Reviews Zone

Steve Marriott’s Packet Of Three: Watch Your Step – Final Performances ’91 (Lemon Recordings/Cherry Red) 1st December 2017

 

 


5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

 

 

Now you are talking my language…..Steve Marriott is one of the greatest singers to come from these shores in my lifetime, and I admit that am a big fan.

But he also caused me much grief when I was a kid. My sister, besotted by him and Davy Jones of the Monkees, oh, and David McCallum from The Man From Uncle, used to sit me down and brush my hair into the Stevie Marriott middle parting after her hero. Man it used to bug me!

But musically, you cannot beat this guy’s gravel and razor blades, soul-drenched voice. With The Small Faces, Humble Pie and then on his own solo career, he was the real deal.

Captured here fronting his band Packet Of Three, live on stage in London and Germany at four gigs back in January 1991 – the last live recordings of the star before he died suddenly at the age of 44 on 20th April the same year. This four disc set lovingly documents the final musical moments of a true legend. A great singer, songwriter, musician and unbeatable front man.

The package includes extensive, revealing sleeve notes detailing Steve’s last years with us, his last recordings, his plans for future musical projects, and the booklet features exclusive photographs of Packet Of Three during the final shows. Plus personal shots of Steve during his later years, and photographs of Steve’s handwritten letters, lyric sheets and set lists.

Singer and guitarist in the Small Faces and then Humble Pie, he still had so much more to give when he left this earth at such a young age. His death thought to be a tragic accident from smoking in bed after drinking a lot of booze, and then falling asleep, setting his home on fire. At the inquest, a verdict of accidental death by smoke inhalation was recorded.

This set of 60 tracks, pays respectful tribute to the man and his music, a man who has inspired countless singers and songwriters during his short lifetime and since his premature death.

These last ever shows in 1991, contain many old favourite Marriott classics such as “Itchycoo Park”, “All Or Nothing”, “Watcha Gonna Do About It”, and “Big Train Stops At Memphis”. There’s all the live Packet of Three staples, a smattering or R&B standards and a number of Chuck Berry classics in “Talkin’ Bout You” and “Memphis Tennessee”.

The man was an immense performer – and was never credited properly for what a great guitar player he was. The one time I saw him, back around 1988 at a gig my mate Geoff promoted at an utterly rammed venue in Northampton – billed as Steve Marriott’s Official Receivers, but that band had packed it in a few weeks before, so the Leicestershire blues band The DTs came in as Marriott’s band – he was in fine form and full of energy.

A few more pounds on the frame, but that voice was in tact and his passion and enthusiasm for his music as strong as it was back in the day. My pal Geoff has a signed photo of Steve on his wall in his home-office from that night, and it says simply: Good luck mate, Ta for the gig”. He was a very down to earth chap was Mr Marriott.

The first CD gives us 14 songs from the show recorded on 12th January 1991 at the Half Moon, Putney in London. Opening with an instrumental of “Memphis Tennessee” and then that voice hits us on “Watch Your Step”. We get “Some Kind Of Wonderful”, “Mr Pitiful”, closing with “Natural Born Bugie”. But of course, the hits, “Watcha Gonna Do About It,” “Itchycoo park”, and “All Or Nothing”, too.

The second disc delivers 16 songs from the show at Logo in Hamburg, Germany on 21st January 1991, and he adds a coiple of songs to the set list, including “Fool For A Pretty Face”. The third set is from Dieselstarsse, Esslingen, Germany on 26th January 1991. 15 songs. Colsing this set with “Before You Accuse Me”. The final disc captures 15 tracks at Sinkkasten, Frankfurt, Germany on 29th January 1991.

Its raw, it’s real, it’s live and it’s powerful.  The atmosphere across this record will send shivers up your backbone and put you in those sweaty rooms, with the sights, the volume and the smell of beer and whisky seeping from the  shiny silver plastic.

Stephen Peter Marriott (30 January 1947 – 20 April 1991 was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, as a member of Small Faces. Marriott became a popular, often-photographed mod style icon. He posthumously received an Ivor Novello Award in 1996, for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to British Music’.

This record may not be Small Faces or Humble Pie long lost cuts, but it is most definitely a reminder of a voice of a generation when he was “well and truly at it”, if we ever needed one.

This geezer is sorely missed by many around the world, and while he may be up there in that big gig in the sky, his musical legacy down here on Terra Firma will surely live on forever. Great job here and a “must have” if you loved this guy’s voice and sheer presence. They don’t make ’em like this guy any more!

 

By Simon Redley

 

 


 

1 Stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 Stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 Stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
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5 Stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’

 

 

 

 

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