3MS Music [Release date 18.01.19]
On a number of occasions back in the early 1970s, fellow scribe David Randall and I would venture to the Sportsman Bar in Liverpool, often post gig, to catch Albie Donnelly’s Supercharge.
The band – fronted by the larger than life sax player – had a regular spot there, and were often more ‘entertaining’ than the headline acts we’d just seen (and certainly more so than some support acts).
But, served with a heavy dose of scouse humour, it was never really clear whether Donnelly wanted to be a rock musician or a comedian, a dichotomy epitomised by ‘She Moved The Dishes First’ (a number off their 1976 Local Lads Make Good debut on Virgin) – the song title being the ‘punchline’ from a song about Albie taking a girlfriend home for the first time, and her taking a pee in the sink. Delivered in true Mothers Of Invention style, it was highly amusing at the time, and never fails to raise a wry smile, even today.
But despite being a gifted live act, the band’s act didn’t translate well to record sales and various incarnations of the band have come and gone over the years, with and without Donnelly.
For the past couple of decades Donnelly’s own ‘Supercharge’ have borne little resemblance to the original band, being an R&B outfit featuring top German musicians, with Get Hip being described as ‘dynamite rhythm and blues’ – a set of covers from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, and James Brown.
True to form, there’s some marvellous musicianship on display and four decades on, Donnelly’s gruff vocals are still immediately recognisable. It may not set any new standards, and won’t appeal to everyone (and probably not to most who marvelled at Supercharge at the Sportsman back in the day), but if R&B is your bag, it could be worth exploring. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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