While it's true this set has been given the highest rating AMG awards, it comes with a qualifier: the rating is for the music and the package, not necessarily the presentation. Presentation is a compiler's nightmare in the case of artists like John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, who recorded often and at different times and had most of their recordings issued from the wealth of material available at the time a record was needed rather than culling an album from a particular session.
Another live oldies live band release that I wasn't even aware of - until I looked for a live Turtles release. I give 'Captured Live' a five-star rating for it's fun factor alone. Show was recorded on New Year's Eve 1991 at the Bottom Line in New York. Original Turtles front men (wouldn't have it any other way, would we?) Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan lead up - as usual lead the festivities to give us true patrons and followers nearly an hour's worth of pure solid gold goodness to thoroughly take in. I was maybe ten when these guys first appeared on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
On November 11, Rhino Records will celebrate the music of avant-garde iconoclast Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, with a new four-CD box set. SUN ZOOM SPARK: 1970 to1972 focuses on the period following the release of his career-defining 1969 album Trout Mask Replica. During that creatively fertile patch, Beefheart released three albums that have long lingered in the shadow of Trout Mask and even of Beefheart’s Richard Perry-produced debut Safe as Milk. SUN ZOOM SPARK revisits these three albums – Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid, and Clear Spot- in freshly remastered editions, and adds a fourth disc containing fourteen previously unreleased outtakes and alternates from Beefheart and his Magic Band cohorts. Housed in a 7½ x 7½ picture box - still sealed in stickered shrinkwrap.
It was, at the time, one of the highest-grossing rock tours ever, grossing over 11 million dollars in an era when such figures were uncommon. Such success camouflaged the chaos behind the scenes – the bitter fights and feuds, the excess and indulgence that led to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young pocketing about a half million dollars each, when all was said and done. Big bucks were the reason the CSNY 1974 tour even existed. Efforts to record a new album in 1973, their first since 1970's breakthrough Déjà Vu, collapsed but manager Elliot Roberts and promoter Bill Graham convinced the group to stage the first outdoor stadium tour in the summer of 1974, with the idea that CSNY would test-drive new material in concert, then record a new studio album in the fall, or maybe release a live record from the historic tour. Neither happened.