Recorded on January 18, 1974 in Prilly, Switzerland, what you have here is the last known live recording of the prog rock band Greenslade, and also happened to be the 31st birthday of leader & keyboard maestro David Greenslade. Formed in 1972 after Greenslade and bassist Tony Reeves left Colosseum, they were joined by ex-King Crimson drummer Andy McCulloch and vocalist/keyboard player Dave Lawson to form what would become a short-lived but still formidable progressive rock unit. Playing selections from their first two albums, Greenslade and Bedside Manners Are Extra, the band are in fine form, delivering their brand of rousing, keyboard dominated progressive rock.
While he doesn't quite get the recognition he has always deserved, Greenslade for decades has been a hell of a player, right up there with Emerson, Wakeman, Lord, Hensley, and Banks, and he's on target along with Lawson throughout this thrilling live set. Hammond organ, Moog, Mellotron, electric piano, it's all here and just dripping with early '70s prog splendor. "Pilgrim's Progress" is just amazing, a rousing number featuring rampaging Hammond and wild Moog, with the rhythms just supercharged underneath, while numbers such as "Sunkissed You're Not" and "Bedside Manners are Extra" show just how tight this band were at delivering complex, symphonic prog rock. The atmospheric "Drowning Man" has a certain ELP feel to it, featuring some killer drumming courtesy of McCulloch, and "Time to Dream" ups the energy with intricate rhythms, passionate vocals, and wild keyboard explorations. The 17-minute "Sundance" is a keyboard lovers dream, as the duo pull out all the stops for a spirited jam, and McCulloch gets to solo with reckless abandon on the extended percussive romp "Drum Folk". Toss in the hard rocking "Feathered Friends" and you have an energetic, virtuoso performance from fiery prog act who sadly, never really made it to stardom like some of their contemporaries.
The sound quality on The Birthday Album-Live Switzerland 1974 isn't the greatest, but considering how long this has been sitting in the vaults and the age of the source material, that's not surprising. Regardless, this is a killer show, and one that fans of vintage '70s prog rock will want to seek out.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
An English Western
Sunkissed You're Not
Bedside Manners Are Extra
Time To Dream