Alive and well with Bryan Adams, Mark Collie and James Lee Stanley

Fans of acoustic guitar-playing singer-songwriters will enjoy ‘Alive at Last: In Philadelphia’ by James Lee Stanley.
Fans of acoustic guitar-playing singer-songwriters will enjoy ‘Alive at Last: In Philadelphia’ by James Lee Stanley.

Below are reviews of three live recordings by various artists.

‘Wembley 1996 Live,’ Bryan Adams (Eagle Rock Entertainment, )

This Oct. 14 DVD/digital release features a July 27, 1996, concert from Bryan Adams and his band.

Adams and his songs weren’t part of the earlier wave of “power pop” that gave the movement its name, but his carefully crafted tunes fit in with the Raspberries, Cheap Trick, etc.

This concert was originally telecast around the world, and it may have been broadcast here. Many of Adams’ biggest hits are featured.

My favorites include “18 ’Til I Die,” “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman,” “Cuts Like A Knife,” “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” “Seven Nights To Rock,” “I Wanna Be Your Underwear” (part of a mid-crowd set on a smaller stage), “Summer Of ’69” and “Heaven.”

Bryan Adams fans will definitely dig this fantastically filmed event.

‘Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary,’ Mark Collie & His Reckless Companions (101 Ranch Records, )

This Oct. 14 CD/vinyl/digital release presents Mark Collie, whom I saw years ago at the Crawfish Fest, and an elite band performing in 2001 at one of Tennessee’s most notorious penal institutions, which closed in 2009.

Collie played Frankie Gray on “Nashville” and has written songs for Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks and others.

My favorites are numerous. Some are female singer Kelly Willis’ two songs (“Heaven Bound” and “Got a Feelin’ For Ya”), the glorious “I Could’ve Gone Right,” the harmony-drenched “Reckless Companions,” Gatemouth Brown’s “Someday My Luck Will Change” and Collie’s Johnny Cash covers (“Why Me Lord” and “Folsom Prison Blues”).

The prison-album tradition begun by Johnny Cash is alive and well with this reverent recording of real country music.

‘Alive At Last: In Philadelphia,’ James Lee Stanley (Beachwood Recordings/MVDaudio, 1/2)

This CD released Sept. 9 features guitarist and vocalist James Lee Stanley, percussionist Cheryl Prashker and bassist Chad Watson performing live before a studio audience.

Because the instrumentation is mostly acoustic and the audience is less rowdy, this is the most intimate of the three recordings reviewed.

This is mellow music (James Taylor, Cat Stevens, etc.), but that makes it good mood music.

My favorite songs are “Three Monkeys,” a cool “Drive My Car” cover, the audience singalong finale “The More I Drink” and the nifty “Worry About You.”

Fans of top-notch acoustic guitar-playing singer-songwriters will enjoy this concert.

Ricky Flake, a music fan and former punk rocker, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at flakericky@gmail.com.