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Setlist: The Very Best of Alabama Live

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Album Review

Sony’s Setlist series isn’t a standard budget-line compilation: these discs bypass hits in favor of live tracks cut throughout the years, mixing up highlights from classic live albums with a handful of rarities, including some unreleased cuts. In the case of Alabama’s entry, the disc draws from 1988’s Alabama Live and 1993’s Gonna Have a Party…Live but seven of its 12 tracks are previously unreleased selections from a February 5, 1982 concert residing in Wolfgang’s Vault, including versions of “Feels so Right,” “Mountain Music,” and “My Home’s in Alabama,” which makes this of interest to hardcore fans.

Customer Reviews


Awesome. Just as good as I remember!

Nice collection of live tracks, including 7 previously unreleased

The Legacy division of Sony continues to explore new ways to keep the CD relevant. Their Playlist series was the first out of the gate with eco-friendly packaging that used 100% recycled cardboard, no plastic, and on-disc PDFs in place of paper booklets. Their new Setlist series follows the same path of a single disc that provides an aficionado’s snapshot of an artist’s catalog. In this case the anthologies turn from the studio to the stage, pulling together tracks from an artist’s live repertoire, generally all previously released, but in a few cases adding previously unreleased items. As with the Playlist collections, the Setlist discs aren’t greatest hits packages; instead, they forgo some obvious catalog highlights to give listeners a chance to hear great, lesser-known songs from the artist’s stage act. Unlike many of the volumes in this series, Alabama’s entry includes a wealth of previously unreleased material in its first seven tracks. These newly available recordings are drawn from a 1981 show in Salt Lake City, Utah and a 1982 date in Florence, Alabama. The rest of the set’s tracks date from the mid-80s and are drawn from the previously released Alabama Live and Gonna Have a Party... Live. All but one of these thirteen titles reached #1 on the country chart, with “My Home’s in Alabama” having peaked at #17 as an indie release that paved the way to RCA and Total Chart Domination. To really understand how thoroughly Alabama owned the country charts in the 1980s you have to realize that these twelve chart toppers were part of an eight-year string of twenty-one straight #1 singles, a feat that was followed by dozens more hits, including another eleven #1s! The group’s formula stayed remarkably steady from their beginnings through the end of their hit-making years, setting Randy Owen’s masculine-yet-emotional lead vocals and the group’s rich harmony singing against powerful bass, guitar and drum backings. The combination paired the punch of Southern rock with the down home feel of country’s roots. Alabama was more derivative of ‘70s country than earlier honky-tonk or hillbilly sounds, but there’s an earthiness to their playing and singing –especially evident in these live settings – that distanced their music from the factory sounds of Nashville. More importantly, performing as a self-contained band, rather than a solo singer with backing musicians, Alabama cut a new figure in country music, drawing up a template that’s been emulated by dozens of followers. The cheering reception each Alabama song gets from the live audiences is now familiar, but the reaction they stoked in their live shows, bringing rock ‘n’ roll dynamics to country audiences – something Waylon Jennings pioneered in the ‘70s – still sounds fresh. Alabama dials it back and lays harmonies into “Feels So Right” and “Lady Down on Love,” builds to multiple emotional climaxes on “My Home’s in Alabama” (sung with extra resonance to the enthusiastic home-state audience), and revs it up for the foot-stomping “Mountain Music.” While the group’s other live releases give a better sense of their stage shows, this collection provides a good introduction to the group’s live energy, and the previously unreleased tracks will help fans cope with the group’s retirement from the road. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com]

The Old Days ,LIVE!!

I saw them every time they came to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and ALL the shows at Texas A&M,but the Farewell Tour at The Rodeo Houston and Beaumont Ford facily were these songs. The Bread and Butter of Alabama. Thanks for the Setlist and Many thanks for the memories!Light your lighters and dim the lights, the Bowery Boys are doing a GIG! This setlist is that Gig. Thanks Guys.


Formed: 1977 in Fort Payne, AL

Genre: Country

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

Before Alabama, bands were usually relegated to a supporting role in country music. In the first part of the century, bands were popular with audiences across the country, but as recordings became available, nearly every popular recording artist was a vocalist, not a group. Alabama was the group that made country bands popular again. Emerging in the late '70s, the band had roots in both country and rock; in fact, many of Alabama's musical concepts, particularly the idea of a performing band, owed...
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