Rippingtons – Live Across America
– Reviewed by Chris Mann
people reading will know the story behind this album. Contractual wrangles have delayed its release by
substantially more than a year.
change in the line-up of musicians and a move to bandleader Russ
Freeman’s own Peak Records, we have finally got this, the Rippingtons'
fourteenth CD, and their second live CD.
probably asking the same question that I asked when its eventual release
date was confirmed - is it worth the wait?
album opens in blistering style with Freeman’s rock guitar and Kim
Stone’s chunky bass on Road Warriors.
Dave Hooper on drums is playing his heart out on this track.
is just what you’d expect – very sunny and summery and Freeman’s
guitar sound is firmly in the jazz vein here.
Paul Taylor’s tight-as-a-drum sax solo is kicking!!
always loved Welcome to the St James Club
and this version is so sweet I can’t help but smile.
If Russ Freeman played acoustic guitar all the time I’d be
happy. His sound and
phrasing are utterly flawless.
For me Hideaway
was the highlight of the “Brave New World” album and I was delighted
to have this sexy tune on this CD.
Kim Stone’s fretless sound flows beautifully and the sitar
sound is just as exotic live as on the original record.
Dave Kochanski’s piano solo gets a deserved warm reaction from
ominous bass intro on Black Diamond
moves the drama back up a gear. I
enjoyed picking out the different types of percussion used on this
track. The song has all of
the impact of the studio version, with the passion that comes from
playing to an appreciative crowd.
always sounded like a party to me, and Freeman always sounded like
Carlos Santana – live that’s still true.
Add Eric Marienthal’s heartfelt sax and a tasty percussion
breakdown and this is a winner!
loves She Likes to Watch and its
great to hear a track from the Ripps' very first album shoulder to
shoulder with the new material. The sax melody reminds you just how strong Freeman’s song
writing is and has been since the start, and Paul Taylor, you rule!
starts off so funky, it sounded like the JB's just walked in!
Great version with a sweet sax solo.
Kim Stone lets rip on this song and the crowd lap it up!
tempo drops for Rain, which is
stunningly beautiful. The crowd must have been stunned too judging from the way
they save their appreciation for the whole seven minutes.
guitar blazes on the energetic Avenida del Mar.
The whole band is incredibly tight on this Latin-Rock workout. The
false ending draws a roar from the crowd.
This is triumphant!
the most rapturous applause is saved for Freeman’s wild Star
Spangled Banner – the culmination of a five-minute Hendrix
tribute, which includes Purple Haze
It’s a bizarre thing to hear on a Rippingtons album, but Russ
Freeman is a superb guitarist and it’s not surprising that Hendrix
would have been a major influence.
song, the upbeat and funky Are We There Yet
closes the set. I don’t
think it’s played live although its got live energy and the engineers
have given it a nice airy acoustic.
Maybe we’ll hear it again on the next live album…
fans will want this album. People
who aren’t Rippingtons fans should hear it so they will understand why
people - like me - who have tickets for Rippingtons shows this year are
starting to get excited.
Records 8508 – Executive producers Russ Freeman and Andi Howard