A Glass of Champagne: Live

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Unlike in the States, music hall had a much longer life span in the U.K., kept alive at summer season seaside shows, its influence percolating out as far as punk -- think Ian Dury & the Blockheads, and even into Two Tone via Madness. Sailor represented the best of this tradition, from their sailor caps to their bell bottom trousers, their port of call stage set, and their sing-along songs. Their eponymous debut album disembarked in 1974, with their "Glass of Champagne" single rocketing to number two on the British chart the following year. "Girls Girls Girls" returned them to the Top Five in 1976, with "One Drink Too Many" tottering to number 35 in 1977. The fact that Sailor even managed that last hit says much about their fan's undying loyalty, what with punk slaying virtually every other established act on the scene. Even so, the group called it a day in 1978. A dozen years later, the original quartet re-formed and began touring again, although Georg Kajanus departed in 1995, with Henry Marsh following later in the decade. With Peter Lincoln and eventually Rob Alderton enlisting, Sailor continued playing live, with this two-CD set recorded in England at The Swan in High Wycombe in November, 2002.

Originally released as a DVD, the band may be older, but they still know how to have a great time, and certainly haven't lost their ability to entertain. Running through their hits (including "Karma Chameleon," a smash Phil Pickett co- wrote), well-chosen album tracks, fan faves, and astutely picked covers -- from "Mack the Knife" to the "1812 Overture," the band is in grand form.

Old fans may find the lineup a little disconcerting, but one can't imagine they'll being put off for long. A Sailor live CD will never be quite as effective without the stage show, but since you can't watch them while driving your car, this CD is a welcome companion to the DVD release.

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