Montrose (9⁄10) and Paper Money (8⁄10) have long cemented Montrose’s place in history – the almost impossible to follow debut, the subsequent years of attrition between singer and guitarist – so what can yet another reissue offer to prise the cash from your wallet? In the case of their debut, a remastered disc with incredibly clean and detailed demos that sound almost as pristine as the magical tracks they’d soon become.
Most intriguing is the live set the band play for radio station KSAN. Stepping in as a late substitute for Van Morrison, it’s their first live show. As the DJ remarks: “I don’t even know if these guys have a name yet.” Name or not, they don’t disappoint – Hagar is already fully formed as a singer, while Ronnie Montrose is so mellifluous as to be ridiculous.
A year later they’d return, as evidenced on the second disc of Paper Money, slick from the road and brimming with confidence; they’re practically mute on their first session, boisterous on the second. It’s another high-flying set, with a particularly robust Roll Over Beethoven showing a band in full flight and offering even more reasons to regret the fact they couldn’t make it last.