Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Live: Volume 3 Has Best Lineup Yet of Songs, Artists

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Rock and Roll HOF Volume 3

It is oft said that the third time is a charm...and I can think of no better example of that phrase than this current release from Time Life. Pressed on limited edition white-and-black swirled vinyl, this third installment of the Time Life series of the ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME LIVE hits on all cylinders for me.

With a veritable “Who’s Who” of performers featuring the likes of Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, The Allman Bros, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Traffic, Keith Richards, Paul Butterfield, Robbie Robertson, and John Mellencamp, what’s not to love? Add to that no sign of Bruce Springsteen anywhere in sight, and it’s a huge win-win proposition!

To top that off, like the icing on the cake, the white-and-black vinyl makes it so easy to see the different tracks for cueing--perhaps the best ever; so much so, I hope it becomes industry standard, although it’s not exactly black and white (there seems to be a lot of blue and purplish bits in it as well). It looks really good on the ‘table too. (Just try and get visuals from a digital file!)

Speaking of the physical aspects of the album, this third installment was clean and nicely pressed, with only the slightest warpage. The label was centered with just a little tearing around the spindle hole.

It is still funny, though, that with so many great artists on the album, there are many I would never consider rock and roll. I mean, Aretha Franklin? Ray Charles? Certainly not rock and roll by any and every standard. Two of the greatest performers in the history of recorded music and deserving of being in every music hall of fame there is, yes--but just not sure about being in one supposedly dedicated to rock and roll.

Still, I’m glad the recordings are here. My only wish is that some of the songs were recorded better. Carl Perkin’s “Blue Suede Shoes” and Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman” had a “muddy” sound to them, and several seemed unrehearsed, almost having a “clunky” sound to them as the artists performed the song (which may have been the case for some; I don’t know if the artists always had time to practice together before coming on stage.)

In any case, that is not the fault of Time Life. I don’t think these songs were ever intended to wind up on an album someday, so the fact that they are still in existence at all is a real treasure--especially since some of the artists are no longer with us, such as Carl Perkins and Ray Charles. It’s an opportunity to hear them one last time, even if it wasn’t well-recorded or well-rehearsed.

My favorite track on this volume has to be “Dear Mr. Fantasy” By Traffic. I don’t know if all the other original members of the band played (although it did sound like it), but Steve Winwood and his unmistakable voice just did it justice. It was so great to hear that song sung live again. And then again, Clapton is always Clapton too, and his rendition of “Sweet Home Chicago” with The Band’s Robbie Robertson, et. al. harkened me back to “The Last Waltz.”

Acoustically speaking, while the compilation of music is first rate, the overall sonics for me are at about a “meh” level, but still very listenable.

With 3 volumes under their belt, if you have all of them you have quite a collection of rare music by mostly extraordinary artists. Some recordings are stellar, some not so, but all taken as a catalog represent much that we have come to love rock and roll for: live, raw, unpolished energy performed by singers who let their mood and feelings take the songs to new and different places, as well as home on sacred ground. I’m glad Time Life has stepped up to the plate to bring these to us.

I’m not sure how many albums are slated to become part of this set, but I would think there is still a vast treasure trove of performances that Time Life will be able to glean through and amass several more installments from, and I eagerly await each one.


Songs on this LP:

Side 1

  • Blue Suede Shoes (Mono)-Carl Perkins, Keith Richards, Paul Butterfield and The Rock Hall Jam Band (1987)

  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman-Aretha Franklin (1995)

  • R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.-John Mellencamp (1995)

  • Midnight Rider-The Allman Brothers Band with Sheryl Crow (1995)

  • Hallelujah-Damien Rice (2008)

Side 2

  • I Heard it Through The Grapevine-Stevie Wonder, Keith John, Joan Osborne, and The Rock Hall Jam Band (1996)

  • Nature Boy-Ray Charles (2000)

  • Sweet Home Chicago-Eric Clapton, Robbie Robertson, Bonnie Raitt, and The Rock Hall Jam Band (2000)

  • Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love-Velvet Revolver (2007)

  • Dear Mr. Fantasy-Traffic (2004)

4.0 / 5.0