Tuesday, September 2, 2008

show me the way to go home

photograph by allen frame.

Well. This post was prompted by a 'conversation' with Brushback on One Base On An Overthrow initially regarding one-time Nazz guitarist and tunesmith, Todd Rundgren, and on the back of that his role as producer for the New York Dolls, and much later down the road, Cheap Trick.

While agreeing about Cheap Trick, I made the point that I was surprised on listening to "In Color"† for the first time again in years to find the production far ropier than I nostalgically recalled. In comparison, I had just heard the A&M 1999 remaster of 1976's "Frampton Comes Alive" and I was amazed at the great sound.

Now, this is the point where I fully expect you to leave this post in disgust. I know. Even in its day the 'biggest selling live album of all time', it's fairly hard to imagine a more nauseating snapshot of 1976. This was the LP I hated most during that time. The mere glimpse of those sun-kissed curls, the spectacle of a gormless Frampton staring out beatifically from its jacket like an air-brushed Christ, was all that was required to reduce me to a trembling state of incapacitated horror. That record was apparently inescapable throughout 1976 and beyond: it dominated countless house parties you might sooner wish to forget; it lurked odiously in your best friend's sister's bedroom, or leered at you from coffee tables everywhere. The only thing which might induce you to stay on encountering it unexpectedly were the Rizla papers reclining on its sleeve. If you were lucky.

I wasn't.

It may have been recorded at Winterland, San Francisco but even during the heatwave of 1976 in the usually rain stricken UK, it sucked. Big time.

And yet. Fast forward twenty years and I found myself tapping my feet to a reasonably faithfull cover version, thinking, actually, it's really not all that bad...

Tell them Mascis sent you.

DINOSAUR JR: SHOW ME THE WAY from "You're Living All Over Me" LP / CD (SST) 1987 (US)

PETER FRAMPTON: SHOW ME THE WAY (REMASTERED) from "Frampton Comes Alive" LP (A&M) 1976 (US)

† For those of you resilient enough to have persevered thus far, it appears that Steve Albini has re-recorded "In Color" with Cheap Trick in a bid to iron out those muddier creases.



Brushback said...

Funny stuff, man.

About that re-recorded "In Color": you like?

ib said...

Yeah. I only managed to listen to a few tracks late last night, and since I'm not a user of headphones the volume was too low to do it proper justice. That's the problem living in a high rise apartment: either you just crank it up and wake up the nighbourhood, or you bite the bullet - Any time I've used headphones in the past I'm convinced an intruder going to creep up from behind and pull a Leno LaBianca number on me...

Sounded good, though.