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Brian Eno - Song by Song (& Album by Album) Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by HitAndRun, Oct 31, 2021.

  1. eeglug

    eeglug Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, USA
    Yes, the studio version has a wonderfully over the top abrasive guitar sound that isn't found in this live performance, agreed.
  2. William Gladstone

    William Gladstone I was a teenage daydreamer.

    Panama City, FL
    Third Uncle - Holy smokes...I imagine the stage was on fire within the first minute. And I really like that a good portion of the crowd recognized it almost immediately. That bass is so cranky and menacing, an absolute delight...and then Phil - shred is not the appropriate word, but it's the only one I've got. And I love the cool down, too, where they're just simmering and building up more steam. No doubt a joy to play and to witness, so everyone wins. I think it definitely tops the original because it's organic and alive and almost its own creature. 5/5
  3. Nitrous

    Nitrous Forum Resident

    Shropshire UK
    Cracker. What can you say a storming finish to the album. Of course it’s 5/5. I think the studio version shades it but hey we are splitting hairs here.
  4. fried

    fried Forum Resident

    I love both the original and the live version equally. 5/5 for both.
  5. Patanoia

    Patanoia Third Ear Centre

    Grapevine, TX
    I miss Eno's deadpan vocals of the original (which make the lyrics far more menacing) but this version has great energy and makes a great closer to the set (like "Editions of You" for Roxy Music). 4.8/5.
  6. Patanoia

    Patanoia Third Ear Centre

    Grapevine, TX
    Apologies if this is old news, but when looking for the deluxe version of "801 Live", I saw there is a free download of a Manzanera/Wyatt/Eno instrumental, "The Unknown Zone", from 2006 at the Burning Shed site. Worth every penny, I'd say.

    "A few years ago when Robert Wyatt was recording Cuckooland at my studio Eno popped round for dinner, a chat, and an overdub or two and after a few bevvies we had a jam. This track, The Unknown Zone grew out of that night's improvisations, as did my track 50 Minutes Later."

    Phil Manzanera: Guitars
    Brian Eno: Chaos drums and synth bass
    Robert Wyatt: Keyboards
    Yaron Stavi: Double Bass
  7. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Third Uncle

    As mentioned it's nice to hear the audience recognising the song. This version doesn't take the original anywhere all that different, but it has a punk/new wave feel years before that was common. Brian's vocal sounds a bit distant and to my ear not as good as the original. Phil lets lose as mentioned. Overall: very good.

  8. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the contributions everyone. Today we discuss 801 Live as an album.


    Discogs link: 801 - 801 Live

    Wikipedia: 801 Live - Wikipedia

    Personnel (from Wikipedia):

    Phil Manzanera – guitar
    Lloyd Watson – slide guitar, vocals
    Francis Monkman – Fender Rhodes piano, clavinet
    Brian Eno – keyboards, vocals, synthesizers, guitar
    Bill MacCormick – bass, vocals
    Simon Phillips – drums, rhythm generator

    Three reviews of the album from EnoWeb: http://music.hyperreal.org/artists/brian_eno/interviews/801-76.html
    eeglug and Putrifiers II like this.
  9. Nitrous

    Nitrous Forum Resident

    Shropshire UK
    This is probably my favourite live album. The only duff track being the Kinks cover. I love every other track.
    The musicianship is fantastic and it’s very well recorded and sounds great on original vinyl.
    A classic.
  10. prymel

    prymel Forum Resident

    801 Live Album

    While Eno’s vocals on 801 Live are refreshing interludes, this is largely a jazz fusion album, most notable for its instrumental jams. Even vocal songs like “Baby’s On Fire” are mere excuses for the band to stretch out and groove. This works for me since I’m a big fusion fan. The band is white hot here, and the album flies by. Excellent. 5/5
  11. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    801 Live: "Golden Hours"

    This is the first extra track included on the 1999 reissue. I prefer the AGW studio version, but love the understated but beautiful solo starting halfway through the song, which I assume is Phil? Good track, which make me think I should get the 1999 reissue.

  12. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    801 Live: "The Fat Lady Of Limbourg"

    And this is the second extra track on the 1999 reissue. Definitely not as good as the studio version on TTM(BS). Too plodding to my taste. So as I just dig one of the two extra tracks, I won't bother getting the 1999 version after all.

  13. eeglug

    eeglug Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, USA
    801 Live. I bought this album as an impressionable teen and it's imprinted on my soul. It's a bit of a one-off that straddles many fields without really being part of any; it's maybe closest to fusion but IMO (in contrast to what @prymel wrote above) it's not quite like landmark fusion albums like Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow or Bruford's One Of A Kind, much less albums with a more explicit jazz pedigree like Mahavishnu or Weather Report. I think it's just a little too "rock" with a lot less grandstand soloing.

    We've already talked about the possibility of post-gig trickery; for me it's the vocals that are most suspect but it's possible that guitars and other things have been fiddled with as well. The music is good enough for me to not worry a whole lot over it.

    Bonus tracks: Golden Hours is a pretty good rendition...the background vocals are more prominent than the shadowy mix of the studio version. We lose Fripp's skittery solo and instead have a mix of keyboards and guitar - nothing offensive but nothing exceptional either. Interesting busy drum work during the solos; keep those double bass drums going! The Fat Lady of Limbourg uses automated percussion, unusual perhaps for a live performance. The riffing is surprisingly "rock"-y here, including some bluesy Manzanera licks. Phillips is silent until the very end of the track, which rocks out in a way that strangely reminds me of the Bob Ezrin production of the Peter Gabriel studio "Here Comes The Flood". It leaves one with a dirge-y hard rock taste in your mouth.

    The vocals on these bonus tracks sound like the real deal to me and make some of the other vocals on the album stand out as being "cheated". As I mentioned before, these bonus songs disturb the flow of the original album but I think they are interesting in their own right and worthy of inclusion.

    By the way my cd has incorrect indexing at a number of points so, for example, Baby's On Fire audibly starts at the end of Fat Lady of Limbourg. I've been known to correct things like this using an audio editor but I haven't bothered with this album.

    (I remember being deeply disappointed by 801's subsequent album Listen Now, being a much more commercial pop effort. I'll have to re-listen to that at some point.)
  14. William Gladstone

    William Gladstone I was a teenage daydreamer.

    Panama City, FL
    801 Live - I'm typically not a big fan of live albums, though I own lots of them, plus went through an idiotic phase of purchasing bootlegs in my 20s or so. My top 3 live albums, in this order, are:

    1) U2 - Live Under a Blood Red Sky
    2) Roxy Music - Viva!
    3) The Cure - Entreat
    Honorable Mention) Misfits - Evilive

    Blah, blah... Anyway, 801 Live is one I think I could add to my rotation. I was impressed by the overall variety of material from both of the main artists' existing catalogs (particularly Sombre Reptiles), plus the covers (which I'm still iffy on, but I honestly don't know who else they could have covered...Velvet Underground or Stooges, maybe...). Overall, Eno wasn't really much of a force, in my opinion. Aside from the songs he took vocals on, there wasn't much there that someone else couldn't have done, and even his vocal performances (while excellent) weren't anything that any other competent singer couldn't have pulled off...though his extra bratty and abrasive take of Baby's on Fire is pretty fantastic. Phil, to me, was the real spotlight, which is fitting, and I really enjoy it when he cuts loose with reckless abandon. On RM albums, his playing is excellent but harnessed, which is why I love Viva! so much, because he can truly let go. And, of course, the rhythm section dang near stole the show and really brought an energy and an edge to all of these takes that took them to the next level and made a competent performance rather spectacular.

    As an "Eno release," there's not much Eno-tastic about it, but as a live document of some excellent players performing (mostly) great songs, it's rather worthy. 4/5
  15. brew ziggins

    brew ziggins Forum Prisoner

    The Village
    Some records just come along at the right juncture of your life, when your tastes are well developed, yet still taking shape, not yet ossified, and bend you into your future self.

    I can't really be objective about 801 Live. It Is what It Is and the deer in the state forest behind my house know it by heart. *****

    I haven't played the reissue with the bonus tracks in some time. As others have noted, they mess with the flow of the album, and, as I recall, the recording quality dips, as if they were patched in from a bootleg. Sad, its not like there's oodles of live Eno kicking around.

    I quite enjoy Listen Now. There are two or three other 801 live releases from that tour, eg Hull, sans Eno (and Simon). I own them, I've played them, but can't say they've made an impression.
  16. eeglug

    eeglug Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, USA
    Yes. Nicely expressed.

    Maybe you're mixing up the other live recordings, which do sound very bootleg-ish - or perhaps the expanded edition with a very bootleg-y sounding rehearsal. I listened to the latter last week and it's pretty rough around the edges. The 2 bonus tracks sound pretty good to me and of a piece with the rest...maybe not quite as lovingly tweezed and manicured as the album proper but very listenable.
    Putrifiers II, HitAndRun and prymel like this.
  17. fairaintfair

    fairaintfair I Buried Paul

    SF Bay Area
    801 Live

    For years "801 Live" was my de facto go to for best live albums ever.

    While I still consider it one of the finest sounding live albums I'm not exactly sure what the word live actually means in this context? One could successfully argue that Eno multi-tracking his vocals over these songs may eliminate it from the category, and I expect that their was much post consideration. But with Eno's proclivity for using the studio as an instrument none of this is terribly shocking.

    I still feel that there is a tangible power to these performances that indicates this LP was born from a distinct time and place, which is one of my arching requirements for a live LP. It has energy to spare and remains a delightful sonic statement.

    But the content.

    I hadn't heard "801 Live" in many years and now remember that I tended to always skip the non Eno tracks. My critical engine was certainly less tuned in my youth (which is a good thing) so I think I was far more forgiving of the choices that now send me into shock. I dunno, perhaps just hearing Eno live at all was enough for my Prog addled brain.

    Not anymore.

    Hearing it now, with critical ears, I am saddened by how much I loathe the choices made by this crew. I honestly can't understand why someone like Eno, with his aesthetics finely tuned at this point in his career, would agree to take part in this. Maybe it was just some fun? If so I hope they all had loads of it. I truly do. And bless those of you that find joy in it.

    But with the jazz inflections, the unnecessarily busy drumming and the route guitar soloing, the whole affair now feels like a huge misstep for our beloved bald one. I would be fascinated to hear what Eno thinks of it now. Likes it? Folly of youth? Shock and shame?

    And to those whom I have recommended this mess, I offer my sincerest apologies. Memories are tricky things and I'm thankful to this string for forcing a much needed reassessment. I'm a better person for it.

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
  18. Front Row

    Front Row Finding pleasure when annoying those with OCD.

    Chicago IL
    I have the record and CD that has a couple additional tracks. I prefer the CD except for the faded ending for Third Uncle. Whose brain fart idea was that? Is the 2009 version worth a third purchase?
  19. AZRunner

    AZRunner Forum Resident

    SW FL
    The more I listened to this album over the last week, the more it has fallen in my estimation. I’ve always liked the album, but never considered it a favorite, live or otherwise. It was a solid album and if you came across someone who had heard of 801 they were alright. But between both the album and me aging, we have seriously grown apart. I purchased a copy of the 2 cd edition in anticipation of this discussion, I’ve only ever had the vinyl, but now I’m not sure I’ll ever listen to the cds. If I do, it won’t be for quite a while. 2/5
  20. gjp163

    gjp163 Forum Resident

    Wamberal Beach
    801 Live - I mentioned earlier that in a perfect world it would be a double A single. "TNK" & "Third Uncle". Absolute classics.
    I can live with the studio Third Uncle, so for me "TNK" is a playlist 5/5 song. Just need to decide which playlist.
    Nb. I am not a live album listener in general.
  21. Hightops

    Hightops Forum Resident

    Bay Area, Ca
    It's a shame this wasn't on the original vinyl release...because over the years I would have enjoyed it MUCH MORE than a Kinks cover.
  22. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    801 Live

    I take this album as a testament to how much unused talent there was in the original Roxy Music with Bryan Ferry writing all the songs. Ferry wrote and writes great songs, but even by this stage both Brian and Phil had great solo catalogues to choose songs from.

    It's true that this album has had changes made from the live performance such as Brian double-tracking his vocals, and it's therefore not quite a document of the concerts. However, I do greatly enjoy this album. Perhaps it's an advantage for me that I am less familiar with the album than many here.

  23. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the contributions everyone. Today is a rest/catch-up day before we start on Before and After Science on Sunday.

    As some various titbits for today, after I've finished my work today I plan to listen to Andy Mackay's In Search of Eddie Riff which has some minor Eno involvement. The track 'Time Regained' which was a b-side later released on version 2 of the album is a Mackay/Eno co-write, and sounds like something from (No Pussyfooting) but with sax instead of guitar. https://youtu.be/w4EYq2DFQmU

    Also, here is 'The Unknown Zone' by Eno/Manzanera/Wyatt as previously posted in this thread. Available free on the Burning Shed Site, but I found this YouTube video.

  24. Mr. Bewlay

    Mr. Bewlay It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous.

    Denver CO
    A general observation on Ambient music, spurred by the discussion on Discreet Music. I picked this up on CD (cheap!) at my local store and gave it a listen. Side 1 I like, side 2 not so much (yeah I know a cd only has one side but you know what I mean). This isn't what I would typically reach for when looking for something to listen to. That being said, I decided to apply the insight gained by Eno when he was lying in his bed convalescing after his accident, unable to reach the volume control on his stereo, with the music playing at the edge of hearing.

    For several years now I've been using a pair of Sony noise-cancelling headphones with a white noise app at low volume when I work-I've found it helps with focus. Music is too distracting. I created a Spotify playlist of some of Eno's Ambient albums, put it on shuffle and turned the volume down as low as possible so it was just at the edge of hearing. Now I understand! It helps create the mental space I need to focus without distraction and is calming. I wish I'd thought of this years ago. An added bonus is Spotify adds in suggestions to your playlist if you let it-for this one it's worthwhile, I now get to "listen" to The Orb, Terry Riley, David Sylvian, Harold Budd and a bunch of Eno collaborations. This is opening a door for me that otherwise has remained closed for years. I've always liked the idea of Ambient more than the actual "product" for the most part. Listening in this manner-with the original intent, if you like-is a revelation. The only problem is I don't know what I'm listening to from one track to the next-picking up the phone to see who the artist is kind of defeats the object.

    That being said, I'm looking forward to getting into Before And After Science-a record I know well, with actual songs and everything!
  25. Patanoia

    Patanoia Third Ear Centre

    Grapevine, TX
    Teenage me loved "801 Live" but it's gone down a little in my estimation since then. I'm much more likely these days to play "Listen Now" or "Diamond Head" or solo Eno. Still, there are some great tracks like "T.N.K.", great drumming and bass, and it sounds like everyone in the band is really into it, which you don't always hear on a live album. 4.2/5.

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