VAN DUREN - Chemical Fire: Live in Concert 1978

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Japanese only, rare and long out of print, going for $30+ now.

"Pop Culture Press called Van's first two studio albums "two of the most brilliant power pop albums of all time." They were right, this guy should have been a superstar; he's got it all: the voice, the songs, the arrangements.

This CD includes 11 songs from those two LPS recorded in a studio before a live audience and originally broadcast over radio. The recording is professional, and the mix is about as good as one would expect from a live concert. The performance is pure Van Duren featuring those tremendous McCartneyesque vocals that can go instantly from a whisper to a scream. The man has never been afraid to cut loose vocally. Van stays very close to the original arrangements from the LP's, and the band is tight and energetic.

The best cuts (at least to me) are "Chemical Fire" (a song Van continued to perform live up until he was sidelined from live performing in the late 90's due to health reasons); "Oh Babe", "Torn in Half", with it's infectious synth riff and wide open vocal, "Yellow Light", the most optimistic song about suicide ever written, and the Chris Bell penned "Make a Scene" (again a tune Van continued to perform live). The remaining tracks are "Mabel", "That", the beautiful acoustic "So Good to Me", "Reminds Me of Me", "Convincing Convictions", and "Grow Yourself Up". For me the one song mssing is the extraordinary "Mad at the Moon", again a staple of Van's live shows up into the 90's. If you're a Van Fan this CD is highly recommended."