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

About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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