The Place and The Time is the latest chapter in the long strange saga of Moby Grape. Comprised of audition recordings‚ album outtakes‚ alternate versions‚ live material and more‚ it is‚ in fact‚ a collection of the bonus tracks from the expanded editions of the first five Grape albums the Sundazed label issued in the fall of 2007. The first two‚ the eponymous debut album and Wow‚ were pulled from the market within a month of release in yet another round of legal hassles that has plagued the band over the years.
Consequently‚ this twenty-four track CD becomes essential in making available‚ as now nowhere else‚ a cross-section of the band's work during their most prolific and potent period (though some of it's a bit rough).
"Sweet Ride" finds the band grinding its three guitars as the voices soar in harmony -- everybody sang in The Grape. "Rounder" is an instrumental that demonstrates how the Grape had chops to spare. And it's hard to believe the same band rendering the tender acoustic balladry of "If You Can't Learn From My Mistakes" or "It's A Beautiful Day Today" is the hell-bent for leather unit galloping along on live cuts like "Changes" and "Looper."
Even duplicate inclusions of the latter and "Soul Stew‚" don't seem redundant in this context‚ but rather illustrative of the highly creative process by which the original quintet worked. If Moby Grape came along today‚ forging this same seamless mix of folk‚ rock‚ country and blues‚ they'd be hailed as monsters of Americana.