A Day Before The Hoochie Coochie Man’s B’Day (Tarantura TCD-98-1, 2)
Colston Hall, Bristol, England – January 8th, 1970
Disc 1 (53:49): We’re Gonna Groove, I Can’t Quit You, Dazed And Confused, Heartbreaker, White Summer/Black Mountain Side, Since I’ve Been Loving You
Disc 2 (40:00): organ solo, Thank You, Moby Dick, How Many More Times, band introduction, Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown
“A Day Before The Hoochie Coochie Man’s Birthday” is Tarantura’s take on the same tape used for the TCOLZ release “Out Of The Bristol Tale” reviewed previously by GS.
As stated in the earlier review the sound quality of the tape varies but I felt it might actually rate a fair to VG- quality rating in places. The recorder seems to have trouble on some of the faster, louder songs such as Heartbreaker, WLL and Communication Breakdown but it was actually surprisingly clear on the quieter bluesy songs like “I Can’t Quit You”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and might even rate a VG- on “White Summer” and “Thank You”. The louder songs had some points of distortion where the sheer volume of the music overloaded the recorder and there was a low level of tape hiss evident during the quieter passages. There was also a very strange panning effect on several songs which I only noticed with headphones but was not evident while I listened to this release in my car.
The show starts off with a fade into “We’re Gonna Groove” missing the beginning of the song. The sound is distant, slightly muffled and very compressed with a fair amount of echo. There are several microsecond dropouts which are not too distracting. While every instrument can be heard the effect can be a wall of sound at times. The band jumps directly into “I Can’t Quit You” and the sound clears up significantly as if the recorder was moved out from under the tapers chair. The tape is now very listenable with all the instruments showing better separation with Jimmy’s guitar dominant in the mix. We next get a great fifteen and a half minute version of “Dazed and Confused” with very unique solos by Jimmy. Robert announces Heartbreaker next with the band jumping right into the song. The recorder overloads at times probably from the sheer volume of the band and there is a strange rapid panning effect of the sound, I mentioned earlier, at different points during the song. The highlight of the show for me is up next with Jimmy playing an absolutely brilliant razor sharp thirteen and a half minute version of White Summer/ Black Mountain Side. The recording again shows the strange panning effect for most of the first two minutes, and to a lesser extent in several other parts, of the song. Side 1 ends with an excellent compact six and a half minute version of “Since I’ve Been Loving You “and a very short snippet of “Thank You” which opens Disc 2.
Disc 2 starts with “Thank You” with the sound quality now verging on VG- . Next Moby Dick is cut after about 2 minutes which in my opinion is not a great loss as echo makes the drums very muddy and a tough listen. Robert does the band introductions at the start of “How Many More Times” not at the end as the back cover setlist claims. Robert intro’s Jimmy as “Jimmy Hootchie Coochie Man Page’ which is the inspiration for the unusual title of this release. The show concludes with a very tight 20 minute version of “How Many More Times” which sets the crowd into a frenzy screaming for more. With the MC whipping the crowd up, we get two very powerful compact versions of “Whole Lotta Love” and “Communication Breakdown”
The packaging is a very simple glossy cardboard bifold with pictures of the band members superimposed over copies of the tour poster on the inside covers and small picture of the band in a pub next to a black and white version of the tour poster on the back cover.
The discs are housed in paper sleeves with round cellophane windows. Disc 1 is silk screened with what looks to be a period correct black and white photo of Jimmy playing his beloved Black Beauty Les Paul Custom which was eventually stolen at an airport while in transit. Disc 2 has a black and white photo from the same concert which shows Robert and jimmy in action with Jimmy playing one of his sunburst Les Paul’s.
After reading the TCOLZ release review of this tape I was a little apprehensive about reviewing this title as I am not a fan of poor sounding shows but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how listenable and enjoyable I found this release to be. The performance is outstanding and the sound quality was just good enough to make me want to listen to the whole show several times while preparing this review.
With a very listenable sound quality and the outstanding performance I would agree this is a must have for the hardcore fan. For the casual fan you might be better served getting a copy of the excellent pro recorded Royal Albert Hall concert from the next night but if you have an opportunity to listen to this show you may be pleasantly surprised.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)