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Magnum - 1991 The Spirit (Live)



ARTIST: Magnum
ALBUM: The Spirit (Live)
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 511 169-2
YEAR: 1991

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Bob Catley - vocals * Tony Clarkin - guitars * Mark Stanway - keyboards * Wally Lowe - bass * Mickey Barker - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Introduction * 02 Vigilante * 03 Days Of No Trust * 04 Mama * 05 Need A Lot Of Love * 06 Pray For The Day * 07 Les Morts Dansants * 08 Reckless Man * 09 How Far Jerusalem * 10 The Spirit * 11 On A Storytellers Night * 12 Rockin' Chair * 13 Kingdom Of Madness * 14 Sacred Hour * 15 When The World Comes Down

WEBLINKS: www.magnumonline.co.uk


Background
1991 was the final nail in the coffin for British melodic rockers Magnum. The wheels started coming off the rails with the rather lukewarm 'Goodnight L.A' album from 1990. All of the songs off this 1991 live set 'The Spirit' were sourced from recordings made during the 'Goodnight L.A' tour. It was a decision not made lightly by the band's global label Polydor, who had hoped for bigger things with 'GLA', particularly in America. But as the state of the industry would show, it was a case of consumer backlash to any form of hair metal/rock, that would bring a state of downfall to many melodic rock bands; Magnum included. I never did see this CD get a release in New Zealand at the time; Polydor were reluctant to release it in the first place, and even cut it back from a double CD to a single CD. Both the band and the label were unhappy with each other, and by the end of 1991, both were untangled from any contractual obligation. 'C-ya bye'.. as they say.


The Songs
So what of the songs on the CD? It's a big album, with 15 tracks, and you can hear immediately that the audience has an affinity with the band, though of course the tracks are spread out right across the GLA tour. Most of the songs are sourced from Magnum's popular period; from 1985 to 1990, with a couple from 1982's 'Chase The Dragon' ('The Spirit' and 'Sacred Hour') and the old chestnut 'Kingdom Of Madness' from their first album. I gotta say, the sound quality is really good, and coming from someone who has numerous live Magnum performances on video ('Wings Of Heaven', 'Chapter And Verse' included), that was an easy observation to make. Consider also that 'Goodnight L.A' was arguably Magnum's worst album up till this point, it is surprising how good 'The Spirit (Live)' actually is! I still get a kick out of listening to the material from 'On A Storytellers Night' and 'Vigilante'. The two 'Chase The Dragon' tracks are great too, less so the trio from 'GLA': 'Mama', 'Reckless Man' and 'Rockin' Chair'.


In Summary
Released in September 1991, with little fanfare from Polydor, Magnum cut their losses and went independent in 1992 with UK indie specialists Music For Nations for their 'Sleepwalking' album. By 1994, the band had signed with EMI (UK) for that year's 'Rock Art', but by 1995 they had hooked on with Germans SPV/Steamhammer where they have remained ever since. A surprisingly good set of songs delivered during a crossroads period of their career.


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