Love Blind: '76-'06: 30th Anniversary Concert
Racing Cars were revving up for success in 1976, motoring to London and readying to speed right into the capitol's pub rock scene. Unfortunately, punk threw a spanner in their (and the rest of the British rock scene's) works. Still, the Welsh group did manage to drive one single, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" into the U.K. chart, and release three albums on Chrysalis. Lead singer Gareth Mortimer retuned the band in the new decade, releasing the import-only set Love Blind in 1981. A couple of decades passed before the frontman put the Racing Cars back on the road in the '90s, with a studio album following in the new millennium. Then, in 2006, the Racing Cars celebrating their 30th Anniversary in style, with a concert at the Welsh Pontardawe Arts Center, filmed for DVD release, and recorded live for this set. The fans' enthusiasm shows, as the band run through a career-spanning set that is splashed across the first disc of this two-CD set. It's certainly a pleasant event, but only rarely captures the excitement the band once unleashed. Love Blind, however, is a different story The synth-pop opening track "Are You Big Enough" is incredibly infectious, "Honeymoon in Babylon" has oodles of charm, a reggae number highly indebted to (a smut free) Judge Dread, while the funky title track and "Take It to the Heart" should have hit with the club crowds. Elsewhere, there's a soulful cover of Johnny Johnson & the Bandwagon's 1968 hit "You" and a lavish take on the Isley Brothers' "Put Yourself in My Place" boasting fabulous Stax styled sax. But sadly these Cars were in the wrong place at the wrong time. What's surprising, though, is that this lush, synth-strewn album, was never picked up for American release, where it would have roared straight to the top of the charts (at least in 1983). A welcome return then for an underappreciated set, and a chance for fans to reacquaint themselves with a band that raced off far too soon.