These weekends come and go so fast now that I hardly get a chance to sit down and enjoy, much less appreciate my fine vinyl selections. And while I’m listening to something now I’m also doing so while cleaning out the cats litter boxes so, “appreciating”, yeah, maybe not as much as I’d like to be. But regardless, it’s happening. This evening’s sole “Vinyl Sunday” celebration is the ‘Live in Concert‘ album by the James Gang.
Released in September 1971, this album contains the highlights of performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City (the album cover actually features the horses parked outside of Carnagie Hall in front of the concert poster advertising the event). This album is the last James Gang release to feature Joe Walsh as guitarist and vocalist and Bill Szymczyk as producer and engineer.
As a few of the albums in my collection are, this is in pretty rough condition. The cover is all faded and torn and the album looks like it’s been scrubbed with steel wool. No matter though because, as with these “gems in the rough”, that poor condition actually enhances the listening experience…in my opinion, anyway. And that’s the only opinion I’m really interested in, so there.
The James Gang earned a great number of fans through their live performances, and this album captures much of the energy of those live performances, with Walsh’s guitar solos catching fire on nearly every song. However, the record also makes it clear that he was beginning to outgrow the confines of the James Gang, as the rest of the band struggled to keep up with his imaginative playing for most of the album. Funnily enough, five of the eight songs here are cover tunes, including the R&B classic ‘Stop‘ that Jimi Hendrix also delivers on his ‘Live at the Fillmore East‘ album, but rather than the relatively straight-ahead version Jimi’s Band of Gypsy’s does, the James Gang absolutely pummels the song into the ground. Other great covers include Albert King’s ‘You’re Gonna Need Me‘ and Jeff Beck’s ‘Lost Woman‘, which features an amazing vocal jam at the tail end.
Great way to end an otherwise fast-tracked weekend.
The cat shit?
Not so much.