The Allman Brothers Band 7/31/93 Stowe Mountain Performing Arts Center, Stowe, VT. For this date, the Allmans were the headlining act of the roving H.O.R.D.E. Festival. What sets this tape apart from other ABB shows of 1993 is that it is the first performance without Dickey Betts, who was arrested the night before. Backstage after the show we were told by band liaison Kirk West that Betts was hospitalized, stricken by a recurring stomach ailment linked to booze and nerves. The news the next day revealed the truth: he was arrested for drunken misconduct. Joined by Blues Traveler's John Popper on harmonica and Aquarium Rescue Unit's Jimmy Herring on guitar, the Allmans were phenomenal. Taped from the tenth row with a Sony D-6 and a Nak CM-300 mic, these tapes are as good as audience tapes get.
The show opened with "Statesboro Blues" and "Stormy Monday." With each subsequent tour since 1989's reunion, Gregg's voice has gotten stronger, and he carried most of the load in Dickey's absence. An early highlight included an inspired "Dreams" which had guest Herring engaging in some nice fretwork with ABB-regular Warren Haynes. During "Elizabeth Reed" the band really kicked it out. Gregg's Hammond solo was extended, Jimmy Herring's guitar work was jazzy, and Big John Popper completely redefined the song with an amazing harp solo reminiscent of jazz master Toots Thielemans.
This two-hour plus show ends with an abbreviated "Whipping Post." There are many masters out there of this and all Allman shows as the band now allows recording. The entire H.O.R.D.E. line-up was also subject to many microphones. (L. Peryer, Jr.)
BBM (BRUCE BAKER & MOORE) BRIXTON ACADEMY, LONDON,5TH JUNE 1994 This passable audience tape is from Jack Bruce's latest musical venture. Teaming up with Cream stable mate Ginger Baker, and Gary Moore he returns to his rock roots. Bruce has done this several times in his career, with Robin Trower in BLT, with Leslie West for West Bruce & Laing and the Theme album and then with Cozy Powell for Over The Top.
This tape opens with a radio ad for the concert before going into the concert proper. They play eight new songs from the new album and a smattering of Cream classics. "Naked Flame" comes across superbly and highlights how great guitar playing is more than loud fast cords. "Rollin & Tumblin" gives Jack an excuse to show his harmonica skills and some vocal ad libbing! None of Jack's solo work is represented and possibly this is one more for Gary Moore fans than Jack Bruce ones.
Hopefully this venture will allow him enough impetus (and money) to return to his solo work. (Adrian Clarke)
Dave Brubeck 3/16/80 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI Since the jazz realm has contributed so much to the popular music covered in this magazine, it's important to note one particularly pertinent legacy: the tradition of concert recording. This tape is a 2nd generation audience recorded by a then college student (Brubeck's typical listener) with an unknown deck.
Brubeck is caught here less than a year after his landmark 1979 Newport appearance. Displaying the dexterity that has made him a perennial favorite, the material featured here is more rockin' swing than bop or improv. Late in the tape, Brubeck and Co. are joined by an unnamed harmonica player for some hot licks. This tape is not widely circulated, but ask and you shall receive. (L. Peryer, Jr.)
Miles Davis 6/28/91 Fabrik, Hamburg, Germany Make no mistake, this is not Vintage Miles. Recorded shortly before the trailblazing trumpeter's death, Miles is just punching the timeclock here. My copy of this is a 3rd generation FM and the sound is flawless. I requested this one not quite knowing what to expect. Backed by an able band, the music Miles makes here is more in a pop vain than jazz. This can be said of most of his '80's output.
While the line-up is a mystery to me, the combo features some fine players. Especially noteworthy are the guitar and sax players. Davis himself only solos on occassion and has a flat tone throughout. The songs that he refrains from are actually the best. Not bad, not great, but worth a 90 minute tape. (L. Peryer, Jr.)
Bo Diddley 1966 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA (25 minutes) This is a short soundboard tape of one gem of a performance. The great but often overlooked Bo Diddley outdoes himself here, playing a truly trippy concert, which sounds, for lack of a better description, organically psychedelic. The subtle, quirky approach Bo and his band take to playing his well known material sounds darker and far murkier than his records. After the opening "Gunslinger," the band spaces out on "Eastern Thang," a jam rivaling such contemporaries as QMS or Paul Butterfield's in intensity and imagination.
During "Eastern Thang," the band plays a slower Diddley back-beat while violin solo coasts over the rhythm section. The music falls and Bo urges the audience to clap along while he raps about composers. The guitar playing, which I'm not 100% sure is Bo's, can be compared to the late Cippolina's in style. It meanders over the rhythm, maintaining an eerie backdrop to the more rock-sounding guitar solos.
A great duet of "Oh, Baby (I Love You)" is another highlight of the tape. Bo seems to be partying while detailing the loss of his woman, and the back-up singer is great.
There are cuts between the songs, so I am not sure if this is an incomplete tape of a longer performance, but I have never heard of more than 25 minutes being available. This recording presents a more inventive side of Bo Diddley while affirming he was still playing some of the steadiest rock 'n roll on stage at the time. The quality is about what one could expect of competent sixties board tapes. The bass is a little weak, but the balance is pretty good, and the instruments and vocals are pretty clear. There is some hiss on my copy, but I'm not sure how much better dubs of this would get. Maybe someone with access to the original tapes could release them officially on some eventual Bo Diddley rarities release...? (Eric Twight)
Tracks: Gunslinger / Eastern Thang / Great Grandaddy / Hey, Bo Diddley / Oh, Baby (I Love You) / Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
Graham Central Station @ SNACK Benefit Concert 3/23/75 Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, CA (60 minutes) While tapes are available of everyone else who appeared at this concert (Santana, Neil, Band, Dylan, etc.), this tape is fairly obscure. After creating some fine bass riffs, including the brilliant "Thank You Fallettinme Be Mice Elf," Larry Graham left Sly Stone to form his own band. I haven't heard anything about this group other than they fizzled out before too long. This is a rocking gig, even if the similarities between Graham's band and contemporaries Bootsy's Rubberband are uncanny. The bass spurts of funk filth for sure, but Bootsy sounds a little dirtier.
Assuming the role of conductor, Larry and company call out "all aboard" for the Central Station and the band dives into a soul number during which other singers join in, to help round the sound. While Sly's influence is unmistakable and the band sounds a lot like Bootsy's Rubberband, the timing (early 1975)leads one to wonder if these players were all sort of checking out each others' acts and simultaneously teaching and learning. For instance, the "Release Yourself" refrain sounds familiar and much like the riff for P-Funk's "Bop Gun," while another riff is almost identical to Frederick Knight's 1972 single "I've Been Lonely For So Long." Neat, huh? Scratching riffs, even at times for the whole song, was hardly new in 1975 (although no one wonders if it was nearly as common as it has become), and to take Graham Central Station to task is unfair, especially given the overall looseness they are cultivating here. Sly Stone wasn't doing too much himself at the time (lost at the "gram-Central Station?") and Graham Central could certainly get the party groove underway. Following the funk, one song boogies into the next and the band doesn't quit. Those funked-out bass and guitar splotches ooze out sporadically and "People" finds the band in full swing.
Larry Graham implores the crowd to "get on up and release yourselves" during one jammed-out piece which is unfortunately cut, but continues on the other side. The last song sounds like a finale and it seems unlikely the band would have played longer than an hour.
The concert was of course broadcast, so the recording is very good, but not perfect presumably due to the lack of available dubs of this show. The recording sounds rather compressed and dubbed at at least one point with Dolby noise reduction or something. It runs for almost an hour and is certainly worth seeking out if funk or musical fun appeal to you. (Eric Twight)
Annie Haslam Band 3/5/94 Towne Crier, Pawling, NY. Annie Haslam is the former vocalist for the prog-rock group Renaissance. Although never meeting the commercial success of Genesis or Yes, Renaissance made some great music and has a loyal following. Trade in their live tapes is very active.
This show is Annie's first in a while as she spent 1993 battling an unspecified illness. Performing versions of Renaissance songs "Prologue," "Carpet of the Sun," "Mother Russia," and "A Trip to the Fair," the band showed their technical mastery. On Annie's new material they perform tight pop songs without sounding like a karaoke machine.
Recorded on a small portable Aiwa deck, this first gen audience has a remarkably stable sound. No doubt the intimacy of the venue helped. Tapes of the bands next two performances, 3/12 and 3/18 from the same source exist. Similar sets, although the new songs improve with each gig. (L. Peryer, Jr.)
Hot Tuna April 29, 1994 The Stephen Talkhouse Miami Beach, FL 160 minutes Since opening its doors in 1992, The Stephen Talkhouse in Miami Beach has become the venue of choice for South Florida stops by Hot Tuna and solo gigs by guitarist Jorma Kaukonen.
And for good reason. The Talkhouse is a real intimate place, with a capacity of about 250, a great sound system and an ambience that lets the musicians feel at home and do their stuff. The type of place that had Jorma tell the crowd at their 1993 New Year's show that the Talkhouse was one of his favorite rooms in the country.
This longtime fan -- some 50 or so Tuna/Jorma shows over the past 22 years, not to mention flights with the Airplane -- has always been impressed with the boys' concerts at the Talkhouse, and this show was no exception. But this time there was an extra bit of magic thanks to Pete Sears, who has assumed keyboard duties with the band -- by far the best keyboard player they've ever had. It's ironic that Sears, a longtime mainstay of Jefferson Starship and their primary bass player, would wind up playing keys with Hot Tuna -- which, after all, was once the instrumental nucleus of the Airplane. He adds a great melodic touch, keyboard color and an extra added dose of energy to the sound.
These days, Tuna is a quartet -- with, of course, Jorma and Jack Casady, fellow band leader and bassist extraordinaire -- Sears, and Michael Falzarano on rhythm guitar, occasional mandolin and vocals. The show kicked off with the familiar pair of "Hesitation Blues" and "Walkin' Blues," and from the start it was clear that a high energy night was in store. A few tunes later, Jack led the group through some hot instrumental passages in "I See the Light" and "99 Year Blues," the latter marked by a thundering bass solo. A bluegrassy "Crossroads," with Michael on vocals and Jorma on electric table steel, livened things up quite a bit, with an ample share of audience hooting and hollering. With Jorma switching over to his Telecaster, the first set closed in an electric fashion with "Long Lonesome Highway" and the Jimmy Reed classic "Baby What You Want Me to Do."
In the second set, Pete got a chance to show off his accordion chops on "Let Us Get Together" and "Candyman," which featured Jack's trademark solo. The set had several instrumental numbers -- "Embryonic Journey" and "Do Not Go Gentle" -- plus one of the most beautiful versions of "Water Song" I've ever had the pleasure to hear. Before the number, which has not been in regular rotation the past few years, Jorma commented that he heard it on Muzak in Columbus, Ohio. It's true -- this reviewer has also heard it on Muzak in Miami stores, the original version of Burgers. How times have changed! Switching back to his electric axe, Jorma charged through a triple salvo of "Hit Single #1," "Junkies on Angel Dust" and "Ode to Billy Dean." They wrapped things up with Jorma on table steel guitar and Michael on vocals with that tune of holy roller healing, "Pass the Snakes."
The addition of Falzarano and Sears has ushered in a new era for Hot Tuna, one marked by more stylistic and instrumental variety. But a few old time Tuna freaks (myself included) have commented as of late that Jorma and Michael (especially Michael) are not mixing up the material as much as they used to. There's some truth to this; Hot Tuna has an enormous catalogue of material to draw from, and we'd like to see some more variety in the sets. Nevertheless, on almost any given night, Hot Tuna has a knack to make musical magic with its incredible virtuosity and improvisational excursions. And after 25 years and countless incarnations, this was another one of those great nights. (Todd Ellenberg)
Set 1: Hesitation Blues, Walkin' Blues, I'll Be Alright, I See the Light, That'll Never Happen No More, 99 Year Blues, Stop Breaking Down, Bring It On Home to Me, Big Fish, Crossroads, Trouble in Mind, San Francisco Bay Blues, Long Lonesome Highway, Baby What You Want Me To Do .
Set 2: I Know You Rider, Vampire Women, Do Not Go Gentle, Embryonic Journey, Good Shepherd, Ice Age, Let Us Get Together, Candyman, Water Song, Hit Single #1, AK-47, Man for All Seasons (Junkies on Angel Dust), Ode to Billy Dean, Till Tomorrow Comes, Let's Stick Together, Pass the Snakes.
Bob Marley & The Wailers 12/6/76 National Heroes Park, Kingston, Jamaica (80 minutes) This is a most interesting find, and not the easiest one at that... a complete recording of the historic "Smile Jamaica" concert (not to be confused with the 1988 benefit).
This was one of Bob Marley's most famous concerts, better known for the violence and shootings surrounding the show than for the music itself. Days before the free concert, Bob, Rita and The Wailers' manager were shot after apparently having been told the concert ought not have gone on. In defiance of the gunmen, Marley arrived at the last minute to play the concert.
The first 20 minutes of the tape contains what sounds like a broadcast from JBC, Jamaican radio. The program is interspersed with interviews, news reports and live songs from both the concert and the murder attempt which preceded it. There is some interesting (pro-Marley) discussion about the Jamaican political situation at the time and the prevailing violence associated with the general election. The live footage includes parts of "War," "Rebel Music" (featuring some wild guitar playing) and the full "So Jah Seh" which ended the concert. Fans will most definitely want to listen to the broadcast as well as the tape.
The source tape begins with "War," and it seems Bob has picked the track list carefully for this show, as "War" slides into the most appropriate "No More Trouble" and "Get Up, Stand Up." This must be about as raw a performance as Marley ever gave, and the tension on stage and off is quite evident, partially due to the audible rowdiness at the concert. The spontaneity of the gig is apparent, and the unique song list makes a fascinating listen. Most of the songs are strange renditions, such as the medley of sorts opening the show and the uptempo early versions of "Smile Jamaica" and "Keep On Moving" which is sung with lyrics pertaining to the recent going's-on in Bob's life.
The crowd sounds enthralled with Marley's concert and this is probably the only live Marley tape on which much of the audience can be heard chanting along with "Rastaman Chant." This song of perseverance is another most appropriate selection, particularly following his account of having to flee ("Keep On Moving"), and another plea for peace in "Jah Live." Like a number of songs on the tape, "Rastaman Chant" unfortunately cuts prematurely. Although it sounds like an audience recording, I think the tape is likely from the soundboard or professionally recorded (e.g.: by the JBC). There is a film of the concert, parts of which have been used in documentaries, but I doubt there is a complete video floating around of this. There are glitches, drop-outs and the like throughout the tape, which are obviously a nuisance, but I doubt many fans of Marley will let that deter them from hearing the concert. Definitely required listening! (Erik Twight)
Tracks: War -> No More Trouble -> Get Up Stand Up -> Positive Vibration / Smile Jamaica / Rat Race / Trenchtown Rock / Keep On Moving / Want More / Them Belly Full / Jah Live / Rastaman Chant / Rebel Music / So Jah Seh
Ike & Tina Turner Revue 1/71 L'Olympia, Paris (45 minutes) This is a rocking tape! Despite Ike's extraordinary character flaws, he and Tina created some of the hottest soul of the sixties. This live tape may overlap with their official live album, but after the third song, a German sounding radio announcer (who refers to Tina as "the human bombshell!") comes on announcing the concert as a recording from Paris.
The tape starts off sounding rather muffled for a broadcast, but the quality clears up and improves dramatically during the third song, after an excellent cover of Sly's "Everyday People." Ike emcees the gig, introducing Tina and the Revue and hyping the show just as Bobby Byrd used to for James Brown. When the radio announcer is done, the concert resumes with "Come Together," which is great and "Proud Mary" which sounds like their released version. The concert intensifies during the next song which sounds something like "Love Like Yours Don't Come Knocking Everyday," but I presume the proper title is shorter. This is Tina and the Ikettes at their best and they sing beautifully together.
Tina introduces the next song, telling the crowd they are going back, "to the beginning... the blues...," at which point we get to hear Ike at his best. He plays some smoking guitar passages with the band backing him, and the jamming goes over the top, prompting Tina to conclude "Every now and again, that happens..." Killer versions of "Respect" and "Honkey Tonk Woman" follow, but the latter cuts out. I can hear surface noise which sounds like vinyl during the quieter parts, which obviously arouses some suspicion, but the announcer leads me to assume the tape is a broadcast. Not possessing a copy of the album doesn't help (hey, my resources are limited!), so caveat emptor, but since it's only a half tape which is very much worth hearing, give it a shot and tell me it's not lifted off their live album with a DJ dubbed on midway through the tape and again at the end. (Eric Twight)
Track list: Honey What's Wrong / Everyday People / Do It Right-Little Lati Loupe De Loupe / Son Of A Preacher / Come Together / Proud Mary / Love Like Yours... / Lord Knows... / Respect / Honkey Tonk Woman (cuts).