Title - 'Last Call: Live at The Music Box'
Artist - The Choir
For those not in the know, in 2018, when Omnivore Recordings released The Choir’s first full length platter in the group’s history, no one knew what impact the release of that recording would have.
Indeed, the group, in its many different manifestations during the '60s, had released several singles, including a Top 10 smash ('It’s Cold Outside') in the group’s hometown of Cleveland.
The song would reach #68 on the Billboard national charts, but the garage rock band whose many different members went on to form other important bands like Raspberries and James Gang, had never made an album of their own before, just assorted singles from 1966–1968.
So 50 years on, when the tapes of an aborted album were found, mixed and released as Artifact: The Unreleased Album to unanimous critical acclaim, the 1968 version of The Choir suddenly found itself back in the limelight with a decision to make.
Would they choose to reclaim their vision and perform live, back where they came from, the home of rock ’n’ roll, Cleveland, Ohio. Or would they continue to languish in the annals of music folklore?
Choosing the former option, Omnivore Recordings has just released (May 29th, 2020) Last Call: Live At The Music Box, The Choir’s 50th anniversary performance captured live at Cleveland’s Music Box the night of September 20th, 2019.
1. 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'
2. 'Anyway I Can'
3. 'Love Really Changed Me'
5. 'Shine On Brightly'
6. 'I Can't Stay In Your Life'
7. 'That's The Way God Planned It'
8. 'Boris' Lament'
9. 'What About You'
10. Have I No Love To Offer'
Opening with a stirring, if not sub-Gothic rendition of Procol Harum's majestic 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale,' they move seamlessly onward with the drum-led, mid-tempo rocker 'Anyway I Can,' a euphoric cover of Spooky Tooth's 'Love Really Changed Me,' and both the AOR of 'Ladybug' and another Procol Harum cover, this time the prog rock of 'Shine On Brightly.'
The late '70s upbeat pop vibe of 'Can't Stay In Your Life' is then backed by the Billy Preston classic 'That's The Way God Planned It' (although some words are changed, for whatever reason), and then both their 1994 hit 'Boris' Lament' and then the Blues swagger of 'What About You.'
This jam packed first disc then rounds out with the heartfelt yearning of 'Have I No Love To Offer' and comes to a close on the harmonious Hammond organ-driven 'America.'
2. 'If There Are Men'
3. 'David Watts'
4. 'It's All Over'
5. 'Mummer Band'
6. 'For Eric'
7. 'Salty Dog'
8. 'Good Times'
9. 'MacArthur Park'
10. 'It's Cold Outside'
12. 'Ramblin' Gamblin' Man'
The second disc opens with the pop rocker 'Kaleidoscope' which is followed by the tunefully free flowing 'If These Are Men,' a cover of The Kinks' infamous 'David Watts,' and then both the lo-fi piano ballad 'It's All Over,' and then the foot-tappin' ode to joy 'Mummer Band.'
Next we get the artful piano work found within 'For Eric,' which is backed by another Procol Harum track, their magnificent 1969 'A Salty Dog,' and then comes one of my own personal favorites, 'Good Times' (aka 'Gonna Have a Good Time'); a song by the Easybeats, originally released as a single in Australia in 1968.
A memorable version of Jimmy Webb's wondrous 'MacArthur Park' (made famous by both Richard Harris and Donna Summer) is next and is followed by a lo-fi rearrangement of their own hit 'It's Cold Outside' -- to reflect the current musical makeup of the group which includes Ken Margolis (keyboards), Phil Giallombardo (organ), Randy Klawon (guitars), Denny Carleton (bass) and Jim Bonfanti (drums) -- with the album closing on the last of their Procol Harum covers, this time their 1974 'Conquistador,' wrapping up with a thunderous Bob Seger tribute on 'Ramblin' Gamblin' Man.'
Official Purchase Links
The Choir 'Last Call' Music Trailer