Quick Picks From the Disc Changer:
Ratdog 8/23/02- You can t do better than Europen Ratdog
Percy Hill, 1/12/00- Geminatrix > Exodus
KVHW, 10/28/98- My first exposure to KVHW back in the day
WSP, 8/6/03- A fantastic sounding acoustic show
Ravi Shankar, Live at Monterey – Afternoon listening
I recently picked up an iAudio M3 player because it plays both FLAC and WAV files (MP3s be damned!), and immediately grabbed a handful of discs that have been car discs- those I always have in the car- and put them on as permanent fixtures. Each one is a gem worth checking out.
This opening set for SCI at Red Rocks is one of the brightest, most energetic and utterly pleasing discs in my library. There isn’t even the hint of weakness. The shoeps source is phenomenal and transfers the bristly tingle of the performance perfectly- it’s the type of recording people are musing over when they say they rather hear an audience recording than a soundboard.
The band was in the thick of a song focus phase at the time, and here that phase is shown at very best. The tunes are shorter, concentrated and bursting at their seams. The compositions are on display and there are no transitions or suites- just sterling versions of 986 Ft Trees, an early Tokyo, Today and Rilly Wut? Required listening.
Warren Mix, Dead Summer Tour Samples
The Dead released FLAC samples from every show of the 04 summer tour, each chosen by a member of the band or crew- the end result was about 3 full discs worth of music to play with. From the first leg of the tour, I put together a mix that ended up being heavy on Warren, but really an amazing, weighty set, where everything flows nicely into one another (except for the Sugar Mag). The list goes: BT Wind, Madman, Low Spark, Sapce > China Doll, Lazy River Road, One, Cortez, Sugar Mag, and it’s a powerful listen. Sometimes I have to turn it off after Low Spark just to breath for a minute. There is this growl from Warren in the middle of Madman that just pushes it over the top, and Lazy River Road is gorgeous- it’s never been played so well before. Take a few minutes and put this one together.
Trey Anastasio, Live 1999
This little mix of soundboard cuts from the 99 tour, which ranks higher than most other Trey tours in my mind, largely because of the energy and vitality, and lack of self indulgence, has been circulating for a while now. It’s tight, tight music, the way these tunes were meant to be heard. In the frenetic, looped First Tube, a hugely funky strut drops down to just Trey alone on rhythm guitar and it’s so very, very bad. Primal Trey is so much more satisfying than with an orchestra, bemoaning a sappy tune. The disc also includes a hot version of Aqui Como Alla, and a swollen, body shaking Sand. This disc is simply exceptional. Get it.
Wayne Shorter, Danny Perez, John Pattitucci and Brian Blade- Piazza della Riforma, Lugano, Switzerland 7/13/01
This four song set is explosive right from the start, with just the right amount of pushing from all the band members. It is clearly a touring unit comfortable with both the material and each other. The members are willing and able to stretch the boundaries and attack the themes. The opening Sanctuary boils over with energy and excellent drumming from Brian Blade. Aung San Suu Kyi is equally stunning, packed with aggression and abandon. This is a very strong performance- a staple for my ears. *Peter Tosh- Live and Dangerous *
This official disc is from 6-11-76 (which is also the date of a fine Dead show by the way) and is high energy and entirely addictive. It opens with a great instrumental jam followed by Igziabeher (Let Jah Be Praised). The performance is loaded with that loving aggression and pride that led Tosh away from the Marley camp and down his own road- it’s all about the machine gun guitar. And in fact the guitar work on this disc is exceptional- just excellent, forceful but balanced playing. Some of the other highlights include a lengthy, preachy Burial, Mark of the Beast and a boiling Steppin’ Razor. I just can’t stop listening.