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Money (UK) - 1979 First Investment

ARTIST: Money (UK)
ALBUM: First Investment
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 2007, Rock Candy Records, CANDY 029 * 2012, AirMail Archive, AIRAC-1657


LINEUP: David West-Mullen - vocals, percussion * John Overton - guitar, effects, vocals * Larry Phillips - bass, vocals * Tony Boden - drums, percussion, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mari-Anna * 02 Leo The Jester * 03 (Aren't We All) Searching * 04 Geneva * 05 Cosmic Lullaby * 06 Opening Night * 07 Finale * 08 Statements And Demands * 09 Remembering (M.G.O.) * 10 Goddess

On occasion, I like trekking back to the 70's and pulling out albums that we've overlooked previously. Many of these acts come out of the UK. Recently we've done some articles on E.L.O and Trickster. Here's enough one, they called themselves Money, and they came from Birmingham. So for those of you who live in the Midlands, and are of that age-group where you might remember this lot (Malcolm, I'm looking at you!), then this might seem like a trip back down memory lane. Formed in 1977, Money signed to Judas Priest's former label Gull Records, for which this 1979 record 'First Investment' (with the late Chris Tsangarides sitting in the producers chair) went largely unheralded in the UK upon release.

The Songs
Could this be the 'lost classic' that former Sounds journo Paul Suter claims this to be? It has its moments, and it does take some detours along the way, which could best be described as 'quirky and theatrical'. Generally though, they eventually find their way back to State Highway 1, none the worse for wear. Yes, I did mention the term 'theatrical', so it sounds as if Money have listened to a few Queen and Max Webster records, but without the overblown elements of either. You certainly get this impression when listening to a track like 'Finale' for instance. Lead off track 'Mari-Anna' presents Money as a typical hard rock band, but upon deeper inspection, they do change tempo with their songs quite a lot. So I guess you could say that momentum is interrupted, in much the same way as a prog rock band comes across. This also hold true for 'Leo The Jester' (note the theatrical theme yet again?). '(Aren't We All) Searching' is a fantastic straight-out rocker, which pumps along nicely. The robotic effects mid-tune are a nice touch. 'Geneva' is full of odd time changes, and I'm thinking by now, these guys should have emigrated to Canada, and joined the likes of fellow quirk-masters Klaatu and the previously mentioned Max Webster. The two shortened tracks 'Cosmic Lullaby' and 'Opening Night' both segue into 'Finale', while the pair of 'Statements And Demands' and 'Goddess' ebb and flow like a leaky tap.

In Summary
'First Investment' didn't make an indent in 1979, every musical pundit probably still engrossed with punk, new wave and the burgeoning NWOBHM scene. They were out there gigging regularly, but with no support from Gull Records, things went south. Money did release an EP in 1980 (which I haven't seen), but maybe there's a copy out there somewhere. I've linked a very good article on the band, courtesy of the Birmingham Music Archives website, which was contributed to lead vocalist David West-Mullen. In another odd decision, Rock Candy Records also reissued this in 2007, which was followed up a Japanese reissue in 2013 by AirMail Archives. Obviously, Money talks. Either that, or they have friends in high places. For those of you into Max Webster, check this band out.

Money (UK) - 1979 Mari-Anna

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#1 | gdazegod on March 02 2018 09:21:02
I've since found the 1980 EP on YouTube, in its entirety. If I can't find it elsewhere, I might DL from YT.
#2 | Explorer on March 02 2018 16:19:57
I remember getting this when it first came out, purely on the back of a `Sounds` review which mentioned it was somewhat Queen like. It was nothing more than an OK album with a few decent moments back then, and time hasn't really altered my opinion of it.
#3 | Nick C on March 02 2018 22:22:23
Coo! I really like this album, I remember that Sounds review but it was only when RC released it that I managed to pick it up.
#4 | rkbluez on March 02 2018 23:49:20
Same as Nick I remember seeing the album in a shop but it was a big bucks import here in the US so I never picked it up...when I saw RC was releasing it I had to get it and it was a pleasant surprise some cool quirky hard rock stuff like they only did back in the Glory Days.
#5 | Carl Noonan on March 03 2018 20:49:37
The problem with this band was the vocals were poor, both the voice and the melody lines so as good as some of the playing is they needed to be much better in the singing depart. It's worth having the album but they are nowhere near Max Webster in any way.
#6 | Nick C on March 03 2018 21:09:32
I never even saw this when it came out so I wonder what the distribution was like. I always had one eye open for it but eventually forgot the title and a few years later ended up buying U.S. band Money - Trust Me on the Heavy Metal America label thinking it might have been the same bunch, but it was obvious it wasn't and I was in serious doubt as I handed the cash over at the till as it was on HMA and I knew the Money I was after was a UK band. I've still got that album too but I prefer the UK Money by a long, long, long stretch. I'm not sure about the Max Webster comparison apart from the fact that they don't play it straight and aren't afraid to experiment with their songs. I don't think the vocals are particularly bad but I do think they could have been recorded better, very dry and a little too upfront. I love the bass on this album too...straight ahead, punchy, complimenting the songs and a nice sound. I often wish all albums were a little more "off the wall" but then I'd be moaning saying I wish bands could keep it simple Grin

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