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‘Pig Pile’: Big Black live on their final tour, with members of Wire, 1987
07.23.2014
09:23 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Big Black
Wire
Steve Albini


 
In 1992, five years after their breakup in the wake of their amazing LP Songs About Fucking, the influential and scathing post-hardcore pioneers Big Black released a boxed set called Pig Pile, which featured a shirt, a poster, a VHS tape, a vinyl LP, and a clear-vinyl 5” single. The LP and VHS were documents of the band’s July 1987 concert at London’s Hammersmith Clarendon, and the 5” was a totally incongruous cover of the Mary Jane Girls’ “In My House.”
 

In My House by Big Black on Grooveshark

 
Yyyyyyyep.

Talking to NME about the show, the band’s singer/guitarist Steve Albini had this to offer:

We made a splash immediately before we broke up; now a band starts shopping its demos to majors after its third rehearsal. By the end, I think we improved; on the live record and video we were probably as good as we were ever gonna be. That gig was exciting—there was this giant belch and everyone involved in this giant belch felt immensely relieved afterwards.

 

 
It was indeed a hell of a belch. The band at its height was known for a relentlessly concussive and scarifying musical blitz—Albini’s guitar tone alone could practically sever limbs—paired with true-story lyrics that unflinchingly detailed the most reprehensible of human behaviors, often to genuinely chilling effect. The videotape and album show the band slaying an excoriating best-of set, and for their encore, a cover of Wire’s “Heartbeat,” they were joined onstage by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis in what must have been a fan-fantasy score of a lifetime. The LP was rereleased as a CD in short order, and inevitably came out on vinyl again in the ‘oughts, but the video has never been reissued in any format. Per the band’s label, Touch and Go records,

In 1992, Touch and Go released a Big Black live album and video, titled Pig Pile, that were recorded (mostly) in 1987 during Big Black’s final tour. Someday, we might release the video on DVD. Until then, please don’t ask us about it.

As of this writing, used copies of the complete set are being offered on discogs.com for between $60 USD (box condition fair, shirt worn) and well over $200. But if you’re really that hot to watch it, and you don’t mind tiny and fuzzy, here it is.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Shellac Pistols’: Shellac and David Yow do the Sex Pistols, 1998
Awkward, hilarious interview with Steve Albini
Absolute Nirvana: new Steve Albini mixes push in utero anniversary set into essential territory

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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See Laibach’s almost terrifying final performance with Tomaž Hostnik, 1982
07.23.2014
08:00 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Laibach


 
Tomaž Hostnik, who was one of Laibach’s first lead singers, gave his final performance with them on December 11, 1982 in Zagreb. Ten days later, he committed what Laibach describes as a “ritual suicide,” hanging himself from a kozolec—an ancient iconic Slovene hayrack, as was depicted on the cover of Laibach’s Rekapitulacija 1980-1984 box set, the group’s first album to obtain release worldwide.

Though laibach.org tells us that “Laibach disapproved of his act of suicide and posthumously expelled Hostnik from the group, returning him to his private identity,” the bloody-but-unbowed image above and Hostnik’s theoretical contributions remain of foundational importance to Laibach and the NSK State, Laibach’s country without territory.

Amok Books’ beautiful, long out-of-print catalog, Neue Slowenische Kunst, reprints several of Hostnik’s writings. In “The Origin of the Source of the New People’s Creativity,” he diagnoses the terminal illness of “so-called contemporary popular production” in a few oracular, Laibachian paragraphs: “the ceremonial and ritual elements are eliminated and automatically transformed into an affiliation to industrial and political life, which is again merely a state of continuous dependence.” Asked by a Slovenian organization called the Music Lovers Club to comment on the New Romantic fad, Hostnik penned “On the Delicateness of New-Romanticism (An instigation to reflection),” which, as promised, offers old answers to old questions. His 1982 poem, “Apologia Laibach,” is counted among the group’s manifestos:

Since when, sons of truth, are you the brothers of night?
What colors your hands with the redness of blood?

The explosion in the night is the flower of woe,
nothing can be justified by it.
The altar cannot be destroyed,
the altar of lies, that multiplies shapes.

The spotless picture, the painless lights,
the only harbors of the terrible night.

We are the children of the spirit and the brothers of strength,
whose promises are not fulfilled.
We are the black ghosts of this world,
we sing the mad image of woe.

The explanation is the whip and you bleed:

Break the mirror of the world for the hundredth time, —
all your efforts are in vain. We have overcome the night:
our debt has been paid
and the light is ours.

This footage of Hostnik’s last performance, first released on Vinyl-on-Demand’s Gesamtkunstwerk box set in 2011, is now available for all the world to see on Laibach’s YouTube. Has an unmanned drum set ever looked so sinister?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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‘Cruelty Without Beauty’: Soft Cell’s criminally unknown 2002 reunion album
07.22.2014
07:43 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Marc Almond
Soft Cell
David Ball
Bob Gaudio


 
Most of the time when a band reforms, the results are lackluster. A creative partnership that’s run its course isn’t easily resurrected for love nor money and usually it’s for the latter and not the former that most reunion albums and tours occur.

That’s the way that I normally feel, but when Marc Almond and David Ball decided to reform Soft Cell in 2001 I was very excited to see what they’d come up with after 18 years. They had worked together on a few thing in the years since Soft Cell split in 1984, so it wouldn’t be an issue of them looking backwards to the 80s or anything like that. The idea of a mature Soft Cell seemed vastly appealing.

The first thing they released was “God Shaped Hole,” a track that was a part of a 2001 Some Bizarre compilation album titled, I’d Rather Shout at a Returning Echo than Kid That Someone’s Listening. They went on to record their unfairly neglected Cruelty Without Beauty album, which came out in 2002 and toured the globe in support of it. Sadly ticket sales were poor and most of the US dates were cancelled. I was lucky enough to catch them at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles (which was packed) and they put on one hell of an amazing show that balanced the hits with the new material.

The lead single from Cruelty Without Beauty was “Monoculture,” an infectiously catchy, but sharply-pointed diatribe about the bland horror show that popular culture was becoming (and this is years before the Kardashians or Cupcake Wars...) The evil Ronald McDonald-type character seen in the video is Some Bizzare label boss and former Soft Cell manager Stevo Pearce.
 

 
More Soft Cell after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Privilege’: Peter Watkins powerful antidote to 1960s pop hysteria
07.22.2014
12:34 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Peter Watkins
Jean Shrimpton
Paul Jones

privipost.jpg
 
Set sometime in a none too distant future, Peter Watkins’ debut feature Privilege from 1967 told the story of god-like pop superstar Steven Shorter, who is worshiped by millions and manipulated by a coalition government to keep the youth “off the streets and out of politics.”

Inspired by a story from sitcom writer Johnny Speight (creator of Till Death Us Do Part which was remade in America as All in the Family), Privilege was an antidote to Swinging Sixties’ pop naivety. While Speight may have had a more biting satirical tale in mind, screenwriter Norman Bogner together with director Watkins made the film a mix of “mockumentary” and political fable, which was a difficult balance to maintain over a full ninety minutes without falling into parody.
 
privi1eppj.jpg
 
Though it has its faults, Watkins succeeded overall, and presented the viewer with a selection of set pieces that later influenced scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, Lindsay Anderson’s O, Lucky Man! and Ken Russell’s Tommy.

Watkins also later noted how his film:

....was prescient of the way that Popular Culture and the media in the US commercialized the anti-war and counter-culture movement in that country as well. Privilege also ominously predicted what was to happen in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain of the 1980s - especially during the period of the Falkland Islands War.

 
privi2jpjs.jpg
Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton have a “private” moment.
 
On its release, most of the press hated it as Privilege didn’t fit with their naive optimism that pop music would somehow free the workers from their chains and bring peace and love and drugs and fairies at the bottom of the garden, la-de-da-de-dah, no doubt.

In fact Privilege was at the vanguard of a series of similarly styled films (see above) that would come to define the best of British seventies cinema. The movie would also have its fair share of (unacknowledged) influence on pop artists like David Bowie and Pink Floyd, while Patti Smith covered the film’s opening song “Set Me Free.”
 
privi1jp1.jpg
 
What’s also surprising is how the film’s lead, Paul Jones (then better known as lead singer of Manfred Mann) never became a star. As can be seen from his performance here as Steven Shorter, Jones could have made a good Mick Travis in If…, or Alex in A Clockwork Orange.

Jones went onto make the equally good The Committee but (shamefully) little work came thereafter apart from reading stories on children’s TV.

Ah, the fickle nature of fame, but perhaps he should have known that from playing Steven Shorter.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Ant music for sex people’: Adam and the Ants live
07.22.2014
07:40 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Adam and the Ants


 
Like Genesis and Ministry, Adam and the Ants had two distinct phases, each with fan bases that don’t always quite overlap 100%. Pre-1980, they were a raw, spiky post-punk band with sharp, fetishy lyrics. Things changed quickly for them in 1980, when their manager, the infamous Sex Pistols impresario Malcolm McLaren, poached most of the band for a new project called Bow Wow Wow. But eviscerating the group proved not to be such a terrible idea. Singer Stuart “Adam Ant” Goddard continued with an entirely new band, and a major sound and image overhaul. On the presentation end, the band dove headlong into an embrace of the new romanticism, favoring an overwrought leather-pantsed-new-wave-pirate look which unaccountably struck people at the time as just absolutely dead sexy. Well, it actually DID look good on Ant. Most of the rest of the band just kinda looked goofy.

Witness:
 

 
On the musical end, the Ants adopted a distinctive dual-drum attack inspired by the Royal Drummers of Burundi, and, just as critically, enlisted Siouxsie and the Banshees’ founding guitarist Marco Pirroni, who’d become Ant’s co-songwriter and a major influence on the band’s direction just as it started to find wide fame. This version of Adam and the Ants released Kings of the Wild Frontier and Prince Charming, both of which featured more sophisticated song craft than the band’s first iteration, and both of which ate the charts for breakfast. The single “Stand and Deliver,” for example, entered the UK charts at #1, and remained there for weeks.

The band broke up in 1982, and Ant embarked on a solo career, but it was an in-name-only breakup, really, as the creative nexus of Ant and Pirroni remained together. In fact, Pirroni has contributed to every Adam Ant solo album, all the way up to one that came out last year.

Live video of the first incarnation of Adam and the Ants is damnably difficult to find. The most widely available representation of that period is the album Dirk Wears White Sox, released in 1979 in the UK, 1983 in the US (A Jack Sparrow-lookin’ Ant recently reunited with band members of that era to play the album in its entirety), but the best video I could dig up is this delightful miming along with “Plastic Surgery” from Derek Jarman’s Jubilee:
 

 
Here’s one that features their early manager Jordan singing the song “Lou,” and Adam Ant backing her on vocals for “Puerto Rican.”
 

 
When I sought live footage of the far better-known second version of the band, holy shit, motherlode. Search for them on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean. Their visual presentation made them a sought-after act for televised music shows—and of course, the band’s early ‘80s heyday coincided with the launch of MTV, who couldn’t play their videos enough—but among the best footage I’ve found is this late 1981 show taped in Tokyo (setlist). I had always wondered if the distinctive vocal harmonies that featured prominently on their LPs were pulled off well in a live setting. Answer: actually not bad.
 

 
And then there’s this heavy performance of “Dog Eat Dog” in Manchester, 1980:

 
When Kings of the Wild Frontier was released in America, Epic Records, probably sensing that they might have a HUGE new act on their hands—maybe even a teeny-bopper phenomenon—lowered the price of the album to just $3.99 at a time when most albums were in the $6.98 list price range. Between that, Solid Gold and MTV, Adam and the Ants soon became famous in the US as well. Here’s a contemporary documentary about the American Ants invasion that is tons of fun:

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Happy Birthday Kim Fowley: The Lord of Garbage turns 75 today!
07.21.2014
03:10 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Kim Fowley

lkrfgjhmrlkt
 
The most incredible mind in the history of rock n’ roll turns three quarters of a century today! Truly the greatest living treasure/encyclopedia of pop culture, and creator of it is still sharp as a tack! Here’s a run down of who Mr. Fowley is, taken from my liner notes from the new Kim Fowley compilation (Volume Four!) Technicolor Grease: Lost Treasures from the Vaults 1959-1969, Vol. 4 on Norton Records

As impossible as it may seem, the last living Rock N Roll computer is alive, in our midst and featured on this LP. The thought that one man’s every waking hour from the very first days of Rock N Roll to right this minute as you read this have been entrenched & dedicated to the original concept of the Outrageous teenage rampage, a finger in every pie musical & otherwise, is mind numbing. Mr. Fowley has a perfect grasp of every type of music & has produced/instigated/created it all. From rocking’ instrumentals, surf music, soul (real soul, yeah), real greasy rhythm & blues, rockabilly, tuff teen garage, all the stuff we dig including inventing the art of making insane anti-records aimed at failing, for his own amusement.

But wait! He didn’t ever stop. He was the star of the 1st Mothers LP (“Help I’m A Rock”) and on into demented psychedelia, Glitter Rock, Punk & more. He has had his finger in the big gold pies too. And the music we hate, much to his credit. Turn around & there’s Kim writing a Kiss song, or something with Nirvana! Yup. Kim techno music haha yes, even that. The guy never sleeps & has a grasp on it all.

NO ONE has gone all the way except Kim. And he retains unreal factoid minutiae. He will ramble off on any obscure Rock N Roll singer at length and always tell you something you don’t know. Ask him the same question twice? You will get a whole new set of answers. Fact check ‘em (if even possible) and it all checks out. I don’t know if he’s human & i’m not sure if Mr. Fowley was the original alien dumped on this planet to steer us whenever lost back in the WRONG direction. It’s all in that big Frankenstein head of his. And in that big Frankenstein heart that he hid so well for so long. But I have seen it folks! It is real.

Approaching 75, he has slowed down a little but will never stop. As we have spent our lives searching & researching Kim has been inventing & reinventing, always making trouble. It’s all one thing to him, one continuous movement, one mission. Even if we want to stop it at 1966, he will never understand what that means. It stops when Kim stops. When he stops much will halt & NOTHING will ever be the same.  Kim Fowley has all the answers. Here are 16 of them.

 

 
The first three volumes (One Man’s Garbage, Another Man’s Gold and King of the Creeps) are a perfect primer of the inside and WAY outside of rock ‘n’ roll from the very beginning, as I said, the man has done it all. Norton Records book division Kicks Books has put out what is literally, to these eyes, the best rock n’ roll autobiography I’ve ever read in my life! Lord of Garbage (which also comes with its own signature Garbage perfume, as all Kicks books do) is part one of a multi-volume autobiography, and goes from 1939-1969 and is more shocking, more interesting, informative and insane than anything I’ve ever read. And it’s not even into the 1970’s yet! The last volume has been instructed to come out just after his death. If that day ever comes.
 
fgnfkim
 
Though he has been battling cancer recently, he has, as he done before, kicked its ass. He has also been making underground films that you can see on YouTube (including Black Room Doom, Dollboy: The Movie, Satan Of Silverlake, The Golden Road To Nowhere, Frankenstein Goes Surfing, Trailer Park’s On Fire and Jukebox California). Kim was portrayed by actor Michael Shannon in the 2010 film The Runaways. Also check out his radio show on Sirius radio.

Our Animal Man never stops and never will! Please join us in celebrating the man that has more energy than three 25 year olds! Kim Fowley, happy 75th!
 

 

 

 
Below, the author wishes the Animal Man a happy 71st birthday:

 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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The next to last waltz: The Band live in Asbury Park, NJ, 1976
07.21.2014
01:45 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Band


 
When The Band were taped in concert at Asbury Park’s Casino Arena on July 20, 1976—thirty eight years ago yesterday to be exact—plans were already afoot for their final appearance that fall in San Francisco that would be filmed for Martin Scorsese’s documentary, The Last Waltz. Knowing that this show would be among their final onstage outings together as a band, The Band are in fine form here, the energy is high and, as always, the musicianship is as good as it gets.

Recently, I posted about the full “Last Waltz” concert as it was recorded via Winterlands house video feed which is fascinating on so many levels, but not the least of which is hearing The Band without all of the studio fussing and overdubs that Robbie Robertson is famous (infamous?) for. Here, as with that (truly incredible) “Alternate Last Waltz” video, what we have is The Band, a group fabled for their near-telepathic communication as musicians as they actually sounded in the raw… damned good! (And unlike in The Last Waltz, you get to see the other band members besides Robbie Robertson. At least you can see the top of Garth Hudson’s head from time to time!)

The version of “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” at 1:12:00 is a must listen—it might be my top favorite song by The Band—and the final encore of “Life Is A Carnival” that follows it is a thing of great beauty also.

Until or unless a full show from The Band taped after this one turns up, I guess you could call this one the “next to last waltz.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Be a fly on the wall when Bob Dylan and Bette Midler went into the studio together, 1975
07.21.2014
11:06 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Bob Dylan
Bette Midler


 
Bob Dylan and Bette Midler recorded together in October 1975 duetting on a cover of “Buckets of Rain” for her Songs for the New Depression album. Dylan apparently also wanted Midler to be a part of his Rolling Thunder Revue. Six years ago, a 27-minute long fly on the wall recording from this session started making the rounds on bootleg sites as part of Bob Dylan New York Sessions 1974-1975.

The original bootlegger says:

“It opens with some upgrades of the original Blood On The Tracks sessions from September 1974, and progresses chronologically through some early Desire sessions, winding up to the main event: almost half an hour of never-heard October 1975 session outtakes of the recording of Bette Midler’s cover of “Buckets Of Rain” with Dylan, which would show up on her Songs For The New Depression album the following January.”

At one point Midler demures saying, “I can’t sing ‘I ain’t no monkey,’” but Dylan gently coaxes her into it.  Moogy Klingman backs them on piano and at one point Dylan sings a full-throated version of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles “You Really Got A Hold On Me” with and Midler. The Divine Miss M also dishes on Paul Simon, who she says refuses to speak to her.

“This’ll show him!”

Midler cattily refers to Patti Smith as well, saying “At least I can sing in tune!” What exactly she is referring to here is not spelled out, but in an interview with Barry Miles, Smith tells the story of Midler throwing a beer in her face at a Dylan-related private event in New York around this time. Maybe she saw Patti as competition for Dylan’s affections? (Midler later revealed that she got to “first base” with Dylan in his Cadillac, so perhaps that’s what the remark and the beer incident was all about?)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Chuck Berry and Little Richard headline the London Rock & Roll Show 1972

rockpos72.jpg
 
The London Rock and Roll Show was the first major pop concert to be held at Wembley Stadium, the sports arena later famed for LiveAid and the Freddie Mercury tribute concert.

Headlining the show that day on August 5, 1972 were the undisputed Kings of Rock ‘n’ Roll Chuck Berry and Little Richard. These gods were ably supported by Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Screaming Lord Sutch and Billy Fury. Some of the booked acts couldn’t make the concert due to visa issues, but those who did turn up delivered a blistering set of rock ‘n’ roll classics. The whole event was filmed by Peter Clifton, who later directed Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same, and given a brief cinema release. The performances are interspersed by an interview with Mick Jagger who gives his thoughts about the show—something he claims could never have happened a decade before—and watch out for a young Malcolm McLaren selling T-shirts at his Let It Rock stall.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘CSNY 1974’: Listen to exclusive live tracks from Crosby, Still, Nash and Young


Photo: Joel Bernstein

Not only am I one of those people who gets all squirmy if a concert goes on for much longer than an hour, I tend to really hate live albums. So why did I spend six straight hours yesterday listening intently to CSNY 1974, the new 40 song live box set from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young all the way through twice in back to back playings? Because it’s the best archival rock release of the year…

The coked-out megalomanical circus that saw David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and Neil Young storm across America in the first and most decadent superstar open air stadium tour of the rock era was nicknamed the “Doom Tour” by Crosby because of the feuding, the drugs and the fact that a small army of promoters and hangeroners were sucking at their hyper-megastar corporate rock teets like there was no tomorrow. There had been big rock tours in the past, but CSNY’s extra ginormous 1974 outing—dreamed up by manager Elliot Roberts and put into action by rock promoter Bill Graham—was like plotting an invasion of each new town that the show moved to. The beachheads were 50-70,000 seat football arenas, which saw stages erected and massive PA systems hooked up by a legion of roadies. Other acts on the tour included The Band, Joni Mitchell, Santana and the Beach Boys.

The “Doom Tour” grossed $11 million back when $11 million was still a hell of a lot of money, but the principals only pocketed half a mill each after expenses (and the promoters) were paid. There’s an amusing “oral history” of the trek at Rolling Stone.com. Only Young kept both feet (literally) on the ground, traveling in a bus with his son Zeke and avoiding the insanity, but suffice to say that the debauchery and rockstar egos—at least from the evidence on display here—didn’t interfere with the music, which is insanely good.
 

“Carry Me”

The musicianship on CSNY 1974  is first rate, better even than their earlier live album 4 Way Street as each member had creatively matured since the 1970 tour. In Stephen Stills we have one of the single most remarkable guitarists of the rock era. Don’t get me wrong, Neil Young is no slouch on the six-string himself, but with Stills—as opposed to with Crazy Horse—his ragged, idiosyncratic playing is obliged to conform to, fight against and to parry with Stills’ more structured and almost architectural guitar style. Musically at least, they bring out the best in each other, but it’s Stills who provides the foundation in CSNY that Young reacts to and then he in turn reacts to what Young does, and lemme tell ya, it’s breathtaking. If, like some people, you approach CSNY solely from the POV of Young’s perhaps more “aloof” contributions, these are some canonical performances by him here that I think any Neil Young freak would go absolutely nuts over. (Five of the songs in the set composed by Young—“Traces,” “Goodbye Dick,” “Love Art Blues,” “Hawaiian Sunrise” and “Pushed It Over the End” –appear on CSNY 1974 for the first time on any official release.)

For all the talk of the backstage feuds, there is simply no sign of this in the onstage camaraderie documented here, which is supportive, fraternal and joyously ecstatic. A good example of this comes with Stills’ delicate piano backing of Young on “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.” Other highlights of the set include several “solo” numbers: a simply smouldering take on Young’s “On The Beach,” a gorgeous rendition of Crosby’s confessional “Carry Me” (at that point still un-issued on record), Nash’s “Grave Concern” from his dark, nearly unknown Wild Tales solo LP and Stills’ motherfucker of a rip, spitting his way through a frantic “Word Game.”

There are various configurations of CSNY 1974 on vinyl, CDs, DVD and Blu-ray Pure Audio discs. Unless you have to have vinyl (and are a masochist who loves flipping six records over) I’d highly suggest going with the version that Rhino sent me, the Blu-ray, which has all 40 songs—there were three sets, two rock sets with an acoustic set in between—on one disc so you can just relax and take it all in for three hours. Another reason to opt for the Blu-ray set is that it sounds really, really good. Produced by Graham Nash and the group’s longtime archivist, Joel Bernstein, the set was culled from the tapes of nine shows that were recorded by Elliot Mazer, the tour’s audio engineer and others. The audio quality here is astonishingly good for 40-year-old live recordings to begin with, but it would be remarkable sounding if it was recorded yesterday. The acoustic guitars chime, the electric leads cut through you like a knife, Stills and Young’s duelling guitars complement and argue with each other. You’ve got the heavenly harmonies of Crosby and Nash mic’d so closely that you can hear their breath. The piano has presence and clarity as if it had been recorded in a studio and not at an open air sports arena in front of 50,000 screaming fans. You get the idea. At least when all of that money was flying out the door unaccounted for, they got these great recordings out of it. The mastering was done by Bernie Grundman (an audiophile mark of distinction) after it was mixed down by Nash, Bernstein and Stanley Tajima Johnston in 192-kHz/24-bit resolution. [To anyone who says that stuff doesn’t make a difference, I defy you to listen to the acoustic set on Blu-ray and tell me you’ve heard a more “intimate” sounding live recording, ever. I suspect that Nash and Bernstein presented their work to Stills and the notoriously picky audiophile Young with confidence. What else would there be for Neil Young to say other than “Hey, great job, guys!”?]
 


“Grave Concern”

To my mind CSNY 1974 is the “classic rock” release of the year so far. It’s so damned good that I can’t imagine anything coming along and topping it, either, but if that did occur, then 2014 will be a good year for rock snobs, overflowing with an embarrassment of riches like this and the Led Zeppelin remasters.

Like the majority of Amazon reviewers, Ima gonna give CSNY 1974 five stars. One woman writes that she bought it for her husband and gave it to him before they were going to go out and eat. They opted instead to stay home and listen to it all the way through. That was my reaction to it, too. I expected to like it, but I liked it so much that I spent six hours straight with it. Not listening while surfing on my iPad, but listening to it. Listening intently and digging the shit out of it. In summation: CSNY 1974 is fucking good. You want a box set to feel like a good value and Christmas day simultaneously and this one truly does.

(Did I mention that there’s a separate DVD of video performances shot at Wembley Stadium and at Landover, MD’s Capital Centre? That’s awesome, too.)

Here’s something fascinating, a black and white video recording of an impromptu CSNY set taped at Winterland in 1973. It was originally a Stephen Stills and Manassas concert, then some “very special guests” showed up. At the time Neil Young was on his Tonight’s the Night tour with the Santa Monica Flyers and Crosby & Nash were touring as a duo. It’s sloppy, sure, the four hadn’t played together in over two years at this point, but it’s history, baby! Neil Young, perhaps emphasizing his independence from the other three, doesn’t come onstage until the fifth number:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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