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SNAFU: Live Nottingham 1976

Fresh from a solo album featuring the likes of Tony Iommi, Ian Paice and Herby Flowers, ex-Freedom singer Bobby Harrison formed the band SNAFU, bringing with him Juicy Lucy guitarist Micky Moody, who had also performed on the frontman's solo outing, Funkist. The pair bonded on and off stage and alongside one-time Procol Harum man Pete Solley (keys), Colin Gibson (bass) and drummer Terry Popple, recorded a self titled debut in 1973 and the Situation Normal follow up just one year later. The band's third album, 1975's All Funked Up, would see Brian Chatton handle keyboards in place of Solley, while Tim Hinkley added some piano. However by 1976 Hinkley was the band's full time keyboard player as SNAFU headed to Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham, where along with others, John Moon would record the show for Radio Trent. As he did many an act over the years, such as Thin Lizzy, Gerry Rafferty and Rory Gallagher.

Fast forward to 1992 and Moon would sadly be made redundant from the radio station, when he, rather unusually, had the Radio Trent archive assigned over to him, saving 120 recorded concerts from being simply discarded in the process. That SNAFU show from 1976 was one of the many saved and now the six song set is presented here by Angel Air Records. With Harrison contributing to the interesting Jeff Perkins penned liner notes, it makes an involving bookend for a band who were over long before they really should have been. Moody tempted off to join David Coverdale's Whitesnake, the young guitarist making the understandable decision to throw his axe skills in with the ex-Deep Purple man as he forged ahead with his new group. SNAFU recruited Colloseum six stringer Clem Clempson, but with Harrison struggling to see a future for his band without Moody, things never worked out and SNAFU folded.

Here three band originals, "Long Gone", "Unsettled Dust" and "Highway" compete keenly for attention with three covers, the band's deep, funky, bluesy style arguably ahead of its time. Harrison proves to have the perfect voice to nail the groove expertly into place, while it will come as no shock that Moody's fretwork possesses a real warmth and fluidity, even if this, understandably, is hardly a hi-tech recording.

Once the band ended, Harrison turned his attention towards forming a new outfit, Niagra. Short lived, they would only record four tracks together for Tommy Vance's radio show, which are added here as bonuses. With the only source available being an old cassette recording, there's no denying this is scratchy stuff, and yet with a more commercially aware hard rock sound, "Crossfire" and "Cold Eyes" still suggest Niagra shouldn't have fallen as readily as their name suggested. However, they did, Harrison eventually moving to Iceland to take a break from the music business.

If you're Bobby Harrison, Micky Moody or SNAFU completist, then Live In Nottingham 1976 will prove a vital addition to your collection. For anyone else there's undoubtedly a great hard blues rock act here to be discovered, although I'd suggest catching up with their studio output first.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Don't Keep Me Wondering
2. Long Gone
3. Big Legged Woman
4. Every Little Bit Hurts
5. Unsettled Dust
6. Highway
BONUS TRACKS by NIAGRA (radio sessions recorded 1977)
7. Crossfire
8. Victim Of Love
9. Cold Eyes
10. Don't Be A Fool

Added: August 18th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Live Nottingham 1976 at Angel Air
Hits: 1766
Language: english

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SNAFU: Live Nottingham 1976
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-08-26 08:06:24
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After a brief period in Procol Harum as well as a few albums with his hard rock/blues/prog act Freedom, vocalist/drummer Bobby Harrison was ready for something new. Along with Juicy Lucy guitarist Micky Moody, he formed Snafu, a band that combined rock, funk, soul, and jazz for a sound that would later appear to be quite ahead of the times by many. They proceeded to record three albums from 1973-1975, but then broke up a few years after when the band failed to really catch on, and Moody was snatched up by David Coverdale for his new group Whitesnake. Live in Nottingham 1976 is a live recording from late in the bands career, and features Harrison & Moody alongside Tim Hinkley (keyboards), Colin Gibson (bass), and Terry Popple (drums). The album features a selection of band originals and some cover tunes, and while the recording isn't the greatest, it's still a fun document of an underrated band doing their thing live on stage. Snafu's mix of rock, funk and jazz is actually quite charming, Moody firing off some bluesy guitar licks over tight grooves and airy keyboards on "Big Legged Woman" and "Long Gone", while the bluesy "Every Little Bit Hurts" contains a fiery guitar solo and emotional vocal from Harrison. The uptempo "Unsettled Dust" has a strong Allman Brothers/Little Feat feel to it, and the band even cover the Allman's staple "Don't Keep Me Wondering", doing a fine job in the process. Moody gets his showcase on "Highway", a rousing blues rocker with no shortage of fiery guitar work that displays just why he was high on Coverdale's wish list for his then new band Whitesnake.

This Angel Air release also contains four bonus live radio tracks from 1977, when Harrison morphed Snafu into Niagra. Though the recordings are of even lesser quality than the Nottingham songs, you can hear Harrison's vision continue on, and the compositions are actually quite good, especially "Cold Eyes" and the atmospheric "Don't Be a Fool". Overall, this is an intriguing live document from the folks at Angel Air, and well worth a listen for all you Bobby Harrison and Micky Moody fans out there.

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