Love You Live (1977)


 
Disc One 1.Intro: Excerpt from "Fanfare for the Common Man" 2.Honky Tonk Woman 3.If You Can't Rock Me/Get Off My Cloud 4.Happy 5.Hot Stuff 6.Star, Star 7.Tumbling Dice 8.Fingerprint File 9.You Gotta Move 10.You Can't Always Get What You Want Disc Two 1.Mannish Boy 2.Crackin' Up 3.Little Red Rooster 4.Around and Around 5.It's Only Rock 'N Roll (But I Like It) 6.Brown Sugar 7.Jumpin' Jack Flash 8.Sympathy for the Devil

 

You can't criticize a band that had become superstars for putting out a double live album. What you can criticize is how the album sounds, and how the album feels. Although, they hadn't saturized their catalog yet at this point of their career with live compilations, they would eventually be known as a band who basically put out a live record out after just about every world tour (and then some). In retrospect, this is just about the weakest live effort they ever released. Sure, Got Live If You Want It! was awful, but it many ways, due to the limits of recording technology, you couldn't expect that one to be anything else other than awful. For this album, though, you really shouldn't be able to make excuses.

First, there's the song selection. Of course, when it comes to live releases, everyone has their own preferences as to what should or should not be on a live album. My feeling is that it should be mostly the band's own material (i.e. as little covers as possible) with mostly well known songs, with a few obscure tracks thrown in, as long as the band can do those lesser known tracks justice. This album is about "half" hits. Some, such as Honky Tonk Woman and Sympathy for the Devil sound pretty good (even if a little sloppy), yet they would release later live albums where they tackled these same songs and did a much better job. Other well known songs, however, don't come close to the originals, let alone come close to even being acceptable. It's Only Rock 'N Roll (But I Like It) sounds forced and uninspiring, and You Can't Always Get What You Want, with its mundane arrangement is so awful it's borderline unlistenable.

Then, the band attempts to do one of the four sides of the album in a small club to capture a bit more intimacy. Not a bad idea, but they choose to play old blues covers that don't represent what makes this band so special. Part of the Rolling Stones appeal has been their ability to incorporate blues music into their own style and turn their songs into tunes that are authentically their own. The whole side 3 (or, if you have the CD, the songs from Mannish Boy to Around and Around) is a complete waste of the listener's time. Actually, Around and Around isn't that bad, but by then it's too little too late.

It didn't help when they filled the album up with second rate material such as Star, Star, Hot Stuff and You Gotta Move. You can see why this rates so low in the band's overall material.


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