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4.6 out of 5 stars25
4.6 out of 5 stars
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If you do not already own the Billy Joel album "Piano Man", then I would recommend this purchase for the remastered studio album alone, which is wonderful and sounds great - fresh and sparkling. "Travelin' Prayer" is a storming opener, featuring superb piano and a great use of banjo. "Captain Jack" and "Piano Man", both of which can claim responsibility for Billy's breakthrough into the mainstream, are excellent pieces of music with lyrics which really draw you into the story. "The Ballad Of Billy The Kid" is a grandiose live favourite, fusing Copeland-esque classical bursts with rock. It is, however, the album tracks which make this such a worthwhile purchase, as many people will have hits collections with the singles on them already. "Ain't No Crime", a blustering blue-collar rocker, "You're My Home", a touching, beautifully-crafted ballad, the powerful "Somewhere Along The Line" and "If I Only Had The Words (To Tell You)", a heart-felt song of love and longing make this album a superb listen. In fact, there are only two songs which I would consider to be unremarkable on the whole album. It's a truly great piece of work.

If, however, you're like me and have virtually everything Billy has released so far and wonder if this is worth buying for the bonus live disc, then I can happily confirm that it is. In fact, what a great find this live show is! The second disc, recorded live at Sigma Sound Studios in April 1972, not only has some great live versions of songs from his debut "Cold Spring Harbor", with a few from "Piano Man", there are a handful of songs which are new to people who have all of the studio albums, too. "Josephine" is a brilliant, previously-unheard rock 'n' roll stormer, "Long, Long Time" is an excellent, rare Joel song and "Rosalinda" is a lullaby written for Billy's mother (it's fairly good, but not exceptional). The real treats are the band versions of the songs, which often have a slightly different arrangement - and the drumming is absolutely wild at times, especially on "Everybody Loves You Now". The most astonishing performance, in my opinion, is the final track, "Tomorrow Is Today" which makes one of my favourites from "Cold Spring Harbor" at least five times better. The way the band explodes into life halfway through... wow. It's one of those moments that I live for when listening to music for the first time. Sheer joy!

If you're a fan of Billy Joel, then you will not be disappointed by this album. So often bonus discs aren't worth the money, but you really need to hear this. Wonderful stuff.
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on 28 March 2001
This collection of songs as the title suggests is dominated by the sounds of the piano accompanied by the powerful lyrics that Billy Joel provides. Travellin' Prayer is a great song to start the album off with and a song too often forgotten but greatly deserving of praise. The Ballad of Billy the Kid is the next big song and shows Billy Joel's passion for history and his ability to adapt it to modern life. It is a song that transports you back into the Wild West due to the style of the music but the lyrics are present day and act as a stark contrast. The final song worthy of individual acclaim on this album is Captain Jack. This powerful song is hard-hitting and the more you hear it, the more you like it. I assure you that after listening to the album a few times that this will be the song you find yourself unexpectedly singing. I hesitated as to whether or not this album deserved a 5 star as it is Billy Joel's earliest release (prior to digital remastering) however, with later albums such as Innocent Man and The Stranger I decided to go for a 4 star as there was definitely room for improvement when you think of those 2 albums where every song was a greatest hit (near enough). However, this album is a "must have" for Billy Joel fans as it shows him back at his roots...the piano...and after all he is The Piano Man!
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VINE VOICEon 12 December 2011
Billy Joel's second solo album garnered good radio play and sales with the hit single "Piano Man". The remaster of the first disc is pretty well done (although the Mobile Fidelity SACD is the best sounding master out there)but the real reason to pick this up is the superb second disc--Joel did a live radio concert at Philadelphia's WMMR on April 15, 1972 putting on an exceptional performance with his touring band with selections from his first two solo albums.

This holy grail of live performances for Joel fanatics finally appears with excellent sound (it has been bootlegged over the years) and allows fans to hear three songs that Joel never recorded in the studio-- the exceptional "Long, Long Time", "Josephine" and a song written for Joel's mother "Rosalinda" (a different song from the popular Joel song "Rosalinda's Eyes").

The mastering here by Ted Jensen (and the remixing which includes some minor fixes to the tapes including the addition of a missing note and the removal of mistakes on one track by Joel's drummer at the time)is pretty good for the radio performance. Capturing Joel early in his career before fame began to overwhelm him and with his early touring band the performances are exceptionally good with Joel an engaging and charming performer. The song performances are separated out from Joel's introductions so that those who just want to hear the songs can program their CD player to skip the introductions or rip them without them.

We also get an excellent booklet that discusses the circumstances around both the recording of Joel's second album as well as the radio show performance and how it occurred.

I'm hoping that at some point the other albums will get deluxe reissues with various shows added as a second disc but even if this (along with the deluxe "The Stranger" from a couple of years back) is all we get, I'm satisfied with both the quality and the pricing (this is priced the same as a single disc release)of this set.
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on 9 October 2010
Im a big Billy Joel fan primarily due to my father playing his Billy Joel cassettes in the car when I was kid. Recently I decided to buy all his albums and relive a bit of my childhood, not an easy task on the old wallet as he has released 12 studio albums and numourous live albums. Before I bought the piano man album I wasn't to sure about it and was not expectimg much as I had heard his early albums were not that great compared to his later albums like the stranger or innocent man. Well imagine my surprise when I got the album and loved it. I had always loved the song piano man like everyone else but for me the other songs on the album are right up there. There are 10 songs on the CD and each have a happy sing along quality to them. Admittedly they don't have the richness or depth of his later songs but they make up for that with their toe tappingness and warmth. Songs like Ain't no crime, you're my home and stop in Nevada went striaght into my playlist as did Captain Jack which has a rawness that is great to listen to. After listening to this album I felt better which for me nowadays is a must for listening to an album as sad depressing songs just do not do it for me anymore. I would urge all Billy Joel fans to add this to their collection as I would to ordinary music fans who want an album that has songs they can listen to again and again and that lodge in your brain forever.
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on 25 October 2003
Okay, I'm a huge Billy Joel fan. And yes, I own every single album, even the ones you can only get in Australia.
And the song 'Piano Man' is one of my favourite tracks. It's simply structured yet evocative, and everyone thinks they can remember it when they're drunk.
Bizarrely, 'Piano Man' is not listed in the tracks on the above album, though it is track 2 on some of the others! I'm not such a nerd that I know whether some albums don't have the title song on while others do, or if this is just an amazin' Amazon typo!
But the album? Er.. not so much. I'm not a country fan, and to me it's quite a country album.
Somehow it's quite blokey too. Not very vulnerable. I prefer the introspective Billy of Cold Spring Harbour and The Bridge.
'Billy the Kid' - where he compares himself to the Wild West outlaw - is a great driving song though. Play it LOUD!
If you like Rocking Billy with a bit of country, get this one. If you like softer Billy, there's little sustenance on this album other than 'You're My Home'.
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on 21 October 2013
The quality of the piano man album is well documented for various reasons - the endurance of the title track, the importance of captain jack to joel's career, and the brilliance of some of the arrangements, notably The Ballad of Billy The Kid. Joel was fresh and enthusiastic during this period and if you compare his performances, and his playing, to that of today, its not hard to hear the difference. Other choice cuts include Stop In Nevada and Somewhere Along the Line.
Historically, the 2nd CD documents the live radio broadcast which broke Captain Jack onto the scene, and would eventually lead Joel to be signed to Columbia records, resulting in the first offering of Piano Man. Again, Joel plays and sings as if he means it. His band is not of the standard you would expect, but it's an interesting listen in terms of his development as a songwriter, 5 years before he released some of his strongest material on Turnstiles, 1976.
The studio album will never grow old, but you may find the live gig has limited shelf life.
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on 19 April 2013
Soundwise this remaster had exactly what I wanted out of such a release - much better sound. Compared to the UK CBS vinyl there is greater clarity, more bass and a much nicer tone. It brought new life to the album being such a pleasure to listen to. As for the bonuses, I'm not a massive fan of concert CDs, but Joel is very good at what he does and it's interesting to hear so much from Cold Spring Harbor being played. Intro's to the songs are included which I like to hear, and they have been indexed as seperate tracks so they are easily skipped if preferred. There has been some tinkering with the live stuff (a mis-timed drum entry has been repaired) but the reasons for this are explained in the booklet notes. Decent booklet, nice presentation throughout. Certainly worth the upgrade for me. Shame they didn't include the quad mix on a DVD though!
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on 26 December 2012
I have been a Joel fan since the Piano Man album first appeared (and sat smugly at his first UK concert in 1978 where 90% of the audience clearly thought his career had only started with "Just The Way You Are" - they had certainly never heard any of his earlier music )

The re-master of Piano Man is terrific, and the live album - well, the music is great, the recording quality (given the era and the equipment available ) is stunning. The only gripe I have is Joel's inane chatter between songs, constant "slurping" of beer, etc etc. Another reviewer has said you can set your player to skip past this - mine certainly won't ! On his UK tour he was garrulous in the extreme between songs, but at least most of it was very funny, this just gets on my nerves. So, it would have been 5 stars all round but for that.........
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on 16 October 2014
Another superb vinyl pressing by Mobile Fidelity. This is Billy Joel's second album and definitely worth buying.some excellent songs but overall not quite in the same league as Turnstiles and most of his later albums.
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on 7 April 2014
I decided to expand my back catalogue after seeing Billy Joel live at the end of 2013. Some of the songs are familiar timeless classics while the others should be! I've been listening to the CD repeatedly for the last couple of months and not got bored yet

My copy didn't come with a CD of the live album, but I did get that from Autorip!!
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