One night I was sitting and listening to my vinyl records that are mainly from the 1960’s through the mid 1980’s. I tend to do this whenever I’m downstairs in my home studio/office.
I started out with David Bowie’s Scary Monsters and then recalled that I bought this album for one song – Ashes to Ashes.
I got through side one of that album and decided to switch to a Ray Charles record. It was “Love and Peace” and it was a cut out.
A cut out album was an album you would find in the bargain bins at the local record store for a couple of bucks and sometimes as cheap as one dollar. The album cover literally had a piece notched out of it or a small hole punched through it close to the corner.
The cut out marked the album so the retailer couldn’t return it to the distributor for a credit.
I found a lot of great albums in those bargain bins.
I listened to side one of this album and being that it was Ray Charles it was quality stuff but it just wasn’t what I was looking for that night.
At one point I had to go upstairs to make use of the bathroom and I wanted to put my wallet in my bedroom for the night.
In the bedroom I saw the Tom Jones “Live In Las Vegas” vinyl record my wife found for me at auction.
This record was a huge influence on me as a kid.
I can remember carrying around in our house a little portable mono record player and listening to this record in the kitchen over and over.
It was really nice to see that she had found me a well preserved copy because the copy that I had from when I was a kid literally had the grooves played off of it.
I picked it up and took in downstairs and listened to it for the first time in probably 40 years.
When I was a teenager I had a cassette player boom box and carried it around listening to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, James Gang and even Grand Funk Railroad (I loved their live album).
Tom Jones wasn’t considered all that cool so I probably never would have admitted to how much I loved this “Live in Las Vegas” album.
But that album reached out and grabbed me the first time I ever heard it and still does to this day.
It was live, it had energy, the band was smoking, the drums captivated me and that voice.
Oh to sing like that and have women throw their underwear at me, what more could a teenage boy want?
Well that album still grabs me and it did that night when I listened to it for the first time in 40 years.
I stopped everything I was doing just to sit back and listen to it. I mean really listen to it.
I was listening with a different set of ears then I did 40 some years ago and now it was even better on so many levels.
It still reached into my stomach and grabbed my gut and said listen up this is live music as live music is meant to be performed.
How I would love to be able to go back in time and see that show, to see Tom Jones in his prime. I still think today he is one of the most talented singers of all time.
As I was listening I also knew why as a young drummer this album captivated me.
The drumming is what grabbed my primal gut. Every song, slow or fast, the drums laid down a groove and added to the song.
Most of it would probably be a bit too much for the studio, but live it was exactly what the song and the show needed.
Chris Slade was the drummer. I need to check him out.
That first listen after all those years was exciting.
Remembering how it moved me as a kid and to have it still move me from the first track to the last was a great feeling.
What an influential album that was for me and yet so outside the genre of music that I was listening to at that time in my life.
I remember thinking as I was listening to it that night, this may be the best live album ever recorded. I can still close my eyes and see the darkened Vegas showroom, the cocktails, the cocktail waitresses, the women with their beehive hairdos and cat eye glasses just losing it over Tom Jones.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.