King Biscuit Flower Hour
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/21/2017
Motörhead is no stranger to having “sub-official” live albums released under their name. Some of them haven't been bad; some of them have been abysmal.
In the case of King Biscuit Flower Hour, there is a tenuous grasp of legitimacy on this release, as this was originally recorded for radio broadcast. The only “official” live document of the band featuring Brian Robertson as lead guitarist, it is incredibly short at just seven songs – which kind of also describes Robertson's tenure with Lemmy and crew.
On this facet alone, this is an interesting picture – but Robertson's refusal to play any of Motörhead's classic songs (aside from “Iron Horse / Born To Lose”) severely limits what they could perform on stage. So, while the live takes of songs off of Another Perfect Day are fairly good, it is a rather limited palate that is presented to the drooling Motörhead fan, hungry for much more.
Sound-wise, this isn't necessarily the greatest live Motörhead disc out there, official or otherwise. Phil Taylor's drums aren't nearly as crisp as one would like them, and Robertson's guitar tends to get muddied a bit – but, perhaps, this is because he's trying to recreate too much from the album at one time, and the overdubs of guitar parts on the studio disc prevents an accurate recreation of the songs live on stage.
The disc closes with a 21-minute interview with Lemmy (though the interviewer is not identified on the copy I have) recorded over a decade after the August 1983 show at L'Amour that is featured. In the interview, Lemmy pulls no punches about Robertson's failure to fit in with Motörhead in a number of aspects, and how his presence hurt the band at the time. The interview stretches a little long at times, but in the end is a good historic piece (even if it sounds a little weird in terms of audio – there are differences in the overall sound between when Lemmy talks and when the interviewer does).
King Biscuit Flower Hour is, at the best, an interesting historical picture of Motörhead at a time of reinvention and retooling, and does highlight some of that lineup's best material. At the worst, it's a short show with somewhat questionable sound, but still better than some of the sludge that has been released without the band's input or permission. Let's call this one for completists only.