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Live from CBGB's

Living Colour

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Album Review

Recorded at New York's hallowed CBGB's club on December 19, 1989, this captures Living Colour between the release of their first and second albums. Surprisingly, perhaps, there are just four songs from the debut, joined by a half-dozen that had yet to be released on their sophomore outing. Most valuably for committed fans, there's also a cover of Bad Brains' "Sailin' On" (which Living Colour did record for an early-'90s various-artists compilation) and two Vernon Reid originals that make their first official appearance here, "Soldiers Blues" and "Little Lies." It falls more in the souvenir-for-completists category than something that casts a new light on the band. But it does ably document their live fusions of hard rock (sometimes verging on heavy metal) with some funk, thrash, occasional Latin rhythms, and the very occasional more straightforward singer/songwriter moves, with decent sound. Of the two songs that make their debut here, "Little Lies" is an uncharacteristic (within the parameters of this specific set, anyway) introspective ballad that begins with a drumless arrangement before boiling over into a tenser section with the full band, while Reid's Jimi Hendrix blues-rock influence comes to the forefront on the anti-war "Soldiers Blues."

Biography

Formed: 1984 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

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

During the 1980s, rock had become completely segregated and predictable, the opposite of the late '60s/early '70s, when such musically and ethnically varied artists as Jimi Hendrix, Sly & the Family Stone, and Santana ruled the Earth. But bands such as New York's Living Colour helped break down the doors by the end of the '80s, leading to a much more open-minded musical landscape that would eventually pave the way for future bands (Rage Against the Machine, Sevendust, etc.). The group (singer...
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