Radio Scotland recently ran a series about classic Scottish albums. One was about the album Next by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. SAHB's performance of the title track, a Jaques Brel composition, on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973 made a very big impact on me. The interview that Bob Harris did with Alex afterwards was equally entertaining.
On the Radio Scotland show the members of Alex's band recalled the reason for the long intro on the track "Faith Healer" – "It wisnae a cult thing or anythin' like that - in those days ye didnae want one side of a cassette to be much longer than the other so we lengthened the intro". Then they recalled the OGWT rendition of Next.
Alex had apparently hired three violinists from the Johnny Dankworth Orchestra to perform "A Tango". When they arrived Alex handed them each a dinner suit and dickie bow, a stocking to put over their heads and a black wig to top it off.
It all added up to something genuinely exciting and new. Despite his death at the age of 47 in 1982, Alex Harvey's influence lives on. The remaining members of the band still perform as The Sensational Alex Harvey Band with several different vocalists assuming Alex's role.