CD+DVD Reviews

Mitch Ryder Live – [TrackList follows] MIG Music (2 DVDs & 3 CDs)

Detroit rhythm and blues singer goes from ugly American to mature entertainer.

Published on August 8, 2012

Mitch Ryder Live – [TrackList follows] MIG Music; (2 DVDs:) MIG 90507; (3 CDs:) MIG 90502 (2 separate albums), TT: 218:00, [8/21/2012] ***1/2:

(Mitch Ryder – vocals; Joe Gutc – guitar; Richard Schein – guitar; Billy Csernits – keyboards; Mark Gougeon – bass; Wilson Owens – drums; Robert Gillespie – guitar, vocals; Heiner White – guitar, vocals; Wolfram “Bodi” Bodag – keyboards, harp; Manne Pokrandt – bass, vocals; Vincent Brisach – drums)

William S. Levise Jr. (better known as Mitch Ryder) seemed to follow in the steps of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other rock and roll stars. He molded his sound after R&B artists like Little Richard and Ray Charles. With a relentless intensity, this “unsung” hero of Michigan rock and roll mesmerized audiences with his soulful live covers. Backed by The Detroit Wheels, he blazed across the charts with hits like “CCRider/Jenny Take A Ride” “Little Latin Lupe”, and “Devil With A Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly”. His last commercial success was “Sock It To Me Baby” in 1969. He continued to record and tour, but pursued different musical directions that kept him in relative obscurity.

In 1979, Mitch Ryder (on the heels of his release How I Spent My Vacation) accepted an invitation to the Rockpalast Eurovision Night at the Grugahalle in Essen, Germany, appearing with Southside Johnny and The Nils Lofgren Band. That performance became a dubious legend in the annals of rock history. Ryder arrived at the concert, more than a little wasted, with a half bottle of Jack Daniels in hand. Somehow, he and his band (2 guitars, keyboards, bass and drum) managed to muddle through the performance. Ryder was somewhat slovenly, but still belted out a 13-song set with some energy. The group laid down Allman Brothers/Doobie chops as Ryder growled out the lyrics. . On “War” the group rocked out with harmonic lead guitar play and nasty vocals. Ryder gave his all (or what was left of it) on his two medleys, “CC Rider/ Jenny Take a Ride” and “Devil With A Blue Dress On/ Good Golly Miss Molly”. The band played well enough mixing in soul, funk and rock, including a cover of Lou Reed’s “Rock And Roll” and Dylan’s “Wicked Messenger”. The highlight was a near-twelve-minute slow, bluesy take on the Doors’ “Soul Kitchen”. Ryder seemed annoyed and a pre-show interview (loaded with profanity-laced, obnoxious behavior) foreshadowed what would occur.

Much later—thirty-five years to be exact—Ryder returned to Rockaplast with another band (all German with the same instrumentation) and to a certain extent mitigated the 1979 fiasco. The proof is evident in the common material. Both medleys were rollicking (performed at a quicker pace), as he seemed to be playing to the fans. Gone was the hostility, and in its place some joyous music. “Rock And Roll” was up tempo and very soulful. One of his trademark songs, “Ain’t Nobody White (Can Sing The Blues)” exhibited more passion. Additionally there was some interesting new material. The band knocked out a dynamic, roadhouse version of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Ryder surprised the crowd with groove-infested covers of two Rolling Stone numbers, “Heart Of Stone” and “Gimme Shelter”. This time, “Soul Kitchen” was preceded by a finger snapping intro of Hendrix’ “Little Wing”. An interesting bonus feature has Ryder trying to deconstruct the 1979 concert, and update his own career path and those of his former band mates.

Both DVDs are encoded with PCM Stereo and sound great. There are three audio CDs (and fortunately, two are from 2004), but you don’t get to see a bona fide rock ‘n’ soul singer do his thing. (The tracks/tunes are basically the same on the two formats.)

TrackList:

CD 1: Long Hard Road; War; Nice n’ Easy; CC Rider/Jenny Take a ride; Ain’t Nobody White (Can Sing The Blues); Devil With A Blue dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly; Liberty; Dance Ourselves To Death; Wicked Messenger; Rock n’ Roll; Tough Kid; True Love; Soul Kitchen

CD 2: Yeah, You Right; From A Buick 6; Everybody Loses; True Love; The Porch; Ain’t Nobody White (Can Sing The Blues); CC Rider/Jenny Take A Ride; Rock n’ Roll; Freezin’ In Hell; Subterranean Homesick Blues; The Terrorist

CD 3: Red Scar Eyes; Devil With A Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly; Heart Of Stone; Gimme Shelter; It Wasn’t Me; Bass Intro/Little Wing; Soul Kitchen

DVD1: Long Hard Road; War; Nice n’ Easy; CC Rider/Jenny Take A Ride; Ain’t Nobody White (Can Sing The Blues); Devil With A Blue Dress On/ Good Golly Miss Molly; Liberty; Dance Ourselves To Death; Wicked Messenger; Rock n’ Roll; Tough Kid; True Love; Soul Kitchen

DVD 2: Yeah, You Right; From A Buick 6; Everybody Loses; True Love; The Porch; Ain’t Nobody White (Can Sing The Blues); CC Rider/Jenny Take A Ride; Rock n’ Roll; Freezin’ In Hell; Subterranean Homesick Blues; The Terrorist; Red Scar Eyes; Devil With A Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly; Heart Of Stone; Gimme Shelter; It Wasn’t Me; Bass Intro: Little Wing/Soul Kitchen

—Robbie Gerson




on this article to AUDIOPHILE AUDITION!

Email this page to a friend.   View a printer-friendly version of the article.


Copyright © Audiophile Audition   All rights Reserved