Best Live Albums of the 70's part 2.
I have already written one blog concerning live albums from the 70's. Here in no particular order are a few more of my favourites.
BOB SEGER – Live Bullet (released 1976)
In my previous blog regarding great live albums of the 70's, i mentioned KISS Alive! as the album that really put KISS on the rock and roll map. The same can be said for Bob Seger's Live Bullet. Seger had been consistently recording albums for several years (he had 7 at this point) and was always on the road. Trouble was, he hadn't really broke through beyond his home town of Detroit.
Live Bullet sees Seger playing Cobo Hall, and the adoring hometown crowd really spurred the band into a fantastic performance. Live Bullet features some of Seger's best songs delivered with passion and intensity. The album includes killer takes on the heartfelt Beautiful Loser and Turn The Page, along with rockers like Katmandu and his very first hit (dating back to the 60s) Ramblin' Gamblin' Man. Live Bullet demonstrates that the man and his band were hungry for success. Although success did come with this album, it was nothing compared to the album that followed this one, Night Moves which sent Bob and his band into the stratosphere.
THE BAND – The Last Waltz (released 1978)
The lineup of guest musicians on The Last Waltz is testament to the influence of The Band on their contemporaries. This triple album documenting The Band's farewell concert in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day 1976, features heavyweight guest musicians like Bob Dylan and Ronnie Hawkins (The Band were originally employed by these gentlemen), Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Van Morrison and so many others.
Although i find the album has ups and downs, a big highlight for me is Eric Clapton's fiery performance of Further On Up The Road. For as good as The Band were – they knew this was their Last Waltz and obviously gave everything they could give on this night - their guests added spark to the whole package. To their credit, this truly was The Band's Last Waltz as they never performed again.
THE ROLLING STONES – Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out (released 1970)
As the 70's dawned on us, the Rolling Stones had become a different band with the addition of Mick Taylor replacing Brian Jones. This was in fact the first tour to feature Taylor. Recorded in 1969 – which gave us the Altamont concert which you can witness in the concert film Gimme Shelter – Get Yer Ya-ya's Out is certainly the best live Stones album, if only for the spectacular 9 minute rendition of Midnight Rambler included here.
Although the band thrives in a live setting, Stones concerts have been hit and miss affairs. But this album, with several studio overdubs, delivers exciting versions of many early classics such as Street Fighting Man, Jumpin' Jack Flash and Sympathy For The Devil. Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out is a solid live album that documents the Stones steadily climbing to their early 70's peak years.
THE WHO – Live At Leeds (released 1970)
Interestingly, The Who booked a gig at the University of Leeds with the intent of recording and releasing a live album. There were countless live bootlegs of The Who. So Live At Leeds was released in part to counter this – the plain brown cover was made to look like a bootleg album. The original packaging of Live At Leeds included some some amazing band memorabilia, such as a rejection letter from EMI, handwritten lyrics, a receipt for smoke bombs, photographs and more. The first few hundred copies even included The Who's contract to play Woodstock.
But aside from the packaging, it's the music that makes this album worthwhile. Live At Leeds captures the maelstrom that were the Who. They are intense, loud and heavy. The album captures The Who as vicious, volatile and confidant. Such is the influence of this album that there is now a British Blue Plaque commemorating the concert at the University of Leeds. Tracks like Substitute, My Generation and Young Man Blues are pure rock and roll power. Live At Leeds is not for the faint of heart.
Off Rock contributor Mike Lang is a lifelong rock radio broadcaster. He has been known to play guitar live on occasion. @theemikelang