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Recorded in London (but completed in Nashville) in 1982, ‘We Just Came Apart At The Dreams’ saw but a fleeting vinyl lifetime some thirty-five years ago. This, then, is its first appearance since then, and it’s difficult to see why it has remained obscure for so long. Particularly as Billie Joe was still scoring hits as recently as two years before, and would do so again a couple of years later.
Ah, we’ll get to that in a moment.
It’s a terrific album. The Spears voice is as alluring, powerful and expressive as it ever was, and her choice of material is faultless, too. It’s great hearing BJS tear through Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” and a brilliantly revved up version of Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams” – in and out in under two minutes. Rodney Crowell and Mark Knopfler show up in the writing credits too, with the latter’s “Settin’ Me Up” an opportunity for Spears and band to really kick some cans around.
But circumstance was less conducive than it might have been. Spears both recorded the album in London and in part relied on local talent for accompaniment. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and in many ways the disconnect from the US country scene is one reason why We Just Came Apart…sounds so fresh today.
Unfortunately, it also ensured that America wasn’t interested, while a more-minor-than-most UK record label (Premier) just doesn’t appear to have been equipped to give the album the attention it deserved. It vanished, Spears returned to her American career, and three and a half decades later, even fans will probably be hearing this for the first time. Tell them it was worth the wait.
Goldmine Magazine (January 2018)
March 4th – The Rod and Line, Tideford – a solo guest spot with Gozer Goodspeed
March 7th – The Plough Arts Centre, Torrington – with Martin Solomon
March 15th – The Musician in Leicester – with Martin Solomon and friends from Red Jasper
April 6th – The Blue Peter, Polperro – A solo gig
April 15th – Tavistock Wharf – with Martin Solomon and friends from Red Jasper supported by Gozer Goodspeed
April 18th – Peaky Blinders, Paignton – a solo gig
April 26th – The Bierkeller Exeter – with friends from Red Jasper, supported by Gozer Goodspeed
May 4th – The Swindon Arts Centre – with Martin Solomon, supported by Ethemia
May 5th – The Palladium Bideford – with Martin Solomon, supported by Gozer Goodspeed
May 6th – Haywood Cider Farm, St Mabyn – with Martin Solomon
May 14th – Cwmafon Folk Club – with Martin Solomon
May 27th – Kindred Spirits Festival, Lanceston – with Martin Solomon
June 2nd/3rd – Exmouth Festival
June 15th – The Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham – with Martin Solomon
July 11th – The Fleece, Bristol – with Martin Solomon and friends from Red Jasper
September 13th – The Chapel Arts Centre, Bath
November 28th – Peaky Blinders, Paignton
December 1st – Danfest (at The Musician in Leicester) with Martin Solomon and friends from Red Jasper
Thursday 5th April
JIM McCARTY AND JUDY DYBLE
Eel Pie Club, Twickenham
Performing: Jim McCarty, Judy Dyble and Louis Cennamo
Jim McCarty, founding member of The Yardbirds, will be launching his new book and solo album, “Walking In The Wild Land”.
Judy Dyble, founding member and vocalist with Fairport Convention, will also be appearing with her band, The Band of Perfect Strangers.
…now, once again, the music has been made available for all to hear…thanks to the folks at Great Britain’s Angel Air label. With the continued interest in early electronic pop music, Data just might be a band that’s ripe for a resurgence.
babysue (January 2018)
If the band’s debut was a trade-off of catchiness against electronica, so 2-Time again tried to marry the two not always ready bedfellows. Even with both Kajanus and Frankie combining on vocals, the reduced role of Phil proves a key difference as Data’s sound evolved, the brightness of before cashed in for a more stark, serious attack that verges into austere. In many ways it makes this second outing feel much more grown up, especially when combined with less dazzling and bright synth sounds.
Sea Of Tranquility (October 2017)
…repetitive patterns rarely produce a groove but they perfectly convey the period’s stifling atmosphere, its madness captured in the well-concealed rock ‘n’ roll of “Cuckooland” whose deadpan vocal theatrics and electronica-stricken beats point to the ultimate blackness…In this context, “I Want To Know” sounds more like demand rather than inquiry, and the belligerent, if flat, “Fallout” would be the only possible answer to such a statement – lightened by a lucid, lysergic even, middle section that leads into “Fever Of Love” where a swirl is truly infectious. It can serve as an entrance to the DATA world – unwelcoming and arresting at the same time.
DMME.net (February 2018)
Many of these tracks sound like they could easily be twenty-first century hits. The persistent beats and instantly catchy vocal melodies should appeal to a wide range of listeners. The music has been compared to Abba and Giorgio Moroder, both of whom should give you a good idea of what this music sounds like…Strange how current and relevant these songs sound in 2018 (!).
babysue (January 2018)
The sound of DATA exudes joy and liveliness (sometimes even hyperkinetic) more than the then current sterile new wave. Daring, headstrong and perhaps even too accessible because of a hidden urge to score that one big hit. Although, the theatrical ‘Life On Video’ and the nice ‘Armageddon’ enforces respect. The film industry also liked it and used the title track for the movie ‘Towers Of Babel’.
Keys and Chords (Translated – November 2017)
…with “Armageddon” a prime example of how to deal with tough issues in a cleverly flippant style and the opera based title track illustrating just how daring Data were attempting to be, there’s still a lot to admire. The latter blending styles in a way that maybe isn’t so readily illustrated elsewhere…For fans of Kajanus’s wide and hugely varied catalogue, this reissue will be most welcome, while for followers of burgeoning electronica, there will also be rewards aplenty.
Sea Of Tranquility (October 2017)
The orchestrations are of top quality…James does not forget his roots with ‘That’s What You Do To Me’, very influenced by SPENCER DAVIS GROUP. We are back in the sixties, the organ hums with happiness as well as the brass. He reaches the summits of pop with the wonderful ‘You’ve Got The Love That Matters’…This album was co-produced by David Lord having worked with Peter Gabriel, XTC, ICEHOUSE, TEARS FOR FEARS – which explains the excellence of the record.
Highlands Magazine (Translated – January 2018)
Subtle twists and turns aplenty, Warren plays mind, and heart, games with the listener. He renders “Set Me Free” transparent and romantic…until it’s turned inside out with the “one for the money, two for the show” line to trade a maudlin violin for a well-orchestrated carousel of elegant rock moves and the caress of slide guitar. Elsewhere, “That’s How I’m Loving You” is cut from the same delicately fascinating fiber as “All The Love In The World” demonstrated, and this is, perhaps, the only thing which could be expected from James. He may claim he’s an innocent bystander, but he’s complicit in the crime of love. 4/5 stars
DMME.net (January 2018)
One track from “Jim’s Easy Listening Album”, the Beach-Boys tinged “You’ve Got The Love That Matters”, reappears here and stands out amongst the Motown pastiches. Other highlights are the Beatlesque “Have You Seen The Colours”, one of two songs co-written with Andy Davis in more harmonious times, and simply performed closer “I Just Want You To Tell Me”. Hopefully Simon Cowell has been mailed a copy, since the songs themselves are individually worthy and could well chart in the right hands.
Record Collector (December 2017)
This album offers nine slick hummable songs, some of which remind us in many ways of music by The Pearlfishers. Our favourite cuts include “The First Time,” “You’ve Got the Love That Matters,” and “I Just Want You to Tell Me.” The cover bears a curious resemblance to Sparks’ Kimono My House album (!).
babysue (November 2017)
Warren’s enduring passion for the infectious delights of pure melodic pop informed several excellent albums for The Korgis during the late seventies and early eighties ,along with a major singles success in the shape of the softly beguiling “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometimes.” The former Stackridge stalwart’s subsequent solo career has been a much more low-key affair but Warren’s tuneful musical exploits always repay closer investigation nonetheless , and “Innocent Bystander” is thankfully no exception to the rule. “That’s What You Do To Me” and “Have You Seen The Colours?” are the best of a catchy bunch.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (October 2017)
As well as founding The Korgis he also co-founded Stackridge…now 65 years old, he has written and produced this album of unashamedly catchy tunes and sing-a-long choruses, decidedly retro in flavour…
Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (October 2017)
CATHÉDRALE should have taken flight and had some success, it’s simple but it all goes pretty well and the gimmick of Japanese music with keyboards on the opening title is to good effect. It’s very well sung by Jon, a real success. Jon’s huge bass opens ‘The Price’ with a sound worthy of Chris Squire for a progressive atmosphere, very PALLAS…A collection of beautiful tracks, always with supportive guitar, ubiquitous keyboards and never pompous. CATHÉDRALE leave no imperishable trace for this activity, which makes it a curiosity today, a missing link in the story of progressive music.
Highlands Magazine (Translated – November 2017)
Yet another obscure album retrieved from the vaults from the folks at Great Britain’s Angel Air label. And this time it’s from a band that we never even knew existed. Cathedrale was formed in the late 1980s by Jon Camp after he decided to part ways with the band Renaissance. Also in the band were John Young (who had previously played in Asia, Greenslade, and Scorpions), Brett Wilde, and Tony Bodene. In the beginning the band came very close to being signed by Atlantic Records in the United States, but things didn’t work out. They recorded their debut album in the United Kingdom, but it was never released…until now. If you like the sound of 1980′s progressive techno pop, you will find a lot to appreciate here. This is yet another example of bands who should’ve been successful but–for various reasons–they were not. Twelve carefully constructed tracks including “One By One,” “Paris Is Calling,” “It’s Really Up To You,” and “Crying.”
babysue (November 2017)
With their extravagantly blow-dried, highlighted bouffant hairdos, it isn’t very hard to guess that Cathédrale were a band from the 1980s. The music – airy, lightweight, super-polite pop rock with musician-friendly airs and graces – serves only to confirm this theory. What’s rather more shocking to note is the presence of two prog staples in the group’s midst – step forwards ex-Renaissance bass player Jon Camp and current Lifesigns keyboard maestro John Young, both looking suitably moody on the front cover. Previously unreleased until now, these 12 songs date back to varying stages of the band’s short existence, some conceived as a four-piece and fronted by Camp, others recorded after the realisation that a full-time lead singer and a lot more keyboards were going to be necessary. Save for the audio quality which is what you’d expect from a cassette discovered under somebody’s bed, the results are largely inoffensive. One By One, Calling Out For You and the jumbled white boy funk of Element Of Surprise all tip their hats at Mr Mister, Cutting Crew and Silent Running…
Dave Ling, Team Rock (October 2017)
…There’s a slightly alien, J-pop vibe to “One By One” whose plastic veneer is punctured with a four-string scratch and shattered with splashes from ivories whose collective surge brings on a riveting chorus, whereas “Kasaar” wraps its memorable refrain in honeyed heaviness, and “It’s Really Up To You” is a showcase for Mark Goddard-Parker’s supple voice. There’s a lot of contrast here, the anthemic “Crying” coming across as hackneyed but moving piece, and the reggae undercurrent of “Any Time At All” deliberately ruining the number’s drama without voiding its vigor; still, for all the record’s sonic flaws, there’s also an emotional balance – as reflected in the album’s titular equation. Maybe, it’s time for the ensemble to scale their talents one more time? 4/5 Stars
DMME.net (October 2017)
The combination of seventies band Renaissance with earlier Asia-work, provides excellent prog rock that rises as a cathedral.
Keys and Chords (September 2017)
Complex in structure but hugely accessible in execution, the results could easily have seen Cathedrale share stages with the likes of Hipsway or Hue & Cry, although there’s an undeniably progressive edge also in play. “Element Of Surprise” walks that tightrope confidently, while the more keyboard heavy “A Trick Of The Light” adds a more obvious (if hardly dominant) 70s edge, a small window into the world of Yes opened onto what was undoubtedly an 80s vista.
Sea Of Tranquility (September 2017)
Before his death, after a long illness, he finally completed his solo album that he had been promising to deliver to his fans for the past decade…as a bonus track for fans Overend provided his own demo of his song “Born Late ’58″, which he sang on the 7th and final album from Mott The Hoople back in 1974.
Bev Bevan, LIVE24SEVEN (December 2017)
Reading comments from those who knew Overend Watts that He’s Real Gone absolutely captures the spirit of the man who created it means that this solo album succeeds in a way that many, if not most, certainly don’t. For those not quite so acquainted with him the journey to discovery is a tougher one, an initially impenetrable set of songs only slowly revealing their charms. Still for an artist famed for his humour and uncompromising nature, should we have expected any else?
Sea Of Tranquility (November 2017)
Constructing a crazy raga in the mostly instrumental “Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel” to let his four strings on the prowl, and conjuring “Mad Shadows” in “The Legend Of Redmire Pool” whose jangle and dewdrops effects are so catchy – and that’s not the only angling-referencing song on offer to hint at what Watts’ “private life” presumably included – he wills a weird world into existence. And though the optimism of “Rise Up” feels rather dry, “The Search” offers a spiritual uplift possessed of orchestral potential…the record’s quirk, the songs’ common denominator, has an irresistible charm to it. That’s quite an exit, that’s the grace to be remembered for.
DMME.net (November 2017)
…you might object on principle to the mathematical exactitudes of drum programming employed throughout ‘He’s Real Gone’, but this frequently works surprisingly well on, say, the rataplan-driven sections of semi-instrumental ‘Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel’, which appears just short of midway through a fourteen track exercise that is vaguely a game of two halves. Chiefly straightforward songs (and an exhumed demo of a latter-day Mott The Hoople single) follow the more adventurous items, including an arrangement of The Bevis Frond’s ‘He’d Be A Diamond’, one of two non-originals, on a worthy artistic epitaph that many fans of its creator’s old group might never have imagined him delivering.
R2 Magazine (November 2017)
On this disc, the title is sung and played by the man himself. We find a little bit of everything in this album, proof of the eclecticism of this musician, a jazz number called ‘The Dinosaur Market’, a sound close to Syd Barrett with ‘Caribbean Hate Song’, ‘Endless Night’ is also very psychedelic. His passion for fishing is not forgotten on ‘The Legend Of Redmire Pool’. Overend Watts was an endearing character.
Highlands Magazine (Translated – November 2017)
There are bands that made a difference but were never canonized. There are band members that made a difference but do not live in most people’s memories because they were too busy as artists. Singer, bass-player, guitarist and songwriter Peter Overend Watts (1948-2017)belongs to this category, being a founder-member of Mott The Hoople and Mott, before teaming up with John Fiddler of Medicine Head to form British Lions.
This is the solo album he worked on for years and succeeded in completing shortly before his death in January 2017 at the age of 69 – with a rare sense of humour changing the original title ‘She’s Real Gone’ (the opening track) into ‘He’s Real Gone’. Here, Overend Watts the rocker (he also produced bands like Hanoi Rocks) has stepped down for Overend Watts the song-writer and we like it like that. With its jangling guitar parts, ‘He’d Be A Diamond’ remind me of sixties folk-rock, whereas the slide of ‘Prawn Fire’ sets the tone for what turns it out to be a weird succession of sounds.
‘The Magic Garden’ is a dreamy song beginning and ending with the banjo. The album covers a wide range of styles, with Overend Watts’ humour and Englishness all over the place. All in all, it’s an album for patient and open-minded listeners who appreciate a good song when they hear one. Overend Watts sings all the parts and plays all the instruments, except for extra vocals and guitars by his friend Phil Hendriks.
Keys and Chords (October 2017)
The album was originally intended to be called She’s Real Gone (the title of the lead track). But when Watts realized the album would be released after his passing, he opted to go with He’s Real Gone. So obviously this talented man’s sense of humor remained intact. Real nice that this release sees the light of day now, because it puts Overend’s contributions to the world of music in perspective. Yes, he is mainly known for his work with Mott The Hoople. But he was obviously much more than that. He was a songwriter in his own right. And he was also a friend and mentor to lots of people. Interestingly, this does not sound like a batch of tunes recorded by someone so late in their career. These tracks are upbeat, melodic, catchy, and bright. Hearing these songs with so much hit potential, we can’t help but think what could have happened if Mr. Watts had recorded more material while he was here on earth. Hats off to the fine folks at Angel Air for releasing this album. Thirteen cool tracks plus one bonus track (the original demo of “Born Late 58″). Rest in peace, Mr. Watts.
babysue (September 2017)
Recorded over a long period and indeed his only solo release Overend sticks to no genre but just gives us a lyrically light hearted, witty and humorous look inside his head, just look at a sample of titles ‘The Dinosaur Market’, ‘Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel’, ‘Caribbean Hate Song’ and my personal favourite, so far, ‘Belle Of The Boot’ which just brings a smile to my face, listen to it we’ve all been there! But this is no comedic album ‘Belle’ has a hook many songwriters would envy. Indeed all thirteen tracks are well crafted and Overend played (or programmed) all the instruments. Its in retrospect a crying shame it took him 40 years to make a solo album because based on this he had so much to offer outside of his fundamental contribution to MTH.
Like labelmates Stackridge I reviewed recently, Overend is a one-off defying putting in a ‘box’ quirky, delightful and yes heart-warming. Echos of glam, punk, jilted John tease thru the 60 odd minutes running time but in the end its a unique album from a unique artist who may have physically left us but whose musical legacy will live on to delight his many fans. If I have a down day I’ll be slapping this in the disc drawer without fail.
Ninebattles (September 2017)
Mott The Hoople bassist Overend Watts died in January, but he mocks mortality with a high-spirited posthumous album full of upbeat tunes and silly jokes. He even insisted that its name be changed from She’s Real Gone to He’s Real Gone. Determined to have a good time, he writes and plays almost everything himself, singing in a voice that welds Ray Davies, Syd Barrett and John Otway and penning rhymes that lead you to believe he’s about to say a filthy word, which he then swerves like a guitar-slinging Benny Hill.
‘Overend’s just a rock ‘n’ roll star’, Ian Hunter sang in Ballad Of Mott The Hoople, and there’s no arguing with that lore as he rips through cheeky riffs and rhythms. By the time he’s chanting ‘Prawn fire!’ repeatedly, you’re won over by the surrealism and resilient humour. His original demo of Mott’s Born Late ’58 is a bittersweet bonus.
Team Rock (September 2017)
An up-front streak of humour colours the material throughout, from the opener (and near-title track) ‘She’s Real Gone’, ‘Dinosaur Market’ with its nursery rhyme playfulness and the psychedelic surrealism of ‘Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel’. ‘Belle Of The Boot’, meanwhile, is a full-strength demonstration of glam-smeared rock ‘n’ roll firepower…Elsewhere Watts reveals a pronounced reflective side, as on ‘The Search’ or the penultimate cut ‘Miss Kingston’. A touching parting statement from one of British rock ‘n’ roll’s one-offs.
Vive Le Rock (September 2017)
The different, sometimes conflicting, aspects of this lovably eccentric man’s personality jostle throughout intricately-constructed classic pop, gentle prog-tainted rock and quirky widescreen ballads; all crafted like stained glass windows into his idiosyncratic soul, tempered with surreal humour and buoyed by the malapropism he turned into an art form…The set’s inevitable poignancy is enhanced by its photo booklet and bonus track of Watt’s original 1974 demo for Mott’s Born Late ’58, recorded with school friend drummer Buffin; sadly also real gone in 2016.
Record Collector Magazine (September 2017)
There’s a definite sense of humour about the whole album that is offset by Overend’s quite impressive vocals and arrangements. Some of the tracks like “Prawn Fire On Uncle Sheep Funnel” border on Python-esque humour, yet it’s played with sheer sonic accuracy. There’s plenty of Mott and Bowie inspired pop ditties and rave ups. Check out the Bowie-esque “There’s Berkeley Power Station”. Somewhere in pop heaven, Overend and Buffin are now jamming with Bowie and Ronno so keep the faith and crank up the volume. A stunning, ear-opening, posthumous pop-rock achievement, He’s Real Gone will long be viewed as a better late than never pop masterpiece from Mott The Hoople legend, Overend Watts.
MWE3 (September 2017)
Overend Watts’ solo album has been a long time coming. Something like eighteen years by my reckoning – he first talked about recording an album in issue 2 of Two Miles From Heaven magazine in November 1999…
Many of the songs are inspired by Overend’s varied life experiences, either from running his own shop (The Dinosaw Market, Belle Of The Boot) or pursuing his hobby of carp fishing (The Legend Of Redmire Pool). Overend plays all the instruments himself – normally my heart sinks when I read this, but here Overend acquits himself well. Even the drums are inventive rather than perfunctory, as are the keyboards. A true solo album but which sounds like a band – others should take note…
…Overend has said that when he started writing in earnest (for MOTT’s Drive On) he didn’t really know about hooks and choruses. I’m pleased to say he has got everything right here, with Rise Up being another strong track with a great hook and chorus. Rise up – before they shoot you down!
There’s a lot to like here. It took me two or three listens to “get it”, but get it I have. Recommended.
Hunter-mott .com (August 2017)
Recorded towards the end of his days, it would be lovely to report that He’s Real Gone captures everything that made Watts so unique, from the towering platforms and the silver hair, to the humor, artistry and vision that characterized his work way-back-when. Lovely, and true.
From start to finish, He’s Real Gone is a delight; lyrically light-hearted, buoyant as a balloon, and so determined not to take anything seriously that you almost overlook how magnificently constructed and exquisitely played the thirteen new tracks are.
The titles give a lot away – “The Legend of Redmire Pool”, “Prawn Fire on Uncle Sheep Funnel,” “There’s Berkeley Power Station”…there are few ruminations on life, the universe and everything here, and who’d have wanted them if they were? Watts’s onstage persona was almost cartoonish (how could it have been much else with that tailor?), and alone in the studio with a broad array of instruments, that’s the side that he indulges.
Yet it’s not an album you put on just for laughs. The songs are genuinely powerful (“Caribbean Hate Song” might be the best, but I’ve changed my time six times already), and the playing and production are spot on. Yes, there are certainly echoes of past friends and peers on display, including a touch of Roy Harper around the vocals, but it’s Watts’s album all the way through, still jammed with all the pleasures that were so much a part of his writing “back in the day,” and occasionally allowing them to shine through even louder than before.
“He’d Be a Diamond” has a hook and harmonies that the mid-sixties would have given their last pair of Beatle boots for; “Magic Garden” feels like a lost John Otway classic; “Belle of the Boot” is unadulterated punk rock. And the only regret, as the album comes to an end, is that Watts waited so long to make it. If this is the music he spent forty years bottling up, we lost out on some of the most extraordinarily enjoyable albums in history.
Goldmine Magazine (August 2017)
Bass player Pete “Overend” Watts is best remembered these days for his sterling exploits with glam rockers Mott the Hoople during the early seventies, and the Birmingham born musician did his best to keep the band’s name alive after creative mainstays Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs left the fold in 1974. His efforts were sadly doomed to failure however, and Watts took a back seat from performing to concentrate on record production, only completing “He’s Real Gone,” his first solo album shortly before his untimely death from throat cancer earlier this year. His musical epitaph is a typically quirky and unpredictable affair which should be required listening for MTH devotees everywhere.
Kevin Bryan, regional newspapers (August 2017)
“He’s Real Gone” is the long-awaited CD by the much loved Overend Watts, the bassist and founding member of the mighty Mott The Hoople who sadly passed away earlier this year. The CD contains eleven brand new compositions by Overend together with two cover versions plus the original demo of “Born Late ’58″ which dates back to “The Hoople” LP.
Imbued with Overend’s eccentric, warm hearted personality, “He’s Real Gone” is by turn quirky, amusing and, at times, it must be said, somewhat slightly odd. But beneath all that is a fascinating collection of songs that give you an insight into the World of Watts with wry, humorous tales of Herefordshire life, Car Boot Sales, ghosts, fishing, cups of tea in Acton and attractive young ladies in Tesco.
Musically, the album covers a wide range of styles from psychedelia (“Prawn Fire on Uncle Sheep Funnel”) to pop, rock and folk. There’s even a bit of faux jazz (Nice!) thrown in on “The Dinosaw Market.” There’s a distinct Sixties vibe to some of the songs especially on the harmonies and the jangling Byrds-like guitars. “Caribbean Hate Song” recalls Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd while “Belle of the Boot” somehow manages to sound like the love child of The Who and The Kinks.
The two cover versions included here also reflect Overend’s wide ranging love of music and his championing of less well-known acts. “Endless Night” was originally recorded by one of Overend’s favourites, the US psychedelic rock outfit the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, while “He’d Be A Diamond” written by Nick Saloman from The Bevis Frond, was covered by Teenage Fanclub, another band on who Watts was particularly keen.
Keith Smith, editor TMFH (July 2017)
This is US-influenced blues-rock all the way, the opening cover of the Allman Borther’s ‘Don’t Keep Me Wondering’ being followed by ‘Long Gone’, a self-penned sound-alike of Little Feat’s ‘Spanish Moon’…the musicianship is tighter than tight, abetted by a class rhythm section in Colin Gibson and Terry Popple…This would have been a short show had the six live tracks been its sum, so four very much heavier efforts from Harrison’s later outfit Niagra round out the package.
Record Collector (January 2018)
This live recording from 1976 in Nottingham is a blessing with a group at the peak of their art, six titles of very good sound quality allowing us to relive the funky rock blues inspired by ALLMAN BROTHERS or LITTLE FEAT…Beginning the concert with ‘Don’t Keep Me Wondering’ and we get to know this rather unique sound, mixing rock with funk and it’s great. The husky voice of Bobby Harrison is up-front, there’s no question these are top level musicians. The group is led by the guitar of Micky Moody that’s like hot embers when combined with Tim Hinkley’s crazy electric piano. The rhythm section is impeccable, not to mention the percussion by Bobby Harrison.
Highlands Magazine (Translated – November 2017)
Snafu were nearing the end of their brief existence when this muscular performance was captured for posterity at Trent Polytechnic in January 1976. The outfit formed by one-time Procol Harum drummer Bobby Harrison had recorded three critically acclaimed albums by this stage but commercial success had largely eluded them and departure of slide guitarist Micky Moody for pastures new with Whitesnake effectively signalled the end of the road for Snafu’s robust fusion of blues, funk and country rock. ‘Highway’, and the soulful ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ are the best of the bunch.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (November 2017)
…Freestyle blues and call-and-response are added to the heady mix for “Big Legged Woman” which the group never took to the studio to expand on the piece’s fusion in a more disciplined way, leaving this version the testament to their ability to throw caution to the wind and cruise around the tune, but the cover of “Every Little Bit Hurts” is as soulful as it gets, without embellishments except for a filigree guitar figure on a solo…
…Rounding off the listening experience, in inferior sound quality, are four cuts from 1977 by Bobby’s next band, the short-lived NIAGRA: a much more polished proposition, filled with vocal harmonies on “Crossfire” and smearing AOR all over the punchy “Cold Eyes” whose surface is punctured with a sharp riff. Far from SNAFU’s rawness, these numbers only stress how special that quintet was – great while it lasted and coming alive now. 4/5 Stars.
DMME.net (October 2017)
Snafu’s blues rock inspired the legendary bands Little Feat and The Allman Brothers. The American blues with slide guitar and a funky rhythm also reminds us of Grand Funk Railroad. At the intro of this live album you can already hear the honest, pure sound of the group. Raw unpolished singing by Bobby Harrison and funky guitar by Micky Moody with Tim Hinkley at the Hammond organ. Bobby’s energy shatters his vocal cords, and Micky pulls excellent dirty sounds from his guitar. A few weeks later he switches from Snafu to David Coverdale’s Whitesnake. This also meant the end of Snafu. The recordings of Live Nottingham 1976 are beautifully honest, as pure as it was at the time – no technical gadgets or tricks, no, the music came directly from the heart and soul!
Keys and Chords (Translated – August 2017)
If you’re a Bobby Harrison, Micky Moody or SNAFU completist, then Live In Nottingham 1976 will prove a vital addition to your collection. For anyone else there’s undoubtedly a great hard blues rock act here to be discovered…
Sea Of Tranquility (August 2017)
Snafu were at the peak of their creative and live capabilities when they performed at the Refectory at Trent Polytechnic in 1976 with 3 albums already released and their stock high amongst both fans and fellow musicians…Tracks are ‘Don’t Keep Me Wondering’, ‘Long Gone’, ‘Big Legged Woman’, ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’, ‘Unsettled Dust’, ‘Highway’, ‘Crossfire’, ‘Victim Of Love’, ‘Cold Eyes’ and ‘Don’t Be A Fool’.
Bev Bevan, Sunday Mercury (July 2017)
It is a short set, only six songs, yet you get a good feel and sound of the band as they play blues rock set of covers and their own songs. Highlights include the slow blues burner ‘Every Little Bit Counts’ which highlights Bobby Harrison’s emotive singing and the rocking ‘Highway’, where Micky Moody plays up a storm.
Get Ready to ROCK! (July 2017)
There’s a timeless quality to his songs, anchored to Canada with a link that’s bound to stay unbroken: that’s what it’s all about for this artist. 4/5 stars
DMME.net (June 2017)