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Crawl on Lindisfarne,
This review is from: Roll On Ruby (Audio CD)
In the aftermath of the breakup upf Lindisfarne in 1972, original band leader Alan Hull plus Ray jackson recruited four new musicans to form a band called Lindisfarne (usually known as Lindisfarne mark 2). They recorded two albums, the first of which was this album recorded on the famous Charisma label.
It's been a fair few years to wait for a cd release for this album but here it is at long last. The album is not a classic so I guess EMI/Virgin who now own the Charisma catalogue felt there was little commercial potential except among diehard fans and completists. That's probably a fair view as the album is at best patchy and at worst dreary. It does however sound sharper and brighter on cd as opposed to murky vinyl but cannot hide the shortage of decent songs.
The albums highpoints for me are in fact the first three tracks. Alan Hulls 'Taking care of business' was the first and only single release and it predictably bombed but the song is very pointed lyrically blasting band managers who milk for profit and hold bands to contracts which pay little to the band and lots to the manager ! The song is traditional Lindisfarne. So is the following track 'North Country Boy' written by Tommy Duffy and this song was the singles b-side. The best track on the album is next up; Alan Hulls 'Steppenwolf' is not traditional Lindisfarne at all but is a rather riff based and featuring a good vocal line from Ray Jackson with Alan Hull slotting in a line himself somewhat unexpectedly. This song should not be confused with the Hawkwind song of the same name. 'Nobody loves you any more' is rather forgettable and so is 'When the war is over', not one of Alans best ballads. I don't care much for 'Moonshine' and 'Lazy' either nor the (almost) title track 'Roll on River' but 'Tow the line' is the highpoint of what was side 2 of the original album, an up-tempo singalong type song. The final track 'Goodbye' is OK but not particularly special and contains abrupt tempo changes.
The cd release contains four bonus tracks from a BBC radio broadcast, all taken from the next album 'Happy Daze' which is currently not available on cd. All these tracks were previously made available on an album called 'Dealers Choice' released a few years ago so they are not that rare. Similar mediocraty applies to these songs with only 'Tonight' standing out as particularly memorable. Don't hold your breath for a cd release of 'Happy Daze'.
The cd release of 'Roll on Ruby' contains no sleeve notes or lyrics but does include photos of the original record label which featured the Charisma Mad Hatter design. The disc itself features the magenta Charisma scroll label design that predated the Mad Hatter design - this looks like a goof to me.