Last Night of a Pub Rock Band
is precisely what it says, a double-live album recorded at London's 100 Club on July 1, 1975, as Ducks Deluxe
finally bowed out of the pub rock scene they had done so much to instigate. It's a rough and ready recording made on a basic two-track tape recorder and further embattled by poor sound. But if you want a taste of what made Ducks Deluxe
such a great band and an inkling as to why their studio albums never cut the mustard, Last Night of a Pub Rock Band
will tell you all you need to know -- and then some. The set is largely comprised of covers -- just four of the 18 songs are Sean Tyla
originals and one more was written by former bassist Nick Garvey
. But almost without exception, the group makes even the most distinctive song their own, be it a rumbling "Proud Mary," a desperate "Knocking on Heaven's Door," or a positively ferocious "Teenage Head," Ducks Deluxe
's own acknowledgement that the Flamin' Groovies
were the only band of the era that could even dream of staying in the same room as them.
Another treat is reserved for the final burst of songs, as a steady stream of guests mounted the stage to say their own goodbyes to the band: Lee Brilleaux
, Martin Stone, Bob Andrews, and Nick Lowe
. But the night and the album belong to Ducks Deluxe
, and for anybody who remembers them fondly, it's still difficult to hear the closing number, "Going Down the Road," without shedding a tiny tear of regret -- regret that they didn't last, regret that they never "made it," and, most of all, regret that it's for those failures that they're best remembered. They were worth so much more.