Fireworks

British Lions - 'Live At The Old Waldorf, San Francisco 1978' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/91/06/fc/963_BritishLionsLiveAtTheOldWaldorfSanFrancisco1978_1296948421.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 05, 2011    
 
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'Live At The Waldorf' will hopefully bring British Lions to an audience that would have otherwise been unaware of their existence.

It was surprising when the ex Mott The Hoople and Mott foursome of Overend Watts, Dale Griffin, Morgan Fisher and Ray Majors remerged under the name British Lions with ex-Medicine Head frontman John Fiddler on vocals. Not least for the fact that Fiddler's hippie persona appeared at first glance to be a strange fit with the rock and rolling ex-Hooplers. With their singer suitably de-hippified, British Lions released their excellent eponymously titled debut album in 1977, before setting off to tour America. Support slots were gained with Blue Oyster Cult and UFO, however before long the band were headlining and it's from that leg of the tour that this surprisingly strong recording comes from. 

Never before officially released, this show which was recorded to be broadcast on the US radio station KSJO, not only captures a band that sound hungry and totally convincing, but illustrates just how strong the post Hoople era was for these musicians. The band crash through a set of songs from that debut album, along with an interesting selection of cover versions ('Come On' (Chuck Berry), 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll' (Rolling Stones) and 'Pretty Vacant' (Sex Pistols) amongst others), however it is the energy and passion with which these and all the other songs are played that really bursts out of the speakers in a way that "current" live releases seem to fail to capture. You can almost taste the sweat in the air and smell the condensation on the walls. There is a real swagger and cockiness in the performance that leaves you in no doubt that this is a group of seasoned veterans giving everything they've got and what adds to the fun of listening to this CD, is the interplay between the band members on stage and the little snippets of expertly beefed up non rock songs like 'Love Story' and 'Moonlight Sonata' that prove that British Lions were a truly enigmatic live force to be reckoned with.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The sound of the recording, whilst retaining the gritty edge this music needs, is excellent and in the same way that the recent archive live releases from Thin Lizzy maybe aren't as polished as we have come to expect live albums to be, 'Live At The Old Waldorf' is a little rough around the edges, but all the better for it. After these shows British Lions headed back to the UK to record their second album 'Trouble With Women', however due to a variety of factors the band dissolved and an all too brief light was extinguished.

For added value, there are also three demo cuts of the band's better known songs, along with interesting sleeve notes containing band quotes and exclusive pictures. With Def Leppard's Joe Elloitt currently extolling the virtues of everything post-Mott The Hoople, 'Live At The Waldorf' will hopefully bring British Lions to an audience that would have otherwise been unaware of their existence and good though both British Lions studio albums are, this is a perfect place to start.

Steven Reid

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