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Detective: Live From Atlantic Studios

It's hard to know what to make of the third and final Detective album, Live From Atlantic Studios. Having recorded two well received but under-promoted studio albums in 1976 and '77, the band were tasked with recording a live set in the studio owned by their parent label Atlantic, Detective being signed to subsidiary, Swan Song. This strange little event, recorded in front of a (very) select audience (we're talking about 20 people…), may sound familiar, AC/DC doing something similar in what was meant to be an ongoing series sent to radio stations to help with band promotion. Although with a session from The Le Blanc & Carr Band the final recording of this type, it wasn't an idea that lasted long.

Fronted by ex-Silverhead man, Michael Des Barres, and rounded out by ex-Stepoenwolf guitarist Michael Monarch, drummer Jon Hyde, bassist Bobby Pickett and one-time Yes keyboard man, Tony Kaye, Detective had a fearsome live reputation. Choosing six cuts from their self titled debut and three from the follow up, It Takes One To Know One, the band's Faces meets Bad Company via a large slice of Zeppelin, was perfect for the live arena and yet here, with no real audience to feed off and a decidedly polite sound (something the band remain split on, Des Barres loving the album's sound and counting it in the liner notes as the best thing they released, Hyde stating the complete opposite) it can at times feel somewhat forced.

That's not to say that "One More Heartache" isn't a brooding masterclass in bluesy poise, or that "Fever" isn't a bold, confident strut and pout, however rather than hitting like the rabble rousing rockers they unquestionably were, even this pair of tracks feel more like the polite cousins of the family, rather than the trouble making black sheep. The spattering of applause, followed by silence between songs doesn't help, leaving you with the impression of a band struggling to display their verve in a room lacking in energy. Kaye is masterful on keys, Pickett imperious on bass, while Monarch lays down the six string law. However even with Hyde leathering seven shades of shite from his kit and Des Barres showing his full range of attack, it's hard to suggest the band manage to give off the energetic, dangerous vibe their songs deserve.

Fans of the band will doubtless disagree and hold Live From Atlantic Studios up as an example of what could have been. However it's hard not to come to the conclusion that if you want to hear Detective in all their pomp and understand why they are still revered to this very day, it's their two studio albums you really need to hear.


Track Listing
1. HELP ME UP
2. GOT ENOUGH LOVE
3. RECOGNITION
4. ONE MORE HEARTACHE
5. DETECTIVE MAN
6. GRIM REAPER
7. FEVER
8. NIGHINGALE
9. TEAR JERKER / GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT

Added: November 20th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Live From Atlantic Studios at Cherry Red
Hits: 1006
Language: english

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