måndag 31 oktober 2016

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - The 1974 Unreleased Album - "Hot City"

260:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Outgivet album. Mini LP som innehåller ett tjockt info-häfte. Mini LP'n är lite mindre än ett ordinärt album. Utgiven av det Japanska bolaget "Belle Antique Records". Mycket svår att hitta sedan Mini LP'n gavs ut 2008. Rekommenderas.)

Alex Harvey was a British journeyman rocker who enjoyed a brief period of widespread popularity in the mid-'70s after decades of struggle. Growing up in Scotland, he turned to music in his late teens and was in a skiffle band by 1955. By 1959, it had evolved into the Alex Harvey Big Soul Band. Harvey took the group to Hamburg, West Germany in the early '60s, there recording his first LP, Alex Harvey and His Soul Band, in the fall of 1963, which did not feature the band. He and his group made their London debut in February 1964, and the same year he recorded The Blues, which essentially was a solo record. In 1965, Harvey dissolved the Big Soul Band and later returned to Glasgow. 

But he was back in London in 1967, assembling Giant Moth, a psychedelic group that existed only for a short time. He then accepted a job working in the pit band of the musical Hair and while doing so recorded Having a Hair Rave up Live from the Shaftsbury Theatre. In 1969, he released Roman Wall Blues, his first solo effort in five years. Up to this point, none of his musical efforts had attracted much attention. But in the early '70s, he recruited the Scottish band Tear Gas -- consisting of Zal Cleminson, Chris Glen, Hugh McKenna, and Ted McKenna -- christening the resulting quintet the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

Their first two albums, Framed (1972) and Next (1973), didn't sell, but in the fall of 1974 The Impossible Dream became Harvey's first chart record in the U.K. (It briefly made the American charts in March 1975.) Tomorrow Belongs to Me followed in the spring of 1975, hitting the Top Ten along with the Top Ten singles placing of Harvey's flamboyant cover of the Tom Jones hit "Delilah." With that, Next belatedly made the charts, and in September Sensational Alex Harvey Band Live came out and reached the Top 20 (also making the Top 100 in the U.S), as "Gamblin' Bar Room Blues" became a Top 40 single. This commercial success continued into 1976, with Penthouse Tapes entering the LP charts in April and becoming a Top 20 hit, "Boston Tea Party" making the singles charts in June and making a Top 20 showing, and SAHB Stories following in July and just missing the Top Ten.

In 1977, Harvey and the band recorded separately, SAHB without Alex (as it was billed) issuing Fourplay, while the leader made Alex Harvey Presents the Loch Ness Monster. A final album together, Rock Drill, was followed by the group's breakup. Harvey was back with his New Band in 1979 and an album called The Mafia Stole My Guitar, but his moment, so long in coming, had passed. Nevertheless, he kept on rocking and was on tour in Belgium when he succumbed to a heart attack in 1982 just before his 47th birthday.

Hot City has long been one of the legends of the Alex Harvey collecting world, a full LP recorded at the near peak of the band's creative powers and then abandoned after band and management had second thoughts about the entire thing. The tapes were shelved and presumed lost forever -- when they were rediscovered, even the surviving bandmembers had forgotten about one of the songs, "Ace in the Hole," while all professed amazement at just how radically rearranged favorites "Vambo" and "Man in the Jar" were; of course, most of the abandoned album was then re-recorded as the Impossible Dream LP, and it would be foolish to suggest that Hot City comes close to eclipsing that masterpiece. 
But it does afford listeners the opportunity to contemplate an alternate history, as original producer Shel Talmy leads the Sensational Alex Harvey Band through a far harsher musical landscape than they ultimately created, and songs like "Man in the Jar," "Sergeant Fury," and "Anthem" (or "Last Train" as it was then titled) slash out with electrifying freshness. The full album is here, spread across nine tracks; two bonus cuts offer reprises of the anthemic "Tomahawk Kid" and "Anthem" itself.

Recording Date March 26, 1974 - April 4, 1974

01. Vambo 04:45
02. Man In The Jar 05:06
03. Hey You 00:44
04. Long Haired Music 05:05
05. Sergeant Fury 03:39
06. Tomahawk Kid 06:23
07. Ace In The Hole 02:37
08. Weights Made Of Lead 02:36
09. Last Train  09:49