25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A bit of a disappointment I mut admit,
This review is from: Down At The Field (Audio CD)
The release of US radio live small recordings from small venues or studios in the early 70s seems to be a trend that has restarted (per recent releases by Little Feat, Bruce Springstein, Allman Bros. Band and Emmylou Harris). Some have been widely bootlegged before (the Allman Bros.) whereas others like this seem to be seeing the light of day for the first time.
Firstly do not be deceived by the cover picture of Ry with an electric guitar - this is wholly a solo acoustic set on either guitar or mandolin without any other accompaniment recorded at Ebbetts Field small venue in Denver Colorado in May 1974 and supplemented by tracks from a few days earlier at the Bottom Line in New York.The tour was undertaken just after the Paradise and Lunch album had been recorded, but there is only one track from that album ("I'm a fool for a cigarette/Feelin' good") with all other tracks being off earlier album releases or just older blues songs that Ry never recorded with the exception of the much later recorded "Crazy' bout an automobile". The album thus reflects Ry's love of the great American tradition rather than an attempt to plug his own recordings demonstrating that as always the man has followed his own loves rather than commercial success as the dominant force in the making of his music.
Against that, the set does after a few plays sound all very similar and the solo finger picking and playing on which his reputation is largely built is very intermittent. What the whole release proved for me is that Ry will never be a great vocalist and while all his interpretations are fine there are few that leave you feeling that is a definitive interpretation versus paying homage to such blues songs (interspersed with Ry's own sardonic comments on certain to the songs). It is no surprise that with later releases and especially tours he started to add other musicians and vocalists in breaking out of the small club venue circuit.
A nice historical artefact but I suspect one I will play intermittently compared with other releases by the man.