Live in New York

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After releasing their last studio album in 1978, Stuff released three live albums in only two years. Wisely enough, they concentrated on up- and mid-tempo songs for this, the last one -- wisely, because in their slick instrumental ballads, Stuff was often dangerously close to playing background music (they actually never ran totally clear of that risk). But on the whole, the instrumental funk found on this album has more in common with the first studio album than with later gospel- and soul-influenced releases. There are no horns, for example, which is unlucky because the horns did do a lot to lift the music on Stuff It, and the same can be said about the lack of vocals. There is more percussion than before though, as skilfully played as can be expected, and overall the band proves to be just as tight live as in the studio, and even more groovy. This may have been the band's last album ever, but the music is still intensely happy, though in the case of Stuff, that is more of a generic statement than a statement about mode. Happiest is the live version of "The Real McCoy," actually happy enough to position itself on an imaginary Stuff Top Five list, but the energetic medley "Love the Stuff -- Ain't No Mountain High Enough" isn't far behind.

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