Steve Gibbons Band

Birmingham to Memphis (RGF/SGDCD069)

Album Cover Welcome to another instalment in the musical history of Steve Gibbons. His first album, ‘Short Stories’, appeared in 1971 and since then, he has released a series of excellent albums, most of which have been re-released by Road Goes On Forever Records, with the addition in every case of relevant bonus tracks.

In 1991, Linn Records, an arm of the celebrated hi-fi company which designs and manufactures top of the range sound systems, booked the Steve Gibbons Band to play at one of their sales conventions/staff parties. It was a great success, after which discussions took place and it was agreed by all concerned that they should make a record as soon as time and tide allowed. Its main objective would be to recapture as nearly as possible the sound and excitement of the band as they played that night. Linn at that point in time had recorded various jazz and classical albums which would always be available at their many sales outlets around the world, and used to demonstrate the wonderful sound of their hi-fi systems. Would-be buyers could be attracted to one by the other or both.

In an effort no doubt to broaden its scope, it was felt that an injection of rock’n’roll would do the company no harm at all, and so it should and would be done – the sooner the better,

However, as is often the case with company decisions and musical endeavours, sooner becomes later, and so it was in six sunny days of July 1993 with the genial and brilliant Calum Malcolm at the controls, ‘Birmingham To Memphis’ was done and dusted.

Among the many musical influences that inspired Steve Gibbons, the first huge wave of rock’n’roll stars was significant, as is clearly demonstrated here. Due recognition is given to Sun Studio, the cradle of rock’n’roll that spawned Elvis, ‘The Memphis Flash’, Carl Perkins, ‘Boppin’ The Blues’ and Jerry Lee Lewis, ‘It’ll Be Me’. Two of Chuck Berry’s great car songs, ‘You Can’t Catch Me’ and ‘The Jaguar And The Thunderbird’, are given the SGB road test. Buddy Holly’s massive influence on late 1950s music is recognized by both ‘More Than I Can Say’, a song written by Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison of The Crickets, but very much associated with Bobby Vee, who famously took the stage as Buddy’s replacement after the tragic air crash in 1959, and by one of the bonus tracks here, ‘Well All Right’, a Holly classic. Also from the 1950s comes another bonus track, Eddie Cochran’s ’20 Flight Rock’ (as featured in the greatest rock’n’roll movie ever made, ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’).

Bob Dylan’s ‘Sweetheart Like You’ comes from his 1983 album, ‘Infidels’. Steve has been singing Bob’s praises (and quite a few of his songs, too) for many years now, but especially since 1998 when The Dylan Project was formed, a band he fronts which records and performs Dylan’s material (including this song), and includes ace guitarist P.J.Wright (a member of the SGB on the ‘Birmingham To Memphis’ album), as well as the Fairport Convention trio of Dave Pegg, Gerry Conway and Simon Nicol.

Of the remaining bonus tracks here, ‘Nothin’ But You’ is a Steve Earle song, and the other three are Steve Gibbons originals. ‘British Rock And Roll’ was recorded in Sweden with a band known as The Refreshments, whose guest payers on this occasion included such notable members as Albert Lee (guitar), Geraint Watkins (piano) and Billy Bremner (guitar). ‘Trucker’ and ‘Absolutely Gone’ first appeared on the 1986 SGB live album, ‘On The Loose’, but these earlier studio demos are quite different. We hope you enjoy them all…

  1. You Can't Catch Me
  2. It'll Be Me
  3. More Than I Can Say
  4. Boppin' The Blues
  5. Jaguar And The Thunderbird
  6. TT92
  7. Memphis Flash
  8. Sweetheart Like You
  9. Bonnie
  10. Alright Now
  11. Love Letters
  12. Bird With No Song
  13. Waiting Game
  14. 20 Flight Rock
  15. Trucker
  16. Nothin' But You
  17. Absolutely Gone
  18. Well All Right
  19. British Rock and Roll
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