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The Link Quartet “Beat It”

The Link Quartet have certainly taken a giant leap forward since “Episode One” and this is an album that has been a regular on my turntable for the last couple of weeks. As promised, more of their own material, and their mix of Hammond, jazz, soul and “soundtracks to films that don’t exist” sounds much sharper than previously (hatðs off to the production team). There’s 7 original compositions on the album this time, with a total of 13 tracks. There really aren’t any weak tracks, but I’ll say the pick for me are “Strudel Girl”, not dissimilar to early JTQ, and that isn’t a criticism, “Alfa Romeo Duetto” is a nice guitar/Hammond workout (with a bit of retro synth along the way) that builds nicely, “An Evening With Linda Lovelace” is a laid back tune that would sneak effortlessly into a classy 60’s movie, the title track “Beat It” also cries out “film” with it’s “Peter Gunn” style intro and “Theme From Hammondbeat” has a nice mid 60’s jazzy Hammond feel about it, a shame it isn’t a bit longer! The covers offer something of a variety, including some very “big name” mod tunes, but are dealt with admirably by the lads. The Hammond substitutes Hendrix’s guitar on “Crosstown Traffic”, backed up a nice bit of “wah wah” guitar. A Hammond can’t replace the guitar on Georgie Fame’s “Somebody Stole My Thunder”, so they didnðt try – it’s an excellent cover, freshening up what has become an overplayed tune. A cover of the Small Faces excellent “Happy Boys Happy” is an easy run through for the group – already a Hammond driven instrumental, it’s solid in it’s execution. That current mod/soul/northern floorfiller “If I Could Only Be Sure” is arguably the best of the covers – nothing really changed in the arrangement, but the female vocal (the only track on the album with a vocal) works to great effect. I really enjoyed this album, and it’s still keeping the deck warm here at regular intervals. Hats off to the group for the excellent progress made since their first recording, and well done to Hammond Beat for an excellent first release. I’m certainly looking forward to many more. A thoroughly recommended purchase.
Reviewed by David Walker (review posted on 31st October 2002)