Live In Texas - Dead Armadillos
01. Back Street Love
02. Hold On
03. Midnight Flyer
04. You Are The Music We're Just The Band
05. Black Cloud
06. Way Back To The Bone
Recorded At – Opry House, Austin, Texas
Mel Galley - guitars, vocals
Pete Goalby - lead vocals, guitar
Pete Wright - bass
Steve Bray - drums
By 1981, only guitarist Mel Galley remained in Trapeze from its original line-up. Glenn Hughes had left and returned and left again, years earlier. Dave Holland was settling in as drummer for Judas Priest. A new singer had been added to invigorate the band's sound. And a drummer who knew the Trapeze library had been found. In this form, Trapeze took the stage in Austin, Texas in May 1981 and recorded what would be the group's last album, "Live In Texas -- Dead Armadillos."
On the opening track, "Back Street Love" from the 1974 "Hot Wire" album, Galley's guitar work is peppy, and it heats up as the songs progress. His solo on "Midnight Flyer," also from "Hot Wire," stays fairly true to the studio version, with a bit of added energy. Galley keeps the momentum going with crisp, quick bursts on "You Are The Music" and "Way Back To The Bone," both pulled from 1972's "You Are The Music ... We're Just The Band."
Singer/guitarist Pete Goalby does most of the lead vocals during this performance, respectably handling lines sung originally by Hughes or Galley. "Hold On," the title track from a 1979 Trapeze record, does give Goalby a chance to sing one for Austin that he also did in the studio. He lacks Hughes' range and dynamic sound but still manages a solid version of "Black Cloud," the only song here drawn from Trapeze's "Medusa" album. Galley takes verse two of "Black Cloud" and makes you wish he hadn't. Here and elsewhere in this live set, Galley's vocals are flat. You keep hoping he'll find the range he shows on the studio recordings, but he doesn't. Whether it's wear and tear from a long tour or just a bad night, he can't quite reach the pitch.
Less the weak vocals from Galley, the six songs and 42 minutes of music on "Live In Texas" show that the band could still please a rock 'n' roll crowd. Bassist Pete Wright sounds lively in spots. And drummer Steve Bray is steady, if somewhat mechanical. Crowd noise can be heard but isn't distracting. And happily there's little banter with the audience included here -- something that spoils some live recordings.
"Live In Texas -- Dead Armadillos" is not the album to buy for someone who's just getting to know Trapeze. It's not the album for fans whose interest in Trapeze keys on Glenn Hughes. It's not even the best choice from among the Mel Galley era of Trapeze recordings. But for enthusiasts of the band, here's a healthy taste of the group at the close of its career.