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Humble Pie

Official Bootleg Box Set Volume 1

Review by Gary Hill
The first thing that must be addressed is the "bootleg" in the title of this set. These recordings obviously started literally as bootlegs. The recording quality is never great here. It is generally listenable, but never without some issues ranging from mostly minor to pretty major. Once you've got that out of the way, though, this is an intriguing set of music from three different years in Humble Pie's history.

 

One of the concerts (the Tokyo show, which starts on the first disc and makes up all of the second disc) includes the Blackberries providing backing vocals. For the first couple shows, Steve Marriott sings all his stage banter. While it's a bit interesting, it also gets a little annoying. Perhaps that's why he stopped doing it later. Humble Pie's brand of bluesy hard rock might not be Earth-shattering in terms of originality, but they definitely did it really well. This set is probably mostly geared toward those who have all the other albums, but there is something here for most people who dig this kind of music.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc One

             
Arie Crown Theatre: Chicago 22nd September 1972

          
Introduction

This is mostly crowd noise, along with a little blast of music. Then the actual introduction comes after that.

Up Our Sleeve

These guys stomp out of the gate with a screaming hot hard rocking sound. The sound quality really struggles mid-track on this, feeling like there were some issues with the source tape.

C'mon Everybody

There's a little acapella bit at the start of this. When they pound out into the heavy, stomping hard rocking stuff the sound quality suffers quite a bit. The music, on the other hand, really rocks. While the jamming later in the track seems purely on fire, the sound quality takes away from it a bit.

Honky Tonk Women

I dig the guitar riff that opens this stomper. It's a cover of the Rolling Stones tune. They do it a bit more on the raunch and roll end of the spectrum. Again, the recording quality is a bit of a problem.

I Wonder

A guitar solo opens this and holds it for quite a while in a cool blues rocking style. In fact, that makes up about the first three minute of this. Then we get some acapella vocals from there. Guitar and other instruments joint the mix in an almost tentative way as this continues. There is a harmonica solo, too. It's a smoking hot electric blues tune.

Hallelujah (I Love Her So)

This is another blues rocker that's solid. It's not a huge change, but it rocks.

I Don't Need No Doctor

This old chestnut gets a raw, screaming hot raunch and roll rendition here. They turn this into a roughly ten and a half minute song. It has some intriguing changes and some killer instrumental work along with some active vocals.

Hot 'N' Nasty

There is some serious organ on this cut, but we also get some meaty guitar. This is not a huge change, but rather another stomping bluesy hard rocker. I dig the guitar soloing on this.

Four Day Creep

The encore is almost metallic in a Black Sabbath kind of way. It's close to Led Zeppelin, too. It's mostly electric blues, but it's considerably heavier than that.

Shibuya Kokaido Tokyo 16th May 1973 (Part 1)
               

Up Our Sleeve

The introduction is included as part of the song on this recording. They power out from there into some smoking hot bluesy rock. While the sound on this is perhaps less distorted, it feels a bit distant.

Tokyo Jam

I dig this rocking jam. There are some vocals on this, too. It's a solid number. At a little over two minutes, it's also pretty short.

C'mon Everybody

Somehow this time around this reminds me just a bit of "Summertime Blues." It's a solid rocking stomper that is effective.

Disc Two
         
Shibuya Kokaido Tokyo 16th May 1973 (Part 2)

             

Honky Tonk Women

This take on the Stones seems to work a bit better than the one in the first concert to me.

Steve's Little Jam
The opening of this is all about the introductions of the people on stage. Of course, it's all done in singing form. The guitar solo part of the piece is smoking hot.
I Believe to My Soul

This is one of the most fiery blues rockers here. I'd stack this above anything on the first disc for sure. I love the guitar work on this, but the whole cut just works so well.

30 Days in the Hole

This is arguably the band's best song. They deliver a killer rendition here. It still suffers a bit from the sound quality issues, but overall is solid stuff.

Road Runner

This old chestnut gets solid live take here. It's not a standout, but it's on par with the rest of the material. They turn it into a 17-minute plus magnum opus.  We get some serious jamming built into it later with some great guitar soloing. There is some harmonica work, and it seems to have some other songs built into it throughout the run.

Hallelujah (I Love Her So)

Gospel and old-school blues merge on this number. It's a solid tune and has some great guitar soloing. There appear to be some troubles with the tape in the middle of this cut.

I Don't Need No Doctor

A hotter than heck live rendition of this classic comes next in line. The sound quality on this one is particularly bad, though. That's a shame because the performance is screaming hot. It's nearly twelve minute long here. That said, the last couple minutes are the crowd clapping and stomping for an encore.

Hot 'N' Nasty

The version of this song here is a bit more soulful, to some degree because of the back-up singers. We get the audience at the end of this working to get another return to the stage. That section is a lot longer here.

Oh La-De-Da

The backing singers really drive a lot of this soulful cut.

Disc Three
            

Charlton Athletic Football Ground 18th May 1974

          
Introduction - This is a short introduction.

            
Whatcha Gonna Do About It

They power in with a cool hard rocking sound. This has almost a punk rock vibe to it in some ways.

Thunderbox

Blue Cheer meets 1960s blues rock on this rocking tune.

Sweet Peace and Time
There is almost some Black Sabbath in this cut. It's still got plenty of that blues rock thing going on, though. Again, the sound quality has a real way of marring a smoking hot performance.
30 Days in the Hole
They open the number with a bit of a percussion solo. This is a solid live rendition that's solid despite the recording quality. They have some guitar soloing in the mix. There is a bit of a "speaking to the crowd" part. There is also some harmonica soloing.
Let Me Be Your Lovemaker

I really dig this song. It's a hard rocker that works extremely well. It seems as though the recording quality is a bit better, too. I love the whole song structure, but the vocal performance and guitar soloing really push it over the top.

C'mon Everybody - I Want a Little Girl

Again the sound quality here feels better than on a couple of the tunes. There are parts of this that feel like The Who to me. There is some extended instrumental jamming here for sure.

I Don't Need No Doctor

Here we get another fierce rendition of this classic tune. I think the sound quality is among the best of the set on this stomper. The rhythm section takes over for a time around the three minute mark, and they turn it a bit funky from there for a while. There is definitely a short nod to the Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash" in this. I hear some Who on it, too. There is a bit of shift to something like The Allman Brothers, too. They include an audience singalong part, too.

Rainbow Theatre, London 6th June 1974
          

Thunderbox

A screaming hot rocker, this one works especially well. The recording quality is among the best of the set.

30 Days in the Hole

They lead this out here with a drum and harmonica work out. The version here is perhaps the most focused. The recording is among the best, too. In fact, I think I'd say that I like this version best of all of them on here.

Sweet Peace and Time

We get a driving rendition of this stomper here. Again, the recording is better than the competition.

C'mon Everybody

This smoking hot rocker has some serious nods to "Summertime Blues" here. This is a great way to end the set in style.

 
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