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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In depth review Back Street Crawler Deluxe Edition
I still remember when I first heard Paul Kossoff's solo album, "Back Street Crawler". A friend called Chris was aware I was a fan of Kossoff's and brought the album round to my house. He knew I'd not heard it, and as we listened to "Tuesday Morning", and the tracks on the other side of the album, he would keep saying, "Oh you'll really like this bit!". He was a bit on the...
Published on 13 Mar 2009 by Angus Manwaring

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality extras spoil a favourite
This is a difficult album for me. The great little man was not in a good way but the album features very fine musicianship but is interspersed with his increasing fragility. The main tracks are well reproduced but the wealth of extras, particularly Disc 2 had really ugly mixes with the guitar parts painfully high. Now I know that we are listening to this album because...
Published on 13 Nov 2011 by Pipehugger


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In depth review Back Street Crawler Deluxe Edition, 13 Mar 2009
This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
I still remember when I first heard Paul Kossoff's solo album, "Back Street Crawler". A friend called Chris was aware I was a fan of Kossoff's and brought the album round to my house. He knew I'd not heard it, and as we listened to "Tuesday Morning", and the tracks on the other side of the album, he would keep saying, "Oh you'll really like this bit!". He was a bit on the excitable side, and I wasn't going to encourage him too much, so I just said, "Yeah, its pretty good.". In fact the album, and "Tuesday Morning" in particular, grew on me so much that I became fairly obsessive about it, to the extent that I was pretty much convinced it was the best piece of music ever created, or certainly that I'd ever heard. My girlfriend from that time would probably still attest to this, I'm sure.

One undeniable flaw with the album however was its length, or lack of it. I don't remember having an album with a shorter side 1 than "Back Street Crawler" with its sole offering being the admittedly magnificent "Tuesday Morning" which weighed in at only 16 minutes! Side 2 wasn't a lot longer. Well, the good news is that this shortcoming has now been addressed. The expanded album is packed to the gills with material, so the album has moved from one extreme to the other; from frustratingly short to almost exceeding strategic arms limitations in the sheer scale of its endowment.

There are 2 CD's here, and unsurprisingly the first one contains the original album tracks, although now in shiny, remastered form. Actually, I did a bit of a comparison with my various versions of the CD, which include this one, the "original" Island UK CD release, and the recently released Japanese import. I decided in a not necessarily very scientific approach that I'd simply make a comparison of the instrumental track, "Back Street Crawler" on each of the 3 CD's. Starting with the original, my intial impression was how good it sounded, the other two versions can't be much better, although it seems as if the guitar could genuinely be brought forward rather more. Then I listened to the Japanese import. Wow, its louder for starters, and better defined. This version might be worth tracking down if you are a drummer, I'm not, but to these ears, the recording seems to favour the drums which are really crisp and dynamic - and impressive, almost making the track sound like something from one of Jeff Beck's jazz-rock albums. Actually, I've just noticed while researching this review that Clive Chaman who plays bass on the track was also in the Jeff Beck Group, which is a revelation to me as I've always felt there was a vague musical connection. Perhaps I'm not as daft as I thought. Finally the new release from the expanded set is a similar level of improvement on the original CD, but this time, the piano and bass seem a little more pronounced. This may of course be all down to my ears which are not without their quirks, but this is how I hear it. One point all the versions share is that the guitar does seem to be backed off a little more than would be ideal, and that's not just a "more Koss is better" attitude, but hold that thought, as this point will resurface later in the review.

The original album then, is there at the start of CD 1, and apart from saying it sounds great, I'm assuming you'll be familiar with the material. Briefly, we have the "Tuesday Morning" 16 minute opus, which I think I've already expressed my enthusiasm for, the short but very sweet "I'm Ready" with Jess Roden, "Time Away" with John Martyn, "Molten Gold" from the "Free At Last" sessions with the questionable addition of Jess Roden, and the title track "Back Street Crawler (don't need you no more)." I have to admit that "Molten Gold" has never really done it for me, its possibly just too naked, and almost sounds like somebody weeping. "Time Away" while similarly morose does hit the spot, sounding like a lost soul in pain, but blessed with a beautiful voice. I've always liked the title track, brash and confident, though less intricate it feels like like it came from the same creative neighbourhood as "Just for the Box". I can't imagine that I'd prefer it with a vocal, which apparently Paul Kossoff erased, and I'm happy enough to enjoy the track in its instrumental splendour.

Now let's put the rest of the first CD to one side for now, and move across to CD 2. Don't worry - we shall return.

The first track is "I'm Ready (Take #4) which is really the guys jamming around the song in a very pleasing manner, and while Jess Roden doesn't appear to have been given a lyric sheet yet, he certainly doesn't let that hold him back. Listening to his contribution here, I'm struck by what a good partner he could have made for Kossoff in a potential band. Track 2 is a lighthearted improptu performance of "Lady is a Tramp" again showcasing Mr Roden's vocal prowess. Track 3 initially sounds like the original "I'm Ready" which it largely is, but very soon some additional guitar licks can be heard, and as the song approaches what we know to be its conclusion, it continues in fine form. Koss keeps on threading stylish lead lines across the track while the band and Jess Roden support things superbly. It gets pretty laid back, but works well.

John Martyn's "May You Never" is next with Koss playing some very tasteful fills, backing up the vocal in a rather similar manner to his approach on "My Brother Jake" but here things are a little more melodic and restrained, but no less impressive, and I believe he is playing through a Leslie speaker. People will probably overlook this track, because Koss is not ripping it up, but for my money, I think he deserved to be very proud of his playing here which compliments the song really well. The song was familiar to me from Eric Clapton's 1977 "Slowhand" album, I wonder if EC ever heard (or will hear) this version. He ought to. The musicians here, for the record, are the KKTR crew, but without Rabbit, and with John Martyn.

The following two tracks come from the same session, firstly "Leslie Jam" which oddly enough is a jam involving a Leslie speaker, all right, its a mildly funky piece with a nice feel to it, including a full-on Leslie demo by Mr Kossoff, much appreciated by the other musicians and possibly less so by the engineer who recieves fairly short shrift as he tries to move things along. Then we're in to "Time Away" or "Time Spent", I have a theory that the title might have just been a partially obscurred note scribbled on the tape box by an indignant engineer, "You wouldn't believe the Time Spent recording these bozos!" but I may of course be wrong. More seriously, the complete jam of the track follows, and as the musicians come together and the music takes form, its initially rather like the start of "The End" recorded by the Doors and used to great effect at the start of the film "Apocalypse Now". This is the sort of track that you might possibly be able to sneak under the radar when you have some people round that don't like rock music. At fairly low volume its very atmopsheric, slightly hypnotic, and actually quite accessible. They might not realise they are listening to it, but its the kind of piece that will start feet tappping and heads swaying. Kossoff does Ambient?! At around 19 minutes Kossoff brings things to a sort of close, with an almost "Tuesday Morning" style last note, but that's just the first movement. While he apparently makes some adjustments to the Leslie, John Martyn steps forward with his effective rhythm playing. A moment later Koss is back re-energised, and the Leslie audibly pulsing. The track continues in a slightly funkier style with some muted strokes from Koss helping to build the tension. This continues very pleasingly for nine minutes or so whereupon the track we all know and love begins to surface ....and eventually recede.

Next we have Free with 2 takes of Molten Gold, which as I've mentioned is not a song that I've ever really appreciated. Although personally, I think its more deserving of a place on "Free At Last" than "Guardian of the Universe". The second attempt seems the better to me, perhaps because the band fall into something of a Free style groove and start "chiming" together as a band, and Andy Fraser's playing seems more organised here. I'd have loved to have heard the conversation between the two takes. It still seems to need something, but I don't think it was Jess Roden on harmony vocals.

The second CD concludes with a new mix of the title track, and nobody can say that the guitar is too far back in the mix here, or indeed that Koss is underplaying. I feel churlish saying it, but my ideal would be for this mix to be performed on the original take of the song. Koss sounded a bit more on the ball than he does here. This is full-on though, and at the end you hear Koss controlling a bit of feedback that suggests he was certainly playing loud. This session would have been the last recorded for the album, on the first of July '73, a few days after the "I'm Ready" session, with the album issued a few months later in November.

Well, that's the end of the second CD, but let's return to those tracks on CD 1 that I saved till last. So, after the original album tracks, we have a further 6 tracks comprising over 40 minutes worth - all from the "Tuesday Morning" session with Rabbit, Trevor Burton and Alan White. Yummy! By definition these are tracks that didn't make the album, so we should expect the occasional departure from standard timings..... but if any compensation is needed, these tracks have been mixed specifically for this release, and they sound fantastic. Firstly, we have "Tuesday Morning Early Take 1" which is a run through of that part that sounds a bit like the guitar arpegio in the Cream song "Badge". As you'd expect the musicians are in fine form, and while they're exploring the possibilities here, rather than laying down a finished composition, its exciting stuff, played with style and confidence. Next is "Tuesday Morning Early Take 2" and here the guys are working around the main riff. Koss is in lead guitar mode and is seemingly gathering ideas as he plays. The approach is lighter than on the finished version and has almost a boogie feel to it. You can imagine it playing well to a West Coast rock festival with somebody introducing the band members as they play presumably with the Allman Brothers waiting nervously in the wings. You can hear things coming together as they navigate through the piece's various progressions.

Its blues time next with "Tuesday Morning Blues" and while the band pump out a basic blues riff very effectively Koss does some lovely soloing, sounding rather like Jimi Hendrix extended blues piece, "Voodoo Chile" on "Electric ladyland". The song ends with Rabbit cheerfully asking Diga how to operate some piece of studio equipment. Next is "Tuesday Morning Groove" and to me, for the first few bars it sounds very much like the excellent Dutch band, Focus. That doesn't last long though and soon Rabbit and Kossoff are throwing experimental licks at each other. It keeps a "prog" feel, but there's still something of a "Ladyland" flavour in the brew. Koss settles back into some restrained rhythm playing for a few bars letting Rabbit spread his wings, then he's back in with some wistful lead. All very pleasing.

"Tuesday Morning Boogie" follows and while initially the impression is of a full-on riff based romp, things suddenly decelerate to an altogether more thoughtful pace. Although Trevor Burton continues playing a "Hoochie Coochie Man" style bassline, Rabbit's chord playing transforms things into a potentially ethereal soundscape. Kossoff capitalises on this in a flash with some breathtaking guitar, again in a wistful vein. Alan White is not merely keeping time for long, and he's soon throwing in some very busy drum fills, making things funkier, with Koss (believe it or not) agin sounding a little like Jan Akkerman - but it works really well, and although a little rough and ready, for me this has to a be a highpoint of the album. Dave Gilmour has had a lot of press recently and he is an excellent player, but from what I can see he's been playing orchestrated music for a long time. This piece, however, is off the cuff, unplanned and magical. That's part of what I love about Kossoff's playing, whether he's attacking or caressing the guitar, its what he felt at that moment. Genuine, unbridled feeling without restraint, notation or planning permission. An entirely natural player.

And finally we have "Tuesday Morning Piano Jam". The title is a little misleading as there's some very pretty guitar in there too, along with additional keyboards. Its very nice with some "Little Wing" style guitar fills, as well as some great build-ups to climactic moments. Oddly enough, towards the end Rabbit starts playing a chord sequence which sounds very similar to a hit single from Free's back catalogue - but perhaps wisely they do not dwell on this, and the moment passes. Its another great sequence, and given the quality of the "core" of this session, namely "Tuesday Morning" that should come as no surprise. I've often thought over the years, if they got something of that quality on record, surely there must be some in-progress pieces or run-throughs that were laid to one side - well, there were and happily, here they are. I hope you enjoy the music as much as I do.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His only solo effort, 18 Mar 2008
By 
Yves Vandezande (Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
BSC is Paul's only solo studio effort that was ever released.
After that he played in a band called Back Street Crawler.
Besides the original tracks this two disc contains mostly jams often around the same theme.
For die hard fans of Free this is an absolute must.
Koss remains one of the best guitarists the UK ever produced.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Backstreet crawler: Paul Kossoff - pure molten gold, 6 Feb 2013
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Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
This 1973 recording was a solo effort from guitar genius Paul Kossoff in the period between the breakup of Free, and the formation of his new band Back Street Crawler. As such it features several personnel from Free (including Paul Rodgers on the albums only vocal track). It is clearly Kossoff's own album, allowing him the room to flex his muscles and do his own thing in a way that he could not when constrained Free. The end result is a classic album of blues rock, with some brilliant fiery guitar work from Kossoff. Of especial note is the opening track, the epic 17 minute Tuesday Morning, that somehow never feels tired or stale. It's a veritable classic, an essential purchase not just of Free lovers looking to complete their collection, but for all lovers of classic rock. If I have any complaint it is that the album is too short, a problem fixed in the 2 disc deluxe edition that also has a superior sound quality to previous editions. The inclusion of the re-takes is interesting, and the rendition of Lady Is a Tramp is a bit of a find, but to be honest I do find myself just listening to the first six tracks that comprise the original album more often than not. 4 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, deluxe rock, 7 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
My favorite blues rock musician, Joe Bonamassa is inspired of Paul Kossoff. I love this one. A lot of passion. You must listen to "Tuesday Morning Piano Jam".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT BARGIN, 2 May 2013
This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
I SAW THIS CD ON AMAZON MKT PLACE WITH PRICES STARTING FRM 99.99 I WAS THEREFORE AMAZED TO SEE IT IN HMV KINGSTON FOR 12 ! EVEN BETTER I GOT 30% OFF AS BLUE CROSS SALE.THIS IS A GREAT ALBUM OF VG MUSIC FRM THE PERIOD.THIS DELUXE EDITION HAS 15 UNRELEASED TRACKS .PAUL LEFT THE WORLD AT A YOUNG AGE.HE HAS LEFT A LEGACY TO BE CONGRATULATED.PS THIS WAS THE ONLY COPY IN KINGSTON.BUT SEARCH THE REMAINING HMVS THEY MAY JUST HAVE ANOTHER SOMEWHERE.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finishes off what was started nicely!, 31 Jan 2013
By 
Mr. G. Whale - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
After purchasing the five track original album and being left wanting more, this cd delivers. For any Kossoff fan the sheer depth and emotion of his playing on this justifies any of the over inflated price tags that i have seen recently.
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4.0 out of 5 stars KOSS, 28 Mar 2009
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This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
Koss.....was a one off, this looks a cool reissue, I personally have always loved this lp, some of the guitar is immense........peace.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality extras spoil a favourite, 13 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
This is a difficult album for me. The great little man was not in a good way but the album features very fine musicianship but is interspersed with his increasing fragility. The main tracks are well reproduced but the wealth of extras, particularly Disc 2 had really ugly mixes with the guitar parts painfully high. Now I know that we are listening to this album because it features one of Britain's great guitarists but the mixing and mastering is crass and spoils tracks that I am sure could have been processed with far greater sensitivity.

Compared to the wonderful job done with re-mastering on the Songs Of Yesterday collection this was a disappointment.

Still love his playing though, every burgeoning, golden, yearning, sweet note.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Customer Satisfaction, 13 Sep 2011
This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
Parcel arrived next day of ordering - Sufficently Packed & in excellent condition. Very pleased with product - Excellent CD by an Excellent musician - Keep rocking in the eight dimension Koss.
Thank You to all involved
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10 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not exactly his best solo effort, 11 Mar 2008
This review is from: Back Street Crawler (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) (Audio CD)
Paul Kossof's solo album should be for completists only as this only shows brief flashes of his brilliance and had the drugs had not been his daily ritual then he would have been remembered for a lot more than just being Free's brilliant but erratic lead guitarist!
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