "Alex Harvey" LP from 1972 is new to me – but while his cover of The Hollies "He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother" is dire - tracks like "Penicillin Blues" are fantastic – a heavier Rock-Blues that the 60ts stuff. His cover of Zappa’s "Willie The Pimp" abutted with "Hare Krishna" has subversive snide - on the edge of SAHB. By the time we get to December 1972’s "Framed" on Disc 6 – the box starts cooking. Although he’d done the Lieber/Stoller Ritchie Valens Jail-Blues number "Framed" a decade earlier – suddenly with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band it comes alive with an absolute vengeance. Alex had finally found his group – Zal Cleminson on wild guitar (ex Tear Gas) while Hugh McKenna bashes those piano keys, Ted McKenna on Drums (also ex Tear Gas) with Chris Glenn on Bass. The anger is harnessed in "Hammer Song" but "Midnight Moses" tears out of your speakers with its bovver boots on (hey hey). Not for the first time would SAHB tape into a drunken swagger complete with racy lyrics - "Buff’s Bar Blues" delivering big time. And you can’t help thinking that "The Harp" – a non-album B-side from October 1972 is a bit of a forgotten gem.

By the time we get to Discs 7, 8 and 9 we’re into the winning streak - "Next" (1973), "The Impossible Dream" (1974) and the fantastic "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" (1975). So many concert faves here – the synth stabbing of "The Faith Healer", Jacque Brel’s "Next" and that sad but brilliant three-part title track "The Last Of The Teenage Idols" – truth in his weariness – riffage and mascara. I love album cuts like "River of Love", the churning Rock-Funk of "Weights Made Of Lead" and the I-wanna-talk-a-walk menace of "Action Strasse", the hiccupping wit of she-gimme-a "Snake Bite" and the sneaky but hilarious build-up mania of mind vs. body in "Soul In Chains" (tickets for the biggest gas in town) – all culminating in the studio cut of the brilliant "Give My Compliments To The Chef" (you give me a machine to wash my jeans in) – replaced unfortunately on the 4CD set with a live version.

Disc 10 to 14 features the commercial success of "The Boston Tea Party" – the wit of the covers album "The Penthouse Tapes" with hammering versions of The Osmonds, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper and Del Shannon whilst their own "Jungle Jenny" show the creative juices were still flowing. And on it goes to the excellent "SAHB Stories" and "Rock Drill" LPs when I remember it felt like their number was up.

For sure the 14CD Box Set will be for fans only – but the truncated 4CD variant offers most of what you need whilst ditching a lot of the big boys padding. Whatever you look at it – we remember him with affection for a reason.

“...The guitar hangs on the wall is calling me in all its magnificence...” - Alex Harvey sang on "Give My Compliments To The Chef". Big or small - I’d answer that call if I were you...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc