Now that the weekend is here, and you’ve finally got some room to move, why not kick it off with these two live videos of John Mayall and His Bluesbreakers (probably the seminal british blues band) performing “An Eye For An Eye” and “Room To Move”. Just think of all the fantastic musicians who were Bluesbreakers at one time or other: Peter Green, Eric Clapton, John McVie, Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Aynsley Dunbar, and Mick Taylor just to name a handful. To this day, The Turning Point, John Mayall’s live album recorded at Bill Graham‘s Fillmore East on July 12, 1969, is still one of my top ten albums.
Note: In November 2008 Mayall announced on his website he was disbanding the Bluesbreakers to cut back on his heavy workload and give himself freedom to work with other musicians.
Another CD which I recently picked up was Ann Wilson’s first-ever solo effort ‘Hope & Glory,’ from Zoë/ Rounder Records. Produced by Ben Mink, Hope & Glory features appearances from such artists as Elton John, Gretchen Wilson, Alison Krauss, Rufus Wainwright, Ann’s sister Nancy Wilson and others on unique renditions of songs made famous by Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young and more. In these two videos, Ann Wilson performs unique covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant song” (Track 5) and Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky” (Track 1).
I was tagging songs on my Last.fm account the other day (I like to listen to an eclectic mix of music while I work) when I noticed the sheer number of live albums which were being scrobbled from my music library. In no particular order or ranking (they are all equally excellent listening):
Perhaps it was the advent of the music video, MTV, the videotape recorder/player and the eventual evolution of the DVD player along with the rest of the technological wonders of the last twenty years or so that led to the gradual demise of the great live albums. Has any recent band and/or musician released a live album that measures up to the great live albums like those listed above? Where is the impetus for bands/musicians today to record great live albums if a video or a DVD will suffice? I don’t know. There’s something about a really well recorded live album that sticks with you long after you have heard it. It’s like an artifact of an other time. As much as a video or a DVD may attempt to (and in certain ways it may surpass a live recording) it doesn’t capture this aspect of the live album experience. Perhaps this is why field recordings are still so popular.
Let me ask, if and when a Zappa “Roxy DVD” is released, will it take away any of the mystique from the original vinyl recording?