Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul - Soulfire Live! (2017)

  

Released in 2018

This is a truly excellent live album from Steven Van Zandt and his reformed Disciples Of Soul, over thirty years after their debut album. Here, in an impressively long (dare I say Springsteen-esque?) set list, they play the whole of their 2017 comeback album "Soulfire" plus a generous amount of tracks from their debut album and other Van Zandt solo albums. There are several of Van Zandt's versions of songs he wrote in the seventies for Southside Johnny too.

The album bristles with energy and vigour and the musicianship is excellent as indeed is the sound quality, which is big, full, warm and bassy. Van Zandt's live delivery is impressive although his Springsteen-isms on occasions, such as in the lengthy middle part of "Until The Good Is Gone" are a little derivative, but understandable. One slight downside are the extended spoken intros to many of the songs (again Springsteen-style). I know a lot of people like this sort of thing to be included and feel it adds to the "live" feeling of the recording, so they will be happy with it. Personally, I would rather they just got on with the music. I also feel that way when I am at a gig - just cut the chat and play some music. He has also certainly learnt from his old mate in delivering a lengthy set as well.

Anyway, highlights are a bassy, reggae-influenced "Solidarity"; a convincingly dubby "Leonard Peltier"; the afore-mentioned soulful, horn-driven "Until The Good Is Gone"; a rousing, Motown-esque "Angel Eyes"; the thoroughly uplifting "Blues Is My Business", "Saint Valentine's Day" and all the others, actually. There isn't a duff track on the album. Van Zandt even covers James Brown's "blaxploitation" funk number in "Down And Out In New York City". Great to hear "Some Things Just Don't Change" too. It really is an excellent, uplifting set. Below are the songs played (without the "tracks" which are actually spoken intros).

* This review refers do the download version, which doesn't include "disc 3" of bonus tracks, just the original concert set list.

SONG LISTING

1. Soulfire
2. I'm Coming Back
3. Blues Is My Business
4. Love On The Wrong Side Of Town
5. Until The Good Is Gone
6. Angel Eyes
7. Some Things Just Don't Change
8. Saint Valentine's Day
9. Standing In The Line Of Fire
10. I Saw The Light
11. Salvation
12. The City Weeps Tonight
13. Down And Out In New York City
14. Princess Of Little Italy
15. Solidarity
16. Leonard Peltier
17. I Am A Patriot
18. Groovin' Is Easy
19. Ride The Night Away
20. Bitter Fruit
21. Forever
22. Checkpoint Charlie
23. I Don't Want To Go Home
24. Out Of The Darkness

B+

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