“Did sweet FA all day ‘cept listen to albums. Really like Alex Harvey LP now”
Ah, halcyon days when I not only had the time but the all-important patience to just listen to music and do nothing else. These days the longest stretch of time I appear to be able to commit to this activity is if we do a road trip or – as we did recently – head to Chicago on the Megabus.
In 1975 I didn’t have the distraction of the internet, video games or a couple of hundred television channels and was able to just lay on my bed and ‘chill’ whilst soaking up my favourite albums.
Of which Alex Harvey’s “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” became BIG time! My prior review of “not good” was entirely unjustified as – after a few more plays – it proved itself to be pretty damned good indeed, and eventually became another of the handful of titles I know inside/out and from beginning to end.
It is a 40-minute pot-pourri of styles and sounds composed by Alex Harvey’s wild – and almost comic-book – imagination. It tries to tell a story about a possible dystopian future (one where machines have taken over humans) but goes off on too many tangents to be considered truly a ‘concept’ album.
There are two key pieces. “The Tale of the Giant Stone Eater” is a 7-minute mini-masterpiece where the band create an earwormy groove, whilst “Give my Compliments to the Chef” is as bizarre as it is captivating…
Mother dear did you hear how they’re teaching me to do the goose step
Father mine just in time you gave me a machine to wash my jeans in
The customer is always right the girl is much too young to know the difference
The guitar hanging in the hall is calling me in all its magnificence
Give my compliments to the chef…
… Yes, Alex does dodgily rhyme ‘difference’ with ‘magnificence’
My two favourite tracks aren’t everybody else’s though… the opener “Action Strasse” is as best a first album track as I’ve ever heard and “Shake that Thing” makes you want to!
Some albums are curate’s eggs, others just gel from start to finish. For me, this is definitely one of the latter. In my opinion there’s no other SAHB album which is as satisfying. Sure there are others considered “classic Alex” (“Next” for instance) – and SAHB purists would certainly frown at this comment – but I almost always find myself skipping certain ‘filler’ tracks whenever those turn up randomly on my iPod.
I often wonder what Alex would have come up with by way of new songs if he hadn’t have had that fatal heart attack – at just 46-years old – in 1982. “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” is as good a legacy as they come though. If you’ve never heard or owned any Alex Harvey then it is definitely the album I would recommend as your introduction.