Live in New Orleans reached #3 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and #34 on the Billboard 200 chart. With three sides recorded at New Orleans's Saenger Theatre, it features extended live versions of their top 10 R&B chart hits "Feel That You're Feelin'" and "Southern Girl;" the definitive live versions of album cuts "Look At California" and "Joy and Pain," probably their biggest song that was never a hit single – and it shows, as the band performance transforms into a thrilling audience sing-along. The studio side of Live in New Orleans includes the top 10 R&B hit "Running Away," and the Maze anthem, "Before I Let Go," the latter of which was covered by Beyonce for her 2019 Homecoming: The Live Album and was the topic of a dance challenge from the musician on social media.
To coincide with the 40th anniversary release of Live in New Orleans during Black History Month 2021 and the week of Mardi Gras, also releasing the same day are two digital remix EPs: Maze: The M+M Mixes and Joy and Pain: The Lifelines Remixes.
The M+M Mixes EP features all of the remixes created by M+M's John Morales including Maze's first R&B chart #1, "Back in Stride," in a version longer than the original 12", and "Too Many Games" (#5 US, top 40 UK), originally released only in the U.K. in 1985, and Morales's 2017 remixes of "Before I Let Go" and "Joy and Pain," that had only a limited release in Europe. Each remix also has a corresponding instrumental version, two of which are previously unreleased (see track list). All tracks are making their digital debut as well as their commercial US debut.
The Joy and Pain EP features the rare "Lifelines" remixes of the classic song by Hank Shocklee, Eric Sadler and Paul Shabazz, a.k.a. members of the production team The Bomb Squad, best known for their era-defining, multi-layered work with Public Enemy. These remixes, with Kurtis Blow doing a guest rap, were originally only issued on a promo 12" in 1989 to promote the album The Greatest Hits: Lifelines that included some remixes – and now, except for the long version on that album, these tracks are making their commercial debut as well as their digital debut. The EP also includes a highly sought-after instrumental version of the original LP version of "Joy and Pain."
The American soul band MAZE was founded by Frankie Beverly in Philadelphia in 1970 under the moniker Raw Soul. Upon moving to San Francisco in the mid '70s and being introduced to Marvin Gaye, who took them out on the road as an opening act, they changed their name to Maze in part due to Gaye's suggestion. Along with having roots in both Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay area, Maze have always considered New Orleans their home base. Beverly has credited the city for the Gold status of their 1977 debut album, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, saying that the majority of copies were sold in Louisiana and the greater New Orleans area. With that in mind, Maze decided to record their first live album and fifth overall album, Live in New Orleans, at the Saenger on November 14–15, 1980. The studio tracks that make up Side 4 were recorded at the Automatt Recording Studio in San Francisco. The album was produced and arranged by Frankie Beverly for Amazement Music.
Live in New Orleans secured Maze and Frankie Beverly's deep-rooted bond with New Orleans, and transformed it into an indelible, tangible delivery for the entire world to experience. They've since closed the annual Essence Fest in the city for more than 20 years.
Tracklists / Live In New Orleans (2LP Set)
2. Changing Times
3. Joy and Pain
1. Happy Feelin's
2. Southern Girl
3. Look at California
1. Feel That You're Feelin'
2. The Look In Your Eyes
Side 4 - Studio Side
1. Running Away
2. Before I Let Go
3. We Need Love To Live
The Remix EPs
Maze: The M+M Mixes
1. Before I Let Go / M+M Mix 8:50
2. Joy and Pain / John Morales M+M Mix 11:11
3. Back In Stride / Extended M+M Mix 9:34* [original 12" version was 8:00]
4. Too Many Games / Extended Remix 7:30
5. Before I Let Go / John Morales M+M Mix Instrumental 6:56*
6. Joy and Pain / John Morales M+M Mix Instrumental 11:14*
7. Back In Stride / John Morales M+M Mix Instrumental 8:15
8. Too Many Games / John Morales M+M Mix Instrumental 5:47
Joy and Pain: The Lifelines Remixes
1. Joy and Pain / Lifelines Remix 7" feat. Kurtis Blow 4:17
2. Joy and Pain / Lifelines Remix Radio Version feat. Kurtis Blow 6:56
3. Joy and Pain / Lifelines Remix feat. Kurtis Blow 8:47
4. Joy and Pain / Lifelines Remix Instrumental 8:32
5. Joy and Pain / Original LP Instrumental 7:21