Friday, July 1, 2016

Bloodrock - 1972 - Live


01. Castle Of Thoughts 3:16
02. Breach Of Lease 9:56
03. Lucky In The Morning 6:01
04. Kool-Aid-Kids 6:25
05. D.O.A. 9:46
06. You Gotta Roll 5:05
07. Cheater 6:43
08. Jessica 4:44
09. Gotta Find A Way 9:56

Bass – Ed Grundy
Drums – Rick Cobb
Guitar – Nick Taylor
Keyboards – Steve Hill
Lead Guitar – Lee Pickens
Lead Vocals – Jim Rutledge

Bloodrock doesn't do anything particularly exciting with the material, aside from slightly extended solos and jamming, but they do recreate it quite faithfully. The mix of songs is good as well, but I can't help but think I would like this album even better if it had "Timepiece", "Melvin Laid an Egg," or "Whiskey Vengeance" - three songs that, to me, are not only definitive Bloodrock, but would have gotten completely badass live treatments. What is included, however, is completely awesome. The extended versions of "D.O.A," "Breach of Lease," and "Gotta Find a Way" are highlights for me.

Quite superfluous, really. When it comes to hard-rocking bands playing live, you generally expect them to pull all the stops that haven't already been pulled in the studio, but this particular live album shows there was fairly little left to pull. So little, in fact, that Jim Rutledge even went all the way to dishonor the band by including two studio tracks, slightly remixed and overlaid with fake applause (?You Gotta Roll' and ?Cheater'), because, apparently, there was not enough material for a proper double live album. Considering that the final recording still only lasts for barely over an hour, they could have easily gone with a single long LP instead of two short-run­ning ones instead — but double (and triple) live albums being all the rage circa 1972, Bloodrock preferred a different shade of shame. Come to think of it, maybe they thought that by mid-1972, nobody would remember how the old tunes went anyway.

The actual live recordings cover the band's first three albums (U.S.A. is not included at all, pro­bably because the live shows were played before its release) and, for the most part, are under­whelming. The mix is good enough, and the band gels together fairly well, but the songs are played in rather strict accordance with the studio originals, small minutiae notwithstanding, and even if the setlist is consistently strong (with the possible exception of ?Lucky In The Morning', although that song, with its arena flavor and hymnal pretense, is clearly a natural candidate for a live highlight), the band does virtually nothing to expand on the songs' potential.

The only exception is an extended version of ?Gotta Find A Way', mainly through the addition of some unimpressive jamming and organ soloing and a very shaky, faux-energetic bit of audience participation (which, among other things, comprises Jim Rutledge trying to scat in between the collective clamoring — not a very harmonious activity). In the end, that makes the song worse than it used to be, while everything else is just about the same. And you know there's something deeply not right with a hard rock band if it simply replicates its hard rock sound on stage.

I mean, even AC/DC tried to rip it up harder than in the studio — not an easy task, but occasionally, they did manage. Bloodrock, on the contrary, do not even try. Maybe it is because they thought of themselves as an «art» band rather than just rock'n'rollers, but, well, they thought wrong: these songs need to be crispy and crunchy — simply reproducing all the lumpy slowness of ?Breach Of Lease' and ?D.O.A.' the way it used to be does not work. I cannot give the album a thumbs down, since the setlist saves it fairly well — in fact, feel free to use it as an introduction to the basic Bloodrock sound if you wish — but, unfortunately, it will not let you know anything (good) about Bloodrock that you did not already know otherwise, even though it should have.

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