NRBQ

At Yankee Stadium

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The definitive NRBQ lineup -- Terry Adams on keys, Al Anderson on guitar, Joey Spampinato on bass and Tom Ardolino on drums -- made their studio debut on 1977's All Hopped Up, but it was At Yankee Stadium, released the following year, where this edition of the band really hit its stride. Recording for Mercury Records after four years back in the minor leagues, At Yankee Stadium is more focused and less willfully eccentric than many of NRBQ's albums -- no Sun Ra-influenced jazz numbers, fewer obvious joke tunes -- but the music gleefully reflects the band's playful nature, and the guys swing solidly from front to back. NRBQ rock out like on one's business on "Green Lights," "It Comes to Me Naturally" and a potent cover of Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm," there's a gently funky sway to "Ain't No Free" and "That's Neat, That's Nice," "I Want You Bad" is a sharp pop tune that should have been a hit single in a world where radio is programmed on the basis of merit, and the spirit of Big Joe Turner lives again in their take on "Shake, Rattle and Roll." NRBQ was also blessed with three first rate songwriters during this period, and Adams, Anderson and Spampinato all contribute great songs to At Yankee Stadium. Coupled with the band's loosely-tight, gloriously intuitive performances, this is as consistently satisfying a set as this band has ever released -- At Yankee Stadium jumps from one style to another with loopy élan and lands on its feet dancing all the way, and if the Q has ever made a masterpiece, this is it.

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