Strangers in the Night
Rating: ***** (Good Shit)
Recorded in Chicago and Louisville, released December 1978, reached #42 (#8 in the UK).
This group was the best hard-rock outfit to come out of England, and this double-live set serves as the perfect bookend to the classic line-up, plenty of excess but never getting too carried away, Way’s bassline powering it along, no songs about wizards and fairy tales, instead focusing on drag racing and fast women, being young and living on the streets, doing crime and dying. Of course, they cut loose on “Rock Bottom,” but the axe grinding is perfectly placed, really quite like Satchmo’s solo on “St. James Infirmary,” my girl’s dead on a slab and I’m gonna blow a solo, or shred a solo if it’s the 1970s. I hate to say it, but you really had to be there. If you weren’t, you can listen to this album. It grabs you from the get-go, and when it starts to seem a bit much with “Too Hot To Handle,” they go into a killer version of “I’m a Loser,” and then conclude with two classic rockers from Force It.
While almost every hard-rock outfit put out the obligatory double-live set, most were a waste of vinyl. This is not the case with this set, this rocks nonstop.
(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)