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Silverhead: Live At The Rainbow London

It's possible to suggest that the most potent and powerful release in the short but sweet Silverhead catalogue is actually neither of the band's two studio records, but instead the initially Japanese only Live At The Rainbow London. Ironic, considering that they had split before its 1974 release. Reissued as part of a comprehensive Silverhead reappraisal through the reinvigorated (by Cherry Red Records) Purple Records, the potency and energy illustrated throughout this 1973 London show confirms what's merely hinted at during the lower quality bonus tracks featured on the Silverhead and 16 And Savaged reissues this band were a real live force to be reckoned with.

Ironically (again), the band hadn't even known they were being captured for posterity that night, headliners Nazareth bringing the recording gear along for their own use, and Silverhead's performance also laid to tape, possibly to test the equipment. Hence what you get here is a pure display from a band obviously supremely confident in their own ability and pleased to have the chance to prove it. Frontman Michael Des Barres' (who had gone solo by the time the album was released, hence the billing of the album under the name of Michael Des Barres and Silverhead, while the back cover sports three images of the singer and no one else), shall we say, individual stage raps almost seem aimed at specific individuals in the audience rather than the whole crowd, which perversely seems to draw the full audience into the performance. All the while, the band hitting the nail on the raw Faces-like rock n roll head repeatedly.

From the debut self titled album the quartet of "Sold Me Down The River", "Ace Supreme", "Rolling With My Baby" and "Will You Finance My Rock And Roll Band" positively shimmer. Surprisingly only "Hello New York", "Rock Out Claudette Rock Out" and the slow, meaningful, "Only You" feature from the superior follow up, 16 And Savaged. Although it's actually "James Dean", which was intended for the never to be recorded third album, Brutiful, which steals the show. As with the other releases in this reissue series, bonus tracks appear and, again, Live At The Rainbow proves to be the pick of the bunch. Five tracks introduced by Mike Harding from the BBC In Concert series recorded in the Paris Theatre, London from the same year as the main album proving to be the highlight of the entire reissue set, the power and precision married to a pristine sound providing the true opportunity to experience this band at their best. Add in that four of the selections highlight the strength of 16 And Savaged and I've no hesitation in suggesting that of the 50 or 60 tracks presented across the three re-releases, these five are where you should start. Two more live cuts round things out, another (much) rougher recording of "James Dean" and the oft covered "Roll Over Beethoven" both being from (as are the live cuts on the other two reissues) the 2001 Japanese live retrospective Show Me Everything. Although thankfully this pair fare slightly better than their counterparts in terms of sound quality.

It's hard to fathom why Silverhead are not much more than, if even, a footnote in rock n roll history. Their two studio albums are of a good standard, while on the evidence of Live At The Rainbow London, on stage they were something else. Forty-plus years down the line we, and they, can look back and wonder, what if?


Track Listing
1. HELLO NEW YORK
2. JAMES DEAN
3. SOLD ME DOWN THE RIVER
4. ROCK OUT CLAUDETTE, ROCK OUT
5. ONLY YOU
6. ACE SUPREME
7. ROLLING WITH MY BABY
8. WILL YOU FINANCE MY ROCK AND ROLL BAND


BBC IN CONCERT, PARIS THEATRE LONDON 31st AUGUST 1973
9. HELLO NEW YORK
10. ROCK OUT CLAUDETTE, ROCK OUT
11. ROLLING WITH MY BABY
12. BRIGHT LIGHT
13. 16 AND SAVAGED


BONUS TRACKS
14. JAMES DEAN (Live)
15. ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN (Live)


1 - 8, 14 & 15 previously unreleased outside of Japan.
9 - 13 previously unreleased.

Added: August 20th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Live At The Rainbow London at Cherry Red
Hits: 1180
Language: english

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