Roxy Music

Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fondle

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The material on this bootleg LP falls into two categories: live performances in England in the mid-'70s and studio outtakes from 1972 and 1973. Unfortunately, TAKRL (one of the top bootleg labels of the '70s) doesn't provide any recording dates or tell us where in England the live performances were recorded. But they were probably recorded during Roxy Music's British tour of 1974, which was among the tours that resulted in the art rockers' superb live album Viva!. "Superb" is also a word that describes the live portion of Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fondle -- the sound quality is first-rate (by '70s standards), and performances of "Virginia Plain," "Do the Strand," "Out of the Blue," "If It Takes All Night," and "Mother of Pearl" are as forceful as they are inspired. It's interesting to hear how gritty and tough Bryan Ferry and his colleagues sound on these 1974 performances; as arty as these songs are, the band definitely rocks hard without apology. Meanwhile, "Pyjamarama" and "Re-make/Re-model" are among the studio outtakes, which are interesting if you're a seasoned Roxy Music fan but wouldn't be meaningful to more casual listeners. Of course, seasoned fans -- not casual listeners -- are who bootleggers target, and Absinthe is a record that seasoned Roxy Music fans were happy to get their hands on in the '70s.