Moby Grape: Moby Grape Live


Forgive David Fricke if he succumbs to hyperbole in his liner notes to Moby Grape Live. This collection of concert recordings captures the band’s skill and effervescence to such a degree, they do sound like that spirit of those times when everything seemed possible.

Indeed, upon the release of their eponymous debut album in 1967, fame, fortune and historical prestige seemed inevitable for Mody Grape. Alas, it wasn’t to be, due to various forms of mismanagement plus personnel problems, but during these 1966 and 1967 recordings from various venues including the Monterey Pop Festival, this San Francisco quintet play like they couldn’t miss. Despite Bob Irwin’s mastering expertise, the sound is such it’s difficult at times to discern just how detailed the guitar work of Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis and Skip Spence is, as they interweave strains of rock country and blues, but their own excitement in the moment compensates. As it does for the slightly ragged vocal harmonies, on "Changes" and "Looper" from the Avalon Ballroom: that interplay also reaffirms the versatility of a band that, as composers of  stellar originals such as those and "Bitter Wind," should’ve scaled a pinnacle of popularity in the Summer of Love (and perhaps beyond).

Enclosed in beautiful packaging with embossed cover lettering and stylish photos alongside Fricke’s essay inside the multi-fold digipak, this seventy-plus minute CD concludes with an extended, largely instrumental piece titled "Dark Magic:" in its progression of Indian drones, blues paraphrasing and rock rhythms that ebb and flow in an ever widening circular pattern, it is a tour-de-force that suggests that Moby Grape had even greater things to offer than even that which is so fully on display elsewhere on this album.

Related Content

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide