I love live albums. When I say live, I mean live with as little studio interference as possible. Check out my post “When is Live Really Live?”
There are a lot of great live albums I won’t talk about here — albums like “Live and Dangerous” by Thin Lizzy, “Live Bullet,” by Bob Seger, “Frampton Comes Alive” by Peter Frampton, and “Alive” by KISS. Anybody who digs live records knows about those. There are, of course, lots of other live albums of this caliber I could mention, but instead I’ll get on with the albums I came to talk about. These live albums are excellent, if maybe a little underrated. I could be wrong. Maybe they’re more well known and respected than I know. One thing you’ll notice about most of these albums is that they’re fairly short as live albums go. You’ll also get a sense, if you listen to them, that there is very little studio interference. The point is, if you like listening to live stuff, you won’t go wrong with these.
All Night Long (Sammy Hagar) – I’ll start off with a pair of Sammy Hagar albums. The first, “All Night Long,” titled “Loud and Clear” in the UK, is a kick ass live album that starts out fast with Sammy’s signature song “Red” and doesn’t let up. Sammy busts through classics like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Weekend,” “Turn up the Music,” and “Reckless,” plus his version of a song he wrote (and Rick Springfield made famous), “I’ve Done Everything for You.” He polishes it off with “Bad Motor Scooter.” Non-stop Sammy goodness from start to finish.
Live 1980 (Sammy Hagar) – This killer album rocks with the same intensity of “All Night Long,” but features tracks a little bit newer. Awesome stuff like “Trans-Am (Highway Wonderland),” “Love or Money,” “Plain Jane,” and “This Planet’s on Fire (Burn in Hell)” make this album a classic. “All Night Long” and “Live 1980” combined would make a seriously awesome live Sammy Hagar album.
Live Train to Heartbreak Station (Cinderella) – This is a great sounding live album by Cinderella that only features six songs, but every one of them is a winner. “The More Things Change,” “Somebody Save me,” “Heartbreak Station,” “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone),” “Gypsy Road,” and “Shake Me” offer up a nice balance of ballads and rockers and make this a live album worth hearing.
Alive and Screamin’ (Krokus) – While there are only nine tracks of metal goodness here, the sound and energy of the album are top notch. “Midnite Maniac,” “Bedside Radio,” “Screaming in the Night,” and “Stayed Awake all Night” are some of the fine Krokus cuts here.
Intensities in 10 Cities (Ted Nugent) – This is an odd one. None of the live recordings on this album were released on any studio album by Nugent. The album is comprised of ten new songs performed on ten dates of Ted’s 1980 tour. None of the songs are particularly awesome, but they are a lot of fun, and really, what else do you do at a Ted Nugent concert but have fun? Cool concept and definitely worth owning.
Live (Foghat) – I’ve extolled the brilliant points of this album before, but let me do it again. I don’t really think it was underrated that much in its heyday, but it’s worth reminding you about, you know, just in case you forgot. Only six songs, but they are classic Foghat performed like only Foghat can do it. “Fool for the City,” “Home in My Hand,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “Road Fever,” “Honey Hush,” and the ever- sweet sounds of “Slow Ride.” Yeah, I think you get it.
Bring ‘Em out Live – (Firehouse) – Firehouse is known for their ballads, and they have some pretty cool up tempo stuff too. This one has everything from “When I Look into Your Eyes” and “Love of a Lifetime” to “All She Wrote” and “Don’t Treat Me Bad.” Great songs and great production make this a fine live recording.
Still Life (The Rolling Stones) – This album is short and sweet. It was recorded during their 1981 American Tour and features a handful of recognizable tunes, including “Start Me Up,” “Shattered,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Time is on My Side,” “Just My Imagination,” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The performances are not the best they’ve ever done, but the energy and honesty make up for it.
If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It (AC/DC) – Classic AC/DC from the Bon Scott era. This is a killer live album that feels like the real deal. “Riff Raff,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “Bad Boy Boogie,” Problem Child,” “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be,” “High Voltage,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation,” and “Let There Be Rock” are just a few of the awesome tunes on this high-energy dose of AC/DC madness.
I bet you’ve got your favorites. What are they?