Live: Something Old, New, Borrowed... And Some Blues

Dan Fogelberg

Chicago, 2001

http://www.danfogelberg.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/26/2008

It is no surprise that Dan Fogelberg’s discography after 1984 contains some discs that only die-hard fans would have known existed. Such is the case with Live: Something Old…, which seems at first like an odd release. For starters, it was only a few years prior that Dan Fogelberg Live: Greetings From The West had been released. Second, that disc covered all of Fogelberg’s hits. So what could a second live album do for Fogelberg that the first didn’t?

Well, the answer is, surprisingly much. Where the first live album caught Fogelberg sounding hoarse, Live: Something Old… has Fogelberg, a few years older, in fine voice for nearly the entire show. (This disc, though, does commit the cardinal sin of fading to silence at the end of each track; sorry, but that breaks continuity of a live show for me.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It would have been easy for Fogelberg to have dusted off the old standbys again for another outing. Instead, he challenges himself, his audience and the listener at home to take him on his own terms, with his selection of music. In this regard, the title of the disc lives up to its name, as only two of the hits are present here.

Sure, it means it may not be the easiest disc to get through if you’re not a student of Fogelberg’s entire discography. But it also means you go into this one with precious few preconceived notions, and that helps you appreciate such lesser-known songs as “As The Raven Flies,” “Changing Horses” and “Looking For A Lady,” which all sound like they belong in the collection of better-known tracks like “Hard To Say” and “Make Love Stay.” (And, no, hearing these again on a live album does not become repetitious at all.)

And this is what is impressive about this disc. A far more stripped-down set than the two-disc Greetings From The West, this is Fogelberg showing that he was more than the singer/songwriter who did “Longer” or “Leader Of The Band,” and it’s a lesson that is learned quickly and enjoyably. He also tears into the blues – something that should have been expected, thanks to the earlier live disc – on “Statesboro Blues” and “Blow Wind Blow,” all sounding a little like Eric Clapton in full bluesy growl. It’s a nice change, to be honest.

But, you ask, why would someone like Fogelberg, who has a deep catalog, need to go to covers? Well, why not? From his take on Poco’s “You Better Think Twice” to the Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun,” Fogelberg keeps to the true heart of these songs while putting his own signature on the tracks. If anything, it shows the artist paying tribute to the music that shaped his own style, and these fit in quite well.

It is almost ironic that the better of the two live discs in Fogelberg’s catalog is the lesser-known. Here’s hoping that Live: Something Old… becomes the next disc that people re-discover.

Rating: B

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