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GKB Live

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Apr
GKB Live
Sounds like … classic blues rock reminiscent of ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton (Cream), Robert Cray, and Stevie Ray Vaughn.At a glance … a solid live album that showcases the band's talents and their love of the genre, though it's hard to recommend it ahead of the more varied and pleasant production of GKB's studio efforts. Track ListingTorchCrossroadsIf I Leave This World TomorrowNick of TimeWhisperRunaway TrainWinter SunThe Day Love DiedDo LordFull Time LoveIn the Soul of a ManQueen of My Heart

Glenn Kaiser is best known for the classic rock of his long-running Resurrection Band, but these days he finds joy by indulging his taste for the blues. In 2000, he started the Glenn Kaiser Band with drummer Ed Bialach and fellow Rez Band alum Roy Montroy on bass. GKB Live—a 73-minute disc recorded during the Chicago trio's mid-2004 tour—represents their first concert recording, showcasing their musicianship and passion for the genre.

Blues music truly is a potent genre for Christianity, certainly no less appropriate than hardcore metal or hip-hop—there are plenty of passionate Psalms written out of melancholy and fear. The straightforward delivery of the blues is a close cousin to gospel, offering powerful, self-explanatory expressions of faith. That's no less true of this album, which primarily draws from GKB's five-year catalog for songs like "Torch, "If I Leave This World Tomorrow," and "Whisper." There are also rousing covers of traditional favorite "Do Lord" (from Kaiser's Ripley County Blues in 2002) and the Robert Johnson classic "Crossroads."

GKB Live delivers the energetic improvisational jams that you would expect, a 10-minute fast shuffling "Runaway Train" being the most impressive. With his talented rhythm section behind him, Kaiser's mastery of electric, steel, and lap guitar is on full display here, and guest guitarist Dave Beegle also shines on a few tracks.

While the production is appropriately raw, it's too obvious from the so-so editing that these tracks weren't recorded from a single concert, which slightly detracts from the live album experience. And while this album has more jamming on it, the studio projects aren't as inherently monotonous. Most will prefer those instead, but there's no question that fans have been craving this album, which is as good an introduction to GKB as any for blues aficionados.

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