Frampton Comes Alive – Peter Frampton, 1976
One of a handful of truly great albums with a genuine shot at claiming top spot as the best live LP of all time.
Records today simply cannot have the cultural and artistic impact that this double set enjoyed after release in 1976.
Four years after leaving Humble Pie, Peter Frampton had gained decent momentum with his solo career. However, nothing could have prepared him for the immense commercial success and mass acceptance of this fabulous live offering.
Frampton Comes Alive is the perfect combination of a beautifully recorded album that really captures the camaraderie between consummate artist and enraptured audience and very accessible and finely crafted music. Plus Peter’s wonderful vocal style and even more impressive guitar virtuosity, which is very much centre stage as far as the album mix is concerned.
If ever there was an LP to lift the spirits it is this one. While some may argue that the audience is too prominent in the mix, to me it’s just right, because FCA gives you that sensation of being there better than any almost any live record I can think of (Crosby Nash’s wonderful Another Stoney Evening set is a strong contender).
Even though the tracks are culled from a variety of shows, you feel as if you’re witnessing a single and very special performance.
The music is totally infectious, not least with the two legendary singles Show Me The Way and Baby, I Love Your Way. But my two favorite moments have to be the epic closer Do You Feel Like We Do and the two absolutely amazing guitar breaks in I Wanna Go To The Sun. The acoustic playing and vocal on All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side) is so special too, with marvelous interaction with the crowd. The moving Lines On My Face is another fine example of how these live tracks are the definitive version of every original song here.
Seen here as a very near mint original US pressing on A&M, it’s getting harder and harder to find such an unspoilt early copy of this classic. The simple reason, of course, is that this was played to death by most of the millions and millions of people who bought it, and rightly so.
And while I love the exceptionally well remastered CD version, this is one of those albums that has to be experienced on vinyl. Takes you right back to a much simpler time that I increasingly appreciate how fortunate I was to live through.
A genuine cornerstone essential of any 70s rock collection.
Chris Wright | Now Spinning Magazine