Prejudice (Grand Lodge GL-001/002)
Tampa Stadium, Tampa, FL. – June 14, 1975
Disc1. Layla – Bell Bottom Blues – I Shot The Sheriff – Better Make It Through Today – Badge / Can’t Find My Way Home – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Blues Power – Teach Me To Be Your Woman.
Disc2. Motherless Children – Mean Old World – Have You Ever Loved A Woman – Tell The Truth – Little Wing – Mainline Florida – Keep On Growing.
Grand Lodge make their debut into the boot scene by revealing an uncirculated tape featuring the first show of EC’s US Tour of 1975 in its complete form for the first time ever. The only other silver release covering this show I know of is “First Day” (Slunky 10A/B) but it is of an inferior sound quality and incomplete.
The tape begins with EC welcoming the audience. “Good Evening one and all!!” he says right before he kicks into Layla. It is clear this is the first show of the tour and the band needs to tighten up a bit. On this first gig Layla is short at just 5 minutes but would get more extended as the tour evolved. Also, EC screws up the lyrics when singing the second verse…. Something that also happens on Bell Bottom Blues when he sings “Bell Bottom Blues /A Place To Die” instead of “If I Could Choose / A Place To Die”…
The always pleasant Sheriff – EC’s first number 1 hit and the vehicle that he would use to introduce reggae to a mass audience the year before – features the extended guitar solo that the version on the “461 Ocean Blvd” album should have never missed. Then George Terry joins EC for a minute at the end of the outro to exhange some delicate licks. Better Make It Through Today is very mellow and features a nice lead by EC in the middle. Like Layla, Badge features a far too short first solo by EC. The second one is played by George Terry before EC starts asking where his badge is. EC then introduces Yvonne Elliman for a nice version of Can’t Find My Way Home while he takes a rest most probably to have a drink.
As if seeming to be in need of warming up again, EC gets back on stage to flub the first note of his reggae interpretation of Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door but a nice vocal work and some sweet guitar notes do make up for the mistake. There is a tape flip after the rocker version of Blues Power but no music at all is lost – not even EC’s introduction of Marcy Levy who beautifully sings Teach Me To Be Your Woman. (By the way, the back cover of the CD lists 9 tracks on CD1 with Badge and Can’t Find My Way Home as separate tracks but both share the very same track which actually makes CD1 feature 8 tracks).
The rampant Motherless Children comes before the Mean Old World/Have You Ever Loved A Woman medley, EC’s first approach to the real blues in the night and a real highlight too. Then it’s the turn for Tell The Truth, with more than a half of it being a long interplay between EC and George Terry.
The last three numbers of the night remained unavailable until “Prejudice” was released. The first one, Little Wing, is very soulful – sounds like a lullaby in places to me – and is introduced this way by EC: “We have one more number to do – and this is a dedication number that we do every night wherever we play…”
The encore consists of the fine Mainline Florida – with George Terry on vocal duties and some good guitar duel – which immediately segues into a great rendition of Keep On Growing, which is a perfect closer to the show. (Again, the back cover of the CD wrongly lists 7 tracks on CD2. There are actually 6 songs since Mainline Florida and Keep On Growing are not separated and both share the last track).
“Prejudice” is a good audience recording for the era. The fact that it captures the first show of the US Tour of 1975 makes it an interesting document, and being complete I can’t do anything else but recommend it. It will be a good addition to your collection that you won’t regret having.