When it comes to the notion of “music discovery,” the online world works in unusual ways for me. Most music recommendation algorithms typically fail for me, either offering up music I already know or delivering things I decidedly am not into. What usually occurs is like what happened today when I popped on to Tidal to look for an NRBQ album I have been meaning to review — a fine CD reissue from Omnivore Recordings of the band’s 1977 release All Hopped Up — only to discover a recording of the band from 1982 called Live At The Wax Museum. This assemblage finds the band supporting a special guest appearance by the legendary singer songwriter John Sebastian!
As an admittedly relatively new NRBQ devotee of the past few years, I wasn’t aware of this release. Some of you reading this may need a quick primer on who John Sebastian is, however.
He was the driving force behind the great 1960s rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful and composer of hits like “Do You Believe In Magic?,” “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” “Summer In The City” and so many others (including his 1976 #1 smash “Welcome Back”… which I just learned was sampled by Rapper Mase in 2004 for his like-named hit)
Sebastian is also noted as a performer who made a now classic unscheduled appearance at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 when other musicians were delayed in traffic. His first solo album on Reprise Records — John B. Sebastian — is a lost classic featuring no less than the backing of Crosby, Stills and Nash, an album arguably containing many of Sebastian’s finest tunes. You can stream that album on Tidal at this link here. While John B. Sebastian is available on CD, the prices for that (probably out of print) edition are seeking crazy collectors prices so you might want to just get the the LP which you can find much more reasonably on (probably better sounding) vinyl.
Back to NRBQ, Live At The Wax Museum is a fun romp which is streaming in CD quality on Tidal. This is a good thing because the (I’m also supposing out of print) digital album is selling for hefty collectors prices on Amazon; click here for the Tidal stream.
Live At The Wax Museum is classic NRBQ and the songs with John Sebastian are remarkable because the band plays them with such authority. Actually, that isn’t really remarkable or surprising because that is what NRBQ is all about…. this band can (and does) play anything well! If you like NRBQ and John Sebastian, this one is a no brainer.
All Hopped Up is also a fun collection which is selling for a more reasonable price well under twenty dollars. Released originally in 1977, this lineup of the band includes guitarist, singer and songwriter Al Anderson.
Pulling together songs recorded between 1974 and 1976 including fun tracks like “Ridin’ In My Car” and “I Got A Rocket In My Pocket,” the Omnivore edition also includes a bunch of nifty bonus tunes, making this reissue essential for the Q fan.
Curiously enough, All Hopped Up is not streaming on Tidal so you’ll have to support the band directly and buy (gasp!) their album on Amazon or from Omnivore’s website. And because we know you’re all good folks, Dear Readers at Audiophile Review, we appreciate that you like to support original musicians by buying their music, not just streaming for free where the artist receives relative pennies…
Support original independent music!