ALEX HARVEY: THE MAFIA STOLE MY GUITAR (1979)
1) Don's Delight; 2) Back In The Depot; 3) Wait For Me Mama; 4) The Mafia Stole My Guitar; 5) Shakin' All Over; 6) The Whalers (Thar She Blows); 7) Oh Spartacus!; 8) Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody.
And it's a success. Over the years spent with the SAHB,
Of course, Harvey wouldn't be Harvey if the record were wiped clear of its wildcards: Louis Prima's 'Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Nobody' sternly reminds the listener that lounge entertainment still is, and will always be, Harvey's musical cradle, and the over-arranged, wildly futuristic arrangement of 'Shakin' All Over' may be one of the weirdest tracks Alex ever cut — but also effective, since, now that I think of it, the song's chuggin' riffage as originally practiced by Johnny Kidd and then the Who, just begs for a little "sci-fi treatment".
But the bulk of the record is occupied by the epics I mentioned — six minutes for 'Back In The Depot', five for the title track, seven each for 'Wait For Me Mama' and 'The Whalers'. Written as relatively simple, slow-to-mid-tempo "singer-songwriter" style panoramas, occasionally changing keys ('Back In The Depot' picks up speed at the end, 'The Whalers' turns into an aggressive rocker midway through before calming down again), occasionally built on ferocious hard riffage (title track), I can still see how many people would find them boring; they display neither the manic energy of a Springsteen nor the cool chops of a classic era prog-rock band.
In fact, they all depend on whether one has succeeded in getting
So it's essentially that kind of a record where the brain cannot help you all that much — the only serious "musical creativity" goes into 'Shakin' All Over', everything else has to do with self-pity and world weariness and poor health and Nazareth. But I do feel for the man, and I understand self-pity and world weariness and poor health and even Nazareth, and 'The Whalers' at least is beautiful in its ugliness, enough to shed a tear or two and to warrant a thumbs up, with the brain gallantly ceasing the right of final decision to the emotional reaction. This might just be the most proverbially "sincere" album from