DELIVERY - Fools Meeting (1970)  & CAROL GRIMES - Warm Blood (1974) 
Carol Grimes came to prominence in 1969 after joining Delivery. The band began life as a blues group, but gradually adopted a more experimental path. They completed one album before disbanding, following which Grimes embarked on a solo career. She formed Uncle Dog in 1972, but this promising act failed to match early expectations and the singer then resumed her independent path. Grimes’ powerful intonation was shown to great effect on the 1974 solo recording Warm Blood, but despite stellar support from members of Area Code 615 and the Average White Band, the set failed to highlight her talent. A more cohesive follow-up recording was completed in Memphis, with the Brecker Brothers, the Memphis Horns, Duck Dunn and Willie Hall all lending their support.
In the late 70s and early 80s Grimes worked with the short-lived Sweet F.A. and Carol And The Crocodiles, in addition to maintaining a busy schedule as a session vocalist. In 1984 she formed the more stable Eyes Wide Open, recording a number of well-received sets for the Line label. She also branched out into music theatre and teaching, organising private vocal workshops and completing a MA in Voice Movement Therapy. During the late 90s she began working with the remarkable vocal choir the Shout, primarily a vehicle for songwriters Orlando Gough and Richard Chew. An underrated artist, Grimes continues to perform and record and enjoys considerable popularity on the continent.
MIKE BLOOMFIELD - Junko Partner (1982) & Initial Shock (1989)
Junko Partner arrived with little fanfare a couple of years after Mike Bloomfield's too early death, filled with sublime music but little information. The Akarma reissue remasters the album for CD, but retains the artwork, with the new sleeve notes shedding little light on the set. But this much is obvious: Junko Partner was recorded live, and not too well, in front of a small, surprisingly quiet, but still appreciative crowd, with the legendary guitarist accompanied by an excellent drummer and standup bassist, and a pianist whose talent rivals Bloomfield's own. They go uncredited and unacknowledged, as does the date and location of the gig. Wherever and whenever it was, the audience was treated to a fabulous show, as Bloomfield and his band leisurely stroll through two of his own compositions and eight blues, R&B, and rock chestnuts. Some of the pieces were seemingly selected and arranged to showcase his pianist -- notably the barreling R&B take on "Wings of an Angel," the ragtime "Walking the Floor Over You," the dose of "Rx for the Blues," and the swaggering title track. Bloomfield steps up to share the spotlight on the fabulous "Don't You Lie to Me," a stunner of a number that fades out way too soon, with his own songs "Knockin' Myself Out" and "Women Lovin' Each Other" equally spectacular showcases for his skills -- alongside a breathtaking "Cherry Red," brightly painted with his liquid leads and smoldering solos, these three songs are worth the price of entry alone, although a lighthearted take on the traditional "You Must Have Seen Jesus" is also of note. Bloomfield handles the vocals better than one would expect and the sound quality is the best one could wring from these old analog tapes, while the laid-back atmosphere provides a grand opportunity for the legend to illustrate that even in his declining years he could still knock your socks off. A reminder, if any were needed, of Bloomfield's ferocious talent.
Initial Shock (1989): Recorded Live Between 1977 and 1979 with Nick Graventies, Mark Naftalin and E Friends.
HEART - Little Queen (1977) [Remastered, 2004] & Dog & Butterfly (1978) [Remastered, 2004]
The 2004 24-bit remastered and expanded version of Heart's seminal 1977 album, Little Queen (the band's major-label debut), is a revelation. While tunes like "Barracuda" and "Kick It Out" have been classic rock radio staples since the dinosaur age, they've never lost their edge or appeal, and here they roar with new power. The reason for that is on this recording. Those two are the sanctioned hard rockers here, and with the guitars layered impeccably and the drum and bass thud giving the power riffs enough of a bottom to keep them strutting into the stratosphere, it's actually the midtempo tunes and ballads that reveal the depth and vision of the Wilson sisters' gift for writing great songs and hooks. With producer Mike Flicker, they put together a ten-track masterpiece. Certainly the Led Zeppelin influence is everywhere, but there was a lot more than Soft White Underbelly worship at work here. A fresh listen to "Keep My Love Alive," with Nancy's droning guitar riff and textured acoustic guitars wrapped so elegantly around Ann's voice (before her beautiful flute lilts in the turnarounds), offers a multidimensional portrait of Heart as songwriters of the first degree, who understood not only nuance and dynamic but the possibilities of a recording studio. "Dream of the Archer" is another delight, with its high-strung guitars and mandolins and medieval framework -- without the corniness. The harmonies and interwoven guitars dovetail and flit around one another without seam or straggle. Of course, the title track, with its funky backbeat and hook, is sexy as all get-out. "Cry to Me" retains all of its sadness and beauty, and one can hear the high shimmer on the acoustic guitar more prominently than ever before. The bonus material here includes "Too Long a Time," an early demo version of "Keep My Love Alive," that is faster and offers the backing vocals in a more prominent place than on the finished version. There is also a nine-plus minute live version of "Stairway to Heaven," with Ann offering a typical corny rock spoken intro. But the tune itself rocks the joint...hard. The introductory notes by Nancy are brief, but offer a unique and unpretentious view. Any way you cut it, this belongs on any shelf that prides itself on the classic rock canon, and is an amazing introduction to the band for those who thought that the MTV years were the sum total of their contribution.
Heart rebounded from their legal dispute with Mushroom Records over the release of the platinum-selling Magazine in April 1978, as Dog & Butterfly was certified double platinum, spent 36 weeks on the charts, and peaked at No. 17 on the US Billboard 200. The album was the 'proper' successor to 1977's hit Little Queen in terms of musical development and direction, and contained two hit singles: "Straight On", and "Dog & Butterfly". As Heart themselves noted on the album's release, side 1 was the "Dog" side, and was the more "rocking" compared to the "Butterfly" side 2, which was all ballads, with the exception of the closer "Mistral Wind", which, in many ways, epitomized the trademark sound for which Heart would be remembered: folksy ballads shifting into searing hard rock explosions. Though the first song, "Cook with Fire", sounds like a live recording, the liner notes to the 2004 CD say that it was actually recorded at Sea-West Studios along with the rest of the album. Audience sounds from a live performance were overdubbed on the studio recording. The album was reissued in a remastered edition in 2004 by Epic/Legacy and included three bonus tracks from this period. The song "Feels" was later reworked and became "Johnny Moon", included in the album Passionworks (1983).
JOHN LEE HOOKER - I'm John Lee Hooker (1959) & Travelin' (1960)  & Sings The Blues (1961) & Sings Blues (1960) 
Winding through the literally hundreds of titles in John Lee Hooker's catalog is a daunting task for even the most seasoned and learned blues connoisseur. This is especially true when considering Hooker recorded under more than a dozen aliases for as many labels during the late '40s, '50s, and early '60s. I'm John Lee Hooker was first issued in 1959 during his tenure with Vee Jay and is "the Hook" in his element as well as prime. Although many of these titles were initially cut for Los Angeles-based Modern Records in the early '50s, the recordings heard here are said to best reflect Hooker's often-emulated straight-ahead primitive Detroit and Chicago blues styles. The sessions here comprise I'm John Lee Hooker, with its 12 tracks taken from six sessions spread over the course of four years (1955-1959). Hooker works both solo accompanied only by his own percussive guitar and the solid backbeat of his foot rhythmically pulsating against plywood as well as in several different small-combo settings. Unlike the diluted, pop-oriented blues that first came to prominence in the wake of the British Invasion of the early to mid-'60s, the music on this album is infinitely more authentic in presentation. As the track list indicates, I'm John Lee Hooker includes many of his best-known and best-loved works. Right out of the gate comes the guttural rumble-tumble of "Dimples" in its best-known form; indeed, it can be directly traced to and is likewise acknowledged by notable purveyors of Brit rock such as Eric Burdon, who incorporated it into the earliest incarnation of the Animals, the Spencer Davis Group, and the decidedly more roots-influenced Duane Allman. Another of Hooker's widely covered signature tunes featured on this volume is "Boogie Chillun." This rendering is arguably the most recognizable in the plethora of versions that have seemingly appeared on every Hooker-related compilation available. Additionally, this version was prominently featured in The Blues Brothers movie as well as countless other films and adverts. Likewise, a seminal solo "Crawlin' King Snake" is included here. The tune became not only a staple of Hooker's, it was also prominently included on the Doors' L.A. Woman and covered by notable bluesmen Albert King, B.B. King, and Big Joe Williams, whose version pre-dates this one by several decades. I'm John Lee Hooker is one of the great blues collections of the post-World War II era. Time has, if anything, only reinforced the significance of the album. It belongs in every blues enthusiast's collection without reservation.
John Lee Hooker developed a “talking blues” style that became his trademark. Though similar to the early Delta tradition, his metrically free approach and unique sound would make him a staple of Detroit blues. Often called the “King of the Boogie,” Hooker's driving, rhythmic approach to guitar playing has become an integral part of the blues. This quintessential release includes two albums from the beginning of his career: Sings the Blues (Crown 1961) and Sings Blues (King 1960). Although the two records share nearly identical titles, each contains a different and excellent track list. The former LP features great electric numbers such as “Hug and Squeeze (You),” “Good Rockin' Mama,” and “The Syndicate,” while the latter contains Hooker's solo recordings originally issued on the Modern label. Both albums have been remastered and packaged together in this very special collector's edition, which also includes 5 bonus tracks from the same period.
BOB DYLAN - Bob Dylan (1962) [Legends Original Recordings, 2013] & The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963) 
Bob Dylan is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on March 19, 1962 by Columbia Records. Produced by Columbia's legendary talent scout John H. Hammond, who signed Dylan to the label, the album features folk standards, plus two original compositions, "Talkin' New York" and "Song to Woody".
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on May 27, 1963 by Columbia Records. Whereas his self-titled debut album Bob Dylan had contained only two original songs, Freewheelin' represented the beginning of Dylan's writing contemporary words to traditional melodies. Eleven of the thirteen songs on the album are Dylan's original compositions. The album opens with "Blowin' in the Wind", which became an anthem of the 1960s, and an international hit for folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary soon after the release of Freewheelin'. The album featured several other songs which came to be regarded as among Dylan's best compositions and classics of the 1960s folk scene: "Girl from the North Country", "Masters of War", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".
GRAHAM BONNET BAND - Meanwhile, Back In The Garage (2018)
Many will be familiar with Graham Bonnet as the man who replaced Ronnie James Dio in Rainbow in the late 70s. The man in charge of the band, Ritchie Blackmore, had clearly had enough with elaborate rock songs about dragons and castles, instead wanting a more radio friendly hard rock approach that could aspire to chart success. The man to front this new sound was Graham Bonnet, whose voice has since been immortalised in songs such as Since You Been Gone and All Night Long (no prizes for guessing what the new lyrical subject matter was about…). The story of Bonnet’s brief time with Rainbow has been told many times and so I will not repeat anymore of it here, other than to say it was this that brought Bonnet into the limelight of the rock world. From there he went on to work with other groups such the Michael Schenker Group and Alcatrazz (to name just a couple) along with bringing his vocal prowess to countless guest appearances and side projects. Meanwhile, Back in the Garage is perhaps then an apt title for such a busy man.
The first track of a record inevitably sets the tone for the rest of the album: in this case, the title track kicks off and it certainly makes a statement. There is no floundering around easing you into things, it simply launches straight into an aural assault of galloping drums and interplaying guitar riffs. While the rhythm is a swung, classic heavy metal groove (think Sabbath’s Children of the Grave, but faster) there is a dominant keyboard that is reminiscent of 70s hard rock, with a sound taken straight from the rule book of the late great Jon Lord (Deep Purple). The keyboard is rarely as dominant again for the rest of the album, which is a shame given the added sound dynamic it brings. As expected from any rock album, the guitars become the primary focus, with harmonised twin guitar lines being the order of the day. On Sea of Trees, a brief keyboard introduction leads you into a galloping riff that would fit right in on an Iron Maiden or Judas Priest album. Features such as harmonised guitar lines are common throughout, but there are subtle musical changes that bring a wide range of influences to the fore: Livin’ in Suspicion has a much more 80s radio rock vibe, whereas Man on the Corner has elements of old school blues and jazz in the guitar licks. All of this is tied together by the man everyone wants to hear.
COWBOY JUNKIES - All That Reckoning (2018)
It's remarkable in itself that in 2018, the Cowboy Junkies still have the same lineup that recorded their debut album, Whites Off Earth Now!!, in 1986. But it's even more surprising that more than three decades into their career, the band's essential formula remains very much the same, and what's more, that it still works. Released in 2018, All That Reckoning is less spare and severe than the group's most celebrated early material, with the occasional report of a jagged synthesizer or electric guitar, but even though the arrangements are more fleshed-out and the production more ambitious, the Cowboy Junkies continue to lay out languid, contemplative melodies favoring the low end of the register, with the rich but spectral vocals of Margo Timmins drizzled over the top like honey. Michael Timmins, the group's guitarist and principal songwriter, continues to favor minor-key tunes married to lyrics that deal with the less fortunate side of love ("Wooden Stairs" and the title track, which appears in two versions), the chaos of the larger world ("When We Arrive," "Sing Me a Song," "Missing Children"), and a variety of other products of a dark night of the soul ("Shining Teeth," "The Things We Do to Each Other," "The Possessed"). Michael's music remains both literate and evocative, even at its most abstract, and while he's certainly developed a trademark style (which he seems to point to in "Nose Before Ear": "I'm going to start this song in a dark low whisper..."), nothing here seems rote, and the music sounds as darkly hypnotic as one could wish for. Michael's interplay with singer Margo, bassist Alan Anton, and drummer Peter Timmins is powerful yet graceful, all the more effective for their years of shared experience, and if the Cowboy Junkies ultimately offer up something rather simple, it's more elegant than facile, which is part of why this band's work continues to communicate. All That Reckoning is a smart, compelling set of songs from a group that hasn't run out of things to say or the ability to say them with eloquence.
GRAM PARSONS WITH THE FLYING BURRITO BROS - Live At The Avalon Ballroom 1969 (2007)
It's very easy to underestimate the importance of Gram Parsons to American music. He never had anything close to a hit, and while he was pivotal in the creation of country-rock, and by rote, alternative country, none of his direct efforts at it (the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo, an album and a half with the Flying Burrito Brothers, his own two solo albums) stirred up any kind of mass public acceptance. Yet three decades and on past his death, Parsons' fragile version of what he called "cosmic American music" (a seamless blending of country, blues and rock) continues to make him a both a cult figure and a continuing influence on musicians traveling a similar path and synthesis in the 21st century. Parsons probably came closest to realizing his "cosmic American music" dream during his brief stay as a founding member of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and so this double-disc release, which features well-recorded live sets from 1969 of the original Burritos lineup (Parsons, Chris Hillman, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Chris Ethridge, and Mike Clarke) opening two shows for the Grateful Dead at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco on April 4 and April 6, is a true archival treasure, perhaps doubly so because it comes direct from the famed Grateful Dead tape vault. The real surprise here is the sound quality, which is excellent, and it's easy to hear Parsons and Hillman work their sometimes unsteady (but endearingly unsteady) vocal harmonies while all of the band instrumentation is mixed back a bit (but not alarmingly so, every nuance is audible). The band sounds limber and fresh, and the versions here of "Close Up the Honky Tonks," Little Richard's "Lucille" (one version each night, with the April 6 rendition being a tad faster), and Parsons and Hillman's compositional masterpiece, "Sin City" (again, two versions, one each night), are vintage Burritos in full glorious flight. There are also inspired covers of Hank Williams' "You Win Again" and George Jones' "She Once Lived Here," which gains a kind of fragile emotional power when filtered through Parsons' frail, halting vocal approach. Also included in the set are two demo recordings, a delicate harmony workout on Phil Everly's "When Will I Be Loved" from 1967, and a gorgeous solo piano version of "Thousand Dollar Wedding" taped in 1969, and which is, hands down, the emotional highlight of this collection. Fans of Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers are going to love Gram Parsons Archive, Vol.1 and the solid sound quality of these recordings will no doubt surprise and delight. A real find.
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - Cream of the Crop 2003 (2018)
Recorded for the then-nascent “Instant Live” CD series (fans picked up copies of the concert immediately after the show as they were being burned on CD), these shows capture the group at full throttle. For this collection, Warren Haynes serves as Supervising Producer, longtime manager Bert Holman as Executive Producer, with Bill Levenson and John Lynskey as Associate Producers. Haynes says, “That was an important time in the growth of that incarnation of the ABB. We had just released Hittin’ The Note and everybody was psyched to be playing a lot of new material from an album we all were very proud of and there was new life being breathed into a lot of the older songs.” “Warren was asked to oversee this release because he has a keen ear, a great memory for individual show performances and is a master at song sequencing,” says Holman. "The entire process went very well; we were all on the same page about what song should be included and in what order, and everybody in the band agreed with the final choices." Cream Of The Crop, like many Allman Brothers Band releases before, is dedicated to a recently lost Brother. This one is in honor of Gregg Allman 1947-2017.
Guests on the compilation are Susan Tedeschi, Karl Denson and Branford Marsalis. “That was an important time in the growth of that incarnation of the ABB. We had just released Hittin’ The Note and everybody was psyched to be playing a lot of new material from an album we all were very proud of and there was new life being breathed into a lot of the older songs,” said Haynes in a statement. “Warren was asked to oversee this release because he has a keen ear, a great memory for individual show performances and is a master at song sequencing,” added longtime manager and Executive Producer Bert Holman. “The entire process went very well; we were all on the same page about what song should be included and in what order, and everybody in the band agreed with the final choices.”
CAMEL - Lunar Sea: An Anthology 1973-85 (2001)
Camel are an English progressive rock band formed in 1971. Led by founding member Andrew Latimer, they have produced fourteen original studio albums, fourteen singles plus numerous compilation and live albums. Although never achieving mass popularity, the band managed to create a cult following over the years with albums such as Mirage, The Snow Goose and Moonmadness. The band went through a long hiatus in the 1980s due to the rise of punk rock, less coverage in the media and personal problems with the band members; they became active again in the early 1990s. The band's music combines elements from jazz, classical, Baroque music, blues and electronic music.
This double-CD set more or less supplants though in some ways it also enhances the 1993 compilation Echoes: The Retrospective. With a slightly longer running time and a fair difference in song content; though the same number of tracks, the overlap between the two is surprisingly limited. Gone are "Unevensong," "Breathless," "Skylines," the studio versions of "Lunar Sea" and "West Berlin," and "City Life," among other tracks in their place as "Stationary Traveler," "Long Goodbyes," "Slow Yourself Down," "Nimrodel," "The Great Marsh," and "Spirit of the Water," plus live renditions of "Lunar Sea" and "West Berlin." The sound here is also improved somewhat, although Echoes was very good in that department as well, and, to be fair, there's a limited amount that one can do with the earliest recordings in terms of raising the fidelity. The annotation is extremely thorough, and the overall quality of the package makes a worthy addition to any Camel collection, as well as a good introduction to the band for the uninitiated.
DETECTIVE - Detective (1977) & It Takes One To Know One (1977)
Detective was an American/English rock band that toured and recorded in the late 1970s. Detective consisted of vocalist Michael Des Barres, guitarist Michael Monarch, bassist Bobby Pickett (not the 1960s singer of the same name), ex-Yes organist Tony Kaye, and drummer Jon Hyde. The band released two albums, Detective (produced by the band, Andy Johns and Jimmy Robinson) and It Takes One to Know One in 1977, as well as Live From The Atlantic Studios, a promotional LP recorded only for radio broadcast, in 1978. "They were good," recalled Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, on whose Swan Song label Detective debuted. "That first album of theirs, it was really good. It should have been more popular, shouldn't it?" In support of their second album, "It Takes One To Know One," Detective went on the road as the supporting act for Kiss. Kiss liked Detective so much that they actually considered recording one of their songs, "Ain't None Of Your Business", with Peter Criss on lead vocals. Demos exist of the Kiss version, but the song never made it onto a Kiss album or was ever played live.
Detective did go into the studio in 1978 with producer, Tom Dowd, to record their third album. While their first two albums were on Led Zeppelin's Swan Song label, Atlantic Records took over the band for their third release. Atlantic wanted a hit single from the band. Dowd brought in a song from a then unknown singer-songwriter named John Cougar, "I Need a Lover". According to Monarch, they really didn't want to record it, but they did. It remains unreleased to this day along with a couple of other original songs. Monarch went on to say that the members of Detective were moving in different directions and the group decided to disband. Michael Des Barres from the band performed songs on the fourth episode of the first season of the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati as part of the fictional hoodlum rock group "Scum of the Earth". Michael Des Barres and two other actors played the part of the band during most of the TV show, but the band Detective performed on the end of the show segment.
TRIUMPH - In The Beginning (1976) & Rock & Roll Machine (1977)
Triumph is a Canadian hard rock band formed in 1975 that was popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s, building on its reputation and success as a live band. Between the band's 16 albums and DVDs, Triumph has received 18 gold and 9 platinum awards in Canada and the United States. Triumph was nominated for multiple Juno Awards, including Group of the Year Award in 1979, 1985, 1986, and 1987. Triumph is most known for its guitar-driven rock songs, such as "Lay It on the Line", "Magic Power", "Fight the Good Fight", and "World of Fantasy". The band was formed by Toronto music veterans Rik Emmett (guitar, vocals), Mike Levine (bass, keyboards), and Gil Moore (drums, vocals) in 1975. This lineup, spanning nine studio albums, lasted until 1988, when Emmett left the band to pursue a solo career. He was replaced by Phil "X" Xenedis, and Triumph recorded only one album with him, which remains their last to date, before going on indefinite hiatus in 1993. The classic original lineup of Moore, Levine and Emmett reunited for two live concerts in 2008.
Triumph is the debut studio album by Canadian hard rock band Triumph, released in 1976. The album was remastered and re-released with a new cover and name in 1995 called In the Beginning (then remastered again in 2005).
Rock & Roll Machine is the second studio album by Canadian hard rock band Triumph, released in 1977. The album was released on RCA Records in the US in 1978 and again on MCA Records in 1985. The album resulted in the band's first hit single, a cover version of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way". Depending on the country of issue, the album may also be named Rock and Roll Machine or Rock 'N' Roll Machine. The MCA issue is noteworthy in that the album was re-mastered by Bob Ludwig at his Masterdisk location as opposed to the original RCA which was mastered by Jack Adelman at RCA.
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