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Live from Mountain Stage: NRBQ

NRBQ

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Album Review

The 27th disc in the Best of Mountain Stage series is the first to be devoted to a single artist. Although dates aren't specified in the notes, it is compiled from two shows. Yet at just over 42 minutes, it's on the short side. Longtime guitarist Al Anderson covers the first nine tracks and his replacement Johnny Spaminato contributes to the final four, but their sound remains the same. NRBQ's off-the-wall diversity is well represented, as the band covers both the '60s chestnut "Our Day Will Come" (a barely in-tune, tossed-off lounge version), Jad Fair's experimental "Mule in the Corn" (featuring pianist Terry Adam's most idiosyncratic piano playing), Carl Perkins' pickin' and grinnin' "Tennessee," and even Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here." This is their sixth live album, and even though a handful of songs have not appeared on other live discs and the performances (especially a hopped-up "Crazy Like a Fox" and a cooking five-minute "I Got a Rocket in My Pocket") are solid, this is recommended for those who have already jumped on the Q bandwagon. Like many of their club shows, they forgo their hits and best-known songs for offbeat covers. That illustrates the veteran group's range, but the album ultimately doesn't portray a well-rounded example of its strengths. It's good, especially for fans, but far from essential.

Biography

Formed: 1967 in Miami, FL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Often called "the world's greatest bar band," NRBQ are that rare group that's eclectic, stylistically innovative, and creatively ambitious while also sounding thoroughly unpretentious and accessible. At its best, NRBQ's music casually mixes up barrelhouse R&B, British Invasion pop, fourth-gear rockabilly, exploratory free jazz, and dozens of other flavors while giving it all a stomp-down rhythm that makes fans want to dance and expressing a sense of joy and easy good humor that comes straight...
Full bio

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