Monday, 6 August 2018

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Live Anthology


Thanks to the release, in recent years, of many radio broadcasts, from the seventies and eighties, the market is now awash with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers live material, with varying quality. Some are excellent, some are understandably a bit hissy. This is an "official" live compilation - a 48 track 4CD monster - and its is by far the best in terms of sound quality. It is a sprawling compilation, however, that does not have any continuity i.e. it doesn't come across like one live gig. Tracks are scattered across the compilation, willy-nilly, with no real connection to each other, as they are derived from many different gigs. Bruce Springsteen's "Live 1975-1985" is similar and suffers from a similar lack of continuity. Because of that, it is an album I dip into for short periods. You can't really listen to it in one sitting. Playing it on "random" is a good idea, otherwise you find yourself listening to the same few tracks at the beginning each time you re-visit it.

As I said, there is no chronological nature to the album and there are all sorts of rarities thrown in - covers of Booker T & The MGs' "Green Onions", Willie Dixon's "I Just Want To Make Love To You", Bobby Womack's "I'm In Love", Van Morrison's "Mystic Eyes", Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air" and, interestingly, the theme from "Goldfinger". Most of the Petty favourites are here - "Free Fallin'", "American Girl", "Refugee", "I Won't Back Down" and "Breakdown". A personal favourite is the riffy, rocking "Jammin'" Me". "Good, Good Lovin'" is a corker too. Checkout out the beautiful, sad tones of "Louisiana Rain" as well.

Petty always liked a bit of a jam, and there are some extended versions in places, but that is live albums for you, it adds to the live feeling of the recordings, in my opinion, as opposed to functional note-perfect replicas of the songs' studio versions. It also highlights just how good The Heartbreakers were, musically. Whether you dip into this for a rocking half hour, or you play it for longer, this is a highly invigorating, quality live compilation.


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