When is a live album not a live album? When it's a live album recorded without an audience. See, Aynsley Lister had recorded a show for release as a live album, shortly after finishing his support slot with Lynyrd Skynyrd. But after heading off on his own tour, he came back to release that it no longer represented the sound of the band. So, he hired the Tower arts centre in Winchester and went in to record the live show as it had become. And this is the result.
So, it's not really a real live album. You can't have that without the sound of sweat running down the wall and a drunk eejit shouting out for 'Freebird'. What you have is a rather nice Aynsley Lister best of, a summation of his career to date. Now there is no doubting Mr Listers prowess on the guitar, although I've always found his vocals to be a bit average. Strange to relate, then, that this is his best vocal performance to date. Maybe less time dilly-dallying in the studio is the way to go.
The band themselves are in top form, and there's plenty of good songs to go around. They're fairly evenly split between his earlier Blues material and his more recent rock songs. 'Sugar Low' and 'Early Morning Dew' are the winners for me right now, although I'd have been happy for him to junk the cover of 'Crosstown Traffic' by Jimi Hendrix, and the dullathon that is 'Purple Rain' by Prince. When I saw him play it live, it was just right to fit in a toilet and juice break, but life is too short to hear it on a CD. Although I do seem to be in a minority on that one, if his diehard fans are anything to go by.
Is it better than the 2004 "Live" album? Not if you're a diehard Blues fan who's having trouble staying with his move to the mainstream. Should you buy this? Well, yes. It's a nice roundup of what he's been doing, and if you're new to his music, this is a good place to start.