A live album relies on the audience. The audience for Elvin Bishop is older, a little country rock oriented and anxious to see how good this guitarist still is and was when he made his reputation and CDs and gear with which he could really be heard hadn't been invented yet.
Well, he can certainly play, and the crowd's happy to be there. He's personable in between-song banter, referring to “the day” of eight-track tapes.
Yeah boy howdy, this is a night of booty bumpin' and Budweiser. He introduces and reintroduces himself as a bluesy honky-tonk performer by playing comfortable, white boy funky material from Down South.
Bump, it does. There are hypnotizing repetitions, within which Elvin cuts loose at the perfect moment, when what he plays won't crack the hypnosis. That's a strength that only comes from the road, and it's refreshing in these sterile studio days to hear the road come out on disc.
Another evident Elvin Bishop strength here is not overplaying. The songs could go on at unnecessary length, but they don't. He could stomp all over his bandstand partners, and the live crowd would forgive him, though CD listeners would not, but he doesn't. He's got a potent band here, and they all get to cut loose, to everyone's advantage.
I can't imagine anyone listening to this one on endless repeat, or even very often after the first couple of weeks of ownership, but it's a very good record, and it's good news that road warrior Elvin Bishop is still out there able to teach us all what roadhouses are supposed to provide.