From an historical perspective, Judie Tzuke’s ‘Road Noise: The Official Bootleg’ is an interesting proposition. At the time of its original release in 1982, the double live album format had been dominated by rock bands – it was rare that a contemporary pop artist or singer songwriter would bother with such a release. Also, its extended format had almost become yesterdays news. In a musical landscape populated by synth pop bands and the birth of the New Romantics, the 7” single had once again become king, much as it had been in the early to mid sixties. The decision for Tzuke to release a double platter of live material in the Autumn of ’82 certainly went against the grain.
Most Fall fans would have put good money on the fourth release of Cherry Red Records’ “Fall Sound Archive” series filling one of the gaps between #2 and #3 with an expanded release of 1980’s ‘Grotesque (After The Gramme)’ or following the excellent ‘Hex’ related box set with a vastly expanded edition of the excellent ‘Perverted By Language’. Few would have predicted things would take such a huge left turn by jumping ahead to an album that kick-started the final phase of the band’s long career. Almost as unpredictable as Mark E. Smith himself, The Fall Sound Archive Vol. 4 takes a massive leap and gives fans a broad look inside the many cogs and workings of 2007’s ‘Reformation Post-TLC’.
1972 was a particularly fruitful year for rock and pop music. That year saw The Rolling Stones release their critically acclaimed ‘Exile On Main Street’; Yes explored deep sonic textures on their indulgent ‘Close To The Edge’; Alice Cooper achieved worldwide acclaim and a massive hit single with ‘School’s Out’; Deep Purple gave us ‘Machine Head and Bowie introduced us to ‘Ziggy Stardust’. That might have been enough to make it great, but in addition, Steely Dan made their debut with the brilliant ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’; Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’ was a massive success and Roxy Music‘s debut album sounded as if it were beamed in from another planet. The year also spawned T. Rex’s ‘The Slider’, Lou Reed’s ‘Transformer’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Talking Book’, Joni Mitchell’s ‘For The Roses’, Elton’s ‘Honky Chateau’ and Van’s ‘Saint Dominic’s Preview’. With several dozen essential albums, 1972 had so much to give…and often feels like one of those years that keeps giving.
It was also the year that Jim Capaldi released his solo debut. It wasn’t something the Traffic multi-instrumentalist and songwriter had necessarily planned; it came about through a cruel twist of fate. Towards the end of 1971, Traffic were riding high with their fourth studio album ‘The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys’, but disaster struck when Steve Winwood suffered an appendicitis and subsequently became very ill with peritonitis, forcing the band to take a break. Rather than rest, Capaldi took the time to quickly record a selection of his own material during December, and that appeared on record shop shelves as ‘Oh How We Danced’ in March ’72. Kick starting what turned out to be a successful solo career, it had been a serendipitous twist in the Traffic saga.
To a legion of power pop fans, Shoes are legendary. To a lot of other people – and especially those in the UK – they remain a largely unknown entity. While some fans will claim that 1977’s ‘Black Vinyl Shoes’ is the Shoes masterpiece, it merely shows a band on the rise. It’s a record with some good songs, a lot of enthusiasm and a certain amount of DIY charm – and it’s likely that DIY “cool factor” that makes it so highly prized by those vocal champions. In terms of consistency, it’s somewhat hit and miss. If you’re looking to discover a band at their peak, look no further than the three Shoes albums recorded for Elektra Records between 1979 and 1982.
This 4CD compilation presents each of those albums in full, alongside a massive vault of bonus tracks – fifty four in all – making ‘Elektrafied’ the ultimate Shoes package for the uninitiated.
After leaving Uriah Heep in 1980, multi-instrumentalist Ken Hensley embarked upon an often overlooked solo career. On 27th March 2020, Cherry Red Records/HNE Records will release a five disc set collecting his extensive recordings made between 2012-2013.
The new set follows Cherry Red’s previous Hensley anthology (‘The Bronze Years’) and brings together two studio album, an acoustic live set and various live recordings made with Ken’s band Live Fire.