Right at the top of their powers, Slade were a formidable live Rock n Roll band and one you most certainly wouldn’t want to follow on stage at a festival, like, Reading when it used to be a proper festival mixing styles and nationalities it certainly turned in some iconic performances throughout its original incarnation and one I can certainly remember reading about and hearing was Slades appearance.
Released on splatter vinyl, fans who’ve been paying attention will notice its another beauty and the sleeve is worth the price alone, absolutely outstanding picture that captures a Rock and Roll band in full flight and a dazzling spectacle of the times. Slade were unstoppable throughout the seventies becoming one of Europe’s biggest bands let alone the UK, releasing six smash hit albums, including three UK No-1, a run of 17 consecutive Top 20 singles which is an outstanding achievement that often gets overlooked.
This was first released on CD in the 2022 boxset ‘All the World Is A Stage’, The bands legendary 1980 performance at Reading festival and includes some of those smash hits like the anthemic ‘Cum On Feel The Noise’, ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’, ‘Get Down and Get With It’ and ‘Born to Be Wild’ closes an absolute barnstorming performance along with ‘the racaus ‘When I’m Dancing I Ain’t Fighting’.
I love the banter and Noddys Brummie drawl as he introduces songs like ‘Wheels Ain’t Coming Down’. The frenzied medley of ‘Something Else’ and ‘Pistol Packin Mama’ will have the listener daydreaming about the size of that crowd all going fuckin mental and how it was everyone for themselves as the band mesmerized a field of smelly denim and platforms. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ makes me giggle but the singing of ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ is an absolute hoot.
Remember kids this is pre-internet and mobile phones but their 70s heyday was disappearing in the rearview mirror but this last-minute slot (replacing Ozzy) turned that around and gave the band a second wind. Slade lovers or casual curious music fans would find this live document a firm favourite in any collection. This is a fine example of how to rock a festival audience. Sublime! Full Poke!
Ambrose Slade – ‘Beginnings’ (BMG)
Interesting part of these Slade rereleases is this pre Slade album as the title would suggest the begginings of the band and love it or loath it its deserving of its place as a catalogue of what came before their rise to the top of the Glam Rock table as kingpins of the genre and rightly so. ‘Genesis’ opens with its swirling psycadelic hypnotic bass riff on whats a bizzare instrumental opener.
Most of the songs here are other peoples tunes which I guess was pretty common in the final knockings of the 60s whilst only three are original songs. ‘Everybody’s Next One’ is a Steppenwolf song from their debut record but has Slade sounding more like a Who wannabe band. Other weird covers would have to be the Zappa ‘Ain’t Got No Heart’ even if does have a good energy to the rhythm. Justin Hayward’s ‘Fly Me High’ rolls along with its carefree chorus with a really interesting vocal peeking through. The ballad of Marvin Gaye ‘If This World Was Mine’ sees Holder push his vocal range to its limits is interesting to say the least. To wrap up this fascinating release they obviously take on a rarer Beatles song before the familiar ‘Born To Be Wild’ which is not unknown to even casual Slade fans but having two Stepenwolf songs not on a Stepenwolf album does look a bi tweird even now but hey it is what it is and this is a great take on a classic and that bass line is top drawer as is the thumping rhythm that went on to prove to be an absolute power house of a pairing.
The album closes with a galloping version of ‘Journey To The Centre Of Your Mind’ a song I’ve heard covered twice this excellent take and of course the Ramones version both crackers. Enjoy this one for sure but if you’re on a budget then I’d highly recommend the live one first its all killer for sure.
Buy Ambrose Slade Here