RECORD reviewer Kevin Bryan shares his views on live recordings from The Knack and Third Ear Band, plus a retro release from John Fred and his Playboy Band.

The Knack, Live at the House of Blues (Wienerworld)

This Los Angeles-based power pop quartet made an immediate impact on singles charts around the world with the naggingly memorable ‘My Sharona’ in 1979 but were never really able to recapture this tumultuous success in later years, although they were still plying their trade with much of their old enthusiasm when this live set was captured for posterity in September 2001.

Their set list was liberally peppered with back catalogue gems such as ‘Good Girls Don't’, ‘Oh Tara’ and, of course, ‘My Sharona’.

Doug Feiger and his cohorts also tackle covers of ‘The Doors’, ‘Break On Through’ and The Monkees' ‘Last Train To Clarksville’ with wildly varying degrees of success.

Third Ear Band, Songs From The Hydrogen Jukebox/Live (Voiceprint)

The absorbing Songs From The Hydrogen Jukebox serves up an assortment of experimental recordings made by Third Ear Band percussionist Glen Sweeney and some of his like minded musical cohorts in 1972 alongside three much more song-orientated creations from two decades later, including the seven minute epic ‘Behind The Pyramids’. 

As an added bonus, astute purchasers are also rewarded with the musical content of one of this challenging outfit’s 1990 concerts, with the then-current incarnation of the band delivering radical revamps of two tracks from their 1969 debut set, ‘Egyptian Book of the Dead’ and ‘Pyramid Song’.

John Fred and his Playboy Band, Judy in Disguise With Glasses (Liberation Hall / Wienerworld)

This easy-on-the-ear anthology focusses attention on the collected works of John Fred and his Playboy Band, the brass-driven Louisiana outfit who are solely remembered these days for their  infectious 1968 million seller, ‘Judy in Disguise With Glasses’. 

These classic one-hit wonders were sadly unable to conjure up a successful follow up to their oddball pastiche of The Beatles’ ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’, but devotees of sixties pop should still find plenty to enjoy in their soulful brand of melodic music-making nonetheless.

Written by Kevin Bryan