If you haven't seen Joe Ely live you have missed one hard working, entertaining performer that gives his all, even playing solo acoustic, but on this disc he has one of the hottest bands you will ever hear. This concert captures the essence and sweat of the music these guys grew up with and played with, hard working performers that go out of their way every night in a new town to put their names into the hearts and minds of those who come to see them. On Live Chicago he has David Grissom (Storyville, Dixie Chicks, Allman Brothers, John Mellencamp) on guitars, Bobby Keyes (Buddy Holly, Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Eric Clapton) saxes, and the rhythm section of the well seasoned road warriors of Texas music Davis McLarty (drums) and Jimmy Pettit (bass), and they give him the solid musical base that allows him to take those chances that make this such a dynamic group, each spurring the other on to greater heights.
Live Chicago 1987 is nine of Joe's well written songs, one of his musical compadre, Butch Hancock's tunes, and ends with a Norman Petty song, Oh Boy! made famous by Buddy Holly. This is a well paced effort that starts out with the pedal to the metal rocker Drivin' To The Poorhouse, and the set doesn't ease up much from there as this band maintains the intensity even when he slows the material down on a song like Letter To L.A., a tear pullin' high passion song that requires a much slowed down pace—though Mr. Keyes lays down a solo that both raises the ardor of the emotion and just raises the hair on the back of your neck. This is followed by an equally skilled break by David Grissom's guitar playing that doesn't let up an iota, and if anything just raises the roof of the joint before he finally lets it relax into Joe's equally impassioned vocals. This is what you want a live disc to be, the songs you associate with the band, plus a couple of lesser known tunes to break things up done with the passion and excitement that only an appreciative crowd can elicit. One of the best and most exciting live discs I've heard.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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