's first "solo" band, after leaving Slapp Happy and Henry Cow was called The Big Guns
. It featured a very young Bill Laswell, and they played sporadically from 1978 to 1981.
The original files of these concerts were first shared on a p2p site I think. When I first heard them I thought "horrendous sound quality, will never listen to them". But kept them in my hard drive, thinking I would listen to the shows just once (when i'll find time to) for historical knowledge of what Blegvad was doing in these early years of his solo career.
One day, My hard drive was full, I needed to clean it a bit and throw a lot of unnecessary things in the bin. "Hey, the Blegvad concerts, I will listen to them and delete them just after"
Of course I didn't. I was intrigued by the band accompanying Blegvad (I thought it would be solo concerts !), and just to see if it could be efficient, I applied a heavy reequalization, adding a lot of treble trying to have a less muddy sound. It gave surprisingly good results and there was no hiss added (to be honest I suspect the tracks had been denoised previously). So I was encouraged to go further and in the end, I came up with the result here, which I think is very satisfactory and very listenable.
Another problem was pitch, which I have corrected.
So the sound is OK now. But there is also :
- A very interesting set-list, with almost exclusively Slapp Happy's tracks (from Blegvad previous solo career)
- A very interesting line-up : I managed to find/guess who's playing what, and that was a real surprise to realise these were in fact some of Bill Laswell and Anton Fier (Golden Palominos) first concerts. I still have doubt about Frith's participation. In another concert from the same period (jan. 1980), Blegvad is heard introducing the musicians, amongst them a guy named "Tom ?????", playing "?????" (horrendous sound quality !!!). Moreover, in the concert from Feb. 1980, Blegvad says "are you ready Tom" at the beginning of a song. This "Tom" could be the lead guitar player of the band instead of Frith ? But the presence of Frith seems to be commonly accepted on these recordings given that he was playing in support of Blegvad with his new band Massacre (with Laswell and Fred Maher).
Finally, a note about the bonus tracks : these come from an audience recording of Slapp Happy at the QEH in 2000. The sound of the original boot is barely listenable, and there was nothing I could do to make it better... except for these 2 tracks. Probably because they are quiet songs, with minimal instrumentation.
Live at the Soundscape New York City, 14 February 1980
1. Excerpt From The Messiah
2. Tuning & Song Definition
3. Charlie ‘n Charlie
5. A Little Something
6. Halfway There
8. Casablanca Moon
9. I Got Evil
10. Me And Parvati
11. Riding Tigers
Live at CBGB’s New York City, 14 April 1980
12. Actual Frenzy
13. Big Guns Theme (aka Crumb De La Crumb instrumental)
14. Me And Parvati
15. Mr Rainbow
16. Excerpt From The Messiah
17. Casablanca Moon
18. Halfway There
20. Charlie ‘n Charlie
21. A Little Something
22. Riding Tigers
: voice, guitar
(presumably) : guitar
: violin (*)
: piano (*)
: voice (*)
SLAPP HAPPY live at The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 2000
23. Heading For Kyoto
24. In The Sickbay
: voice, guitar
High Resolution artwork included