Saturday, November 28, 2015

Edge of Country Releases: Upcoming Live Albums From Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty, John Prine, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell & Bob Dylan in 2016

While they don't fall directly under the country music umbrella, several of these rock or folk-leaning artists easily fall into the roots-oriented music category. Several big names have upcoming live performance releases in early 2016 to look forward to if you're a fan of any of them.

Artist: Bonnie Raitt
Album: Same Old Love: The Minneapolis Broadcast 1979
Label: Sutra
Release date: Jan. 15, 2016

In 1979 and with her big commercial breakthrough still being more than a decade away, Bonnie Raitt was well on her way to blending raw blues, R&B and rock into a decidedly more adult contemporary style. Typically for the time, when this show was broadcast in 1979, Raitt was on the road promoting her then new Warner Brothers album, The Glow. Since her first Warners LP, Give It Up in 1972, Raitt had expanded her live line-up from an acoustic duo consisting of herself and bassist Freebo, to a full-fledged electric band playing a much more hybrid style of blues, rock, R&B and folk, than she had in her early years. This show marked the end of nine weeks on the road, and the band is as tight as any Bonnie has ever worked with. She opens with "Baby I Love You" and moves straight into Sam & Dave's classic "I Thank You." The gig moves from one highlight to the next. Raitt's take on Mable John's "You're Good Thing Is About to End" is a particular standout, as is "Angel from Montgomery." The show also features a one-two punch of "Runaway" (Raitt had achieved a hit in 1977 with a rocked-up version of the 1961 Del Shannon number) and raucous replay of Robert Palmer's "You're Gonna Get What's Coming." The show closes with a powerhouse version of "Under the Falling Sky" featuring Pat Hayes' smoking harmonica work. When Raitt performed this show at the Orpheum in Minneapolis, she and her band were only a few months away from the historic No Nukes rally held in the fall of 1979 in Battery Park, New York City. That event, organized by Bonnie, would forever place her on the top-table of activist artists, and she has consistently supported multiple causes to this day.

Artist: Tom Petty
Album: In the Coliseum: Live Radio Broadcast, Jacksonville, Florida, 1989
Label: Goldfish Records
Release date: Feb. 12, 2016

From a gig at the Florida Coliseum in Jacksonville during summer of 1987, this show finds Tom and the Heartbreakers (Mike Campbell on lead guitar, Benmont Tench on keyboards, Howie Epstein on bass and mandolin, and Stan Lynch on drums) on tour to promote the April '87 release Let Me Up ( I've Had Enough). This particular show however featured only one cut from the album, Runaway Trains, notably omitting the record's hit single "Jammin' Me," a song composed by Petty and Campbell with Bob Dylan. The band were in playful mood however and performed a total of five rousing cover versions and a number of old favorites to compliment the one new song. Petty would neither tour nor record with the Heartbreakers again for another four years, in the meantime he became a founding member of the super-group The Travelling Wilburys following which he recorded and released his first solo album before reuniting with the group in 1991.

Artist: John Prine
Album: Bottom Line: 1978 New York Broadcast
Label: All Access
Release date: Jan. 15, 2016

This live performance from John Prine was broadcast live by King Biscuit on July 11th 1978 from the Bottom Line Club in New York's Greenwich Village, several years into the man's career. His debut album had been released to huge critical acclaim, albeit somewhat modest sales (reaching only 153 on Billboard), in 1971 on the Atlantic label. Featuring such legendary numbers as 'Hello in There' and 'Angel from Montgomery' (versions of both are featured) it was voted into Rolling Stone's All Time Greatest 500 Albums list in 2003. The tour, of which this gig was part, was performed in support of Bruised Orange (1978), Prine's 5th studio album, and the lengthy 30-song set list features no fewer than 6 of the album's 10 cuts, although strangely John omits to perform the marvelous title track. The remainder of the songs played are a mix from 3 out of 4 previous albums (he doesn't play anything from his sophomore record, 1972's Diamonds In The Rough) plus a smattering of cuts yet to be released at show-time, but made available on 1979's Pink Cadillac and post-1980 releases. A few well-chosen covers are additionally played, including a rollicking versions of 'Treat Me Nice' (from the pens of Messrs. Leiber and Stoller of course) and a nice 'Ballad of a Teenage Queen' - made famous by Johnny Cash but composed by Prine's friend Jack Clement.

Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Album: Back for More in '94: FM Radio Broadcast from Atlanta, Georgia 1994
Label: Goldfish
Release date: Feb. 12, 2016

The horrific 1977 plane crash that wiped out members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and their entourage, including the man who had led the group across the best part of a decade, the inimitable Ronnie Van Zandt, was at the time seen as the end of the group. Those surviving members reunited only once to perform an instrumental 'Free Bird' at Charlie Daniels' charity event Volunteer Jam V in 1979, otherwise the group went on hiatus for the next 10 years, with four ex-members performing and recording as the Rossington-Collins band between 1980 and 1983, choosing a female lead vocalist to avoid claims that they were merely a rebooted Skynyrd. through this period. In 1987 however, Lynyrd Skynyrd reunited for a full-scale tour with five major members of the pre-crash band; survivors Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle, along with guitarist Ed King - who had left the band two years before the crash - and with Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother, Johnny, taking over on lead vocals and as primary songwriter. The show presented on this CD was performed at The Lakewood in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 24th, when the band performed a dynamic set featuring many LS classics alongside a superb new composition in 'Devil In The Bottle,' which has gone on to become a live favorite.

Artist: Stevie Ray Vaughn
Album: Happy New Years Blues: Live FM Broadcast from Atlanta, GA, December 1986
Label: Hobo
Release date: Jan. 15, 2016

By late 1986, Stevie Ray Vaughan had been through rehab in London and, according to all reports, was feeling like a new man. His dependency problems, which had haunted him right through his career, were, he felt, now behind him and he was intent on two things; getting back to playing the blues and helping others overcome their own, similar problems. He achieved the former with ease and passion - this was, after all, what the master guitarist existed to do. The latter did not come so naturally, but SRV made commendable effort in his oft-witnessed stage announcements, advising and guiding his audience members, sharing the wisdom he had garnered in going through the hell he had suffered. The concert featured on this CD is taken from an FM radio broadcast, transmitted live from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, on New Year's Eve '86, was clearly a dynamic event. Stevie and Double Trouble perform with gusto and flare, whilst the audience are wild with ecstasy. Joining Vaughan on stage after the new year kicks in is none other than guitar legend Lonnie Mack, and the two bluesmen bounce off each other beautifully for a magical rendition of Mack's 'Oreo Cookie Blues,' which ends this extraordinary performance and readies Stevie Ray to enter what, tragically, would become the final, albeit majestic, era of his career - and sadly his life.

Artist: Joni Mitchell
Album: Bread and Roses Festival 1978
Label: Iconography
Release date: Feb. 12, 2016

The second annual Bread and Roses Festival of Music, held at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley over Labor Day weekend 1978, 2nd - 4th September, proved to be one of the most exciting musical events of the year. The three-day concert series was sponsored by singer Mimi Farina's Bread and Roses organization, which supported free live entertainment in Marin County hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation clinics. The highlight of the '78 festival was the appearance on the evening of Saturday 2nd by Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock. Joni had not performed in public since The Band's Last Waltz in November of '76, and this show marked the first time she had teamed up with Hancock. Herbie joined Joni onstage after a couple of solo numbers, and together they performed two songs from Joni's upcoming album featuring her words and jazz great Charlie Mingus' music. The tunes were challenging to say the least - 'A Chair In The Sky' painted a stunning visual portrait of the aging, ailing Mingus alone in New York and featured moments of dissonance and moments that swung. On the Sunday afternoon Joni and Herbie played a couple more numbers to help boost poor ticket sales, and with another rendition of 'The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines' notably different to Saturday's version plus a charming 'The Circle Game', with The Persuasions, Tim Hardin, Tom Paxton and Odetta - all of whom had played that afternoon - helping out on vocals, it was magical indeed. This CD also boasts a couple of dynamic bonus cuts, recorded a decade later but again featuring Joni and Herbie Hancock, but now alongside a plethora of further jazz masters; Wayne Shorter, David Sanborn, Bobby McFerrin and Larry Klein. The occasion was an episode of the Showtime Coast To Coast TV show - a program dedicated to live performance, regularly presented by Hancock who would play alongside the studio guests.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: Minneapolis Hotel Tape & The Gaslight Café: September & December 1961
Label: BDA
Release date: Jan. 15, 2016

Further to BDA's previous collections (Carnegie Hall & The Minnesota Party Tape) comes the third album in the 1961 series of rare and previously unreleased Dylan material, this time showcasing an early stint at the infamous Gaslight Cafe in NYC's Greenwich Village, and the December recordings made at his friend Bonnie Beecher's apartment back in Minnesota - the same venue that witnessed the 'Party Tape' in May of the same year. Dylan played the Gaslight a number of times but this particular performance is one of only two for which any recordings exist - it is believed to be the set he played there on 6th September '61. Bonnie Beecher's apartment (aka the Minneapolis Hotel) was a regular stopping off point for Bob on his way home to visit his parents in Hibbing, and while there he would often play in front of old college friends. This recording was made a few days before Christmas - on 22nd December 1961- en route to spending the festivities with his folks. The recording here features all the known songs that were recorded, except those the 5 that have previously been released by Sony on various of the Official Bootleg Series or on the Highway 61 cd-rom. Both recordings here feature the very best sound recordings known to exist making this CD both a hugely important historical document and a delightful collection of Bob Dylan's earliest work.

1 comment:

  1. This place is clean and has nice ambiance, more like modern than classic. Our visit to San Francisco venues was just amazing. I believe it was a treat to be here. It would be a treat to attend another event here.

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