Recorded in the U.K. in 1980 when Ely was opening for The Clash, Live Shots is a frenzied shot of live rock & roll, west Texas style, with the fierce electric and pedal-(steel)-to-the-metal guitars of band members Jesse Taylor and Lloyd Maines. Although not as accomplished a live set as his later Live at Liberty Lunch, Live Shots remains the best document of Ely's rock-out phase; a driving, relentless cover of "Not Fade Away" particularly stands out. The quieter ballads are what'll bring you back, though, especially moving versions of Jimmie Dale Gilmore's "Treat Me Like A Saturday Night" and Ely's own "Honky Tonk Masquerade." --David Cantwell
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One of the Best Live Albums Ever!
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 11/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Ely had recorded only three albums for MCA in the latter half of the seventies before recording this super-charged 1980 live set in London while on tour as the supporting act for the Clash. The album kicks off with a rousing rendition of the Joe Ely original "Fingernails" and for nearly an hour Ely's crack band (including pedal steel player Lloyd Maines and accordion player Ponty Bone) charges through one electrifying number after another.
In addition to his own tunes ("Honky Tonk Masquerade," "I Had My Hopes Up High," and "Johnny's Blues") Ely includes no fewer than four songs by fellow Texans Butch Hancock (including the classic "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me") and Jimmie Dale Gilmore ("Wishin' for You"). Ely also includes a cover of another Lubbock, TX legend--Buddy Holly--with a high energy version of "Not Fade Away."
The original vinyl album included a bonus 4-track live disk called TEXAS SPECIAL, which is also included here. While Ely has recorded numerous first-rate albums during his 30-year career (including 1978's classic HONKY TONK MASQUERADE), LIVE SHOTS features what is unarguably his best band and is an excellent place to introduce yourself to Ely's combination of western, honky-tonk and rockabilly. [Running Time - 54:21] VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"