Living Game is the most appealing of Mick Greenwood's '70s trilogy of albums, more focused than 1972's To Friends and much less slick than 1974's Midnight Dreamer. Recorded with members of Fotheringay (drummer Gerry Conway) and Fairport Convention (bassist Dave Pegg), among others, Living Game is a straightforward British folk-rock album with some pop and psychedelic influences.
The lilting opener, "Taxi," sounds rather like Kiln House-era Fleetwood Mac (although Lyn Dobson's fluid, mellow flute work adds a not-unappealing hippie-ish edge) and the quite pretty, Indian-accented closer, "Sight," features both the album's best lyrics and strongest melody. Some of what lies between is forgettable post-hippie singer/songwriter stuff, but surprisingly, what could potentially have been the album's worst track, the lengthy centerpiece "After the First World War," is one of its triumphs.
Greenwood and lead guitarist Jerry Donahue up their instrumental intensity a few notches here, for a sound that melds folkish grace and heavy electrics in the manner of contemporaneous Fairport Convention, and Greenwood spits out the ironic lyrics in a credible sneer. Living Game isn't a buried treasure or anything, but it has much that would interest a curious fan of British folk-rock.
by Stewart Mason
First released back in 1971, 'Living Game' is an album that still holds a strong appeal some 30 years later. Here we are treated to well composed pieces that are not long winded and self indulgent affairs, but concise and to the point. Furthermore, the songs are played with with an honest simplicity and a sense of conviction that is sadly lacking in many modern day recordings, and which allows the listener to easily connect with the music.
by Simon Hill
1. Taxi - 2.57
2. Friend of Mine - 2.42
3. Living Game - 4.34
4. My Life - 3.50
5. To The Sea - 3.23
6. After The First World War - 5.50
7. To The Farside - 2.45
8. Truth Seeker - 2.46
9. Situation Number Four - 2.22
10.Keep Coming Back - 4.07
11.Sight - 4.00
All songs written by Mick Greenwood
*Mick Greenwood - Vocals, Acoustic guitar
*Jerry Donahue - Electric Guitar
*Tony Cox - Piano, Harmonium
*Pat Donaldson - Bass
*Gerry Conway - Drums
*Dave Pegg - Bass
*Lynn Dobson - Tenos Sax, Flute, Sitar
*Karl Jenkins - Baritone Sax
*Derek Wadsworth - Trombone
*Dudu Pukwana - Alto Sax
*Andy Smith - Banjo
*Christine Quaile - Backing Vocals
*Ned Balen - Tablas