Chris Robinson Brotherhood/ Betty's Blends Volume Two (Silver Arrow, 2015)
Limited to 2,000 copies on vinyl, 2,000 copies on CD, and 2,000 downloads, the second volume in this live compilation series is a winner. One of my regrets in life is not buying Volume One, as it was only available on vinyl and I did not have a turntable at the time. I am a square, I'll admit it. It was sold at shows and I passed on buying it twice. It now goes for over $300. Coulda shoulda woulda.
With seven songs clocking in at just over 66 minutes, this is a nice slice of a show, sort of an idealized set. The band has released nearly every show that they have played as official bootlegs that can be purchased as CDs, mp3s, or FLACs here. I have bought the shows that I have attended but would buy them all if I were loaded. That's where Betty Cantor-Jackson comes in, cherry picking exceptional performances from the summer of 2014 and arranging them into a sort of live mixtape.
One of the cool things about anything that Chris Robinson has done, be it The Black Crowes or The New Earth Mud or this band is that any time that you see them you will always hear something that is new to you. It could be a cover or an as yet unreleased song, but there will always be something played live that even the completist who owns every 7” or CD single won't know. The example of that here is their cover of The Grateful Dead's They Love Each Other. I like how other songs not originally recorded by The Chris Robinson Brotherhood but were performed by other things that Chris has done have been brought under the CRB umbrella (Tumbleweed In Eden and Driving Wheel). Burn Slow live is better than the studio version.
Part of me wishes that this album was longer and part of me is glad that I wish it were longer. I would love to see a compilation of all of the non-LP stuff that they have done live. As it stands I am glad to own a copy of this album. A glance at online sellers shows that this is already history, with every copy gone and scalpers wanting too much. I grabbed the CD and would have bought it on vinyl too if they had any left at the store the day it came out. I would kill for a reissue of Volume One but won't be holding my breath. Coulda shoulda woulda indeed.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- For those of you who just wandered in off the street and are frightened, relax. This is the section where I go over packaging for physical media.
The CD version comes in a gatefold cardboard sleeve with a booklet on the left and the CD slides out on the right. I prefer packaging with a hub on it but this seems to be the new normal for CDs these days. I store them in a slimline case next to the sleeve since I try to keep my CDs as scratch free as possible.