The Arrive Alive CD was compiled from the tracks from the original cassette and other tracks from that time period by Niall and Mike B in Summer '98 , and to start this section here are his thoughts as Niall finished it's compilation:
It was strange for me to be listening back to the old Pallas material from the late 70's and early 80's. I have to admit that there are a few cringe inducing moments, and I suppose my first reaction was to consign this material to the top shelf, filed under " well that was then and haven't we come on!!"
But then I started to listen to it more closely and I found myself really enjoying it, sure it's rough and ready and naïve, but it had something! It held the essence of what the band was and what we were to become.
The Arrive Alive album comes to you on CD by "popular demand" so if it hadn't been for the thousands of people asking for this I would probably never have sat down and had so much fun putting it together.
A Note for the purists!
Sorry I've changed the running order and added extra tracks. But we think it sounds better, and plays as long as possible, but anyway, a bit like your favourite hat of barbed wire cod piece, you'll grow into it!
Niall, August 1998
The Sentinel Remembers fondly !
The tracks on this CD date back form the bands first recordings in the early eighties, and were the stepping stones which eventually lead to the seemingly all important real recording contract with EMI.
Those were the days when the band trekked across Scotland to Glasgow Paisley and Fife as well as playing in their home town of Aberdeen, gaining a wildly enthusiastic following at the Dial Inn and The Bungalow Bar. etc This was no ordinary band we were constantly being told by venue owners who could not get enough of them, neither could the fans, so one day we all trekked down to the Bungalow bar in Paisley, along with the Radio Clyde Mobile and Brian Young from Ca Va studios in Glasgow, and simply recorded a nights set. And what nights they were -you could never move in the venues, packed in like sardines, often the doors would be closed 2 hours before the band was due on.
Soon after off we toddled to Ca Va for the mixing and then the tape was out !
They sold like hot-cakes and the proceeds were re-invested in new sound gear , we always used our own PA, and then not long after, when the record companies started pricking their ears up it ,was time to put down tracks for the then all important Single type songs. The tracks that were written to order so to speak sharpened the bands music, and Arrive Alive went on to be played to this day.
The CD contains tracks from both these sets of recordings, some of them only scarcely available before, plus a slightly later version of live classic Crown of Thorns. Taken as a whole and forgiving some of the long windedness, it is easy to see that all the ingredients which make the band what they are, are here in their early days
1 Arrive Alive (Studio)
In true Pallas fashion the title track to the album was written after it first came out ! This was a song written with one eye on the singles market, and no one at the time imagined that it would become the bands best known and longest played song The track was recorded twice once for the bands own label and again for the Vinyl Version of the album, the version here is the album version complete with thunder wobble board at the start !
2 Five to Four (Live)
This track was a crowd favourite with its long complex instrumental section, applause would break out at each tempo change, unfortunately it never made it onto the vinyl version so this could be new to many fans, and we are glad it can be heard again.
3 Queen of the Deep (Live)
Another crowd favourite ! That's why the original cassette album was made, there were so many crowd favourites that we needed to get the recorded and move on to new material, which became the Sentinel album! Queen of the Deep along with most of the tracks on the CD features MELLOTRON in a non-standard way, in this case to spooky effect in the 'underwater' section along with effective Guitar Bubbles from Niall, all in all a dramatic use of the available instrumentation in a live setting.
4 Flashpoint (Live)
This is a riff based rocker which shows the other side of the band, as we have said before, all aspects of the formative Pallas sound are here
5 The Ripper (Live)
Now here's THE track that the band were most famous for in those days! The extremely controversial subject matter and the highly powerful stage persona of Euan coupled with a both atmospheric and dramatic instrumentation was the cause for sensation at gigs.
The famous Yorkshire Ripper case was in the news a great deal at this time and the lyrics are a psychological interpretation of what may have been in his mind when committing his heinous acts, it was not a celebration of violence and was never taken as such by the audience, though these years later it needs to be seen in those terms so as to not misinterpret the lyrics !
The Ripper saw such an intense performance from Euan that people were known to faint, this was Rock Theatre writ large and certainly never seen before at the club and pub gigs that the band were playing at the time. This recording can only hint at the total experience of the audience at the time, for best effect I would recommend listening to it in the dark and let your imagination paint the pictures ! For many a chance to hear this again will be enough reason to get the CD. Below , Euan interpreting The Ripper.
6 Crown of Thorns (Studio)
Another track so in demand that many would want the CD just for it alone !
In many ways this is a sister track to the Ripper as it was another dramatic highlight of the bands live performances. The subject matter being less controversial the band kept the song in the live set for many years - through to the Concert Hall periods. We have substituted the original live version with the Studio version which was recorded for the B side of the Eyes in the Night 12", which makes it hitherto rather rare ! All in all the most popular Pallas song of that period and a unique chance to hear it in its full glory !
7 Paris is Burning (Studio)
This track is one that is a bit of an oddity ! Written with the need for singles material in mind it developed a mood all its own and listened to these years later it certainly has an interesting feel, a mini - epic in many ways, the highlight of which is Nialls E-bow violin sound guitar solo at the end. Writing and enjoying shorter but still complex songs like this sharpened the bands composing abilities and was a good educational activity !
8 The Hammer Falls (Studio)
A slightly rough and ready one off studio take of an at then recently written track which went on to become a popular part of the live set, this was the first song that Graeme took lead vocal in, which he later did in Imagination on the Wedge.
9 Stranger on the Edge of Time (Studio)
When compiling the CD it was fairly obvious that it should end with this track ! It's ending is so unusual that nothing could follow it !
This was highly experimental stuff in those days, and was the original B side of the Arrive Alive single. Formed around a synth pulse from Ronnie this highly atmospheric and mysterious track was in many ways ahead of it's time. It is the immediate for-runner to Just a Memory on the Wedge and Spirits on Beat the Drum, ethereal and sparse. It was the first chance that the band had to explore studio technology and the results were truly impressive for the time
We have used the first generation studio masters wherever possible, but it must be remembered that the technology available to bands such as ourselves in those days was limited compared to modern standards, and the forthcoming Beat the Drum CD will be digital quality !
We have not included Heart Attack from the original release as an updated version of it is on the Sentinel CD, and we substituted the Live Crown of Thorns with the studio version as it is simply much better! Anyhow the CD is approximately 74 minutes long and we could not cram another track in !
Arrive Alive Period Gallery