Sunset, sunrise...it's all good
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 04/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1973 live album brings together five sides from a 1972 concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with four sides from Albert King's 1973 performance at the Montreux Blues and Jazz Festival.
King is in fine form on both sets; the opening "Match Box Blues" is slightly truncated, but we get the full version during the Montreux performance, and virtually everything else is excellent. Tight, focused performances of songs like "Got To Be Some Changes Made", and "Breaking Up Somebody's Home", and the sizzling instrumental "Watermelon Man" are among the highlights, and the Velvet Bulldozer himself plays some truly inspired lead guitar on several of these tracks.
Nobody should attempt to cover Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor", really, not even Albert King, and a couple more up-tempo numbers, and maybe a good pianist to replace the wussy-sounding organ, would have made this a slighty stronger and more varied set.
But it's hard to fault what is here, really. Overall this album is not quite as strong as the 1968 "San Francisco Trilogy" ("Live Wire/Blues Power", "Wednesday Night in San Francisco", and "Thursday Night in San Francisco"), but that particular set is quite extraordinary, and "Blues at Sunset" is well worth picking up in its own right. This particular rendition of "Got To Be Some Changes Made" is probably the finest I've ever heard, and King picks up the twelve-minute "Stormy Monday" with a couple of truly scorching solos. Mmm...solos!
The rest of the Montreux performance is available on the "Blues at Sunrise" CD, by the way, and that one is even better. Why they didn't release the complete concert on the same album is anybody's guess; it was about an hour and a quarter and would have made a terrific double live LP.
But hey, you can just pick up this one and "Blues at Sunrise", too, and you'll have the L.A. sides as well, and everybody wins, right? ;-)"