NILS LOFGREN - Acoustic Live (1997)
Nils Lofgren is an American rock musician, recording artist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Along with his work as a solo artist, he has been a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band since 1984, a former member of Crazy Horse, and founder/frontman of the band Grin. Lofgren was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band in 2014.
Acoustic Live is a small treasure for longtime Nils Lofgren fans. Capturing Lofgren alone in front of an appreciative audience, knocking out such favorites as "You," "No Mercy" and "Keith Don't Go," plus six new songs. Even with the new songs, there are no real revelations, only a selection of little gems that will certainly bring a smile to the face of any longtime Lofgren fan.
JACK JOHNSON - Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the film Curious George (2006) & En Concert (2009)
Jack Hody Johnson is an American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, record producer, documentary filmmaker and former professional surfer. Johnson is known primarily for his work in the soft rock and acoustic genres. In 2001, he achieved commercial success after the release of his debut album, Brushfire Fairytales. Johnson has reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart with his albums Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George in 2006, Sleep Through the Static in 2008, To the Sea in 2010, and From Here to Now to You in 2013. Johnson's In Between Dreams album peaked at number 2 on the chart in 2005 and again in 2013.
Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George is a soundtrack album by Jack Johnson and friends for the 2006 film Curious George. Along with Johnson, it features Adam Topol, Ben Harper, G. Love, Kawika Kahiapo, Matt Costa, Merlo Podlewski and Zach Gill. It was released on February 7, 2006, topping the U.S. Billboard Top 200, selling 149,000 copies in the process, and reaching #1 in the Australian albums (ARIA) chart in its debut week and in Canada on the Nielson Soundcan chart on the following February 25, remaining there for four consecutive weeks. This was the first soundtrack to make it to #1 since the Bad Boys II soundtrack in August 2003 and was the first soundtrack to an animated film to top the Billboard 200 since the Pocahontas soundtrack reigned for one week in July 1995.
Whether you love Jack Johnson, or find his amiable island charm a little too mild for your post-modern comfort, props must be given for his confidently re-creating a niche for acoustic singer/songwriter fare that had its heyday in the '70s. Not since then has a young artist seemed so comfortable projecting a sunny, angst-free persona, in service of a folk-derived, heart-centered musical agenda. His legions of multi-generational fans sest that the genre, which thrives on gentle charisma, prolific live appearances, and native comfort in concert settings both intimate and grand, was probably due for a revival. This live album (and accompanying DVD) captures Johnson performing for an adoring mob in his home state of Hawaii, as well as in San Francisco, Paris, Barcelona, New Hampshire, and other locales. Although the renditions here are mostly identical to the versions on his solo albums and numerous soundtracks, he gently breathes new life into them by retooling some of his best-loved numbers into crowd-pleasing medleys. This works to good effect on the album opener "Belle/Banana Pancakes," which pairs a featherweight bossa nova with a bluesy shuffle about domestic bliss, accompanied by roars of approval and recognition from a Parisian audience. Another skilled segue matches Johnson's lightly funky "Bubble Toes" with Charles Wright's '70s soul hit "Express Yourself" most likely the only shared reference in the respective repertoires of Jack Johnson and N.W.A and displays the singing surfer's earthy ease with an R&B groove. Considering the abundance of live Johnson recordings and the existence of the concurrent concert film, does it makes sense to buy this album? Fans and completists will want to own it anyway, but the additional pull for even casual listeners is that all proceeds from the CD's sales will benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation.
WHITESNAKE - The Purple Tour: Live (2018)
On The Purple Tour, Live, Whitesnake puts their distinctive spin on several songs from Coverdale’s studio albums with Deep Purple — Burn (1974), Stormbringer (1974), and Come Taste The Band (1975). Highlights include: “You Fool No One,” “The Gypsy” and “Soldier Of Fortune.” The double-disc collection also includes video footage of the concert mixed to 5.1 Surround Sound, plus a new music video for “Burn,” band interviews, and a number of bonus performances not available on the CD or vinyl versions. The Whitesnake line-up that appears on The Purple Tour, Live includes: singer David Coverdale, guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra, bassist Michael Devin, drummer Tommy Aldridge and keyboardist Michele Luppi. Coverdale says there was never any intention to compete against the original recordings. “We just wanted to play the damn songs… Each member of the band… brought their incredible individual talents and a real band identity to this music. We’ve all done the best we can with this project with respect to the music, and the legacy of Deep Purple Mk3 and Mk4.”
ALEX HARVEY - Shout:The Essential (2018)
Alexander James Harvey was a Scottish rock and blues musician. Although his career spanned almost three decades, he is best remembered as the frontman of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, with whom he built a reputation as an exciting live performer during the era of glam rock in the 1970s. His musical roots were in Dixieland jazz and skiffle music, which enjoyed considerable popularity in Britain during the late 1950s. From 1958 until 1965, he was the leader of Alex Harvey's Big Soul Band, playing blues and rock and roll songs and spending considerable time touring in the United Kingdom and Germany. He also won a competition that sought "Scotland's answer to Tommy Steele". Harvey became strongly identified with British rhythm and blues music, although he was equally able to play rock songs. In 1972, Harvey formed the Sensational Alex Harvey Band with guitarist Zal Cleminson, bassist Chris Glen, and cousins Hugh and Ted McKenna on keyboards and drums respectively, all previous members of progressive rock act Tear Gas. SAHB produced a succession of highly regarded albums and tours throughout the 1970s. The band never achieved acclaim in the United States the way it did in Great Britain, but it had a cult following in certain US cities, especially Cleveland, where the group first played at the Agora Ballroom in December 1974. Thanks to airplay from WMMS, songs like "Next" and "The Faith Healer" became very popular. Cleveland remained a city where the Sensational Alex Harvey Band had a devoted following. However, they were unable to replicate that popularity in most other US cities. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band had Top 40 hits in Britain with the single "Delilah", a cover version of the Tom Jones hit, which reached number seven in 1975, and also with "The Boston Tea Party" in June 1976. After Harvey left the group later that year, the other members continued as "SAHB… without Alex". Harvey re-joined the group for 1978's Rock Drill, but they disbanded shortly afterwards. Harvey died of heart failure on 4 February 1982.
MICK KOLASSA & FRIENDS - Double Standards (2018)
Mick Kolassa has assembled a collection of classic blues songs or his new album. Double Standards is a celebration of the greatest blues songs, performed as duets with some of his musical friends. Mick’s love of many blues styles is well known, and this album brings the listener a wide range of blues, from down home to classic Chicago to jazzy to blues rock, Mick and his friends bring you the many faces of the blues. As with the previous albums the proceeds from Double Standards will go to the Blues Foundation’s HART Fund and Generation Blues programs. Mississippi-based guitarist and vocalist Mick Kolassa gathers a bunch of his friends for duets in this set of blues standards. Blues is often rowdy and raucous, but here Kolassa and friends demonstrate how the idiom can be played with finesse and class, albeit rather casually. Kolassa has a deep voice perfectly suited for the blues and could carry this material quite easily by himself, yet the contrasts, the call and response, and the general rapport of the proceedings lifts his performances too. He says, “I learn more with every project and this one forced me to step up and stretch—I let my partners set the vocal style for the song and then worked to fit into their groove. What a blast!”.
MARCIA BALL - Shine Bright (2018)
Marcia Ball is an American blues singer and pianist raised in Vinton, Louisiana. She was described in USA Today as "a sensation, saucy singer and superb pianist... where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet." The Boston Globe described her music as "an irresistible celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana swamp rock and smoldering Texas blues from a contemporary storyteller.
A career-defining album produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. Marcia is simply on fire throughout, with an exuberant array of piano-fueled roadhouse romps seasoned by incomparably soulful ballads. Tracks include nine new Marcia originals, plus brilliant takes on the music of Ray Charles, Ernie K-Doe and Jesse Winchester. Producer/saxophonist Berlin guests on five tracks. "Rollicking, playful, good-time blues and intimate, reflective balladry...her songs ring with emotional depth" .
BETH HART - Front And Center [Live From New York] (2018)
On March 7th, 2017, GRAMMY-nominated songstress extraordinaire Beth Hart performed an intimate concert at NYC’s Iridium Jazz Club showcasing songs from her latest album Fire on the Floor and from throughout her career. The performance is also featured on the Season 8 premiere episode of Public Television’s critically acclaimed concert series, Front and Center (airing now, check local listings). Known for her visceral, soul-baring vocals and dynamic range, Hart is riding a creative tidal wave following the release of her critically acclaimed 2016 studio album, Fire On the Floor, as well as her just-released studio collaboration with guitarist Jon Bonamassa, Black Coffee. Recognized as one of the great vocalists of our time, she has conquered Billboard’s Blues Album Chart and received numerous GRAMMY and BluesMusic Awards nominations. Hart made a name for herself with a fistful of hit albums through the ’90s. She has reignited in the post-millennium as a solo artist and standout vocalist for guitar heroes like Joe Bonamassa, Slash, and long-time friend and collaborator Jeff Beck. But it’s in recent times that Beth has truly blossomed, selling out ever-larger venues in cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. Live From New York – Front And Center released as a 2-disc DVD/CD set, and mixed in 5.1 stereo. It features never before seen bonus material, including an exclusive interview with Hart. The audio from the performance will also be sold separately as a digital release.
HERMAN BROOD - My Way: The Hits (2001)
Hermanus "Herman" Brood was a Dutch musician and painter. As a musician he achieved artistic and commercial success in the 1970s and 1980s, and was called "the greatest and only Dutch rock 'n' roll star". Later in life he started a successful career as a painter. Known for his hedonistic lifestyle of "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll", Brood was an enfant terrible and a cultural figure whose suicide by jumping from a hotel roof, apparently influenced by a failure to kick his drug and alcohol habit, strengthened his controversial status; according to a poll organized to celebrate fifty years of Dutch popular music, it was the most significant event in its history.
My Way - The Hits is a posthumous compilation album with music by Dutch rock and roll and blues artist Herman Brood, released shortly after his suicide on 11 July 2001. The album produced a number one single, the first of Brood’s career: My Way reached number one on 18 August 2001.
On the Dutch album chart, the album reached #5 on 20 October 2001, and stayed on the chart for 57 weeks. The album was certified gold. This compilation includes all his biggest hits: Saturday Night, Never Be Clever, Als Je Wint, Sleepin' Bird and many more.
VAN HALEN - Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now (1993)
Live: Right Here, Right Now. is the first live album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released in 1993. It is the band's only live album featuring Sammy Hagar, and the only live album by Van Halen until the release of Tokyo Dome Live in Concert in 2015. The album combines songs performed over two nights in May 1992 at the Selland Arena in Fresno, CA. Most of the songs on this album were from the first night, such as the solos performed by Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar. There is much debate as to whether or not the songs on this album have been doctored in the studio, as the original 1992 broadcast of these songs from Cabo Wabo were much rawer and unmixed sounding and actually sounded as truer to the band's live sound than the recording that was ultimately released. The album contained only four David Lee Roth-era songs (including Van Halen's arrangement of "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks), and two songs from Sammy Hagar solo years. It also featured drum and bass solos and a cover of a song by The Who. As was the case with all tours with Hagar, the band focused on songs from the new album, Hagar's solo material and covers for the tour's duration. The then-current album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is very well represented, with ten of the eleven songs originally featured on that album. ("The Dream Is Over" was the only track not included on the album. Though it was included on the DVD release.)
JOHNNY RAWLS - Ace Of Spades (2009) & Waiting For The Train (2017)
Johnny Rawls is an American soul blues singer, guitarist, arranger, songwriter and record producer. He was influenced by the deep soul music of the 1960s, as performed by O. V. Wright, James Carr, and Z. Z. Hill, although his styling, production and lyrics are more contemporary in nature. To date, Rawls has released more than a dozen albums under his name. He has been nominated twelve times for a Blues Music Award.
Ace of Spades is the album that tops Johnny Rawls award winning Red Cadillac. Ace of Spades won Soul Album of the Year at the 2010 Blues Music Awards. Living Blues wrote Ace of Spades "is Johnny Rawls' most fully realized outing yet." Red Cadillac was the Living Blues Critics' Choice as Best Southern Soul Album of 2008. Nominated for Blues Music Awards Soul Blues Album of the Year, Red Cadillac was #1 on blues radio in August 2008 and stayed on the charts for 3 months. Ace of Spades is proof Rawls just gets better with age. Same songwriting team, same top studio musicians as Red Cadillac with the addition of former Motown studio guitarist and long-time LTD member Johnny McGhee plus former Rod Stewart band member Lance Keltner. This is what Stax and Motown would be turning out today if still in business. Johnny Rawls is the master of interpreting the song and these songs are solid. This is not a blues album but original songwriting performed by great musicians backing the reigning soul master of the new millenium.
Rawls, however, is not a traditional blues musician. His southern roots are often more firmly planted in soul, with branches extending into the blues. Such is the case with his latest project, Waiting For the Train. This is Rawl’s seventh in a string of highly successful albums on the Catfood label. He’s accompanied by his long time band, The Rays, featuring label owner Bob Trenchard on bass. Trenchard also co-wrote the album’s six original songs with Rawls, which are interspersed with four fine covers.
BARRY GOLDBERG - Barry Goldberg (1974) & It's All My Vault (2011)
Barry Goldberg was a regular fixture in the white blues firmament of the mid-'60s that seemed to stretch from Chicago to New York. A keyboardist (organ seemed to be his specialty), Barry was an in-demand session man he appears with Michael Bloomfield on a Mitch Ryder album, for instance along with Al Kooper and his blues-playing contemporary from the original Butterfield band, Mark Naftalin. Goldberg was a member of Charlie Musselwhite's first band, contributing great piano and organ lines to the Stand Back! album (his work on "Cristo Redentor" is moody and introspective, with a strong jazz-inflected feel, while still retaining strong blues roots) and a handful of others throughout the decade.
Produced by Bob Dylan (who also sings and plays percussion) and Jerry Wexler and spotlighting Barry Goldberg the songwriter (his keyboard playing usually stole the show), this 1974 LP won widespread praise but the version released has been haunting Barry for decades. The missing Muscle Shoals vocals have now finally been replaced; unreleased songs join Shady Hotel ; It s Not the Spotlight ; I ve Got to Use My Imagination (Barry wrote the Gladys Knight smash), and more. A long-awaited CD debut and restoration!
Barry Goldberg was a founding member of the band The Electric Flag with Nick Gravenites and Michael Bloomfield. You’ve heard his keyboard skills many times on the classic album, ‘Super Session’ with Al Kooper, Stephen Stills and Michael Bloomfield. He has produced many artists including Bob Dylan and has written many hit songs for artists like Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Gram Parsons, Steve Miller and Gladys Knight (#1 hit song – “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination”). He even played on the Mitch Ryder tune – “Devil With The Blue Dress.” Now, much to the elation of Barry Goldberg fans worldwide, ItsAboutMusic.com has released a new CD of rarities titled ‘It’s All My Vault’, featuring performances by Mick Taylor, Carla Olsen and Terry Reid. As for this album, the story is that Barry took a look around and found that he had all of these tunes just laying around in his “vault” so he turned them over to ItsAboutMusic.com so that all of his fans could now enjoy them. The label hopes it’s only volume one of this series and that he has many more tracks collecting dust that they can release in the future.
DISCLAIMER: The music found through this blog is intended for review purposes and should not be seen as a substitute for the original, legal, RIAA approved, record company enriching product. Please note that songs are available for VERY short amount of time. And if you like the music BUY IT. Please support the artists and buy as much as you can directly from them and cut out the middle man.
zinhof [at] gmail.com