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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Blondie

Live

Review by Gary Hill

Upon listening to this disc a question comes to mind. As good as this album is, why is this the first live album this band has released? The disc features a nice combination of classic cuts and new tracks. All of them are performed very well, with every member of the band doing a great job. If you are a fan of the band, but don't have any CD's of them, this is a fine place to start. On the other hand, if you have the rest of the catalog, then this is a definite must have. Blondie is Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri and Debbie Harry.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dreaming
Fast paced, this song really jumps in with lots of energy to get things going right. Its punky blend of pop works quite well.
Hanging on the Telephone
Seeming to come right out of the last cut, this one is hard edged and quirky. It is a fun, energetic song, and a Blondie classic.
Screaming Skin
This strong pop rock number is certainly a new song destined to become a Blondie classic.
Atomic
Bouncy, discofied pop, this one is entertaining. The version presented here even includes a little flirtation with Clint Eastwood western movie music.
Forgive and Forget
Featuring a crunchy guitar solo and great rhythm section, this is a strong dance rock song.
The Tide is High
After a drum in, the song kicks into gear. Bouncy and Caribbean in sound, this is a fun Blondie classic. The inclusion of an interesting rap separates this live version from the original.
Shayla
An intriguing progish guitar intro leads to a nice pop cut. This one features a very good keyboard solo.
Sunday Girl
A bouncy pop song, this one is delivered very much like the original with the exception of the addition of some crunchy guitar.
Maria
Steeped in Blondie tradition, this cut is another new classic. It starts off here a bit like a punky sort of cut. In fact, the rendition on this disc is a bit crunchy, but features a rather lush arrangement and strong vocals. The song also includes a very powerful and metallic guitar solo.
Call Me
With an intro that feels like a faster version of ZZ Top's "Tush", this is crunchy rendition of the classic Blondie dance number. This version is a lot more rock and roll than the original. Including both strong synthesizer and bass solos, the arrangement on this piece is very strong. The outro has definite metallic textures.
Under the Gun
Starting with a very rhythm section dominated mode, this seems like a good classic Blondie pop/rock number. Actually, it feels a bit like Concrete Blonde's "Joey" at times.
Rapture
Starting off quite true to the studio version, the horns are carried on keyboards here. The cut then drops into a nice groove with the familiar rap about "the man from Mars". The "punk rock" line leads to a nice jam that seems to feel a bit like heavy metal meets Alice Cooper's horn laden arrangements of the '70's. The song really takes on some wonderful textures live, and drops into a nice jam that seems to have some different lyrics from the original.
Rip Her To Shreds
Based on hard-edged metallic guitars, this is an energetic pop/rock number.
X Offender
A fast paced pop/rock cut, this one just jumps out and starts running. It features a nice guitar solo segment.
No Exit
Starting with Phantom of the Opera keyboards, this is a hard-edged rock song. It features a powerful metallic instrumental break that is rather progish. This is one of the best numbers on this CD.
Heart of Glass
Punky yet quite discofied, this classic Blondie dance number is done here for the most part quite faithfully. It does, however, feature a bit of Hendrix' "Third Stone From the Sun" and a hard rocking jam to make up the latter parts of the tune.
One Way Or Another
Crunchy, punky and hard rocking, this is an intriguing and addictive, fast paced cut. It features a strong metallic instrumental break, and the outro takes on an appropriately frenetic tone.
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