Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Greasy Truckers Party
The original double vinyl album was released in 1973. Although the full concert is now available on CD, I will stick to the original 2-LP format for this review. The stars of show were Hawkwind, ably supported by Man, Brinsley Schwarz, and not so ably by Magic Michael, a sort of low-rent Richie Havens. Thankfully he only gets one cut, even on the expanded CD edition. Also on the bill but unable to perform owing to a power cut, were Byzantium. Their "set" is represented by two minutes of silence bookended by Andy Dunkley's apologies and requests to get it together in the dark, or somesuch, maaaan!
The Hawkwind set finds them at the height of their powers, and includes blistering versions of Masters Of The Universe and Born To Go, the latter dedicated to the striking miners, cause of aforementioned power cut! The lovely Stacia was there, but I bet she was cold - those of you old enough to remember her charms will get the point(s)! This is also the gig where Silver Machine was recorded, a tweaked version of which produced Hawkwind's biggest hit.
Second on the bill were Hawkwind's labelmates and fellow stalwarts of the benefit scene, the mighty Welsh wizards, Man. At the tender age of 13 I was introduced to this album and more specifically the 20 minute freakout Spunk Rock, and to this day it remains one of my favourite pieces of recorded live music.
Apparently the track was actually about 30 minutes long, but the tape ran out towards the end of the previous band's set, so the first 10 minutes are lost while new tape was frantically spooled. Even so this is a twin guitar epic that really needs to be heard as mere words cannot convey its psychedelic intensity. One of the bonus tracks from their set on the CD version is Bananas - "I like bananas coz they got no bones, I like marijuana coz it gets me stoned". Genius!
In contrast Brinsley Schwarz, forerunners of the early pub rock scene, provide the needed relief of mere 3 to 4 minute songs in abundance, and damn good at it they were too. Amongst their ranks was one Nick Lowe of future production fame, and most of the rest of the band became Graham Parker's Rumour.
Well worth buying the expanded CD version if it's still out there.
4.5 out of 5