March 18 2016 sees the release of a mighty 14-CD, 217-track box set celebrating the work of legendary Scottish singer Alex Harvey.
The exhaustive collection, The Last of The Teenage Idols, brings together his early 1960s work with His Soul Band via the Sensational Alex Harvey Band through to New Band recordings, as well as solo tracks and live rarities; all housed in a beautifuly slipcase, accompanied by a 64-page book and loads of photos, many of which have never been seen before.
Here’s what you can find on each CD:
Disc 1 – Alex Harvey And His Soul Band: Alex Harvey And His Soul Band (1963-64)
The debut album by Alex Harvey And His Soul Band makes its first appearance on CD and is supplemented by three previously unreleased songs from May 1964. Also included is two songs from Everything’s Alright With Isabella Bond, the live Decca album recorded at Hamburg’s Top Ten Club the same year.
Disc 2 – Alex Harvey And His Soul Band: 2nd Album (1964)
First official release for the long-lost 2nd Album by Alex Harvey And His Soul Band, including three previously unreleased tracks from the same period.
Disc 3 – Alex Harvey: The Blues (1964-65)
Alex’s first solo album, The Blues, from 1964 takes centre stage on disc 3, which also features his first Fontana single for Fontana, a double-header of Northern Soul classic Agent Double-O-Soul and self-penned flipside Go Away Baby.
Disc 4 – Alex Harvey: Roman Wall Blues (1966-69)
Both sides of his second Fontana single, Work Song/I Can Do Without Your Love, join with two 1967 Decca singles – The Sunday Song and Maybe Some Day – as well as his second solo long player Roman Wall Blues (1969). There’s also a rare early demo of Harp, which would become an SABH favourite.
Disc 5 – Various: Hair Rave Up, Rock Workshop, The Joker Is Wild (1969-72)
Four tracks each from 1969’s Hair Rave Up album and the 1970 Rock Workshop LP, which features Alex on vocals, as well as the whole of the 1972 solo album The Joker Is Wild.
Disc 6 – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Framed (1972)
Debut album as The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Framed, is augmented by full band version of Harp and five songs from Radio 1’s In Concert series, recorded live in November 1972.
Disc 7 – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Next… (1973)
1973 SAHB album is Next… – literally – alongside five more tracks from the aforementioned In Concert and two from The Old Grey Whistle Test, recorded in December 1973.
Disc 8 – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: The Impossible Dream (1974)
The Impossible Dream, dominates the eighth disc, which also includes two live tracks from Oslo’s 1974 Ragnarock Festival. Extras include a rare 24-minute spoken-word promo-only album, Alex Harvey Talks About Everything: An In Depth Session With Alex Harvey Of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
Disc 9 – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Tomorrow Belongs To Me (1975)
SAHB’s fourth album Tomorrow Belongs To Me from 1975 is joined by three previously unreleased live tracks, all recorded at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in May 1975. There’s also another Old Grey Whistle Test track; this one being Give My Compliments To The Chef recorded in May 1975.
Disc 10 – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Live (1975)
The band’s seminal live album, 1975’s Live, features their biggest hit single, Delilah, and is here expanded with four previously unreleased songs recorded at the same Hammersmith Odeon date, along with a stand-out live recording of Delilah, taken from the SAHB’s May 1975 appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Disc 11 – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: The Penthouse Tapes (1976)
An expanded version of SAHB’s 1976 covers album The Penthouse Tapes, is bolstered by five more live songs. These were recorded at Leicester’s DeMontford Hall in May 1976 and are released officially on CD for the first time.
Disc 12 – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: SAHB Stories (1976)
SAHB’s penultimate album, 1976’s SAHB Stories, has, in addition, Satchel and the Scalp Hunter, a non-album B-side from the same year, a live Top of the Pops performance of The Boston Tea Party and an extended version of 1976 Mountain single Amos Moses, taken from the American version of the album.
Disc 13 – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Rock Drill (1977)
1977’s Rock Drill album is joined by another non-album B-side – this time Engine Room Boogie – and SAHB rarity No Complaints Department, which had originally been pencilled in for the album but was pulled at the last minute. There are also three songs from Alex’s first post-SAHB band, Quad, which were recorded for Alan Freeman’s BBC Radio 1 show in March 1978.
Disc 14 – Alex Harvey Solo/The New Band (1978-83)
The final CD features tracks from three post-SAHB albums. These are Alex Harvey Presents The Loch Ness Monster (with cameo appearance by Richard O’Brien, he of Rocky Horror Picture Show/Crystal Maze fame); key album and non-album A- and B-sides from The New Band LP, The Mafia Stole My Guitar; and a handful of tracks from Alex’s final solo album, 1983’s The Soldier On The Wall, including a previously unreleased home demo recording of Billy Bolero.
As comprehensive a box set as you could hope for any artist. You won’t get much change out of £100 but it seems like money well spent. I haven’t heard any of the box set but, as you can see from the picture below, it looks beautiful.