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Customer Review

on 4 June 2012
Put simply, whether you love or hate this double "live" album will be determined by your appetite for elongated, deconstructed versions of treasured songs, the majority of them over ten minutes in length with a rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight" clocking in at a whopping sixteen minutes.

Last year's Grammy-winning debut album "Revelator" was an ultra-tight, carefully choreographed affair that brilliantly blended together blues, rock, jazz, funk and world music into a sharply-focused whole. This one is its polar opposite, with the band taking every available opportunity to stretch out and show its instrumental prowess.

There's enough previously-unrecorded material here to head off any complaint about the band merely cashing in quickly with a live version of their one and only studio album so far, and in that respect there are certainly some surprising song choices.

The title track, made famous by Harry Nilsson in 1969, kicks things off in sprightly fashion, whilst there are also notable versions of Elmore James' "Rollin' and Tumblin" and John Sebastian's "Darling Be Home Soon", the latter illuminated by a truly statuesque Derek Trucks guitar solo.

"Learn How To Love You" is a heavier and more muscular version of the song that appeared on "Revelator", whilst "Bound For Glory" - another song off the studio album - boasts Trucks' scorchiest solo on the record.

Taking into account both "Revelator" and the more recent DTB albums, Kofi Burbridge's flute has been employed far too sparingly for this reviewer's liking but it is finally unleashed here in a joyously jazzy rendition of "Nobody's Free".

Susan Tedeschi is in fine voice throughout, her most soulful delivery reserved for Pearl Woods' "That Did It", whilst the set ends with an absolutely stunning ensemble treatment of the gospel standard "Wade In The Water" that showcases the band's versatility to ever greater effect.

Quibbles? Just a couple of minor ones. Trucks' solos sometimes seem too deliberately set up and signposted, instead of just flowing naturally within the song, an example being the pregnant pause of hushed anticipation before he dives in on "Midnight In Harlem". As a result, despite the impressive pyrotechnics, it lacks the sublime ebb and flow of the studio version that was played with absolute economy, every note contributing towards an intense and spectacular crescendo. This time, there's more in the way of fireworks, but at the expense of the raw emotion of the original.

And as for that 16-minute version of "Uptight" - I'm just not sure that the scat singing section in mid-song truly does it justice, whilst I honestly believed that extended drum solos had finally and thankfully had their day way back in the 1970s. Despite some admirable interplay it isn't TTB's finest moment, but let's keep things in perspective. We're talking about probably the most accomplished live band anywhere out there at the moment, and there won't be many better live releases, this or any other year.
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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