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Columns > Dan Alford - Audio Files

Published: 2007/07/29
by Dan Alford

Three from the Archives, Plus One

Quick Picks:
STS9 Podcast, The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature- The fantastic full set from Philly over Memorial Day
Phish- Headphone Jam- At this point, its just part of my musical diet
Grateful Dead, 4/16/78- My favorite show: Peggy O, Scarlet > Fire to close Set I, Estimated > Eyes in Set II
Wayne Shorter Quartet, 4/30/07- A breathtaking single suite set from Copenhagen
The Disco Biscuits, 10/28/99- The evil Spaga show
A reminder that Im now dishing out tunes for Stormy Mondays every other Monday in the Hidden Tracks section of Come check it out.
The Band, Washington, DC 8/16/76
This phenomenal concert was recorded for The King Biscuit Flour Hour radio show and has recently popped up again, circulating as a pre-FM with a couple tracks that didnt make on to the original broadcast, including Wheels On Fire and the lesser known Twilight and Forbidden Fruit. The sound is pristine and the performance is absolutely top notch. Im always captivated by Robbies guitar work- he doesnt play torrents of notes, but each one has so much edgy character. On it Makes No Difference he and Garth have some truly stand out interplay, an idea that resurfaces later in the show. The King Harvest is almost unbearably funky, Levons hang time and Dankos fat bass creating the ideal rhythm section. The show closes with a cathedral Genetic Method > Chest Fever, Cripple Creek and W.S. Wolcott for an encore. The only thing to do when youre done is listen to it again.
Neil Young, Live at Massey Hall
Neils archival series is only two releases in and is one of the best such programs around. This 71 acoustic show is stuffed with amazing material few had heard before, like Journey Through the Past, Helpless and A Man Needs a Maid > Heart of Gold. To be sure, it is a quiet and mostly melancholy performance, but it also glows with a real warmth. Neils voice is shockingly pretty throughout, something thats easy to forget if your ears are weighed down with Crazy Horse and the like, and his demeanor is so very similar to that at a solo acoustic show nowadays: hes puttering around between songs, muttering and telling half stories. Other standouts include Cowgirl in the Sand from early in the show, a great Ohio and the set closing Dance, Dance, Dance. I cant wait to see where this series will lead.
Hot Tuna, And Furthurmore
Hot Tuna has been around for 35 years now, in one form or another. And one of the best things about the band, aside from the down home, honey pickin’ blues infused with Bay Area sensibilities sound, is the fact that they’ve released so many live albums. In its mid-90s incarnation, with Jorma, Jack, Pete Sears, Mile Falzarano, and Harvey Sorgen on drums, Tuna released the Live at Sweetwater discs and Live in Japan, all three of which are absolutely smoking acoustic shows. But what was missing was the electric stuff. The contrast between the ambling lope of an acoustic show and the electrified Big Fish is like night and day. There is an unspeakably raw enthusiasm when Jorma takes out the red guitar, a feedback ridden hard-edged can of Hot Fuckin’ Tuna. Now since members of Tuna were part of every Furthur Tour in one form or another, even if it was just a guest appearance on the last one, it’s only appropriate that the band’s (as it stood) first live electric disc was culled from the powerhouse sets that opened Furthur 98. And what a disc! It captures the sense of a real set in compilation form better than any live disc by anyone. (Consider A Live One. eck!)
It opens with a furious I See the Light that shocks ya’ like a electric prod. Grinding bass and rolling drums, hot licks and long organ- time is oh so sweet. The ending jam that’s always been there is renamed Sunny Day Strut on the disc and it burns! Pete Sears is clearly one of the most underrated keyboard players around. Carrying the energy through Been So Long, the vibe is cooled by a nice True Religion and bittersweet 3rd Week. A deftly done Embryonic Journey bottoms out and with Light of the World the energy begins to build again. Jack starts jumpin’ in North Wind with Harvey’s steady hand matching him blow for blow and by the end of Water Song, it’s back in the saddle. It’s always bewildered me why more fans of instrumental music or just fantastic compositions don’t know about Tuna. God, just listen to the intricacies and changes in Water Song – this is music for the literate, for those who really love music! Mike takes vocal duties for a scorching Gypsy Fire and the all out rock n roll slam of Just My Way. Hypnotation and Big Railroad both serve to push this disc over the edge with screaming guitar duels and Jorma’s gravelly voice and the coup de grace is the amazing a-rhythmic stomp of an almost 12 minute Funky #7, complete with a hallucinatory middle eastern keyboard space. If you buy just one archive album this month, make it And Furthurmore.

moe. Hyannis, MA 7/6/07
I was at this show and it was awful, mainly because I could see that the boys were digging in and rocking hard, but no matter where I was, literally from the front row to the back, the Cape Cod Melody tent sounded awful. The guitars were almost inaudible and little was distinct in the muddle of sound. When I grabbed the soundboard from, where moe. has been releasing most of its 07 shows, it was immediately clear my sense was right: the show kicks ass, especially the second set. Its just two suites, Bullet > Lazarus > Blue Jeans and Pizza and Moth > Bullet > Moth, but thats obviously enough to make heads spin. The music is thick and hazy as an underlying tone, with flawless transitions, but it erupts into shredding bouts and driving charges. Al screams the three sheets segment of Moth four times, lighting the fuse for the tail end of the show. The encore here is also worth noting: McIntyre Range, The Pit and Bear Song. Really great moe..

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