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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Alfalpha - 1977 Alfalpha
Alfalpha - 1977 Alfalpha

ARTIST: Alfalpha
ALBUM: Alfalpha
YEAR: 1977


LINEUP: Nick Laird-Clowes - lead & background vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, harmonica * Andy Harley - lead & background vocals, acoustic & electric guitars * Sam Harely- bass, acoustic & electric guitars, background vocals

Additional Musicians: Steve Chapman, Adrian Rea - drums * Ray Cooper - tambourine, percussion * Fred Shuster, Isaac Guillory - electric guitar * B.J. Cole - pedal steel * John Meeling - piano * Del Newman - electric piano * Jim Cuomo - sax, clavinet

TRACK LISTING: 01 Nothing To Keep Me Here * 02 Hung Up On A Line * 03 About You * 04 Work * 05 Sky Turned Red * 06 Moonshine * 07 If I Can Just Get Through Tonight * 08 Spinning Around * 09 Lucky Go By * 10 Love Is An Island * 11 Railroad * 12 Driving Me Mad * 13 Ukelele

With a rather stylish album cover created by none other than renowned artist David Hockney; Alfalpha had some serious friends in high places with the inside sleeve namedropping Pete Townsend, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and more importantly Marc Bolan of T Rex. It's the connection with the godfather of glam that reaped big dividends including contributing vocals to what would be the final T Rex album 'Dandy In The Underworld' and several appearances on Bolan's short-lived television show 'Marc' which ran for six episodes before his untimely death in September 1977. On the live front Alfalpha played out extensively supporting Sailor, No Dice, Linda Lewis and others, but the album failed to draw much interest and in hindsight blaming punk was far too easy.

The Songs
Indeed, this is a very laid-back album in the style of America and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Not a problem since I'm a fan of both but unlike their folk-pop peers, Alfalpha didn't have a well of great songs at their disposal. Vocally and as expected, the trio blends well with jangly acoustic and occasionally but not often enough electric guitars and yet nothing here sticks, although tunes like the sugary sweet 'About You' and the windswept 'Sky Turned Red' are certainly passable. One single 'If I Can Just Get through Tonight' was released and it too is a pleasant little ditty but with so much ground breaking competition in 1977 it never stood a chance. Too late for the Laurel Canyon heyday and too early to hitch-up on the Paisley Underground movement; Alfalpha were a melancholic minor league oddity in the wrong era and short of originality.

In Summary
Main man Nick Laird-Clowes who went on to respected power poppers The Act and later to international success in The Dream Academy, a band I have a great admiration for and although I rarely if ever give Alfalpha a spin on the old turntable, I keep it for the artful Hockney sleeve.

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