Saturday, 16 June 2018

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Face To Face (1977)

You got it, you don't need Cockney Rebel, you got it....

  


Released July 1977

Recorded live in December 1976

For a long time, this album, released in 1977 was the only live material available from the charismatic live act that was Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. In many ways, it did not quite catch the band at their best, dating as it did from 1976. They were “on fire” live, so to speak, in the 1974-75 period and this has subsequently been covered by a 1975 concert available on the “deluxe edition “ of “The Best Years Of Our Lives” and some BBC 73-74 sessions on the “Cavaliers” retrospective box set.

This album was all there was and it goes some way to replicating the euphoric atmosphere of a Cockney Rebel gig. Certainly it does with the great audience reaction upon the first notes of “Here Comes The Sun” and into the next track, the hit single “Love’s A Prima Donna”, and the spine-tingling finale of “Seeking A Love”/“Tumbling Down”/“Come Up And See Me”, which sees Harley at his crowd-controlling best. Other highlights are the atmospheric “Red Is A Mean, Mean Colour”, the romantic “Love Compared To You”, the gothic, dramatic majesty of “Sebastian” and the singalong fun of “The Best Years Of Our Lives”.

Where the album falls down is in “experimental” interpretations of songs which are far worse than the originals, such as the over-funky “Mad, Mad Moonlight” and the mess that is “Sweet Dreams/Psychomodo”, criminally interspersed with the execrable “Finally A Card Came”. “Mr Soft” lacks the appeal of the original and then there is the awful “If This Is Love Give Me More”, which is an extended piece of pretty unlistenable indulgence.

In conclusion, it is an album that veers from the sublime to the ridiculous within the one album. Maybe that sort of summed up the character that was Steve Harley in many ways. I still love him though. Great memories of some great, singalong, dramatic, hammed-up gigs.



TRACK LISTING

1. Here Comes The Sun
2. (I Believe) Love's A Prima Donna
3. Mad, Mad Moonlight
4. Red Is A Mean, Mean Colour
5. Sweet Dreams
6. Finally A Card Came
7. Psychomodo
8. (If This is Love) Give Me More
9. The Best Years Of Our Lives
10. (Love) Compared With You
11. Mr. Soft
12. Sebastian
13. Seeking A Love
14. Tumbling Down
15. Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)

C+

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