GREENSLADE – The Birthday Album – Live Switzerland 1974

Angel Air 2016

GREENSLADE - The Birthday Album - Live Switzerland 1974

The Birthday Album –
Live Switzerland 1974

Out of the twilight zone, newly discovered document from Hermit’s hermanos’ halcyon days.

GREENSLADE were a unique band for their times, with two keyboard players, bassist and drummer and no guitar, but the kind of art-rock the quartet produced has proudly stood the test of time. For all their glory, though, the group’s catalogue doesn’t list a lot of concert recordings, especially from the line-up behind the ensemble’s first two albums. The more special is this full show from the four-piece, preserved for posterity in Prilly on January 18th, on Dave Greenslade’s 31st birthday; a document of the artists’ ability to spread their wings in front of the audience.

Announced by Andy McCulloch’s thunder of “An English Western” which marries baroque grandiosity to piano boogie and cosmic jive, and signed off with “Drum Folk” that’s even more dynamically expansive, there’s improvisatory grandness to the pieces taken beyond and above their studio prototypes. Yet if “Sundance” takes on epic proportions without losing its perky enchantment, and the jazzed-up scepticism of “Sunkissed You’re Not” is rubbed into rock bottom by Tony Reeves‘ bass rumble, Dave Lawson’s delivery of “Bedside Manners Are Extra” has obtained, in a tangle of Moog and Mellotron, a new lyrical layer and tremulous transparency.

“Pilgrim’s Progress” may be the most illustrious example of the ensemble’s instrumental intricacy and their ability to wrap attack – sharpened to perfection in “Time To Dream” – in elegance, but “Drowning Man” adds a playful groove to it, whereas two organs propel “Feathered Friends” towards a “Gimme Some Lovin'” kind of cool before stopping at the gothic prospect of eco disaster. For original GREENSLADE, extinction was around the corner, too, and the telepathy captured here would soon be gone, but while it lasted it felt magical.


November 4, 2016

Category(s): Reviews
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