Live at the Rainbow 1977


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Live at the Rainbow 1977 Review

by Jo-Ann Greene

The Strapps weren't exactly dinosaurs; in fact, their debut album hit the shops in 1976, but that didn't stop the punks stomping them to death regardless. By 1978, the group were done in, strapped for cash, gigs, and a drummer, when Mick Underwood was pinched by Ian Gillan for his eponymous band. But in their two-year life-span, the group released four albums, undertook two major tours, the first supporting Deep Purple, the second Ian Gillan Band, and captured their 1977 set at London's Rainbow club for posterity on both tape and film. The Strapps certainly had a lot going for them, beginning, of course, with the fabulous rhythm section of veteran Underwood and young gun Joe Read. Beyond that pair there was their phenomenal keyboardist Noel Scott. An extremely versatile musician, Scott could splash out acid drenched passages, cathedral chords, and rollicking R&B barrelhouse piano at will, but rarely where one would expect to hear them. Aussie frontman Ross Stagg was all gruff vocals and smoking guitar, flicking out riffs and licks in a futile attempt to beat Scott to the spotlight. If they had arrived a few years earlier, the band would have steamrolled across the scene with their ferocious live performances; in fact, their sets were oft times met with greater audience acclaim than the headliners. The Rainbow show captured them in all their fiery glory, with this release making the music available for the first time. The album appends a trio of studio numbers to the live set, a reminder of that the band's power didn't end at the stage door. Classic rock come back to conquer anew.

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