British band Liar were a typical late 70’s hard rock band with an inkling for that much sought after Americanized sound.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Sunset Plaza Drive
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 341
CD INFO: Discogs Info
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Dave Burton – lead vocals * Steve Mann – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals * Paul Travis – guitar, backing vocals * Dave Taylor – bass, backing vocals * Clive Brooks – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Judy Teens * 02 Delaney * 03 Fighting Man * 04 Do You Ever * 05 Brand New World * 06 I’ve Got A Feeling * 07 Too Rich * 08 Tired Of Waiting * 09 Midnight Lady * 10 Blame It On The Kids * 11 Woman
British band Liar were a typical late 70’s hard rock band with an inkling for that much sought after Americanized sound. Pretty hard to do from the gloomy climate of England during an era of industrialised chaos.
With two albums under the belt (‘Straight From The Hip’ (1977, Decca) and ‘Set The World On Fire’ (1978, Bearsville), Liar were all set to release album number three during 1979, it got recorded and mixed in the U.S, but it never eventuated.
I think Liar were still signed to Bearsville Records at the time (I stand to be corrected here), so it seemed strange to me they never saw it through. I smell record label politics was to blame, but there was probably a more simpler explanation, refer my findings in the In Summary section below.
Now some 40 plus years later, this previously unreleased third album now gets a timely issue (we can’t technically call it a reissue now can we?). All of the members from the 70’s lineup are here, and they even managed to bolt on an extra track called ‘Woman’ which was re-recorded.
The songs are a poignant reminder of what the late 70’s scene was like in England. There were other bands trying to do the American thing too, like Trickster, The Babys, Bad Company, Runner and a handful of others (most of which you can find in our ‘by-year’ archives (click on Categories – Album Reviews from the main menu).
‘Judy Teens’ is an interesting lead-off, the wistful beginning takes a minute or so before surging into an uptempo rocker which is all about Judy, the typical rock groupie. Groupies are something that still exist in the here and now, though Coronavirus might put paid to that activity into the near future.
‘Delaney’ introduces some bouncy piano lines, with Dave Burton’s vocal a stand-out, reminding me of Robin McAuley. I’m sure this is a tale of woe judging by the lyrics, but I haven’t quite worked it out. ‘Fighting Man’ despite the song-title sounds slightly subdued, it’s a mild-mannered affair without kicking into high gear.
‘Do You Ever’ however does rear its head, with a hard rock approach with a hint of boogie in the guitar riffs. The chorus is very effective too. ‘Brand New World’ takes awhile to get going after the ballad like piano introduction. The verses are a bit ebb-flow, but the chorus is easy on the ear. The guitar solo splits into a dual harmonizing role which reminds one of Queen.
‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ drops into slo-mo mode, a ballad which knocks the tempo out of the sails. I am reminded of a song like ‘Anna’ off Bad Company‘s 1975 LP ‘Straight Shooter’ as a ‘sort-of’ example. ‘Too Rich’ comes over as a raunchy rocker but not a lot else unfortunately, even with an easy to remember chorus. ‘Tired Of Waiting’ is probably the closest song that sounds a shoe-in for American audiences, mainly due to its near fit for that oft maligned object called U.S Radio.
‘Midnight Lady’ features a somber sax playing throughout, which adds a certain flavour, but I’m not sure it was warranted, truth be told. It’s mostly mid-tempo rather than a sultry ballad, just in case you were wondering. ‘Blame It On The Kids’ lifts it a notch or two on the energy scale, it ends up being a tale being told rather than a song. On the time-line this sounds like it was a song written back in 1974-1975.
‘Woman’ is the new song added to the album, and sounds great. It was re-recorded in the last year or so, and if this is what Liar sound like in the here and now, then I want more! It was dedicated to the late Clive Brooks, who is no longer with us. I do agree with Steve Mann’s assessment of this track: ‘I was so happy when we got the original guys back together again to record what I consider to be one of the best AOR tracks ever’ he says. Yep for sure.
I sat and listened to Liar the whole way through, trying to pick the eyes out of it, and I came away with three observations:
1. The album still sounds decidedly British, which makes it hard to gang-press the at times territorial battleground of American Radio, if not bribed by record labels.
2. Some of the song choices and arrangements chosen by Liar also seemed to be odd. The intro to ‘Judy Teens’ and the sax solo on ‘Midnight Lady’ being two that stood out for me.
3. But the most likely reason this wasn’t picked up in 1979 was that Luar provide no discernible song that yells out to me ‘I’m a hit single in the making’.
Liar’s story seems like a classic case of record hi-jinx, or perhaps not. Maybe this is a tale that needs more revealing, and now might be as good a time as any to dig deeper, if the band are ready and willing (all credits assigned to one D Coverdale).
Kudos to Khalil Turk for getting this out into the public domain. This is an example of a good deed done right. We’ve reviewed ‘Set The World On Fire’ already at Glory Daze, click the tag below to read it. Maybe we should complete the Liar picture and write up ‘Straight From The Hip’ as well?
Woman (Lyric Video)
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