The Joe Ely Band
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Dec. 14, 2007
The Joe Ely BandLive Shots (American Beat)
While a humble but accountable portion of Texans had their eyes trained on England in the late 1970s, punk cognoscenti like the Sex Pistols were starstruck by the Texas mythos. Nowhere was this played out better than the mutual admiration society formed between the Clash and Joe Ely. Recorded during their joint tour of England in 1980, Live Shots caught the Joe Ely Band in that crossfire, with Jesse Taylor smoking the guitar and Ponty Bone ripping the accordion. Back then, Live Shots stood as a live album of seldom-paralleled intensity, Ely's muscular Texas roots-rock exploding in tiny UK pubs with "Fingernails," "Honky-Tonkin'" (featuring Carlene Carter), "Fools Fall in Love," and "Boxcars." Ely's genius lies in his ability to whip charisma and talent together with tornado intensity, and here, lightning got bottled. This reissue adds four tracks from a bonus vinyl EP, including "Crazy Lemon" and "Not Fade Away" performed with Ely's alternate band from the period, which serves as the long-awaited encore for this blistering set. Whether picking a Lone Star best-of or Ely best-of, Live Shots remains among the best Texas recordings ever.