Friday, December 19, 2008

On my turntable: The Jacksons - LIVE

I got this at Savers yesterday for .99, my first vinyl copy of this album (after previously owning it only on CD). I'm not generally a fan of live albums. They can be a nice document if you happened to see a particular tour, but otherwise I tend to prefer studio recordings.

The Jacksons LIVE (1981) documents the group at their absolute peak, on their last tour before Thriller (1983) would change the family's future. You can hear their hunger for success on this record. The results of this ambition on LIVE are mixed; "Can You Feel It", one of the groups greatest studio achievements, sounds clumsy here (suffering also from a dull mix). A full quarter of the LP is comprised of Off The Wall (1979) songs, which gives the impression that Michael's efforts on this tour were focused on his solo career. The true highlights are The Jacksons' hits as a group: "Shake Your Body", "Lovely One", "Heartbreak Hotel" (despite somebody's rather flat vocals - my vote says it's Marlon), and a high-energy medley of J5 hits.

LIVE is historically interesting and worth owning, in my opinion. The last full Jacksons tour was the 1984 Victory debacle, although a full Jackson 5ive reunion has been rumored for years.

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