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Canned Heat - Live

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Album Review

The Canned Heat volume of Classic Pictures' "Special Edition" EP series has the same two shortcomings as most of the others — no "Play All" function, so that one must return to the menu between each of the four tracks before proceeding to the next — and a wretchedly short running time. That's especially frustrating, given how the Beat Club show from which these clips were taken allowed bands such as the Byrds and Manassas to stretch out at times — Canned Heat didn't make the cut for that kind of treatment (or they were unable to promise that their jam wouldn't run 20 minutes or more, a real possibility given their track record). The clips themselves vary considerable in quality and content — "On the Road Again," from 1968, is in black-and-white and fairly poor quality, and is simply the studio recording dubbed in over the band's performance — but "Let's Work Together," "She's Got to Move," and "Future Blues," from 1970, are in color, extremely sharp and well preserved, and are actual live performances. The latter two cuts feature Harvey Mandel in some powerful, inspired fiery solos, while "Let's Work Together" is a showcase for Alan Wilson and some enjoyable psychedelic visual effects — considering that Wilson is virtually invisible on the latter two cuts, it's all kind of eerie. Bob Hite tends to dominate all but the first clip, as the vocalist and with his sheer girth. The audio is good and loud, and the 11 minutes and change on these four clips (or, at least, the eight minutes and change of the three live performances) wouldn't be bad, if only one could just watch them as a continual sequence. The optional pop-up function is informative, if a little dull.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A hard-luck blues band of the '60s, Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan Wilson and Bob Hite. They seemed to be on the right track and played all the right festivals (including Monterey and Woodstock, making it very prominently...
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