The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





MARCH 9 2015



After getting a domestic airing on PBS back in December, the ‘Stripped Down’ DVD/CD set now gets an official release.

Springfield was always an artist on my bucket-list since I heard him back in the early eighties and only getting to see him a couple of years ago on a rare London visit he more than exceeded expectations with an all-electric set. Here he strips it all away as he has been doing for the last couple of years and so it’s interesting to hear the contrast.

What most strikes you is how well the back-catalogue has held up over the years and even stripped of their studio augmentations the essence of the songs is stronger than a casual fan might expect. When you add to that the stories and backing tracks you have a night that is both memorable and uplifting.

Opening with ‘Affair of the Heart’ (the song famously handed to Springfield in demo form in a restroom by co-writer Danny Tate) that 1983 chart botherer from the ‘Living in Oz’ album which is well-represented here, its more than apparent, as it is seeing Springfield live in electric format, that eighties production really does detract from some of his best work.  

After that rather low-key opening stripped back rockers like the soaring ‘Love is Alright Tonight’ and the Sammy Hagar-penned ‘I’ve Done Everything for You’ roll back even more years before Springfield breaks into the deep past with the first song he allegedly ever wrote at 15 – ‘Painted Girl’ adds an element of fun if nothing else. Surprisingly we stay with the unusual as Rick lets loose with a well-chosen cover in Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac’s evergreen ‘Oh Well’ before a great rendition of ‘Love Somebody’ gets us back to the originals.

To be honest part of the charm of ‘Stripped..’ is moments like Bad Finger’s ‘Baby Blue’ and Muddy Waters’ ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’ which both show Springfield’s oft self-depreciatingly dismissed guitar chops and precede new song ‘If Wishes Were Fishes’ (described here as a ‘fan favourite, and actually rather good’).

The set closes as strongly as you could imagine with the 1982 hit ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ before the touching and emotional ‘April 24th 1981 My Father’s Chair’ from 1985’s ‘Tao’ album, that seems somehow all the more powerful in this format. ‘Living in Oz’ comes back to the fore with ‘Me and Johnny’ and ‘Human Touch’ – two of our favourites from one of Rick’s most complete albums. And yes. Of course we end with ‘Jessie’s Girl’ – a song that created the legend and endures still. As Steve Marriott once said if you can play a song with just voice and acoustic and it still moves people it’s a great song.

‘Stripped Down’ to be honest is a great listen and the DVD completes the package, despite what preconceived notions you might have of the man, live Springfield transcends that eighties peak and proves that even in 2015 he still has plenty to say. He aint a bad guitarist either, though he may beg to differ.

CD Tracklisting:
1. Affair Of The Heart (4:23) | 2. Love Is Alright Tonite (3:47) | 3. I’ve Done Everything For You (2:47) | 4. Painted Girl (2:14) | 5. Oh Well (1:57) | 6. Love Somebody (2:43) | 7. Baby Blue (3:39) | 8. Rollin’ & Tumblin’ (3:21) | 9. If Wishes Were Fishes (4:55) | 10. Don’t Talk To Strangers (2:46) | 11. April 24th, 1981/My Father’s Chair (6:36) | 12. Me & Johnny (4:09) | 13. Human Touch (2:26) | 14. Jessie’s Girl (3:10)

DVD Tracklisting:
1. Affair of the Heart | 2. Me & Johnny | 3. Oh Well | 4. Love is Alright Tonite | 5. Rollin’ & Tumblin’ | 6. Baby Blue | 7. Painted Girl | 8. April 24, 1981/My Father’s Chair | 9. If Wishes Were Fishes | 10. Love Somebody | 11. Our Ships Sinking | 12. Jessie’s Girl | 13. Human Touch



by Mark Rockpit