West, Bruce and Laing
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1972-74)
- Jack Bruce -- vocals, bass, keyboards, synthesizers, harp
- Corky Laing -- vocals, drums, percussion, guitar
- Leslie West -- vocals, guitar, dobro
- Jack Bruce (solo efforts)
- Cream (Jack Bruce)
- Mountain (Corky Laing and Leslie West)
- The Leslie West Band
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Live 'n' Kickin'
Company: Columbia Windfall
Country/State: London, UK
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 1224
Fans scream this release is the band's best album ... I'm not convinced that's the case.
The liner notes indicated 1974's "Live 'n' Kickin'" was co-produced by the band and Bob d'Orleans. That's unlikely since West, Bruce & Aling had actually called it quits before they finished recording their second studio set 1973's "Whatever Turns You On". In fact, the live set was a posthumous collection released shortly after the band had announced their official breakup. While the abbreviated liner notes didn't provide the recording dates, or locations, judging by the song selection, it was likely the set was recorded while the band was touring the States in support of their "Why Dontcha" album. Musically the collection was interesting in that the three of the four tracks were "new" material that hadn't been featured on the band's two earlier studio albums. Anyhow, if you're interested in this album you know what to expect. As underscored by these four extended tracks, WB&L weren't exactly the most sophisticated, or subtle band you've ever heard. To my ears tracks like 'The Doctor' and 'Powerhouse Sod' epitamized the concept of molten metal - RAW, LOUD, HEAVY, and LOUD. With the exception of their cover of Cream's 'Politician' there wasn't much in the way of melodies. 'Course that's not the reason anyone ever bought a WB&L album. On the other hand, if you were (or are) a bored, 17 year old this might be the exact kind of headbangin' charge you were looking for. I can certainly think or worse ways to spend 40 minutes. And I certainly had my share of friends who loved the album devoting countless hours to these grooves. By the way, Jack Bruce's performances all but buried Cork Laing and Leslie West on these tracks.
Kickin'" track listing:
1.) Play with Fire (Mick Jagger - Keith Richards - Brian Jones - Watts - Bill Wyman) - 13:26
Clocking in at a jaw dropping thirteen plus minutes, their cover of The Stones 'Play with Fire' was actually misleading in that most of the performance was given over needless jamming (including a seemingly endless Laing percussion solo) and a somewhat sloppy cover of their own 'Love's Worth the Blues'. Musically it was what you would have expected from these guys - molten and rambling with Bruce sounding like he was sucking on marbles. rating: ** stars
2.) The Doctor (Leslie West - Jack Bruce - Corky Laing - Palmer) - 7:43
'The Doctor' was the lone remake of an earlier studio song. (one of the songs found on their 1972 "Why Dontcha" debut). The original wasn't a great tune and the live version wasn't much better. Stretched out to accomondate plenty of room for solos, includng lots of West's slide guitar, the results were loud and un-subtle. rating: *** stars
No, the live cover of 'Politician' wasn't going to make you forget the Cream original, though thankfully it was relatively brief. Thanks the Bruce's instantly recognizable bass line it was also the only song on the album that had a melody that was going to stick when you were done with the album. rating: *** stars
2.) Powerhouse Sod (Leslie West - Jack Bruce - Corky Laing) - 10:30
Credited as a band original, 'Powerhouse Sod' was a track Bruce had been playing in his shows since at least 1971, though this version tossed the earlier jazz touches in favor of a rock and roll meltdown. As far as I can tell, the tune was included to serve as a showcase for Bruce's bass moves. Great if you love the bass; less enjoyable for everyone else. I love the base and have to admit that 10 minutes of Bruce's instrumental mastery was ... well too much of a good thing. rating: *** stars
In spite of minimal promotion the album hit # 165 on the US album charts.
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