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Live from Austin, Texas

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 2, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From the vaults of the award-winning PBS Austin City Limits TV show, this is the latest release in the acclaimed Live From Austin, TX series.

David Byrne is a modern renaissance man and that s not just a cliché. From the heady days as co-founder of the celebrated art new-wave group Talking Heads (1976-88) through his own constantly evolving and innovative solo music career, he has pursued his muse on many different artistic fronts. He s been the driving force behind a body of work that has been both intellectually daring and commercially successful...and he shows no signs of slowing down three decades later.

This performance, captured on November 28, 2001, came on the heels of his hit single, Like Humans Do and the release of the album Look Into the Eyeball, which was another typically eclectic musical stew reflecting a variety of styles and influences, from Philly soul to a D.C. Go-Go inspired groove and his first-ever Spanish composition, Descondido Soy. Critics at the time called it his best work in years, and his performance on the Austin City Limits stage shows why. Joined by Austin s own eclectic tango ensemble Tosca, Byrne takes us down many different musical roads in his ACL debut.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 2, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New West Records
  • ASIN: B000RHRG4Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,237 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Some twenty years after the iconoclastic Talking Heads silently dropped their instruments and went their separate ways, their frontman David Byrne remains a fervent presence on the art and music scene. Though no longer producing mega-hits (pop music has morphed into something almost unrecognizable since "Wild Wild Life" blared from every speaker), Byrne retains a solid and dedicated following. Some ten solo albums and a handful of books and art exhibits later, the spirit of Talking Heads lives on in Byrne's solo work. "Live from Austin, TX" gives a good sample of his continued energetic output.

This CD was recorded way back in 2001, soon after Byrne released "Look into the Eyeball." So why did it take six years to release this tasty disc? First, the "Austin City Limits" show, for which this material was recorded, didn't air until early 2002. Second, the CD was "cancelled." Some time passed, Byrne recorded another full length album, "Grown Backwards," and three years later "Live from Austin, TX" appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Not a gripping tale, but not much information is available. In short, no material from "Grown Backwards" appears here. The set does contain voluminous morsels from the Talking Heads catalog set to lush string arrangements. It's as if Byrne arranged his standards to fit the mood of the sea of strings sound of "Look into the Eyeball." The results, for the most part, are fantastic.

The ensemble, referred to as "Tosca" in the liner notes, breathes new life into songs that don't need new life: "Life During Wartime," "This Must be the Place," and "What a Day that Was" swim with orchestral rhapsody. "(Nothing But) Flowers" and "And She Was" receive a paired down acoustic treatment ala the days of "unplugged.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
BYRNE, David. Live From Austin TX. New West. 2007. DB, voc, guit; Paul Frazier, b, voc; Mauro Refosco, perc., prog.; David Hilliard, dr; Leigh Mahoney, Lara Hicks, Jamie Descautels, viol; Stephanie Ames Asbell, viola, voc; Ben Westley, Sara Nelson, cello.

If you were rating David Byrne’s voice as a musical instrument, it wouldn’t do too well: uncertain pitch, adequate but not great sound quality, and a certain over-reaching quality at times. But all of that misses the point, which is that Byrne is a superb songwriter and a near-perfect interpreter of his own works. There’s nothing all that unique on this live album, recorded at Austin City Limits in 2001, but it catches on one disc all the strains in Byrne’s questing, always experimenting musical mind up to that time. There’s a lot of Latin American here, both Brazilian and Mexican, including Byrne’s first song ever with lyrics in Spanish, “Desconocido Soy.” There are four songs from his twelve-year association with the peerless Talking Heads (9176-1988): the great “Once in a Lifetime,” and ”Life During Wartime,” “And She Was,” and “This Must Be the Place.” He ends the concert with a song his mother sang to him when he was little: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” It’s lovely. What comes across is what a treasure Byrne has been to the American music scene. His driving songs excite, his lyrical ones soothe. The use of a string sextet on most of the tunes is
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I highly recommend this album for fans of Talking Heads, David Byrne, or fans of live sets. I've bought a lot of music recently, and this is the best album I've bought in several months. He plays a mix of songs from the multiple groups he's played with, as well as some of his personal favorites(the last song).
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At first it's David and a small band, so you're thinking it's going to sound like a bar cover band. They're OK but nothing special. But then the string section shows up and WOW, it's a whole new album! Not only does the band itself kick into high gear, those fiddlers really swing! It's a fascinating new take on classic David Byrne/Talking Heads songs. Give each sample a listen and see if this album doesn't rock your world.
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