A Few Live Loves of Mine
Some of my favorite live albums!
A few days ago Pierce McIntyre, editor in chief of Plethora Of Pop, gave this prompt:
Writing Challenge: What Are Your Favorite Live Albums?
What are they and why do you love them?
Immediately upon reading this, I had several albums come to mind, and I’m very excited to share them here! I’ll just be giving a few of my favorites, and talking a little about each one, and my favorite song from them!
Live At San Quentin by Johnny Cash:
Now I know you probably saw Johnny Cash as the featured image, and just knew I was gonna put Live At Folsom Prison on here, and while that’s a great album, I find myself preferring the San Quentin performance a bit more.
I prefer the song lineup a bit more, and I like the shorter runtime.
One of the big reasons I prefer Live At San Quentin is because of his performance of “A Boy Named Sue.”
“A Boy Named Sue” is one of my all-time favorites from Cash, and I think this performance is above every other one I’ve heard.
Live From The Ryman by Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit
The Ryman is such a beautiful venue, and Isbell did it justice with this performance.
The setlist includes some of my all-time favorites from him, such as; “Elephant”, “24 Frames”, “The Life You Chose”, “Flying Over Water”, and the one that really drew me into this live album.
Much like Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue,” the song that really puts this album high up in my favorites, is “Last Of My Kind.” It was the first song I heard from this live record, and it’s on my playlist in lieu of the actual studio version.
Isbell delivers everything in this performance with such a powerful level of emotion, and it makes for a very personal sounding experience.
Elizabeth Cotten Live!
I discovered Elizabeth Cotten when I found out she was the writer of the iconic folk song — “Freight Train,” and when I looked into her history I was fascinated.
I eventually stumbled upon this album, and was blown away by how earnest, and sweet it was. It reminds me of if you just headed down to the general store, and listened to some old lady play songs for spare change.
Between songs, she tells lovely, funny little stories, just like any old loveable lady would. She works the crowd so well, and keeps them involved throughout the performance.
This album makes the list because, yes, the songs are good, but the album is just so unbelievably charming the whole way through.
Buck Owens and His Buckaroos Live In Japan!
I actually found this album because of a song that Buck doesn’t even play on it. My favorite Buck Owens song, and one of my favorites ever, is “Made In Japan.” I was looking for that song one day, and came across the Live in Japan album.
I gave it a listen and was blown away. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, because I always loved Buck Owens on Hee-Haw. His charisma and charm definitely carry over to this live album as well (even if he does pronounce “Japan” weirdly).
It’s hard to choose a favorite song from this one, but it’s between “Second Fiddle,” and “Tokyo Polka.”
Live on Red Barn Radio I & II by Tyler Childers
This album is an absolute cult classic among Tyler Childers fans, and for good reason. It’s the only album on streaming services that has some of his best early work on it. Songs like; “Rock Salt and Nails,” “Follow You To Virgie,” “Deadman’s Curve,” “Shake The Frost,” and “Charleston Girl.” “Shake The Frost” is my favorite of the bunch.
Unlike a lot of the others on this list, this album isn’t super high energy, or exciting, especially since it’s not being played to a live crowd. Childers just puts his head down and plays some great music.
I am always impressed by how great he sounds live, and this album is definitely no exception.
Panic! At The Disco … Live In Chicago
To me, this performance encapsulates the absolute peak of Panic! At The Disco. The whole band was still together, they had just released Pretty. Odd., and nobody was accused of heinous acts yet. Ah, the good old days.
Anywho — I love this performance, because they alternate very well between high energy rock band, and chilled out, Beatles style boy band.
Pretty. Odd. is my favorite album of theirs, and that’s a lot of what they perform here. “We’re So Starving” has to be one of the best concert openers I’ve ever heard. The crowd is super high energy, and into it on this one too.
Elvis’ ’68 Comeback Special
I don’t really know for sure if this classifies as an album, but I’m gonna say it does and count it.
Even though Elvis wasn’t really in his hit-making prime anymore, he could still perform like the king of rock should be able to. He still has his charismatic mannerisms, and works the crowd like nobody's business.
There is one part in particular that really makes me love it; the medley he does of “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” and “All Shook Up.” The video of this on YouTube is one I always come back to, because my two favorite Elvis songs are “Heartbreak Hotel,” and “All Shook Up,” so I really love this little mix-up.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my picks!
This was a fun little challenge to come up with, so thanks to Pierce McIntyre again for the prompt.
If you liked this, here’s another one I did for one of Pierce’s prompts!