Sip and Spin

“Music isn’t just for listening, it’s a lifestyle. Every record, every record store, and every piece of gear tells a story. Sip… Spin… Repeat..”

Welcome to 2021! A new year is here full of milestones from classic albums. To kick things off, I thought I would pull out one of my super rare double live LP’s that I’m sure absolutely none of you have… Peter Frampton’s live 1976 release, “Frampton Comes Alive!”

“Exqueese me? Have I seen this one before? “Frampton Comes Alive”? Everybody in the world has Frampton Comes Alive. If you lived in the suburbs you were issued it. It came in the mail with samples of ‘Tide’.” 

-Wayne Campbell

Ok so, it’s not really rare at all. At 8x Platinum, most of you in the states probably have this album in some sort of tangible music format. But on this, the 45th anniversary of it’s release, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this groundbreaking live album. My copy isn’t all that special. It’s a 1981 reissue pulled from a collection I have dubbed “The G-Archive” (you don’t know what that is yet but don’t worry. I’ll explain another time). Since I am from Long Island and this album shares a strong tie to this area, I feel it’s only right to pair this album with some Blue Point Winter Ale. So let’s crack it open and drop the needle.

You first hear the 7000+ concert goers at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, CA on June 13th, 1975. Peter knew this night would be special. “We owned the airwaves in San Francisco. After the Frampton record I could do no wrong there, and this was my first time headlining,” Frampton said in an 2003 interview. “Well, as soon as we walked on the stage, there’s like 7,500 people out there and I was like ‘Oh my God.’ And I think it gave us such a kick up the arse, we did this show that’s one where you walk off and go ‘Oh, wish we’d recorded that’ – well, we did. So it was just very special.”

That concert, recorded on a 24-track, would make up the bulk of the tracks on the legendary live album. The double LP was then rounded off with additional songs recorded on a 16-track at two New York concerts that same summer.

By the time you get 3 tracks in, you are now transported to the Long Island Arena in Commack, NY for the song “Show Me the Way.” A song that would propel Frampton to the top of the charts. A song that was recorded on this rock I call Home.

The Long Island Arena featured some of the most legendary acts in it’s day such as – The Who, Styx, Alice Cooper, and Hot Tuna just to name a few. It also featured pro sports such as the then “New York Nets” who would go on to move to New Jersey, and then Brooklyn. The arena also hosted political campaigns for both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon during their presidential race in 1960. In the 80’s it would turn into a roller rink and later a permanent flea market, before closing its doors officially in 1996. What is the Long Island Arena now?

Yes… It is a Target. I remember seeing Frampton in the early 00’s at the Jones Beach Amphitheater and before he would perform the hit song, he made mention that it was recorded not too far from there, and that he had heard that a Walmart now stands in its place.

Well, he wasn’t far off… this Target now stands where the smash hit was recorded.

Obviously, the fact that this was recorded on Long Island would not be the reason the song was ever as popular as it was. Whether live or after the release, people were hearing something they never heard before and this sound would become synonymous with Frampton.

That is the Talk Box. (Go ahead… you can make the talk box sounds now… you know you want to)

The Heil High-Powered Talk Box to be exact. Developed by Bob Heil who gifted Frampton his effects pedal for  Christmas in 1974. Frampton was inspired after seeing the pedal steel guitar/talk box work of Pete Drake while sitting in on the Abbey Road recording sessions of George Harrison’s classic album “All Things Must Pass”. Once Frampton had this in his possession, he would practice until he became a master of the sound.

If he didn’t pull you in with the talk box on that track, he most certainly did with the 3rd single off the live album “Do You Feel Like We Do” (not recorded on Long Island, just so we are clear). This is my absolute favorite on the album. The atmosphere is just so chill… you KNOW the smoke is rising out of the crowd for this one.

I have to give the band credit on this performance. A band of relatively unknowns hold it down for this 13 minute single. A single that was cut down to 7 min for the radio. Nearly double the average length for a billboard single, and STILL climbed the charts.

That’s something special.

Aside from Frampton’s brilliant lead guitar and talk box work, I love the keyboard performance of utility player Bob Mayo who would do everything from that to vocals and guitar during the show. The performance of bassist Stanley Sheldon also provides a unique tone as he grooves through the track (and the whole album for that matter) on a fretless Fender Jazz Bass. “Do You Feel Like We Do?”

Yeah man… we most certainly do.

It’s crazy to think how well this album sold since the combined sales of the prior first 4 albums doesn’t even match. Simply unheard of. It is THE live album. A must-own live album in every LP collection. The double LP with the vertical gatefold that brought Frampton to LIFE!

Frampton. Comes. ALIVE.

Mike D
Mike DColumnist, Recordholic, Storyteller
My name is Mike, and I am a Recordholic. I am a Long Island born and raised husband and father of 2 boys that have worked in the music industry for over 8 years. Music has always been my life. I consider myself a multi-instrumentalist but my main instrument would be the bass guitar. As a collector of music, starting with tapes followed by CD’s, I began collecting records in 2014. Every record, record store, and piece of gear tells a story. Grab a drink and join me as I share my stories with you.

LET’S TOAST TOGETHER – Subscribe to “Sip and Spin”