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Alan Hull: Alright On The Night Live at Clifton Poly 1975

Reviewed by Dave Thompson.

Lindisfarne never became the band they should have — a good-time northern folk band that got twisted into pop superstars before they’d learned to walk and wound up amusing the supper-club diners on the drunken-singalong circuit. They deserved so much better and were capable of even more than that, which is why the late Alan Hull’s solo career was so valuable.

For five years between the original band’s split and the inevitable reunion at the end of the 1970s, Hull, the band’s frontman, ducked so far from the spotlight that even his fans had trouble hunting him down. But do so, and everything that Lindisfarne should have been was laid out in living stereo. This CD, a previously unreleased live show that was recorded for a local radio station, might well be one of the most important records in the group’s entire catalog.

Pristine sound quality, a solid mix and a repertoire that dances through Hull’s entire career to date are only the icing on the cake. It’s the sheer strength and vitality of the performance that matters here. Whether it’s Hull inciting the audience through the massed Lindi-singalong that wraps the evening up (“We Can Swing Together,” “Fog On The Tyne” and an almost-gorgeous “Lady Eleanor”), or his unapologetic premiere of a bunch of songs he hadn’t even recorded yet, there’s enough magic in the air to make up for all the missteps the parent band ever took. Fourteen songs and one unforgettable evening. We can swing together indeed!