The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Amos Moses 7" (1976)

You want more Alex Harvey. Here's one more. Details about it below. More and more to come of course. Catch it here.

Only 3 months after the success of the "Boston Tea Party" single, Mountain released this one (in august 1976), a cover of the bayouesque Jimmy Reed Hubbard classic (who died in september last year), a hit by the composer himself in 1970 (it must be remembered that Alex had covered "Goodnight Irene" in the Penthouse Tapes album, not composed by Hubbard but a hit by him in 1962). Since 2 years, Mountain was harassing the band for having hit singles and this was beginning to alter Alex's mood. All this tour labour, all these albums sold, and the only congratulation from the label being: could you give us a hit please. The funniest is that "Boston Tea Party" did not apparently possess the standards of a hit single but was one, whereas this apparent predicted hit was not. It's not surprising. Something does not completely works in this version. The live ones are much better as you can hear here. But of course, I do not post this single for "Amos Moses" that everybody can find on the SAHB stories album, but for the rare B-side, "Satchel and the Scalp Hunter". Don't expect a real song. On the model of the story read in Thick as a Brick from Jethro Tull (you know, the hare who lost his spectacles), Alex tells us the story of a little girl with a strange little creature in her satchel. I don't have the text written and can't always understand what is saying Alex due to his strong Scottish accent, but I identified the general synopsis. He's only accompanied by Hugh McKenna on piano, and this anticipates his unfortunately short-lived project of the Loch Ness fable. The value of this song is principally historical, showing that Alex was leaning to a less rock'n roll attitude. Destiny didn't allow him to satisfy his wishes. The cover is once again a DIM (do it myself) one. Because mine is only paper, and because the official ones of the first pressings were really ugly. Alex deserves better than that.

Amos Moses was a Cajun. And lived by himself in the swamp. Hunting alligator for a living. Knock 'em on the head with a stump. The Louisiana law's gonna get you, Amos. It ain't legal hunting alligator down in the swamp, boy. Now everybody blamed his old man for raising him mean as a snake. When Amos Moses was a boy, his Daddy would use him as alligator bait. Tie a rope around his waist, throw him in the swamp. Alligator bait on the Louisiana bayou. Just about 45 minutes southeast of Thibodaux, Louisiana. There lived a man called Doc Milsap and his pretty wife Hannah. They raised up a son that could eat up his weight in groceries. Named him after a man of the cloth. They called him Amos Moses. Now folks in South Louisiana said Amos was a helluva man. He could trap the biggest, meanest alligator. He only had to use one hand. That's all he got left 'cause the alligator bit him. Ha ha!Left arm gone clean up to the elbow. Here comes Amos. And you should have seen his pretty wife, Hannah. Well, the Sheriff got wind that Amos was in the swamp hunting alligator skin. So he hid in the swamp, "I'm gonna get you boy."He never did come out again. Well, I wonder where the Louisiana Sheriff went to?Sure can get lost in the Louisiana bayou



portlandbill said...

I am extremely pleased that someone has taken the time and trouble to share these rare masterpieces.
I was very fortunate to meet Alex outside the Taunton Odeon,England whilst on the British tour of 1976 and despite his deminutive stature he had an immense personna.I was overwhelmed by his presence,just like the concert I just had the pleasure to watch.There is not enough superlatives to describe that night,I can still remember it as if it was yesterday.
There has never been anything or anyone like SAHB since a truly remarkable group.

dk said...

I'm touched by your comment, in particular because to have missed Alex Harvey in Paris in 1976 (he cancelled the show due to illness) is an undefectible regret for me. You had the privilege to meet him, and I'm not surprised of what you say about him. Thanx again.

mampam said...

I have spent this morning reading your blog and enjoyed it very much indeed. You say you can't make out the words in Satchel and the Scalp Hunter by Alex Harvey, and I could not find the lyrics online, so here they are:
Boys and girls, boys and girls
The story of Satchel and the Scalp Hunter
Once upon a time there was a little girl called Satchel
She was called Satchel because, every day when she went to school, she used to carry her sandwiches, carrot juice, skipping rope and her schoolbooks in a big red satchel.
One day Satchel went off to school
hi ho away she goes skipping along the road
Skip skip skip skip skip skip
Feeling right as rain and happy as the day is long
But as she close to school she saw to her dismay that there was a big long lavender motor car, parked just before the school gates
Now Satchel did not like skipping past big long lavender motor cars at the best of times but to make things worse and more worse
Inside the car, the big long lavender motor car
Sat Dutch Druid and the Elders
Who were very naughty boys with a dreadful reputation for leering and looking at little girls skipping along the road
So, Satchel opened her satchel and dialled Scalp Hunter
He appeared, in his blue suit and socks and bright green shoes
His transistorised electric scalping shaver was on his arm
They’re over there said Satchel
She drew her Bowie knife
They gave a great cry and a leap and rushed at the long lavender motor car containing Dutch Druid and the Elders
Dutch Druid and the Elders
Were more than surprised for to find themselves dragged into the street and thrown on the dirty sharp stones
Satchel Stood over them with a sharp shiny knife and she tied them up with her skipping rope
“Get them Scalp Hunter “she cried.
So Scalp Hunter shaved off their greasy dirty grimy long leering hair
And it served them right

dkelvin said...

Thx a lot for your contribution. Good for non fluent English spoken listeners.

Malcolm Bliss said...

Thank you so much! I discovered Alex on Don Kirshners Rock Concert when I was in 4th grade. I also happened to be trying out a new way of recording: I used the earphone out on my family's new Sony color TV to run a line straight into my mono cassette deck. I had that tape for years. I also went out and bought the live LP that year. SAHB is the ONE band I consider truly All Mine! Only missing one LP: SAHB Stories. Can you help out? Thanx so much fer all yer hard SAHB work. Rock on, indeed!

Malcolm Bliss said...

BTW: email me. We should talk Alex. You just don't know how much of an influence his music has been on my life, and how many times it kept me alive (oh, that first divorce, and losing my Pik & Zu in that car accident!) - and for a small town kid from Missouri, that's a stretch! Anyways, I'm at blissdrums@gmail.com. Thanx!

kingpossum said...

Hearty thanks for these SAHB gems. Here in America we simply weren't as exposed to the man and his music as we rightly should have been. Or I just didn't look hard enough. I'm glad to see that Mr. Malcolm Bliss was wise to the man, though. Playing catch-up here is great fun and yields wonderful listening. Thanks for the music posts and to the readers for sharing their stories. Great stuff.