Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV

 
Update January 2019


Home
Chiang Mai News
AutoMania
Classical Connections
Cartoons
Doctor's Consultation
Dining Out & Recipes
On the Grapevine
Heart to Heart
Mott the Dog
Photography
Daily Horoscope
About Us
Subscribe
Advertising Rates
Current Movies in
Chiangmai's Cinemas
Classifieds
Back Issues
Find out your Romantic Horoscope Now - Click Here!
Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Mott the Dog

[email protected]

 

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: ‘The Impossible Dream’

Alex Harvey is shown in this undated photo.

Zal Cleminson and Chris Glenn of the The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

In 1974, with Britain in the grip of Glam Rock fever, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band released their third album titled “The Impossible Dream”. After the relative success of their breakthrough album “Next” in 1973 it was the perfect follow-up, and represented a huge leap forward musically.

Alex Harvey, who had started out on the road to stardom by winning a ‘Scotland finds its own Tommy Steele contest’, initially spent five years as a musical director for the hit West End show “Hair”. But then in 1972, having already turned 37, he set out to make himself a rock star at an age when most of his peers had already peaked and disappeared. He met up with the band Tear Gas in Glasgow, Scotland and persuaded them to take him onboard and change their direction to become The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Their rise to fame in Britain was mercurial, going from support band to headliners almost overnight.

Harvey mixed his role as pantomime mafia godfather with the band’s many talents. Zal Cleminson was an amazingly unique genius on lead guitar, with the make-up and image of a dangerous clown completing the package. On bass guitar was Chris Glenn, an intimidating stage presence to go with his playing ability, and the band were completed by cousins Hugh and Ted McKenna on keyboards and drums respectively.

This album comprises nine songs topped and tailed by epic tracks, but the middle seven gave the band plenty of material to flesh out on stage, especially in the case of Zal Cleminson who could really flip out on “Weights Made Of Lead”. Elsewhere, the songs gave us new characters for Alex Harvey to portray in the live arena including Sergeant Fury, and the Tomahawk Kid, which brought to life the whole Treasure Island thing. Audience members were also given a chance to get their own rocks off on the swaggering “Long Hair Music”.

But it’s the two epics that steal the show. The album opens with all thirteen minutes of “Hot Street Symphony”, which reintroduces us to super-hero Vambo and shows off the bands inclinations for progressive rock as well as slipping back into the riffs of Framed and Vambo from previous outings. Alex Harvey himself has a wonderful time out front, playing up his role as the clown prince of gangsters.

The closing epic “Anthem” is a beautifully written piece of music that used to close the band’s live shows. Built on a hypnotic drum beat, the female choir lead you into the song before Harvey pleads his case from the dock as the band breaks in, applying the pressure slowly but firmly. As the finale approaches Cleminson yet again plays some wonderfully tasteful guitar before a full choir come in, with the London Scottish TA Regiment Pipe and Drums band adding their touch to bring the album to a thunderous climax.

Sadly, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, while being a big story in Britain for a year, never really broke through anywhere else. As brightly as they arrived, they soon faded away and left us with just memories. Alex Harvey himself passed away in 1982 from heart failure aged just 46.

Album Rating: 5 Stars

Track List:

Hot Street Symphony

River Of Love

Long Hair Music

Hey

Sergeant Fury

Weights Made Of Lead

Money Honey/ Impossible Dream

Tomahawk kid

Anthem

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band:

Alex Harvey - guitar and lead vocals

Zal Cleminson – lead guitar and backing vocals

Chris Glenn - bass guitar and backing vocals

Ted McKenna - drums and backing vocals

Hugh McKenna - keyboards


Ian Hunter: ‘Ian Hunter’

After Ian Hunter collapsed with nervous exhaustion in New York, the pressures of running Mott The Hoople becoming too much, he subsequently broke up the band and struck out on his own, taking Mick Ronson with him. This would lead to an over 40-year successful solo career.

Ian Hunter.

This excellent debut solo album from 1975 comes across like a live set. Hunter joins together with ex-David Bowie axe man Mick Ronson to create a blistering Rock ‘n’ Roll album, brushing aside the mourning of the recently demised Mott the Hoople, who Hunter had fronted for the past five years.

The album commences with the classic “Once Bitten Twice Shy” with the Hunter trademark “Allo”. This was a worldwide hit single for Ian and was later covered by Great White and taken to the top of the U.S. charts. This opener is followed in rapid succession by two funky rockers about life on the road.

Closing what in the days of vinyl was the last track on side one is “Boy”, probably the most emotional song Ian had written to that point, warning the Rock generation of the perils of the high life, probably dedicated to David Bowie, Ariel Bender …or you.

“3000 Miles From Here” is a wonderful tongue in cheek ode to groupies and from here on it’s pure power Rock ‘n’ Roll, with Geoff Appleby (bass), Peter Arnesen (keyboards) and Dennis Elliot, later of Foreigner, (drums) laying down a rock steady beat for Hunter & Ronson to throw down their wares.

“The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth” is the central track to the album and also gives Ronson the chance to show off what a great guitarist he was. The solo to close out the song is one of the best ever laid down in a studio.

There’s a brief respite while Hunter lays his soul bare with “Shades Off” until Ronson comes crashing back in to take you hurtling along the tracks like a runaway express train to the end with the aptly titled “I Get So Excited”.

This album contains some of the best songs ever written by Ian Hunter and the guitar playing of the sadly departed Mick Ronson is terrific throughout.

Rating: 5 Stars

Track List:

Once Bitten Twice Shy

Who Do You Love

Lounge Lizzard

Boy

3000 Miles From Here

The Truth The Whole Truth and Nuthin’ But The Truth

It Ain’t Easy When You Fall

Shades Off

I Get So Excited

The Band:

Ian Hunter - lead vocals, guitar and piano

Mick Ronson – guitar and musical director

Peter Arnesen - keyboards

Geoff Appleby – bass

Dennis Elliot – drums


Kiss: ‘Revenge’

Gene Simmons and
Paul Stanley of the band Kiss. (AP Photo)

The beginning of the Nineties was a very precarious time for American rock band Kiss. The original line-up had dispersed amongst much acrimony, the trademark make-up had gone, they had not had a top-ten album in America since “Dynasty” in 1979, and their concert pulling power had virtually fizzled out. To top it all, their charismatic drummer Eric Carr had been diagnosed with cancer and would soon succumb to the disease. Things were not looking too bright.

But the main duo of Gene Simmons on bass guitar and vocals, along with his erstwhile partner Paul Stanley (guitar and vocals) were still there, facing up to the facts that they had frittered away all critical respect during the previous decade on solo albums, some ill-advised attempts at breaking into acting, and generally not concentrating on the main bread and butter of their business.

After seven decidedly average albums it was time to knuckle down. Bruce Kulick on lead guitar, who had replaced the too awkward to deal with Ace Frehley (and the even more unpredictable Vinnie Vincent), proved himself to be one of America’s greatest and most underrated rock’n’roll guitarists, and prior to this album being recorded, Eric Singer, an old friend of the band, came in to take on the difficult job of replacing Eric Carr on the drum stool, the latter being too sick to continue.

Another left-field play was bringing back Bob Ezrin, the producer of their earlier smash hit albums, but also at the controls for the disastrous album “Music for the Elder” (1981), which upon release had made Kiss globally ridiculed for their pompous pretentions.

The first single off the “Revenge” album was a superb version of Russ Ballard’s song “God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You”, which featured in the movie sequel, “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey”. The film was a smash hit amongst the youth of the time, giving Kiss much needed reclaimed creditability and the single rose to number four on the American Billboard. This was quickly followed by “Unholy”, a surprising collaboration between Simmons and Vincent. “God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You”, “Unholy” and “Domino” are still staples of the Kiss live show today while “Every time I Look At You” is just a good old fashioned rude rock song and all the better for it.

The songwriting on this album is pretty evenly shared between Simmons, Stanley, Vincent (enlisted by Simmons to help pen some tracks), Kulick and Ezrin, while the lead vocal duties are split between Simmons and Stanley.

Eric Carr makes his last contribution to Kiss music by singing a cappella the line …”To everyone he gave his song to sing”… in the song “God Gave Rock ‘n’Roll To You”. He also found the strength in his final days to play drums on the video that accompanied the single. The closing track on the album is titled “Carr Jam 1981”, a song he wrote soon after joining Kiss and in fact this whole album is dedicated to Eric Carr.

So after this album release, Kiss were on their way back on an upward spiral. There were more band splits to come of course, but the make-up came back and the shows just got bigger. Hey, it’s rock ‘n’roll.

Rating: 4 Stars

Track List:

Unholy

Take it Off

Tough Love

Spit

God Gave Rock‘n’Roll To You

Domino

Heart Of Chrome

Thou Shalt Not

Every Time I Look At You

Paralyzed

I Just Wanna

Carr Jam 1981

Kiss:

Paul Stanley - guitar and vocals

Gene Simmonds - bass guitar and vocals

Bruce Kulick – lead guitar and backing vocals

Eric Singer – drums and backing vocals.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: ‘The Impossible Dream’

Ian Hunter: ‘Ian Hunter’

Kiss: ‘Revenge’