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NRBQ | Turn On, Tune In

The unclassifiable musical institution uncorks another classic live set.

WHO ARE THEY? The beloved cult heroes and eternal underdogs of the unclassifiable musical institution formerly known as The New Rhythm and Blues Quartet (originally Quintet) — who first got together more than 50 years ago and have been led by singer-keyboardist Terry Adams ever since.

WHAT IS THIS? Their umpteenth live recording. Make that recordings. This set features not one but two radio performances: A six-song 2015 set from Sirius/XM’s The Loft, and a 15-cut show in 2017 at WFMU’s Monty Hall in Jersey City. The vinyl and CD editions also feature a pro-shot DVD of most songs.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A classic NRBQ gig — which is to say, a loosey-goosey romp through songs, sounds and styles from pop and rock to rockabilly, country, jazz and more. The 70-minute set features a typically varied set of old faves, covers, including instrumentals, first-time live recordings and tunes the band have never previously committed to tape.


HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With somebody else who can appreciate how great Adams still sounds after all these decades.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Fun, bouncy, vibrant, loose, spontaneous, quirky, charming, kitschy, nostalgic, idiosyncratic.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? It’s hard not to gravitate toward old faves like RC Cola and A Moon Pie and Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard, but the covers of Goffin/King‘s Don’t Ever Change and The Beach BoysDon’t Worry Baby are pretty swell too. Ditto pretty much every other song.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Shouldn’t these guys have been world-famous about 40 years ago?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? It might not be the greatest NRBQ set — or even the greatest live set — but it’s a charmer nonetheless.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A MEAL, WHAT KIND OF MEAL WOULD IT BE? Comfort food, served buffet-style.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Turn On, Tune In … pay up.

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