With his modern-day persona of a Tequila-slugging loon, it’s easy to forget that Sammy ‘Sam’ Hagar enjoyed a golden period when he could do no wrong on British shores. Whether by accident or design, the singer had a credibility and likeability that other, more aloof, American frontmen lacked. The Red Rocker was one of our own – even if he drove a Pontiac Trans Am and wrote a song called Heavy Metal that patently wasn’t.
Hagar’s studio-recorded solo albums of the mid 70s and early 80s were by and large rather flaccid affairs (yes, even Standing Hampton), but this live album, released in ‘78, was and remains a total humdinger. Sam The Ham’s puffed-up personality oozes from every pore as he rollicks and swaggers his way through a short, sharp, scintillating set. Make It Last and Bad Motor Scooter, two songs by former band Montrose, are so fast and furious they leave 55mph for dust, while an eight-and-a-half-minute version of Donovan’s Young Girl Blues can only be described as elegiac blue-collar rock.
Bafflingly, label Rock Candy have elected to reissue the American version of this album; the UK release was retitledLoud & Clear and had an extra track in the shape of Montrose’s Space Station No.5. Regardless, this is nine on a 10 scale in anyone’s book.