My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: The album was recorded in July of 1960 at the Newport Jazz festival in Rhode Island and released in November of the same year. The performance was almost canceled following riots during a Ray Charles performance the night before. The album is the second on this blog to be billed as live from Newport, but is actually the first as Ellington At Newport was really a studio recording.
What I liked: This performance is just stellar, if not perfection. Waters’ starts with “I Got My Brand On You” as a lively romp and just builds from there. The album peaks with “Tiger In Your Hand”, “I Feel So Good” and “Got My Mojo Working”. The rolling drums (Francis Clay), the bouncy piano (Otis Spann), the amazing harmonica (James Cotton) and of course Waters’ guitar and vocals are the probably the best live performance I’ve heard on record. The audience seems to feel the same as the band brings them to screaming hysterics which are usually heard from teenyboppers and not attendees of a jazz festival.
What I Didn’t Like: I don’t understand the reasoning of playing two almost identical version of “Got My Mojo Working” at the end. This is especially true when he has so many un-played songs in he repertoire (Rolling Stone anyone?). I’m guessing it was a common practice of the time, but I would have left it off of the album to avoid the anti-climatic nature of it.
My Overall Thoughts: So close to perfect, and such a great performance. Albums like this are the reason I started this project!
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? Even if I hated it, I think it would have to be here. Without it, there is a possibility the British Invasion never happens.
Rating (Out of 5): 5
Amazon Review (Out of 5):5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (27/32)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 84%