Ben Folds Live [Explicit Lyrics]

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Wendy Mitchell
There's a good reason that many pop stars don't release live albums: They don't have the musical chops to wow you without the studio wizardry. Not so with Ben Folds, the now-solo former frontman of the Ben Folds Five, a pop singer who's not ashamed of being a good musician. With just his voice, his piano, and a few sing-alongs from the audience, Folds captures a surprisingly textured live sound. This 17-song disc was recorded at various stops during his early-2000 "Ben Folds and Piano" tour, and the song selections -- drawn from his solo album and Ben Folds Five's catalogue, plus the previously unreleased "Silver Street" and the Elton John cover "Tiny Dancer" -- ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Wendy Mitchell
There's a good reason that many pop stars don't release live albums: They don't have the musical chops to wow you without the studio wizardry. Not so with Ben Folds, the now-solo former frontman of the Ben Folds Five, a pop singer who's not ashamed of being a good musician. With just his voice, his piano, and a few sing-alongs from the audience, Folds captures a surprisingly textured live sound. This 17-song disc was recorded at various stops during his early-2000 "Ben Folds and Piano" tour, and the song selections -- drawn from his solo album and Ben Folds Five's catalogue, plus the previously unreleased "Silver Street" and the Elton John cover "Tiny Dancer" -- demonstrate his range. We have rocking Folds on the angsty "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces," sensitive Folds on the touching ballad "The Luckiest," and silly Folds on the improvised "Rock This Bitch." He ably works around the absence of his rhythm section, although you might be aching for drums to kick in on a few of the more rocking tracks maybe that's why bouncy songs like "Kate" and "Underground" aren't included. Still, Folds is no sedate piano man -- given his bombastic solo during "Philosophy," he could soon be known as the Eddie Van Halen of the Steinway set.
All Music Guide - Mark Vanderhoff
The Ben Folds and a Piano tour of 2002 offered fans just that: the man and his instrument. Culled from those performances, Ben Folds Live documents Folds, his piano, and most importantly, his songs. Most of Ben Folds Live's tracks were first recorded by Ben Folds Five, with live versions of four songs from Folds' solo debut, Rockin' the Suburbs, also included. The classic trappings of live albums are still present. While the new versions of the familiar tunes are at times interesting and the new arrangements often reveal musical and more often lyrical nuances that may have gone unnoticed in the more ornately produced studio albums, there are also some gaping holes. Folds has always had a golden touch with harmonies and was blessed with a phenomenal rhythm section to breathe life into his material with Ben Folds Five. However, when the drums don't kick in during the first few bars of "Army," the song falls flat. Luckily, Folds enlists the audiences' help to sing "Army"'s horn parts and "Not the Same"'s background vocals with great results. Ben Folds Live runs into trouble at the other end of the spectrum as well, with some tracks that are so similar to the original versions that they're rendered redundant. Cake's John McCrea deftly reprises his role as harmony vocalist on the exquisite "Fred Jones Part 2," but there is little to differentiate it from the album version. The payoff for Folds' fans comes, not surprisingly, from the previously unheard material. The bluesy "Silver Street" is the highlight of the entire release, while the cover of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" is more faithful to the original recording than what you'd hear at John's latter-day concerts. Some stage banter is included, but not on the songs that need it the most. Anyone present at the Ben Folds and a Piano shows was treated to the story behind "One Down," written while Folds owed his publishing company 4.6 songs before satisfying his contract. The song's punch line: "One down and 3.6 to go," makes little sense out of context, and unfortunately the album offers no explanation. Ben Folds Live is an excellent supplement to his fans' libraries, and although the songs rarely work well enough to surpass the previous studio incarnations, there are a few revelations that make listening well worth it. Also, there aren't likely to be too many other live solo-piano pop
ock albums released in the near future. That alone warrants a listen or two.
Blender - Richard Gehr
He's all Billy Joel musically, but you can hear more than a little of the indie-rock wise-assery of Stephen Malkmus in Folds's melodic tunes.

He's all Billy Joel musically, but you can hear more than a little of the indie-rock wise-assery of Stephen Malkmus in Folds's melodic tunes.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/8/2002
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998686328
  • Catalog Number: 86863

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces (4:17)
  2. 2 Zak and Sara (3:24)
  3. 3 Silver Street (3:41)
  4. 4 Best Imitation of Myself (3:13)
  5. 5 Not the Same (4:31)
  6. 6 Jane (2:34)
  7. 7 One Down (4:03)
  8. 8 Fred Jones, Pt. 2 (4:39)
  9. 9 Brick (4:45)
  10. 10 Narcolepsy (6:04)
  11. 11 Army (3:41)
  12. 12 The Last Polka (3:55)
  13. 13 Tiny Dancer (5:23)
  14. 14 Rock This Bitch (1:17)
  15. 15 Philosophy (Inc Misirlou) (7:16)
  16. 16 The Luckiest (4:39)
  17. 17 Emaline (3:48)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ben Folds Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Ted Jensen Mastering
John McCrea Contributor
Marc Chevalier Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The best cd ever

    This is my favorite cd and I listen to it every day. My favorite songs are Narcolepsy, Army, and Philosophy, but all of them are amazing. This cd was a great purchase and I highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ben Folds Live... Great

    From the begginning you know this is going to be great. From "One Angry Dwarf 200 Solemn Faces" to Emaline this is truly a must buy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This is an awesome CD!!

    I really love this CD because there are so many of Ben's great songs on here. Some are funny, some are beautiful, some are sad, etc. There are so many different emotions compiled onto this one CD. Also, it's great to hear raw paino and Ben, without being "jazzed up" other instruments and studio editing. I loved Emaline, Silver Street, Army, and One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    If you're not already a huge fan of Ben Folds, you will be after listening to this

    Ben Folds is an incredible singer, songwriter and pianist. His voice and his playing are smooth. If you haven't picked this one up, you really should. Some tracks I really like are: 2. Zak and Sara, 5. Not the same, 8. Fred Jones part 2, and 13. Tiny Dancer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Incredible

    Ben Folds at his best. This album is a summation of his entire career, locking his creativity that captures even the most likely critics. Decades from now, Ben Folds will be the greatest musician of the time who was not given mainstream spot light. Ben alone at the piano offers more then many, if not most other bands can dream of doing with an audience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews