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Lighthouse - Lighthouse Live CD (album) cover

LIGHTHOUSE LIVE

Lighthouse

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars One fine evening

Lighthouse's sole live album was recorded in 1972 in Carnegie Hall, New York. As such, it sits between the "Thoughts of moving on" and "Sunny days" studio albums. The majority of the tracks are taken from "Thoughts of moving on" and "One fine morning", the two albums recorded for their then current label GTR. The recordings were initially intended only for radio broadcast, but such was the positive reaction, both from the band and from those who heard the tapes, that they became this live double LP. The release, the first platinum selling album ever in Canada, also served as a stopgap album, allowing the band to take time off to recharge their collective batteries.

It is the brass arrangements which steal the show throughout the album. Lighthouse were perhaps guilty of not fully exploiting the orchestra their line up boasted on their studio albums. Such a charge cannot be made here.

The excitement of the evening is palpable right from the start, the ten plus two man line up clearly being intent on capturing their initially quite restrained audience. "Old man" is the first track to be given a real dusting down, the lengthy brass then slower strings passages developing the track well beyond the studio arrangement.

The band's most successful singles "Take it slow" and "One fine morning" appear back to back, these live versions giving both tracks an extra edge. Those two tracks together with the frantic "Insane" make up side two of the album, the most upbeat of the four. Incidentally, the four sides of the LP are brief, the album running for around an hour, the length of the radio show. If side two was the rock side, side three is the melodic power side. Just two tracks occupy the side, "1849" an epic tale of settlers heading west, and a nine minute version of "You and me". The vocals on the latter give the impression that fellow Canadian Neil Young has wandered on stage, such is the similarity. This beautiful ballad from "Thoughts of moving on" is enhanced further here by the live arrangement, especially on the later instrumental section. "Sweet lullabye" is another soft number which features the band's string section and some sweet falsetto vocals.

The album closes with a 13 minute version of the Byrds "Eight miles high". As with the Byrds version on "Untitled", the song is largely an excuse for extended improvisation, although would I hesitate to use the word jam, this is clearly a well rehearsed rendition. The song does however give the band the chance to let their hair down, Lighthouse's interpretation displaying clearly the character of the band.

In summary, this is a fine live album. It captures a band at the top of their game on a night when everything came together at the right time. Recommended.

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Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink

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