The Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential (Alive Records)

This is the second archival live Plimsouls set from Alive Records, following 2010’s Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal. If you think two live albums from the same band is redundant, rest assured both are worth owning, with just five songs in common. Beach Town Confidential has the better sound of the two, with a thick and meaty bottom-end that might make you forget it’s a live recording. It comes from a 1983 date in Huntington Beach’s Golden Bear club, and it demonstrates how the band could work crowds into a frenzy with their hard-driving rock’n’roll. They play their big hit “A Million Miles Away,” which is a great song, but I’m just as enthralled with “Who’s Gonna Break The Ice?,” which sounds like Cheap Trick trading in stadiums for small clubs, and thumping covers of The Creation’s “Making Time,” and The Everly’s “Price Of Love.” This is fun, catchy, music, made with classic pop song-craft and live-wire energy. Perhaps the best compliment I can give Beach Town Confidential is that it makes me wish I could have been standing there at the Golden Bear Club, beer in hand, to see it in person.


01 – Introduction

02 – Shaky City

03 – Makin’ Time

04 – Zero Hour

05 – Hobo

06 – Who’s Gonna Break The Ice

07 – Fall On You

08 – Oldest Story In The World

09 – Magic Touch

10 – A Million Miles Away

11 – Jump, Jive And Harmonize

12 – Jumpin’ In The Night

13 – Now

14 – How Long Will It Take

15 – In This Town

16 – Price Of Love

17 – You Can’t Judge A Book

The Plimsouls – Live! Beg, Borrow and Steal (Alive Records)

This Plimsouls release marks the third installment of Alive Records’ Peter Case reissue campaign, following last year’s compilations of his early work with The Nerves and The Breakaways. Live! Beg, Borrow and Steal comes from a Halloween 1981 Whiskey A Go Go date (right between the band’s two studio albums) that was recorded for a radio broadcast, so the sound quality is pretty good. The band runs through an eighteen-song set, mixing in well-chosen covers (Little Richard, The Who, The Kinks, The Easybeats – twice, including a ripping version of “Sorry,” Thee Midnighters, and Bo Diddley, among others) with originals written in the same tradition of simple, gimmick-free, tough rock and roll – including their lone hit “A Million Miles Away.” Members of The Fleshtones get on stage and join the fun on encore covers of “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” and “New Orleans,” kicking the already considerable party vibe into overdrive. My only complaint is there’s no liner notes, which could have added some historical context.