(4 / 5)
One of the very best rock and blues bands this country has ever produced. Fact. This sparkling gem of a release confirms that statement with bells on.
Not one, not two but three CDs here; recorded at their shows in Chicago, Tokyo, Charlton Athletic football ground and the much missed by me, Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London in 1972, 1973 and 1974.
Bluesy, gutsy, in-yer-face and in Stevie Marriot’s gravel vocals, uber-soulful. They really rocked the joint wherever and whenever they played. Never an off night, if you bought a ticket to see these guys, you were guaranteed a cracking night of shit hot rock and roll.
Recordings drawn from a variety of mainly audience recordings that have previously only been available as “under the counter” pirate releases, this is an honest, and often unforgiving, tribute to a classic and much missed 70s supergroup.
Nine tracks from the Chicago gig on disc one, plus three from the Tokyo show, Part 1. The second part of the Japanese concert is on disc two, nine cuts kicking off with their version of the Stones’ ‘Honky Tonk Women’. The third disc is split into two shows; eight tracks from the football ground gig extravaganza and then four from the Rainbow Theatre which is now a church!
Originally emerging from the remnants of 60s beat heroes, The Small Faces, Humble Pie formed in 1969 when guitarist and vocalist Steve Marriott joined forces with guitar hero Peter Frampton, drummer Jerry Shirley and bassist Greg Ridley, and signed to Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label.
After two albums for Immediate, Humble Pie switched to A&M Records, and began their ascent to conquering the theatres, then arenas of North America, culminating in 1972’s double live “Performance: Rockin’ The Filmore”.
Frampton would leave to pursue a highly successful solo career, to be replaced by the fabulously talented Clem Clempson, and it was this line-up that was captured at the Arie Crown Theatre, Chicago on 22nd September 1972, while touring to promote that year’s “Smokin’” opus, from which ‘Hot ‘n’ Nasty’ and ‘C’mon Everybody’ were taken.
With the band’s growing worldwide reputation, the band toured Japan, playing the Shibuya Kokaido in Tokyo on 16th May 1973, whilst promoting their “Eat It” album, from which Ray Charles’ ‘I Believe To My Soul’ was featured, and with a set that ended with a rip-roaring take of the Staple Singers’ ‘Oh La-De-Da’.
There’s no doubting that the 70s saw some unmissable bills, and the show held at Charlton Athletic Football Ground on 18th May 1974 was no exception, where Humble Pie guested alongside Lou Reed and Bad Company at a concert headlined by The Who.
Kicking off with the Small Faces’ debut classic ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’, Humble Pie were at the peak of their live powers before a capacity crowd, including ‘Thunderbox’, the title track from that year’s new LP, in their set. CD Three ends with four songs recorded at Finsbury Park’s legendary Rainbow Theatre, on 6th June 1974.
As well as plenty of rare memorabilia, the booklet features an essay from Malcolm Dome based on new interviews with Pie drummer, Jerry Shirley.
As to be expected for non-official, amateur recordings by naughty punters, the audio quality is what we critics call “an uneven listen,”. But that adds to the live and raw feel of a HP gig for me. All tracks have been included for their historical importance, and to present an alternative anthology of Humble Pie live on stage from 1972-1974. If you are a Pie fan, this is a must have, no-brainer.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’