The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

In about 1988, when Young Weasel was a toddler, we would listen to "Man in a Jar" together, from the SAHB album, "The Impossible Dream" YW loved it. Neither of us got to see Alex and the band live, but what footage there is shows how much energy and sheer spine-tingling excitement he generated. My other favourites were "Action Strasse" and "Faith Healer" and "The Tomahawk Kid". There is no getting away from the wealth of references to German Expressionism and the Commedia dell'arte. The songs were performed, not played. Alex was the Brechtian buccaneer, the master of ceremonies, Zal Cleminson the enigmatic clown, the zany of sorrow. The driving rhythm section ensured that they wouldn't stray too far from the script, delivering all you could want from a purely musical perspective.
Here's Vambo. The video and sound quality is not the best, but it was a long time ago.


Spartan said...

l know l saw SAHB but l cannot remember at all where it was (maybe that in itself proves l did!)

I do remember once picking up a guy hitch hiking and dropping him off at a flat in London.He invited us in and seeing as my mate and l were on our way back up North after doing an installation in Bournemouth we could see no reason why not.

That's when we fell off the radar for 3 days according to our bosses at the time. Met Maggie Bell and rest of Stone the Crows at the flat and from there it goes blank!

Guy who we picked up turned out to be Les Harvey. ;-)

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Spartan, are you the real inspiration for Danny in Withnail and I?

Spartan said...

Certainly looked like him but am somewhat shocked that you think l was drug dealer? hah! .... although l was an unofficial market researcher at the time (except heroin ... always thought it must be really really good to have taken so many people. Many far more intelligent than me. l deemed it a risk not worth taking)

Alas, one fine day it was 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl' and something life changing came into my life. She was 15 at the time and l was 18/19. Found 'love' was far more potent than any recreational pharmaceuticals.

Married, house, mortgage, regular job, 2 daughters ... ;-)

Dave said...

I saw the SAHB at Hammersmith Odeon in 1975ish. Brilliant show. What other vaguely glam-rock (cf Zal's makeup)would cover a Jaques Brel song AND a Tom Jones ditty?

I recall that he was a lot older than his contemporaries- by at least ten years. Maybe that gave him a different view of the world.

My favourite tracks?
1. Faith Healer
2. Next
3. Delilah

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Seems like I missed out big time. Dave, Alex had been around the block a few times before SAHB, as I recall. I listened to some Tear Gas tracks (SAHB before Alex)and they are good, but not stratospheric. It seems to be classic case of a charismatic front man making the sparks fly.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Spartan, TWO daughters! I have one. That is enough to prove that women seem to be born with the wisdom of Soloman. And drugs never suited me at all. I was already quite spaced out under my own auspices.

Spartan said...

Drugs at that time for us were marajuana, amphetamines (girls were prescibed it by doctors as a slimming aid and the girls just sold/gave them) and LSD.

Time of 'Peace and Love' ideal that quickly disappeared. On the whole we mainly stayed inside listening to music whilst under the influence of rec drugs. Was usually weekends as we were working the rest of the time.
Used LSD rarely ... oh and some cocaine.

Many many years in the past now. My preference now is Jack Daniels and homemade wine.

My daughters once asked me if l'd taken drugs so l told them. They sat there with their mouths open. l believe in the truth and it seems to have worked ... neither touch drugs.

My eldest said she was at a party and someone offered her drugs. She told them no but the person persisted saying she'd never know till she tried them. She replied that her dad had told her about them. He scoffed and said something to the effect of what did her dad know. My daughter laughed at him and said 'A damn sight more than you!'

A rare occurence! ;-)