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on 24 February 2003
A band that failed of its substantial early promise, the Steve Gibbons Band's later albums were a severe disappointment after the exemplary first three: "Any Road Up", "Rollin' On" and "Caught In The Act", the latter being one of the best live albums of all time.
"Any Road Up" was a competent debut and stood out from much of the product being released around the same time. "Rollin'" is the highlight, largely on account of two superb guitar solos from the tandem leads of Bob Wilson and Dave Carroll, but "Johnny Cool", "Strange World" and "Speed Kills" are very good songs that were even better performed by what was, principally, a superb live act.
"Rollin' On" is by far the Gibbons Band's best studio album. Spanning styles from country to R&B, it showcased Gibbons's vocal and lyrical range, as well as including rockers from the pens of Chuck Berry ("Tulane") and Jerry Reed ("Tupelo Mississippi Flash"). The opening "Wild Flowers" is a beautiful country-tinged song that sets the tone of the album well. "Now You Know Me", "Till The Well Runs Dry", "Cross Me Over The Road" and "Low Down Man" are out-and-out country pieces, featuring some great steel guitar playing by Dave Carroll. The up-beat side of the album is represented by "Tulane", "Rollin' On", "Please Don't Say Goodbye" and "Tupelo Mississippi Flash". A couple of a capella songs ("Right Side Of Heaven" and "Rounden") are too slight to really add anything to the album.
The Steve Gibbons Band followed these two albums with "Caught In The Act", which featured a show-stopping performance of "Rollin'" that belongs in any guitar-solo-lovers top ten. I can't understand why "Caught In The Act" isn't in the current catalogue, and I'm not about to sell my copy to anybody. In its absence, though, "Rollin' On" is the best available example of Steve Gibbons at his best.
A band couldn't start with three better albums and couldn't get any better. SGB was no exception: they got progressively worse from "Down In The Bunker" onwards.
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on 24 July 2017
Just OK
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Never seeming to get the vocal or songwriting credit he's so clearly due - Birmingham's STEVE GIBBONS is possessed of one of those `great' rock voices - Paul Rodgers, Frankie Miller and Dan McCafferty (to name but a few) are names that jump to mind. And when SG gets his larynx around a Rock `n' Roll song especially - British magic will happen. And that's where this obscure but brill 2CD set comes in - reissuing in style a pair of albums he made for Polydor Records in the Seventies. Here are Back Street Cats, Johnny Cool and Tulane details...

Originally UK released in September 1997 (reissued March 2000) - Road Goes On Forever RGF/SGDCD 035 (Barcode 50222539203528) breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (56:23 minutes):
1. Take Me Home
2. Johnny Cool
3. Rollin'
4. Spark Of Love
5. Standing On The Bridge
6. Natural Thing
7. Speed Kills
8. Strange World
9. Sweetheart
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Any Road Up" originally released on Polydor 2383 381 in April 1976 in the UK
10 and 11 are bonus tracks: "Back Street Cat" and "Dick Malone"

Disc 2 (62:11 minutes):
1. Wild Flowers
2. Light Up Your Face
3. Now You Know Me
4. Mr. Jones
5. Till The Well Runs Dry
6. Tulane
7. Cross Me Over The Road
8. Till The Fire Burns Out
9. Low Down Man
10. Right Side Of Heaven
11. Rollin' On
12. Please Don't Say Goodbye
13. Tupelo Mississippi Flash
14. Rounden
Tracks 1 to 14 are the album "Rollin' On" originally released on Polydor 2383 433 in February 1977 in the UK. (Note that tracks 10 and 14 are 57 and 20 second long Acapella songs - snippets really)
15, 16 and 17 are bonus tracks - "Gave His Life To Rock 'n' Roll", "Make Things Last" and "Dick Leaps In"

Both albums are remastered to superlative quality by reissue label Road Goes On Forever and the whole project clearly had Gibbons involvement. The 20-page booklet has all the lyrics and a biog on him and full production credits - an exemplary issue.

"Rollin' On" contains their lone UK chart hit [A & B], a great cover version of Chuck Berry's "Tulane" issued as a 7" in August 1977 (backed up by the gorgeous "Now You Know Me"). As another reviewer has quite rightly pointed out, many tracks like "Light Up Your Face", "Speed Kills", "Rollin'" and "Tulane" of course turn up on the superb live set "Caught In The Act" from September 1977 also on Polydor Records - an album I had on my turntable for years. That set along with his other live album "On The Loose" (1986) are available on a separate Road Goes On Forever release - again each album bolstered up with bonus tracks (Road Goes On Forever RBF/SGDCD 050).

The Road Goes On Forever sets have gained something of a cult status - they're not cheap - nor easy to find like major label stuff, but in these instances, they are the business. I'd admit that not every song on these two studio albums is a balls-to-the-wall classic, but if you're a fan, you've got to have them - especially given their the great sound quality and classy presentation.

Fans of the man should also check out his "Bob Dylan Project" covers album from 1998 - Gibbons and his fab set of lungs pumping out tasty interpretations of old and new Dylan songs - all of them filled with the grace and power his vocals can deliver.

Aged 73 in 2014 - Gibbons is still touring to this day and is surely one of the most underrated and overlooked treasures British Rock 'n' Roll has. Buy with confidence...
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VINE VOICEon 3 December 2010
I first heard The Steve Gibbons Band on one of the Hope and Anchor live compilations (which I hope to see on CD one day). The tracks featured were 'Johnny Cool' and a fast version of 'Speed Kills'. Both of these albums, their first two, are their strongest studio efforts. 'Any Road Up' leans towards a harder rock sound than 'Rollin' On' which explores a wider mix of styles.

Despite their obvious quality and hit or two, they never quite broke through. In my opinion, they suffered in the same way as Sad Cafe: they were a bit hard rock, a bit r&b, a bit rock and roll, a bit country, even a bit funky in places. In short, a bit too clever for their own good, and all this at at a time when punk's honest endeavour was more fashionable. They even suffered the ignominy of being known for being blown offstage by one of their support bands, who just happened to be the reformed and rather exciting Pirates. A shame really, as these albums have alot to offer. Gibbons was a highly articulate lyricist, the two guitarists classy and most of the tracks are bolstered by fine backing harmonies.

Highlights? Both of these albums are pretty consistent. The earlier tracks on 'Any Road Up' are generally better than the later ones, 'Rollin'' being particularly epic in scope. Style, rather than quality, varies on 'Rollin' On', but the hard rocking title track, the hit cover 'Tulane' and the hilarious 'Mr Jones' are my favourites.
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on 1 August 2009
In my opinion, "Any Road Up" is THE all time best Steve Gibbons Band album. This is the Brummie band in all it's glory.
The songs are powerful and brilliantly crafted, after being played in the pubs and clubs of Birmingham for so long before being put onto record. You can almost feel the heat and smell the smoke and beer, even though this is a studio recording. My favorite track: ALL OF THEM!
"Rollin' On" too is classic Steve Gibbons and there are a wealth of fine tracks. This album can take it's place alongside the best of them.
This collection is a "must-have" for anyone who loves their rock n roll raw and exciting (and of course everyone who misspent their youth in pubs and clubs).
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on 22 December 2009
Ive had worn out cassettes of these for years and was shamed into buying the CD's by my wife. Saw them live at Lancaster poly with Be Bop Deluxe in 1976-77? - Gibbons were a superb live band, but as other reviewers have said can sometimes sound tame and constrained in studio. Some tracks are fillers but buy it for the classics like rollin on and dont say goodbye. Its sad when you see the bland, mediocre, corporately commercial and talentless "music" that kids are fed today. But Im optimistic in that the recent No 1 upset shows the kids are fighting back against the machine.
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on 6 April 2014
Rock and Roll and blues, with great melodies and catchy lyrics. Others from the same era and peer group went on to superstardom (Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan) but Steve somehow slipped through the gap. Nevertheless a legend in my home town of Birmingham(!) and a worthy cult icon. If you don't know his music well, the 2 albums showcased here, plus Down in The Bunker are pretty much his seminal works. This collection is a bargain for product that until recently that was hard to come by (and this sort of revival for back catalogue is definitely one good thing about the digital music revolution).
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on 28 May 2014
Brings back happy memories of nights spent at the Railway in Birmingham as the band packed out even before being discovered by the Who.
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on 2 January 2017
brilliant love the steve gibbons band. delivered on time by amazon.
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on 2 September 2015
Brilliant albums from one of my favourite bands of the 70s.
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