GREG LAKE - Songs Of A Lifetime (2013)
Greg Lake, one of the key figures in the prog rock boom of the 1970s, has died at the age of 69. In a statement posted to Lake’s Facebook page, his manager, Stewart Young, said: “Yesterday, 7 December, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer. Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been. His family would be grateful for privacy during this time of their grief.”
Though best known as a third of the prog supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Lake first came to prominence as a founder member of King Crimson, singing and playing bass. He had worked with King Crimson’s leader, Robert Fripp, on unsuccessful projects such as the Shy Limbs, but King Crimson’s debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, proved to be a landmark in the emerging progressive style, reaching N0 5 in the UK and No 28 in the US after its release in 1969. Reviews, though, were mixed – the legendary US critic Robert Christgau called it “ersatz shit”. Nevertheless, its reputation grew until it was seen as an undisputed classic, with Pete Townshend of the Who calling it “an uncanny masterpiece”. Its standout song, 21st Century Schizoid Man, became a touchstone for musicians attracted as much by its sense of rage as its technical virtuosity. Although Lake appeared on King Crimson’s second album, he had already left the group to found ELP, alongside keyboard player Keith Emerson of the Nice and drummer Carl Palmer of Atomic Rooster. The group were an instant success, their first five studio albums all reaching the Top 1o in the UK, and their first seven going gold in the US. Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s reputation was damaged by the punk explosion of the late 70s, and they broke up in 1979. Lake had an unsettled 1980s musically, playing briefly with another supergroup of prog alumni, Asia, and forming a new ELP – Emerson, Lake and Powell, with Cozy Powell replacing Palmer. Lake worked as a solo artist, too, before the original ELP reunited in 1991 on an on-again, off-again basis.
TRACKS: 01. 21St Century Schizoid Man 02. Lend Me Your Love Tonight 03. Songs Of A Lifetime Tour Introduction 04. From The Beginning 05. Tribute To The King 06. Heartbreak Hotel 07. Epitaph / The Court Of The Crimson King 08. King Crimson Cover Story 09. I Talk To The Wind 10. Ringo And The Beatles 11. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away 12. Touch And Go 13. Trilogy 14. Still... You Turn Me On 15. Reflections Of Paris 16. C'est La Vie 17. My Very First Guitar 18. Lucky Man 19. People Get Ready 20. Karn Evil 9 1St Impression Part 2
GREG LAKE - Greg Lake (1981) & Manoeuvres (1983)
After the breakup of Emerson, Lake & Palmer in 1978, Greg Lake set out to launch a solo career. He teamed up with guitar virtuoso Gary Moore and enlisted the talents of Bruce Springsteen's sax player, Clarence Clemmons, as well as Toto veterans Steve Lukather, David Paich, and Jeff Porcaro. The result was his 1981 self-titled debut album. After more than a decade with prog-rock legends ELP and King Crimson, it is clear Lake was looking for a musical change and a chance to perform as a guitarist, his primary instrument, after more than a decade mainly playing bass. The album is a guitar driven venture into straight forward rock & roll which features well written songs and some sizzling guitar work by Gary Moore. Lake's voice soars, as it did with ELP, and we see that his guitar prowess is something too often hidden in the past. His skill as a producer is also evident as he brings out the power of each note with a big, energizing sound. There are probably Greg Lake fans who would not wish to see him take this path with the rest of his career, but you can definitely tell that he enjoyed stepping out, and it translates to a powerful and enjoyable album.
Manouevres was released in 1983 as the follow-up to Greg Lake's 1981 self-titled debut album. His core group of musicians (Gary Moore, Tristam Margetts, Tommy Eyre, and Ted McKenna) is still present, but Manoeuvres is a different sort of album than the '81 effort. The heavy, gritty, guitar-driven feel of the previous record is not quite as evident and this seems a more restrained album. Many, Greg Lake included, tend to sell this album short and that is a mistake. Perhaps sales were discouraging, but this is a well-crafted, well-performed album on which Lake seems to rely more on melody than he did in 1981. A few of the heavier numbers, such as the title track, are reminiscent of '81, but it is on the ballads that the album goes its own way. Lake shows why, through all of powerful and complex music of the ELP years, it was the ballads which always seemed to fair best commercially. He writes a good song like very few can, and the fact that he delivers every song with such fantastic vocal ability makes this album succeed. Definitely worth a second listen, Manoeuvres is more than it seems on the surface.
JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO - Milk and Honey (1984)
John Lennon (9 Oct. 1940 - 8 Dec. 1980)
Milk and Honey is an album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono released in 1984. It is Lennon's eighth and final studio album, and the first posthumous release of Lennon's music, having been recorded in the last months of his life during and following the sessions for their 1980 album Double Fantasy. It was assembled by Yoko Ono in association with the Geffen label. Milk and Honey was the duo's projected follow-up to Double Fantasy, though Lennon's death caused a temporary shelving of the project. It took Ono three years to be able to resume work to complete it. Ono's material largely comprises new recordings, which she undertook during the album's preparation in 1983, which give her songs a more commercial and contemporary edge. Conversely, Lennon's material, being rough takes and rehearsal recordings, has a more casual feeling.
TRACKS: 01. I'm Stepping Out 02. Sleepless Night 03. I Don't Wanna Face It 04. Don't Be Scared 05. Nobody Told Me 06. O' Sanity 07. Borrowed Time 08. Your Hands 09. (Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess 10. Let Me Count The Ways 11. Grow Old With Me 12. You're The One
URIAH HEEP - Chapter & Verse: The Uriah Heep Story (2005)
Now, this really is a chunk to bite off and chew. This six-disc overview of the long, winding, and confounding career of Uriah Heep (confounding that Mick Box and Lee Kerslake have managed to keep it afloat for nearly 40 years), is the first box to take into consideration all the permutations this dinosaur jernaut has been through. First, the box itself: a long box, containing the six music-packed CDs, a lavishly illustrated book with an exhaustive liner-note interview with Mick Box (the man who compiled this set, and the band's only constant member), Ken Hensley (member from 1969 -- 1980), and Lee Kerslake (left in 1979 and came back in 1981). Two of the band's founding members, vocalist David Byron and bassist Gary Thain are deceased due to self-destructive behaviors. There's also a groovy concert poster enclosed. (A DVD of concert footage would have been nice, but oh well.)
Disc one begins the tale with 12 tracks by Heep precursor bands such as the Gods, Spice, Toe Fat, Head Machine, and the Keef Hartley Band. Interestingly, this music, though it has its flaws, is utterly compelling, particularly the cuts by Spice -- the unreleased cut "Astranaza," and "Born in a Trunk" contain the earliest version of the sound the Heep would hone on Magicians Birthday and Demons and Wizards. The earliest UH material here is "Gypsy" and the previously unissued "Real Turned On" and "What's Within My Heart." It's frightening how the band has a sound a lot like the music Deep Purple would make in 1974. Hensley's keyboards against Box's roaring SG are devastating.
The Heep story continues through the glory years when they rang the bells at the higher reaches of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic through 1977, and into the demise and back again -- musically if not popularly. There are 14 unreleased studio cuts, in total, and a whopping sixth disc of live material, most of which has never been released before. Virtually every track a fan would want is here: "Sweet Lorraine," "The Magician's Birthday," "July Morning," "Look at Yourself," "Tears in My Eyes" (an unreleased alternate take), to "Easy Livin'," and "Stealin'," to "Sweet Freedom." The new cuts here, like the alternates of "Lady in Black," and "Why," are wonderful sit-ins for their originals.
It is true that the material on discs four and five can be dicey at times, but there is still plenty to love. Box did a fine job of keeping the dross of the albums from Different World through Sonic Origami at bay, but all is redeemed on disc six with the live material, showcasing the awesome power and sheer dynamic theatricality of a band that walked the line between hard rock, metal, and prog rock. Chapter and Verse is highly recommended for the faithful. All others be forewarned: the Heep might become an addictive, guilty pleasure as one of the consummate bands of the 1970s; they embodied everything wonderful about the rock decade as well as its tawdry, conceited excesses. - allmusic.com
STING - 57th & 9th (2016)
57th & 9th is the twelfth solo studio album by British singer-songwriter Sting, his first rock album in 13 years, released on 11 November 2016. It's been ages since Sting even seemed to conceive of himself as a rock artist, which is why his straight-ahead new LP is so surprising: 57th & 9th is a no-lute zone. You'd have to go all the way back to "Born in the 50's," from the very first Police album, to hear him sing over guitars as rough as the ones on the lonely-horn-dog anthem "I Can't Stop Thinking About You" or the no-frills driving banger "Petrol Head."
The highlight "50,000" offers a clue to this newfound urgency; over guitarist Dominic Miller's dark chords, Sting pays tribute to Prince, recalling ecstatic stadium shows, then flashes to a bathroom-mirror vision of his own mortality: "These lines of stress, one bloodshot eye/The unhealthy pallor of a troubled ghost." Desperation also comes through on "One Fine Day," a delicate plea for climate sanity, and the Middle East-tinged refugee's prayer "Inshallah." Elsewhere, he offers a kind of travelogue through his own musical past, from the Chaucer-y balladry of "Heading South on the Great North Road" to "If You Can't Love Me," a mordantly Kafkaesque echo of the jazz rock Sting made in the Eighties. Even if the album gets more ponderous as his concerns deepen, it's nice to see the king of pain flex a little.
TRACKS: 01. I Can't Stop Thinking About You 02. 50,000 03. Down, Down, Down 04. One Fine Day 05. Pretty Young Soldier 06. Petrol Head 07. Heading South On The Great North Road 08. If You Can't Love Me 09. Inshallah 10. The Empty Chair 11. I Can't Stop Thinking About You [La Version] 12. Inshallah [Berlin Sessions Version] 13. Next To You [Live With The Last Bandoleros]
AYNSLEY LISTER - Eyes Wide Open (2016)
Eyes Wide Open is Aynsley’s magnum opus, which sees him confidently pursuing his own musical path. Self-assured, inventive and richly-textured, Aynsley brings his 18 years of hard touring, 11 album releases (eight studio and three live) and all his experience as a musician to fruition on Eyes Wide Open. Aynsley’s previous opus, 2013’s Home garnered the guitar ace both Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year at the British Blues Awards. Eyes Wide Open is a bold, confident and accessible slice of contemporary blues-rock that promises to bring Aynsley yet more accolades as well as introduce his genre-blending sound to a new audience, building on the 100,000 albums he’s already sold worldwide.
The 39-year-old British guitarist says that this raw, energetic album is a return to his roots; a record that at its heart boasts all the grit of traditional blues. “I wanted to keep the raw edginess and energy of a band,” says Aynsley. “So that meant minimal takes and going with the ones that had the most spirit and passion over those with technical perfection. To me, music isn’t supposed to be perfect. It’s supposed to grab you and move you both emotionally and physically; it’s supposed to connect with you.”
TRACKS: 01. All Of Your Love 02. Everything I Have To Give 03. Il Grande Mafioso 04. Won't Be Taken Down 05. Time 06. Dishevelled 07. Troubled Soul (Intro) 08. Kalina 09. Handful Of Doubt 10. Right As Rain 11. Other Part Of Me 12. Stay 13. Hold You To It
ALI MAAS & MICKY MOODY - Black And Chrome (2016)
The Ali Maas and Micky Moody collaboration began in 2014 as a songwriting venture which has since evolved into the album Black & Chrome. It is more than a coincidence that one of Ali’s early influences as a singer was David Coverdale at the time when Micky was guitarist with the original Whitesnake. The results of this union, however, are not based on any form of classic rock, but more from a shared admiration of blues, soul, Americana, swampy rhythms and captivating melodies. Aside from his well-documented time with Whitesnake, Micky was also a member of Juicy Lucy, Snafu, Frankie Miller’s Full House, Roger Chapman and the Shortlist, The Moody Marsden Band, The Company of Snakes, M3 and Snakecharmer. He has also been a very active session musician, author and creator of library music.
TRACKS: 01. Horse Or A Harley 02. Why Does A Man 03. Hanging On A Chain 04. Same Blues, Different Day 05. A Change In Everything 06. Taking Me Home 07. Do Some Time 08. Farewell To All The Sad Songs 09. Here I Stay 10. Hell Bent 11. (Now I Got My) Mojo Back
CHICAGO - Quadio (2016)
Hot on the heels of Chicago's recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the celebration of the legendary "rock band with horns" musical legacy continues with a boxed set that includes quadraphonic and stereo mixes in high resolution 192/24 DTS-HD Master Audio on nine Blu-ray Audio discs. Housed in a rigid two-piece box, nine albums are presented in sleeves that replicate the original release down to the last detail, including mini posters, and the iron-on that came with Chicago VIII. To ensure optimal sound quality, Rhino has remastered each album in both its original quadrophonic and stereo mix on each disc, and so that the quadrophonic mix will play on surround sound systems.
Chicago - Quadio spans seven years and includes eight studio albums, in addition to Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits. The group's long string of jazz-rock mega hits includes: "Make Me Smile," "Saturday In The Park," "25 Or 6 To 4," "Feelin' Stronger Every Day," "If You Leave Me Now," and many more.
ROSSINGTON - Take It On Faith (2016)
It's been a long time, 36 years, in fact, since Gary Rossington has released music outside of Lynyrd Skynyrd. But it was fan, and even band, demand that convinced he and his wife, Skynyrd backing vocalist Dale Krantz-Rossington, to record Take It On Faith The 12-track "Take It On Faith" was produced by David Z (Prince, Buddy Guy, Etta James), who assembled a lineup of players that included the late Richie Hayward (of Little Feat fame), Delbert McClinton, Bekka Bramlett, Double Trouble keyboardist Reese Winans and others, as well as songs co-written by Gary Nicholson and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. And if the Rossington Collins Band felt like an extension of Skynyrd, this group of players made for a very separate kind of musical environment. "It was different than Skynyrd," Rossington notes. "The personalities were different, so it sounds different. Nothing was worked up; We just kind of went in and did it." Krantz-Rossington adds, "These studio guys, they have that extra blessing from God that they can pick it up so fast. A lot of these are pretty much live tracks. I was singing in a little closet next to them and they just played 'em one time through with more feeling than you'd ever believe. I can't tell you how impressed we are with this bunch that came to us." Take It On Faith was originally designed to be a blues album, and the bluesier tracks were among the first recorded. But, Krantz-Rossington says, "As the different songs came in we just couldn't pass them up. Some were really fun and silly, some were cookin' pretty good and some were just sweet, slow songs."
KATE BUSH - Before The Dawn (2016)
Kate Bush always exploited technological advancement. In 1979, from just coathangers and Blu-Tack, the trailblazing British pop auteur pioneered the head mic for her vanguard Tour of Life. Her subsequent albums made her one of the earliest adopters of the Fairlight synthesizer that would define the ’80s. Before the Dawn, then, is a surprising throwback: the unexpurgated live album, a document of her 2014 live shows, her first in 35 years. There are no retakes or overdubs bar a few atmospheric FX. No apps, no virtual reality, no interactivity. She’s also said there won’t be a DVD, which is surprising given the show’s spectacular theatrics, conceived by the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a host of designers, puppeteers, and illusionists. The show, and this release, aren’t credited to Kate Bush but the KT Fellowship, in recognition of the vast ensemble effort. Yet in shucking off half the production, this hefty 155-minute, three-disc set (one per “act”) is also the best way that Before the Dawn could have been preserved, allowing it to tell its own story uninhibited by the busy staging.
This 155-minute, three-disc live album documents Kate Bush’s spectacular 2014 live shows, her first in 35 years. She reckons with her legacy through what might seem like an obscure setlist.
THE ROLLING STONES - Blue & Lonesome (2016)
As Keith Richards tells it, the Rolling Stones' first-ever all-blues album is the result of the band learning how to play in the unfamiliar surroundings of Mark Knopfler's British Grove Studios. To ease into the new place, the Stones decided to knock out a version of Little Walter's "Blue and Lonesome" and it sounded good enough that the band decided to cut a few more covers, winding up with a full album of Chicago blues in a few days. The Stones haven't worked at such swift speed in decades – not since the early '60s, when they were churning out two albums a year – and much of the appeal of Blue & Lonesome lies in its casualness: by being tossed off, the album highlights how the Stones play together as a band, blending instinct and skill. Blue & Lonesome isn't a showcase for virtuoso playing – even Eric Clapton's two smoldering solos are part of the tapestry – but rather a groove record, emphasizing feel and interplay while never losing sight of the song. Such commitment to song is one of the reasons Blue & Lonesome winds up as an unexpected triumph from Mick Jagger. A blues album from the Stones always seemed like a dream project for Keith Richards, who always championed the band's blues roots, but it's Jagger who dominates the album, playing searing harp and singing with nuance and power. Always a guarded performer – back in 1974, he scoffed at the notion of letting his feelings flood on the page – Jagger seems freed, pouring heart into the slow burners and uptempo shuffles alike. The rest of the Stones match his commitment and that's what makes Blue & Lonesome something remarkable. Conceptually, it's clever – if this winds up being the last Rolling Stones album, it provides a nice bookend to their 1964 debut – but it's artistically satisfying because it's the Rolling Stones allowing themselves to simply lay back and play for sheer enjoyment. It's a rare thing that will likely seem all the more valuable over the years.
ERIC CLAPTON - No Reason To Cry (1976) & Backless (1978) [from HMCDs]
No Reason to Cry is a 1976 album by Eric Clapton, released for both Polydor and RSO records. The album was recorded at The Band's Shangri-la Studios in March 1976, and included involvement from all five members; Rick Danko shared vocals with Clapton on "All Our Past Times," which he co-wrote with Clapton. The album also includes a duet with Bob Dylan on his otherwise unreleased song "Sign Language." The booklet in Bob Dylan's box set The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 describes his involvement in this album: "Dylan dropped by and was just hanging out, living in a tent at the bottom of the garden. He would sneak into the studio to see what was going on. Dylan offered his new, unrecorded song "Seven Days" to Clapton. Clapton passed on it, but Ron Wood took him up on the offer and released it on his third solo album Gimme Some Neck". The song "Innocent Times" is sung by Marcy Levy, who also shared vocals with Clapton on "Hungry." Female vocals are also on many of the other songs. Yvonne Elliman, who is thanked on the back cover, sang on some of the songs too.
TRACKS: 01. Beautiful Thing 02. Carnival 03. Sign Language 04. County Jail Blues 05. All Our Past Times 06. Hello Old Friend 07. Double Trouble 08. Innocent Times 09. Hungry 10. Black Summer Rain 11. Last Night
Backless is a 1978 album by Eric Clapton. Produced by Glyn Johns, and released by Polydor Records, Backless reached No. 8 on the pop charts. While the single "Promises" only reached No. 37 in the UK, it was a much bigger success in the US, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard charts. The follow-up single, "Watch Out for Lucy", was the B-side of "Promises", but reached #40 on the Billboard charts on its own merit.
TRACKS: 01. Walk Out In The Rain 02. Watch Out For Lucy 03. I'll Make Love To You Anytime 04. Roll It 05. Tell Me That You Love Me 06. If I Don't Be There By Morning 07. Early In The Morning 08. Promises 09. Golden Ring 10. Tulsa Time
MUDDY WATERS - Electric Mud (1968)  & After The Rain (1969) 
Electric Mud is the fifth studio album by Muddy Waters, with Rotary Connection serving as his backing band. Released in 1968, it imagines Muddy Waters as a psychedelic musician. Producer Marshall Chess sested that Muddy Waters record experimental, psychedelic blues tracks with members of Rotary Connection in an attempt to revive the blues singer's career. The album peaked at #127 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. It was controversial for its fusion of electric blues with psychedelic elements, but was influential on psychedelic rock bands of the era.
TRACKS: 01. I Just Want To Make Love To You 02. I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man 03. Let's Spend The Night Together 04. She's Alright 05. Mannish Boy 06. Herbert Harper's Free Press News 07. Tom Cat 08. The Same Thing
After the Rain is the sixth studio album by Muddy Waters, a follow-up to the previous years' Electric Mud and sharing many of the musicians from that album. Unlike Electric Mud, After the Rain contained mostly his own compositions and the songs, while still distorted, are less overtly psychedelic.
TRACKS: 01. I Am The Blues 02. Ramblin' Mind 03. Rollin' And Tumblin' 04. Bottom Of The Sea 05. Honey Bee 06. Blues And Trouble 07. Hurtin' Soul 08. Screamin' And Cryin'
THE NICE - America: The BBC Sessions (1996) & Five Bridges (1970) [Remastered With Bonus Tracks, 2009]
The Nice were an English progressive rock band active in the late 1960s. They blended rock, jazz and classical music and were keyboardist Keith Emerson's first commercially successful band.
This collection of previously unreleased BBC session recordings, made from 1967 to 1970, has no better than bootleg sound quality, but fans will enjoy it nonetheless. The performances are good, with Keith Emerson showing off his furious technique, and four songs are featured that the band never released elsewhere. Two are presumably originals, and two are jazz covers; Roy Harper guests on Sonny Rollins's "St. Thomas," singing words he wrote at the session, and the track here called "Sombrero King" is actually a version of Charles Lloyd's "Sombrero Sam." The latter track is the only one in the collection that features guitarist Davy O'List. "Little Arabella" is a pointless inclusion, as it's identical to the album version on Ars Longa Vita Brevis, and "Happy Freuds" sounds like just a remix of its album counterpart, but aside from that this is a worthwhile addition to the Nice catalog.
The album Five Bridges was released in May 1970 and would prove to be the most commercially successful album by the band to date. The album featured highlights of the Fairfield Hall concert, alongside a recording of 'Country Pie / Brandenburg Concerto No. 6' recorded at the Fillmore East in December 1970 and the studio track 'One of Those People'. This newly expanded and remastered edition of the album adds the Fairfield Hall concert encore as a bonus track, alongside a previously unreleased studio overdubbed version of 'Country Pie' from the Fillmore East and the April 1970 BBC radio session version of 'Five Bridges'.
GEORGE HARRISON - All Things Must Pass (1970) [Remastered 30th Anniversary Edition, 2001]
Born on February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, England, George Harrison formed a band with schoolmates to play clubs around Liverpool and in Hamburg, Germany. The Beatles became the biggest rock band in the world, and Harrison's diverse musical interests took them in many directions. Post-Beatles, Harrison made acclaimed solo records and started a film production company. He died of cancer on this day in November 2001.
It's hard to imagine, but Beatles resident mystic George Harrison has arguably become the band's most curmudgeonly cynic. We offer as evidence this splendidly remastered 30th-anniversary edition of his 1970 multidisc solo epic. If the mini-boxed set's booklet and twin inner CD sleeves won't convince you (the album's familiar cover is colorized and altered to include backdrops of a freeway-tangled cityscape and nuclear reactor cooling towers, respectively), then maybe his liner-note apology for Phil Spector's "big production" (kind of like Da Vinci grousing about Mona's crooked smile) or his laconic, stripped-down, 2000 rethink of "My Sweet Lord" will. With such a mindset, it's unsurprising Harrison has allowed a nearly decade-and-a-half gap to grow between recordings. Still, no amount of grumpy auto-revisionism can subtract from the admittedly overwrought majesty of these tracks, which were the logical sonic extension of Abbey Road. It remains Harrison's unequaled masterpiece. The devolved "My Sweet Lord" aside, the bonus tracks here offer new insight: the unreleased "I Live for You" further highlights the album's oft overlooked country facet; spare takes of "Beware of Darkness" and "Let It Down" underscore the strength of Harrison's songwriting; an alternate backing track of "What Is Life" demonstrates the meticulousness of Spector's production. And then there's the project's truly stellar session lineup, which included Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman, Jim Gordon, Dave Mason, Badfinger, Billy Preston, Ginger Baker, Carl Radle, Gary Brooker, Jim Price, Bobby Keys, Pete Drake and, it turns out, even Phil Collins!
The most monumental of all the Beatles solo projects-and one of the most critically and commercially successful George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" here receives a complete make-over, with a complete new remastering and five new bonus tracks!
GEORDIE - The Albums (2016)
Before Brian Johnson was in (& then out) of AC/DC, there was a little band called Geordie who were lucky enough to employ him before he was catapulted into the stratosphere. All 5 albums are housed in a clamshell case & each CD cardboard sleeve has faithful artwork of the original album covers. The full colour booklet has an essay written by Mike Gent, which I have to say is pretty extensive.
Five CD round up of pretty much everything recorded by early 70's glam hard rockers Geordie. Includes their four official studio albums - Hope You Like It, Don't Be Fooled By The Name, Save The World and the rare No Good Woman - plus a fifth disc of re-recordings by vocalist Brian Johnson. The 20 page booklet comes complete with a detailed history of the band plus loads of pictures of all relevant record releases including many overseas issues to get the collectors updating their want lists! You can't talk about Geordie without mentioning vocalist Brian Johnson who went onto fame as the frontman of AC/DC whom he joined in 1980 and debuted on the mega-selling Back In Black album.
PINK FLOYD - Cre / ation - The Early Years 1967-1972 (2016)
A double-disc distillation of the massive box The Early Years 1965-1972, The Early Years 1967-1972 condenses that 28-disc set into a 27-track compilation. Naturally, most of the real rarities remain exiled to the big box, but that's fair: only the diehards will recognize the importance of Floyd's collaboration with artist John Latham. Instead, The Early Years 1967-1972 tells the same tale as The Early Years 1967-1972 but in an easily digestible form. The double-disc relies relatively heavily on familiar songs - it opens with "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play," perhaps the two best-known Syd Barrett songs, and finds space for "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" and "Free Four" - but what distinguishes 1967-1972 is that it's the first early Floyd compilation to trace their journey from Barrett's warped psychedelia to the majestic art rock of the early '70s. Some essential songs are missing - this doesn't sample the albums, after all, so songs as varied as "Astronomy Domine," "Let There Be More Light," and "One of These Days" are all absent - but the repetition of "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" and "Embryo" illustrates how the band rapidly gained confidence and ambition, which is essentially the story of this compilation and its parent set. Certainly, the details of the box are missed, but on its own terms, The Early Years 1967-1972 is absorbing: it illustrates how Pink Floyd became Pink Floyd.
RICK DANKO - Rick Danko (1977) & Times Like These & Live On Breeze Hill [Memorial Edition] (2001)
Rick Danko was - and will forever be known as - one of the three singing members of the Band, as well as their bassist. Their principal lead singer on the first album, he was second of the members to join the group back in its days backing Ronnie Hawkins, and the second of its members to pass away. He was born Richard Clare Danko on December 29, 1942, in Greens Corner, Ontario, Canada, near the town of Simcoe. The latter is in a part of Ontario populated by a large number of families descended from expatriate Southerners from the United States, and the echoes of Southern culture ran through the music and language in the area, with a special emphasis on country music. Danko's whole family played or sang, and he was playing banjo for his classmates as early as the first grade. As a boy, he listened to Hank Williams, among other country artists of the late '40s and early '50s, in addition to gospel and R&B, with Sam Cooke and Fats Domino both strong influences during his teen years. He gave up school to go into music full-time when he was in his mid-teens, and made the jump to the big time -- relatively speaking -- by joining Hawkins' backing band, the Hawks, at age 17. Guitarist Robbie Robertson was already a member of a couple of years' standing at that point, and Danko was initially the group's rhythm guitarist, but he soon learned to play bass and switched to the four-string instrument. He not only mastered the electric bass but also the upright acoustic bass, and became an amazingly accomplished player on both instruments at a very young age....
2-CD Rick Danko set, released in Japan in 2002. Disc 1 is identical to the 2001 posthumous solo album Times Like These. Disc 2 contains the 1999 live album Live on Breeze Hill from The Rick Danko Band, with two tracks added at the end: "Blind Willie McTell" from 1997's In Concert and a "radio mix" version of "Sip the Wine." The latter is simply an edit of the studio version, which is the first track on disc 2.
THE GUESS WHO - Guess Who's Back (1978) & All This For A Song (1979)
This 1978 album features neither the "definitive" Burton Cummings-era Guess Who nor the group of hacks that original member Jim Kale (who trademarked the band name, I believe) kept out on the county fair circuit for a number of years after the first band folded in the mid-Seventies. Instead we get Kale aided by the interstellar Kurt Winter, who made most of the post-Randy Bachman Guess Who albums soar with his great lead guitaring and his equally great songwriting, and by second guitar Donnie McDougall, who was with the Guess Who with Winter in the early Seventies. They're joined by drummer Vance Masters, who was previously with Winter in Brother, an early Seventies power trio from the Guess Who's stomping grounds in Winnipeg, and Rob Ingles as a third guitarist.
Doug Yule had no right to put the Velvet Underground name on the U.K. album Squeeze; half of Creedence Clearwater Revival and a fifth of the Cars is not Creedence or the Cars. Veteran bassist Jim Kale certainly has paid his dues. But 1971's Brave Belt with Chad Allen and Randy Bachman had more of a right to use the name than Kale and Don McDougal, McDougal having joined the band in 1972 when Kale left! That being said, how does this album rate on its own? Well, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman wrote the hits, and sustained a career beyond the Guess Who. Live, this band was a competent cover act (with even more changing faces), but tunes like "C'Mon Little Mama," "Raising Hell on the Prairies," "It's Getting Pretty Bad," even a melody like "That's the Moment," they simply miss the mark. This is a great example of how important the creative force of a star, an egomaniac with great ideas and tons of attitude, is to the construction of important art. This is as much the Guess Who as a bottle of cola is a box of Cheerios. And when you go to the supermarket to buy Cheerios you expect to get what you want. If you splashed All This for a Song, new album by one of the guitarists for the Guess Who and their original bass player, you would get high marks for accuracy. Kurt Winter, one of Randy Bachman's replacements, co-wrote three tunes with McDougal, Kale, and drummer Vance Masters, one being the title track "All This for a Song," but it is more like "All the kings horses, didn't the Kingsmen go through this?" In June of 1983, Garry Peterson, Jim Kale, Burton Cummings, and Randy Bachman recorded, with producer Jack Richardson, an album called Reunion which was sold on TV. There are touching liner notes by Bachman, who performs on tunes made famous by his replacements. Now that is legitimate Guess Who music. This is a tough listen, important only because it documents a couple of members of a band in flux.
GRAHAM BONNET BAND - The Book (2016)
Graham Bonnet is a hard rock legend with the pedigree to back that statement up. His stints with Rainbow, MSG, Alcatrazz, and Impellitteri prove he is one of the finest rock vocalists of his generation. This new studio album offers 11 new songs where Bonnet lays down his inimitable vocals over a selection of tunes full of great hooks and melodies. "The songs on the album are very similar to what I have done in the past with Rainbow, Alcatrazz and MSG," says Graham. "I think this is what people want to hear from me and won't be disappointed." The GBB has spent the last 12 months touring solidly around the world, with performances at several major European festivals.
Includes a bonus disc featuring re-recorded versions of all the best songs he has sung in his career.
ROBBIE ROBERTSON - Testimony (2016)
With songs like "The Weight" and "Up on Cripple Creek," songwriter/guitarist Robbie Robertson and his partners in the Band introduced a music lexicon, one soaked in the mythology of the Old South, that has influenced countless musicians. In this remarkable memoir, Robertson weaves together his rollicking years with rockabilly Ronnie Hawkins; the Band?s formation and trial-by-fire supporting Bob Dylan on his ?66 world tour, and the cloistered sessions leading to their unique sound. He recounts catapulting to fame and takes us through the astonishing album run that culminated in The Last Waltz farewell concert. Testimony is the story of seismic 1960s change, of how Dylan and the Band redefined culture, and of the profound friendship between five men who created music that still fascinates us.
BOB WEIR - Blue Mountain (2016)
Before they became avatars of the hippie counterculture, the Grateful Dead’s members honed their skills through traditional American music. Frontman Jerry Garcia taught banjo lessons in the early ’60s. Freewheeling sideman Ron “Pigpen” McKernan earned his stripes playing in folk and jug bands. And Bob Weir who formed Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions with Garcia and McKernan a couple years before creating the Grateful Dead played guitar around the campfire as a teenager ranching during summers on the Wyoming frontier. A half-century later, Weir’s latest solo album, Blue Mountain, brims with a dozen lived-in cowboy tunes that honor his deepest musical roots.
It’s logical that the 68-year-old Weir would return to contemplative Americana late in his career. The Dead’s dual 1970 masterpieces, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, are steeped in country, folk, and bluegrass, and over their three-decade touring career the band commonly covered songs by Jesse Fuller, Sonny Boy Williamson, Merle Haggard, and other seminal American artists. But the way Weir updates the style for a modern audience, while retaining its inherent, timeless spookiness, is remarkable. Weir’s collaborators the National’s noted Dead acolytes Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner, Scott Devendorf, that band’s frequent collaborator Josh Kaufman, and versatile folk songwriter Josh Ritter help to give Blue Mountain a contemporary sheen, without overpowering the traditional current that permeates the album.
TRACKS: 01. Only a River 02. Cottonwood Lullaby 03. Gonesville 04. Lay My Lily Down 05. Gallop on the Run 06. Whatever Happened to Rose 07. Ghost Towns 08. Darkest Hour 09. Ki-Yi Bossie 10. Storm Country 11. Blue Mountain 12. One More River to Cross
RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW - Memories In Rock: Live In Germany (2016)
On 18 November 2016, Eagle Rock Entertainment release “Memories In Rock – Live In Germany” by Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Filmed this year, this film captures the long awaited return to rock music for guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Filmed in high definition this jaw-dropping set includes Catch The Rainbow, Mistreated, Since You Been Gone, Black Night, Spotlight Kid, Smoke On The Water, Stargazer, Perfect Strangers and more! In June 2016 legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore made many long held dreams come true for his fans as Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow played three concerts in Europe, two in Germany and one in England. The two German shows at Loreley and Bietigheim were caught on camera to produce this concert film “Memories In Rock”. The setlist, combining classic tracks from both Deep Purple and Rainbow, was exactly what the fans had wished for. As a bonus all formats bar 3LP also boast a quartet of tracks recorded on an alternative night, namely: Spotlight Kid, Man On The Silver Mountain, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll and Stargazer. The band line-up for this incredible show featured Ritchie Blackmore (Guitar); Ronnie Romero (Vocals); David Keith (Drums); Bob Nouveau (Bass); Jens Johansson (Keyboards); Candice Night (Backing Vocals); Lady Lynn (Backing Vocals).
PAVLOV'S DOG - House Broken Live (2016)
Formed in St Louis, Missouri, in 1972 Pavlov’s Dog were a brief starburst in the 1970's prog constellation, recording three albums between 1975 and their dissolution in 1977, and even in that short period seeing a number of players – including Bill Bruford and Reo Speedwagon guitarist Steve Scorfina – pass through the ranks. Like many bands in the era their sound was built around an armoury of lead guitar, organ, piano, synthesizer, mellotron, flute, and violin. Reformed briefly in 1990, and then dormant again until 2004 only vocalist/guitarist David Surkamp remains from the original line up, but his quite unique love or hate vocal style (think a young emotive Geddy Lee with a distinctive warble, and on speed) was central to the band’s sound. Since 2004 the band has been pretty active touring Europe, again with a revolving door of players with about half of the current line-up of David Surkamp (vocals, guitar), Abbie Steriling (violin, mandolin, vocals), Amanda McCoy (guitar, vocals), Manfred Plötz (drums), Rick Steiling (bass), Nathan Jatcko (keyboards), and Sara Surkamp (acoustic guitar, vocals) featured on the band’s fourth studio album Echo & Boo (2010).
Recorded in Nuremberg, Germany in October 2015 this rather nice DVD/2-CD set captures a stellar performance including the full 132 minute gig, featuring 24 songs from across the band’s catalogue, two songs from Surkamp’s 2007 solo album Dancing On The Edge Of A Teacup, one from his eighties band Hi-Fi, and three previously unreleased numbers.
THE NOEL REDDING BAND - Clonakilty Cowboys (1975) & Blowin' (1976) 
The Noel Redding Band (also known as The Clonakilty Cowboys, after the title of their debut album) were an English-Irish folk rock supergroup that formed in Clonakilty, County Cork in 1974. Comprising bassist, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Noel Redding (formerly of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fat Mattress and Road), vocalist and keyboardist Dave Clarke, lead guitarist Eric Bell (formerly of Thin Lizzy and Them) and drummer Les Sampson (formerly of Road), the band released two albums – Clonakilty Cowboys (1975) and Blowin' (1976) – before disbanding in 1978. After his group Fat Mattress split up in 1970, Redding joined the Los Angeles-based group Road, which released a self-titled album before disbanding in 1972. Following this, Redding decided to form an eponymous band, working again with Road drummer Les Sampson. Redding also hired vocalist and keyboardist Dave Clarke and, later, former Thin Lizzy guitarist Eric Bell, who at first expressed doubts about the quality of Redding's written material. During a hiatus following the release of their second album in 1976, Les Sampson departed and was replaced by Dave Donovan (ex-Roy Wood). This incarnation of the band toured Holland and disbanded in late 1978. The band, like others formed by Redding, was relatively short-lived, releasing two albums in 1975 and 1976 before splitting up in 1978.
MIKE ZITO - Make Blues Not War (2016)
This is Zito’s 13th album overall– the last three of which he recorded with his band, the Wheel– and he continues to forge his own career, having left Royal Southern Brotherhood in 2014. He enlisted the support of Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy) for this project, which had been talked about for a while. Hambridge also co-penned nine tunes with his regular writing partner, Richard Fleming, or with Zito. “It was time,” Zito says, “to get back to the blues and playing my guitar. Tom and I had spoken about making a kick ass blues-rock album for years. I like having fun and cutting loose that’s what this album is all about.” The assembled musicians include Hambridge’s Nashville cohorts Rob McNelley on guitar, Tommy MacDonald on bass and keyboard whiz Kevin McKendree on most tunes. Check out his piano chops on “Chip Off the Block.” Walter Trout guests on “Highway Mama,” and harmonica ace Jason Ricci on the title track and “One More Train.” “Interestingly, as Mike puts it, “Chip Off The Block” was written for my oldest son, Zach Zito, who is the featured guitarist on this track. It’s his first introduction into the music world and he did a great job. I couldn’t be more proud of him. He graduates college next spring and joins me on tour in summer I can’t wait.” The slower “Road Dog” is the most serious song on the album and has perhaps the best guitar solo. I also find a similarity in that he nods to Luther Allison in “Bad News Is Coming” just as fellow ex-RSB bandmate Devon Allman did on his solo outing, Ragged and Dirty, also produced by Hambridge.
TRACKS: 01. Highway Mama 02. Wasted Time 03. Redbird 04. Crazy Legs 05. Make Blues Not War 06. On The Road 07. Bad News Is Coming 08. One More Train 09. Girl Back Home 10. Chip Off The Block 11. Road Dog 12. Route 90
SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS - Soul Time! (2011) & Give The People What They Want (2014)
Sharon Lafaye Jones (May 4, 1956 – November 18, 2016) was an American soul and funk singer. She was the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, a soul and funk band based in Brooklyn, New York. Jones experienced breakthrough success relatively late in life, releasing her first record when she was 40 years old. In 2014, Jones was nominated for her first Grammy, in the category Best R&B Album, for Give the People What They Want. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings are an American funk and soul band signed to Daptone Records. They are spearheads of a revivalist movement that aims to capture the essence of funk and soul music as it was at its height in the mid-1960s to mid-1970s. In December 2014, the band was nominated for their first Grammy, in the category Best R&B Album of the Year for Give the People What They Want.
METALLICA - Hardwired... To Self Destruct [Deluxe Edition] (2016)
It's been eight years since Metallica's last studio album. But that's small change next to their long haul to this two-disc resurrection: via the jagged apocalypse of 1988's ...And Justice for All and the focused brawn of 1991's Metallica. The mostly epic-length tracks – almost entirely written by drummer Lars Ulrich and singer-guitarist James Hetfield – are melodically assured furies of serial riffing and tempo shocks. "Hardwired," "Atlas, Rise!" and "Now That We're Dead" are relentless whirls of tribal chug and hyper-thrash, braking hard at the title chorus lines. One striking passage: bassist Robert Trujillo's foreboding glide in front of "ManUNkind." Guitarist Kirk Hammett's torrid wah-wah solos affirm his standing as heavy metal's most tuneful arsonist. And after working out his interior rage earlier in this century, Hetfield is on vintage lyric ground in the wastelands here: the false-idol worship in "Halo on Fire" and "Moth Into Flame"; the cycles of arrogance and inhumanity that breed payback in "Here Comes Revenge." In the blitzkrieg "Spit Out the Bone," Hetfield imagines an earth cleansed of man by the technology we crave. If you listen on your phone, be very afraid.
DISC 1: 01. Hardwired 02. Atlas Rise! 03. Now That Were Dead 04. Moth Into Flame 05. Dream No More 06. Halo On Fire
DISC 2: 01. Confusion 02. ManUNkind 03. Here Comes Revenge 04. Am I Savage 05. Murder One 06. Spit Out The Bone
DISC 3: 01. Lords Of Summer 02. Ronnie Rising Medley (feat. A Light In The Black Tarot Woman Stargazer And Kill The King) 03. When A Blind Man Cries 04. Remember Tomorrow 05. Helpless (Live) 06. Hit The Lights (Live) 07. The Four Horsemen (Live) 08. Ride The Lightning (Live) 09. Fade To Black (Live) 10. Jump In The Fire (Live) 11. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Live) 12. Creeping Death (Live) 13. Metal Militia (Live) 14. Hardwired (Live)
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA - Live At Winterland '76 (1998) & Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra (2012)
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are an English rock band from Birmingham. They were formed in 1970 by songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne with drummer Bev Bevan. Their music is characterized by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography. After Wood's departure in 1972, Lynne became the group's leader, arranging and producing every album while writing virtually all of their original material.
Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra (also known as Mr. Blue Sky) is a 2012 greatest hits compilation album by Electric Light Orchestra. The album features all new recordings of some of the group's hits, as well as two bonus tracks: a new song, "Point of No Return", and a live recording of "Twilight" on Japanese releases. The album debuted at number 8 in the UK charts.
Live at Winterland '76 is a live album by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) released in 1998. Recorded in 1976 during the band's Face the Music Tour, this album, along with 1974's The Night the Light Went On in Long Beach are two official releases of the band performing live. Bassist Kelly Groucutt features prominently, taking over lead vocal duty on some tracks. The album also gives the listener a rare opportunity to hear the "Eldorado Suite" performed live (although "Poorboy (The Greenwood)" was edited out of the Suite on this release), plus a live version of The Move's only US hit "Do Ya" before it was re-recorded by the band for their 1976 album A New World Record. This album also excludes the cello solo by Hugh McDowell and the violin solo by Mik Kaminski.
BEE GEES - Mythology [The 50th Anniversary Collection] (2010)
Curated and produced by Barry and Robin Gibb, Mythology contains four discs, each spotlighting a different Gibb brother, including one dedicated to Andy, who was not part of the group. The songs were chosen by Barry, Robin, Maurice's widow Yvonne and Andy's daughter Peta. "These are pretty much our personal favorites," Barry explains in the liner notes, which were written by the family. "This is now the Bee Gees 50th Anniversary. And by the Bee Gees I mean all four brothers." "I always see our songs as 'just us three brothers' having a good time," adds Robin Gibb. "When I look back now, it is more about the journey, not the arrival." Mythology also features a scrapbook of family photos, many never-before published, along with tributes from artists such as George Martin, Brian Wilson, Elton John, Graham Nash and the band's longtime manager Robert Stigwood.
Spanning the Bee Gees' five-decade career, the set's 81 tracks touch on several of the group's best-known hits. But mainly, the collection digs into the Bee Gees' vast catalog to highlight deep tracks such as the early single "Spicks And Specks" (1966); the title track from the 1969 concept album Odessa; the single B-side "Country Woman" (1971); "Spirits Having Flown" (1979) the title track from the 35-million selling album; "Overnight" (1987) from the multi-platinum ESP; "Closer Than Close" (1997) from Still Waters; and "Man In The Middle" (2001) from the Bee Gees 20th and final studio album before Maurice's passing in 2003. Mythology also features the debut of a pair of previously unreleased Maurice Gibb tracks - "Angel Of Mercy" and "The Bridge."
The final disc spotlights Andy Gibb, who was not a member of Bee Gees, but worked with his brothers throughout his career before his death in 1988 at the age of 30. The compilation opens with "Shadow Dancing" (1978), a #1 smash co-written by all four brothers that appeared on Andy's second album. Nearly all of the songs from his 1977 debut Flowing River are featured, including the back-to-back #1 singles: "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" and "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water." The set contains "I Can't Help It," a duet with Olivia Newton-John that cracked the Top 20 and several tracks from his final studio album After Dark (1980), including the Top 10 single "Desire." Mythology also marks the debut of "Arrow Through The Heart," a song Andy recorded shortly before his death that was intended for a comeback album.
STEVE WINWOOD - Back In The High Life (1986) Roll With It (1988)
As a solo artist, Steve Winwood is primarily associated with the highly polished blue-eyed soul-pop that made him a star in the '80s. Yet his turn as a slick, upscale mainstay of adult contemporary radio was simply the latest phase of a long and varied career, one that's seen the former teenage R&B shouter move through jazz, psychedelia, blues-rock, and progressive rock. Possessed of a powerful, utterly distinctive voice, Winwood was also an excellent keyboardist who remained an in-demand session musician for most of his career, even while busy with high-profile projects. That background wasn't necessarily apparent on his solo records, which established a viable commercial formula that was tremendously effective as long as it was executed with commitment.
Turning to involved percussion tracks and horns, Winwood turns another musical corner on this sophisticated album, which contains echoes of everything from gospel to Caribbean music. Contains the number one hit "Higher Love."
Roll With It is the fifth solo studio album by blue-eyed soul artist Steve Winwood. It topped the album charts in the United States, and has sold over three million copies. The title cut topped the pop singles and the album rock singles charts with subsequent hit status afforded the album tracks released as subsequent singles: "Don't You Know What the Night Can Do?" and "Holding On". "Don't You Know What the Night Can Do?" had been written by Winwood to be featured in an ad campaign for Michelob which began running on American television on the day of the Roll With It album's US release. Two other tracks from Roll With It: "Hearts on Fire" and "Put on Your Dancing Shoes", also achieved radio airplay.
THE ROLLING STONES - Havana Moon (2016)
The Stones have always understood the purpose of grand gestures - free concerts a speciality, playing to 1.5 million people on Copacabana beach in 2006 among them - and the show in Cuba was another historic first for the band. A text crawl at the start of Havana Moon gives us some insight into the behind-the-scenes admin: 58 trucks, 500 tonnes of kit, 21 days to build the set. The Stones show on the island represents a gradual ideological sea change on behalf by both the Stones and the Cuban authorities. Once, the Stones music was banned on Cuba; during an interview segment at the start of Havana Moon, Mick Jagger is quick to recognize the country’s “weird romantic aura. It was the country that stood up to the United States. There is still this attraction of people like Fidel and Che Guevara.” Both Cuba and the Stones - considered dangerous in the Sixties, currently enjoying greater diplomatic access - now play host to world leaders and elder statesmen. “They times are changing,” says Jagger.
Havana Moon captures the historic, once in a lifetime concert by The Rolling Stones in Havana, Cuba. This epic, record breaking concert features the hits 'Jumpin' Jack Flash', 'It's Only Rock 'n Roll', 'Gimme Shelter', 'Brown Sugar', 'Satisfaction' and many more. Filmed at the end of the Ame´rica Latina Ole´ Tour 2016 Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood perform a truly spectacular set to over 1.2 million adoring fans.
Leon Russell, who emerged in the '70s as one of rock'n'roll's most dynamic performers and songwriters after playing anonymously on dozens of pop hits as a much-in-demand studio pianist in the 1960s, died on Sunday at the age of 74, according to his website.
Russell, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, died in his sleep in Nashville, Tennessee, his wife said in a statement on the website. Russell had endured health problems in his later years, undergoing surgery to stop leaking brain fluid in 2010 and suffering a heart attack in July 2016. Russell's period of stardom as a performer was relatively brief but Elton John, who had once been Russell's opening act, engineered a comeback for him in 2010 when they collaborated on an album titled "The Union." "He was my biggest influence as a piano player, a singer and a songwriter," John told ABC News. Russell recorded more than 35 albums and also excelled as a songwriter for other performers. His "A Song for You" was recorded by Joe Cocker, the Carpenters, the Temptations, Neil Diamond, Lou Rawls, Dusty Springfield, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and his good friend Willie Nelson. The Carpenters, Reddy, Shirley Bassey, Robert Goulet and George Benson all covered Russell's "This Masquerade," with Benson's version winning the 1976 Grammy as record of the year.
QUEEN - On Air (2016)
Queen’s meteoric ascendancy during the 1970s has been well documented. From their gloriously ambitious self-titled debut album of 1973 through to the album that put them in the superstar bracket, 1975’s A Night At The Opera, and beyond, this unique group carved out a singular path as the most visionary, inventive and charismatic band of that epic decade. But there is another side to Queen’s rise that has been largely overlooked. Between February 1973 and October 1977, the band recorded six radio sessions exclusively for the BBC. The twenty four recordings these landmark sessions produced include alternate versions of the debut single, unique takes of classic album tracks and even a radically reworked reimagining of one of their best known anthems that has never previously appeared on any Queen studio release. Now, for the very first time, all six Queen BBC sessions - meticulously restored by Queen engineer Kris Fredriksson and mastered by Grammy Award winner Adam Ayan - have been brought together on Queen On Air, released on November 4 by Virgin EMI. North America through Hollywood Records. Available as a 2-CD set and a 3-LP vinyl edition, plus a Deluxe 6-disc edition featuring a CD of live broadcasts and 3 CDs of radio interviews, Queen On Air is an essential addition for connoisseurs of the band. Queen On Air is more than just a collection of rare recordings – it is a glorious snapshot of the growth of a legend.
GONG - Rejoice! I'm Dead! (2016)
Daevid Allen’s ghost shows up in the self-deprecating humor evident in the album’s title…and lives on in the band. The first Gong album after its founder’s 2014 death, Rejoice! I’m Dead! is an emphatic reassurance the the brainchild will be fine without its progenitor. And that’s just the way Allen who had taken some leave of absences from Gong over the years would have wanted it. The current, five-piece lineup (Kavus Torabi (guitar, vox), Fabio Golfetti (guitar/vox), Dave Sturt (bass/vox), Ian East (saxophone, flute) and Cheb Nettles (drums/vox)) come with varying experience in Allen’s Gong, with Torabi joining just in time to participate in the last Allen-led Gong album I See You (2014), already contributing music that’s well aligned with the swerving, witty, loose but penetrating brand of rock that’s sort of jazzy, sort of proggy but never self-consciously so. A year later, he’s suddenly thrust into the forefront of the band, and the good ship Gong is staying firmly on course. No one can make up for the keen wit and unpredictability of Daevid Allen, whose loss in the artful side of British rock is on par with the loss months later of one of his fans, David Bowie. But there’s much to revel about with Rejoice!, as the torch bearers of serious rock who don’t take themselves too seriously carries on confidently.
SIMPLE MINDS - Acoustic (2016)
Acoustic is a studio and compilation album of stripped-down and re-imagined acoustic songs by Scottish rock band Simple Minds spanning the band's eclectic career, released on 11 November 2016. The genesis of Acoustic can be traced back to a rare live session the band recorded for the BBC Radio Two's Chris Evans Breakfast Show on 26 September 2014, promoting then their 16th studio album, Big Music. The reaction, to the band's surprise, was overwhelmingly favourable. The band performed acoustic sets during some other one-off live appearances (radio sessions or showcase events) including one held on 22 November 2014 in Paris by French radio station RTL notable for a rare outing of "Mandela Day". With this in mind, the band began 2016 by putting together an acoustic set for their Zermatt Unpled Festival show on 7 April 2016 in the Swiss Alps. Having spent weeks working on meticulously layered acoustic arrangements of their best-loved songs for that 90-minute performance, they began hatching plans to record them. With Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill augmented by regular bassist Ged Grimes, backing vocalist Sarah Brown, acoustic guitarist Gordy Goudie and percussionist Cherisse Osei, they temporarily halted the recording of the forthcoming sequel to Big Music – an album that is «anything but acoustic» – and gave their complete commitment to an all-encompassing acoustic project. The recorded versions stick to many of the ideas forged for that Swiss show, with the synthetic sounds of old replaced with warmer effects.
V.A. - I'm Your Fan [The Songs Of Leonard Cohen By...] (1991) & JENNIFER WARNES - Famous Blue Raincoat (2007)
An incoherent tribute to Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Fan contains some fine versions of some of his best songs, but too often these renditions are half-hearted. Of particular interest are R.E.M.'s "First We'll Take Manhattan" and the Pixies' "I Can't Forget."
On Famous Blue Raincoat: The Songs of Leonard Cohen, Jennifer Warnes rearranged and reinterpreted some of Leonard Cohen's greatest songs for a unique album that remains the ultimate tribute to Cohen's music. It was greeted with rave reviews, and made numerous year-end best-of lists. This deluxe new reissue contains four previously unreleased songs and a 24-page booklet with rare photos from Warnes' personal collection. Best known for such pop hits as the Oscar and Grammywinning duets "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," with Bill Medley, from the film Dirty Dancing, and "Up Where We Belong," with Joe Cocker, from the film An Officer and a Gentleman, Jennifer Warnes has earned her greatest acclaim for Farmous Blue Raincoat, considered by many to be one of thebest albums of the '80s. Features four previously unreleased recordings. Digitally remastered from the original analog tapes. "Her voice is like the California weather--filled with sunlight , but there's an earthquake behind it." - Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died at the age of 82. Cohen's label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer's Facebook page. "It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away," the statement read. "We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief." A cause of death and exact date of death was not given.
"My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records," Cohen's son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. "He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor." "Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed," his manager Robert Kory wrote in a statement. "I was blessed to call him a friend, and for me to serve that bold artistic spirit firsthand, was a privilege and great gift. He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come."
BUNNY WAILER - Solomonic Singles 1: Tread Along 1969-1976 (2016) & Solomonic Singles 2: Rise & Shine 1977-1986 (2016)
Neville O'Riley Livingston O.J., better known as Bunny Wailer, and also as Bunny Livingston and affectionately as Jah B, is a Jamaican singer songwriter and percussionist and was an original member of reggae group The Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. A three-time Grammy award winner, he is considered one of the longtime standard-bearers of reggae music.
At the same time that Neville 'Bunny Wailer' Livingston recorded his debut solo long playing masterpiece, 'Blackheart Man', he was also creating a series of singles for his own Solomonic label. These records were every bit as good, at times even better, but they have never been released outside of Jamaica. Until now…
It is next to impossible to ever overstate the importance of The Wailers to the history of Jamaican music and, as the last surviving member of the group, Bunny Wailer rightly regards himself as the sole keeper of their history ever mindful of the group's exalted position in the story of reggae music and the importance of their legacy. In 2010 Dub Store were proud to be able to work with Bunny on re-releasing a selection of his earliest recordings for the Solomonic label, lovingly restored and presented in reproduction sleeves and labels, on limited edition seven and twelve inch singles. Now, taking another step forward, we are more than proud to present Bunny's timeless music on one beautifully packaged CD's.
TAB BENOIT - Live: Swampland Jam (1997) & Best Of The Bayou Blues (2006)
This is by far the best album this Louisiana blues/swamp-rocker has come up with to date. Benoit is playing with basically a three-piece, with Doug Therrien on bass and Allyn Robinson on drums. The rest of the sound is filled in by various guests, some exceedingly strong Louisiana players. Therein lives both the problem and the strength of this disc -- the sound is a bit thin when there's no guest taking up some space. Only on the slow burner "Heart of Stone" and "Gone Too Long" does the basic band fill up the airwaves. The music is good, but without that fourth player, it doesn't have enough density. When there is another player, the sound is as gritty and raw as they come -- Cajun-based blues with a swampy sensuality. Benoit's singing and guitar playing have taken giant steps forward and are up there with the best.
Tab Benoit's funky, ragged blend of Louisiana swamp blues and East Texas guitar, with hints of funk, soul, and country thrown in to give the gumbo just the right spice, has served him well since he burst on the scene in the early '90s. Since Benoit hasn't essentially changed his sound since, this collection of sides made up largely from his early releases for Houston-based Justice Records (all of Benoit's Justice albums have been reissued by Vanguard Records in recent years) makes an ideal introduction to what this guy is all about, and although Best of the Bayou Blues covers a five-year span from 1992 to 1997, the tracks all fall together in a completely coherent sequence. Opening with the Benoit original "Voodoo on the Bayou" from 1992's Nice & Warm and running through several originals and some interesting covers (including country-funk takes on Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" and Willie Nelson's "Rainy Day Blues"), this set spotlights Benoit's southern Louisiana take on contemporary blues. He also delivers a stomping version of Willie Dixon's classic "The Seventh Son" and turns zydeco for a fiery live take of Clifton Chenier's "Hot Tamale Baby." Initially one is drawn to Benoit's laser-guided guitar tone, but he is also a fine and soulful singer, and there is more than a little country in his approach as well. What makes him stand out in the crowded field of contemporary blues guitar wizards is the fact that he is fully grounded in the Louisiana bayou region, and he embraces local musical traditions while also bringing a distinctly modern vision to what he does. Benoit knows what he wants to do, he knows where to draw inspiration, and with his strong guitar playing and warm, flexible vocals, he knows how to make it happen.
SANTANA - Santana IV - Live At The House Of Blues, Las Vegas (2016)
The House Of Blues at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas hosted a reunion concert of the classic Santana lineup on March 21. The performance featuring Carlos Santana (guitar), Gregg Rolie (keyboards, lead vocals), Neal Schon (guitar, vocals), Michael Carabello (percussion) and Michael Shrieve (drums) onstage together for the first time since 1973 was recorded for an officially produced DVD/CD package entitled Santana IV: Live At The House of Blues Las Vegas. The show they delivered combined tracks from the new album with the classic hits from the band's first three albums, to which Santana IV is the natural successor. This was a hugely anticipated reunion of a line-up that had not performed and recorded together since the early seventies. It brought back the scintillating combination of rock, Latin, blues, jazz and African rhythms which was the band's trademark and made them truly unique. The concert was a celebration of the chemistry, dynamism and pure musical joy that had made the original band so special and earned them a place in so many fans hearts. It is a show to be enjoyed over and over again.
BON JOVI - This House Is Not For Sale (2016)
This House Is Not for Sale is the thirteenth studio album released by American rock band Bon Jovi. The album was released on November 4, 2016, by Island Records. It is their first studio album without former lead guitarist Richie Sambora and the first album to feature the band's new lead guitarist Phil X and it is also the first album where bassist Hugh McDonald is credited as an official member after being an unofficial member since 1994. The album artwork features a black and white image by photographer Jerry Uelsmann and depicts a "proud, historic house anchored by deep roots". Jon Bon Jovi became inspired by the image when he saw it several years prior to the recording of the album. According to Jovi, it was the inspiration for the album's lead single, "This House is Not for Sale" and said of the image: "That picture told our story…now it’s our album cover".
THE ROSSINGTON BAND
The Rossington Band was a blues rock group formed by Gary Rossington, of Lynyrd Skynyrd fame, and his wife Dale Krantz-Rossington after the breakup of The Rossington Collins Band. In 1982, having fallen in love, Gary and Dale were married. This marriage, in conjunction with the death of Collins' wife and an unsuccessful second album, contributed to the demise of the Rossington-Collins Band. Not to be deterred, Gary and Dale formed a new group, simply called The Rossington Band and released two albums, Returned to the Scene of the Crime and Love Your Man.
In a slight departure on the bumpy road back to Gary Rossington's rightful place in Lynyrd Skynyrd, the guitarist and his wife, Dale Krantz-Rossington, formed this group after the dissolution of the Rossington Collins Band. As expected, the guitars remain the anchor of the group, but the raw power that drove most of the Skynyrd sound is nowhere to be found. In its place is the slick, overly chorused commercial sound that slowly evolved through the mid-'80s, giving this Wounded Bird reissue a very dated feeling throughout. The ferociousness that defined Southern rock is nowhere to be found on "Honest Hearts," a synth-driven song that sounds like an emulation of Heart's commercial chart-toppers, while the title track has a level of melodrama that wouldn't be out of place on a Bonnie Tyler record. It's not bad as far as material from this era goes, and lead vocalist/wife Krantz-Rossington has capable, passionately sincere vocal chops that complement the music well. Those looking for a treasure containing Southern-fried rock & roll will be disappointed, but fans of emotion-packed anthemic rock will be well served by checking this out.
1988's Love Your Man picks up where the pop sensibilities of 1986's Returned to the Scene of the Crime left off, and takes Gary Rossington's sound in a totally different direction. Favoring a more hard-edged sound and a return to guitars over the polished chords of overly chorused keyboards, Rossington and wife Dale Krantz still craft their tunes for the pop/rock audience, but nod in acknowledgment of Rossington's roots in Lynyrd Skynyrd. The production sounds dated at this point, but there are still some fine pop nets to be found on Love Your Man. The fiery opener "Losing Control" could have given any hard rock diva a run for her money in 1988, and the '50s-influenced "Holdin' My Own" shows off the versatility of the duo's songwriting ability. Unfortunately, the album was largely overshadowed due to the media attention surrounding the reunion of Rossington's mothership group, Lynyrd Skynyrd. A sad notion, as most of the tracks found here are easily on par with anything Skynyrd would record and release during this time period.
ROSSINGTON COLLINS BAND - Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere (1980) & This Is The Way (1981) 
Rossington Collins Band were spawned by one of rock music's most well-known tragedies -- in October of 1979, two years after the plane crash that killed Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, new guitarist Steve Gaines, and his sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines, surviving members Gary Rossington and Allen Collins (guitars), Leon Wilkeson (bass), and keyboardist Bill Powell decided to try working together again, this time fronted by singer Dale Krantz. They were trying to be something other than a Lynyrd Skynyrd clone, although as the latter group had expressed the musical leanings of all concerned quite honestly, they also weren't moving far from the tree that had spawned them. Krantz had previously been a backup singer behind Donnie Van Zant, Ronnie's brother, in .38 Special, which itself owed something to Skynyrd's sound. With Barry Harwood bringing a third guitar to the table and Derek Hess taking the drummer spot, they pulled their sound together fast, and waiting in the wings was MCA Records. The latter company was still reaping gold and platinum record awards from the release of Lynyrd Skynyrd outtakes and compilations, and was very interested in any viable performing group that could tap into that audience, and there was no one better suited at the time.
Rossington Collins Band, as they came to be called, were more than a cash-in effort. With three powerful guitarists and a rhythm section the envy of anyone in rock, a strong singer fronting them, and the combined talents of several good in-house songwriters, they were a solid hard rock outfit with a soulful edge. Fans flocked to them in the second half of 1980 when they issued their first LP, Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere, which made it to the Top 20 and earned a gold record award with help from the single "Don't Misunderstand Me." The group might have been able to build on that beginning but for events in Allen Collins' life starting late that same year -- the loss of his wife was only the beginning of a tragic series of events that ultimately destroyed his career and took his life; it was enough to remove him from most of the creative aspects of the band's music, and he was barely visible as a composer on the group's next album, This Is the Way (which was dedicated to Katy Collins' memory). The album was surprisingly good considering the circumstances behind its recording and release, rising into the Top 30.
SEASICK STEVE - Keepin' The Horse Between Me And The Ground (2016)
Seasick Steve’s eighth album features his usual thematic portfolio of songs about wanderlust and love treated with a broader palette of styles: so although “Gypsy Blood” and “Grass Is Greener” both deal with itchy feet, the former is a feisty, slashing slide-guitar blues, while the latter takes the form of a country hoedown. Elsewhere, coolly resonant electric piano gives “Bullseye” the flavour of “Respect Yourself”, and “Hell” attacks tax-dodgers with the waspish fizz of a Canned Heat boogie. But it’s the quiet weariness of “Shipwreck Love” that’s most effective, its minimal alliance of guitar and violin gently emphasising Steve’s promise to offer a safe harbour from the “hidden shoals, breaker of souls”. Passionate and warm, it’s his most impressive vocal performance, heralding a bonus CD of folksier material including covers of “Everybody’s Talkin’” and “Gentle On My Mind”.
THE ANIMALS - Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted (1977) & Ark (1983)
Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted is a 1977 reunion album from The Animals, billed here as The Original Animals. This was a reunion of the five original Animals from the group's first incarnation - Eric Burdon, Alan Price, Hilton Valentine, Chas Chandler, and John Steel, in their first recording sessions (and, save for a one-off concert in 1968, their first musical project at all) since 1965. Bassist Chandler produced the effort using his Barn Records team. The title refers to the first sentence of William Connor's first column in the Daily Mirror after World War II: "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted...".
TRACKS: 01. Brother Bill (Last Clean Shirt) 02. It's All Over Now Baby Blue 03. Fire On The Sun 04. As The Crow Flies 05. Please Send Me Someone To Love 06. Many Rivers To Cross 07. Just A Little Bit 08. Riverside County 09. Lonely Avenue 10. The Fool
Ark is an album by the original members of The Animals. Released in 1983 on I.R.S. Records, it was the second and last reunion attempt of the band's initial lineup. The album subsequently was followed by a tour by the band.
TRACKS: 01. Loose Change 02. Love Is For All Time 03. My Favorite Enemy 04. Prisoner Of The Light 05. Being There 06. Hard Times 07. The Night 08. Trying To Get You 09. Just Can't Get Enough 10. Melt Down 11. Gotta Get Back To You 12. Crystal Nights 13. No John No
DOYLE BRAMHALL II - Rich Man (2016)
Doyle Bramhall II has been around greatness all his life. His father Doyle Bramhall was a noted singer-songwriter and drummer who was involved musically with the Vaughan brothers since high school, later penning or co-penning several songs for Stevie Ray. SRV took the younger Doyle under his wing and taught the burgeoning guitarist a lick or two. Bramhall later joined forces with Charlie Sexton and Vaughan’s Double Trouble rhythm section to form the Arcangels right after Stevie Ray Vaughan’s death, a supergroup that had real potential to pick up where the dead legend left off, but that proved to be too combustible to hold together. Sexton and Bramhall both pursued solo careers without much success and subsequently both settled into the touring bands of living legends; Sexton with Dylan and Bramhall with Clapton. That’s not to say that Bramhall is anything less than a complete package as a composer, guitarist, producer and singer; he’s shown enough on his occasional solo records to convince otherwise. This is about one of those rare occasions, because Bramhall is poised to release his first album since 2001.
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