Monday, March 01, 2010

Steppenwolf Live

This live effort was recorded in 1969 during shows promoting their album, Monster, hence the record has many songs from that outing. This means that it is very politically oriented, which was logical as they were playing anti-war gigs and ones supporting legalization of marijuana. Luckily, this was some of their best material, as well.

As befitting a live album, the songs are rougher and rawer than the studio versions but otherwise, not a lot of changes or even extensive jamming, overall. The previously unreleased material on here includes their take on the old blues number “Corina, Corina”, which is my favorite version, “Twisted”, a John Kay blues tune stolen from the same place as “Tighten Up Your Wig” (with a bizarre effect on the lead guitar – possibly a talk box - and a fine harmonica solo by Kay) and the first release of their hit “Hey Lawdy Mama” (which I never really noticed was the studio recording – I thought that they were simply being true to the original! Of course, the fact that it sounds as if it is segueing into “Magic Carpet Ride” helped to throw me off).

One of the exceptions to the “jamming” that I mentioned is the end of “From Here to There Eventually”, which is given a powerful guitar punch in an extended ending. The afore-mentioned “Magic Carpet Ride” has a different lead break (it would have been very difficult to re-create the studio solo in a live setting) and a bit of an addition at the end, as well. “The Pusher” remains intense as ever, though, again, the guitars have changed a bit from the effects used in the studio. The finale is, of course, “Born To Be Wild”, which is appropriately raucous and includes some variations and a rave up to finish it off.

This record (along with their hits collection, Gold) was a big part of my teen years and still holds a place near & dear to my heart. A great band that must have been a blast to see live.