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Sunday, August 10, 2014

10cc: Live And Let Live


1) The Second Sitting For The Last Supper; 2) You've Got A Cold; 3) Honeymoon With B Troup; 4) Art For Art's Sake; 5) People In Love; 6) Wall Street Shuffle; 7) Ships Don't Disappear In The Night; 8) I'm Mandy Fly Me; 9) Marriage Bureau Rendezvous; 10) Good Morning Judge; 11) Feel The Benefit; 12) The Things We Do For Love; 13) Waterfall; 14) I'm Not In Love; 15) Modern Man Blues.

For some reason, 10cc never got around to releasing a live album while still in their prime — not that, being a «pop» band by definition, they should have felt as obliged to do it as their colleagues in the heavy rock and prog rock departments. But with Godley and Creme out of the band, Stewart and Gouldman may have sensed a need for proving that «10cc still exists!» in as many ways as humanly possible — and so, with Deceptive Bends only six months away, they hurried­ly followed it up with a sprawling double LP of live recordings, made in June-July 1977 in London and Manchester. Another possible goal was to flaunt their newly reassembled band, showcasing Rick Fenn (who gets a bass solo on ʽFeel The Benefitʼ), new keyboardist Tony O'Malley, and no less than two different percussionists.

Unfortunately, even in their prime 10cc were not a particularly great band to enjoy outside of the studio — and in 1977, the only reason to buy this live album was to show financial support for the band. Deprived of contributions by its weirdest, riskiest members, the 10cc setlist was now al­most exclusively limited to Stewart/Gouldman material, which, of course, had plenty of winners, but this also means that Deceptive Bends is reproduced here almost in its entirety, so you are basically buying the same album twice — and it's not as if the live renditions had anything to prove that was not already proven in the studio.

Other than that, ʽShips Don't Disappear In The Nightʼ is stretched out to unreasonable limits with the addition of a slowed down part; ʽArt For Art's Sakeʼ is stretched out to include a jamming part at the end, with a passable, melodic, but rather out-of-place solo from Eric; and ʽWaterfallʼ fares better, since its desperate romanticism is perfectly compatible with guitar heroics — so Stewart adds an epic solo built along the same lines as Jimmy Page's solo on ʽStairway To Heavenʼ (in fact, one might actually state that they are trying to transform ʽWaterfallʼ into their own private ʽStairwayʼ). All in all, Stewart's guitar playing skills is more or less the only thing that distingui­shes these songs from their studio counterparts — and they are not nearly as unique or inventive as should be required to make Live And Let Live into a lead guitar lover's wet dream.

Nevertheless, the album still sold well, reflecting 10cc's general level of fame and prosperity: with Deceptive Bends still showing traces of the classic spirit, Stewart and Gouldman were only on the verge of squandering the band's artistic reputation, and the power and the glory of their hit singles still rang out loud and clear — enough to make people buy even something that nobody really needed. Besides, most of the songs are so good, why not buy them twice anyway?..

1 comment:

  1. Minor correction: that's still Graham Gouldman playing the bass solo. I was there.