Orleans - 2010 '75 Live Harvard Square

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ARTIST: Orleans
ALBUM: '75 Live Harvard Square
LABEL: Fuel
SERIAL: 302 061 612 2
YEAR: 2010

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: John Hall - guitars, vocals * Larry Hoppen - guitars, vocals, keyboards * Lance Hoppen - bass, vocals * Wells Kelly - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dance With Me * 02 Trenchtown Rock * 03 Please Be There * 04 Cold Spell * 05 Ending Of A Song * 06 If The Rabbit Had A Gun * 07 Two Faced World * 08 Let There Be Music * 09 Fat Mamma Blues * 10 Tongue Tied * 11 Time Passes On * 12 Still The One

RATING: image

Background

Released with little if any fanfare, I stumbled on this disc a few months back and am still in shock a vintage Orleans concert would be issued at all.

Take the good things as they come I suppose. Cheaply priced, the '75 Live Harvard Square' packaging is very basic, dressed up with a couple photos from the period and a brief biography.

A little more effort could have been put into it I think, but it is what it is and thankfully the sound quality is excellent.

The concert was recorded in the notorious Orleans hot spot of Boston, Massachusetts at the Harvard Square Theater by a then upstart local company called Starfleet.

Some of you may remember tuning in to some of Starfleet's live to air via satellite offerings during the late 70's and early 1980's and apparently Orleans was one of their first link-ups and it's a good one.

The Songs

Three albums into their career and the band were riding high on the top forty success of 'Dance With Me' which appropriately opens the set.

It's important to remember this was 1975, a time when brown and dusty blue laid back country influenced rock was all the rage and Orleans straight AOR and west coast days were a few years down the road. With that mind, there's plenty here to enjoy with hooks and tight playing aplenty.

The upbeat 'Please Be There' from the band's debut is a notch better than the original while 'Cold Spell' the best song from 'Let There Be Music' takes flight with killer guitar work from John Hall and is very reminiscent of early REO Speedwagon.

The title track from the same album has much of the same vibe, but it's on the achingly gorgeous 'Time Passes On' that Orleans truly shine, giving the Eagles a run for their money with melody and vocal harmonies to die for.

Last but not least is 'Still The One' which hadn't officially been released yet, but played live, it shows all the potential of the mega-hit single it would become the following year.

In Summary

Coming up in 2012 will be the 40th anniversary of Orleans as a band and it's hard to believe it's been that long.

So much good music in four decades with '75 Live Harvard Square' a welcome addition to their wonderful and evergreen catalog of American pop music at it's very best.


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