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Bryan Ferry – Bottom Line 1977 (Virtuoso 015/016)

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 Bottom Line 1977 (Virtuoso 015/016)

Bottom Line, New York, NY – June 23rd, 1977

Disc 1 (64:05) early show:  Let’s Stick Together, Shame Shame Shame, Road Runner, All Night Operator, You Go To My Head, Could It Happen To Me?, In Your Mind, Casanova, Love Me Madly Again, Love Is The Drug, Tokyo Joe, This Is Tomorrow, The ‘In’ Crowd, A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall, The Price of Love

Disc 2 (64:55) late show:  Let’s Stick Together, Shame Shame Shame, Road Runner, All Night Operator, You Go To My Head, Could It Happen To Me?, In Your Mind, Casanova, Love Me Madly Again, Love Is The Drug, Tokyo Joe, This Is Tomorrow, The ‘In’ Crowd, A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall, The Price of Love

Right after Bryan Ferry’s final show in Japan on June 9th, he went to the US to begin an eight night tour starting in San Francisco.  By the end, the tour wound up with several shows at the Bottom Line in New York before ending in Cleveland on June 27th.

He played two shows in New York on June 23rd as a showcase put on by Atlantic Records, and just as in Japan he publicized his new album with a television show, in New York the late show at the Bottom Line was broadcast on WNYU-FM.  

Bottom Line 1977 on Virtuoso was released in late February 2008 featuring new soundboards of the two shows on June 23rd.  Both are complete and very clear and well balanced.  These two are among the best audio documents of Ferry’s mid-seventies live performances. 

His backing band included two members of Roxy Music, drummer Paul Thompson and guitarist Phil Manzanera.  Also joining are two generation of King Crimson members.  John Wetton adds his heavy bass tones and Mel Collins lends his saxophone to the horn section of Chris Mercer and Martin Drover.  Guitarist Chris Spedding’s impeccable guitar and Ann Odell on keyboard round out Ferry’s band.

The set list for the New York shows is almost identical to the others.  The only difference is “Party Doll” from the new album is dropped shortening the show by about five minutes.  The set opens with “Let Stick Together.”  It sounds like model Jerry Hall, Ferry’s girlfriend at the time and who appears in the 1976 video, comes onstage to various hoops and hollers. 

The early show is relatively subdued and the band are plagued with equipment problems.  “That’s the problem with playing these bar mitsvahs” he jokes as they get their act together.

The late show was broadcast on WNYU-FM, a college radio station based in New York University in lower Manhattan.  About forty minutes of the show was bootlegged on All Night Operator (K&S 073), and in fan circles an edit of the radio broadcast with an audience recording has been circulating.  It’s much better than the early show. 

During the set various band members take turns carrying music into various styles.  The saxophones give the band a jazzy midtown nightclub feel, while the keyboards on “In My Head” sound like something Garth Hudson of The Band would play. 

In the middle of both sets is the scorching “Love You Madly Again” featuring Spedding’s metallic licks in contrast with the horn section, and the Roxy Music hit “Love Is The Drug.”  During the Dylan cover “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” Ferry introduces the band. 

“The Price Is Love,” a cover of The Everly Brothers hit, is the encore for both sets.  It’s played in a sneering, sarcastic and sleazy arrangement the Everlys would never attempt. 

Bottom Line 1977  is obviously an essential title for Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music collectors.  The artwork is based upon black & white photos from the period and the improvement in sound quality over previous releases is startling, and it’s rare to see the Virtuoso label venture past the big classic progressive rock giants like Yes and Genesis.

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Bryan Ferry - Bottom Line 1977 (Virtuoso 015/016) , 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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