Black Album (Mid Valley Records Special Sampler)
Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA – April 19th, 1979
Disc 1 (77:03): Caledonia, Sweet Little Angel, Jam, Don’t Answer The Door, You’re Mean, Why I Sing The Blues, Outside Help, Made You Move To Soon, I’m No Me Without You, The Thrill Is Gone + Hold On, Jam 1, Jam 2
Disc 2 (64:49): jam. NAACP Image Awards – February 14th, 1999: Rock Me Baby. 1999 Grammy Awards – February 24, 1999: Rock Me Baby. Louisiana Gator Boys – Blues Brothers 2000: How Blue Can You Get. Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, NY – March 15th, 1999: I’ve Been Trying (w/D’Angelo), Early In The Morning (w/D’Angelo). Sheryl Crow and Friends including Eric Clapton, Central Park, New York, New York – September 14, 1999: White Room, Little Wing. The Concert Of The Century, White House, Washington, DC – October 23rd, 1999: Ramblin’ On My Mind, All Along The Watchtower. Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, NY – March 6th, 2000: Further On Up The Road, Love And Happiness, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You), Route 66, Tears In Heaven
The bulk of Black Album documents a B.B. King show from the Fox Theater in Atlanta on April 19th, 1979 with tons of filler on disc two. Mid Valley chose not to reveal the source of the recordings and chose to package this in an all black cover, so it’s hard to determine what you’re listening to. It’s a shame because it is a good collection. Too bad they make you work to enjoy it.
Thankfully we are here to decipher Mid Valley’s work and have the complete details. A bulk of the release is a soundboard recording of a B.B. King concert on April 19th, 1979 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. It is good but slightly distorted and contains various little cuts between many of the tracks. It’s a good show, however, with King playing his classic hits.
Clapton joins him onstage for “Hold On” and several exciting blues jams. Clapton himself was on a day off on the Backless tour, between shows in Knoxville and Tuscaloosa. It is thought Diana Ross was also on stage and there are pictures in circulation of Clapton, King and Ross on a stage, but she’s not mentioned in the recording.
After the final jam from the Atlanta show ends on disc two, Mid Valley use a fan produced and circulated disc called Millennium Man. This is basically a collection of excellent quality television and radio broadcasts between 1999 to 2000 documenting Clapton’s many media appearances.
There are two performances of the King classic “Rock Me Baby” performed a week apart in February, 1999. “How Blue Can You Get?” is a performance by the Louisiana Gator boys taken from the Blues Brothers 2000 soundtrack. Louisiana Gator Boys is a fictional super blues group in the film comprised of King, Clapton, and many other well known blues and funk musicians.
Following are two songs taken from the VH1 telecast of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction on March 15th, 1999. “I’ve Been Trying” is a cover of the Curtis Mayfield tune with D’Angelo on vocals, and “Early In The Morning” is Clapton alone with his guitar.
“White Room” and “Little Wing” are taken from a WPLJ radio broadcast of the massive Sheryl Crow concert in Central Park in New York on September 14th, 1999. Crow introduces Clapton before the first song and joins in on vocals during the bridge in “White Room.” After “Little Wing” a DJ is audible announcing the up coming artists.
Five weeks later Clapton participated in the Concert Of The Century at the White House. Before President Bill Clinton and other luminaries, an all-star roster of artists performed. “Ramblin’ On My Mind” is performed by Clapton solo on acoustic guitar. The Bob Dylan cover “All Along The Watchtower” is an all-band electric version with Lenny Kravitz on vocals.
Finally, the disc ends with audio from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on March 6th, 2000 when he was inducted as a solo artist. He performers “Further On Up The Road,” “Love And Happiness,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You),” “Route 66” and “Tears In Heaven.” It’s in excellent quality except for the VJ’s voice over at the end.
Black Album is worth having for the sound quality and amount of material contained on the two discs. It is a shame Mid Valley use such an idiotic approach to packaging by having an all-black cover with no information whatsoever.