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Live on Tour 1966! *


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  • Unlike a lot of '60s rock & roll bands, the Standells actually released a live album while they were active. That record, In Person at PJ's, was cut in 1965 prior to the band's big 1966 hit "Dirty Water" and prior to the band having much in the way of original material, either; they were just a covers band cranking away on their home turf. Sundazed's archival 2015 release, Live On Tour 1966!, is a different beast, finding the band taking "Dirty Water" out on tour and playing at Hill Auditorium in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan during October of 1966. The Standells still rely on covers to fill out their nearly 35-minute set -- they smother on the organ for a slow-grooving "Please Please Please" and steer Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" toward a hopping frat beat; they also debut a version of the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" which would later pop up on their second album, The Hot Ones! -- but this is firmly grounded in the greasy, garagey stomp heard on "Dirty Water" and "Some Times Good Guys Don't Wear Black." These two hits naturally close out the group's ten-track set; both are played with a trebly gusto that doesn't feel as heavy or trashy as the original singles, but part of the appeal of this set is its lightness. The Standells do rock hard, as evidenced on their questioning originals "Why Did You Hurt Me?" and "Why Pick on Me?" but Live On Tour 1966! is distinguished by their good humor: how the group ribs the college crowd about the Wolverines playing Minnesota, how the band cornily introduces a tune by saying "for this song we got an Oscar.Mayer wiener," and how they interject dirty jokes into "Gloria" ("it looks like Jayne Mansfield with a hernia," "she takes out her false teeth and gums me to death"). Everything the Standells do in this concert is in good fun and, accordingly, the album is a bit of a party too. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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