Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Great Introduction to a Great Musician
Mark Wylie | Spokane, WA United States | 10/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Growing up listening to my parents' Kingston Trio albums, I knew who John Stewart was, and was vaguely aware of his solo career. So when I came across this CD in the remainder bin of some forgotten record store, I decided to give it a try, and wound up being blown away. This is a fantastic album!Recorded in March 1974, "The Phoenix Concerts" captures the highlights of the first 5 or 6 albums Stewart recorded; at least 8 of the 18 tracks included have to rank among Stewart's greatest compositions ever--"Cody," "Kansas," "Pirates of Stone County Road" and "California Bloodlines," among others. While it only covers a portion of Stewart's career, I consider this album to be the best single-disc introduction to his music currently available.Stewart is a great live performer, and this album captures that quality. From the opening "Wheatfield Lady" to the final "Let the Big Horse Run," every number crackles with energy. A bonus is the inclusion of Stewart's between-songs banter, which used to liven Kingston Trio concerts. The absolute show-stopper is the "Last Campaign Trilogy," in which Stewart combined a new song, "The Last Campaign," inspired by his experiences with the 1968 Kennedy campaign, with two older numbers, "Wild Horse Road" and "All the Brave Horses," into a stunning medley.Some of the best contributions to Stewart's albums over the years have come from his wife, Buffy Ford. She contributes several vocals here, and is in especially stunning form on "Cody" and "All the Brave Horses."This album seems to go in and out of print, so Stewart fans who do not own it would be advised to snap it up while it is available. Anyone who isn't familiar with John Stewart's career should take the opportunity to sample the music of a greatly underappreciated songwriter and performer."
Definitive Live Performances of Stewart's Best Songs
Mark Wylie | 08/17/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an album I had on vinyl years ago, and searched for fruitlessly for quite a long time before I was finally able to find it on CD. It was more than worth the wait!In my opinion, the live performances John Stewart gives on this recording far exceed most of his studio recordings in terms of emotional intensity and impact. While some of the cuts may not have the purity of sound of studio recordings, they more than make up for it in terms of the maturity that Stewart brings to the material after repeated performances before live audiences -- an experience he generally lacked at the time he first recorded the songs in the studio.Standout performances that stick out in my mind include "The Pirates of Stone County Road", "The Last Campaign Trilogy" and "Mother Country" (an extraordinary half-spoken, half-sung story song told in an inimitable style).The album was recorded in March 1974 in Phoenix Symphony Hall. Stewart is joined by Buffy Ford, whose haunting voice blends well with Stewart's on several of the tracks, including "The Last Campaign Trilogy". A solid stage band provides Stewart with great backup throughout. An interesting side note -- the drummer for the Phoenix Concerts was Jim Gordon, who cowrote "Layla" with Eric Clapton during his Derek and the Dominoes days. In latter years Gordon unfortunately succumbed to a case of schizophrenia, and had to be institutionalized. But on this CD, as in the Derek and the Dominoes material, you can hear him at his best."
Every song is a gem!
John Clayton | 09/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this LP years ago and now have the CD. How John Stewart has been overlooked by the general public is beyond me! Only problem is that whoever cut the CD wasn't paying attention...a few of John's spoken intro's are tacked onto the ends of the wrong songs. Oh well, for my money it's still the best live album ever!"