Here is an excerpt from Audiophile Audition’s four-and-a-half star review of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” Legacy Edition, which features the restored original album plus a second CD of Billy’s 1972 concert broadcast from WMMR in Philadelphia.
What distinguishes this album is the strength of the material, especially the hits. Despite East Coast roots, Joel invokes a Western muse on “The Ballad Of Billy The Kid”. With Copeland-esque bravado the exploits of gunslinger “Billy” (“…with a six gun in his hand…”) are juxtaposed with a New York version (“…with a six pack in his hand…”), reinforcing the outlaw image of rock and roll. A concert favorite, spirited piano fills and tempo brakes demonstrate why many consider Joel among the elite of rock pianists. Long time fans must have been elated when the underground anthem of suburban angst, “Captain Jack,” was included on the album. Depicting the brooding, alienated drug culture of the era, this edgy song became a trademark.
Disc Two is a previously unreleased, live recording that was done prior to the album sessions. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, the performance was broadcast on radio station WMMR. Along with upcoming tracks from Piano Man, selections from Cold Spring Harbor, especially “She’s Got A Way” are rendered with intimacy. Joel’s considerable performance skills and audience rapport are on full display. A classical piano instrumental (“Nocturne”) is elegantly lyrical.
Read more at Audiophile Audition.