The Plimsouls – Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal (Alive, 2010)
Alive Records seems to be on a mission to get all of Peter Case’s early material into circulation. They issued the first official CD of the Nerves EP (with bonus tracks!), a live Nerves LP, Case’s post-Nerves hook-up with Paul Collins in the Breakaways, and now this supercharged live show by the Plimsouls. Already one of L.A.’s most potent rock ‘n’ roll bands, the Plimsouls hit a sixth gear when they played live. Fans have previously enjoyed another live set on One Night in America, and though the audio seems slightly more compressed on this October 1981 recording, the performance is a few degrees hotter. Peter Case sings with a ragged, full-throated soulfulness that’s urged along by Dave Pahoa and Lou Ramierez’s rhythms and goosed by Eddie Munoz’s electric guitar riffs.
The Plimsouls were a non-stop live act. They launch from the gates at full-speed with “Hush Hush” and never let the pedal up from the floor. “Lost Time” assembles itself from stabbing rhythm guitar riffs, rumbling bass and propulsive drums, and “Women” teases with a moment of confidentiality before roaring down the strip with all cylinders firing. Plimsouls originals “A Million Miles Away” and “Everyday Things” get an extra measure of passion on stage, and when the band kicks into their encore covers of the Kinks’ “Come on Now” and Gary “U.S.” Bonds’ “New Orleans” (with the Fleshtones sitting in on the latter) it’s as if they’re offering their souls on the altar rock ‘n’ roll. Their cover of Thee Midniters’ “Jump, Jive & Harmonize” is missing the signature organ whine, but Case sounds absolutely possessed throughout this and the rest of the set.
Power pop fans treasure the Plimsouls’ studio recordings, but their live set proves them one of the era’s top rock ‘n’ roll bands. When they get deep into the groove it feels as if Peter Case is doing all he can to stay on top of this hard-charging band. Nearly thirty years later this set still commands you get up and move around – the Plimsouls’ powers transcend time and space. Less than half the titles here, recorded at the Whisky A Go Go, overlap with One Night in America, and the inclusion of “Lost Time,” “Women,” “Zero Hour,” “I Want You Back,” and “Everyday Things” makes this disc an essential for fans. Alive’s packaging includes a six-panel insert with terrific period photos (including the stellar color cover shot). Now if only they could get 1981’s The Plimsouls back in print!
Here they are two years earlier: