I bought some new music last week... Peter Green's "Blues Don't Change" and the Tedeschi-Trucks Band's "Everybody's Talkin'." I batted .500 in the effort, much to my dismay. Mr. Green didn't disappoint (as usual) because his latest is a cover of old blues tunes and there ain't a clinker in the bunch. Susan Tedeschi's latest outing is one I'll prolly give away, assuming my blues-aficionado grandson Sean will take it. The issue? This two-disc set is a LIVE album and I violated... or forgot... my dictum about NEVER buying live albums before I hear 'em. Most of the cuts on "Everybody's Talkin'" are way too long, descending into the depths of 70s rock band extended jams excess. And I mean EXCESS, as in Allman Bros "At Fillmore East" Mountain Jam excess (that track was one whole side of a two-disc vinyl LP, back in the day). I find most live albums fall into the "excess" category so I tend to avoid them... except when I forget. Like last week.
Don't get me wrong: I love Ms. Tedeschi and I'd go see her in a heartbeat. Bein' at a concert for those long jams is entirely different than bein' in yer living room or even in yer car. Ambiance, bay-bee, ambiance. Drugs might have sumthin' to do with that, too. Or did. Mebbe.
While we're on about live albums... there are two exceptions to the rule. The first is the aforementioned "At Fillmore East" which has some incendiary guitar work by legendary Brother Duane, the other is the Stones' "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out," which gets my vote for the best live album of all time. That CD lives in my car, which is where ALL the great music I own ends up. There ain't a bad track on that album and the performances are picture-perfect, both in duration and expertise. All live albums should be so good.
Oh. Don't get me started on the Grateful Dead. Yes, I own a boatload of the bootleg series (Dick's Picks). Yes, their signature style is the interminable riff-jam. Yeah, I like it. Remember what Emerson said: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."