Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tienes vivir si usted lo quiere

Does any other live album of the 1960s convey the power of Original Wyld Garage Punk as well as this one does? I think not.

Los Yaki were a Mexican four piece from Reynosa, a border city near McAllen, Texas. This may explain their access to the latest cool swingin' '60s sounds and their comfort with the English language.

Please! Please! Please! was released on the Mexican Pickwick label, a subsidiary of Capitol Records. Besides the title track, it also includes live versions of Wild Thing, See See Rider, Mustang Sally, Don't Bring Me Down, Devil With a Blue Dress On, Shapes of Things, Land of a Thousand Dances, and Anna (this final number featuring badly out of tune backing vocals, but hey--they probably couldn't hear themselves singing).

Unlike most 'live' albums of the period, this one actually sounds live. The audience screams match the performances, which don't seem to have been sweetened or re-recorded after the fact. There is a little between song editing in evidence, but probably just to remove the inevitable guitar-tuning.

The song selection is outstanding--these guys clearly had great taste--but it's the musicianship that really impresses. Jose Luis Gascon unleashes some scorching lead guitar, whilst bassist brother Manuel Gascon keeps the low end well under control. Benny Ibarra's lead vocals are powerful, Marcos Lizama's organ adds texture without being intrusive, and Miguel Ibarra is the drummer. He keeps the beat more than adequately.

Put it all together, and you have muscular, well-recorded (but not TOO well-recorded, if you know what I mean), live English-language recordings of some of the best songs of the era. Other than Anna, there are no ballads, only rockers.

Basically, it's everything you could want from a live album: the performances are great and it sounds real. I don't think Please! Please! Please! has ever been reissued, so you'll have to trawl Ebay for a copy. It's worth the trouble.

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