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Brian Auger - LIVE OBLIVION Volume 2 CD (album) cover


Brian Auger


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.17 | 10 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

A better live album than the listless Volume 1, this one was recorded also in LA, a few blocks down from the other album and around the same time. Using the same artwork as Vol 1, but giving it a red glow (instead of blue), it's obvious these were both budget releases. I never owned the vinyl album, so wonder how they managed to fit all of these tracks on a single vinyl (given the timing), and even the Cd version with its 16-mins bonus track (from LA as well but in 75) had been on it, it's not sure a double album would've made sense.

Starting on the Trinity days (the Befour album to be exact and what a corker this Hancock-penned track was) Maiden Voyage, the group can't really reproduce the hugely successful rendition of yesteryear, but they also give it a jazzier twist that makes it much closer to the original version than the Befour version. If Brian shines on the electric piano, Ligertwood's vocals are off the bat and Mills' guitar is no match compared to Gary Boyle's, back then (Befour) and in even less in Isotope. Second Wind (from the same album) is again no match for the original, but at least the group is more in its groove. Apparently this was a last track or an encore (can't figure they got much demand based on these two tracks alone, though) but placed wherever it actually fit on the vinyl. One of the few tracks actually fairing better in this live setting is the Straight Ahead title track (even with Alex singing if you can believe it) that rocks itself hell-bound.

The three tracks from Closer To It are definitely that: closer to what an Oblivion concert should be. Whenever You're Ready and Inner City Blues (no mellotron in this version) both show the same energy and enthusiasm as the studio versions, Alex's performance being fair in the former, but less so in the later, yet not affecting the track because of Brian's savoir-faire. Compared To What is again quite energetic, but Alex's third rate Winwood-type of vocals is cringey and the band almost loses track of where they are, but overall the performance remains instrumentally interesting as soon as Alex shuts up. The bonus Don't Look Away (from the Second Wind album) is an extended funky jam, but the sound-desk taping is quite different, but it doesn't save the track from being a bore (except the closing minutes where Ligertwood stops the Winwood simulation and starts Tim Buckley impersonation (better actually), Ceccarelli (replacing Ferrone on drums) being little more than adequate.

If Vol 2 is a marginally better album than Vol 1, it's primarily because of the track selection being much more pleasant for hardcore fans, and the execution of the CTI tracks selected, but not that much else. I'm not even sure that packaging the two volumes together would make this remotely essential.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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