Chrysalis 1973 / Esoteric 2013
Across the ocean and up the charts: on-stage culmination of the English band’s initial run.
Bringing the blues back to America ten years after the British invasion wasn’t an easy task, but CBB always took the hard road and went all the way. For what it was worth, the temporary name change for 1972’s "Rich Man" worked nicely and enriched the group’s set with no less than four pieces, one of them, “All The Time In The World”, becoming an foot-stomping opener of the ensemble’s next release that pushed the quartet much closer to the Billboard’s Top 100. A concert recording, it touches – and upgrades, especially when it comes to the increasingly jazzy instrumental interplay on the funky “Flight” – the group’s early albums, and adds a brace of new cuts to the repertoire such as tremendous, harp-riding take on “Goin’ To New York”, pinpointing the locale of this powerful show.
The band’s self-assured stand is palpable here, and they state it early in the set with the doo-wop-inspired boogie of “I Am Constant”, that would be taken to the studio two years later with vocal harmonies slightly dimmed, while the unison-heavy “Mesopotmania”, swirling around John Cuffley’s drums solo, is unavailable elsewhere. In live airing, the dynamics of delivery ramps up immensely, most clearly on “Standing By A River” and the "Plays On" gem “Seventh Son”, where Colin Cooper employs the lowest registers of his voice before breaking into a sax solo underpinned with Derek Holt’s bass bobbing. And if “Shake Your Love” ups the infectiousness ante, when Pete Haycock steps forward to roll the slider for a "A Lot Of Bottle" ditty “Country Hat”, it looms larger than life. Enough for America to pay attention and fall in love with the band: the next five years would see a nice chart action.