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Quicksilver Messenger Service: Live at the Old Mill Tavern-March 29, 1970

In early 1970, famed San Francisco psychedelic jam band Quicksilver Messenger Service had reconvened with a new six-piece line-up that included Dino Valenti (guitar, vocals), Gary Duncan (guitar, vocals), John Cippolina (guitar), David Freiberg (bass), Nicky Hopkins (keyboards), and Greg Elmore (drums). Though the band made some good studio records, it was their live performances that really cemented their legendary status, and this sizzling concert from the Old Mill Tavern in March of 1970 shows just how formidable a live act the band were.

As you can see by the song lengths below, the band really stretched things out live, so there's nothing here under six-minutes, which is a perfect scenario for anyone into long, sprawling jams. And jam QMS certainly could do, with the three-guitar tandem of Cippolina, Duncan, and Valenti spewing out a wealth of bluesy, jazzy, psychedelic solos throughout this set, though perhaps the arrangements here are more focused than on their famous Happy Trails live album that was recorded at both the Fillmore East & West a year earlier. Songs like "The Truth" and "Subway", despite their jammy tendencies, are actually carried out as forceful, melodic, psychedelic rock songs, with the searing guitar work embellishing rather than taking over. Valenti is a great vocalist, adding his soulful pipes to "Baby Baby" and the laid back "Rain", while the always dependable Hopkins lends his stellar keyboard talents throughout, dueling it out with the guitarists on the rousing "Mona" and the supercharged blues-rock gem that is "Mojo". Harmonica legend James Cotton joins the band on the two lengthy blues jams that close out this set, and while 22-minutes of endless blues jams might seem like a lot for some, remember, this was 'jam' before it became a known entity.

Lovers of albums like The Allman Brothers At Fillmore East will no doubt truly enjoy the extended jams and mix of psychedelia, blues, rock, and jazz that is found throughout this excellent live set from the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Purple Pyramid Records/Cleopatra have done a nice job housing this all in a colorful digipack, with a booklet containing vintage photos and a lengthy essay from rock author Dave Thompson. Well worth investigating for fans of classic psychedelia.


Track Listing
1) Subway (7:10)
2) The Truth (8:20)
3) Mona (7:59)
4) Baby Baby (6:02)
5) Rain (5:48)
6) Mojo (7:57)
7) Blues Jam #1 (7:28)
8) Blues Jam #2 (15:04)

Added: August 27th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records
Hits: 2067
Language: english

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