GREGG ALMAN - One More Try: An Anthology (1997)
Gregg Allman's "One More Try: An Anthology" is a most unusual retrospective, for the 34 songs on the two CDs include only eight performances that have ever been released before. Perhaps this is an admission by Allman himself that his solo albums have been over-produced in a way that distracted from his primary asset, his blues-drenched baritone. That voice dominates the stripped-down demos, pre-orchestration alternate takes and live performances that make up the 26 previously unreleased tracks. Many of these rarities suffer from a lack of rhythmic push, but to hear Allman growling and purring his way through his favorite Muddy Waters, Jackson Browne and Bobby Bland tunes, as well as his own originals, is a genuine treat. Highlights include a jam with Johnny Winter, Buddy Miles, and Berry Oakley on "Wasted Words," an acoustic-guitar-and-vocal version of "Come and Go Blues" and a soulful reading of Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman."
DR. WU' AND FRIENDS - Ridin' With Dr. Wu', Vol. 5 (2017)
Band mates JIM ASHWORTH and BRYAN FREEZE formed Dr. Wu’ in 2002 after growing up and playing in various bands starting in the late 60’s. The name was taken from a favorite Steely Dan song that encourages us to live life to the fullest and strive to be the very best that we can be. With this as their goal, they set out to record their “Texas Blues” Project Volume I “Fort Worth Artists”… a long overdue recorded history utilizing guest appearances by musicians who have made Fort Worth a global mecca of top players… especially great “guitar slingers”. Dr. Wu' a.k.a. Jim Ashworth and Bryan Freeze have up until now, been deeply rooted in Texas Blues with the help of such players as the great Buddy Whittington, Mouse Mayes, Red Young, and other top musicians. Now with their 5th release they are broadening their horizons; branching out with new genres of compositions like "Buddy's Bolero" and "Baby I Love You" as well as new rockin' Texas Blues....all of which make "Ridin' with Dr. Wu' Vol. 5 there best album to date! Texas Blues, Rock, & Soul ....Music at it's BEST featuring world class players from Texas!
THE WHO - Maximum As & Bs: The Complete Singles (2017)
More than fifty years after they hit the music scene, the newest release by The Who proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were masters of not only recording classic albums, such as “My Generation” (1965), “Live At Leeds” (1970) and “Who’s Next” (1971), but also immaculate singles, at a time when the music industry was driven largely by the three minute radio friendly 45. Long recognized as the “best rock ‘n’ roll band in the world”, “Maximum As & Bs” released on UMC/Polydor, Netherlands, compiles 86 tracks spread across 5 CDs, includes every UK single released on the Brunswick, Reaction, Track and Polydor labels, and serves as proof positive that The Who were also grand masters of radio friendly singles, especially in the 1960s and 1970s when this was the benchmark of a band’s abilities and the ultimate measure of their success. This massive collection includes every single by the original foursome of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon, as well as every incarnation of the band following the 1978 death of Moon and 2002 passing of Entwistle. The reality is that the band produced six top 5 hits, fourteen top 10s, twenty top 30s and twenty two top 40s on the UK charts, very impressive by any standards!
Previous compilations of singles by The Who have suffered on many accounts, ranging from utilizing the wrong mixes or master tapes, to actually including LP takes, and never being anything approaching complete. Thus, it was with jaundiced ears that I gave “Maximum As & Bs” a listen. Much to my surprise and delight, the collection actually lives up to its lofty claim, and in incredibly crisp, bright sound, with a list price that won’t cause you to sell your auto or mortgage your home which has become the sad reality of many recent high profile releases.
SPOOKY TOOTH - It's All About (1968) & Spooky Two (1969)
Part of the early-'70s British hard rock scene, Spooky Tooth grew out of the bluesy VIPs and prog rock group Art and consisted of vocalist Mike Harrison, keyboardist/vocalist Gary Wright, guitarist Luther Grosvenor, bassist Greg Ridley, and drummer Mike Kellie. The group built a following through countless gigs and recorded its debut album, It's All About, in 1968. Spooky Two became their most successful album in the U.S.; afterwards, Ridley left to join Humble Pie and was replaced by Andy Leigh. Following 1970's Ceremony, Wright left to form Wonderwheel, while Grosvenor took the name Ariel Bender and joined Stealers Wheel and later Mott the Hoople. The addition of three members of Joe Cocker's Grease Band -- Henry McCullough, Chris Stainton, and Alan Spenner -- was not enough to keep the band afloat, and Spooky Tooth broke up after The Last Puff in 1970. A reunion in 1973 with Wright, Harrison, and future Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones produced several LPs, including the moderately successful You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw, but personnel shifts and a lack of top-notch material ended the project in 1974. Wright went on to a successful solo career, scoring pop hits like "Dream Weaver," and Mike Kellie later joined the punk-pop Only Ones.
This full-length debut from British blues-rockers Spooky Tooth has a tone similar to Traffic with its psychedelic take on the influential pop and soul music of the '60s. A few cover tunes including Janis Ian's "Society's Child" and the Nashville Teens' "Tobacco Road" are included, but original songs like the soulful ballad "It Hurts You So" and "Bubbles" (with its Beach Boys sensibility) are the real standouts. The cheery, psychedelic "It's All About a Roundabout" is the catchiest number by far. On this dreamy cut, vocalist/keyboardist Gary Wright demonstrates some sharp melodic and compositional instincts. Although Spooky Tooth eventually became better-known for their straightforward blues-rock, the trippy pop of It's All About counts as a career highlight for the group. Fans of late-'60s British rock are definitely advised to check out this impressive release.
Spooky Two is the second studio album by the English rock band Spooky Tooth. It was originally released in March 1969, on the label Island Records in 1969. In a retrospective review, Mike DeGagne of AllMusic wrote: "Spooky Two is this British blues-rock band's piece de résistance. All eight of the tracks compound free-styled rock and loose-fitting guitar playing, resulting in some fantastic raw music … their smooth, relaxed tempos and riffs mirrored bands like Savoy Brown and, at times, even the Yardbirds … Although Spooky Tooth lasted about seven years, their other albums never really contained the same passion or talented collaborating by each individual musician as Spooky Two." Subsequent to the release of the album, Greg Ridley left the group, to join Humble Pie.
ART - Supernatural Fairy Tales (1967)
Supernatural Fairy Tales is the only album by Art, a renamed band formerly known as The V.I.P.'s. The album contains mostly band compositions plus a cover of The Young Rascals' "Come on Up" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth". Unusual for 1967, the album was issued in mono only. Everybody that love the first two Spooky Tooth album gonna love this one too, because this is really the first Spooky Tooth album, in everything but the name, the music is the same they did on their fist two albums, the only different is that Mike Harrison is the lone keyboard player, because it gonna take a year before Gary Wright arrive, and they begin with the two keyboards/lead vocals duo.
BLACK STONE CHERRY - Black To Blues (2017)
Black Stone Cherry is an American hard rock band, formed in 2001 in Edmonton, Kentucky, United States. They were signed to Roadrunner Records until 2015; the band is now signed to Mascot Label Group. The band consists of Chris Robertson (lead vocals, lead guitar), Ben Wells (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Jon Lawhon (bass guitar, backing vocals), and John Fred Young (drums, backing vocals). Black Stone Cherry has released six studio albums: Black Stone Cherry (2006), Folklore and Superstition (2008), Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (2011), Magic Mountain (2014), Kentucky (2016), and Black To Blues (2017) as well as three EPs, and have charted eight singles on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. The band's fifth album, Kentucky was released on April 1, 2016.
In April 2016, Black Stone Cherry released “Kentucky”, to great critical and commercial success. Kentucky reached new chart peaks for the band worldwide, and was followed by massive touring through the United States, Europe and Australia. In the midst of this all, the band found the time and dedication to record “Black to Blues”. On this EP, the quartet of Chris Robertson (vocals, guitar), Ben Wells (guitar, vocals), Jonathan Lawhon (bass, vocals) and John Fred Young (drums, harmonica, vocals) channel their blues music roots. The EP features six blues-classics originally written and/or performed by legendary musicians like Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Booker T. Jones, Albert King and Freddy King. On “Black to Blues”, these traditional songs get wildly Black Stone Cherry-fied, while also paying homage to the original on the other hand.
LAYLA ZOE - Songs From The Road (2017) [CD + DVD Audiorip]
2017 live release from the Canadian blues vocalist. Give Layla Zoe a stage and she'll show you magic. In a world of choreography and autotune, this is one performer who does it the old-fashioned way, digging deep, summoning a smoke-and-whisky vocal, leaving it all on the stage and sending breathless fans out into the night to spread the word. From the opening battlecry on 'Backstage Queen', the Canadian has the listener in the palm of her hand, whether you were lucky enough to be on the front row at the Hirsch club in Nuernberg, Germany, on March 21st, 2017, or are catching up now from the comfort of your home. More than just a live album, Songs From The Road is a visceral snapshot, catching a world-class talent at the height of her powers, as she runs the emotional gamut in song and takes you along for the ride. Give Layla Zoe a stage and she’ll show you magic. In a world of choreography and Autotune, this is one performer who does it the old-fashioned way, digging deep, summoning a smoke-and-whisky vocal, leaving it all on the stage and sending breathless fans out into the night to spread the word. “For me,” says Layla, “there is nothing as satisfying as being on stage with my band, giving my heart to the fans, through music. I like to write songs, I enjoy being in the studio, but the live shows are the reason I love my job so much. I am so excited to finally be able to offer a live DVD to my fans because they have been asking for one for so long.”
JIM CAPALDI - Dear Mr Fantasy - The Jim Capaldi Story (2011)
Jim Capaldi’s story is one of the last great unexplored tales in popular music. The co-founder, drummer and lyricist of the legendary Traffic, Capaldi was one of the most significant, and possibly underrated, songwriters of our generation. He was a five time winner of BMI or ASCAP awards for most played compositions in America. His work in Traffic, alongside Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and Dave Mason, fuelled a 10 album multi-platinum career for the band and provided a benchmark for other musicians. In 2004, Traffic was inducted into the Rock’n & Roll Hall Of Fame. But Traffic, although hugely significant, is only part of the story. Jim Capaldi also enjoyed a thirty year solo career and also worked with many other artists. With his gentlemanly demeanour and his embrace of music from all around the world, Capaldi was a true innovator throughout his five decades in rock. Dear Mr Fantasy tells his story through 61 hand-selected tracks. It provides a superb four-CD overview of the enigmatic vocalist and drummer. Packed with rare photos and essays from writers Andrew Male and Pierre Perrone, it follows his tale from the beat group The Hellions in 1965 through the formation of Traffic and its many incarnations. It features material from his time as a successful solo artist on Island, Polydor, Carerre and Warners throughout the 80s. Capaldi also recorded with many rock greats - from Eric Clapton, to Steve Winwood and George Harrison, and this work is included on Dear Mr Fantasy. Yet Capaldi’s tale, like many of his recordings, is hidden. He is known for ‘being there’ but many admirers know little more. This beautiful set, overseen by Aninha Capaldi is a musical journey like no other. From the streets of the West Midlands to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, Dear Mr Fantasy is a remarkable overview of a remarkable man. Including home demos, the fabulous, unreleased track Love’s Got A Hold Of Me recorded with George Harrison, and a beautiful unreleased 2004 Traffic recording of Dear Mr Fantasy. This set’s release coincides with the publication of a luxurious book of the same name by Genesis Publications, which features a forward by Jim’s friend and contemporary, Robert Plant which features many of Jim’s handwritten lyrics.
THE CRANBERRIES - 5 Classic Albums (2016)
The Cranberries are an Irish rock band formed in Limerick in 1989 by lead singer Niall Quinn (later replaced by Dolores O'Riordan), guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan, and drummer Fergal Lawler. Although widely associated with alternative rock, the band's sound also incorporates indie pop, post-punk, Irish folk, and pop rock elements. The Cranberries rose to international fame in the 1990s with their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, which became a commercial success. The Cranberries sold over 40 million records worldwide. The band achieved four top 20 albums on the Billboard 200 chart (Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?; No Need to Argue, To the Faithful Departed and Bury the Hatchet) and eight top 20 singles on the Modern Rock Tracks chart ("Linger", "Dreams", "Zombie", "Ode to My Family", "Ridiculous Thoughts", "Salvation", "Free to Decide", and "Promises"). In early 2009, after a six-year hiatus, the Cranberries reunited and began a North American tour, followed by shows in Latin America and Europe. The band recorded their sixth album Roses in May 2011, and released it in February 2012. Something Else, an album covering earlier songs together with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, was released in April 2017.
On 15 January 2018, lead singer Dolores O'Riordan died unexpectedly in London, where she had arrived for a recording session. - RIP
V.A. - Milk Of The Tree: An Anthology Of Female Vocal Folk and Singer - Songwriters 1966-73 (2017)
Three CD collection. Notwithstanding one or two isolated exceptions, it wasn't until the mid-'60s that independent female voices really began to be heard within the music industry. Over the course of four hours and sixty tracks, Milk Of The Tree focuses on the music made in the late '60s and early '70s in both Britain and North America by either female solo artists or acts with featured female vocalists. Along the way, we encounter San Franciscan psychedelia, LA folk rock, Swinging London pop-folk, electric folk, progressive folk and even folk club folk as well as (of course) a plethora of singer- songwriters (including Various ladies of the Canyon) from the movement's golden age. As well as featuring most of the leading figures from both sides of the Atlantic, Milk Of The Tree includes many performers who received little attention at the time but who now have a cult reputation amongst collectors. A significant number of tracks were unreleased at the time, while the set also includes the first-ever appearance by pioneering female rock duo Emily Muff, two American girls who were based in England during the period in question but failed to land a recording contract. With a 44-page booklet crammed with rare photos and details of the Various acts featured, the clambox-housed Milk Of The Tree is not only a fascinating social document but, we hope, a hugely entertaining snapshot of a particular time, place and frame of mind that produced some enduring, spellbinding music.
BREAD - The Elektra Years - The Complete Albums Box (2017)
Bread was one of the most popular pop groups of the early '70s, earning a string of well-crafted, melodic soft rock singles, all of which were written by keyboardist/vocalist David Gates. A session musician and producer, Gates met in 1968 guitarist/vocalist James Griffin, who had already released a solo album called Summer Holiday. Griffin hired Gates to produce a new album, and the pair soon became a group, adding guitarist/vocalist Robb Royer from the band Pleasure Fair, who Gates had produced early in its career. The trio soon signed with Elektra Records, becoming one of the label's first pop bands. Naming themselves Bread, the group released its self-titled debut album in late 1968. Although it was filled with accessible, melodic soft rock that became the band's signature sound, the record had no hit singles. With their second album, On the Waters, Bread established themselves as hitmakers. "Make It With You," the first single released from the album, became a number one hit, which led to "It Don't Matter to Me," a song taken from Bread, becoming a Top Ten hit. With On the Waters becoming a gold record, the group embarked on a tour, adding a full-time drummer, Mike Botts, to the lineup. Manna, released in the spring of 1971, wasn't as big a hit as the previous record, yet it launched another Top Ten hit with "If." Royer left the group after the album and was replaced by Larry Knechtel, a Los Angeles session musician who played on records by the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees, among others. The new lineup released its first single, "Mother Freedom," in the summer of 1971; the single scraped the Top 40 at number 37. Bread's next single, "Baby I'm-a Want You," became a number three hit at the end of the year. After "Everything I Own" reached number five in January of 1972, an album called Baby I'm-a Want You was released. Peaking at number three, the record became the group's most successful album. The group's fifth album, Guitar Man, followed in the fall of 1972. At the beginning of 1973, Bread disbanded after a dispute between Gates and Griffin.
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