85. NEXT – THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND (1973) Guest Contributor: Robert King (Scars)

It may appear that I have written very few words about the Sensational Alex Harvey Band album ‘Next‘, but in truth I should not say anything. This album is a building-block in my life and also in my development as a musician. It taught me that both extreme raucousness and violins could work, and also that a Scottish accent can make a song sound compelling at the very least. I have, on occasion, been compared with Mr. Harvey, but in my estimation he always precedes me. I am no copyist, I just have a similar accent and for that matter, perhaps enthusiasm.

Anyway, notes on ‘N.E.X.T.’
Never in order, but ordered in no order:

“Let me be your swampsnake ’till the real one comes along”. The listener doesn’t know it yet, but the real one is the laconic voice full of delicious malevolence which seems to celebrate everything your parent ever hated. Thus opens the Sensational Alex Band’s second album. An easy blues with a snide smile towards the contempt that the camp has for the attempt at legit. Fuck it! Easy shit but good.

Gang Bang is essentially a Mott The Hoople song with what are today considered questionable lyrics. Oddly the protagonist is female. Or… is that just another male fantasy?

Next. What can one say? His band performed this never having heard the original. Who followed whom? It is obvious from Zal’s facial excursions on The Old Grey Whistle Test that he connected with the performance of the song in such a way that was to truly identify SAHB. This odd adventure book full of the bizarre, but . . . The TV version is one of the greatest TV performances ever.

Faith Healer. .. … . .. … He did put his hand upon me. On a few occasions at gigs. I made sure of that. This song, from my emotion in 1974? was one of violence. A gang song. Simply. Should I analyse the song? I don’t think I should, because then I would be pointing out the stuff that is out of time and the over-use of the compressor… in my opinion. I just like it.

Vambo Marble-eye. Funky thumping start with that out of control controlled shout that the Mr Alex does. Gang song. A period in the seventies when the short T-Shirt that revealed the belly indicated you were a casual. Vambo rules! (Robert King)


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