This was the second Squeeze album I purchased after "East Side Story" and at the time I was only a casual fan. I first bought the tape then the VCR (criminally never released on DVD to my knowledge) and then the disc. I must admit that my familiarity with these versions of the songs on "A Round and A Bout" has ruined the originals for me because I believe the live versions are much improved over the originals. They actually sound BETTER live both due to the line-up and the faster tempos of each song contrasted with some of the dated and poppier original recordings. I have more than 2000 cds and my fair share of live albums and this is THE best live album I own without a doubt. "A Round and A Bout" led me to buy, and adore all, of their subsequent albums and then go backwards to gobble up most of the remaining ones. Standouts on this release include the stellar "Footprints" and the sublime "Annie Get Your Gun" and again, when I later heard the original versions of some of the classic tracks I thought they dragged a bit (but where still essential). Underrated drummer Gilson Lavis infuses these versions with the speed and punch to become utterly unforgettable numbers and Glenn Tilbrook has a tremendous vocal delivery and is a special guitarist, the kind whose solos and riffs cannot be forgotten once heard. I am a casual fan no more and for others like me I would also recommend the book "Squeeze: Song By Song". Enough talk...just buy it!
Squeeze made a huge splash in Europe during the late 80's. They never made it quite as big here in the States, but had a few hits and became a staple concert draw. I became aware of them when the songs "Tempted", and "Hour Glass" started showing up on MTV and I seem to remember a broadcast of a live concert from Spring Break in Florida or something like that caught my attention. I remember seeing articles comparing the two songwriters in Squeeze Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford to Lennon and McCartney. While I would never go that far Difford and Tilbrook did have a real knack for writing really well done pop / rock. So....to make a long story short I picked up this live album to check out just what these guys were all about. I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great little live gem that contains a nice selection of the band's best stuff up to 1990. The lineup at this time included master keyboard player Jules Holland who ads a significant contribution to the band all throughout the disc. The album was recorded on the "Frank" tour, so there are quite a few selections from that album along with all of the band's best known tunes. They are able to pull off everything very well live and ad some nice instrumental forays on several of the tracks. Every time I pull this album out I get "temped" to pick up more from this band.
Although it's live, it doesn't sound as good as it could. All of the songs sound kind of tinny, if you know what I mean. I know that in real life they don't sound like that because my dad went to see them on that tour and he recorded some of it and that tape doesn't sound tinny. I also went to see them myself in February and they sounded great, even though Difford wasn't there. (He was in the hospital. Tillbrook said something about a 12-step program.)