Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Moby Grape-LIVE CD (Sundazed)

Being a relative newcomer to the Moby Grape swing of things (the entire story behind my appreciation of the group can be found in BLACK TO COMM #20, which unfortunately for you is long out of print) the truth be known is that, like with many musical aggregations I discovered later on in life, I really didn't give two frigs about these San Francisco outsiders until I read a few raves written by some of my all-time fave rockscribes like Jymn Parrett and Billy Miller. Since there's only so much money in my bank account and it's not like I could afford to buy out the entire record store like I sure wished I could've (and it was worse when I was actually of the teenage variety and all of these enticing records were being tossed at me left and right!), taking the word of a trusted rock writer has always been one way to help save on the lucre while putting all of your hard-begged into maintaining a record collection of high energy and worth! Fortunately nowadays I can discern whether or not said recording is worth any trouble or effort to purchase merely by hitting youtube where I can not only listen to these old obscurities in question but see some amateur if nice video than an enterprising fan has posted in praise of his fave raves. This brand spanking new technology really does help out on the ol' pocketbook, and since I'm still enamored with the Nick Kent autobio all I have to do to find out if such oft-loathed yet praised by this sainted scribe material like Joni Mitchell's HEJIRA or Laura Nyro's version of "I Met Him on a Sunday" is as good as Kent makes 'em out to be is just track 'em down via the venerable video website and judge for myself. (In case you're taking notes, Joni's title track's pretty "eh" SoCal folkie jazz that would've been much improved on had Tim Buckley recorded it while I gotta admit that I actually did have a slight affinity for the latter's take on the old Motown standard to the point where I was actually fantasizing that the neurotic dago was in reality Carole King with 'nads! Howzat for being open-minded and willing to accept and enjoy all musics like the rest of those big city gravy train critics anyway???)

With the current ban on some of the Grape's late-sixties platters still in effect this live disc will sure help the recently initiated out swell. Choice picked like the best coffee beans from a number of vintage live shows the quality is fine, the performances top notch and the package pretty professional-like even if they hadda get David Fricke to do the liner notes as if there aren't any other starving rocksters out there just beggin' for work. And best of all this represents the Grape at their finest before the band devolved into a comparatively dull country rock act in the seventies, showcasing their overall appeal with regards to tackling not only rock & roll but blues and of course the more c&w tinged material w/o looking like a buncha dabblers.

As my usual trite self would say, this disque has it "all" including some class '67 live shows (including Monterrey...a great one even if you have to sit through Tommy Smothers' babbling introduction) as well as one from the MOBY GRAPE '69 days live in Holland beginning with a pretty nerve-y rendition of "Murder in my Heart for the Judge". It all goes to show you that these boys were yet another unsung sixties band that got washed away under the weight of too much hipster hype and really. we're all the worse for it! Lotsa old faves as well as a few new to my ear numbers show up doing do the legacy proud, and what's best is that the very same recording of "Dark Magic" which originally appeared on that LOST HOLY GRAILS bootleg a few years back shows up, and in better sound quality if you are attuned to such things. And although it left me hungering for more (a double woulda been nice) LIVE is an all 'round apt tribute to one of the few reasons anybody should have paid attention to the musical happenings in '66 San Fran 'stead of the hackdom that city would eventually be known for once everybody seemed to head for Marin County and jam on commune back porches.

1 comment:

Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

Speaking of YouTube, I like the clip of Moby Grape on the Mike Douglas show where he introduces them as The Moby Grapes. Happily, Mike does not have 18-inch steel needles in his eyes on that occasion.


Re: Laura Nyro...her LP "Christmas and the Beads of Sweat" has some good stuff on it, especially on side two.