Jimmy Barnes

Live & Unplugged at the Chapel

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AllMusic Review by

Jimmy Barnes' mostly un-amplified live album is an ideal showcase for the white rock-and-soul shouter from Australia -- neither he nor his band, which includes drummer Yak Sherrit near center-stage in the mix, and guitarists Dave Leslie and Danny Spencer, plus Chris Wilson on harmonica, need help in putting their sound across. The room, evidently a relatively small one in Melbourne, was ideal for the music, which has a close, loud, sweaty quality throughout, and gives adequate play to Mahalie Barnes' subtle, understated, but essential backing vocals. Actually, the listener may prefer Barnes' band to Barnes himself in certain respects, and this is a great showcase for them, on driving, chiming numbers like "Ride the Night Away" (where the band evokes memories of the Flamin' Groovies circa Shake Some Action) and "I Die to Be With You Tonight," and also the slow ballads such as "Long Way to Go," "Found a Love," and the gorgeous "Flame Trees" and "Something Is Wrong My Baby." Mahalie Barnes also takes center-stage for what is arguably a highlight of the album, "Good Times," where she, Jimmy, and the band send the Easybeats' number soaring into territory that could only be glimpsed from the heights achieved by Stevie Wright. And on "To Love Somebody," Jimmy Wright and company give us a performance agonizingly close to what Otis Redding might've done on the song, had he lived to record it. The CD ends with a witty, fast-paced three-and-a-half minute interview with the singer, who is in dazzlingly good spirits.

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