June 2006 saw the release of the latest Little River Band recording, Re-arranged. Fans that attend the live shows know how LRB love to play around with the arrangements on many of the songs that form the basis of their live set…from subtle changes to some passages, through extended endings and blistering solos, to complete changes such as the now blues-based The Other Guy.
That drive to remain fresh and immediate is at the heart of this latest Little River Band recording, Re-arranged. It reflects the changes to the live arrangements of the songs that have occurred over the years, and have evolved even further with the addition of Billy Thomas and Chris Marion in 2005 and right up to date with Rich Herring in 2006.
The result is a studio CD, but with much more of a “live feel” to it – more raw guitar and vocal sounds with less studio gimmickry to emulate the energy and vibe of the live show. LRB News caught up with Wayne Nelson and Stephen Housden to find out some more about the CD.
Wayne told us “these performances capture a strong vocal blend, with some interesting moments where one of the new voices pops out! Instead of trying to homogenize those moments, they were left alone so the character of the new guys could be heard.”
Stephen thought it was great to hear the live vocal sound in this way. He said "I hear the band every night while I’m playing but it's not the same as sitting in the audience. After sitting back and hearing the final mixes I was first knocked out by how good the harmony blend is on this CD. The band sounds as good as I expected but the vocals are just magic. Hats off to the lads for that."
Wayne added “It’s also the same great guitar work, but with the addition of a couple of solos played by Greg and Rich (see if you can pick which ones – Ed.) It was great fun cutting these tracks with such a solid rhythm section; the session went for 15 hours straight through, but we cut all the tracks in one night.”
The track listing reflects the content of recent live shows, and includes LRB classics as well as some more recent tracks.
To the ears of this listener, the outstanding feature of this recording is the strength, depth and quality of the vocals and harmonies (“as good as ever” according to Stephen Housden) backed up by the same flawless playing and attention to detail that mark every LRB performance. Exceptional drumming (and a great drum sound) underpins every song, and the keyboards - especially some wonderfully crisp electric piano - are given more prominence than on any outing since the Hirschfelder days, lending real depth to the arrangements.
These are classic songs, brilliantly performed, and captured with a real sense of the live feel that was the inspiration for the album. It should find a place in the collection of every LRB fan.
LRB News July 2006 Martin Starkie