The Magic Shoemaker Live!

by: Fire

Fire's Magic Shoemaker is justly regarded as one of the cornerstone albums of the English psych scene, despite being released so late in the day (1970) that the scene which inspired it was already dead and buried. A psychedelic fairytale, a concept album that was actually fun, there was a childlike whimsy to the proceedings that -- again, a few years earlier -- could have raised Fire up alongside the early Pink Floyd or the Smoke; indeed, the nearly hit "Father's Name Is Dad" is rarely far away when collectors begin discussing their most treasured psych sounds. Still, few people demanded miracles when Fire re-formed in 2007 to re-stage the show that the original album demanded, but which Fire broke up too soon to deliver. But they got them anyway. The entire album is on show here, and with such verve and energy that it's easy to agree with the liner notes' suggestion that the concert actually outperformed the original album. Add on a clutch of earlier Fire singles, including (of course) a triumphant "Father's Name Is Dad," and Magic Shoemaker Live! might well be the Fire album you always wanted them to release, but which technology just wouldn't permit. Brilliant. ~ Dave Thompson

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