Edgar Broughton

Live Hits Harder

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By 1976, the Edgar Broughton Band had had enough. Their earlier successes had slipped away, and the band now had two albums behind them which had failed to chart. Simmering problems with their management slowly began boiling over, eventually reaching such proportions the group took them to court. By the time the case was resolved, in EBB's favor, the band were worn down and worn out.

Still, they wanted to go out on a high, and thus the group undertook a final farewell tour, recording three of the shows along the way. It was from those tapes that Live Hits Harder! emerged, albeit three years later, and only in Switzerland. Thus this CD reissue is particularly welcome, not merely for making a crucial set available again, but for its sympathetic remastering.

The sound is grand; and with recently recruited guitarist Terry Cottram in tow, the entire band were obviously on a musical high, enjoying every minute of every song they reel out.

There's nine in all here, spanning the group's recording career, from the storming "Love in the Rain", pulled from their first album, through the rocking "One to Seven" and the raucous roadhouse blues of "Signal Injector", both taken from their final Bandages set.

EBB positively luxuriate over "Evening Over Rooftops", as if they too never want the song or show to end. "Poppy" we get in two versions, presumably from two different gigs, the first has somehow hilariously slipped from cheery sing-along into ersatz reggae, the second in its truer poppy form. And then there's the phenomenal "Smokestack Lightning", here in all it's swampy, delta glory, which takes the band out in stellar style. Every number is a revelation, the band determined to give each song its due, as if for the last time, because in truth it was.

By the time of the album's release, EBB was no more, but its successor group, The Broughton Band took the opportunity to step out in the same year. And, with this reissue, they've done it again, although it's now the newly reformed EBB who are back, and setting off to tour with a vengeance.

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