The 27th disc in the Best of Mountain Stage series is the first to be devoted to a single artist. Although dates aren't specified in the notes, it is compiled from two shows. Yet at just over 42 minutes, it's on the short side. Longtime guitarist Al Anderson covers the first nine tracks and his replacement Johnny Spaminato contributes to the final four, but their sound remains the same. NRBQ's off-the-wall diversity is well represented, as the band covers both the '60s chestnut "Our Day Will Come" (a barely in-tune, tossed-off lounge version), Jad Fair's experimental "Mule in the Corn" (featuring pianist Terry Adam's most idiosyncratic piano playing), Carl Perkins' pickin' and grinnin' "Tennessee," and even Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here." This is their sixth live album, and even though a handful of songs have not appeared on other live discs and the performances (especially a hopped-up "Crazy Like a Fox" and a cooking five-minute "I Got a Rocket in My Pocket") are solid, this is recommended for those who have already jumped on the Q bandwagon. Like many of their club shows, they forgo their hits and best-known songs for offbeat covers. That illustrates the veteran group's range, but the album ultimately doesn't portray a well-rounded example of its strengths. It's good, especially for fans, but far from essential.
Live From Mountain Stage
Live From Mountain Stage Review
by Hal Horowitz