Track Selection: You Tube
“Live in San Francisco”, 1966, finds Archie Shepp in performance in the capital of “fruits, nuts and flakes”, on an original press for its UK release, on HMV. Reissued many times , I had a 180gm “audiophile” pressing before I realised that the weight of the vinyl was just “marketing” – meaningless if all it carried a shallow digital cut.
Shepp for me has always been a bridge too far, messy cacophony, but I recall this as being from the transitional “one foot in free, one foot in tradition” style, so when an original pressing popped up at a fair price and on VG++ condition, I took the plunge, vowing to jettison all previous judgements and hear it through.
Played through just the once, it gets a little raucous and has to be turned down when Mrs LJC is in earshot, especially when Shepp is engaged in one of his “violent exchanges” with the other players. Shepp is not “cool”, more sort of “angry”. However it’s a great cover, oozing period manner and place. More a piece to stroke the (imaginary) goatee, adjust your beret and shades, and when asked what you think of it, smile enigmatically. Say “Nice…” if you think you can get away with it.