The Esoteric label has finally gotten around to reissuing this great example (in a slipcase) of how this band (recorded in 1973, in New York City for radio broadcast) sounded live, in their hey-day. The mastering and sound are very good-on a par with other recent reissues of the band's earlier albums. This CD is packed with music that really proves that this band should have been more well known. The booklet has an essay on the music and a few small photos of the band.
Plus, the complete (9 1/2 minutes) version of "Goin' To New York" is included for the first time. That tune (by blues great Jimmy Reed), along with "So Many Roads" (hear blues guitarist Otis Rush's version-its killer), a storming Haycock solo "Country Hat", "Flight", "Mesopopmania" (with its sax/guitar intro which shifts into a duel guitar sound) "Let's Work Together", and other tunes are fine examples of just how good the band was live. I still remember how blown away I was hearing just how tight and fierce this band was on stage. And to have a double album of such great music was something really exciting. Listening to this set you can hear just how tight this band was on stage-no sloppy playing or wasted notes-they just got up there and threw out one blistering performance after another. Even the slower tunes have an intensity to them.
Fans should probably pick this edition of "FM Live" up for the above reasons. If you're new to this band, check out their first, self-titled album, and the second album "Plays On" (both newly mastered) for a good idea of what they were capable of. If you like those, check out the next couple of albums for similarly good tunes. On this live album the band was down to a tight quartet, consisting of-(the late) Colin Cooper-sax/harmonica/guitar/vocals, Pete Haycock-guitar/vocals, Derek Holt-bass/drums, and John Cuffley-drums.
Similar to Savoy Brown, why this band was never really popular in England, and only relatively popular in the U.S. is a mystery. They could play blues (their first album) that could stand next to virtually any other English blues band of the late 60's, and were also capable of venturing into more progressive territory (second album "Plays On") at the drop of a hat. I still own the original vinyl albums-which I remember buying as an expensive "import", and "Plays On" with it's cool gate-fold cover. Back then music was something truly special-part of people's lives- not a lifestyle choice. And these two albums added to that feeling. And with a double album of intense live music, I just didn't understand why (in 1973) no one knew who they were. I would play this for my fellow music fanatics, and they would agree that the band was good, but apparently no one really heard how good they were.
But if you want to hear this band at an early peak-check this newly mastered edition out. It smokes from beginning to end.