Eagle Rock Entertainment is helping audiences get their live music fix once again. Following the releases of the latest Def Leppard and The Rolling Stones live recordings early this year, the company has teamed with Montreux Sounds to release two more live recordings from the famed Montruex Jazz Festival. They come in the form of blues legend John Lee Hooker’s 1983 and 1990 performances alongside the Coast to Coast Blues Band. The very presentation of the two shows together is in itself a clear positive to this presentation in its own right and will be discussed shortly. The set lists featured in the concerts add even more to the recording’ presentation and will be discussed a little later. The recording’s production rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording’s presentation. All things considered, they make the recording a welcome addition to any blues aficionado’s music library.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new John Lee Hooker live recording Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990 is a presentation that will easily appeal to any blues aficionado. That is proven in part through its very presentation. Audiences get here not one but two separate concerts in one vinyl (and digital) presentation. It would have been easy for Eagle Rock’s officials to split the concerts up (as they shockingly did recently with Def Leppard’s recent London To Vegas recording). Thankfully, that did not happen here. Instead, audiences get the two hour-long shows (the 1983 show is actually one hour, five minutes and the second is approximately one hour in length) in one complete package. Essentially, audiences are getting two shows for the price of one, and not only on vinyl, but also on digital. The only downside to the presentation is that it was not made available on DVD or Blu-ray, even though official video clips of the performances are streaming online. Maybe that portion of the recording will come along in the not too distant future. That aside, audiences who are okay with just owning the concerts’ audio recording will appreciate having the whole of both recordings at least in their existing platforms. This is just one part of what makes the collective recording so appealing. Its featured set lists add to its appeal.
As noted, audiences get in Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990, two separate live sets. One clocks in at an hour in length and the other at an hour and five minutes. That equals to a total of just over two hours. That is the length of an average single concert for most acts. In other words, audiences get overall content that is equal to pretty much every other single live recording here, only spanning two concerts. Building on that, audiences get at least a healthy representation of Hooker’s catalog at the time. There are some well-known songs, such as ‘Baby Lee,’ ‘Boom Boom,’ and ‘Boogie Chillen’ as well as covers of songs from Hooker’s blues counterparts, Howlin’ Wolf, Big Maceo, and Tommy Tucker throughout the course of the two set lists. Hooker takes audiences all the way back to his formative days in his 1948 hit ‘Boogie Chillen’ and as recent as his 1989 album The Healer. Along the way, songs, such as ‘Crawlin’ King Snake (from 1959’s I’m John Lee Hooker), ‘I’m In The Mood’ (a single from 1951, which was in fact inspired by The Glenn Miller Orchestra’s ‘I’m In The Mood’) and ‘It Serves Me Right To Suffer (from 1966’s It Serves You Right To Suffer) are also featured. Some of the songs are repeated between the two sets, but audiences will note that the performances of those repeat songs are not themselves repeats. Rather, they are their own unique performances. To that end, what audiences get even in this case is still some originality. When those performances are considered along with the other performances and the set lists overall, what audiences get in this element is content overall that will do just as much as the set’s presentation to keep audiences engaged and entertained. While the overall content and presentation collectively do plenty to make this recording so appealing, they are just a portion of what makes it so enjoyable. The recording’s overall production rounds out its most important elements.
Audiences will be pleased to know that the production of Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990 is just as impressive as the recording’s content. The audio is crystal clear, with the audience noise and music expertly balanced throughout. Even taking into consideration just the band’s performance, each performer’s part is just as well balanced with those of his band mates. Hooker’s own vocals are just as clear throughout the course of the concerts. The result is that audiences will find that very rarely throughout the two hour-plus recording will they ever have to adjust the volume or even strain to hear any part of the performances. In other words, audiences get the best seat in the house once more thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, and will at times feel like they are right there at the concerts because the production resulted in such clear, rich sound throughout. Between this positive, that of the overall content, and that of the set’s presentation, what audiences get in Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990 is a presentation that every blues lover will welcome in his or her music library whether digitally or on vinyl. With any luck, fans will be rewarded with a full DVD/BD release of the concert sooner rather than later to make the experience whole. Until such time though, audiences will still revel in the experience presented by this audio-only release of the noted concerts.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new John Lee Hooker double live recording Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990 is a strong new offering from the company in its ongoing partnership with Montreux Sounds. There is much to appreciate about the recording, not the least of which being that it is a double recording in one complete set. Audiences get to own both shows in one package rather than being forced to buy them separately. The overall content – from its set lists to their overall run time – adds even more appeal to the recording. The recording’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation. Each item noted and discussed here is important in its own way to the whole of this recording’s presentation. All things considered, they make Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990 a joy for any John Lee Hooker fan and blues aficionado alike to experience. It is available now.
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