Live at the Whisky a Go-Go '69

Humble Pie

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Live at the Whisky a Go-Go '69 Review

by Bruce Eder

This audio DVD of music from Humble Pie's U.S. tour in 1969 constitutes a helpful addition to the band's early recording history, which had been limited to the pair of studio LPs cut for Immediate Records. The opening number is an all-acoustic reworking of Graham Gouldman's "For Your Love," a showcase for Peter Frampton's acoustic guitar and Steve Marriott's soul shouting, and about as different as one could imagine from the compact, punchy Yardbirds rendition. The drums and the harder playing kicks in for "Shakin' All Over," which is similarly bent out of its familiar shape and pushed -- Frampton and Marriott's guitars and vocals are all over the map on the song, which is just about recognizable despite the absence of the familiar central guitar riff. "Hallelujah I Love Her So" and "The Sad Bag of Shakey Jake" are intact and nicely played, and are what one would expect and hope for from an actual live album. The finale, "I Walk on Gilded Splinters," is an extended jam that goes through a few interesting changes, but it just doesn't have the energy or cohesion to sustain its 20-minute length. The overall audio quality is above average for a live recording of this vintage, and the multi-track tapes were mixed under the supervision of surviving bandmember Jerry Shirley. It's not a truly great moment in the band's history, alas, but it is a flawed artifact of an early chapter in that history.

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