Consisting mostly of a show from 1977 along with a couple of tracks from another show the following year, Live at the Library is just that: the early MX-80 Sound making itself known with shows at the Monroe Public Library in Bloomington Indiana. Apologies for the tape quality appear in the liner notes, but let's face it, nobody knew that in 25 years or so there'd be a cult around the band, much less CD reissues, so they protest too much. As it stands, regardless of fidelity, Live at the Library is great both from an obsessive fan viewpoint (thanks especially to the slew of early songs never formally recorded and released), and from the general listener's, though this is hardly the place for a newcomer to the band to start. Rich Stim's slow drawl of a voice makes for some great between-song bits -- more than once he sounds like he's being propped up just to breathe -- while the band as a whole demonstrates their whole weird and wired blend of everything in spades. The rhythm-shifting mania of the Dale Sophiea/Jeff Armour/Dave Mahoney drum team is not to be denied (even if it sounds like one drummer most of the time instead of two), while Bruce Anderson, unsurprisingly, goes off and doesn't come back. Merry highlights include smoking versions of "Fascination" and "Kid Stuff," while "Summer 77" never sounded quite so appropriate; meanwhile, the previously unavailable "Pop For Pop" makes for one fine tribute to a certain Iggy from the Stooges (while still being very much an MX-80 song). Appreciative audience members cheer everyone on to some serious hard-partying groove Midwest quick rock love, while Eddie Flowers of the Gizmos serves up some enjoyable reminiscences in his liner notes (the various flyers and photos are a joy as well).
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett