For a band
who rubbed shoulders with ace producers Tom Dowd and Gary Katz in the
eighties it's a shame that they didn't rub against King Midas too. By
rights, Love And Money should have been huge. Failing to exploit
eighties excess, the band released four albums and disappeared in 1994,
their leader James Grant then following a rather more low-key solo
forward 20-odd years and the band reunited for a Celtic Connections gig
in January this year and suddenly realised what they had been missing.
For James, evidently, the ability to crank out an electric guitar in some style. There
was some irony in his comment to the crowd before ''Halleluiah Man' that
"this is the song where I can pretend to be an international rock star…”
He should have been, and could still be. One suspects he should at least
have been huge in Nashville with his superior tunesmanship.
wondered whether the reunion was more about love, or money.
"Friendship", he told me before the gig, so perhaps the former. The
band, spurred on by that reunion, are well into recording a new album
'The Devil's Debt' due early next year. If they are very clever, they
could savour success second time around. And this will be fully
their contemporaries tread the boards trading on one or two major hits
as part of an eighties revivalist package, but when you dig deeper in to
those bands the albums are patchy or - frankly - pathetic. Love And Money had great songs, a
funky and compelling undertow tinged later with brooding rootsy flavours, and their albums were fairly consistent
perhaps with the exception of their debut in 1986.
without bassist Bobby Patterson (to whom Grant dedicated the sublime
'Walk The Last Mile'), L & M retain Paul McGeechan (keys) and Douglas
Macintyre (guitar) plus drummer Gordon Wilson who joined for the third
album, whilst adding Grant collaborator Ewan Vernal on bass. So this is
an authentic reunion too.
time I saw the band was a month after the release of the classic
'Strange Kind Of Love' when for undisclosed reasons the band arrived
over an hour late at Liverpool Polytechnic. Tonight's gig at the
intimate Met, nudging two hours and showcasing that album and its
successor, more than made up for the anticipation and disappointment 23
years ago - not least in the pristine sound quality.
Photo: Bob Singleton
off with the sinewy 'My Love Lives In A Dead House' the band made it
sound like they had never been away. A superbly paced set that contained
real highlights not least some superb, dry Glaswegian humour from the frontman
matched only by his visceral guitar. And as if to reiterate the strength of the songs, this had me
wanting to re-evaluate 'Dogs In the Traffic' and explore the less
immediate songs on that album such as 'Sometimes I Want To Give Up'.
the expected track by track recital, but we did get a reworking of 'This
Last Time' which appeared on Grant's debut solo album and which crops up
on the forthcoming album and 'The Last Ship on The River' from the strongly
recommended band swansong 'Little Death' released in 1993.
the non-believer would make of all this is another thing, the audience
were clearly partisan. If the yells of 'Simple Minds' were somewhat
tenuous (prompted by Grant's own reference to an imagined Simple Minds
T-Shirt in the audience – Love And Money were selling their own tonight
plus a mug) - it did emphasise that their fellow Glaswegians – cruelly
enjoyed greater success.
It would be fitting that
if - 25 years later - they finally emerge from the shadows of their contemporaries. It might mean, too, that the newly converted then investigate
Grant's equally fine solo work.
one of 2011's finest gigs, that's for sure.
29th Sep 2011
Perth Concert Hall (Perth)
Fri 30th Sep 2011
The Queen's Hall (Edinburgh)
Sun 2nd Oct 2011
Eden Court Theatre (Inverness)
Fri 7th Oct 2011
Shepherds Bush Empire (London)
Sun 4th Dec 2011
SECC/ Clyde Auditorium (Glasgow)
Grant plays a solo gig at the View Two Gallery in Liverpool on 29