Chesterfield Kings – Live Onstage… If You Want It CD+DVD

January 01, 1970

(Wicked Cool)


Way back in November of 1966 the Rolling Stones rhetorically
mused Got Live If You Want It for the
title of their first (of many, it would turn out) concert album. Forty-three
years – almost to the day – later, Rochester
rockers the Chesterfield Kings, no stranger to Stones lore, offer a similar
proposal with a CD/DVD combo. Recorded in Rochester
in front of a seated studio audience for public television series Onstage, the 16-song set – mixed by heavyweight Ed Stasium, no less – serves
as a decent overview of the band’s back catalogue and, for newcomers, of the
Chesterfield Kings’ oeuvre.


It’s issued on Little Steven Van Zandt’s estimable Wicked
Cool label – Van Zandt also produced their previous album, 2007’s Psychedelic Sunrise – which should be a
tipoff in the first place of what you’ll be getting: non-nonsense garage-shock
that mines for ‘60s gold, with some touches of New York Dolls and Stooges
thrown in for good measure. In the Kings’ case, they usually come up clutching
the goods, from harp-flecked, hard-rocking opener track “Up and Down” and sinewy
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” homage “Flashback” to haunting jangler “I Don’t
Understand” (performed acoustically, with tambourine percussion) and
organ-powered “I Walk in Darkness” (which references the 13th Floor
Elevators and assorted Nuggets icons). There’s even a ragged-but-right cover of Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back
Home” featuring pedal steel, which of course Keith Richards has been known to
play on occasion – just to toss one more Stones reference into the mix.


One caveat: somewhat annoying is the way applause is faded
out after each song followed by an audible gap prior to the next song
beginning; a good live album should have seamless segues in order to more
effectively replicate the concert experience even if the songs are not
sequenced in the same order as the original show. Perhaps this was due to the
fact that the recording was being recorded by someone other than the band
itself, but that’s still no excuse. It’s less distracting on the DVD, which
does utilize segues, so you might want to consider cueing up the DVD through
the stereo system instead of the CD.


Standout Tracks: “Flashback,”
“I Walk in Darkness,” “I’m So Confused, Baby” FRED MILLS




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