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Mitch Ryder | Easter In Berlin (Live 1980)

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Rock: Detroit Rock Rock: Heartland Rock Moods: Type: Live Recordings
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Easter In Berlin (Live 1980)

by Mitch Ryder

Recorded Live in the Opera Halle in West Berlin Germany on Easter Sunday 1980. It's been in the vault for over 30 years and is notably the best recorded "live" performance ever by the Mitch Ryder band.
Genre: Rock: Detroit Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Long Hard Road
4:26 $0.99
2. Ain't Nobody White (Can Sing The Blues)
5:51 $0.99
3. War
7:22 $0.99
4. Corporate Song
5:59 $0.99
5. Liberty
4:12 $0.99
6. Nice & Easy
6:42 $0.99
7. True Love
6:46 $0.99
8. Tough Kid
10:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Easter In Berlin - Live (1980)
Produced by Tom Conner & Mitch Ryder
For American Jade, Inc
Recording/House Engineer: Ron Cristopher
Mixed by Frank Fisher at Twenty Nine (2010)
Mastered By Stephen Baldassarre at GCM Studios (2010)
Recorded live on Easter Sunday April 6, 1980 at the Opera Halle
In West Berlin West Germany

Mitch Ryder Vocals, Tambourine & Cow Bell
Mark Gougeon – Bass Guitar & Vocals
Richard Schein – Guitar
Joe Gutc – Guitar
Billy Csernits - Keyboard & Vocals
Wilson Owens – Drums & Vocals

Cover Photo: Martin Agosta

All Compositions Except “Liberty” © 2010 American Jade, Inc ASCAP
(P) 1980/2010 American Jade Inc All Rights Reserved

Track List

1. Long Hard Road (Leon Mills) ASCAP
2. Ain’t Nobody White (Can Sing the Blues) (M. Ryder/K. Levise) ASCAP
3. War (M. Ryder/K. Levise) ASCAP
4. Corporate Song (M. Ryder/K. Levise) ASCAP
5. Liberty (Cropper/Levise/Wells) BMI
6. Nice & Easy (M. Ryder/K. Levise) ASCAP
7. Tough Kid (M. Ryder/K. Levise) ASCAP

Liner Notes

"You’re not supposed to play safe. You’re meant to be as free as the wind. I didn’t disappoint them.”

“At this Berlin concert we opened the show up to the guitar players. If you give them enough space to solo, they often come up with something brilliant. So we had long guitar solos on all of these songs. The two guitarists shared the solos in a free atmosphere. One of the guys played slide and he was very good. So the songs on ‘Easter In Berlin’ are as different from the studio versions as it possible to imagine. Each song is like a rocket ship going off.

Mitch’s song ‘War’ was originally featured on ‘Naked But Not Dead’, but is presented here in a much longer version. “It’s so much better and what’s interesting is that while a lot of these same songs also appear on both ‘Live Talkies’ and ‘Berlin 1980’, you can hear a different kind of connection between the drums and the bass. It’s as if the guys came out of the womb together y’know? They really deliver.

“From the first note, you understand the energy level is superhuman. On that particular day in Berlin our band did something superb. We had a heavy attitude and we were very arrogant, which goes back to our early days when we were teenagers entering Battle Of the Bands contests. It was like ‘You can’t beat us!’

Says Mitch modestly: “This was probably one of the best ‘live’ performances by any band on earth!”
This explosive event took place at the Oper Halle in West Berlin, on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1980.
“We were on the same bill with The Police and Dave Edmunds. So the band was psyched up, because we were opening for these other two acts. The Police were really hot, but our band rose to the challenge. They were like a soccer team that nobody believed has a chance, then suddenly they come from behind to smash everybody. We completely topped anything that was done on stage by the two more popular groups.

“It was a powerful show and we did quite a few songs from my ‘Vacation’ album such as ‘Nice & Easy’ and ‘Tough Kid’, and ‘Ain’t Nobody White (Can Sing The Blues)’ originally on ‘Naked But Not Dead’. One of the things I was able to do during my early career in America that helped make me successful was we discovered a way to go into a studio and get a ‘live’ sound.”

“Of course, on this album there were a lot more people and the hall was filled. Even though we were the ‘openers’, they still gave us a hearty round of applause. We’d been to Germany before and played at the Rock Palast, which was a gig that made us legendary, so to speak. It was when I attacked the Government for being too conservative and went on some drunken rampage. The young people were expecting a level of professionalism and respect that I didn’t exhibit that night.

“On top of that, the band was fantastic. So the fans were drawn to this disrespectful attitude, which is exactly what rock’n’roll is supposed to be about. We completely topped anything that was done on stage by the two more popular groups.

“I love ‘Corporate Song’ because it’s got two different melodies and lyrical lines happening at once. It’s not a new message and it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know. It’s just calling Congress a bunch of gangsters in bed with big business.

The fifth track ‘Liberty’ is an incredible version of a song written by Steve Cropper.”
Mitch tells how when he was in Memphis recording with the Booker T & The MGs guitarist, Cropper took him to a hospital to meet a white farm worker who was dying. “Steve had read some of the songs he’d written. He wanted me to introduce myself to the man, because I was going to be recording one of his songs. I was a big star in America at that time and the old guy was thrilled I’d come to see him, albeit a little late. Steve made a deal with him for the song. Steve would add the music, I’d interpret the melody and we’d keep the farm worker’s lyrics of course. That’s how the song ‘Liberty’ came to light. It was written by a poor white sharecropper dying in bed and it talks about all the things that were on his mind, liberty and equality.”
Ryder recalled how it was once common practice in the South after the Civil War for people to write their own songs and talk about their experiences.”My mother used to do that when I was growing up. She was always singing new songs she’d written.”

The next track ‘Nice & Easy’ is an original composition by Mitch and says that although the ‘live’ version here is good, it was a tough assignment to beat the studio version when we had a guest appearance by guitarist Wayne Gabriel, whereas we didn’t have him on stage in Berlin. Wayne does all these magnificent guitar things. He was in Elephant’s Memory, John Lennon’s band. So that made a big difference, but they’re both powerful versions of ‘Nice & Easy’ for different reasons.”

‘True Love’ is a song from Ryder’s ‘Naked But Not Dead’ (1980) album. “I wanted to explore the reggae genre, so I created the drum beat and the tempo to get a reggae feel. I was actually thinking about suicide when I wrote this song, an unusual thing for me. I’m just a student of it. I don’t want to be a practitioner. The beauty of this whole ‘Berlin 1980’ thing is we could have done ‘Mary Has A Little Lamb’ and it would have worked. We had so much energy and commitment to trying to steal the show from those artists, who were better known than us. That was the driving motivation.

“You could sense the tension in the air. You can hear the crowd noise and anticipation when we’re setting up the microphones, before we start playing. We looked very serious and determined. No toothpaste smiles! We were men on a mission. And our mission was to just destroy that audience.

“We finished the show with ‘Tough Kid’ because that’s the fastest number we had and we wanted to end on a high note. It was originally on ‘How I Spent My Vacation’ and this ‘live’ version is even faster, maybe as fast as the one on ‘Live Talkies’.”

Mitch is proud of both albums and the Berlin concert in particular: “During all the years I worked with that band, that’s the best recording we ever made together. We actually made seven or eight CDs and this one really made me realize just how great they were.”

If the concert wasn’t a big enough ruckus, there was even more fun going on outside the venue. Says Mitch: “The Communist party was having a street demonstration, which turned into a riot right outside. So whoever was at the concert couldn’t leave the building, because the police had sealed off the streets.”

Despite the success of the show and subsequent tours, Ryder eventually broke up the band in 1983.

It’s now 30 years since those exciting days in Hamburg and Berlin, but Mitch remains a busy man. He still fronts his own band, has recorded a new album ‘Detroit Ain’t Dead Yet’ with world class producer and friend Don Was and has written a soon to-be published autobiography.

But life in the rock’n’roll fast lane can still be tough.
“It’s hard keeping the band together because of the amount of work that I have. I did a tour recently with a bunch of other artists, where I sang two or three songs and then the next singer came on. It was like a revue. It paid me well, but it meant I had to leave my own band sitting at home. They’re loyal but they’re looking for me to do something new. Everybody is counting on me!”

CHRIS WELCH, London, England, December 2010



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