Recorded live House of Independents, Asbury Park NJ
September 1, 2017
The seventies was the decade of the double live album,
most notably “Kiss Alive” and “Peter Frampton Comes Alive”.
The tours for those two albums were the first two concerts I attended.
Which I’m embarrassed to admit to, but i was 16 at the time,
anyway it was uphill from there.
The reason why those two are the most important of the 70’s
double live albums is because those albums made both of those artists
well known worldwide.
“Ogre’s Trumpet” isn’t Guided By Voices first live or double live album,
but it is the one that could really throw the band into the major leagues,
but it will never happen.
Most likely, only fans of GBV will ever even hear the album,
which has been released on both vinyl and compact disc,
but is limited to one thousand copies for each format.
The vinyl has already sold out and most likely the CD isn’t far behind,
even though, at this writing, the album hasn’t been officially released
except to those of us who pre-ordered it through GBV distributor, Rockathon.
Most often when performers release a live album,
it is usually a stop-gap album to release between the next studio album;
therefore buying the performer a year or more until the next studio album.
Not Robert Pollard or Guided By Voices,
their next studio album, “Space Gun” will be released about 3 weeks
after “Ogre’s Trumpet’s” official release date,
which is, according to Amazon, March 9th 2018.
As a fan of Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard,
I love the fact that Pollard releases so much,
at an average of five albums a year, plus singles.
I’m not one of those who complains of the constant output,
I buy everything including both the vinyl and compact disc versions.
But is it really helping the band grow in popularity to continually
It used to drive Matador Records crazy,
but Bob now has his own label.
After the big push with a major label and the big production
and publicity that came with “Do The Collapse”.
I really don’t think Bob even gives a crap about commercial success.
If he did, “Ogre’s Trumpet” wouldn’t be a limited release,
because this album could give Guided By Voices the commercial
success that “Do The Collapse” never could.
Much like “Kiss Alive” and “Peter Frampton Comes Alive”,
did for those artists.
Robert Pollard could have easily thrown together a live album of bootleg quality,
and it would have sold out just as fast and we would have loved it.
it’s been done before and I cherish those albums.
But the performances and sound quality of “Ogre’s Trumpet” is leaps and bounds
better than any live release he has released in the past.
The sound of the album is nothing short of Excellent.
The fact that the album is limited and released to the fans first through Rockathon,
makes it Bob’s gift to the fans and to hell with those who aren’t aboard.
Which is why I always say,
In Bob We Trust.
The band is the current incarnation of Guided By Voices,
which is Bob along with, Doug Gillard, Kevin March, Mark Shue and Bobby Bare Jr.
With this album this has become my favorite line-up.
They can handle Bob’s more complicated newer songs,
yet not overplay on the earlier “Classic” songs which are more basic,
retaining the sound and feel of the original recordings.
“Motor Away” and “I Am A Scientist” sound like they should sound.
Though Kevin March is a much more accomplished drummer
than Kevin Fennell ever was, on those old songs,
March keeps it simple.
The sound quality of the record is that of a professional studio recording that rivals
the bands own studio albums.
As far as the album track list,
It seems like a lot of GBV fans are happy hearing the same “Classics”,
myself I enjoy hearing the new stuff,
peppered with Classic stuff that the band doesn’t
usually play live.
If you were going to see the Rolling Stones or perhaps Paul McCartney,
you would of course want them to stick to their classics.
When they play their stuff from recent albums,
it’s a good time to visit the bathroom or get another beer.
But Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices is not one of those performers,
unlike the others,
Bob and Guided By Voices are still bringing out amazing stuff
as good as anything he’s done.
I’m not saying the old stuff isn’t great,
I love it all, that’s why I’ve been a fan for so long.
But they are at a peak, with no decline in sight.
It’s a masterstroke opening the album with the instrumental
“Pearly Gates Smoke Machine”,
it’s great to hear the band loosen up before they go into the songs.
I’m very happy with the fact that there are eleven songs from the last two studio albums,
“August By Cake” and “How Do You Spell Heaven”.
I almost wish this album was recorded during the last tour with the same
line-up, who played a lot of stuff from the ESP Ohio and Ricked Wicky albums,
but I’m happy that there is at least one song from the ESP Ohio album,
“The Ticket Who Rallied”.
I was recently working on an upcoming review for Bob’s solo album,
“From A Compound Eye”, before I received “Ogre’s Trumpet”.
I stated that I thought many of the songs would be a lot stronger
if they were recorded with a full band, much like the current line-up.
My point was proven correct after I heard “Ogre’s Trumpet” which features
a live version of “Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft”, which was originally
on “From A Compound Eye”.
It’s great to have the band cover The Monkees classic “Saturday’s Child”
and include it on this album.
Here’s a fun game to play when you go see GBV on the current tour,
when they play “Saturday’s Child”, look around,
you can tell who knows the song and who doesn’t.
Recently I was watching a live video on YouTube of Sean Lennon and
Les Claypools side band, “Claypool Lennon Delirium” playing covers of
King Crimson’s “The Court of the Crimson King” and
Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine”.
You can tell those who knew the songs,
they were in heaven with grins on their faces.
Those who didn’t know the songs had blank looks on their faces.
There are quite a few classic GBV songs,
Of course Doug’s tour de force “I Am A Tree” which is followed
by Mark Shue’s “Sudden Fiction” a favorite from “August By Cake".
“Cut Out Witch” with the fans yelling “one, two, three, four!”
Three of my favorites that I didn’t expect,,
“Your Name Is Wild”, “Gold Heart Mountaintop Queen Directory”
and “Lord Of Overstock”.
Great live album,
the only way to improve it is to include the whole 55 song set
and a gatefold cover with an invitation to join the GBV Army.
P.S. there were a rumor that Bruce Springsteen plays harmonica on three tracks,
I didn't hear any harmonica or mention of Springsteen