Reviews roundup – Burt Bacharach vs. Saga vs. Long Sword Spectacular vs. C.C.
A Life In Song DVD
Tricky one, this. It’s the DVD of the BBC4 telly programme which was on a wee while back. And if you saw it, you’ll know wha the problems are. A bizarre question and answer session with Michael Grade, who is normally quite good at this sort of thing. But he didn’t seem to care for Bacharach very much. And there’s Burt himself, who may be a good tunesmith, but he’s no performer.
Which leaves you with the special guests. Some of whom are more special than others. The concert was staged at the Royal Festival Hall, featuring such legends (?) as Alfie Boe, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Hayward, Laura Mvula, Joss Stone, Michael Kiwanuka and Shaun Escoffery.
Quite rightly, you’ll be thinking who to a couple of them, and why to some of the others, with only Rebecca Ferguson registering on they why doesn’t she have a real career register. The Bacharach and orchestra section shows why he isn’t a performer, but completists will be delighted / annoyed to find out that there are three extra performances which weren’t broadcast on the telly show.
Pleasure & The Pain
Ah. “Pleasure & The Pain”. But if you set out on a complete reissue programme, then you’re bound to reach that point where even the most ardent of die hard fans puts their head in their hands and weeps. This is that moment for Saga fans.
It was an odd time for Saga, as the nineties encroached on their pop prog sound, leaving them looking around for something to do with themselves. Sadly, that something turned out to be the eighties. Hence, some out of date (at the time) synthesiser sounds, and some less than good songs.
Granted, there were a couple of refugees from taste camp that are worth hearing, namely ‘How Do You Feel’ (one of their lost gems) and the Floydian ‘You Were Made For Me’. But then you stumble into the in-joke that’s ‘Where’s My Money’ and you just want to tell them to f right off. They throw some swerves that make you wish for more. Songs like the title track, which is just not Saga. But it’s still really good. But when you think of what they were capable of, you end up equally sad and mad. And I still couldn’t bring myself to listen to the Beatles cover, even after all this time.
LONG SWORD SPECTACULAR
The Business End
According to the band themselves, “Long Sword Spectacular is rock ‘n’ roll sausage, smothered in melted faces”. Now I’m not sure if that is a spell check fail, but they certainly have an interesting approach to the rock and roll.
However, I find myself incapable of saying anything bad about them, as the album ends up with a cover of ‘Screaming In The Night’ by the legends that are Krokus. Which just goes to show that the band are doyens of taste. They’ve been described as a “clever mix of The Doors, Pantera, Foxy Shazam, Muse, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest”. Which basically means they’re an eighties metal band with a sense of fun.
The Cd itselg comes in a none more black digipack, containing a black CD, neither of which indulge in anything as crass as writing. But it does come with a sew on patch and a playing card. In my case, the Ace of Clubs (so close). The music is fun and loud, and I’m pleased it doesn’t break the half hour mark. It’s how records should be.
A loud and proud power trio, having a blast. So, if eighties metal is your thing, then crank it up and let their long sticks go boom.
In The Moment
We’re finishing up the day with some old school r’n’n from Cornell Carter aka CC, who has worked alongside famed artists Carlos Santana and Narada Michael Walden and has opened shows for the legends James Brown and Ray Charles.
And when I say old school, that’s back to the days when r’n’b wasn’t a bad thing, when the song was king and getting kinda funky wasn’t mucky. So, there are touches of seventies soul, some great ballads, a hint of Prince, and some really enjoyable tunes.
You won’t go far wrong with music like ‘Lady Of My Dreams’, the funkified Sunshine’ or the cover of ‘Lala Means I Love You’, with some added Narada Michael Walden. Mr Carter has a fine voice, which is showcased to good effect here, and a song like ‘Too Late’ would fit snugly on many a radio playlist.