Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to Paris, France, home of the Ignoble Frog, for the first annual Jerry Lewis Pro-Am Percodan Tasting Tournament. Sounds very existential, so just in case I'm having my beret re-blocked. In any case, posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a few days.
But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
BEST POST-ELVIS LIVE POP/ROCK ALBUM BY A GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST!!!!!!!
Briefly -- The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review (a/k/a Sound and Vision) turns fifty this year, and to celebrate they've asked their contributors to list the greatest albums of all time in various categories. Since nobody's individual list is going to be published, I was free to nominate all sorts of things I might not be inclined to share here, but I figured I'd make an exception with this live album roster. Feel free to make as much fun of it and me as you like.
Oh, one brief and not at all arbitrary rule: It has to be a live album by a single artist. Thus, "The Last Waltz," which features other performers besides its nominal stars The Band, is ineligible. Ditto something like the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute Concert album.
Also: If I could have added one more album to the list, it would have been Television's "Live at the Old Waldorf."
Okay, that said, here's my totally carefully considered Top Ten:
10. Ritchie Valens -- In Concert at Pacoima Jr. High
At his Alma Mater, not long before the plane crash. Primitive, but a heart as big as all outdoors (actual track from the record).
9. MC5 -- Kick Out the Jams
The only American band of the 60s that could compete with the Yardbirds, the Kinks, and the Who on a sonic level (actual uncensored track from the record).
8. The Who -- Live at Leeds
The hard rock live album template that launched a zillion garage bands (actual track from the record)
7. Bob Dylan -- "The Royal Albert Hall Concert"
I still find it hard to believe that Mickey Jones, the guy playing the drums on this, went on to have a recurring role on Home Improvement (actual blah blah blah).
6. The Beatles -- Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Originally released on vinyl in 1977, and not yet on an official American CD. What kind of sick sadistic world do we live in where this is possible? (actual yadda yadda yadda).
5. The Remains -- A Session With the Remains
Unlike this Hullabloo lip-synch job, the album was recorded live in the studio at ten in the morning as an audition for Capitol Records, right before their gig opening for the Beatles at Shea Stadium. If you haven't heard it, get it immediately. Trust me -- Led Zeppelin only wished they had a sense of dynamics like these guys.
4. The Monks -- Let's Start a Beat
Recorded at two NYC shows in 1999 -- not only their first performances in 32 years, but their first ever in their native country, and yet they sounded exactly like they do in the vintage clip above. The most primal and powerful garage rock imaginable; nobody has ever made noises quite like these guys.
3. James Brown -- Live at the Apollo 1962
A number two album on the Billboard Charts in 1963, which is pretty astonishing when you consider that he didn't get a crossover single hit until '65 (when this was filmed). In any case, it's the Hardest Working Man in Show Business at his performing peak.
2. The Yardbirds -- Five Live Yardbirds
The Clapton edition of the band at their most blues-wailing; the entire concept of the rave-up begins there (and sounding not unlike this contemporary TV clip).
Okay, and the all-time best in concert rock album, it's not even close so don't you dare even think of contradicting me, is ---
1. The Rolling Stones -- Get Yer Ya-Yas Out
This is a slightly different take from the album, but it and the official version were both recorded on a night when the Stones really were the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world. I was there, jack, and this is EXACTLY what they sounded like.
Awrighty now -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless blogwhore: My weekend Cinema Listomania (special stoner idiot edition) is now up at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to leaving a comment over there, an angel gets its wings.]