Johnny Rivers

Whisky A Go-Go Revisited

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In 1967, Johnny Rivers was slowly but surely moving into more musically adventurous territory with his albums Changes, Rewind, and Realization when he made one of the last of many LPs recorded at the signature Los Angeles rock club where he first gained fame, the Whisky A Go-Go. Whisky A Go-Go Revisited's first side was very much in the manner of his other live albums, with Rivers and his combo -- including the great Larry Knechtel on organ -- stomping through a handful of dance-friendly rock and R&B numbers, with Rivers' muscular guitar work and confident vocals making the most of songs like "It's Too Late," "Got My Mojo Working," and "When a Man Loves a Woman" (Rivers rarely gets the credit he deserves as one of the best and least histrionic blue-eyed soul singers of his era). Things get a bit more interesting on side two, devoted to a 15-minute workout on "John Lee Hooker," with Rivers and the band digging deep into the boogie in the manner of the titular Crawling Kingsnake (though "Satisfaction" and "Baby Please Don't Go" bob up and down through the jam more than once), and while this extended version of the number isn't all that radical in terms of what it sets out to do, it's a far cry from what Rivers was doing on-stage a mere three years before, and is more than a bit telling given the changing musical landscape of the day. Bottom line, while side two is about groove as much as anything, this set still rocks on out, and offers further proof that Rivers was one of the best American rockers of the 1960s.

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