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Back It Up!! Live... An Authorized Bootleg

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Album Review

Finally available on wide release 32 years after it was a limited-edition, and much coveted, vinyl release sent to 1,000 radio stations and critics (each one with a sticker hand-glued to the cover), this 44-minute live radio station concert is half as long and more than twice as exciting as Nils Lofgren's official live concert souvenir, 1977's disappointing and bloated Night After Night. Al Kooper, who was then doing pre-production on Lofgren's second solo effort, sits in on keyboards and the stripped-down band also featuring Nils' brother Tommy on second guitar and a bassist and drummer keeps the sound lean and mean. There are only seven tracks, with five grabbed from Lofgren's then recently released debut, along with two tunes from Grin, the band he recorded four albums with that also included his brother. In retrospect, the sound is a little dry and the 2007 CD reissue doesn't remix it or add any additional tracks (there may not have been any), but this is nevertheless a classic album, arguably Lofgren's finest, whose belated presence on CD is most welcome. The singer and guitarist also plays decent piano on a stunning version of the Goffin & King nugget "Goin' Back," rearranged substantially from the Byrds' more popular cover. The only real rockers are the opening title track and the closing "Beggar's Day"; the latter tune, dedicated to Crazy Horse's Danny Whitten (Lofgren was a member of that band for a brief period), is a highlight of Lofgren's catalog. The rest display his pop roots that are often obscured on later discs where he flirted with R&B, disco, and hard rock to various degrees of success. Any Nils collection is unthinkable without this, so its appearance, even three decades after its original release, should be greeted with enthusiasm by anyone even vaguely interested in Lofgren's career.

Customer Reviews

Nils Still Thrills!

Having heard the original KSAN live broadcast of this "album" as it was being "made" in the '70's, it's great to finally have this available in digital CD-quality format. (Beats the dub I made off the air, which I still have!) Nils at his peak.


I worked for A&M Records in the mid 70's when they released this bootleg to radio stations only, to help promote Nils. It was in a plain white lp cover and people loved it and always asked where they could get it, but it wasn't for sale at any stores. It's an amazing record by Nils and the sound today is crystal clear. The song "Going Back" by Carole King stands as one of the greatest covers.

Great Performance

This is a great album that really showcases Nils' talents. Many reviewers at the time felt that this is the album that should have been released instead of his live double lp "Night After Night." I, for one, disagree with that assessment, as I think that "Night After Night" is even better than this disc. That said, this album is a treat. Nils has always been better live than in the studio, and the listener gets to hear the energy and the sheer talent of Nils' performance skills is this long unavailable recording.


Born: June 21, 1951 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

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

For much of his professional rock & roll career, Nils Lofgren has been known as the lead guitarist for Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band -- the guy who replaced Steven Van Zandt in 1984 and stayed on after Little Steven returned to the fold. Prior to the E-Street Band, Lofgren was a member of Neil Young's backing band Crazy Horse, and these associations have tended to dominate any mention of the guitarist's career, as any support for two legendary singer/songwriters would. But take away Bruce and...
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Back It Up!! Live... An Authorized Bootleg, Nils Lofgren
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