Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leading name in live recordings. That is already a well-known fact. That is not just because of the extensive list of acts whose recordings it has released over the years but also because of the quality of said recordings. While that list of recordings is extensive, most of the recordings in question released over the years have been from the biggest names in the music industry. They have not necessarily featured lesser known acts. But earlier this month Eagle Rock changed that when it dug up a hidden gem in the form of Taste: What’s Going On—Live at the Isle of Wight. Taste has never been among music’s (or more specifically rock’s) elite. But that takes nothing away from the Irish trio’s music. Now thanks to the efforts of those at Eagle Rock Entertainment a whole new generation of audiences will discover the joy that is Taste in this new recording. The central element that makes Taste: What’s Going On—Live at the Isle of Wight such a wonderful new recording is its introductory history lesson on Taste. The lesson in question gives a thorough background on the band and its place in rock’s history as well as the importance of its performance at the Isle of Wight Festival. Staying on that note, the companion booklet included with the recording adds even more background on the band and festival, making the recording in whole that much more enjoyable for viewers. And that is still not all that can be noted that makes this recording so impressive. The performance at the heart of the recording translates just as well decades after it was first held as it did for audiences that were in attendance at the original show. By direct connection, the recording’s production values are just as impressive as the performance itself. They are the finishing touch to the presentation. Together with each of the previously noted elements, it shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains the leading name in live recordings and why the recording in whole is one more welcome addition to this year’s crop of live recordings.
Taste: What’s Going On—Live at the Isle of Wight is one of the most surprising and welcome additions to this year’s rich field of live recording offerings. That is especially the case being that unlike so many other live recordings released by Eagle Rock over the years, this recording comes from a decidedly unknown act. Thanks to the inclusion of an introductory history lesson on the band, fronted by famed guitarist Rory Gallagher, audiences of all ages get a good introduction to the band and its importance to the music community both in its heyday and in the modern history of the music industry. The history lesson in question even features Taste’s former drummer John Wilson and one of the band’s managers discussing the band’s history and its performance at the famed festival. Speaking of managers, there is a short discussion on the band’s financial situation leading to said manager change as well as discussions on the importance of the band in comparison to the likes of Jimi Hendrix (who just happened to also be one of the performers at the Isle of Wight festival) and other more well-known acts. Viewers will be surprised to hear the likes of U2’s The Edge and other well-known names singing the praises of Taste, discussing the band’s place in the music industry’s history and its importance in comparison to its more well-known counterparts. These and other discussions featured throughout the presentation’s introductory segment form a solid foundation for the recording and show in themselves why they are collectively an important part of the recording’s whole. They are just one part of the recording that viewers will enjoy, too regardless of viewers’ familiarity with Taste and its body of work.
The history lesson presented ahead of Taste’s performance at the Isle of Wight Festival forms a solid foundation for the whole of Taste: What’s Going On—Live at the Isle of Wight. That foundation is strengthened even more through the companion booklet included with the recording. It picks up right where the presentation’s video bio left off with even more information to set the stage (no pun intended) for the featured performance. One of the most interesting pieces of information included in the booklet is that the band was actually late to the stage because the festival, which started out as a ticketed event, became a virtual free for all as so many people showed up for the event. Just as interesting is the note about Jimi Hendrix telling an interviewer to ask Rory how it felt to be the world’s greatest guitarist because he himself didn’t know. Of course that humility was the norm for Hendrix as he was very much the standard anti-rock star persona. But that the future legend would even throw such credit in Gallagher’s direction says quite a bit about the respect that even others far more well-known than himself had for him as a musician and person. It is quite the telling statement. There is also a more specific explanation of what exactly led to the tension between the band and its manager, and their subsequent split from him. These are just a handful of examples of the importance of this recording’s companion booklet. There is far more history provided in the booklet including a more thorough history of the band’s formation and additional information about the band’s performance at the Isle of Wight not included in the primary video history lesson featured on disc courtesy of Garth Cartwright. The combination of the booklet’s history lesson and that of the disc’s video history lesson makes both elements together an all too important part of this presentation’s whole. That is especially the case considering the relative obscurity of Taste both then and now among audiences. Of course noting both historical elements is only scratching the surface of what makes this latest recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment so important. One would be remiss to ignore the recording’s central focus, the band’s performance.
The history lesson provided both on disc and on paper in Taste’s new live recording sets a solid foundation for audiences before they take in the concert at the heart of the presentation. The concert in question is just as enjoyable as the history lesson preceding the concert. While the concert is composed of only seven songs, those songs will keep any classic rock aficionado fully engaged. As Cartwright notes in the concert’s companion booklet, the trio’s performance was truly something special even for that time. From the adrenaline-fueled opener after which this recording is named to the solid blues tones of ‘Gambling Blues’ to ‘Same Old Story’ and the show’s final number ‘Catfish Blues’ the band proves with this performance that had its members not allowed their tensions to get the better of them, it might have indeed gone on to become one of rock’s elite. Alas that wasn’t to be. But thankfully audiences have this concert to remind them of the greatness that could have been. It is one more way in which this presentation shows itself to be such a surprising and welcome diamond in the rough from Eagle Rock Entertainment and why Eagle Rock Entertainment is, again, the leading name in live recordings.
The concert that lies at the heart of Taste: What’s Going On–Live at the Isle of Wight is a very important element in the enjoyment and overall success of this recording. When coupled with its dual-part history lesson, the recording in whole shows even more why it is such an outstanding new release from Eagle Rock Entertainment. For all of the value of the presentation’s noted elements none of them would be of any significance without the concert’s surprisingly impressive production values. Being that the concert was originally recorded some forty-five years ago, the footage has stood the test of time quite well. The grainy look of the footage is still there. But it obvious that it has been re-mastered. The fact that those charged with restoring the footage maintained that balance between old and new so expertly speaks volumes about their efforts. The same can be said of the recording’s audio mix. It is clear that the audio was as painstakingly handled as its footage. The result here is a performance that sounds and looks just as good today as it did almost five decades ago. Together with its two-part history lesson and the concert itself, the whole of Taste: What’s Going On–Live at the Isle of Wight proves again exactly why it is one more of this year’s best new archived live concert recordings and one more reason that Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the leading name in live recordings.
Taste: What’s Going On–Live at the Isle of Wight is a surprising release from Eagle Rock Entertainment. That is because those familiar with the company’s history of live recordings know most of them to be from far more well-known acts. But in discovering this far lesser-known act in this concert, audiences will agree that Taste deserves far more respect today than it got so many decades ago. They will also agree in watching this recording that it serves as a solid, enjoyable introduction to Taste for said audiences. That is thanks primarily to its rich, in-depth history lesson, which serves as the recording’s foundation. The performance itself will make that introduction all the more enjoyable for viewers. And of course thanks to the efforts of all involved with the concert’s production values past and present, the concert looks and sounds just as good today as it did decades ago. All things considered, Taste: What’s Going on–Live at the Isle of Wight proves in the end to be not just a surprising new release from Eagle Rock Entertainment but a surprisingly entertaining recording. It also proves once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the leading name in live recordings. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:
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