When headbanger historians look back on the important heavy metal and hard rock bands that were active during the '70s, Mahogany Rush's name doesn't come up nearly as often as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Kiss, Van Halen, Judas Priest, Blue Öyster Cult or Aerosmith -- and that is regrettable because Frank Marino led one of the '70s' most exciting hard rock/metal outfits. Mahogany Rush is, without question, underrated. Walk past a Hard Rock Café, and it isn't uncommon to hear Zep's "Whole Lotta Love" or Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" being blasted -- but how often will a Hard Rock Café expose pedestrians to something by Mahogany Rush? Regardless, Marino still has his share of die-hard followers who will be happy to know that Mahogany Rush is in fine form on Real Live. Recorded live at Club Soda in Montreal, Canada on September 8, 2001 (only three days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks), this two-CD set doesn't break any new ground for Marino -- who sticks with the sort of Jimi Hendrix-influenced hard rock, heavy metal, blues-rock and psychedelic rock he was providing 30 years earlier. Marino's refusal to change with the times is just as well -- he is great at what he does, and the singer/guitarist is as inspired on original material as he is on performances of the Zombies' "She's Not There" and two Hendrix classics: "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" and "Red House." Clearly, time hasn't robbed Marino (who was 46 in 2001) of either his chops or his enthusiasm. Casual listeners would be better off starting out with some of Mahogany Rush's old-'70s recordings, but longtime fans will be happy to know how nicely his vocals and guitar playing are holding up on these Montreal performances.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2