Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Hammersmith Odeon London ’75 (2006)

January 5, 2009 at 2:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Disc: 1
1. Thunder Road
2. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
3. Spirit In The Night
4. Lost In The Flood
5. She’s The One
6. Born To Run
7. The E Street Shuffle
8. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City
9. Backstreets

Disc: 2
1. Kitty’s Back
2. Jungleland
3. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
4. 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
5. Detroit Medley
6. For You
7. Quarter To Three

During their career Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band have made a name for themselves as one of the live acts to see. Their peak of popularity and success came in the mid 80s and it all started around here. Recorded on 18th November 1975, just three months after the breakthrough album Born To Run, Springsteen and his band had yet to carve their reputation in stone. Here we have a real treat for the audience, who would mostly know of him and his records, but have yet to hear about and experience the magic made when performing on stage. This was the start of Springsteen trying to break into the UK and Europe.

We open with Thunder Road, one of Bruce’s best loved and well known songs, but here everything is stripped down to a piano and vocals. Roy Bittan really is a great pianist and here is no exception, it’s a beautiful rendition of the song, often sounding like something Jim Steinman would write. A very laid back start to the album.

Tenth Avenue Freeze-out comes next, delivering the energy that, these days, we come to expect from the band. I never really liked this track on Born to Run, but when I first heard it live it changed my opinion of it. The band seem to have a lot of fun with this track and put a lot of energy in it. The best version is on Live In New York, but this one is still great to listen to.

From here on the party never really lulls, the energy is kept cranked up, all members are on full form and are each allowed to shine, especially Clarence Clemons on saxophone enjoying the chance for some solos of his own.

The only downside to a live album such as this, recorded so early in an artist’s career, is that there are a lot of favourite not on here due to them not being created yet. Having said that though, they certainly make the most of what they have, often improving on some of the ‘flatter’ tracks (Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out as already stated).

All-in-all this is a very enjoyable album, even for those not familiar with some of the tracks. This does not read as a ‘best of’ like later live albums would be, but it certainly is an interesting look at the beginning of Springsteen’s career and the birth of his live reputation.


Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More From The Road – Deluxe Edition (2001)

January 5, 2009 at 2:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

  1. “Introduction/Workin’ for MCA” – 5:32
  2. “I Ain’t the One” – 3:47
  3. “Saturday Night Special” – 5:39
  4. “Searching” – 4:00
  5. “Travellin’ Man” – 4:37
  6. “Simple Man” (bonus track) – 6:56
  7. “Whiskey Rock-a-Roller” – 4:48
  8. “The Needle and the Spoon” – 4:35
  9. “Gimme Back My Bullets” (bonus track) – 4:01
  10. “Tuesday’s Gone” – 8:25
  11. “Gimme Three Steps” – 5:11
  12. “Call Me the Breeze” – 5:50
  13. “T for Texas” – 9:14
  14. “Sweet Home Alabama” – 7:29
  15. “Crossroads” – 4:16
  16. “Free Bird” – 14:25
  17. “Introduction/Workin’ for MCA (alternate & previously unreleased)” – 5:42
  18. “I Ain’t the One (alternate & previously unreleased)” – 3:52
  19. “Searching (alternate & previously unreleased)” – 4:13
  20. “Gimme Three Steps (alternate)” – 4:42
  21. “Call Me the Breeze (alternate)” – 7:27
  22. “Sweet Home Alabama (alternate)” – 5:43
  23. “Crossroads (alternate)” – 4:46
  24. “Free Bird (alternate)” – 14:55

One More From The Road, recorded at the peak of their short career in 1976 showcases Lynyrd Skynyrd for what they really were; a talented bunch of musicians who were proud of their roots, loved music and loved to perform, never ever taking themselves too seriously.

As far as studio albums go, they never did any better than their 1973 debut “pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd “ which is a great album. However, when you hear the songs played live, the studio pressing always seem a little flat in comparison. It is this reason that One More From The Road is Skynyrd’s best album. The 2001 deluxe edition is fantastic, offering more tracks and some alternate versions, but also super sound. It contains everything I love and look for in a live album; great sound, great crowd, atmosphere, fun and brilliant tunes.

We kick off with them being introduced to the stage and straight away they plunge in with the opener to Working For MCA, immediately demonstrating that the sound quality is perfect for a live album. All instruments are clearly heard, each lead guitar is discernable which is often not the case on the studio recordings. And this is so important with bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd. Every member with an instrument is so underrated and often overlooked that it is tragic. The three lead guitarists all have the skill and talent to front a band of their own and they complement each other so well. During live shows they clearly love playing alongside each other making performances so electric and vibrant, often extending solos by improvising and feeding off each other’s performance. Not to mention that the piano is clearly heard throughout and also stands its own ground against the guitars, adding yet another wonderful layer to the songs and also an element that many rock groups overlook.

My own personal highlights of the album are:

Simple Man– A track I overlooked on their debut album, but this really stood out on the live album. A simple song about the advice that Ronnie Van Zant got from his mother and grandmother, overlayed with a simple yet catch guitar riff.

Tuesdays Gone– I’ve always thought that this was a good song but too long for what it was. Here it is just as long but seems more fleshed out. I adore the guitar tones at the beginning of the song, Powell’s piano sounds wonderful and I love the harmonica over the verse. Definitely ignites a song that fell flat on the debut.

Gimme Three Steps– An underrated Skynyrd song, this is what they are all about. It’s a fun song, full of energy, with catchy guitar parts all about dancing with a girl only to have her partner come in and thinks she’s cheating on him.

Call Me The Breeze– Brilliant cover of JJ Cale’s song, once again full of energy and brilliant showmanship by the guitars and piano. This almost feels like the perfect jamming track, none of the band seems to want this song to end as the rip through it.

Free Bird- Yeah, I actually like Free Bird, maybe because it is actually a good song and just because it’s always played it doesn’t mean that it’s no good. On this album we have two versions, both over 14 minutes long, but the extra time isn’t solely because of extended guitar solos in the second half as one would imagine. Although the solo is longer, there is also an extended piano solo before the second verse. In fact, it is this very interpretation of the song on piano that got Billy Powell a spot in the band.

If you are unfamiliar with Skynyrd then this album is the best place to start. As I have said, the songs here are so much better than their studio equivalents, so even if you have heard their albums this is still something you should check out.

A year later Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, lead guitarist Steve Gaines, his sister and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, the assistant road manager and both pilots. Lead guitarist Allen Collins was badly injured and nearly had an arm amputated. Gary Rossington, lead guitarist, broke both arms and pelvis as well as numerous other injuries. Pianist Billy Powell nearly had his nose ripped off as his face suffered many cuts.

The plane that crashed had been inspected only a few months before by Aerosmith who rejected the plane feeling that it wasn’t sfae and that the crew weren’t fit to pilot.

Obviously, the crash pretty much ended the band. The classic line-up was gone and the surviving members didn’t play for years. These days Lynyrd Skynyrd are touring again, albeit with a hugely different look. Ronnie’s brother Johnny is now lead vocals and Billy Powell and Gary Rossington are the only original members to still play in the group.

Despite only lasting four years, Lynyrd Skynyrd left their own mark on music, helping to define ‘Southern rock’, causing the most clichéd and annoying jokes in music (‘play Free Bird’) and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Were they the best band ever? Not by a long shot but they certainly had a lot of talent and technical expertise but they chose to have fun and enjoy themselves instead of following the route that a lot of others took. Not to overlook the fact that they were more entertaining than a lot of rock acts from their time and they put on one hell of a show, which they seemed to enjoy just as well as the crowd. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I only drink from my own mug.

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