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Friday, February 19, 2010

Michael Schenker Group - Live and Loud CD review

Michael Schenker Group – Live and Loud

So the Michael Schenker Group, 'Live and Loud ...' Hmmm
Ah, here I was getting all excited about receiving this release, wondering quite what to expect … How disappointed I was to realise that it is simply a compilation made up of just 7 tracks, all previously issued …, that I already have. I will say this though there is an added bonus …, cough, if you can call it that of the history of Michael Schenker, in both English and German.

In actual fact, let me correct myself there. There are 6 live tracks and the studio title track from ‘Written in the Sand.’ An odd inclusion also if you ask me?!
If someone was simply looking for a reasonable, live – Albeit brief! - compilation then its OK I guess, but bearing in mind Michael Schenker’s history, you would certainly have expected the UFO classic ‘Rock Bottom’ on here for sure, but alas, no.

To be honest, this release reeks of exploitation! Maybe it’s Mr. Schenker’s ex-missus perhaps?!

The live tracks don’t come from the classic ‘One Night at Budokan’ either, so not the classic line up performing here. This is made up with tracks from ‘The Michael Schenker Story – Live’ and ‘The Unforgiven World Tour – Live,’ so nothing new here music wise, so what is there then?
The album opens with the UFO classic ‘Doctor, Doctor,’ from the ‘Unforgiven tour’ which I will say is a great live set so it’s not bad at all. Good start.
Then from the Schenker / Bonnet writing years comes ‘Assault Attack,’ which is taken from ‘The Story …’ release, which isn’t bad either.

So to ‘Written in the Sand’ an album that to be honest was OK, but to me was only that.
The track is OK, co-written by Schenker and then singer Leif Sundin.
‘Attack of the Mad Axeman’ is a very good performance next from ‘The Story’ album and one of my personal favourite M.S.G. tracks.

Then to another favourite UFO track of mine, ‘Natural Thing,’ from the same album but this version is simply alright at best.
A totally charged ‘Lights Out’ from the ‘Unforgiven’ release picks it up and is enjoyable, before final music track, ‘Captain Nemo’ which is also very respectable!

A shame and a clear indication that this compilation was simply ‘thrown’ together – Sorry, but what else can you call it?! – is that they could’ve at least tried to merge the tracks, to at least make it come across as a complete live set, but alas no.
Next are the 2 ‘History’ tracks, in English first then German.

It is interesting that it states during the history, that when Schenker left the Scorpions in ’79 it was due to exhaustion and inability to perform due to alcohol over indulgence.
It was something that was not often mentioned before, so a little surprised by this on here.
It also mentions his little known stepping into Ratt to cover for the then sick Robbin Crosby for some live shows.
It comes right up to date to talk about the 2009 US tour cancellation due to ‘visa issues.’
Nowhere anywhere on the album cover or inner sleeve is the narrator credited.

No special sleeve notes, no details – for those who don’t know – of who played on the tracks presented here, so all in all, this really is for collectors only.
That said, apparently the European version does have ‘Rock Bottom’ on it as well as a cover of ‘You Really Got Me.’ I guess not in the USA?!

I would strongly recommend to anyone wanting to hear MSG live, to go and check out ‘MSG – One Night at Budokan’ or the “Unforgiven World Tour’ set, both good in this fans opinion!

Rating: For overall validity 2 out of 5, for the material itself 4 out of 5.

OK, competition time folks! (Please note: Sorry, it's only open to US residents.)
Those kind people at MVD Entertainment have provided an additional copy of this Live and Loud release for giveaway, so here's your question:
Name 4 drummers who have played 'live' with The Michael Schenker Group?
First correct answer to me at: wins!

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