Thursday, January 11, 2007

Things I LOVE - Live Recordings

I haven't posted in a while, so I thought that with this post, I would start a series called Things I LOVE. The first of which, is live recordings. See, there is a certain magic that a studio recording can't give you. Um...wait, you're not understanding me. Let me be clearer. Ok, so everybody knows the song Brick House by the Commodores right? Well, I have this CD of Lionel Richie LIVE, and he does Brick House. Now, he pretty much keeps it true to form, but toward the end he does this breakdown, and the crowd goes crazy; after which Lionel Richie quotes a line from FIRE by the Ohio Players. You know the part that goes: "the way she swerves, and curves, really rocks my nerves." He just plugs it in there, and it fits! That spontaneity is exciting and I love hearing it on record. Now, part of the joy in listening to this is hearing the crowd react to things that you can't see. Another example, is this CD I have of the Jackson 5 live. Not the lil kid Jackson 5, but the grown up, Can You Feel It, Jackson 5. It's a great album. I mean, they do all the hits and even a medley of old J5 tunes. Here is the cool part. At one point during Can You Feel It, Michael stops, the music is still going but he isn't singing. But the crowd goes crazy! I can only imagine that at this point, Michael began to dance his ass off, so hard in fact that he couldn't sing and dance at the same time, and I have a great time imagining what that must have looked like. So, I'll take this time to list the greatest Live albums I have ever heard and tell you a little bit about why.

1. The Jacksons, LIVE - I just told you why. Wake Up!
2. Lionel Richie, Encore Live at Wembley Arena - Not only do you have a godo time, but Lionel constantly reminds you during the show that you're having a good time and tells you why.He does all the hits and the crowd sings along. It's great.
3. Aretha Franklin, Aretha Live at Fillmore West - at one point she spots Ray Charles in the crowd and pulls him onstage to sing. Pure magic...
4. Sam Cooke, One Night Stand: Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club - The greatest singer ever at his best. In his prime. Intimate, passionate, full of energy. talking to the crowd. You gotta hear it.
5. Cameo, LIVE - They recorded this one here in Atlanta. Hearing those horns play the lines Live rather than in the studio makes you a believer in real talent.
6. Bill Withers, LIVE at Carnegie Hall - As soon as he opens the show with Use Me, you know you're in for a special time.
7. Keith Sweat, LIVE - Laugh if you want. This disc serves as a strong reminder of why this dude was so hot during his time.
8. Teddy Pendergrass, LIVE Coast to Coast - Put this one on with the Keith Sweat album, and you got a night of romance ahead of you.
9. Luther Vandross, LIVE at Radio City Music Hall - Who knew a man that big could put on such a show. Play this one with Keith Sweat AND Teddy Pendergrass, and it's on...for real.
10. The Spinners, LIVE - The epic version of Sadie, and Phillip Wayne does impressions of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and al Green. It's mind blowing. A great performance.
11. Stevie Wonder, Natural Wonder - 2 discs of Stevie doing all his hits and some new stuff, with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The man even counts the songs off in Japanese so the Orchestra can understand him! It's great.

On a side note, does anybody remember the old Jackson 5 cartooon??? That shit was great...I used to watch it when I was home from school sick or something. OK that's it.

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