String Driven Thing - Keep Yer 'And On It

From Grahame Smiths Personal Tapes

Classic 1970s album with rare bonus tracks. A review of the vinyl version of this album states as follows: "Keep Yer 'And On It" was the second album by the radically transformed line-up of String Driven Thing led by the only member left from the earlier line-up - violinist Grahame Smith; it also proved to be their last.

After "Please Mind Your Head", the band came back with a fine collection of rock-based songs featuring strong compositions and excellent performances all round. Both sides of the album open with similar up-tempo numbers with strong hooks and a rich sound. "Starving In The Tropics" has a pragmatic but sensitive message, while "But I Do" is a nicely twisted love song. Kim Beacon, who was the principal vocalist on Tony Bank's first album, "A Curious Feeling" (but sadly is no longer with us), is on fine form throughout. His voice may be something of an acquired taste, being somewhere between John Wetton and Tom Jones (!), but for me he was one of the best in the business.

The songs are generally straightforward, the exception being the superb interpretation of the Beatles' "Things We Said Today". Here the band allow themselves a little more latitude, developing the instrumental aspects, and briefly exploring psychedelic territories. The ballad "Ways Of A Woman" may be schmaltzy, with weeping violin, but it is performed tenderly and Beacon offers his most soulful performance of the album. The melancholy mood continues on the reflective "Part Of It", a song which would have suited the previous line-up well. The subtitle of "Chains (I Wanna Be Just Like Stan Bowles)" will mean little to younger listeners, but think early 70s British football. "Stand Back In Amazement" and "Call Out For Mercy" are excellent pop-rock songs.

Track listing:
1. Starving In The Tropics
2. Call Out For Mercy
3. Chains I Wanna Be Just Like Bowles
4. Things We Said Today
5. But I Do
6. Old Friends
7. Way Of A Woman
8. Part Of It
9. Stand Back In Amazement
10. Black Eyed Queen (Bonus Track)
11. Overdrive (Bonus Track)
12. Keep On Moving (Bonus Track)
13. Jardarfarardagur (Bonus Track)
14. Surdurnesjamenn (Bonus Track)

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