Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Pat Travers Band - BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert (1980)

Peanut butter and jelly. Parades and the Fourth of July. Drive-ins and B-movies. There are some things in life that work better in pairs. Add to this the guitar duo of Pat Travers and Pat Thrall, who were only together a few years as part of the Pat Travers Band, but left an indelible impression on anyone who heard them together.

Pat Travers, for anyone who doesn't know, is a Canadian blues-rocker who emigrated to England in the 1970s and had a moderate amount of success during the punk/new wave era, with "Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)" (a Little Walter cover) and "Snortin' Whiskey," which went Top 40 in America in 1980. His success was short-lived, but he left an impression of album rock fans of the day with his no-frills, back-to-basics approach to hard rock, which took its cue from the Allman Brothers and Humble Pie instead of the glam rock bands that would influence '80s rock.

This rare recording features Travers and Thrall on the first nine of its tracks, which were recorded Aug. 23, 1980 at the Reading Festival in England. And do they ever play well. Their guitar harmonies dramatically improve the lead guitar riff of one of Travers' best early numbers, "Rock'n'Roll Susie." The juxtaposition of their styles is one of the things that makes "Snortin' Whiskey" a genre classic. About those styles: That's the more metal-oriented Thrall you hear on the left channel and the blues-influenced Travers on the right. 

Consider this an unofficial follow-up to Live! Go For What You Know from 1979, the album where Travers and Thrall really knocked the socks off guitar fans. For the record, the Travers-Thrall team were on two studio albums that bookended that one, Heat in the Street from 1978 and Crash and Burn from 1980.

After Thrall and drummer Tommy Aldridge left the fold in late 1980, some of the magic disappeared from Travers' music. Still, he made two good-to-very-good albums (Radio Active and Black Pearl) that are worth checking out.

In my last post, I mentioned how I often scoffed at classic rock when I was a teenager. But Travers is an artist I never dismissed. His music was so to-the-point, so muscular, and (funny enough) so melodically rich, it drew you in. A I mentioned, he built on what another one of my favorite bands, the Allman Brothers, did. But he added a bigger dose of British hard rock to the mix.

The additional four songs on this set capture the Travers band in their original trio form playing the BBC's Sight and Sound show July 29, 1977. And it rocks. Of course.

Related posts:
The Pat Travers Band - Live at the Warfield - San Francisco (1980)
Humble Pie - The Scrubbers Sessions (1997)

Track list:
1. Rock 'n' Roll Susie
2. Your Love Can't Be Right
3. Life in London
4. Born Under a Bad Sign
5. Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)
6. Snortin' Whiskey
7. Hooked On Music
8. Hammerhead
9. It Makes No Difference
10. It Ain't What It Seems
11. Gettin' Betta
12. You Don't Love Me
13. Makin' Magic

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