SLADE / MUSIC MACHINE, LONDON 30/10/1978
Hitless for so long, I feared Slade would surely be parody or travesty, caricature Rude boyz en route for Batley Variety Club.
Not this century. Noddy Holder's voice could seperate scampi from breadcrumbs at a hundred paces and apart from the odd bon mot -- "Jim and I were sitting on the banks of the Mississippi, watching the turds float by" -- the smut count was low.
Starting with Alvin Lee's "Hear Me Calling", Slade gave a totally authoritative display of rock 'n roll rifferama.
"Coz I Luv You" and "Merry Christmas Everybody", two of their biggest hits were, surprisingly omitted but we got most of the rest. (They'd be listed here if I could remember how to mis-spell them.)
Whether on the quintessentially Wolverhampton wistfulness of "Everyday" or the shotgun marriage of "That's Alright Mama" and " My Baby Left Me", the Slade stamp is unmistakable. A more objective producer than longtime svengali Chas Chandler might be the catalyst to channel this individuality into new areas.
Jimmy Lea is probably the best musician and gets solo spots on bass and fiddle, proving more entertaining on the latter. But Slade are a unit, with Lea providing the fluid, melodic element just as John Entwistle does with the Who.
The crash-bang wallop element comes courtesy of Don Powell, the John Snow of the kit.
Slade already make Sham 69 look extremely silly. With a hit single and album they'd leave most mainstream rockers so far down the field you'd have to pump air into 'em.
Harry George, Melody Maker November 18th 1978