Album review
 
iBar94, August 2008
 

ED KUEPPER LIVE VOLUME 1
(Prince Melon Records)


Review by The Barman
 

You might have missed the little things - and that would be missing a lot - if your reaction to the plainly-named tour CD "Ed Kuepper Live" is simply: "Meh, it's just another exercise in minor (chord) reinvention". Musically speaking, it's true that Sir Ed's worn more masks than a middle-aged Double Bay matron with a gold Amex card at an around-the-clock day spa, he's done his shape-shifting in a way that's never been boring.

Some of the reinvention on "Ed Kuepper Live" is by degrees, granted. But if those nuances in "La Di Doh" or the hypnotic "Honey Steels Gold" are lost on you, or alternatively you're not bowled over by the rock and roll power of his latest band The Kowalski Collective's take on "Little Fiddle" or "The Laughing Clowns", then cash in your deposit on the hospital TV and ask them to turn off the life support machine, there's no hope for you.

The Collective are drummer extraordinaire Jeffrey Wegener and the rock solid bassist Peter Oxley, two storied players whose combined musical history and cooking finesse would fill a stack of scrapbooks or pile of pizza boxes (whichever is more appropriate.) With Ed, they've been traversing the country for a few years now, sometimes as a trio or sometimes in stripped-down drums-and-guitar mode. They're at the core of the most recent studio album, "Jean Lee And The Yellow Dog" and up there as one of the man's best ensembles. Which is saying something.

I don't know what it is about Ed Kuepper, an occasional capo, a row of effects pedals and six strings, but after all these years he still summons up some incredible sounds. Horns are central to "Eternally Yours", right? That glorious line is at its heart. Well here's a version where you scarcely miss it; Kuepper compensates while Monsieur Wegener traverses every piece of his kit.

If there's a criticism it's that "Collapse Board" doesn't match the original Laughing Clowns version for outright tension, but even so it has a certain molten magnificence that deserves a hearing.

"Ed Kuepper Live" spans 51 minutes and while it's contents won't surprise many it won't disappoint most either. Copies were pressed for the 2008 Kuepper supports to Nick Cave in Europe - if you're quick/smart you'll grab one at an Australian show near you. After they sell out, eBay might have to become your friend.

THE BARMAN

 
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