Sunday, September 28, 2014

Marshall Tucker Band - Live! Englishtown, NJ - 9/3/77 - A review

It was a perfect day for a concert, and what a venue, right beside the Englishtown, NJ, race track. It was a hot late summers' afternoon. My friends and I pulled into the outskirts of Englishtown, and decided to park a good walk away, because we asked and heard that the small town was full of cars, and people were paying to park on peoples' front yards.

  So, we walked about thirty - forty five minutes to Raceway park, right beside where the concert was going to be. It was a huge area surrounded by eighteen wheeler trailers for a fence, and the huge stage which took up a large area in the front at the bottom a very large slowly descending hill. Besides the speakers on the stage, there were several large stacks of speakers scattered across the side of the hill for the people who were further back like myself. People were lying on blankets or standing around talking, My friends and I had missed the "New Riders Of The Purple Sage", a country rock group who had opened up the show. All of a sudden, there arose a large commotion, and The Marshall Tucker Band came out around Three in the afternoon, and started their set. We could not see or hear the group at first, You could barely hear the music where we were hanging out and there were several people behind us, There was an estimated one hundred and fifty thousand people there. It was a very mellow crowd, people enjoying what they knew was a very special moment that afternoon. It took awhile for the sound to get loud enough for the whole crowd to hear the MTB.

  Finally the sound got straightened out and the band sounded great as they played several of their popular songs from that era, both the Grateful Dead who Marshall Tucker was opening for and Marshall Tucker were playing in the peak of their careers , so it was quite an experience. The CD is a copy of a soundboard tape for the MTB, so the sound quality is not that good. The volume of the recording was the same volume thruout the show, and the quality of the recording improves as the show goes on. The set ends with a rousing "24 Hours At a Time" and The Encore is "Can't You See"(a killer version) This is definitely a must have if you were at the historic show. Marshall Tucker did not release a lot of Live material.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"The View" - The Roys - A Review

 On Sept. 2,2014, The Roys released their new bluegrass CD, "The View". The beautiful cover art of this CD will definitely catch your eye showing Lee and his sister Elaine on the porch of a beautiful cabin, tree covered view behind them.

  They have been making successful bluegrass CDs since 2011, starting with "Lonesome Whistle". They have a faithful following of fans to their melodic style of bluegrass with Christian songs mixed in.

  On this CD ,they did some things differently, Lee did all of the recording himself and they used the instruments played by their own band members, instead of studio musicians.  Also, every song is written by them, sometimes with the help of others. It came out real well, the playing of his own road band is surprisingly good, as Lee is a well talented mandolin player.

  There are a total of eleven tracks and the final track is with the help of Doyle Lawson about Bill Monroe, called "The Mandolin Man".

  Daniel Patrick on banjo and dobro is surprisingly good. On "Northern Skies",an instrumental, Lee plays some exciting mandolin parts, which have an original sound. He gets some beautiful tone out out of his mandolins. Clint White plays very good fiddle. Erik Alvar does a very good job with his bass parts.

  The CD has a good variety of mellow, original bluegrass songs. My favorites are "Sometimes", "Live The Life You Love", an upbeat song, Really like "The View", a real nice slow ballad by Elaine. It is slow and wistful. A really nice ballad featuring Elaine. "No More Tears Left To Cry" is a really well crafted song with some great dobro by Daniel.

   Overall, The View is one of the best CDs, put out by the Roys.

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