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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sandy McLelland And The Backline (1979)

From The Lost Record Covers Club
This terrible cover belies the fact that it contains a gem of an album (the inner sleeve is no better).  Wonderful soul sounds from a tight band, thoughtful and soulful songs with a singer in fine voice.  Very much a radio gem at the time on Capital and nightime Radio 1 although not enough to make them stars. The song "Mediocrity" (Media ocrity - geddit?) talks about the tame playlisting policy of radio stations in the UK.  As the song says "I don't need no part of your mediocrity" - 'fraid he did to sell any of these and he didn't succeed.  This is a real shame as this sits right up there with the British soul bands of the day.  The band are supplemented by The Rumour Brass section and the Kokomo/Voice Squad of Frank Collins, Dyan Birch and Paddy McHugh and features guest appearances from Mark Knopfler (way before the big big time) and the ace guitarist Jim Mullen.  They toured a great deal on the uni circuit.  Shame the Phonogram art department really let them down!

A lot of high ponts but this is the album that introduced me to the Tod Rungren classic song "Can We Still Be Friends?" - this is a smooth version punctuated by relaxed brass.  The Robert Palmer version on "Secrets" followed the arrangement but without the horn section.  This is my favourite version. "Sure Sounds Good To Me" "Heat On The Street" and "Bad Situation" are uptight workouts honed on the live setlist - here they are tight and precise - great sounds. "So So Satisfied" is a Ashford and Simpson song sympatheticaly treated. 
Highly recommended - lots of features on YouTube.  Searches there show that the man has been busy with soundtrack work.
Mercury - 9109 620

1 comment:

  1. great album though golden discs ripped me off when i bought it! average price at the time was a fiver, i think i paid seven for it! worth every penny! jim o'neilll dj on today fm was a big fan at the time and it garnered lots of air time in ireland but i dont think it ever got the critical praise it merited