Don Baldwin - drums; Mickey Thomas - vocals, percussion; Johnny "V" Vernazza - guitar; Michael "Fly" Brooks - bass; Billy Slais - keyboards, saxophone; Elvin Bishop - vocals, guitar
Bay Area mainstay Elvin Bishop had a smokin' hot backing band in place when he recorded this timeless performance at New York's Bottom Line club in 1976. Signed to Capricorn Records, the home of Southern Rock, Elvin Bishop offers up a fiery set of country flavored blues-rock at this show.
Bishop, a former member of he Paul Butterfield Blues Band, had a cult following until he aligned with Capricorn, who found him a #1 hit single, "Fooled Around And Fell In Love." This performance, however, is closer to the real Bishop, and has more to do with the Southern rock vibe created by groups like the Allman Brothers and The Marshall Tucker Band than it does with commercial pop artists. Bishop lets his band jump into the spotlight often, with keyboardist Clive Brooks and guitarist Johnny V, in particular, grabbing many of the solos.
Bishop balances intense musical performances with light-hearted dialogue, as is apparent on songs like "Fishin'," where he tells a lengthy tale of how the band went fishing and the guitarist, drunk on Jack Daniels, kept scaring the fish away. Vocalist Mickey Thomas would soon leave Bishop's band and take drummer Don Baldwin with him. In 1978 he and Baldwin were asked to join Jefferson Starship when it became the rock 'n' roll hit factory known simply as Starship.
Musically, the highlight of this show is the band's high energy version of "Joy," which mixes gospel, blues, rock and funk into one cohesive song. Bishop's lyrics on his popular country-rock romp, "Travelin' Shoes," is anything but politically correct, yet back then you could hear lyrics such as these on the radio: "I talk and talk and talk and she doesn't hear a word I said; I'm gonna get Hank Aaron's baseball bat and tenderize her head." Moral issues aside, a smoking set from one of the best in the biz.