Angel Air SJPCD071.
The Love Affair were one of the most successful of the British pop groups to emerge in the latter half of the 60's. Whilst most of their contemporaries have long-since been forgotten, everyone at least knows of Love Affair, mostly thanks to their chart-topping hit of 1968, Everlasting Love. They scored several hits afterwards, of course, but didn't get the exposure they deserved after admitting on a TV show that they hadn't played on Everlasting Love.
This CD chronicles their career from the early days as a pop group firmly in the swinging 60's pop mould through to their more 'progressive' sound of 1969. And yes, they do play on all of these tracks, the practice of using session-men being reserved for singles, a practice which was commonplace at the time, being necessitated by the breakneck pace at which singles were recorded and released back then.
This CD kicks off with four previously-unreleased tracks from 1966, being their first recordings and right from the off with Back In Your Life Again it is obvious they mean business. Catchy, very poppy in a positive mid-60's style.
The band's first single, She Smiled Sweetly and its b-side Satisfaction Guaranteed are included here. They weren't a hit, but showed the band certainly had potential. Sadly, Everlasting Love isan't included here, but four tracks from the album that followed are included, all of them covers. And what good covers they are too, the most memorable of which must be Handbags And Gladrags which will have you humming away for days it's so infectious.
Late 1969 saw a change of vocalist and the teenybopper fans deserting them, so a more progressive, underground approach was adopted. Speak Of Peace Sing Of Joy has a flute accompaniment making it sound somewhat Jethro Tull-ish, while Morgan Fisher's piano is well to the fore for Brings My Whole World Tumbling Down. Overall these three tracks are less commercial, and show the band trying to adopt a more album-oriented approach from their single-oriented earlier days.
The CD is rounded off with a new track, called It's A Love Affair, recorded for a UK TV show to be aired in late 2000. Powerful and driving, it makes you wonder what could have been if they'd stayed together. The first 5000 copies come as an enhanced CD, with a video of this track, which is quite stunning and an obvious highlight. Suitable software for PCs is included on the CD and installation is straightforward.
The CD comes with an excellent 20 page booklet written by Sven Gusevik (who runs the Love Affair website), and comes complete with archive photos (Morgan Fisher with a full head of hair!), discography and details of the various lineups, of which there were a few.
I have to admit I thought I wasn't going to like this one but I was wrong, this is a good album. There's far too many good songs on it to dismiss it lightly, and I can see myself returning to it time and again. Love Affair fans will lap it up, but Mott The Hoople fans should well give it a listen as well, not just for Morgan Fisher's first recorded output but for the music as well. I was surprised and I think you will be too.Adrian Perkins