REVIEW: Ted Nugent – Double Live Gonzo! (1978)

scan_20161129-2TED NUGENT – Double Live Gonzo! (1978 CBS)

Ted Nugent has expressed his displeasure with Double Live Gonzo! I wish I still had the 1990 magazine interview where he trashed the record, because I have to strongly disagree. To these ears, Double Live Gonzo! is another one of those incredible 1970s cornerstone live albums that every self respecting rocker should listen to at least once. It’s the album that spawned the name “Nashville Pussy”, and houses the definitive live take of “Great White Buffalo”.

Double Live Gonzo! was recorded at multiple shows. The shout-outs to Nashville and San Antonio (“suck my bone-i-o!”) make that obvious, but it’s not a detriment to the LP. With Derek St. Holmes on guitar and vocals, Ted and the gang bring the rock and roll noise to the best party in town. All you have to do is hit play and hold on tight.  It’s an intimidating track list at first: three songs run over 10 minutes, with the majority over 5:00. There is Terrible Ted on the front cover, covering his ears as if in pain from the powerful feedback contained inside.

Ted’s hits are present (“Catch Scratch Fever”, “Stranglehold”, “Yank Me Crank Me”) but are overshadowed by more epic rock orgasms. “Great White Buffalo” and its incredibly dexterous riff is the main attraction.  Though this song was originally recorded by Nugent’s Amboy Dukes, the live version is the most important.  Love Ted or hate him, no serious rockers should have to live without “Great White Buffalo” in their collections.   It’s all about that riff, which is hard to duplicate but impossible to forget.

The Indian and the buffalo,
They existed hand in hand,
The Indian needed food,
He needed skins for a roof,
But he only took what they needed, baby,
Millions of buffalo were the proof.

But then came the white man,
With his thick and empty head,
He couldn’t see past the billfold,
He wanted all the buffalo dead,
Everything was so sad.

The Amboy Dukes’ “Hibernation” grandstands with some equally impressive musical chops (as do all the songs).  Almost as good as “Hibernation” itself is its live intro.  Ted introduces his guitar to the crowd:  “This guitar right here is guaranteed to blow the balls off a charging rhino at sixty paces,” he claims.  “You see this guitar definitely refuses to play sweet shit, you know, it just refuses.”  However “Hibernation” is pretty sweet, as far as rock n’ roll goes.

If you are looking for some “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”, then Terrible Ted has your prescription:  it’s “Just What the Doctor Ordered”.  The Nuge has done a few live albums over the years, but none as beloved as Double Live Gonzo!  For its minor faults (it could sound beefier with less crowd noise), Double Live Gonzo! serves the needs of the masses looking for some full bluntal Nugentity. His gut-busting guitar playing can’t be touched and with Derek St. Holmes in the house, you also don’t have to listen to Ted singing lead on every track.

Double Live Gonzo! isn’t just for guitar players, but guitarists will absolutely dig Ted’s incredible licks and control of feedback. Few guitarists can command the instrument like Ted does. Players will find much to examine, while the average listener can just look forward to a double serving of 1970s live rock. No lyrical messages, just brutal sonic massages.

4.5/5 stars

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The back cover has a mis-print.  “Hibernation” is 16:55 long, not 6:55.

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25 comments

  1. Hey Fella’s……Check out Intensities In 10 Cities….that one is my go to Nuge Live album as that was the tour(1981) I seen him live…review of both can be found you know where! haha..
    This is a great live album! From the cover on it’s all here! Kinda weird he would bash it but by than he had no sales in the 80s until the Damn Yankees…..
    Nice to see the Nuge here as you didn’t have to go on about the political side of Ted. Let The Music Do Talking Indeed….
    Great Read!

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  2. I loved this album, though never had a copy, I had to go around to a friends house to hear it. He eventually made me a tape of it. ‘Intensities’ was great as well, had that one, played it to death.

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  3. I don’t know enough about the Nuge (except the hits) to truly comment, but your review tells me what I need to know – get yer rock on wahoo!

    Did Ted ever say why he hated this record and trashed it? Your article didn’t mention a reason…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yowzers! This is really good? I need this? I only know a couple of Nugent’s songs (including Great White Buffalo), but never gave any serious consideration to actually listening to the guy. I think it’s difficult when he seems to be a real walloper. But what your saying here is I need this. Like now. Yesterday, even!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll maybe check this one out sooner than later then. I’ll ignore Nuget, though I suspect that might be harder given my only real knowledge of him is that he seems to be a bit of a walloper.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah he can be. I used to like him back in the old days, when I only heard him talking about hunting. Hunting is fine with me, if it’s done legally etc. and he does. But after 911 he got really political and blah.

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  5. I struggle with Mr Nugent because I find him so loathesome BUT I do really love me some ‘Stranglehold’ and all the Amboy Dukes stuff. Plus this LP named one of my absolute fave bands, Nashville Pussy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pure Rock & Roll from the first song to the last. Remember when it came out you could turn on any rock music station and a song from the album was playing. Great White Buffalo and Hibernation is one of the best live sides of an album to listen to. Just make sure when you do it is LOUD

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