Nils Lofgren's one of those guys who figured heavily in a number of key or near-key rock moments and yet never got the acclaim he deserved. While rummaging around in the Hollywood annex of Amoeba Records (west coast music's 3-chain Mecca, in case ya hain't near any of 'em), looking for the usual out-of-the-way, never-seen-it-before, whoa!-wot-the-hell-is-this? gold nuggets we record hounds live for, I stumbled across the 2007 DVD A Tribute to Nils Lofgren, an offbeat and interesting grassroots affair that snagged Skunk Baxter, Eric Ambel, Mary Ann Redmond, and a bunch others to sit in with a basic trib band and rock out on some of Nils' well-known and lesser hailed work (incredibly, Beggar's Day, one of rock music's truly great tracks, wasn't included...ah well, can't have everything, Ezra). Then, in the second half of the 3-hour gala, Grin reunited to close things out in a length to-do. Man, you just don't come across events like that every day, know what I mean?
But okay, I gotta be honest as a critic and admit that I have all Lofgren's solo LPs and, though I like 'em, was never terribly overwhelmed, they're just good rock, not 100% my cuppa, save perhaps for the live Night after Night, which is way cool, but this new gig is REALLY fucking good!, blows all his past solo stuff out of the water whether you're an aficionado or a casual listener like me. There's just something about a particular segment of the 60s rockers that's aging smoothly-rough like good whiskey, and Lofgren, we now find out, is squaerly among 'em. His band is tight as hell, and the guy managed to grab Paul Rodgers, Lou Gramm, and Sam Moore to sit in on three vocal cuts. It's been six years since Nils' last outing, and he most definitely has not been sitting on his duff. Not only are the rocking numbers gritty and bust-ass, but the ballad materials, like the excellent Irish Angel, are heart-tugging and melancholic with flashes of aching grandeur. Thus, if you're one of the younger crowd who heard the gent's name and might be curious what all the fuss is about, sweet Jesus, start with this release! It'll send you back to Crazy Horse, his work with Neil Young, the solo stuff, Grin, and everything. I'm letting you find out for yourself how well his lyrics have progressed, though, 'cause the pleasure of that discovery, along with everything else, is worth the wait.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles