Saturday, August 3, 2013

Loggins & Messina - "On Stage"

Once again I must apologize for the long break between posts.  It has been a month since my last post about Gordon Lightfoot's "Gord's Gold" album (if you missed it check it out in my blog roll).  I shall not make statements that I am back on my weekly track because those haven't worked out on the previous four installments.  So let us just enjoy this post about Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina.

It may be hard to guess but Loggins & Messina are a pretty killer live act.  They were one of the most popular touring acts in the 1970s and have a massive range of musical abilities.  They can sit on stools with only an acoustic guitar and sing "Danny's Song" then pull out electric guitars and do a rocking ten minute "Angry Eyes," transition into a country hoedown with "Holiday Hotel" and then return to a band ballad "Another Road."

Released in 1974 Loggins & Messina are assisted by a crackling back up band made up of Jon Clarke on horns, Al Garth on fiddle/violin/horns, Merel Bregante on drums, and Larry Sims on bass.  All members of the group add immensely to the concerts and all get opportunities to show off their talents.  The album has a nice mix of country rock stylings and it feels like a big country jam sometimes.

The centerpiece of this double album is a spectacular 21 minute(!) version of "Vahevala" that opens disc 2.  It goes through several movements starting the way the studio version does then moving into a fiddle guitar battle, then slowing to a crawl in the center with barely audible notes, before revving back up for a rocking finish.  It's a spectacular version.

Compiled from five concerts two at Winterland San Francisco April 1972, two Carnegie Hall March 1973, and one at Boston's Orpheum Theater also March 1973. Released in a remastered Legacy "live from the vaults" edition in 1998 this CD version features a recreation of the inner artwork from the original fold out LP case.  It also features a brief paragraph essay about the album.  A must have for Loggins & Messina fans especially those interested in their live performances.  I had the opportunity to see them live in 2010 and I must say they are still quite excellent.

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