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Quicksilver Messenger Service - Live At The Summer Of Love - 2cd

Price per Unit (stuk): €6.95

Back in ’67, San Francisco sported three legendary bands and a host of lesser lights – Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane were immensely successful while Quicksilver Messenger Service had a couple of years as the live band of choice after the Dead and Airplane. This album is primarily made up of numbers from a couple of nights in February 1967 at the famed Fillmore in SF plus a couple of additional numbers from the Carousel ballroom in April ’68 and it sounds as though the shows were pretty magical. But they also show the weaknesses that eventually let QMS down.

Whereas the Dead were coming from the Jug-band and folk side of the street and The Airplane were essentially revolutionaries with a psychedelic and pop heart QMS were a Blues band – a terrific Blues band with one of the best guitarists around in John Cippolina, David Freiberg on bass and Casey Soneyban on drums bolstered by the harmonica of Jim Murray. Vocals were offered up by Dino Valenti and David Freiberg and that was part of the problem with the band The Airplane had Grace Slick and the Dead had Jerry Garcia on vocals and QMS just couldn’t match that kind of vocal talent.

On the plus side their covers of Bo Diddley (Mona) or Willie Dixon (Back Door Man) are brilliant – the guitar work is great and the bass and drums power the music along and for my money it is the numbers without Dino Valenti that work best although their cover of Robert Johnson’s Walking Blues has all the power without the excessive theatrics he could go into. Mona has a real touch of voodoo about it and Cippolina’s slide guitar howls like a banshee and Babe I’m Gonna Leave You with the two vocalists harmonising is great but the cream oof disc one is their Hoochie Coochie Man which has to be one of the few versions that doesn’t try to sound like Muddy Waters. CD2 opens with The Fool and shows the psychedelic side of their sound – it is one of the numbers from the Carousel show and the acid was definitely there on a long jam that works on many levels, not least some great guitar work. The same night gives a powerful version of Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love.

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