Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Theatricals - Alan Price

The 1970s were an odd time for Alan Price. The previous decade he'd formed the Animals, who were terrific but (I always felt) a little tame on record, thanks to Mickie Most's production, as compared to their live act. And then he'd led the Alan Price Set who recorded a few good tracks and a whole lot more that were harmless.

So having done the pop star thing, Price began to branch out in the 1970s, and got into movies. Most famously he and his band appeared on screen repeatedly in Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man (1973), providing a musical counterpoint to the story. Less famously, and certainly less advisedly, he took on the role of Alfie Elkins in Alfie Darling (1976); his performance didn't exactly eclipse Michael Caine's interpretation of the character. By the end of the decade he was writing a musical based on Andy Capp.

His finest moment, though, was on the 1974 album Between Today and Yesterday, half of which was a stunning evocation of his childhood in the north east, accompanied by the superb arrangements of Derek Wadsworth. Contained here was the basis for a genuinely great musical, had he wished to pursue it.

This is 'Between Today and Yesterday' itself, in a version released on the 1976 live album Performing Price. If I'd been making the TV series Our Friends in the North (1996), this is the song I would have ended with, rather than Oasis's 'Don't Look Back in Anger'.

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