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4.8 out of 5 stars
12
4.8 out of 5 stars
Sharks
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£11.08+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 16 February 2013
PREQUEL: This debut from Sharks is an epic in the same way as say, Chicago's 1st or Led Zeppelin's 2nd; anthemic, inventive, and musically unique with soft-left agitprop poetically risqué lyrics. At its launch in '73, First Water was hailed as as a masterpiece by the music press and soon afterwards UK critics declared supergroup Sharks to be the best live band on the planet. The following year Sharks released 'Jab It In Yore Eye', a weaker album overall due to lineup changes, but with sublime moments (worth buying for incredible single "Sophistication" alone). Sharks were on late night Old Grey Whistle Test after First Water's release and it was a series highlight I fondly remember. But when only a year later the magical combination known as Sharks had disbanded, critics and fans were stunned and bewildered, hardly able to believe it.
REVIEW: The opening proletarian track "World Park Junkies" is immediate and confident, and it sets a high standard, sounding like one of the greatest singles that never was. Next track "Follow Me", has catchy electric piano accompaniment, piano being just one element on this album of guitar-based blues-rock with semi-psychedelic lyrics. "Snakes and Swallowtails", (track 5) is an exciting, full-on, driven track, one to die for which would also have made a fine single. "Steal Away", track 7, is an exquisite respite track and an incredible masterpiece in its own right. (Sublime vocals, thanks Snips!) Oozing with originality, First Water is that rarity; substantial and entertaining with no weak tracks or filler and a strong sense of identity.
Now for the main course, Snips' vocals! Many have tried to describe them and no wonder, they're staggering!
Nuanced, deceptively laconic, gravel-perfect authentic blues, confidently delivered. But it's the SOUND of Snips voice that has fascinated fans of First Water. 'Voice exciter' technology was used and somehow Snips vocal attributes catalyse with this 'standard at the time' effect in a unique way, reiterating with it to create a level of dynamism you can hardly believe! On this album, Snips easily equals his peers at the time for impact (say, Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers, etc., whoever - the greats).
Today the idealised 70s subculture lyrics sound charming and intriguing. Andy Fraser's familiar, friendly bass is much more than that here. So inventive is Andy that however unexpected it may be, this is his career highpoint. Legendary 'guitar god' Chris Spedding's virtuosity and technical skills are on abundant display along with top notch guitar tech and engineering - a career peak for him too! Who was it said supergroups never work?

LOADED DICE: Long gone Pirate Radio would have played First Water on rotation, but by '73 monopoly BBC Radio was the sole arbiter of taste with its playlist policy tool, standardising output (since the late 60's), favouring safe manufactured frothy pop, bubblegum, and mediocrity. Sharks weren't mediocre and nor were they indifferent to marketing or promotion, but as financially secure artists, all that mattered to them was making the best music they knew they could make and enjoy making and playing it. Namely, they were Artists Following Their Muse - not the market!"

GET IT NOW! Prior to this release First Water was scarce and expensive, unfairly sidelining it to cult status. This puts that right with vibrant sound and restored artwork. (By the way, on the original vinyl, Snips vocals were 'double-tracked' with delay across the stereo, which, with the speakers 6ft apart - facing you, and you in between [not about volume] sounded awesome - Wow! Remastering of course corrects such anomalies!!) First Water has sparks and sparkles sprinkled all over it! Originally on Island, now on 'Talking Elephant' - get this super flavour while you still can, or regret it!
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on 4 January 2017
I saw Sharks twice in 1973/4 at the Penthouse, Scarborough - one of the few groups I can actually remember seeing there. This album has been on my wishlist for a few years and I have finally got round to buying it. Why did I wait so long?
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on 12 July 2015
Went to see the sharks a few times, the brilliant Andy Fraser feature on this record, still sounds fresh and original, one of life's fantastic lost albums give it a listen,you won't be disappointed
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on 14 May 2012
Snips = this is not a powerful gritty voice, Its a cement mixer going down a gravel path in third gear.
Chris Spedding = one of the forgotten gods of the '70's. Thrill to that guitar.
Andy Fraser = despite his justified fame with Free, takes a bit of a back seat to the aforementioned. (Sorry Andy...a bit overshadowed here IMHO...but still very, very impressive)
The lyrics can be a bit naff (Snips, you tinker! - but we were all young once), but just rock on to this seminal work of the 70's. Its made me so happy being able to hear it again :)
Don't just sit and read this comment....buy the CD! You will not be sorry.
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on 12 February 2014
This was one of my favorite bands of a distant youth. It is a very evocative sound with strong and economic playing by Chris Spedding and the guys. Snips (Steve Parsons) was one of the best vocalists of that time, and wrote some great lyrics. Prior to the re-issue of this work the pre-owned dual CD was selling for £85 or so so I was not alone with my happy memories after my original vinyls clapped out!
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on 22 June 2009
This replacement CD was long awaited for my worn out vinyl original.
Past forays into the purchase of the CD version were found to be on the expensive side, so I was delighted to find this one at an acceptable price.
It was as if I had been transported back into the seventies as it fired up, and the likes of 'Ole jelly roll, and Snakes and swallowtails reminded me of what a very underated band Sharks were.
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on 1 March 2013
Marvelous had the vinyl years ago till wife dropped it and a lump chipped out of the edge
so glad to have found it again If you want to know what happened between Free(All right now) and Bad Company(I can't get enough) then this is one you should have buy it
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on 27 September 2014
Outstanding fiorst album, tragedy the band never went on to the success they deserved,
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on 8 December 2015
Not an essential but its a great listen - if you liked Free and Bad Company this is an extension of that
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on 9 December 2013
For lovers of the old band called Free. A delight to find one of its old members still making recordings.
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