Odds and sods about the British rock band Slade

Thursday, October 01, 2009

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Slade – Live At The BBC

Finally it’s here, the 2 CD album from Salvo, “Live At The BBC”. It’s good finally to have the BBC recordings on CD and as always with Union Square Slade-productions the tracks are superbly remastered by Tim Turan.
“I was amazed that the BBC still had these tapes,” Don told me when he presented me with the album a couple of days ago, “We had a lot of fun recording there and we did that really quickly. We used to have three hours to record five songs and there never was any trouble with us.”

CD 1 of “Live At The BBC” consists of twenty BBC Radio 1 recordings (1969-1972) as well as a few Radio 1 jingles recorded in 1973 and 1974. The CD includes both cover songs and self-penned material.
Although half of the tracks were recorded prior to Slade’s heydays, what you’ll hear is a highly professional and very potent band, ably to excite the pants off their listeners. From the energetic opening track “Coming Home” to the rocking “Wild Winds Are Blowing” the CD is a pure delight.
Of the cover songs my personal favourites are Slade’s jazzy stab at Fairport Convention’s “It’s Alright Ma, It’s Only Witchcraft”, their dynamic version of Moby Grape’s “Omaha” and – of course one is tempted to say - Janis Joplin’s “Move Over”. That has always been one amazing song, perfect for Nod’s voice and Slade’s rhythm section.
The one that Don talked about the most was, however, Traffic’s “Coloured Rain”. “I don’t even remember learning it or playing that song,” he told me before continuing, “As I said to Jim a couple of weeks ago, it means nothing to me! It’s so strange!”
Of self-penned songs I have to mention Noddy’s “My Life Is Natural”, Nod/Jim’s “Gudbuy Gudbuy” and Jim/Don’s “Raven”. Nice to see Don and Jim getting a decent mention as the early song-writing team in the included booklet, by the way!
DJ Brian Matthew’s introductions highlight the listening experience of CD 1 and give it an “authentic” feel. The four jingles included are enjoyable as well; odes to Radio 1 over Slade backing tracks of “My Friend Stan” and “Everyday”. Is it just me, or does Slade on “We’re Slade” sound exactly like The Young Ones? (or rather TYO sounding like Slade!!)

CD 2 is the Radio One Live in Concert broadcast recorded at BBC’s Paris Theatre in London on August 17, 1972. The concert shows why Slade was always rated one of the world’s best live bands. The raw energy is mesmerising and the banter fun and colourful. MC Mike Harding chips in as well, talking to Nod between songs.
Personal highlights: Noddy talking to the audience, Jim’s cheeky violin on “Lady Be Good” and Don’s drums on “Good Golly Miss Molly”.

The included booklet features insight interviews with the band members and liner notes written by MOJO’s Mark Paytress.