Essential Series - 2019 Live Albums Vol 1

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited November 2020 in Essential Series

ARTICLE: The Essential Series - Live Albums Volume 1, by Gdazegod
YEAR: 2019


When I was a kid growing up, we had the occasional live album in the family collection. Much of it wasn't rock, as Mum and Dad had other.. Err hmm.. 'tastes', like country and western.

From the mid 70's onwards, things took an upward surge as live recordings became more common, bought about because record labels could release them quite quickly and cheaply. Coupled with lavish packaging, usually as double gatefold albums, some of these became collectors items. Somehow, the 2LP format/versions were far superior to the CD copies which were reissued years later.

Many of the bigger acts of the day recorded and released a live album at some point. The only exception that I can recall (of the bands I was really into) was The Doobie Brothers, who during their popular era never quite got around to it. They did tour to New Zealand in 1974, as my brother went up to Auckland to see them. Montrose was another, so too Bad Company during their 70's era, and maybe also Jefferson Starship, though I stand to be corrected on that one.

Some bands released a live album more as an epitaph, like the Eagles and Angel during 1980.

Southern rock and blues bands/acts were a popular arena drawcard on the U.S summer circuit during the mid-late 70's, with many shows being recorded. As a result, there were a cluster of releases between 1975 and 1979. It was a productive live/arena circuit for sure.

Let's take a trip back down memory lane and rediscover some live classics.

The Albums


UFO - 1979 Strangers In The Night

Recorded at: International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Louisville Gardens, Louisville and Record Plant Mobile Studio, October 13–18, 1978.

It was one of my favourite live albums from the glory days. Released in 1979, but recorded on the bands 1978 'Obsession' tour, it was the last to feature Michael Schenker before he departed for a short-term stint with The Scorpions during their 'Love Drive' era before eventually going solo in 1980. This album still holds pride of place amongst live albums, with Ron Nevison pulling strings on engineering and production. All the UFO greats are here. 'Doctor Doctor', 'Lights Out', 'Rock Bottom', 'Love To Love' and 'Too Hot To Handle'. I really don't need to say anymore do I?

UFO - Mother Mary


Judas Priest - 1979 Unleashed In The East

Kosei Nenkin Hall and Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo, 10, 15 February 1979.

I distinctly recall buying this LP around Christmas/New Year 1979, the cover art alone was enough to flash the cash for this one. In the years following, many punters suggested this album spent more time being doctored in the studio than left as a genuinely live and raw recording. I've heard enough terribly recorded live material to last a lifetime; thank god they dressed this one up because it sounds fantastic!


Judas Priest - Victim Of Changes


Thin Lizzy - 1978 Live And Dangerous

14 November 1976, London, England with Maison Rouge Mobile * 20 and 21 October 1977, Philadelphia, US * 28 October 1977, Toronto, Ontario, Canada with Record Plant Mobile * January 1978, Des Dames Studio, Paris, France (overdubs and mixing)

This is another live album accused by many of studio trickery, but what the hell! Released in 1978, but recorded over several dates on the 'Bad Reputation' tour the year prior, this marks a line in the sand for the great Irish band in their recorded history. The dual guitar of Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham speaks volumes, and as for Phil Lynott, the bloke was a champion songwriter and bassist. Irresistible stuff!


Thin Lizzy - Don't Believe A Word


Uriah Heep - 1973 Live!

Recorded during the British Tour January 1973

As a curious 9-year-old, this is one album I grew up with. Double live, with the beautiful gatefold opening out to a fantastic set of photos of the band members in a live setting. The material is mostly sourced from their last three studio albums ('Look At Yourself', 'Demons And Wizards' and 'The Magicians Birthday'), but classics from prior to that such as 'Gypsy' are not ignored either. The 'Rock N Roll Medley' at the tail of the album is the icing on the cake!


Uriah Heep - Look At Yourself


Journey - 1981 Captured

Recorded at: The Forum in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on August 8, 1980 * Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan on August 4 & 5 1980 * Koseinenkin Hall, Shinjyuku, Tokyo, Japan on October 13, 1980 * Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California (Studio recording)

This was the transition point for Journey, with Gregg Rolie departing and Jonathan Cain joining. The mega-era for the band was just around the corner. As a live statement, there's a lot of energy displayed throughout, more so than what you hear on their studio albums. Other than the usual culprits you'd expect to hear on an album like this, the band add in the previously unrecorded 'Dixie Highway' and a new studio track 'The Party's Over (Hopelessly In Love)'. Oh, and how about that album cover? Spectacular!


Journey - Dixie Highway


Ted Nugent - 1978 Double Live Gonzo

Recorded at: Springfield Civic Center , June 1976 (track 2.2) * Municipal Auditorium , Dallas, July 1976 (tracks 1.5, 2.5) * San Antonio Convention Center , July 1976 (track 1.6) * Nashville Municipal Auditorium , July 1977 (tracks 1.1, 2.3, 2.4) * Seattle Center Coliseum , August 1977 (track 2.1) * Taylor County Coliseum , Abilene, Texas, November 1977 (tracks 1.2, 1.4) * Freeman Coliseum , San Antonio, November 1977 (track 1.3)

I'm not quite sure why Epic Records decided to release two Ted Nugent live albums in short succession. This one in 1978 and 'Intensities In Ten Cities' in 1981. Whoever at Epic was reading the tea leaves (or more likely Billboard) obviously got it right. During this era, Nugent really was a tour-de-force in the live arena, so cashing in on his strengths was a no-brainer. This double live set captures wild-man Ted at his rampaging best!


Ted Nugent - Yank Me Crank Me


Blackfoot - 1982 Highway Song Live

After three decent studio LP's for Atco and relentless touring, the time was ripe to take a break and release a live album in 1982. The material was mostly sourced from shows recorded during their summer tour to the UK in 1981. It's a rowdy affair, but you wouldn't want it any other way with a high octane Southern rock band like Blackfoot. This album represents an end of an era for the Jacksonville rockers, as their direction turned to a more commercial AOR style for their next two albums which didn't quite work out.


Blackfoot - Dry County


Golden Earring - 1977 Live

Recorded at Rainbow Theatre, London, 1977.

These guys started out as a Nederpop band, but gradually transitioned to hard rock. Their music retained a slight tinge of quirkiness and their recorded output was prolific during the late 60's and into the 70's. Golden Earring were famous for writing the tracks 'Candy's Going Bad' (later covered by The Godz) and of course their worldwide hit 'Radar Love' (later covered by White Lion). This 1977 double live LP shows this Dutch band at their peak.


Golden Earring - Candy's Going Bad


The Osmonds - 1972 Live

Recorded in Concert at the Forum, Los Angeles, California, December 4, 1971

The Osmonds were my sisters obsession during the early 70's. As a result, I kinda got hooked on their bubble gum pop rock by default but managed to alternate it with heavier stuff (as per the aforementioned Uriah Heep). The album features the family band performing numerous covers such as the Elton John chestnut 'Your Song' plus the CCR standard 'Proud Mary' and the Righteous Brothers hit 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'. Factoring in all their band hits ('One Bad Apple', 'YoYo', 'Down By the Lazy River') plus Donny's solo material, this set was pretty convincing for its time


The Osmonds - Double Lovin'


Steve Hillage - 1979 Live Herald

Tracks A1 to A3, C1 recorded live at The Rainbow Theatre, London, March 26th, 1977. Tracks B1, C2 recorded live at Oxford Polytechnic, May 25th, 1978. Track B2 recorded live at The Marquee Club, London, August 7th, 1978. Track B3 recorded live at The Rainbow Theatre, London, November 3rd, 1977

To my way of thinking, this is one of the premier British progressive rock live albums from the 70's. Our review of 'Live Herald' was fairly comprehensive, and we need not regurgitate it here; suffice to say if anyone was looking to research an authoritative list of live albums, then this would be a good place to start.


Steve Hillage - Castle In The Clouds/Hurdy Gurdy Man

In Summary

There are many other live albums to consider for future volumes. We are only touching the tip of the iceberg as there are many releases which we have written about, but conversely there are also many that we haven't written about too, and that are deserving to be included in our Essential Series for live albums. Keep an eye out for those in the near future.

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    Many of these albums form the foundation for a lovely musical upbringing. Espescially fond of the Steve Hillage-album. A great, muchfacetted artist who has kept himself away for far too long.
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