Silver White Light: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

Terry Reid

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Silver White Light: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 Review

by Richie Unterberger

It's better to have some early live Terry Reid than none at all, but this recording of his spot at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival leaves much to be desired. The fault lies not in Reid's own performance, which is pretty good, but in the subpar quality of both the sound and the backing band. As for the sometimes ragged accompaniment, that was due more to circumstances than to the talents of the musicians. The drummer in Reid's band of the time, Alan White, was unable to make the show due to a recording commitment with John Lennon; his sub was Michael Giles, who'd recently departed from the first lineup of King Crimson. It sounds intriguing, particularly as the group also included David Lindley, but it sounds as if there wasn't enough time for Giles to become familiar with the material. What's worse and more serious, though, is that the fidelity is thin and brittle, affecting Giles the worst, as the drumming thuds along without much presence. As for the set list, most of it comes from Reid's first three albums; it's interesting to hear versions of "Things to Try" and "Dean" from The River, which wouldn't come out until 1973, though the recording for that album was already underway. Also of note is "C'mon Mary," a country-rockish Lindley song that Reid didn't put on his studio albums, though the group jam "No Good Situation" is a fairly faceless blues-rock tune. Reid acquits himself best, however, on the drumless "July," which gives his folkier and more melodic side a chance to air out.

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