bit wishy-washy, tuff because today when a band has to r~ly on elaborate light shows, sexy looking get-ups, instrumental equipment which is highly unnecessary, and guitar solos which trudge on for hours, Alex Harvey has found the key to acc0mplish the main objective ... to entertain the audience in a more obvious way. He's been playing in bands since 1956 and that deems him an experienced veteran that has gone thru numerous phases and histories of rock 'n' roll. Recently in DISC magaine Alex talked about his successful stage act: "We want to get more of the vaudeville element into it and we'll go as far without getting silly .. But to me theatrics have to be really cheap. I'm not one for lavish sets and costumes - whatever you can't do with an ordinary prop box isn't worth .doing." And of course as everybody knows, vaudeville wasthe first real down home type.of entertainment which lived and died in the States. The band i.ncidently has made the show a little more sensationalistic by adding a few chorus girls which accompany Alex while he twirls his cane looking like a circus ringmaster. ·. 1 The Impossible Dream is an extension! of SAHB's theatrical innovations and humor. The music tends to be a bit scanty and dry in spots, the fullness qf the band is ~acking but it does have its moments. For instance the single which is to be released over here, "Sergent Fury," is a perfect example of what the band means by entertainment. The honky-tonk soundings of the clarinetand toy saxes make you feel like·you 're in some sort of speakeasy in the heart of Chicago during the Depression. Alex sings these lyrics with a very convincing mock vocal (on stage he breaks into a cute two step charleston with Chris Glen and Zal Clemenson) while in the background visions of June Taylor Dancers surround Alex and accompany him with the vocals:
"I wanna be rich I wanna be famous I wanna be just the same as The stars that shine on a Christmas Tree SCOO-BEE-DOO SCOO-BEE-DOO SCOO-BEE-DOO" The song brings back memories. of stuff like "Winchester Cathedral" which was a big hit because it had that certain "something." . These guys show their overall hopes of success in the future by combining the album's title with "Money Honey," kind of like a hint or premonition of sorts. The band a~so cooks on a few numbers like "The Hot City Symphony" with "Vambo" as part 1 and picks up where the band left off on Next. Following "Vambo" is "Man In The Jar" which is part 2 of the sympho9y and starts off with a Shaft guitar opening as Alex growls "Ot Ciiity" and then the song just goes lame from there. Kinda disappointing but everything can't always be sunshine lollipops, etc. What I can't , understand is why "Anthem" the last song on the album will __ be released as a maxi-single in England. It doesn't seem like a · wise choice because the song lulls you to sleep while you anxiously await something heavy, crazy or unexpected to 1 happen. Oh yeah, Alex has some dude playing the bagpipes on tour (which comprises a certain amount of length in ''Anthem''); he says he'll help keep the bars open after closing. So~there I it is, a peek at a ·rather new sensation. The impeccable Alex Harvey Band will hopefully be deemed with nothing less than future success. They're sure to twist a few heads over here cause we're not used to this type of madness. Yeah, America is used to getting bored not entertained, and we don't wanna admit it. But Alex Harvey will prove his point and if success doesn't spoil 'em they'll storm this country just like "Vambo to the rescue!" -Mitch 'JD' Hejna
·· Rock '11' roll: You betcha. With a band whose ·influences range from the Velvet Underground to the Beatles to Dylan to Creedence to the Stones, mixed with a very healthy dose of Chuck Berry and The Great Eddie Cochran, yo'u can expect a thin line between channeled eclecticism and tedious retreading. Ducks Deluxe ge~ closer to the former with each listening, because their approach fo classic rock 'n' roll is similar to the very bands they are reminiscent of. -Gary Sperrazza! (from Shakin' Street No. 12)
Ducks Deluxe (Cont. from page 6)
you listen hard enough. It's not too difficult to pick out the divergent styles: "Daddy Put The Bomp" smacks of Tony Joe ·Whi.te, with loads of that swall)p imagery I mentioned b~fore (and, as 1 on every track which Sean Tyla sings lead, . the hilarious -slurred vocals add immeasurably to, the overall craziness of the · .album.) "Please Please Please" abbu~ds with Liverpool Big ·seat; "Fireball" 'slots better (musically, at any rate) than anything poor old 'Lou Reed's done recently (poor Lou Reed); .and the oth!!r tracks are mostly holdovers from their live show, in-eluding the fabulous "Nervous Breakdown," sung with aplomb by bassist Nick Garvey (a nice lad). Come to think of· it, the Ducks might not be that much like you and me at all; none of my friends have been able to put together a band ttiat could transcend all those styles·yet (though we're trying). So where does all' of this leave Ducks SHAKIN' ST. GAZETTE
Deluxe? They haven't been able to break out on a mass scale in Britain yet, perhaps d_ue to the fact that they really do look like slobs; the image of Martin "Hot Rats" Belmont prancing around Top Of The Pops- in all of his scruffy six-three glory is 'almost more than the, human mind can bear. They don't do badly on the ,U.K. club slog; but at this point, it seems that America is the answer. Their album ' has done moderately well Sal.es-wise (so I've been told), with some nice radio airplay in spots. Moreover, at this moment, a new album is being readied for release, produced by the mighty Dave Edmunds at Rockfield Studios in Wales (as close to legendary as a recOFding studio can get - folks as div.erse as the Flamin' Groovies and Man have recorded · there). Speaking of the Groovies, the new Ducks Ip will feature a version of their "Teenage Head," a song that would seem to fit the Ducks' 10 r, J
lewdness well (Nick Garvey · roadied for the Groovies during their British stay - in fact, most of the Ducks started out as " . roadies, which might explain their appearance and attitude). I'm fairly confident that, given the proper push by RCA, the new Ip will , have 1 a good chance of cracking the fickie but affluent American market. A few Stateside appearances by the Ducks themselves couldn't hurt either (a tour has been in the cards for half a year now - whaddya waiting for,'kids?). Whatever the outcome, Ducks Deluxe have made a fine contribution to rock and roll culture (naturally encompassing booze. culture, baseball culture, Mexican vampire ,movie culture, etc.) during their short time on the boards, and one can only hope that 1974 music business politics will not stand in the way of future contributions. -Pete Tomlinsoh
New Raspberrie Scott. McCarl, looking, according to Eric, "like Todd Rundgren, only better...", stood off to the left, playing bass and staring out intb the crowd as he sang. The other new member, Michael McBride, was all but invisible behind his massive drum kit but he made his presence felt when he played. Wally Bryson, the first kid to get thrown ou 1 t of high school in Cleveland for long hair, stood on the right, playing like a man possessed; slamming his hand into the strings and then ripping"it back on the upswing .and generally acting like he would pass into an epileptic fit at any moment. ·In the middle, ,Eric Carmen_was in command, moving gently, and sexy to the music and ·smiling at the pretty girls out on the dance floor. '• The band was ·visually and musically exciting; tight and bud, mixing o_ld songs and n'ew songs well, and finally ending with a, long version of "All Through the Night" complete with electric piano and guitar solos. There were minor disappointments - Eric only played guitar on a f~w songs, and .the piano player, though h_e was excellent, just didn't seem necessary. But the Raspberries b_rand of good ol' Rock 'n' Roll made up for everything. We went home early - seems the . '-.
Uncle Sam's is a big ·place. Lots of high, round tables surrounding the dance floor with a' bar along the left side and a room full of pinball machines, · pool tables, and other amusements in back, separated by windows from the dance floor/bar. On this particular Thursday night the place is comfortably corwded - not packed, but most of the tables are full, with more people out on the dance floor bumping to the sound system. The lack of peop]e could. be forgiven, though; the Raspberries had just been signed a few days earlier and there had been no time for advertising. A lot of people just didn't know they were there. A local top forty jock is behind the stage, playing ·rec~rds over the sound system. The best response comes, naturally, when he plays "Go All The Way." But, close to ten, everyone is beginning to ge,t impatient, and a sigh of relief goes up when the stage lights dim and several shadowy figures come out and begin picking at random elect~ic pianos, guitars, and drums. A short announcement regarding Nixon's resignation only minutes earlier is greeted by cheers, and then·Wally Bryson revs up his Gibson flying V and dives into the opening riff of "I'm a Rocker." From there on out everything_'s alright.
DECEMBER 12, 1974
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