Friday, February 17, 2017
Elton John: 11-17-70 (1971)
From the liner notes:
"The performances on this album were recorded during a live radio concert, broadcast in New York by WABC-FM on November 17th, 1970. The broadcast originated at A&R Recording Studios, New York. The Tapes were mixed at Trident Studios, London."
This live record, 11-17-70, was released in March 1971. Finally, Allmusic gets one review perfect:
"The great thing about this early live record is its obscurity -- not just that this isn't one of his better-known records, but that the set list is a fanboy's dream, heavy on album tracks, covers, and the kinds of song that make Elton John's early work so individual. It's not just that there are no hits here, but it's that these [...] songs emphasize the spare, hard-rocking bluesy singer/songwriter that may not have written his own words, but always sang them with conviction and melodies that made them seem like his own. This may be a minor effort in his catalog, but that's part of its pleasure -- it's certainly a record from the time before Elton the superstar, as he tears through Tumbleweed Connection tracks prior to the record's release, does a phenomenal reworking of "Honky Tonk Women," hauls out B-sides like "Bad Side of the Moon," and gives a fierce, infectious performance. It's not essential for anyone but obsessives, but if you want any indication of what Elton sounded like prior to his big break, this is an excellent, even intoxicating, summary." [source]
I can't say it better than that. If you want to hear live Elton near his peak, this would be the record to get, and you should be able to find a vinyl copy for a few dollars.. Again, I have a Canadian pressing on the Uni label.
Here's an interesting piece of trivia from Wikipedia:
"According to longtime NYC radio personality Dave Herman (who can be heard at the beginning and end of the album), Elton John cut his hand at some point during the performance, and by the end of the show, the piano keys were covered with blood."