10cc really confuse me. They’re capable of writing killer pop tunes, but a lot of their material is a chore to listen to. It’s almost as though they try everything they can, covering every musical style under the sun and occasionally they fire a hit. It’s the musical equivalent of throwing a load of shit at a wall in the vain hope that some of it will stick.
The thing is, when the shit does stick, it’s the best sounding shit you’ve ever heard. Rubber Bullets has to be my favourite 10cc song – left off this live album as it only features songs written by Stewart and Gouldman, thereby missing out on all of the more arty material from Godley and Creme (who had recently left the band); but Rubber Bullets doesn’t sound like the same band who would go on to release the easy listening slush of I’m Not In Love.
Rubber Bullets, like Dreadlock Holiday, sounds like the work of a novelty act – but if you listen to the playing on this record, and the frightfully well-spoken introductions between songs, 10cc seem more like a middle-class workhorse of a band characterized by their more random, nuttier moments rather than the sum output of their entire career.
Live And Let Live was recorded at the Manchester Apollo (in addition to London’s Odeon theatre). I saw so many great bands at the Apollo (with an early Rage Against The Machine gig being the most memorable) that this album almost wins me over before the needle drops.
The one negative aspect of this record is that it includes all but one song from their previous studio album, Deceptive Bends – despite it only being released six months earlier. It’s always disappointing when you go and see a band and they over-fill the set with songs from their latest offering, but then including it all on a live album somehow feels even worse. Perhaps this was a deliberate attempt to inflate the set, and attempt to make it look like they weren’t missing Godley and Creme.
Hit: I’m Not In Love
Hidden Gem: Art For Art’s Sake