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Billy Joel – Bottom Line 1976 Upgrade (Trial-021)

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Bottom Line 1976 Upgrade (Trial-021)

Bottom Line, New York, NY – June 10th, 1976

Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia, PA – April 15th, 1972

Disc 1: The Bottom Line: Prelude/Angry Young Man, Somewhere Along The Line, Summer Highland Falls, Piano Man, Root Beer Rag, James, Travelin’ Prayer, New York State Of Mind, The Entertainer, Ballad Of Billy The Kid, band intro., I’ve Loved These Days, Impressions of Joe Cocker/Springsteen (Jungleland), Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Down On Broadway)

Disc 2: Captain Jack, All You Wanna Do Is Dance, Ain’t No Crime, The Weekend Song. Sigma Sound Studio: Falling Of The Rain, Travelin’ Prayer, Ballad Of Billy The Kid, She’s Got A Way, Everybody Loves You Now, Nocturne, Turn Around, Long Long Time, Captain Jack, Josephine, Rosalinda, Tomorrow Is Today

Bottom Line 1976 contains the popular Bottom Line show from the WNEW radio broadcast in June 1976. This show was released previously as James (Giambretto BJ003) and Like Ray In New York (Polar Bear Records PB-070/071). Trial claims that this release is superior to the others because the speed has been corrected. Not having heard the earlier release I can’t confirm this, but I can say that this does indeed run at the correct speed. The tape has all the signs of being taped from the radio broadcast with slight hiss and compression evident. But it is very enjoyable and a great opportunity to listen to Billy Joel before his The Stranger breakthrough.

The show was taped before a small venue, intimate audience. The vibe of the show reminds me of Storytellers on VH1. Joel spends a lot of time between songs telling the stories and entertaining the audience with anecdotes about the background of the songs. Before “The Entertainer” he spends several minutes speaking about the rock and roll jive and bananas in the pants, even producing one “from his trousers” as the DJ states.

The second broadcast on this release is the very early Sigma Studio radio show from Philadelphia 1972. Introduced by the late Ed Sciaky on Philly’s AOR station WMMR, this is an amazing document of the young Billy Joel playing songs from the first couple of LPs. The set was played in front of a small studio audience reminiscent of the BBC broadcasts. A highlight of the set is “Ballad Of Billy The Kid”, which Joel introduces as a “western…and I know all about westerns being from New York.” Like the Bottom Line set, this sounds taped from the radio. Trial has produced a very nice title with two very early Billy Joel broadcasts in very good quality. Until these are officially released or until the master tapes are found, this release will stand as a definitive document. (GS)

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Billy Joel - Bottom Line 1976 Upgrade (Trial-021), 1.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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