Live At The Lonestar, NYC, 1985 is the third and final of a set of new bootleg releases of Band alumni for this year. The sound is good and the trio, with collected years of experience behind them, are tight. Danko handles the majority of the lead vocals: ‘Mystery Train’, ‘Crazy Mama’, ‘Java Blues’ and ‘It Makes No Difference’ were staples of his solo live performances.
They kick off with two of those looseners: ‘Mystery Train’ and ‘Crazy Mama’, before tackling some of The Band’s biggest hits. The fourth track is listed as ‘The Rumor’ but it isn’t and the person who wrote the sleeve notes either didn’t listen to the recording or didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about – probably both. They actually play a long soulful version of ‘Every Night And Every Day’ by Chicago bluesman Magic Sam. It took me about two minutes to track it down – gissa job!
The first actual Band original is ‘Shape I’m In’ followed by another impassioned reading of ‘It Makes No Difference’. ‘Across The Great Divide’ and ‘Stage Fright’ follow and finally Richard Manuel gets up front to sing a soulful piano-led ‘She Knows’ – apparently it was his birthday. Danko returns with ‘Unfaithful Servant’ before Hudson has his moment in the spotlight with the pairing of ‘The Genetic Method’ and ‘Chest Fever’. A really loose ‘Java Blues’ with a belting break from Hudson and ‘I Shall be Released’ wrap up the recording although not the party.
The songs have a new freedom without Levon Helm’s drums and you can feel Manuel and Hudson responding to Danko’s singing. Little things like Richard’s piano on ‘Unfaithful Servant’ with its new variations on the original recording make this set a particular delight
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‘She Knows’ featuring Richard Manuel: