The Fleshtones were one of the most reliably strong live acts to emerge from the 1980s garage rock revival, and though their eclectic approach offended some paisley purists, their energetic, sweat-soaked shows were wild enough to convince anyone that they weren't jiving when they called this stuff Super Rock.
Considering how good they were on-stage, it made sense for them to cut a live album, and in March 1985, a mobile recording truck was brought in to document the band's gig at the Gibus Club in Paris. Speed Connection: Live in Paris 85 was released in Europe a few months later, but it was hardly the slam-dunk triumph it should have been; lead singer Peter Zaremba's voice was in rough shape that evening and gets raspier as the show goes along, and while the band is in solid form (especially guitarist Keith Streng and drummer Bill Milhizer), the horn section gets a bit lost during the "Super Rock Medley" in the later innings of this set. And the recording and mix make this performance sound like you're sitting in the back of the room rather than hearing the action up close and personal. The Fleshtones were not entirely pleased with Speed Connection, and they reworked the album for its American release, adding recordings from another Paris show, including a studio cut with overdubbed applause, and calling the results Speed Connection II: The Final Chapter. Speed Connection II is quite simply the better album, but while the original Speed Connection suffers by comparison, it's still worth hearing -- the performance flows more naturally than on the revised version, and the energy and force of a classic Fleshtones show is there, if in muted form. Anyone who digs this band should check out Speed Connection II first, but obsessive fans ought to give the original version a spin, which has its share of virtues even if its flaws are clear and audible.
|Hide and Seek / Bunker Hill||The Fleshtones||2:35|
|Watch This / Gordon Spaeth / Keith Streng / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||2:20|
|Kingsmen-Like Medley: Trouble/Haunted Castle/Twelve Months Later / Lynn Easton / Bob Feldman / Jerry Goldstein / Richard Gottehrer / Joe Levine / Arthur Resnick||The Fleshtones||4:12|
|Return to the Haunted House / Keith Streng / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||2:25|
|Let's See the Sun / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||1:55|
|Hope Come Back / Keith Streng / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||1:54|
|B.Y.O.B. / Keith Streng / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||2:04|
|This House Is Empty / Jan Marek Pakulski / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||2:58|
|Last Chance / Keith Streng / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||1:56|
|Stop Fooling Around / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||4:27|
|Super Rock Medley: Theme from "The Vindicators"/Hexbreaker/Roman Gods / The Fleshtones / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||5:56|
|I'm Back / Peter Zaremba||The Fleshtones||2:15|
|La La La La (Reprise) / The Blendells||The Fleshtones||3:51|