Live Bootleg: Riot With Hiatt (1985)
Hiatt’s “On-The-Brink Years,” Pt. 5
FROM THE ARCHIVES, 2011: A prized vinyl possession that has, on more than one occasion (back in the day), brought folks over to the house solely to listen to it. This promo-only live album was issued by Geffen to promote (what would be) John Hiatt’s last album for the label, Warming Up To The Ice Age. For those unfamiliar with Hiatt’s survival story, this was a grim time for the veteran artist, who was battling alcohol abuse, the suicide of his wife and, within months, the loss of his job when Geffen Records issued him his walking papers. As a bit of a last gasp promotion, however, this 1985 live promo LP perfectly captures Hiatt’s out-of-control spontaneity… the tail end of what we refer to around here as his “on-the-brink” years. Originally a King Biscuit Flower Hour recording, this performance is rough & ready, loose & untamed. Hiatt is invigorated, and his band – thanks to the punchy bass work – has a funky authenticity here that weaves throughout the R&B, roots rock and soul brew that Hiatt had formulated in recent years. Interestingly, the new wave keyboard riffs that were abandoned on the new album are present here, even if it’s all buried in the live mix. During “She Said The Same Things To Me,” you’ll hear the band completely fall apart on stage, but Hiatt recovers to laugh it off. Ripped from the original vinyl, the cover art lacks any details, and the back is blank. Listen to Hiatt’s powerful take on his own addiction, “The Usual,” below. There are still a couple of vinyl copies of Riot With Hiatt floating around Amazon, HERE.
Say It With Flowers (3:37)
I Don’t Even Try (3:49)
Pink Bedroom (3:09)
She Said The Same Things To Me (4:35)
Warming Up To The Ice Age (6:15)
Living A Little, Laughing A Little (4:22)
I’m A Real Man (4:08)
The Usual (3:50)
Riding With The King (9:21)
Zero House (4:38)
MORE OF JOHN HIATT’S “ON-THE-BRINK” YEARS: Pt. 1: Riding With The King (1983), Pt. 2: Since His Penis… Came Between Us (Live Bootleg, 1984), Pt. 3: Warming Up To The Ice Age (1985), Pt. 4: Bug Demos (1983/1985), Pt. 6: “Snake Charmer” (Non-LP, 1985) and… Mystic Pinball (2012)
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