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Articles Home » 1976 Articles » Tiger - 1976 Goin' Down Laughing
Tiger - 1976 Goin' Down Laughing

ARTIST: Tiger (UK)
ALBUM: Goin' Down Laughing
SERIAL: ST-11660
YEAR: 1976


LINEUP: Big Jim Sullivan - lead guitars * Nicky Moore, Les Walker - lead vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitars * Bill McGillivray - guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals, keyboards * Alan Park - organ, piano, string synth, clavinet, ARP * Andy Brown - bass, vocals * Bill Rankin - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ticket Machine * 02 The Scratch * 03 Gamblin' Gambler * 04 Waiting For The Snow * 05 Goin' Down Laughing * 06 Dan Dare Dreams * 07 Mister Media * 08 Sexy Doreen

Two albums in one year from this outfit lead by reclusive guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, former Warm Dust vocalist Les Walker and big man Nicky Moore who would go on to some notoriety in both Samson and Mammoth; Tiger's self-titled debut was a UK only release only although I recall stumbling across copies while perusing the import bins in local shops more than once due to its heavy looking cover. Never bought it and still haven't heard it, but 'Goin' Down Laughing' saw EMI picking up the tab for a U.S. pressing which didn't mean a hill of beans and with no tour support the record was dead on arrival, slashed to cut-out prices in a matter of months. According to reports a British jaunt with Hawkwind was somewhat successful, although it wasn't enough to hold this Tiger by the tail for a third album.

The Songs
A split between vocalists Moore and Walker who are undeniably interchangeable; the Tiger sound is drawn out mildly engaging proggy blues rock. We all know and have probably owned at one time or another hundreds of bad albums with great guitar players and 'Goin' Down Laughing' hits somewhere in the middle although there are moments in particular side two, when Tiger gel as a cohesive unit. Opener 'Ticket Machine' is not that moment. A mess of a track with all the appeal of the dreadful pre-Axe outfit Babyface; 'The Scratch' which is nothing more than nine seconds of pops and clicks is infinitely more bearable. Graced with former Beggar's Opera keyboardist Alan Park's artful ARP and Sullivan's kinetic Yes/Starcastle-like guitar soloing; 'Gamblin' Gamber' is a step-up and the slow moving 'Waiting For The Snow' isn't too shabby either, sort of what Blood, Sweat & Tears would have sounded like if they ditched the horns and rocked it up a notch. The title track is undoubtedly the album's peak moment, not too far from early Styx in structure while 'Dan Dare Dreams' has a Bad Company 'Run With The Pack' quality and yet it's hard to get excited over the long-ish 'Mister Media' and the predictably juvenile tribute to spanking the monkey - 'Sexy Doreen' which leaves me with the funny feeling these guys had no shortage of talent but seriously lacked the energy or originality to compete on the same level with other far more successful hard rocking bands of the day.

In Summary
Stunning cover art, this one's never made it to CD although the debut saw a Japanese reissue in the mid-00's. Based on this album, my interest in hearing Tiger's first effort is virtually non-existent although I'm sure the lone Samson completist out there will want to give both a go.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on December 30 2011 14:11:40
Eric, I think you'll find the first Tiger album to be much better than this record.
I was hugely honoured recently to spend some time chatting to Big Jim Sullivan a couple of months back. Sad to say, that due to numbness in his fingers he's no longer able to play the guitar.
#2 | rkbluez on December 30 2011 18:18:15
Dave were you talking to him for notes for a future Rock Candy reissue...maybe?
#3 | Eric on December 30 2011 18:26:50
I'll have to check it out. In fact, I spotted a copy of the debut at a local shop recently. Might have to go back and see if its still there...

Below- Big Jim on a Space 1999 episode!
#4 | Eric on December 30 2011 18:29:36
YouTube Video:
#5 | super80boy on February 03 2013 21:31:55
I was worried when I saw Harmonica, but it's sparingly used. The standout for me was the keys and guitar arrangements in 'Gamblin Gambler'. This was an enjoyable listen overall and you're right, gotta love that cover artwork, it's attention grabbing.
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