||MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
'Live In Japan' CD & DVD
Release Date: 13th January 2014
Leaf Hound remain one of the best kept secrets in rock.
The album 'Growers Of Mushroom' was released way back in 71 on Decca Records. Trouble was the band disbanded before Decca finally got off their backsides and put the album out thus leaving behind one of the greatest rock albums to come out in the early seventies that largely remained undiscovered until many years later with the stoner rock community citing the album as a major influence.
Original vinyl copies of 'Growers Of Mushroom' now fetch over £4,000 by collectors which alone tells you enough of what quality hides beneath the grooves.
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Vocalist Peter French went on to spend time with Atomic Rooster, Cactus and Randy Pie as well as making a solo album 'Ducks In Flight' which featured guest musicians Brian Robertson, Micky Moody, Kenny Jones and even Joe Brown but with the onset of punk, little was heard of French after the end of the seventies.
Then in 2004 after a chance meeting with drummer and fan Jim Rowland, Peter French reformed Leaf Hound with a brand new line up featuring the clear fluid guitar work of young Luke Rayner. A new album came out three years later with 'Unleashed' which received rave reviews.
Leaf Hound remain something of a cult band who gig sporadically and get invited to play such festivals as the Sweden Rock Festival, Roadburn and the Desert Fest.
In July 2012 the band were invited over to Japan to perform for two 'ot 'n sweaty nights at the Fever Club in Tokyo. Both nights were recorded and last year Captain Trip Records released a special green vinyl along with a DVD of the performance for release in Japan only.
Ripple Music have licenced it for the rest of the world with new packaging and a different cover. The CD comes with the DVD and surprisingly the CD only features the live recordings that fitted on the original single vinyl thus we only get seven tracks on the audio disc, whilst the DVD features almost the whole entire set that was played on those two nights.
Bizarrely the track listing on the CD is not in the correct running order but thankfully the crowd sound between the songs is neatly edited together thus making for a great proper sounding live album. The jewel in this package is the DVD which is professionally filmed by the Japanese with multi camera angles and have captured the band in action with clinical sound.
Peter French still has a voice and a physical body of a man many years younger and really expresses himself on the bluesy workout of 'Work My Body'. Later day material such as 'Man With The Moon In Him' which features one of many exquisite solos from Rayner sits comfortably with the older classics.
'Freelance Fiend' is a timeless riff monster and homage is paid to French's contribution to both Atomic Rooster and Cactus with hard rocking versions of 'Breakthrough' and 'Evil'.
With Leaf Hound's work rate you could be waiting for another couple of decades before you'll hear another studio album so this very fine live package is a welcome addition where a new breathe of life is brought to these songs.
This is a fine start for the novice to discover what Leaf Hound have to offer. There is also a very limited edition of only a hundred copies of a Splatter vinyl available that comes without the visual disc. Both the CD and the DVD will certainly make you want to 'Stop, Look And Listen'.