It wasn’t all too long ago we received and reviewed revered guitar legend Eric “Roscoe” Ambel’s first studio album in a decade (Lakeside) and here we are with an absolute stunner of a live album from the man and his deadly band. Roscoe Live: Vol. 1 (Live @ Livestock 2016) is a ten-track pure piece of no-bullshit, no-frills, stripped down, absolute rock & roll with fire, skill, humor and a ton of soul. The feel of these songs live take on a completely different life of their own and they flow (it’s never easy to put together a strong set).
Immediately kicking in hard with a blinding version of “Girl That I Ain’t Got”, Roscoe’s riffing and that solid rhythm and good old fashioned rock & roll beat makes this absolutely irresistable; I can only imagine the audience had to be up and dancing and listen to the solo – economic yet, his fingers are on fire. The boogie feel of “Here Come My Love” (no typo!) is as good as you can get for soulful and punchy; “Hey Mr. D.J.” was a favorite from Eric’s album, but here, it’s even heavier and has a no-holds-barred fuck you-ness to it, which I absolutely love; on the flipside, Eric introduces “Have Mercy” as his “disco” song, but really, it’s just a solid groove which reminds me of (dare I say?) some of the funkier tracks from Alex Chilton’s near-perfect 1970 album. A down-home, good time country shuffle/twister, “Let’s Play With Fire” is an absolute highlight and “Massive Confusion” is a machine gun blast of firepower that motors (and you get to really hear/enjoy the rhythm section with that propulsive bass walk by Keith Christopher).
I have to confess, I don’t get out much anymore to club gigs anymore because my hearing has suffered over the years, but to see Eric Ambel doing his thing is a must, because he’s one of the true greats; a master of the axe and a natural showman. And most importantly, he’s a damned fine songwriter and performer and he’s amongst the last of a very special breed. Seek this album out – it’s a must. And see Eric “Roscoe” Ambel play whenever you can, wherever you can. You’ll remember why you love rock & roll.
Roscoe Live: Vol. 1 (Live @ Livestock 2016) is available now