THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND: FRAMED (1972)
1) Framed; 2) Hammer Song; 3) Midnight Moses; 4) Isobel Goudie; 5) Buff's Bar Blues; 6) I Just Want To Make Love To You; 7) Hole In Her Stocking; 8) There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree, Mama; 9) St. Anthony.
By late 1972,
It was up to Cleminson to transform
Just for a laugh, it is advisable to play the old and the new versions of 'Midnight Moses' back to back. Unless you're a staunch hard-rock hater, I can't even visualize the perspective of someone willing to prefer the original, what with all the fury that Cleminson invests in this reworking. The brass section has been retained for 'I Just Want To Make Love To You', but now it's also being propped up by terrific guitar work, not to mention the tight rhythm section, and now the extended coda is involving, not excruciating.
Whether it is the old stuff or the new stuff, there is nary a weak spot on the entire album. Leiber and Stoller's 'Framed' is recast as a slow, plodding, mammoth Seventies' rocker; 'Isobel Goudie' is Harvey's tongue-in-cheek contribution to the progressive excesses of the age, replete with dark distorted organ chords and smooth transitions between quiet/hypnotic and loud/bedazzling (as would probably befit a song about a creepy Scottish witch!); we then get our feet firmly back on the ground with 'Buff's Bar Blues', Harvey's best-ever drinking song with a jaw-dropping guitar solo from Zal (but what sort of a drinking song would ever include a verse like 'drinking up Spumanti, reading John McLain, his sister in the grubber and his brother was the same' — and who the heck is John McLain anyway, and how do you even spell him properly?); we get a wonderful retro vaudeville number ('There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree, Mother' — apparently because 'They're Burning Big Louie Tonight'); and we round things up with the sacrilegious naughtiness of 'St. Anthony', a track that not only throws a suspicious light on the nature of St. Anthony's temptation (and even his true ability to resist it), but also wraps the poor saint in a web of wah-wah and not so wah-wah guitars that raise some of the loudest ruckus and rumpus to come out of the British Isles in the early part of the decade.
In short, Framed is a fascinating musical journey, and double so when it is taken in the context of all the disasters of the previous limp decade of