A Slice of Humble Pie (GDLIYWI) 5

After months of lock down we are now finally allowed to attend sporting events, albeit in a reduced capacity. I was one of the lucky ones to be able to attend a football match; it was Tottenham Hotspurs vs some other chappies, can’t remember their name but they were awfully good. Excitement got the better of me and I started shouting “oxidisation”, “combustion”, “ignition”, “friction” and got thrown out for using inflammatory language.

Welcome to another episode of ‘Got Double Live If You Want It’ (aka: Is That Drum Solo Really Necessary?) where we re-evaluate classic double live albums released by classic rock acts from the ’70s and discover whether they stand the test of time via my arbritory scoring system. Today’s victim is Humble Pie’s 1971 release ‘Performance Rockin the Filmore’.

Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore is the 1971 live double-LP/single-CD by English blues-rock group Humble Pie, recorded at the Fillmore East in New York City on May 28–29, 1971. The original band line-up featured lead vocalist and guitarist Steve Marriott from Small Faces, vocalist and guitarist Peter Frampton from The Herd, former Spooky Tooth bassist Greg Ridley and a 17-year-old drummer, Jerry Shirley, from The Apostolic Intervention. On 9 July 1971, Humble Pie opened for Grand Funk Railroad at their historical Shea Stadium concert, an event that broke the Beatles record for fastest selling stadium concert, to that date.

The live album reached No. 21 on the US Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA propelling the album up the charts. However, before the album’s release, guitarist Peter Frampton left due to growing friction between him and Marriott and later went on to enjoy success as a solo artist.

When I started these posts I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I’ve been into rock/metal since I was 11 and yet, after listening to some of these albums I’ve got a dead leg from kicking myself for missing out on such great music! As a young ‘un, I foolishly dismissed this band and the previous two acts as hoary, old farts playing hoary old blues for hoary old rockers suppin’ pints of hoary old ale. Well, I guess that makes me a hoary old idiot!

‘Performance’ shows the band in all its gloriousness: Marriott’s rough and ready blues howl, Frampton, who I had dismissed growing up based solely on the ubiquitousness of his ‘Comes Alive’ album and what the ‘cool music press’ said about him, is an absolute revelation to me on here. His guitar playing, riffing and soloing are some of the finest I’ve heard in a good while. Pretty boy AND an amazing axeman! Yeah, I’m jealous! The rhythm section of Ridley and Shirley keep the band motoring along, all tight and loose, allowing Frampton to solo like a man possessed and for Steve Marriott to blow his harmonica, sing, shout and sound like he’s having a grand time.

This is an excellent live document of a band who could have been so much bigger if only Frampton and Marriott could get along with each other. The songs on here, (only 1 of the 7 songs is an original, the rest are covers) are brilliant blues/hard rock compositions that must be played loud. My only quibble is the song ‘Rolling Stone’, it’s 16 minutes long but it’s not until the last 3 minutes that the pace picks up and shows more energy than the previous 13. Also, ‘Hallelujah (I Love Her So) the song sounds quite clunky and sloppy and is only saved by Marriott’s voice and audience interaction. Fortunately there are a number of other great songs and performances to more than make up for a couple of mis-steps, and I think that ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ is one of my favourite song to close a live album I’ve heard so far.

So is it excessive? Only 2 of the seven songs are over 10 mins, one of them is the 27 minute cover of Dr John’s ‘I Walk On Gilded Splinters’, which sounds so far removed from the original it almost gets lost in the bayou! But no, other than what I said above about ‘Rolling Stone’, it’s not an excessive album. Were the critics right? I could only find Robert Christgau review that gives it a C-, so no the critics were not right. This goes way above that mark. Would I listen to it again? This album, along with the  Allman Brothers one, makes me want to go back in time and tell the 11 year old me not to casually dismiss this record. Would I recommend it? That’s an affirmative. Is there a drum solo on here? No, not even a sniff of one, which makes me happy!

So the scores on the doors show that this record is a 8/10, which ties it for second place alongside Grand Funk Railroad. Who’s up next for classic double live album re-evaluation? Join me next time and find out!

Published by labarbaazul8067

I'm just a creature from the heap so excuse my savage ignorance.

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