I must confess I have known of this band for years but this is the first time I have come across their music. I was 19 when Manowar released their debut album, ‘Battle Hymns’, and like many interested in the metal scene in the UK we thought they were great. I did some digging and realised Ross The Boss had been in seminal band The Dictators and some French outfit called ‘Shakin’ Street, but never heard any of their material until now. What we have here is a live set recorded at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco on August 15th, 1979, by Terry Hammer with the line-up of Fabienne Shine (lead vocals), Ross “The Boss” Friedman (lead guitar), Eric Lévi (guitar), Jean-Lou Kalinowski (drums), and Mike Winter (bass). 65 minutes long, I am not sure how this was recorded but there is plenty of distortion so it comes across as a good audience recording as opposed to mixing desk, although I actually think it is taken from the latter. Opening that night for Jim Carroll they were allowed a lengthy set, with four songs from their debut, seven songs from their then-upcoming second album (all written by Shine and Lévi), and two songs that aren’t documented on any officially sanctioned release: the original “Scarlet” and a cover of the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

Shine has always said they were hard rock as opposed to punk, although they originally toured with the likes of The Damned, and their career highlight was embarking on “The Black and Blue Tour” as openers for Blue Öyster Cult and Black Sabbath. But there is no doubt there is a very punk edge to what they were doing, with Shine not always the most in tune singer, playing on emotion, adrenaline and energy. It is interesting to hear Ross in this style one can see the progression from the proto punk of The Dictators into the hard rock punk of Shakin’ Street and then the full-blown metal of Manowar. This is an interesting release, and their version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is the best cover of it I have ever come across, but this is a long way from being essential although fans of the band will undoubtedly feel the need to grab this immediately if not sooner. It is rough, it is raucous, and undoubtedly they were a blast in concert, and some 40+ years on from when it was recorded this still has huge energy.

Rating: 6/10