VARIOUS ARTISTS -- Live From 6A: Great Musical Performances from Conan O'Brien (Mercury)

I'm surprised no one thought to do this sooner. Live From 6A contains 12 performances recorded live on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Most of the artists perform tracks from their latest album; with the exception of Matthew Sweet, who turns in a respectable cover of The Move's "Do Ya" (recorded during a soundcheck). The others, for the most part, stick to faithful renditions of the songs on their CDs. When you consider the various acts that have appeared on the show, the track selection could be better, but it's still not bad.

Highlights include David Bowie's acoustic version of "Dead Man Walking," Edwyn Collins' "A Girl Like You" and the Matthew Sweet tune. The main thing missing from this CD is flow. There is no flow from one song to the next, resulting in a mish-mash of musical styles that don't always work. The other problem is the sound quality. If you have a hi-fi VCR, you can get better sound by recording the performances when they originally broadcast them.

Still, for those who don't have a hi-fi VCR, or those who just can't stay up that late, Live at 6A gives you a chance to add performances to your collection that you might not have otherwise. If you're a fan of any of the artists included here, you will probably be happy with those artists' respective tracks. It's not a disc that you'll play from start to finish though.

Shameless (Ani DiFranco) * Dead Man Walking (David Bowie) * Do Ya (Matthew Sweet) * When You Gonna Learn (Jamiroquai) * Human Behavior (Bjork) * All This Useless Beauty (Elvis Costello) * The Distance (Cake) * Let Her Go Into the Darkness (Jonathan Richman) * A Girl Like You (Edwyn Collins) * Down (311) * Soundtrack to Mary (Soul Coughing) * Lover's Lane (Squirrel Nut Zippers)

© 1997 Steve Marshall