The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Live
There might just be a whole lot that you don't know about this band.
"How do I put into actual words what The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were all about? Well, first we have to recognize that the Alex Harvey Band originated from Scotland. When you know that, it starts to explain things, at least to me.”
December 24th, Good morning my friends and welcome to the Live Vinyl Lovefest. It is “Madcap Monday” here on the Lovefest and today I’ve got a very cool record for your perusal. I give you “The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Live”
How do I put into actual words what The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were all about? Well, first we have to recognize that the Alex Harvey Band originated from Scotland. When you know that, it starts to explain things, at least to me. I remember first being exposed to them on television. Yep, you guessed it; Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. On comes this band, very kind of “theatrical” in look and feel. Alex, looking like he’s playing a “character” in striped shirt and leather jacket. That said, I would not want to meet him in a dark alley. He's accompanied by wicked good freakin guitar player named Zal Cleminson, in full face make up. What the hell is happening here?
Well, I’ll tell ya what is happening here. On Kirshner’s, they rip into a song called “Vambo” and you suddenly give way to the fact that this is a really good freakin band who are coming at things from a very unique and different angle. I mean, they do a fantastic rendition of Tom Jone’s “Delilah.” How can you not love a rock band willing to throw their interpretation onto a song like that?
At this point in the 70s, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band also brought a lot of “theatrics” and “stage props” and “gags” to their shows, which in the early 70s was really starting to happen. A lot. I mean, Alice Cooper clearly set the bar for this type of showmanship and in so doing turned the rock and roll touring production world completely on it’s head with his level of “theatrics”. It was unrivaled then – and remains so to this day in my opinion. I was a HUGE Alice Cooper fan during this period of the 70s. Still am to this day. And in so being at the time, it made it very easy to willingly access and fall in love with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Musically it seemed to have come from a common DNA. I recall some of my very first shows mixing Alice Cooper in the mid 80s while on tour with him through U.K. and Europe and most specifically Scotland. The crowd response to Alice’s show in Edinburgh at The Edinburgh Playhouse was simply off the freaking chain. Yeah, and all the time during those shows I’m thinking … “Yeah, Sensational Alex Harvey Band … yep, they totally get it”
It’s funny ya know, I also remember the first time I laid eyes on the band Limp Bizkit and got a look at the face make up on guitarist Wes Borland. He was the only one in the band doing so. I remember thinking okay, this is either a throwback tribute to The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s Zal Cleminson, or it’s a direct rip off of it. I’ll hold on to the belief that it was in some way a tribute. But all the way down to Limp Bizkit doing cover songs of pop tunes, it had some very clear threads of Alex Harvey in it to my eyes and ears.
This record was the band’s first live album and their fifth overall release at the time. It was recorded at the infamous Hammersmith Odeon, just outside of London. It was engineered by John Punter and Dougie Thompson and was mixed by the duo at AIR Studios in London.
In 2005 The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were voted the 5th greatest Scottish band of all time. I don't know about you, but I’m now officially on a quest to find out who the hell are 1 through 4? You should be too.