All posts by jessicafsamson

Samson’s Picks: Top 7 Rock and Roll Live Albums

There’s rock music and then there’s LIVE rock and roll. It’s not just something you hear, but something you can feel; the rebellious, raw, real feel of the music. There’s nothing like it! But there are some performances that show true excellence of rock and roll and these are the top 7 rock and roll live albums that show the pure power.

#7: MC5 – Kick Out the Jams (1969)

Motor City Five was by far, way ahead of their time. This epic live performance in Detroit’s Grande Ballroom surely kicked off punk music as we know it. Their raw, roaring guitars explode your ears with righteousness! This rock album never loses it’s pace and will keep your head banging until the end. As frontman Rob Tyner says, “Kick out the Jams, Motherf—–!”, if that isn’t rock ‘n roll, I don’t know what is!

#6: Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick at Budokan (1979)

Cheap Trick’s best selling album, Cheap Trick At Budokan skyrocketed the band into stardom. Peaking at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 albums in 1979, many fans prefer the live recording of “I Want You to Want Me” over the studio version.  Fun fact: this was one of the first albums to print on colored LP vinyls. This album pressing on bright “kamikaze” yellow.

Cheap Trick "Kamikaze" yellow vinyl.
Cheap Trick “Kamikaze” yellow vinyl.

#5: Janis Joplin – Janis Joplin: The Woodstock Experience (1969)

This woman with a powerhouse of a voice definitely makes the top rock and roll live album list. This high energy rock/blues fusion performance is non-stop. Chatting in between sets and belting out her tunes – Janis Joplin is a rock and roll goddess. Her performance at Woodstock makes you feel as if you’re wearing fringe and sitting on a blanket in the New York grass.

#4: Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York (1994)

Released after Kurt Cobain‘s death, this live album debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy for Best Alternative album. But what makes this live album so amazing is the raw acoustic elements. The soft versions of the heavy grungy tunes makes the band seem more than just rebellious dudes – but all around talented musicians.

#3: Johnny Cash – Live at Folsom Prison (1968)

In the late 60s, Johnny Cash was slowly but surely getting his life back together when he hit his fans with the best live album he could possibly put out. With his label highly discouraging performing in a prison, Cash did what any rock star would do – he rebelled. Cash performed two separate shows on January 13th in 1968 with the backing of the legendary Carl Perkins, June Carter and his band, The Tennessee Three. This album has been certified as three times platinum in 2003 and one of the best selling live albums of all time.

#2: The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East (1971)

It’s no surprise The Allman Brother’s At Fillmore East is on the list. This gut-wrenching, soulful, true rock and roll live album is considered one of the best performances. You can tell the guys are having a great time performing and their energy is electric. The band’s ability to play together as one really makes this album shine. With nearly 20 minute jams and legendary guitar sliding makes this album truly a one of a kind performance.

#1: The Who – Live at Leeds (1970)

The Who have proven time and time again that they are masters of live performance. Live at Leeds is the purest rock and roll album, live or not! Keith Moon on drums, John Entwistle on bass, Pete Townshend on guitar and Roger Daltry on vocals, each playing their instrument like it’s just another appendage. Opening the album with “Heaven and Hell” starts the performance with powerful drumming and electric guitar hums that fills every space. This is a record that will never fade away. Even after 45 years from it’s initial release, it’s still the number one live album. The crisp audio sound and the high charged energy radiating from the band surely validates it’s perfection. This performance shows The Who’s never ending skill as a band and it reaffirms their legendary status of rock and roll kings.

Catch Jess Samson on Rebel Rock Radio every Thursday evening from 7-9p on WCRX 88.1 FM. 

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My Morning Jacket Is Ready for Spring

On Tuesday, March 31st, Kentucky native jam band, My Morning Jacket, released their second single from their long awaited 7th studio album. Following their first single, released early this month, “Big Decisions“,  “Spring (Among the Living)” is a classic My Morning Jacket tune but with a hint of new and exciting psychedelic rock fusion. Uplifting, positive, spiritual lyrics accompanied by beautiful melodic guitar hums as the drums build and build. You can hear the colored layers of musical expression, from the bass,to the guitar riffs to the violins. My Morning Jacket has shaken winter off of their backs and have returned with a new blossom of pure indie rock.

Since 1999, My Morning Jacket have shared their musical styles of psychedelic indie rock within 6 studio albums and have been named one of the greatest live bands of our generation. To take their fandom to the next level, the band was featured on an episode of American Dad Featured image(My Morning Straight-Jacket).They played the band the main character was obsessed with. It featured songs from their 5th album “Evil Urges” and vocal appearances from the band – Jim James, Tom Blankenship, Patrick Hallahan, Bo Koster and Broemel as themselves.

Four years after the release of 2011 “Circuital“, debuted number 5 on the Billboard Top 200 it’s first week on-sale. My Morning Jacket is set to release their new album The Waterfall (May 4th) as well as a summer tour, stopping in Chicago for three performances at the Chicago Theater in June. The band has only released two singles, but from those singles “The Waterfall” will be a new My Morning Jacket experience that will surely change the jam band game.

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Jess Samson

Tune in to WCRX 88.1 FM every Thursday night 7-9pm Rebel Rock Radio with Jess Samson. 

“Girl in a Band”- A Title that Needs to Fade Away

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Kim Gordon is a successful songwriter, fashion designer, director, actor, author, mother, artist and musician, all in all this woman can do everything; so why is she still being called the “girl in the band?”.

Gordon’s span of rock and roll exceeds 30 years of hard work, but even with the release of her memoir last month, Girl in a Band: A Memoir, she’s still considered as such. In 1981, Gordon found her place in New York City with then boyfriend, Thurston Moore and friend, Lee Ranaldo. The trio began Sonic Youth soon after and the first couple years of the band was like Spinal Tap, going through a handful of drummers until they settled six years later with Steve Shelley. Sonic Youth was rocking during the punk phase in the 80s, kicking it to the alternative rock in the 90s, and are living legends in the new millennium. They are the “godfathers” of American rock underground. But as of now, the group is on hiatus to expand other creativity. As for Gordon, she has started a new rock band “Body/Head” with Bill Nace.

Gordon has sparked other women to carry out their rock and roll dreams. Just recently, Gordon was interviewed by Carrie Brownstein, a very successful rocker as well as an Emmy winner. Brownstein is the co-creator of Portlandia and has revived her all girl-rock band, Sleater-Kinney; just recently the band has released their first album since 2005. Their interview is filled with insight to Gordon’s memoir and her side of things as well as attempts to fill an hour of awkward silences.

Kim Gordon isn’t just a girl in a band; she’s a songwriter, author, artist and hard-rocking bassist that has been fighting stereotypes and society’s (and rock and roll’s) standards. She has proved time and time again that she can kick some ass and she isn’t afraid to do so. Gordon is an artist that has no limits and she’s been battling this label for over 30 years that desperately needs to fade away.

Jess Samson

Tune in to WCRX 88.1 FM every Thursday night 7-9pm Rebel Rock Radio with Jess Samson.