This week kicks off with reviews of recordings from artists better known in other contexts: Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix. After that, you can read a review of a new live greatest hits album from ZZ Top. Enjoy!
‘Face The Face,’ Pete Townshend’s Deep End (Eagle Rock Entertainment, ☆☆☆☆)
This Sept. 16 DVD+CD/digital release presents a 1986 Rockpalast concert by Pete Townshend’s Deep End (drummer Simon Phillips, Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour, harmonicat Peter Hope-Evans, percussionist Jody Linscott, bassist Chucho Merchan, keyboardist David John “Rabbit’ Bundrick” and many others).
Favorite moments include current-at-the time single “Give Blood” featuring an interesting Gilmour guitar part, “Behind Blue Eyes,” Gilmour’s “Blue Light,” a lyrically deep “The Sea Refuses No River,” the speedy title song, a solo “Pinball Wizard” and a surprising “Night Train” finale.
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Fans of The Who and people who enjoy Townshend’s solo work will enjoy this program.
‘Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show Dec. 31, 1969,’ Jimi Hendrix (Legacy, ☆☆☆☆☆)
This Sept. 30 release is available for the first time since Hendrix’s legendary Band of Gypsys performed just four shows: two on New Year’s Eve 1969 and two on New Year’s Day 1970. This is the first time their first set is available and it’s out on CD, double LP (180g vinyl), high-resolution SACD and digital formats.
The song selection is different from my old Band of Gypsys album, but many of its best appear here. My favorites include the title song, which boasts plenty of guitar effects and previously buried backing vocals from drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox. I also dig Miles’ lead vocal turn on “Changes,” the non-bluesy “Earth Blues” and the tempo-shifting “Burning Desire.”
This is a priceless document of Hendrix’s desire to play music without antics. The sonic explorations are priceless.
‘Live-Greatest Hits From Around The World,’ ZZ Top (SureTone Records/ADA, ☆☆☆☆1/2)
This Sept. 9 release is available on CD, double LP vinyl and digital. It presents greatest hits and album cuts from ZZ Top recorded live at venues on three continents, including a London collaboration with Jeff Beck.
ZZ Top are still the original trio from Texas: guitarist and vocalist Billy F. Gibbons, bassist and vocalist Dusty Hill and non-bearded drummer Frank Beard.
Songs aren’t drastically different from their studio versions. In other words, tempos are mostly the same and things sound polished. My favorites: “Sharp Dressed Man,” the reliable “Waitin’ For The Bus”/Jesus Just Left Chicago,” Gibbons’ showcase “La Grange,” the hard-hitting “Tube Snake Boogie” and a roaring version of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons.”
This is a cool package from one of my favorite bands.
Ricky Flake, a music fan and former punk rocker, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org