segunda-feira, 27 de setembro de 2021

Gil Scott-Heron - Pieces Of A Man 1971

Gil Scott-Heron's 1971 album Pieces of a Man set a standard for vocal artistry and political awareness that few musicians will ever match. His unique proto-rap vocal style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists, and nowhere is his style more powerful than on the classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Even though the media -- the very entity attacked in this song -- has used, reused, and recontextualized the song and its title so many times, the message is so strong that it has become almost impossible to co-opt. Musically, the track created a formula that modern hip-hop would follow for years to come: bare-bones arrangements featuring pounding basslines and stripped-down drumbeats. Although the song features plenty of outdated references to everything from Spiro Agnew and Jim Webb to The Beverly Hillbillies, the force of Scott-Heron's well-directed anger makes the song timeless. More than just a spoken word poet, Scott-Heron was also a uniquely gifted vocalist. On tracks like the reflective "I Think I'll Call It Morning" and the title track, Scott-Heron's voice is complemented perfectly by the soulful keyboards of Brian Jackson. On "Lady Day and John Coltrane," he not only celebrates jazz legends of the past in his words but in his vocal performance, one that is filled with enough soul and innovation to make Coltrane and Billie Holiday nod their heads in approval. More than three decades after its release, Pieces of a Man is just as -- if not more -- powerful and influential today as it was the day it was released. AMG.

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Chris Darrow - Fretless 1979

 

Christopher Lloyd Darrow was an American multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. He was considered to be a pioneer of country-rock music in the late-1960s and performed and recorded with numerous groups, including Kaleidoscope and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. more info.

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Bonnie Koloc - After All This Time 1971

Folk singer/songwriter Bonnie Koloc was a major presence in Chicago's songwriting scene during the 1970s, recording two albums for the major Epic label at the end of that decade. Born February 6, 1946, Koloc grew up on the outskirts of Waterloo, Iowa, in difficult circumstances. Her father made a meager living at a John Deere tractor factory, and her parents divorced when she was 12. "I wore a lot of hand-me-downs, and I thought that people who had indoor johns must be rich," she told The Chicago Tribune in 1988. But she loved singing from the age of three. At the University of Northern Iowa she did poorly in classes because she was beginning to find club gigs, and she dropped out in 1968 to travel to Chicago and try to make her way in the city's burgeoning folk music scene. A fixture at the Earl of Old Town club, she rivaled John Prine and Steve Goodman in popularity in the early '70s. With a distinctive songwriting style shaped by jazz and blues inflections (the Ed Holstein composition "Jazzman" became one of her trademarks, and she also often appeared his club, Holstein's), she was signed to the Ovation label and released the album After All This Time in 1971. Five more albums on Ovation followed, with enough success that Koloc was signed to Epic, issuing the Close-Up and Wild and Recluse albums in 1976 and 1978, respectively. She took time off to begin a second career as a visual artist in the early '80s, but returned with the Flying Fish album With You on My Side in 1987. In 2010 she issued Beginnings, collecting live recordings of some of her early shows in Chicago and downstate Illinois. As of the late 2010s Koloc was living in Iowa and teaching art but often returned for performances in Chicago, where she has maintained a strong fan base. An appreciation of her role in the city's folk scene has been impeded by a lack of CD reissues of much of her work, and its absence from major online music services. AMG.

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Mandu - To The Shores Of His Heaven 1974

The elusive and mysterious Mándu is known mainly for his impressive vocals on two Lobby Loyde albums (Obsecration and Live With Dubs). However, there is more to his story… Mándu arrived in Melbourne from Queensland in the early Seventies with hopes of securing a record contract. With a series of unsuccessful bands behind him, the singer had developed a new persona (Mándu) and written a peerless batch of songs that would form the basis of his extraordinary concept album To The Shores Of His Heaven. Ex-Pop Star-turned-label boss John Blanchfield was so blown away by Mándu’s audition that he signed him on the spot and immediately put him into Armstrong’s studios to rehearse and record.

Inspired by the organic approach used by Van Morrison for his classic Astral Weeks album, Blanchfield, with producer-engineer Ern Rose, set about creating a purpose-built ensemble utilizing some of Australia’s most talented and creative musicians – including guitar maestro Phil Manning (Chain), bassist Barry Sullivan (Wild Cherries, Chain), and drummer Gary Young (Daddy Cool). Keyboard player Peter Sullivan also works wonders with his absolutely beautiful string arrangements.

The resultant album; To The Shores Of His Heaven, is one of the best and most original records ever made in this country – and a must-hear for fans of Tim Buckley, Van Morrison, and Terry Reid - at turns gentle and ethereal, spacious and mystical. Sadly, despite the stellar musical backing, a striking image, and Mándu’s incredible voice, the album was a disappointing flop. A follow-up single, a highly original take on the Rolling Stones’ classic “Gimme Shelter”, suffered a similar fate and after that, Mándu turned his back on a solo career

Mandu joined as the vocalist in Lobby Loyde’s Southern Electric in late 1975 and recorded the classic Obsecration album before leaving on the eve of the band’s move to the UK.

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The Who - Tommy 1969

The full-blown rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy that launched the band to international superstardom, written almost entirely by Pete Townshend. Hailed as a breakthrough upon its release, its critical standing has diminished somewhat in the ensuing decades because of the occasional pretensions of the concept and because of the insubstantial nature of some of the songs that functioned as little more than devices to advance the rather sketchy plot. Nonetheless, the double album has many excellent songs, including "I'm Free," "Pinball Wizard," "Sensation," "Christmas," "We're Not Gonna Take It," and the dramatic ten-minute instrumental "Underture." Though the album was slightly flawed, Townshend's ability to construct a lengthy conceptual narrative brought new possibilities to rock music. Despite the complexity of the project, he and the Who never lost sight of solid pop melodies, harmonies, and forceful instrumentation, imbuing the material with a suitably powerful grace. AMG.

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Redeye – Redeye 1970

Redeye was an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. The group released two albums on Pentagram Records in the early 1970s, and had two hit singles in 1971, "Games" (U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart #27) and "Red Eye Blues" (U.S. #78).

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Tully - Loving Is Hard 1972

Luminous third and final album Loving Is Hard, originally released in 1972, is the latest in Chapter Music’s reissues series by Australian psychedelic icons Tully. This follows the 2010 release of Live At Sydney Town Hall 1969-70, and 2012's reissue of solemn, dreamy 1971 surf soundtrack Sea Of Joy. Even before they began recording Loving Is Hard in late 1971, Tully had officially broken up. Over the previous twelve months, they had shifted from the towering, organ-driven rock dynamics of their 1970 self-titled debut, to a serene, contemplative folk-psych sound. Show-stopping drummer Robert Taylor and original vocalist Terry Wilson had departed, replaced by guitarist Colin Campbell and singer Shayna Stewart, both of cult folk heroes Extradition.

Although the change created music of stark, unearthly beauty, Tully had been massively popular in Sydney as a rock band, and their spiritually-driven transformation left many fans scratching their heads. Audiences declined steadily, response to the Sea Of Joy soundtrack was muted, and by the end of 1971 they realized they could no longer continue. Still, they had one more album owing on their record contract, and decided to make a final statement before going their separate ways.

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Jerry Lee Lewis - Another Place Another Time 1968

Jerry Lee Lewis had been at Smash Records for several years, searching for a hit and searching for a direction, prior to releasing Another Place Another Time in 1968. While the quality of his music didn't necessarily dip -- he was still capable of transcendent moments on a regular basis -- he was out of step with the times and lacked focus, simply cutting whatever he or producers laid across his piano. With Another Place, he snapped into focus and moved toward country. Not that the Killer had avoided country -- his first single for Sun was a version of Ray Price's "Crazy Arms," and he cut many Hank Williams songs and country standards while at Sam Phillips' label -- but here, he deliberately sticks to pure, hardcore country throughout the record, refashioning himself as a barroom balladeer and honky tonk raver. This reignited his career, sending him to the top of the charts with this album and its singles "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)" and "Another Place Another Time." Even though this brought him success, this was not the sound of Jerry Lee pandering for a mass audience. In 1968, hardcore country was not a stranger to the top of the charts -- Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash were charting regularly -- but it was not a sure-fire success, either, especially in a year when Glen Campbell had six different number one albums. Also, there were no other singers as stubbornly hardcore as the Killer, who not only made everything sound as if it was written for him, he made everything sound like it could only be played in a dark, damp bar late, late in the evening. This is seriously pure country music, and while he tackles some familiar songs, it's not in predictable ways -- witness the storming "Walking the Floor Over You" or the heavy backbeat on "Break My Mind," where Jerry Lee takes standards and imparts his own signature. Then, there are the ballads and barroom weepers that form the heart of this record -- the two hits, plus "Play Me a Song I Can Cry To," a sadly elegant "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," a high lonesome take on "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," and a duet with Linda Gail Lewis on "We Live in Two Different Worlds." Song for song, there's not a bad tune here, and each performance is a stunner, making for not just a great second beginning, but for one of the greatest hardcore country albums ever. AMG.

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Cass Elliot - Don't Call Me Mama Anymore 1973

Despite her background in folk music and her popular emergence as "Mama Cass" in the folk-rock group the Mamas & the PapasCass Elliot was really a traditional pop entertainer in the pre-rock tradition, and she gradually turned to that field in her solo career of the late '60s and early '70s, putting together a Las Vegas cabaret act and appearing frequently on television. On this live album, recorded at Mister Kelly's, the prestigious Chicago nightclub, in the summer of 1973, she performed her act, which she was polishing in preparation for its adaptation into a television special in the fall. The album was released concurrently with the broadcast of the special, and the album cover describes it as "recreating selected highlights from her CBS television special," which isn't exactly accurate, but never mind. She sings several songs that were written for her and for this act, among them the title song, Earl Brown's extrapolation of her desire to escape the "Mama Cass" moniker. "Extraordinary," borrowed from the Broadway musical Pippin, is given special lyrics to relate to Elliot, and "I'm Coming to the Best Part of My Life" is an optimistic statement of her view of the future. The heart of the show is "The Torch Song Medley," which allows her to exercise her pipes on standards like "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" and "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good," demonstrating her abilities with such material for anyone who might have missed her treatments of "Glad to Be Unhappy" and "Dream a Little Dream of Me." Unfortunately, Elliot's successful transition into being a middle-of-the-road entertainer meant that she had to suffer the fate of her fellow pop singers, banishment from the charts. More tragically, this turned out to be her final album before her death. AMG.

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Fela Kuti - He Miss Road 1975

He Miss Road was produced by none other than Ginger Baker, who was a semi-regular jamming partner of Fela Kuti's as well as a close friend. And the tunes Fela wrote for this platter are wild, cosmic, sexy as hell, and deeply saturated in funk à la James Brown. The B-3 solo at the beginning of the title track is simply a device for inviting the band in. The B-3 is way up in the mix, supercharged. The echo effects Baker used on the organ and the horns add a nice touch and create a different textural quality, one that is spacious, to be sure, but still rooted in the shamanic repetition as the riff goes on forever no matter what instruments enter or leave the mix. The vocals show up midway through as everything gets tense and explodes. "Monday Morning in Lagos" is deep, dark, swirling Afro-funk. It's moody, spooky, and its organ line just stitches the whole groove together. The final cut, "It's No Promise," is pure Nigerian trance music. The longest track here, it's also the most abstract. It's held together by Tony Allen's drumming and the popping bassline by Franco Aboddy. This is one of Fela's cookers, an album from his most creative period, and it reigns among the best in his extensive catalog. AMG.

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Joe Zawinul - The Rise & The Fall Of The Third Stream 1968

This transitional recording sees Joe Zawinul moving from the role of jazz pianist to that of a synthesist in the broad sense of the word. The recording, made up of advanced hard bop and post bop themes, includes -- with varying degrees of cohesion -- passages for cello and violas. The strings never completely meld with the jazz instrumentation, but they also don't get in the way. The title suggests Zawinul sees little value in partitioning music under such headings as "Third Stream" (a rubric for the fusion of jazz and classical music). This view would be famously exemplified in the influential projects with which Zawinul would soon be involved. Zawinul sticks with acoustic piano except for "Soul of a Village", where he improvises in a soul-jazz vein on Fender Rhodes over the tamboura-like droning of a prepared piano. On other tracks, his playing is similar to the sweeping grandeur of McCoy Tyner. Elsewhere, he is in more of a Keith Jarrett or Bill Evans space. There's good work from Jimmy Owens on trumpet and William Fischer on tenor sax, along with a top-flight rhythm section comprising bassist Richard Davis and either Freddie Waits or Roy McCurdy on drums.What's interesting about this music is the insight it provides on directions Zawinul would soon take with Miles Davis on the ethereal In a Silent Way, on the impressionistic 1971 eponymous release Zawinul, and then with the borderless fusioneering of Weather Report. These later projects are the realization of ideas that Zawinul was beginning to form on this 1967 session. AMG.

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Mighty Kong - All I Wanna Do Is Rock 1973

Aussie rock icon Ross Wilson has been at the helm of two of Australia's biggest bands (Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock) plus one of our more obscure: Mighty Kong. Mighty Kong lasted less than a year, but they did leave US with one terrific and underrated album: 'All I Wanna Do Is Rock'. When Daddy Cool broke up in August 1972, Wilson and Ross Hannaford set about forming a new band that would explore a heavier style that harked back to the pre-DADDY COOL days of Sons of the Vegetal Mother and the Party Machine. After some initial changes that at one stage included Tim Gaze (Tamam Shud / Kahvas Jute) and Gulliver Smith (Company Caine), the final lineup was settled with Wilson, Hannaford, Russell Smith (Company Caine), Tim Partridge (Company Caine) and Ray Arnott (Spectrum). Signing to the newly formed Wizard Records, the band recorded 'All I Wanna Do Is Rock' with American producer John Fischbach. The album came out in December 1973 along with the single "Callin' All Cats (The Cats Are Callin'). 

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quinta-feira, 16 de setembro de 2021

Warren Zevon - Warren Zevon 1976

Warren Zevon was a ten-year music industry veteran who had written songs for the Turtles, backed up Phil Everly, done years of session work, and been befriended by Jackson Browne by the time he cut his self-titled album in 1976 (which wasn't his debut, though the less said about 1969's misbegotten Wanted Dead or Alive the better). Even though Warren Zevon was on good terms with L.A.'s Mellow Mafia, he sure didn't think (or write) like any of his pals in the Eagles or Fleetwood MacZevon's music was full of blood, bile, and mean-spirited irony, and the glossy surfaces of Jackson Browne's production failed to disguise the bitter heart of the songs on Warren Zevon. The album opened with a jaunty celebration of a pair of Old West thieves and gunfighters ("Frank and Jesse James"), and went on to tell remarkable, slightly unnerving tales of ambitious pimps ("The French Inhaler"), lonesome junkies ("Carmelita"), wired, hard-living lunatics ("I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"), and truly dastardly womanizers ("Poor Poor Pitiful Me"), and even Zevon's celebrations of life in Los Angeles, long a staple of the soft rock genre, had both a menace and an epic sweep his contemporaries could never match ("Join Me in L.A." and "Desperados Under the Eaves"). But for all their darkness, Zevon's songs also possessed a steely intelligence, a winning wit, and an unusually sophisticated melodic sense, and he certainly made the most of the high-priced help who backed him on the album. Warren Zevon may not have been the songwriter's debut, but it was the album that confirmed he was a major talent, and it remains a black-hearted pop delight. AMG.

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Randy Newman - Good Old Boys 1974

Randy Newman's songwriting often walks a narrow line between intelligent satire and willful cruelty, and that line was never finer than on the album Good Old BoysNewman had long displayed a fascination with the American South, and Good Old Boys was a song cycle where he gave free rein to his most imaginative (and venomous) thoughts on the subject. The album's scabrous opening cut, "Rednecks," is guaranteed to offend practically anyone with its tale of a slow-witted, willfully (and proudly) ignorant Southerner obsessed with "keeping the n-----s down." "A Wedding in Cherokee County" is more polite but hardly less mean-spirited, in which an impotent hick marries a circus freak; if the song's melody and arrangement weren't so skillful, it would be hard to imagine anyone bothering with this musical geek show. But elsewhere, Good Old Boys displays a very real compassion for the blighted history of the South, leavened with a knowing wit. "Birmingham" is a funny but humane tale of working-class Alabamians, "Louisiana 1927" and "Kingfish" are intelligent and powerfully evocative tales of the deep South in the depths of the Great Depression, and "Rollin'" is cheerful on the surface and troubling to anyone willing to look beneath it. Musically, Newman dives deep into his influences in Southern soul and also adds potent country accents (with the help of Al Perkins pedal-steel guitar) while dressing up his songs in typically expert string and horn arrangements. And Newman assumes each character, either brave or foolish, with the skill of a gifted actor, giving even his most loathsome characters enough depth that they're human beings, despite their flaws. Good Old Boys is one of Newman's finest albums; it's also one of his most provocative and infuriating, and that's probably just the way he wanted it. AMG
 

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John Hiatt - Slug Line 1979

Conventional wisdom at the time was that MCA Records had signed John Hiatt (who had languished without a record contract for four years) with the idea that he would be their Elvis Costello -- a singer/songwriter in the fashionable punk/new wave style. Certainly, Hiatt has stripped down and roughed up from his Epic records here, fronting a straight-ahead guitar rock band (that was capable, of course, of playing the obligatory reggae number), eschewing the stylistic diversity he reveled in before and throwing out snappy, aphoristic lyrics in a highly processed voice. None of this quite turns him into Elvis Costello, although the mean streak he reveals would serve him well later. AMG.

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Gordon Smith - Long Overdue 1968

Blues singer, guitarist and songwriter, described by John Peel as "the foremost white blues guitarist in the world", Gordon is also one of the country’s greatest Blues vocalists.

Gordon Smith’s 1968 debut album ‘Long Overdue’ was produced by Mike Vernon for the legendary Blue Horizon label, and featured members of Fleetwood Mac, including Peter Green. During the 1970s, Gordon was a member of Kevin Coyne’s Band.

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Farmyard - Farmyard 1970

Farmyard was a Wellington group that was around only for a short time from 1970 to 1971. Rick White, previously of the Relics and Tom Thumb, started with the group but was later replaced by Bernard Lee. Their first single for Polydor in 1970 was "Learnin' 'bout Living"/"Da Woirks". It was successful enough to gain entry into the 1971 Loxene Gold Disk Awards. A self-titled album was also released and came in a plastic bag with a poster. A second single "Nothing's Happening Here"/"Me, The Dog, Ma And Dear Ol' Dad" also came out in 1970 and was included on their second album called "Back To Fronting" released in 1971.

Their third and last single was "Which Way Confusion Part 1"/"Which Way Confusion Part 2", taken from their first album and appeared during 1971.

Both of their albums were repackaged in 1991 into a double album called "Looking For A Place" on the Little Wing label. That album appears below. After Farmyard disbanded, Tom Swainson joined Wellington underground band Arkastra in February 1972, and Redeye in 1976. Thanks to "therockasteria.blogspot" 

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segunda-feira, 6 de setembro de 2021

Grand Funk Railroad - Live Album 1970

Either you love or you hate it. Live Album by Grand Funk Railroad was a smash when released and those who loved it played it to death. A hard rock phenomenon of the waning days of the Sixties, Grand Funk proved over and over that they were the live performing act of the time, and this album is a testament to their in-concert power. AMG.

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Prince - Prince 1979

Expanding the urban R&B and funk approach of his debut, Prince is a considerably more accomplished record than his first effort, featuring the first signs of his adventurous, sexy signature sound. Although the album is still rather uneven, a handful of songs rank as classics. "I Wanna Be Your Lover" is excellent lite funk and "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" is a wonderful soulful plea, but "I Feel for You," a sexy slice of urban R&B with a strong pop melody, is the true masterpiece of Prince, indicating the major breakthroughs of his next album, Dirty Mind. AMG.

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Jasper - Liberation 1969

The British group Jasper put out a weird, unimpressively erratic album in 1969, Liberation. The unfocused record consisted largely of loose blues-rock that sometimes resembled lower-level John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in both their blues-rock and jazz/blues-rock phases, interspersed with odd repetitions of a classical theme, "Liberation." AMG.

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Seatrain - Seatrain 1969

Roots-fusion combo Seatrain formed from the ashes of the Blues Project -- following the exits of the New York-based group's other members. Flutist/bassist Andy Kulberg and drummer Roy Blumenfeld relocated to Marin County, CA, forming a new lineup with vocalist Jim Roberts, ex-Mystery Trend guitarist John Gregory, former Jim Kweskin Jug Band violinist Richard Greene, and saxophonist Don Kretmar. Though the group's 1968 album, Planned Obsolescence, was issued under the Blues Project name out of contractual obligations, the sextet immediately rechristened itself Seatrain to release a self-titled 1969 LP highlighted by their unique blend of rock, bluegrass, folk, and blues. A series of roster changes plagued the group in the months to follow, however, and in 1970 Seatrain -- now comprising KulbergRoberts and Greene in addition to keyboardist Lloyd Baskin, drummer Larry Atamanuik, and former Earth Opera guitarist Peter Rowan -- released their second album, also eponymously-titled, scoring a minor hit with the single "13 Questions." The George Martin-produced Marblehead Messenger followed a year later, with Greene and Rowan soon exiting to join MuleskinnerRoberts and Atamanuik left Seatrain as well, with the latter eventually resurfacing in Emmylou Harris' Nash Ramblers. The remaining duo of Kulberg and Baskin recruited guitarist Peter Walsh, keyboardist Bill Elliot, and drummer Julio Coronado for one final LP, 1973's Watch. AMG.

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801 - Live 1976

801 provided Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera with one of his most intriguing side projects. Although the band only played three gigs in August and September 1976, this album captures a night when everything fell right into place musically. That should only be expected with names like Eno and Simon Phillips in the lineup. (Still, the lesser-known players -- bassist Bill MacCormick, keyboardist Francis Monkman, and slide guitarist Lloyd Watson -- are in exemplary form, too.) The repertoire is boldly diverse, opening with "Lagrima," a crunchy solo guitar piece from Manzanera. Then the band undertakes a spacey but smoldering version of "Tomorrow Never Knows"; it's definitely among the cleverest of Beatles covers. Then it's on to crisp jazz-rock ("East of Asteroid"), atmospheric psych-pop ("Rongwrong"), and Eno's tape manipulation showcase, "Sombre Reptiles." And that's only the first five songs. The rest of the gig is no less audacious, with no less than three Eno songs -- including a frenetic "Baby's on Fire," "Third Uncle," and "Miss Shapiro"'s dense, syllable-packed verbal gymnastics. There's another unlikely cover of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me," while Manzanera turns in another typically gutsy instrumental performance on "Diamond Head." This album marks probably one of the last times that Eno rocked out in such an unself-consciously fun fashion, but that's not the only reason to buy it: 801 Live is a cohesive document of an unlikely crew who had fun and took chances. Listeners will never know what else they might have done if their schedules had been less crowded, but this album's a good reminder. AMG.

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