The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
“Dear Liner Notes,
This past year has been on the road for me and Catherine. We’ve travelled from festivals to municipals auditoriums to college gyms, back and forth across the country.
Some of the best shows happened en route in our GMC truck, or at rest stops in Fred Neil’s living room. I even did an all-country show singin’ our way out of a southern jail. None of these shows are on this record.
But the tape-recorders were there for four line shows in California, where lots of songs came out of the audience… weird oldies… tunes I’d never played… tunes they thought I’d never played.
Winging it right along with me is Paul Harris. He’s played piano and arranged with me on record for two years.
This record is a selection of out first four nights playing together live. We skipped songs that we’ve played better. We skipped songs that need more work. This the best of those good times with more to come.
See you in a minute,
P.S. Special thanks to Paul Rothchild and Fritz for helping make this record, and to Catherine… “❤”…”
It’s quite a funny story on how I chose to purchase this album, but to cut it short, I really liked the colors and the cover.
The album opens with the song “Mobile Line” and keep in mind, all of these songs are recorded live, so here we have a lot of crowd cheering and John being introduced, then he slowly begins to sing. Then he gets into guitar playing and more singing. It’s kind of a short song, but it’s alright. Then comes the song “Lovin’ You” which seems to be a lot better than the first track, I also think John may or may not be better if the album wasn’t a live album. Then comes “Fishin’ Blues” which has John doing some speaking before going into another song, this one requires an electric guitar. Things seem to be a little better with this one, I’m not much of a fan of the live acoustics. Only Nirvana can do that. After that comes more talking, then the track “Younger Girl” follows, and it’s slower, a bit softer than the previous – this album isn’t really doing much for me though, which is sad, because I’m pretty sure John is a very talented man. Then after that comes the song “Make Up Your Mind” which soon as John begins to sing the crowd seems to go wild for him, it’s rather neat to hear this. It’s an interesting song, rather good. He goes on to talk about how singing in the bathtub gives out the best acoustics, then he goes and starts to sing “Rooty-Toot” and hey, it’s not bad, I’m especially fond of the guitar playing. Then comes the song “In the Still of the Night” which starts with John convincing the audience to sing a long with him, and it sounds like at first they’re going to do “Earth Angel” but they’re not, and to be fair, so far this is my favorite song on the album so far, even though it’s just John goofing around with the audience and singing in different accents and pitches. Then he goes onto cover Elvis’ “Blue Suede Shoes” and well, nobody is as good as the King, but this is actually a fairly decent cover of one of Elvis’ greatest songs. Then the A-Side closes with “Nashville Cats” which opens with some goofing around before he actually gets into the full song, but it’s not bad, this album is slowly turning around.
The B-Side begins with the song “Waiting for a Train” but before all of that happens, you know there is gonna be a lot of cheering, then talking, he actually refers back to the song “Nashville Cats” before he begins to sing this country track, it’s good. He then continues on to straight on jam right into the song “My Gal” and hey, it’s another good track, I really can’t complain. This album has turned itself around completely. He begins talking again before going into the song “Younger Generation” and it’s another quieter song, a little too quiet for me, almost enough to put me asleep, but hey, the rest of the album has been good so far. John even notes at this point that the audience has shrunk. “Darlin’ Be Home Soon” comes next, and well it’s a rather nice song, and it’s not bad at all! Then after that comes the track “Blues for Dad & JB’s” (which according to most sources is merged with the track “Happy Harmonica“) which opens with a lot of clapping and harmonica playing, it seems to be an instrumental track, which is kinda sad, but it’s still relatively good, it almost sounded like he was going to do “Dueling Banjos” on a harmonica, then the crowd clapping fades out and we go into the next song, I’m not sure if this track is “Happy Harmonica” or “Amy’s Theme” nonetheless, we got some soft guitar playing going here, so I’m sure it’s not “Happy Harmonica” and then we go into some whistling, which is an odd concept if you really think about it. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t like whistling. Not even sure what happened, but we seem to be on the ending track “Irene” (which is actually “Goodnight Irene” – FUN FACT!: My grandmother hated this song.) It’s actually not a bad track, or album at that fact, I’ve actually enjoyed it, except the whole “Happy Harmonica” / “Blues for Dad & JB’s” / “Amy’s Theme” confusion. Somehow those three tracks disappeared out of the sky. Oh well, we’re ending on a good note. This album has been enjoyed. I even enjoy the little sing a long of the ending track. It’s really nice.
A1 – Mobile Line
A2 – Lovin’ You
A3 – Fishin’ Blues
A4 – Younger Girl
A5 – Make Up Your Mind
A6 – Rooty – Toot
A7 – In the Still of the Night
A8 – Blue Suede Shoes
A9 – Nashville Cats
B1 – Waiting for a Train
B2 – My Gal
B3 – Younger Generation
B4 – Darlin’ Be Home Soon
B5 – Blues for Dad & JB’s
B6 – Happy Harmonica
B7 – Amy’s Theme
B8 – Irene
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Produced by Paul Rothchild
Engineer – Fritz Richmond
Cover Photo – Jim Marshall
Artwork – Catherine Sebastian
Guitar & Bass – Dan Armstrong
John’s Guitar Built by Lucien Barnes IV
Other Albums I Own by John Sebastian:
Other Albums I Own that John Sebastian Appears On:
The Lovin’ Spoonful – “Greatest Hits”