Orleans Live, Vol. 2

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This outstanding live album from Orleans was recorded at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY, on October 6 and 7, 1990. Though Orleans Live, Vol. 1 contains their three big hits and Jon Hall's popular "Power" song, this collection contains close to an hour of wonderfully recorded and performed material that works without the radio recognition which made Orleans famous. The only song here that reached millions of homes is "Half Moon," which Janis Joplin covered exquisitely on Pearl. Orleans rendition doesn't come close to the majesty of Joplin's, but come to think of it, whose could? Wrapped up inside an instrumental called "Arms," "Half Moon" is still a treat. Although Lance Hoppen and his brother Larry are the band originals with Hall, the inclusion of keyboard player Bob Leinbach, who was in the post-Hall Orleans combination that hit with "Love Takes Time," is valid progression for this veteran band. The CD kicks off with a very Bob Dylan style "Good Old Daze," followed by the more uplifting, bright pop of "I Found Somebody," two impressive tracks. The real find on Volume Two, however, might be this version of "Poison Rain." Unlike the preachy pretension of some environmental tunes -- John Hall's own "Power" comes to mind -- this is a terrific song about love for the planet. Very touching, and well received by the audience. "Miss Gracie" works as a nice pop number, and this particular performance is also included on a beach party compilation, of all things, on Ripete Records. The audience bounces along with this '50s ditty, and like the rest of this album, it shows how clever and professional the unit is, nuances that their three Top 40 hits didn't convey come across here. "Compared to What" is a very hip walk down memory lane, a cool version of the theme The Righteous Brothers touched on with "Rock & Roll Heaven." Miller-Nevada has released a 5.1 Surround Sound version of the companion disc from these concerts, Orleans Live, Vol. 1 and that's where you'll find "Still the One," "Dance with Me," and "Love Takes Time, but don't discount the 57-minutes-and-47-seconds here. Orleans Live, Vol. 2 is a pleasant album which shows another side of an important group, it deserves the "surround sound" treatment as well.

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