Saturday, April 7, 2012

Alex Harvey & His Soul Band (1964)

He would come to fame in the 1970s for offering eccentric, theatrical rock, but Alex Harvey came from an R&B background that was, like so many other groups from the British Isles, cultivated by long residences in Hamburg, Germany. This LP was apparently the first full-blown rock & roll album by a Scottish artist, and though it hardly stands up as one of the era's major statements, it's likable enough in its own way. Apparently the backing group on this recording -- made at a Hamburg club, or simulated to sound like a show -- doesn't feature the actual Soul Band, but musicians from the obscure Liverpool group Kingsize Taylor And The Dominoes. Anyway, the music is pretty standard British R&B, perhaps a bit more soul-oriented than most, including horns. The set features some "usual suspect" covers -- "Let The Good Times Roll," "I Just Wanna Make Love To You," "New Orleans," "I've Got My Mojo Working" -- along with less well-traveled warhorses. Standouts include the sax-driven instrumental "Teensville USA" and the acoustic blues "The Blind Man." A pleasant, though not trailblazing, historical document with warm and sincere vocals by Alex. A German version of this album, oddly, includes a bonus studio track from the same era, a scorching cover of Chuck Berry's "Reeling And Rocking" that's better than anything on the original LP.

Alex Harvey and His Soul Band was the debut album by Alex Harvey accompanied by his Soul Band. It was originally released in 1964 on vinyl, and was re-released on CD in Germany in 1999, with completely different tracks

Howie Casey (saxophone)
Alex Harvey (vocals)
Gibson Kemp (drums)
Kingsize Taylor (guitar)
Bobby Thompson (bass)

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