Having restored myself to a semblance of civility and good grace after the anti-Randy onslaught. I thought I’d raise one more burning issue before my limited range of things to say is totally spent. Live albums, and why they are generally not rated as highly as studio albums.
If you look at Uncut’s 200 (as a random example), there are only three: James Brown’s Live at the Apollo, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and The Who Live at Leeds. Now these lists are often silly and some albums are just famous for being famous, even though hardly anyone listens to them. In fact I think Live at the Apollo falls into that category too. But still.
Theodore Gracyk in his book Rhythm and Noise argues that rock is essentially recorded music. I can understand what he’s getting at; in the studio it’s a whole collaborative artistic process, rather like the making of a movie that unfolds over a period of time, which has all sorts of advantages.
But when a live album is such an outstanding and exceptional document that captures the sheer brilliance of a gig, shouldn’t that be celebrated even more for the difficulty of producing such a thing?
I cannot believe that the Uncut 200 could not have included at least three more: Get Yer Ya Yas Out, Absolutely Live, and Band of Gypsies. In the top 200! I would like to know what others feel about classic live albums. What makes a really great one.