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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Plimsouls - Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal: October 31, 1981 - Whiskey A Go Go

A follow up to my post from February 3 - New Plimsouls Record! Check out the artwork for the new LP and download a track from the album there. It should be available from your favorite retailers today. I would suggest heading down to your local, independent record store and picking it up on vinyl!

I've finally had a chance to sit down and listen to this record a few times, and I thought I'd share my thoughts. I don't normally review new records here at Burn and Shine, but I figured I should make an exception for the Plimsouls during Power Pop Month. So here goes.

I'll be the first one to tell you, I don't like live albums. While I own quite a few (I used to hoard bootlegs of my favorite bands), there are maybe a dozen live documents that I'll still listen to on occasion. You can probably guess a few of those-- At Budokan, Live at Leeds, a couple of those Bob Dylan Bootleg Series discs leap to mind.

One you might not guess, is The Plimsouls' first widely released live album, One Night in America. It originally came out in 1988, on a French label called Fan Club. It was one of the first ten CDs I ever bought (I never bought the reissue from a few years back, because I cherish this one so much). At the time, I had never really listened to the Plimsouls. Of course I knew "A Million Miles Away", but that's about it. Those twelve songs recorded "in the midwest of all places" changed my perception of the band. I just figured they were a New Wave one-hit wonder. Wrong. This band had chops and knew their history-- five of the twelve tracks were covers, most notably the Outsiders' "Time Won't Let Me" and a scalding version of the Kinks' "Come On Now". So, as you can imagine, my expectations for this new live Plimsouls LP were through the roof.

Mighty tough for an album to live up to those kind of expectations. Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal delivers. Eighteen tracks and nearly an hour it is the perfect compliment to One Night in America (which was recorded five months earlier). The first song that really leaps out at me is "Inch by Inch" (one of my favorite tracks from 1983's Everywhere at Once) which, I'm assuming, must have been written during the time between the ONiA performance and this one at the Whiskey. While the album version has a shiny, new wave sheen, here it is presented in all of its raw glory. Eddie Muñoz' guitar sounds phenomenal, and Peter Case's vocals are to die for-- what I think a young John Lennon might have sounded like during one of those legendary eight hour sets in Hamburg.

Other originals not featured on the previous live document, are "Every Day Things" "Shaky City", "Lost Time", "I'll Get Lucky", "Zero Hour" and "I Want You Back". To go along with tremendous versions of "Hush Hush", "Now", and "A Million Miles Away". Oh, and let's not forget the covers. There are two Easybeats songs featured, "Women" which would make an appearance on their debut, self-titled long player and a fantastic version of "Sorry". A nod to both their L.A. and Hispanic roots, the Plimsouls' rollicking version of Thee Midnighters' "Jump, Jive and Harmonize" absolutely tears the roof down. There's more, to be sure, but listening to this record nearly thirty years after this show was recorded, one word comes to mind: Timeless.

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