Terry & The Pirates - "The Doubtful Handshake", Line Records, import
John Cipollina's Raven - "Raven", Line Records, import
Nick Gravenites - "Blue Star", Line Records, import

These three records have three things in common. Firstly, the same musicians crop up in various combinations on all three albums. Secondly, they're all released by Line Records of West Germany, a company that specialises in releasing and re-releasing material of this nature. Thirdly, and I don't enjoy having to say this, they all sound wooden and lifeless. Perhaps in mitigation it should be said that there were no big bucks behind any of the recordings, but they do seem to lack that certain 'je ne sais quoi'.

Certainly the best of the bunch is the Terry And The Pirates offering, which is a cut or three above the Italian job reviewed last issue; at least it wasn't recorded on a shitty cassette. However, it still fails to capture the essence of the Pirates, which is a great shame as, at their best, they can be truly magnificent. The material is a much more representative selection of their capabilties than that on "Too Close For Comfort", but the execution just lacks that edge that I know the band have.

Raven, I'm afraid, fare a little worse. Not only do the recordings lack that spark which makes a good album great, but some of the material is a little suspect. It's mainly too ordinary and unimaginative. "All Worth The Price You Pay", which also appears on the Pirates album (a different recording) is a magnificentsong, but neither version really gets into top gear.

"Blue Star" is by far the least attractive proposition of the three. It's a blues album; I hesitate to use the term rhythm and blues as half the album sounds as though the musicians could hardly make the effort to pick up their instruments and it's only on a couple of tracks on side two where they actually seem to be awake. By contrast, the Raven LP is a real ripsnorter and the Pirates album is a titan in the world of vinyl.

All the marks for effort go to Line Records for making the recordings available. They're all well-packaged, too; the best, ironically, being "Blue Star", which sports a magnificent Mouse cover.

Nick Ralph

Dark Star 25, December 1980/January 1981, Volume 5 Issue 3

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Last updated: 5-Sep-2002