Top positive review
17 of 17 people found this helpful
Worth buying just for the superb live album!
on 22 November 2011
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.