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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Detective - 1977 Detective
Detective - 1977 Detective

ARTIST: Detective
ALBUM: Detective
LABEL: Swansong
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2010, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY068
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Michael Des Barres - vocals * Michael Monarch - guitars * Tony Kaye - keyboards * Bobby Pickett - bass, vocals * Jon Hyde - drums, percussion, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Recognition * 02 Got Enough Love * 03 Grim Reaper * 04 Nightingale * 05 Detective Man * 06 Ain't None Of Your Business * 07 Deep Down * 08 Wild Hot Summer Nights * 09 One More Heartache


There can be no more colourful personality in all of hard rock than British singer and actor Michael Des Barres. He's appeared in all sorts of movies since his 1967 debut in 'To Sir With Love' starring Sidney Poitier, but it's his music that's of more interest to us here at GD. Michael was the leader of British glam rockers Silverhead, who prowled the streets and clubs of London during the hash/cocaine fuelled days of the early 70's. Once that gig was up, Michael relocated to Los Angeles in 1975 for some sun and fresh air. Hooking up with former Steppenwolf guitarist Michael Monarch, the duo recruited other members to form Detective. Allegedly, Des Barres roped in Jimmy Page to one of Detective's rehearsals, the following night Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant turned up, hence Des Barres and his band became signed to Swan Song Records. The last member to join the band was future Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye, fresh from a stint with David Bowie. Detective had a great raw sound, and though the Led Zeppelin comparisons were inevitable, they ventured down a funky path at times too, helped in part by Black American bassist Bobby Pickett, formerly of early 70's rockers Sugarloaf.

L to R: Bobby Pickett, Tony Kaye, Michael Des Barres, Jon Hyde, Michael Monarch

The Songs
'Recognition' is the lead off track here, it was also the first single lifted off the LP released in different markets at the time. It's a steamy southern rocker with a does of slide guitar, great harmony vocals and wide commercial appeal. 'Got Enough Love' is a stomping rocker, and it's here that the first traces of Zep filter through, even if this one has a load of organ and horns in the backwash. 'Grim Reaper' takes the Zep direction an extra step, the big booming drum work plus Des Barres Robert Plant styled warbling all making things obvious. Changing tack to an acoustic sound is the ballad 'Nightingale', a pleasant interlude, if a little different. 'Detective Man' is the most energetic track here, the honky tonk piano, southern rock guitar lines lands this track right in the middle of Dixie land. 'Ain't None Of Your Business' has a very British sound, and as we skip through the instrumental 'Deep Down' we hook up with the funky 'Wild Hot Summer Nights', a track perhaps influenced by Wild Cherry's 'Play That Funky Music' the year before? Perhaps.. The big drums return for the closer 'One More Heartache', a classic rock outing which fuses all of the styles and references from each of the band members. A great close out.

In Summary
Detective would release their second album late in 1977 called 'It Takes One To Know One', and a radio promo only live LP called 'Live From Atlantic Studios': recorded prior to Christmas 1977 but released the following year. They would share the stage with Starz, Kiss, Kansas, Blue Oyster Cult and Todd Rundgren among others. The band eventually broke up during 1978, during a period that Des Barres recalled as their 'substance challenging years'. Undeterred, Des Barres would release a solo album during 1980, form Chequered Past with Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols and Nigel Harrison of Blondie, plus take over from Robert Palmer in Power Station just prior to their 1985 Live Aid gig. An accomplished actor, Des Barres was also a regular on the TV show 'McGyver' during the late 80's. Back to Detective, April 2010 would see the re-release of this album by UK reissue label Rock Candy Records, with extensive liner notes being the usual. A good album for its time, extremely underrated and well worth the investigation for crusty old 70's rock fans.

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#1 | Eric on April 02 2010 13:26:47
Anyone remember that 'WKRP in Cincinnati' episode with Detective? I forget the song they were lip syncing to, but the episode was hilarious.
#2 | gdazegod on April 02 2010 14:13:30
I read on Michael's website that it was a punk band he was fronting.
#3 | Eric on April 02 2010 17:41:20
Yes,, and it was just Debarres with studio extras singing (syncing to Detective). They played a British punk band, but didn't look the part. More like Detective or Striker....
#4 | Eric on April 02 2010 17:48:04
Found it!
"Hoodlum rock'
#5 | reyno-roxx on April 04 2010 14:20:52
Would love to see the live promo released at some point. Anyone have it as a download?
#6 | johnwatson on April 04 2010 20:43:59
Hi Dave I'm still clueless navigating this site as yet! -how come your name isn't on the list for private messaging? - but if you can't find a download anywhere I can put it on a CD for you (as I'm doing with umpteen squillion tapes!)
Changing the topic entirely, might be getting a 1983 18 song pro shot live DVD of Face Dancer! yummy
#7 | reyno-roxx on April 05 2010 10:08:06
Hi John, you can find me under reyno-roxx. I think the Trigger tape is at my parents house, so I'll have to pay them a visit to retrieve it. It has a few tracks from the second Casablanca album, but not all as the band members have no idea as to what happened to the finished masters. The tape also has a few bits and pieces recorded later on for a couple of projects they recorded for fun and then a potential deal with RCA.
#8 | sabace on May 10 2010 13:43:43
brilliant lp, totally under rated! superb musicianship and great vocals a desert island disc!
#9 | Eric on July 06 2010 14:32:56
We're woefully lacking in our Silverhead coverage..need to fix that soon..Thumbs Up
#10 | super80boy on August 17 2014 01:02:29
'Grim Reaper' is a favorite with that brooding melody and of course the nod to Zeppelin and Plant. The bluesy 'Dectective Man' is a cool jaunt and another clear standout is 'One More Heartache'.
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