Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack – Live In Germany ’75 (2015)

FrontCover1.jpgAlthough he is best known for his lengthy career in Heavy Metal (including playing bass on – and penning the lyrics and co-writing the music for – some of Ozzy Osbourne’s most recognizable songs), bassist Bob Daisley is a bona fide Blues lover. Forty years ago, Daisley indulged his love for this music as a member of Chicken Shack, one of the most beloved Blues acts in the world. Earlier this year, he released Live In Germany ’75, a CD recording of a Chicken Shack lineup completed by founding member Stan Webb on vocals/guitar, guitarist Robbie Blunt and drummer Bob Clouter. And man is it killer.

With only nine songs in 78 minutes, it’s clear that jamming is at the heart of this recording. From a driving nine-minute take on Willie Dixon’s “Homework” to the rock-solid shuffle of their nearly eight-minute cover of Sonny Thompson’s “I’m Tore Down,” Chicken Shack bring these Blues staples into new and exciting worlds. With Live In Germany ’75, you get a sonic snapshot of four musicians truly enjoying themselves on stage.

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Naturally, Stan Webb’s fiery playing gets better and better with each listen. A true master of the guitar, Webb is in his perfect habitat on Live In Germany ’75, using the stage to explore his instrument in ways simply not possible in a studio setting. And when this combines with Blunt’s formidable skills, the results (such as in the band’s interpretation of Don Nix’s “Going Down” and Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom”) are otherworldly.

Not surprisingly, the band’s ability to handle real Blues rubs off on their own material, especially on the Webb/Blunt number “Rain On My Window Pane” and the Webb/Daisley/Blunt-written “Crying Again.” The epitome of authenticity, Chicken Shack’s originals effortlessly hold their own against the Blues standards explored throughout the set. The band on this CD is absolutely the real thing.

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While every moment of Live In Germany ’75 offers high-caliber sounds, the 20-minute “Poor Boy” is the release’s undisputed masterpiece. Originally a five minute tune on Chicken Shack’s 1972 album Imagination Lady, the Webb composition reaches transcendental heights on the German stage, encompassing Blues, Heavy Rock, Funk and some truly awe-inspiring dynamics. (Check out the quiet jam that breaks out around the 5:40 mark.)

With a lineup comprised of players who would later end up working with the likes of Rainbow (Daisley) and Robert Plant (Blunt), it comes as little surprise that there is a heaviness to Live In Germany ’75 that easily puts the band in the same Hard Rock league as their mid ’70s touring mates in Deep Purple. If you’re a Metal fan interested in exploring the genre’s Bluesy roots, this is an album not to miss.

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Limited to only 1,000 copies, Live In Germany ’75 is a perfect introduction to the onstage magic of Chicken Shack and an intriguing glimpse into one of the many fascinating eras to define Bob Daisley’s long-running career. Get it while you still can. (joelgausten.com)
By the mid 70s Stan Webb,one of a celebrated trio of 60s English blues guitar players,was the only one still dusting his broom onstage.With Clapton expensively suited and evermore soporific, Peter Green out of the business entirely,pursued by tabloid lowlifes and other demons,only Stan The Man still trod the boards in true blue shoes. Shifting public taste meant he’d often now appear on undercards of egocentric ‘prog’ bands,yet he still retained a grassroots following across Europe, especially in West Germany where his song ‘Poor Boy’ raised many a stein of pilsner.

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After Christine (McVie) had moved on,Chicken Shack featured Stan’s underrated vocals.During a half-century career (yes, that does merit a round of applause) he would cut many records with many different bandmates…all creditable and listenable, but something special has been captured here, delivering one of the most red blooded English blues albums for many a year.
The featured mid 70s lineup gels with a chemistry that cannot be scripted. The ‘Three Bobs’ as tagged here, craft irresistible launchpads for spirited takes on such chestnuts as ‘Tore Down’ and ‘Have You Ever Loved a Woman’. Fifty seconds into the opener, ‘Homework’ that trademark vibrato leaps from the right hand channel with blistering immediacy, whisking you off on a seventy eight minute two guitar sleighride…maybe ‘Poor Boy’ noodles on a bit, but that’s a minor carp, for this is a magnificently energetic and noisy blues gig from an age before the 12-bar format became synonymous with 53 year old accountants decaffing down to East Grinstead to ‘get their Quornbone boiled’. Without passion and feeling white blues often defaults to the turgid play-by-numbers dullardry of trad-jazz…no such issues with this puppy. (Peter Nicholas Zear)

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Personnel:
Robbie Blunt (guitar, slide-guitar)
Bob Clouter (drums)
Bob Daisley
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Homework (Dixon) 9.26
02. Have You Ever Loved A Woman? (Myles) 10.20
03. I’m Tore Down (Thompson) 7.37
04. Rain On My Window Pane (Webb/Blunt) 4.17
05. Delilah (Webb/Daisley/Blunt) 5.18
06. Poor Boy (Webb) 20.26
07. Crying Again (Webb/Daisley/Blunt) 6.02
08. Dust My Broom (Johnson) 8.22
09. Going Down (Nix) 6.33

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I recorded this gig 40 years, so this has been sitting in my archive since 1975. I’m pleased to be able to share it and air it. This show epitomises Chicken Shack at the time – raw Blues, Rhythm and Blues and a bit of Funk thrown in. It was my second stint with Stan Webb, I’d been with the Shack from early 1972 until mid ’73, when I left to join Mungo Jerry, which didn’t quite satisfy my lust for real Blues, hence my return to Stan. On this show Stan and I are joined by the aptly named Bob Clouter on drums and Robbie Blunt on slide guitar. Bob Daisley.jpgRobbie went on to be Robert Plant’s guitarist in the early ’80s after Led Zeppelin became defunct. Stan was a legend, and is still highly regarded by many of his Blues peers. This lineup, to me, was one of the best, we’d been gigging a lot, our musical communication was almost telepathic. Stan and the ‘three Bobs’ were on tour with Deep Purple and an American band called Elf. Their lead singer, Ronnie James Dio, and I ended up in a band called Rainbow two years later with Deep Purple’s discontented lead guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore. During our time touring with Deep Purple in March 1975, we did some shows on our own in small theatres and clubs; this is a recording of one of them. In those days bands used to jam on songs when they played live, so this is typical of how we played the basic structure of a song then improvised and had fun with it; I’m very proud of how we sound on this. At the end of our show the tape ran out, but only the tail-end of the last song was lost. So until that point comes, sit back, relax and enjoy; these are ‘those days’… (Bob Daisley)

 

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