Title - Silverhead [Remastered Reissues, 2016]
Artist - Silverhead
For any one truly not in the know, Silverhead were a GREAT British 70's rock band, fronted by the singer/actor, Michael Des Barres. The other members of the band were: Robbie Blunt (guitar), Rod Rook Davies (guitar, percussion, vocals), Nigel Harrison (bass guitar) and Pete Thompson (drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals). They recorded two studio albums, Silverhead (1972) and 16 and Savaged (1973), one live album, Live at The Rainbow (1975) (which was previously only available as a Japanese-only import), and were a part of the glam rock music scene of that glorious decade.
Though they had no real commercial success, Silverhead were serious role models for many sleaze bands in the 1980s. In the UK they played support to bands such as Nazareth at Finsbury Park and Osibisa at the Brixton Sundown, and were the lead band in the Dagenham Roundhouse. Work on a third studio album (working title 'Brutiful') started in 1974, but the group disbanded in July 1974 before it was finished.
But now, and all thanks to the UK's quite brilliant Cherry Red Records, the once defunct label Purple Records has been resurrected and Silverhead are to be heard once again! Indeed, Purple Records (which, interestingly enough, was set up in 1971 to release Deep Purple’s records from Machine Head onward; together with band members' side projects, and other artists they respected) is celebrating their resurrection by releasing the all those aforementioned three Silverhead albums on August 5th, 2016.
All will be reissued as completely Remastered and Expanded Editions, but wait there's more. For they have all been overseen by Silverhead's original frontman, the man himself, Michael Des Barres. Yup, the front man for Silverhead, and also the man who had the balls big enough to replace Robert Palmer in The Power Station, even fronting the band at Live Aid back in 1985, has got his hands dirty - and we can only thank God that he decided to, for these albums sound amazing!
Silverhead's debut self-titled album (1972) showcased a vibrant, raw, yet determined UK garage and soon-to-be glam, that worked hard at obtaining success, but never quite got the recognition they truly deserved. From the off, 'Long Legged Lisa' ("... all the boys used to tease 'er") is a grab bag of early Bowie, with both 'Underneath the Light' and 'Ace Supreme' both toe-tappin', frenetic drum-powered tracks. Ballads also come to the fore here, such as the pairing of 'Johnny' and 'In Your Eyes', both of which showcase Des Barres' vocal strengths back then.
The bonus tracks include the three previously-mentioned live cuts, plus the 7" Version of 'Ace Supreme', the fun, rock boogie of 'Oh No No No' (the B-Side of that single), and the 7" Version of 'Rolling With My Baby'. Silverhead represents their early live set that was always tight, always manic, always powerful, and now includes six bonus tracks; three of which encapsulate their live sound of that time perfectly:
1. Long Legged Lisa
2. Underneath the Light
3. Ace Supreme
5. In Your Eyes
6. Rolling with My Baby
7. Wounded Heart
8. Sold Me Down the River
9. Rock 'N' Roll Band
10. Silver Boogie
11. Ace Supreme (Live)
12. Rock 'N' Roll Band (Live)
13. Sold Me Down the River (Live)
14. Ace Supreme (7" Version)
15. Oh No No No (B-Side of Ace Supreme)
16. Rolling with My Baby (7" Version)
16 and Savaged (1973), and album title 9and cover) I'm sure you couldn't get away with today, was a downright, and simply great album of bluesy guitar-driven rock 'n' roll. However, all was not well within the band for by the time this follow-up to their self-titled debut had been conceived, personal issues meant that Stevie Forest had dropped out to be replaced by Robbie Blunt (a choice recommended by none other than his mate, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant - who would actually work with him as a guitarist in the 1980s).
In truth though, that setback was hardly noticeable for 16 and Savaged was as packed with balls-out, raw bluesy rock as its predecessor. The hardworking, hard-rocking quintet (all pictured shirtless on the back of this album/CD, for some reason) were on fire here, and knew it. Shit, they also trail-blazed in touring Japan before most other bands even thought to give that a go!
Des Barres, who would go on to front Detective, Chequered Past and the aforementioned The Power Station was loving the fact his lyrics, his voice was being heard, and that ego boost was most definitely being made to resonate throughout each of their cuts here. Immaculate percussion, melodic vocals, intriguing arrangements and scintillating guitars exist en masse here within the structure of this recording.
From the opening, throaty vocal riot of 'Hello New York' we pound on through quite brilliant tracks such as the melodic pop rock of 'More Than Your Mouth Can Hold', the dreamy ballad 'Only You', the Alice Cooperesque funk of 'Bright Light', before both 'Heavy Hammer' and the fact-paced 'Cartoon Princess'.
'Rock Out Claudette Rock Out' is yet another classic-sounding cut, and is followed by the trippy ballad 'This Ain't A Parody' and then, finally wrapping up the original nine track release, the title track itself, '16 and Savaged'. The wholly enticing stampede of bonus tracks is very impressive and kicks off with two previously-unreleased cuts, 'James Dean' and 'Marilyn'. Why the fuss? Well, both are from the shelved third Silverhead album of the day, and both are being released on this Expanded Edition for the very first time anywhere!
Also included are two Michael Des Barres solo 7" Single cuts, 'Leon' and 'New Moon Tonight', and six live cuts of tracks such as 'Cartoon Princess', 'More Than Your Mouth Can Hold', Bright Light', Rock Out Claudette, Rock Out', '16 & Savaged' and 'Hello New York'. Oh, and as for that aforementioned cover art, well, a presumably sixteen year-old (and, therefore, minor) female has presumably been “savaged” and as she gazes vacantly at the viewer behind her, in the mirror’s reflection, her wet, disheveled look, combined with her matter-of-fact lipstick statement seems to tell it like it is. I guess you, still today, have to interpret it in your own way, of course.
1. Hello New York
2. More Than Your Mouth Can Hold
3. Only You
4. Bright Light
5. Heavy Hammer
6. Cartoon Princess
7. Rock Out Claudette, Rock Out
8. This Ain't a Parody
9. 16 & Savaged
10. James Dean (Previously Unreleased)
11. Marilyn (Previously Unreleased)
12. Leon (Michael Des Barres Solo Single)
13. New Moon Tonight (Michael Des Barres Solo Single)
14. Cartoon Princess (Live)
15. More Than Your Mouth Can Hold (Live)
16. Bright Light (Live)
17. Rock Out Claudette, Rock Out (Live)
18. 16 and Savaged (Live)
Silverhead supported Nazareth at North London's famed Rainbow Theatre on November 9th, 1973, but as history has now lovingly informed us, they actually didn't even know that they were being recorded that night! Which no doubt added to the lively and spontaneous recording here on the stunning live show Live at the Rainbow London.
Posthumously released in Japan only in 1975, by which time the band had sadly disbanded, it is a collection of the best songs from their first two albums, plus 'James Dean' from what would have been Silverhead's third LP. As well as an alternative live recording of the aforementioned 'James Dean', plus the obligatory cover of Chuck Berry's 'Roll Over Beethoven', this release also includes the band's previously unreleased BBC In Concert recording from the Paris Theatre London on August 31st, 1973.
This exciting live set kicks off with the fervent 'Hello New York' before heading into that never-released 'James Dean', the melodic 'Sold Me Down The River', a storytelling intro to 'Rock Out Claudette, Rock Out', the slow poke blues of 'Only You', and both the raucous 'Ace Supreme' and the guitar fest 'Rolling with My Baby'.
Sure Silverhead may not have been quite the Punk precursors they might have set out to want to be, give the existence of bands such as the New York Dolls and Hollywood Brats, but they certainly were built from a tougher belief than most of what passed for Rock 'n' Roll in those days. Collectively epitomizing the era of heavy riffs and androgynous sensuality, Silverhead bring the all-too-short live set to a close with the fun riffs of 'Will You Finance My Rock and Roll Band'.
This Expanded Edition then brings us seven lives cuts from their thought-lost BBC in Concert series, recorded live at the Paris Theatre in London in August of 1975. Chock full of yet more exhaustive Des Barres vocals, raunchy guitar riffs, hand-clap boogie beats (yep, it's all here) the rock God and his band of merry men bring us more goes at some of the tracks listed above; along with 'Bright Light', '16 And Savaged', and their obligatory live closer, 'Roll Over Beethoven'.
1. Hello New York
2. James Dean
3. Sold Me Down the River
4. Rock Out Claudette, Rock Out
5. Only You
6. Ace Supreme
7. Rolling with My Baby
8. Will You Finance My Rock and Roll Band
9. Hello New York
10. Rock Out Claudette, Rock Out
11. Rolling With My Baby
12. Bright Light
13. 16 And Savaged
14. James Dean (Alternative Live Version
15. Roll Over Beethoven (Live)
As mentioned, each of these now Expanded Edition CDs not only contain the original albums, but also plenty of bonus tracks that were only available around the time of their original issue in Japan.
The booklets in each case re-create all the original artwork as well as features rare memorabilia and extensive liner notes based on new interviews with Michael Des Barres along with founding members Nigel Harrison and Rod Rook Davies.
Lastly, in what should be a highly revealing read, The Life & Times of Micheal Des Barres, including the short history of Silverhead, is due to be released later in the year.
'Silverhead: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link
'16 And Savaged: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link
'Live At The Rainbow London: Expanded Edition' CD Purchase Link