1968. May. Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco
Michael Bloomfield, guitar - Harvey Brooks, bass - Buddy Miles, drums, screams 2, vocals 3,6 - Barry Goldberg, organ, vocals 4? - Peter Strazza, tenor sax - Marcus Doubleday, trumpet - Nick Gravenites, vocals 5,7,8 percussion - Herbie Rich, baritone sax
1. “Opening Instrumental (1.34)2. “Instrumental” (3.56)3. “Texas” (5.43)4. “Hey Joe” (5.05)5. “It Takes Time” (6.47)6. “I've Been Loving You Too Long” (8.07)7. “Another Country” (2.04) cut short8. “Ain’t No Doctor” (3.21) fade in9. “Don't You Lie To Me” (7.07)10. “Soul Searching” (8.50)
This is the ultimate Electric Flag live-recording. True soundboard, but unfortunately there are some faint periods for the vocal, the guitar and so on, but nevertheless the best circulating live recording.
After a few distorted screams as microphone test, and a very short but fitting introduction “Here’s the incredible Electric Flag” the band starts with a beautiful sounding short opening instrumental, that’s even in stereo! You almost can’t believe it’s them, so good does they sound. And when you have listened to the audience recordings of Electric Flag live, this is almost too much.
MB is smoking – no, burning! - on (track 2) but this is unfortunately one of the two tracks where the guitar is too distant to really enjoy. “Texas” comes on fine with good vocals from Buddy Miles and good playing through out. The guitar is still a little too faint, but it’s fine to hear the hornsection play in tune and time! Midway through the track MB’s guitar is turned up and we can really enjoy a fine experience.
“Hey Joe” is apparently difficult to get started. The band doodles for a couple of minutes. Could it be Barry Goldberg singing? It does not sound like any of the other vocalists. MB plays at his best, low, soft and bluesy and high and hard. Buddy Miles is hammering away with all his might. A great track.
With (track 5) “It Takes Time” we’re back to the classic Flag repertoire. MB starts wailing on the guitar and Gravenites follows with a top vocal performance (a little faint in the recording. Midway the organ suddenly appears. Somebody must have had a busy time twistin’ the knobs). The guitar solo is great and it appears to be a “real” solo performance as you can’t hear any other instrument but Buddy’s whiskers and bass drum. Ah, that’s what we like to hear, MB grabbing the audience and the players, so they forget to play.
Again the band doodles, strums and discuss before they start (track 6). It has some fine interplay between the vocal and the guitar at the end. “Another Country” has as always a fine vocal from Gravenites and unfortunately the track is cut after only two minutes. The first part of (track 7) is also missing, but still it’s a gem (the title is a guess).
More doodling and then a beautiful version of “Don’t You Lie To Me” with MB singing and playing at his very best. Before the next track the band is discussing what to play! MB is yelling for “Brad, where’s Brad? A few more minutes?” and he wants to play “You Don’t Realize” (“we all know the parts to that”) but Gravenites is firm: Soul Searching! Maybe they should have played like MB wanted because it sounds like the band is falling apart here and there. MB delivers a fine solo anyway and he is yelling: “Funky boogaloo time!” all the way and he certainly is in charge of the playing.
“That’s it, The Electric Flag!” End of proceedings. Great show.
CD “SAN FRANCISCO NIGHTS VOL. 2 – DISC 5” Bootleg
Rene' Aagaard's Article
Electric Flag - 1968 - Live At Carousel Ballroom San Fransisco