Road Rage

Great Big Sea

Rounder Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I find myself in somewhat of a quandary on this Samhain morning. I'd like, really like, to say something negative about a Great Big Sea CD. I don't hand out a lot of As, and to have handed two to the same band might smack of favoritism, especially given how much I ticked off the Eric Alexandrakis's fans earlier this year.

Can't do it, though. Road Rage is a cheerful, energy-filled, delightful romp through GBS's 1999 Canadian tour, from Vancouver all the way to St John's to ring in the new millennium. And will wonders never cease, it's a live album that sounds good.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Regular readers of the Vault will know of my production fetish, and know how critical I can be of live recordings. In this case, though, I have nothing to complain about. The crowd noises (especially on singalong parts on "When I'm Up" and "General Taylor") are audible without being overwhelming, the band's sound is crystal clear and mixed perfectly, and it sounds like you're there, listening to a live broadcast.

In an added bonus, the live versions of many songs aren't boring, note for note renditions. Alternate versions of "Boston and St John" and "Mari Mac" add a new dimension to familiar tracks, and guest vocalist Sarah Harmer shines on "Captain Wedderburn." A ra…no. I cannot use that word in conjunction with GBS…spoken word intro adds quirkiness and excitement to "Lukey".

Road Rage captures GBS's energy perfectly. "Goin' Up", "Consequence Free", and "Jack Hinks" should have you dancing in the aisles unless you're dead. "The Old Black Rum" may be the best incitement to intensive partying ever recorded. As a counter, "Fast As I Can" is sweet and gentle, and "Feel It Turn" is thoughtful, almost wistful. Finally, "The Night Pat Murphy Died" may be the most fun you can have in four minutes with your clothes on.

In a nod to their traditional roots, the CD opens and closes with traditional songs, and "Hangin' Johnny" and "Donkey Riding" are both very well done. Special kudos go to Rounder Records for finally bringing us an American record label for Great Big Sea who seems to know what they're doing. Let's only hope they finally release GBS's four studio albums in the States as well.

A Blessed Samhain to all of you who celebrate it, and a Happy Halloween to those who celebrate that…and I've no choice but to make it three for three.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rounder Records, and is used for informational purposes only.