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Strife | Rockin' The Boat

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Rock: 70's Rock Metal/Punk: 70's Metal Moods: Type: Live Recordings
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Rockin' The Boat

by Strife

Strife fans have been waiting 30 years for this live album from one of the best live acts of a 70's UK rock trio.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Better Man Than I
3:32 $0.99
2. You Are What You Are
6:23 $0.99
3. Before I Die
5:51 $0.99
4. Indian Dream
9:20 $0.99
5. Feels So Good
5:04 $0.99
6. Number One
14:02 $0.99
7. Rush
17:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Please note that after 30 years, people may remember things differently - but we have done our best..... Let me tell you a story..... Once upon a time in the 1970's there was a band called "STRIFE". They played high-energy rock - and they played it very well. Wherever they played, the audiences loved them. You would think that they were bound to make it big - travel the world - sell millions of records - make their fortune and live happily ever after. You would think...... From the start, they were unfashionable - they came from Merseyside at a time when even the Beatles didn't go there. They did not have a trendy manager - they didn't have a manager at all! They could not get a record deal in London. They had to travel to LA. to get a record deal - and then it was with Chrysalis Records who were based in London! The first album "Rush" went into the top 10 of the Virgin LP charts just as they finished a tour supporting "Baker Gurvitz Army". They were getting a reputation in the music business as a band you did NOT want as a support band - they were likely to blow the headlining band clean off the stage. One big push from their record company and they would be there! Chrysalis were having great success with Leo Sayer etc. and less success with their Rock acts, and were considering repositioning themselves as a more MOR label. Without a manager to fight for them, STRIFE were put on hold. Chrysalis would not release any further recordings, but would not release "STRIFE" from their three-year contract. They were trapped. They gigged more than ever, and continued to go down well. The situation was frustrating, but they were still much in demand, and the contract would soon run out. In 1977, they released a maxi-single with 3 tracks "SCHOOL" "GO" and "FEELS SO GOOD" on their own "Outlaw" label. EMI heard it, realised its potential, and released it. It is a great single but it didn't chart. Gull records released the "Back to Thunder" LP later that year, but the time had passed - punk had arrived - and "STRIFE" split leaving lots of "if only's" and "what if's". "Rush" was released on CD in 2001 and has reached 2,252 in the Amazon charts. A very respectable position for a re-release from a comparatively unknown 1970's rock band.In 2005 the second album "Back To Thunder" was released on cd on Timeline records and in March 2006 the very much awaited "LIVE" album "ROCKIN' THE BOAT" a recording of the set played at the NOTTINGHAM BOAT CLUB sometime in 1976 has been released as testament to the band's live performances.

STRIFE
ROCKIN' THE BOAT - LIVE AT THE NOTTINGHAM BOAT CLUB
Released 2006 on Timeline
Reviewed by achuma, 28/05/2006ce

Recorded for Radio Trent in 1976 between albums, at a beloved venue in their home territory, this live set shows Strife at the height of their powers and even more begs the question “Why weren’t these guys huge?”
Certainly not through lack of talent in all corners. All three members were masters of their instruments, the singing was excellent, the song-craft exemplary, delivery impeccable, and, as we all can now hear, absolutely on fire as a live band. And so they should be, by this stage having slogged the hard slog for many years for little wider recognition beyond an ever-growing circle of hardcore fans who had been blown to smithereens from exposure to their records, live shows, or both. Certainly they blew other bands to smithereens and gained a reputation as a support band you didn’t want unless you were confident you could match them. And certainly by the end of this CD you will know that there weren’t too many bands around, then or now, that could follow a band like Strife onto the stage and pull it off.

‘Better Man Than I’ [3:32] blasts the show open with guitar totally crunching bones, on this fine rendition of a song from the first album. It pretty much sets the tone in it’s general up-tempo heavy rockin’ feel, not too far removed from the raw, chunky, so-tight-they-sound-loose sound of Truth & Janey on their live CD ‘Erupts’.
‘You Are What You Are’ [6:24] would show upon the last album, and what can I say that I didn’t say in the review for ‘Back To Thunder’, except that here in a live situation it’s still got a great jumpy bite, and is played impeccably complete with tricky bass trills. Being live, we’re treated to a bit of extra jamming in the middle. And another observation about why these guys were such a great band – they sound just as good live as on record from the studio (minus polished studio sound, obviously), and even the vocals are still brilliant.
‘Before I Die’ [5:51] is a non-album track which slogs along in a pummelling slow groove, with John Reid’s vocals showing a little of the Deke Leonard nasalisms that would be more noticeable on the last album, though the music is more like early Budgie crossed with just about any great late 60’s/early 70’s heavy rock band. At around 4 minutes it swings into a nasty bit of thrashing before returning to the verse/chorus/riff structure and bringing it to a close.
‘Indian Dream’ [9:20] is a track from the ‘Rush’ album, the gorgeous vocals delivered here with real quasi-mystical cosmically love-lorn feeling that gets to me more than the album version. Musically, this rendition is stretched out to more epic proportions, guitar howling more desperately in the louder bits, the whole thing building to crescendo after crescendo, just pounding it into the ground. Part way through the first such build all the guys suddenly just stop on a pin drop and delicately seep back into it from the start again, before again tearing off into the sky, bass and drums really nailing it hard this time, and well, it just keeps growing to a controlled frenzy of strident strength, beauty and sadness, like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ but better.
‘Feels So Good’ [5:05] is another track shortly to appear on the last album, though here guitarist/vocalist John Reid seems to be playing around with the lyrics a bit more, throwing in a few extra things that make him “feel so good”, or maybe I’m just imagining it. I hate listening to different versions of the same song back-to-back to check stuff like this – I prefer to just turn off the anal part of my mind when I’m enjoying music. Anyway, this track is also treated to a very cool extended jam-out after where the song would normally end (album version-wise).
‘Number 1’ [14:02] is another non-album track, although it’s introduced as one that’s “going to be on our next album”. No idea why it wasn’t, as ‘Back To Thunder’ is a little short, certainly more room on there... The vocals here sound like a semi-hysterical cross between a Bon Scott-imitator and that guy from Zipper and Dead Moon. Rock! Which is what this track does, like the rest of this CD, until without warning everyone else stops and a drum solo emerges, normally where most sane mortals would groan and take a toilet break, but of course these guys all being masters of their instruments, it’s one of those rare beasts, the listenable drum solo that yea, is good, and not just tedious showing off. After a few minutes it switches straight into an extended bass solo section that sounds like a working version of bassist Gordon Rowley’s ‘Red Sun’ piece from ‘Back To Thunder’, so in that sense, at least part of this song did end up on the next album, except the bass solo is longer here, and less electronically treated, at least until later when the solo becomes less ‘rock’ and more harmonic and spacey. Then the drums kick back in, as does guitar, and out of nowhere we’re practically on a stomping cosmic juggernaut, before settling back into the more earthbound heavy riffs and vocal histrionics from the start of the track.
‘Rush’ [17:25] closes the show and here is stretched out beyond even the lengthy glorious excess of the album version, and it’s pretty jaw-dropping to hear these three guys reproduce the track live, with it all sounding like nothing’s missing – quite a feat, when you go back and listen to the studio version on the album ‘Rush’. Once they break into that expansive space-rock-between-the-ears they just keep pummelling on and on, and when you think they can go no further, get no higher before either running out of ideas or running out of the physical energy required to keep playing, they’re still cracking open new cosmic eggs to explore and then moving on ever deeper. Eventually it all builds to crushingly frenzied peaks and they do indeed bring the number to a close as the laws of physics demand they must (eventually). The crowd, of course, goes wild, and we puny humans can only wish we were there with them, screaming approval and cries for more (if it’s possible to give any more than this – I mean, sure, the Dead played for hours more than this at a time, but then, they didn’t condense as much sparking energy as possible into every second of their sets... it’s like comparing a walk-a-thon to a 400m sprint) drenched in primal sweat and thinking “that was the best fucking live band I’ve ever witnessed!”

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Reviews


to write a review

David Randall

'One of Britain's greatest live 3 piece rock bands
STRIFE Rockin' The Boat Timeline TLCD003 (2006)


'One of Britain's greatest live 3 piece rock bands of the 70's' - this is a high accolade indeed and one that accompanys the material promoting this live CD from 1976.

More accurately, this may have been one of the UK's finest support acts of that decade. I am sure I saw the band several times, as this Liverpool-based band frequently supported artists at one of the city's major venues, the Stadium, where the queues to get a good spec frequently stretched around the building from about lunchtime prior to the gig.

There is some truth in the rumour that Strife probably frightened a lot of the bands they supported, among them Baker Gurvitz Army, Judas Priest and Ten Years After: they were pretty damn good. What I hadn't realised is that the band signed to Chrysalis and released one album for that label in 1975.

Sadly, that was probably their undoing as Chrysalis held them under contract for a few years whilst not releasing anything as the musical climate shifted to punk and three-chord thrash. Sadly, too, a lot of punters would only remember them from their ticket stubs as they supped themselves silly before the main act.

This 1976 gig, unearthed from a Radio Trent recording and showing the band in all their live glory, is a fantastic souvenir. The band played all their own material and - on stage - it frequently descended into freeform jam. John Reid was the band's talented chief songwriter and guitarist and his raw riffing and fluid bluesy rock style will appeal to many with a taste for seventies guitar nostalgia. Check out 'Indian Dream' for proof.

Band members Gordon Rowley and drummer Paul Ellison were no slouches either and are well showcased on 'Number 1'. All these guys have a story to tell: in 1972 Reid was badly injured in a stock-car crash whilst Rowley was nearly electrocuted on stage. In 1973 they played at the last night of the original Cavern Club.

Opening with 'Better Man Than I' there are definite shades of Cream, but then we are talking classic power trio here, and I detect similarities to that other great heavy trio of the seventies Budgie (with whom they toured in 1978) and Leslie West's Mountain. The band were also quite psychedelic when they stretched out, recalling Quicksilver Messenger Service and those Welsh heroes, Man.

For any rock fan of the seventies power trio format, and certainly anyone who remembers them as a support band, this excellent live document will rekindle an old flame. You can almost smell the joss sticks, feel the quality of the greatcoat, and the width of the loon pants. South Sea Bubble-tastic.

Check out also, the band's previous reissues. 'Back To Thunder' (Timeline RUSH TLCD001) was their second album originally released on Gull in 1978 and 'Rush' (Timeline RUSH TLCD002) was the debut for Chrysalis in 1975 with production - bizarrely - by R Dean Taylor, perhaps better known for his hit single 'Take A Letter Maria'.

****

Review by David Randall
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Posted by cornishmusic.com on March 17, 2006 at 12:26:56:

Hindsight is a wonderful thing – looking back we can all see where we took a wrong move. Nowhere is it more painful than the music business – where the past is littered with casualties who ran out of road or hit the musical or business equivalent of a brick wall.

Strife were a peoples band – not one of your politico / mock religious experiences like the MC5, but a band that won the hearts of all the beer sodden masses that came to see them. In the early seventies they inspired a devotion to their live shows that very few bands could match – I’d compare it to Rory Gallagher’s tours of the same period – they somehow connected to the audience in a way that few others did at the time. They could play of course, and play brilliantly - but there were no egos on display – just some good honest working mans rock and roll.

So the great mystery is why the band never put out a live album when they were together – “Rockin the Boat” is everything that was best about the band – all the songs come to life – They piss all over the original recorded versions. We all know what “live and dangerous” did for Thin Lizzy – and how many overdubs did that have!?

Some of them are less than note perfect sure, but there’s a fire here that’s way beyond some of the other versions. Having the solos on disc “Number 1” is a real treat for everyone who was there – the solos were always an integral part of the proceedings – and for me it was the bass solos that inspired me to pick up a bass and try to follow suit. Praise for all John Reids solos too which are edgy and powerful and crap over a lot of the stuff I’ve heard live over the years from supposedly great musicians.

“Rush” is every bit as good as the sleevenotes suggest – “could 3 guys really make this much music?” – too right mate!

Buy it!!
Read more...

achuma

begs the question “Why weren’t these guys huge?”
Recorded for Radio Trent in 1976 between albums, at a beloved venue in their home territory, this live set shows Strife at the height of their powers and even more begs the question “Why weren’t these guys huge?”
Certainly not through lack of talent in all corners. All three members were masters of their instruments, the singing was excellent, the song-craft exemplary, delivery impeccable, and, as we all can now hear, absolutely on fire as a live band. And so they should be, by this stage having slogged the hard slog for many years for little wider recognition beyond an ever-growing circle of hardcore fans who had been blown to smithereens from exposure to their records, live shows, or both. Certainly they blew other bands to smithereens and gained a reputation as a support band you didn’t want unless you were confident you could match them. And certainly by the end of this CD you will know that there weren’t too many bands around, then or now, that could follow a band like Strife onto the stage and pull it off.

‘Better Man Than I’ [3:32] blasts the show open with guitar totally crunching bones, on this fine rendition of a song from the first album. It pretty much sets the tone in it’s general up-tempo heavy rockin’ feel, not too far removed from the raw, chunky, so-tight-they-sound-loose sound of Truth & Janey on their live CD ‘Erupts’.
‘You Are What You Are’ [6:24] would show upon the last album, and what can I say that I didn’t say in the review for ‘Back To Thunder’, except that here in a live situation it’s still got a great jumpy bite, and is played impeccably complete with tricky bass trills. Being live, we’re treated to a bit of extra jamming in the middle. And another observation about why these guys were such a great band – they sound just as good live as on record from the studio (minus polished studio sound, obviously), and even the vocals are still brilliant.
‘Before I Die’ [5:51] is a non-album track which slogs along in a pummelling slow groove, with John Reid’s vocals showing a little of the Deke Leonard nasalisms that would be more noticeable on the last album, though the music is more like early Budgie crossed with just about any great late 60’s/early 70’s heavy rock band. At around 4 minutes it swings into a nasty bit of thrashing before returning to the verse/chorus/riff structure and bringing it to a close.
‘Indian Dream’ [9:20] is a track from the ‘Rush’ album, the gorgeous vocals delivered here with real quasi-mystical cosmically love-lorn feeling that gets to me more than the album version. Musically, this rendition is stretched out to more epic proportions, guitar howling more desperately in the louder bits, the whole thing building to crescendo after crescendo, just pounding it into the ground. Part way through the first such build all the guys suddenly just stop on a pin drop and delicately seep back into it from the start again, before again tearing off into the sky, bass and drums really nailing it hard this time, and well, it just keeps growing to a controlled frenzy of strident strength, beauty and sadness, like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ but better.
‘Feels So Good’ [5:05] is another track shortly to appear on the last album, though here guitarist/vocalist John Reid seems to be playing around with the lyrics a bit more, throwing in a few extra things that make him “feel so good”, or maybe I’m just imagining it. I hate listening to different versions of the same song back-to-back to check stuff like this – I prefer to just turn off the anal part of my mind when I’m enjoying music. Anyway, this track is also treated to a very cool extended jam-out after where the song would normally end (album version-wise).
‘Number 1’ [14:02] is another non-album track, although it’s introduced as one that’s “going to be on our next album”. No idea why it wasn’t, as ‘Back To Thunder’ is a little short, certainly more room on there... The vocals here sound like a semi-hysterical cross between a Bon Scott-imitator and that guy from Zipper and Dead Moon. Rock! Which is what this track does, like the rest of this CD, until without warning everyone else stops and a drum solo emerges, normally where most sane mortals would groan and take a toilet break, but of course these guys all being masters of their instruments, it’s one of those rare beasts, the listenable drum solo that yea, is good, and not just tedious showing off. After a few minutes it switches straight into an extended bass solo section that sounds like a working version of bassist Gordon Rowley’s ‘Red Sun’ piece from ‘Back To Thunder’, so in that sense, at least part of this song did end up on the next album, except the bass solo is longer here, and less electronically treated, at least until later when the solo becomes less ‘rock’ and more harmonic and spacey. Then the drums kick back in, as does guitar, and out of nowhere we’re practically on a stomping cosmic juggernaut, before settling back into the more earthbound heavy riffs and vocal histrionics from the start of the track.
‘Rush’ [17:25] closes the show and here is stretched out beyond even the lengthy glorious excess of the album version, and it’s pretty jaw-dropping to hear these three guys reproduce the track live, with it all sounding like nothing’s missing – quite a feat, when you go back and listen to the studio version on the album ‘Rush’. Once they break into that expansive space-rock-between-the-ears they just keep pummelling on and on, and when you think they can go no further, get no higher before either running out of ideas or running out of the physical energy required to keep playing, they’re still cracking open new cosmic eggs to explore and then moving on ever deeper. Eventually it all builds to crushingly frenzied peaks and they do indeed bring the number to a close as the laws of physics demand they must (eventually). The crowd, of course, goes wild, and we puny humans can only wish we were there with them, screaming approval and cries for more (if it’s possible to give any more than this – I mean, sure, the Dead played for hours more than this at a time, but then, they didn’t condense as much sparking energy as possible into every second of their sets... it’s like comparing a walk-a-thon to a 400m sprint) drenched in primal sweat and thinking “that was the best fucking live band I’ve ever witnessed!”
Read more...