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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bloodrock: Bloodrock Live

BLOODROCK: BLOODROCK LIVE (1972)

1) Intro; 2) Castle Of Thoughts; 3) Breach Of Lease; 4) Lucky In The Morning; 5) Kool Aid Kids; 6) DOA; 7) You Gotta Roll; 8) Cheater; 9) Jessica; 10) Gotta Find A Way.

Quite superfluous, really. When it comes to hard-rocking bands playing live, you generally expect them to pull all the stops that haven't already been pulled in the studio, but this particular live album shows there was fairly little left to pull. So little, in fact, that Jim Rutledge even went all the way to dishonor the band by including two studio tracks, slightly remixed and overlaid with fake applause (ʽYou Gotta Rollʼ and ʽCheaterʼ), because, apparently, there was not enough material for a proper double live album. Considering that the final recording still only lasts for barely over an hour, they could have easily gone with a single long LP instead of two short-run­ning ones instead — but double (and triple) live albums being all the rage circa 1972, Bloodrock preferred a different shade of shame. Come to think of it, maybe they thought that by mid-1972, nobody would remember how the old tunes went anyway.

The actual live recordings cover the band's first three albums (U.S.A. is not included at all, pro­bably because the live shows were played before its release) and, for the most part, are under­whelming. The mix is good enough, and the band gels together fairly well, but the songs are played in rather strict accordance with the studio originals, small minutiae notwithstanding, and even if the setlist is consistently strong (with the possible exception of ʽLucky In The Morningʼ, although that song, with its arena flavor and hymnal pretense, is clearly a natural candidate for a live highlight), the band does virtually nothing to expand on the songs' potential.

The only exception is an extended version of ʽGotta Find A Wayʼ, mainly through the addition of some unimpressive jamming and organ soloing and a very shaky, faux-energetic bit of audience participation (which, among other things, comprises Jim Rutledge trying to scat in between the collective clamoring — not a very harmonious activity). In the end, that makes the song worse than it used to be, while everything else is just about the same. And you know there's something deeply not right with a hard rock band if it simply replicates its hard rock sound on stage.

I mean, even AC/DC tried to rip it up harder than in the studio — not an easy task, but occasionally, they did manage. Bloodrock, on the contrary, do not even try. Maybe it is because they thought of themselves as an «art» band rather than just rock'n'rollers, but, well, they thought wrong: these songs need to be crispy and crunchy — simply reproducing all the lumpy slowness of ʽBreach Of Leaseʼ and ʽD.O.A.ʼ the way it used to be does not work. I cannot give the album a thumbs down, since the setlist saves it fairly well — in fact, feel free to use it as an introduction to the basic Bloodrock sound if you wish — but, unfortunately, it will not let you know anything (good) about Bloodrock that you did not already know otherwise, even though it should have.

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