GREGG ALLMAN - No Stranger To The Dark: The Best Of Gregg Allman (2002)
Gregg Allman, the soulful singer-songwriter and rock n' blues pioneer who founded The Allman Brothers Band with his late brother Duane, has died at age 69. - RIP
Even if you accept that a best-of for Gregg Allman can focus wholly on his solo career (as this one does) and not include any of his work with the Allman Brothers, this could not by any stretch be considered "the best of Gregg Allman." It's really the best of what he's recorded for Sony, which is really an entirely different animal. That means there's nothing from his three 1970s albums, which most listeners would view as containing his best solo work; the chronological stretch on this comp only covers the last half of the 1980s and the 1990s. Like, say, Rod Stewart, this was a time in which his recordings had really only a shadow of their old power, although (like Stewart) his voice was still in good shape and he didn't stoop to levels as low as Stewart did. Given the pool of what it has to work with, this disc is a reasonable selection, evenly spread between highlights of the I'm No Angel, Just Before the Bullets Fly, and Searching for Simplicity albums. And there are a few extras that might make this worth getting for Allman completists: previously unreleased live cuts from 1987 ( "Melissa" ) and 1998 (his long-lived staple cover of Jackson Browne's "These Days" ), a studio outtake from 1985, and "Brother to Brother," a duet with Lori Yates that was on the 1989 Next of Kin soundtrack. Overall, though, it's hardly a guide to even some of his best work, the 1980s tracks suffering from slick period production and unmemorable AOR material. His voice is certainly operating at a level above the quality of many of the songs, and is better served by the occasional cuts on which the blues-soul elements come more to the foreground, like "I've Got News for You" and the cover of "Dark End of the Street."
TRACKS: 01. I'm No Angel 02. Island 03. Melissa (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 04. Faces Without Names 05. Evidence Of Love 06. Demons 07. Ocean Awash The Gunwale 08. House Of Blues 09. Before The Bullets Fly 10. The Dark End Of The Street 11. Slip Away 12. I've Got News For You 13. Brother To Brother 14. These Days (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 15. Hopelessly Miss You (Previously Unreleased)
GREGG ALLMAN - The Gregg Allman Tour (1974) & New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (2011)
With the Allman Brothers Band, singer/songwriter/ keyboardist/occasional acoustic guitarist Gregg Allman stands aside and lets one of the finest ensembles in the world turn fabulous songs into jaw-dropping jam-band nets. But on his own, Allman's love for soul music shines, and that's obviously something not everybody has figured out. His solo shows don't have extended guitar workouts, but he loves horn sections and that shows on this long-awaited CD release of his 1974 live album. There's also an orchestra and guest performances by a long-departed countryish band called Cowboy, which also served as his backing band -- along with Allman drummer Jaimoe and then-ABB member Chuck Leavell. It all works pretty well, in my humble opinion. Don't Mess Up A Good Thing and Stand Back have a nice kick to 'em, while the ballad Queen of Hearts has a swelling chorus that's simply moving to hear. So if you're thinking of buying this to get your ABB fix, you'll be disappointed. But if you come prepared to give Gregg his due as a solo artist, then prepare to enjoy yourself.
TRACKS: 01. Don't Mess Up A Good Thing 02. Queen Of Hearts 03. I Feel So Bad 04. Stand Back 05. Time Will Take Us 06. Where Can You Go 07. Double Cross 08. Dreams 09. Are You Lonely For Me Baby 10. Turn On Your Love Light 11. Oncoming Traffic 12. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
Live at the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
DISC 1: 01. Don't Keep Me Wonderin' 02. I'm No Angel 03. Tears, Tears, Tears 04. Just Another Rider 05. Going Back To Daytona 06. I Can't Be Satisfied 07. Dreams
DISC 2: 01. Before Bullets Fly 02. Melissa 03. Whipping Post 04. Midnight Rider 05. Stage banter 06. Sweet Feelin' 07. Statesboro Blues
TAJ MAHAL & KEB MO - TajMo (2017)
Keb' Mo' and Taj Mahal have been friends and colleagues for years but 2017's TajMo is the first time the pair have recorded an album. It also marks the first time Taj Mahal has entered a studio since 2008 - Keb' Mo' last released an album in 2014 - and if this seems like it should be a momentous occasion, what's striking about TajMo is how casual the whole affair is. The duo designed TajMo to be an upbeat, life-affirming listen, something that emphasizes how the blues can also offer a good time. If the album can occasionally seem a little too crisp and polished - it's bright and shiny without a hint of grit - it's also true that this reflects the lightness at the heart of TajMo. Sometimes it gets so light it's almost glib - witness the cover of the Who's "Squeeze Box" - but Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' are also determined to broaden the scope of the blues, adding Soweto rhythms to "Soul," cutting a version of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change," even making concessions to pop on the ebullient "All Around the World." Maybe it's not a major record but its mellowness is charming, and the two bluesmen play off each other like the longtime friends they are, which is an endearing thing to hear.
TRACKS: 01. Don't Leave Me Here 02. She Knows How To Rock Me 03. All Around The World 04. Om Sweet Om 05. Shake Me In Your Arms 06. That's Who I Am 07. Diving Duck Blues 08. Squeezebox 09. Ain't Nobody Talkin' 10. Soul 11. Waiting On The World To Change
PALADINS - New World (2017)
The Paladins have just released a new 11 song album of originals titled “New World” on Lux Records! In addition to the traditional “House Rockin’ Blues” sound of The Paladins, this new record encompasses sincere geo-social lyrical reflection as well as killer instrumental composition. The lead track, “New World” was composed by Dave Gonzalez and Jeb Schoonover & contemplates a vision of a world that is changing. Keep in mind, that throughout their career, The Paladins have had the liberty to cross many international borders, in peace, as artists, & travel almost anywhere. For that freedom, we are deeply grateful. The 2nd song, “Waterman”, is wrought with frustration & the tug of war between the Earth & her profiteers. Next, a familiar theme of romantic love & a lively Boogaloo beat steers track 3, “Things Keep Changin’”, back into the pocket of what the faithful come to expect from our tribal roar. Rock & roll, surf & turf country, & traditional blues are all represented from the Pals on this record. The songs also feature the immeasurable talent of Leo Dombecki on piano / organ, the genius of Laura Chavez on guitar & Laura Jane Willcock on backing vocals. The band will be touring Europe and the US throughout 2017, in support of “New World”, their first new Paladins record in 14 years. Dave, Thomas & Brian look forward to seeing you in 2017 and thank you for your friendship through these past 36 rockin’ years!
TRACKS: 01. New World 02. Waterman 03. Things Keep Changin' 04. Mar Solitar 05. If You Were Only Mine 06. Wicked 07. Should Have Been Dreamin' 08. I Know When I'm Not Wanted 09. Magic Touch 10. Without Love 11. No Pain Anymore
PETER FRAMPTON - The Art Of Control (1982) & Premonition (1986)
The Art of Control is the eighth studio solo album by Peter Frampton. the album was first released in 1982 on A&M Records. According to Peter Frampton, the record company, A&M forced him to make a commercial, radio-friendly album that he felt didn't sound like a "Peter Frampton album", so he hates the album. The original mix of the album was reissued in Japan in a miniature replica of the original album art work. The album was remastered, for this reissue using Direct Stream Digital (DSD) to transfer the digital files and included the bonus tracks added to the Compact disc (CD) release of the album. The release was a limited edition in the SHM-CD format. The reissue included a picture of the original vinyl label.
Peter Frampton’s Premonition was originally released in 1986, a full ten years after Frampton Comes Alive!, and yet it seems we were still comparing everything he put out to that record. And 1986 was not a great year for music. The joy of the 1983, 1984 pop records was basically gone, and the sounds were getting stale. This was the year of New Kids On The Block and Billy Ocean and Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson and Europe and Stryper and Salt-N-Pepa. Synth sounds were everywhere. Peter Frampton is of course known for his guitar work, and Premonition has quite a lot of synthesizer, with the guitar adding nice touches and accents, but certainly not driving most of the material. But there are still some really good songs here, including “Lying” and “Into View.”
DILLARD & CLARK - The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark (1968) & Through The Morning, Through The Night (1969)
Dillard & Clark, a duo featuring former Byrd Gene Clark and Doug Dillard of the Dillards, was one of the first country-rock groups to form in the late '60s. The group formed in 1968 and became one of pioneers of country-rock, releasing two albums before dissolving after releasing only two albums. In 1968, Dillard recorded his first solo album, The Banjo Album, which featured such rock musicians as Clark and Bernie Leadon. In the spring of 1968, Dillard toured England as a member of the Byrds, which led to the duo of Dillard & Clark, which officially formed later that summer. The duo secured a record contract with A&M and released their debut album, The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark, late in 1968. The record was recorded with Bernie Leadon (guitar), Don Beck (dobro, mandolin), and David Jackson (bass). Dillard & Clark toured following the release of the album; their supporting band featured former Byrd Michael Clarke on drums.
Dillard & Clark began recording a second album early in 1969 with a new supporting band. The new lineup featured Leadon, fiddler Byron Berline, drummer Jon Corneal, and guitarist Donna Washburn; steel guitarist Sneaky Pete Kleinow and Chris Hillman, who were both members of the Flying Burrito Brothers, also guested on the album. The resulting record, Through the Morning, Through the Night, appeared later in the year. After its release, Leadon left the duo; he would join the Eagles soon after his departure. Clark decided to pursue a solo career in early 1970. Dillard continued his solo career, using the remaining members of the duo's backing band as the core of his new outfit, the Expedition. Dillard and Clark continued to pursue solo careers throughout the '80s and '90s, with Dillard garnering more success and critical acclaim than Clark. Clark died in 1991 at the age of 46.
GENE CLARK - Echoes (1991) & White Light (1971)
Gene Clark will always be best remembered for his two-year stint as a vocalist with the Byrds between 1964 and 1966. A fine legacy to be sure, but the shame of it is that there was far more to Clark's body of work than that; he was a superb songwriter, one of the founding fathers of country-rock, and recorded a number of fine albums with an impressive array of collaborators whose quality far outstripped their modest sales figures.
Echoes is a repackaging of Gene Clark's debut album, Gene Clark With the Gosdin Brothers. The Byrds comparison is really unavoidable: it's both Clark's best solo work and, not coincidentally, the one which resembles the Byrds most strongly. Indeed, this could easily pass for a somewhat less-than-average vintage Byrds album, with actual Byrds Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke forming the rhythm section and Vern and Rex Gosdin on guitar (hence the title). To be brutal, it doesn't measure up to Clark's best songs from his Byrds days, but it's fairly strong, melodic '60s folk-rock nonetheless, perhaps with a bit of a more countrified, laid-back, feel. "So You Say You Lost Your Baby," "Echoes," and especially "Tried So Hard" are standouts. The Echoes CD adds three interesting previously unreleased outtakes from the era, as well as six of the best early Byrds songs graced by Clark's songwriting and vocals.
White Light, aka Gene Clark, is the second solo album by Gene Clark, former member of The Byrds. It received critical acclaim upon its release, but only achieved commercial success in the Netherlands, where rock critics also voted it album of the year. However, like all of his post Byrds' records, it did very poorly on the US charts. Music critic Thom Jurek, writing for Allmusic, wrote the album "has established itself as one of the greatest singer/songwriter albums ever made... Using melodies mutated out of country, and revealing that he was the original poet and architect of the Byrds' sound on White Light, Clark created a wide open set of tracks that are at once full of space, a red gentility, and are harrowingly intimate in places. His reading of Bob Dylan's "Tears of Rage," towards the end of the record rivals, if not eclipses, the Band's. Less wrecked and ravaged, Clark's song is more a bewildered tome of resignation to a present and future in the abyss. Now this is classic rock.
GORDON LIGHTFOOT - Gord's Gold (1975) & Gord's Gold Volume II (1988)
Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He has been referred to as Canada's greatest songwriter and internationally as a folk-rock legend. Lightfoot's songs, including "For Lovin' Me", "Early Morning Rain", "Steel Rail Blues", "Ribbon of Darkness" — a number one hit on the U.S. country chart with Marty Robbins's cover in 1965 — and "Black Day in July" about the 1967 Detroit riot, brought him international recognition in the 1960s. He experienced chart success in Canada with his own recordings, beginning in 1962 with the No. 3 hit "(Remember Me) I'm the One". Lightfoot's recordings then made an impact on the international music charts as well in the 1970s, with songs such as "If You Could Read My Mind" (1970) his first U.S. top 10 hit reaching #5. "Sundown" (1974) a #1 hit, "Carefree Highway" (1974) which followed reaching #10, "Rainy Day People (1975) at #25, and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (1976) (No. 2, Hot 100).
Some of Lightfoot's albums have achieved gold and multi-platinum status internationally. His songs have been recorded by some of the world's most renowned recording artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., The Kingston Trio, Marty Robbins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert, Harry Belafonte, Scott Walker, Sarah McLachlan, Eric Clapton, John Mellencamp, Jack Jones, Bobby Vee, Roger Whittaker, Peter, Paul and Mary, Glen Campbell, The Irish Rovers, Nico, Olivia Newton-John, Paul Weller, and Ultra Naté.
WILLIE NELSON - Shotgun Willie (1973) & The Troublemaker (1976)
Transferring his allegiance to Atlantic (where he would record two remarkable albums that would get him kicked off the label), Willie Nelson offered his finest record to date for his debut -- possibly his finest album ever. Shotgun Willie encapsulates Willie's world view and music, finding him at a peak as a composer, interpreter, and performer. This is laid-back, deceptively complex music, equal parts country, rock attitude, jazz musicianship, and troubadour storytelling. Nelson blurs the lines between his own tunes and covers to the point that "Whiskey River," this record's best-known song, seems thoroughly original, yet it was written by Johnny Bush and Paul Stroud. This, along with two songs apiece by Leon Russell and Bob Wills, provides context for his originals, with Shotgun Willie becoming a musical autobiography, offering not only insights into his musicality (witness how he slows down "Stay All Night [Stay a Little Longer]" to a slow shuffle) but, seemingly, into himself (most notably on the title track and the wonderful, funny travelogue "Devil in a Sleepin' Bag"). Nelson wasn't just at a peak of performing here -- he also wrote some of his greatest songs, highlighted not just by the previously mentioned tunes but also by the lovely slow waltz "Slow Down Old World" and "Sad Songs and Waltzes." All of it adds up to possibly the finest record in a career filled with hits and highlights.
Released in late 1976, at the height of Willie mania, The Troublemaker is Willie Nelson's first all-gospel album, but country gospel in his hands doesn't sound like traditional country gospel -- it's a Willie album, through and through, performed with the freewheeling Family as support. Consequently, it's every bit as wonderfully idiosyncratic as any of his other mid-'70s work and, in some ways, even more so, because inspirational songs and religious material are usually not given arrangements as imaginative and free-spirited as this. Although the album can be divided pretty evenly between ballads and rollicking up-tempo numbers, there is the inherent jazz-like unpredictability in the performances of Nelson and his band that makes even familiar numbers like "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" sound spontaneous. Then again, the choice of material also helps, because that song is the most familiar here; while many of the other numbers are also country gospel standards, they're not recorded nearly as often as "Circle" and these song choices also give The Troublemaker a unique, fresh feel. Another interesting thing about the album is that the music, not the message, is at the forefront, which is why it doesn't sound separate from his other mid-'70s peaks. Although it is overshadowed by them both, the sublime subtlety of the performances on The Troublemaker make it sound of a piece with The Red Headed Stranger and Stardust. It may not be nearly as popular as either, but musically, it's just as satisfying and is one of the quiet highlights in Willie's vast catalog.
RAY OWEN'S MOON - Moon (1971) & JUICY LUCY - Here She Comes Again (1995)
Ray Owen was the original vocalist in British outfit Juicy Lucy, and he appeared on their first self titled album in 1969. He left the band, his replacement being Paul Williams, and formed his own band, with Dick Stubbs and Les Nicol on guitars, Ian McLean on drums and Sid Gardner on bass. Their first and only album, which is quite rare and collectible, was released on Polydor Records, and it featured a number of really good riff laden tracks, in addition to a stunning version of Hendrix's "Voodoo Child", which Owen would redo in the mid 90's when he reformed his own version of Juicy Lucy. His career after Ray Owen's Moon is much of a mystery, as no record can be found of any other bands he may have featured with afterwards. As was mentioned, he reformed Juicy Lucy in the mid nineties and released an album called "Here she comes again" on HTD Records, with three unknown, but very good, musicians. For the record, Paul Williams also reformed another version of Juicy Lucy in the mid to late nineties, under the name "Blue Thunder".
Juicy Lucy is a blues-rock band officially formed on 1 October 1969. After the demise of The Misunderstood, vocalist Ray Owen, steel guitarist Glenn Ross Campbell, and saxophone player Chris Mercer formed Juicy Lucy. The group later recruited guitarist Neil Hubbard, bassist Keith Ellis, and drummer Pete Dobson. The band name was inspired by a character in The Virgin Soldiers (1966) by Leslie Thomas. In 1995, Ray Owen resurrected the band's name and recorded Here She Comes Again. The line-up for this recording also included Mike Jarvis (guitar), Andy Doughty (bass), and Spencer Blackledge (drums). This version of the band broke up in 1997, but Owen persevered and joined up with guitarist Steve Fish. Although legal problems would not allow them usage of the name Juicy Lucy, the outfit performed as Ray Owen's Moon (Moon being the title of Ray Owen's 1971 solo album).
JETHRO TULL - Songs From The Wood (1977) [40th. Anniversary Edition, 2017]
Songs From The Wood is often referred to as one of the most commercially appealing Jethro Tull albums, containing elements of rock, prog and folk-rock. Although media reaction at the time divided opinion, the album has certainly developed a nostalgic rapport with fans through the years and it is perceived today as one of the band’s most popular albums. Drummer Barrie Barlow comments that it sounds “Fresh, unique, great textures, interesting and dynamic!”, while guitarist Martin Barre remembers that “It was a very tight band, one of the strongest line-ups Tull ever had… I think that Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses [the follow up album] as a pair of albums are near the top of the tree”. The first disc of the set contains the Steven Wilson remix of the original studio album, accompanied by associated recordings. This includes the tracks “Old Aces Die Hard” and “Working John, Working Joe” which are being released here for the first time on any format. “Old Aces Die Hard”, a title Ian Anderson recently gave the track in a subtle nod to Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, is, according to Ian “an extraordinary find, because it’s a long piece, and quite evolved, and one that sounds like it is pretty much complete – it doesn’t sound as if it was waiting for me or anyone else in the band to go back and redo vocals or guitars or whatever.” CDs 2 and 3 in the box form 22 track live tracks, recorded on the Songs From The Wood Tour across two dates, Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 6th December 1977 and Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland, USA on 21st November 1977. These tracks have been reconstructed as a complete set and then remixed to stereo by Jakko Jakszyk and are completely unheard.
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - The Cropredy Box (1998) 
This three-disc set was recorded live in August of 1997 at Fairport Convention's annual Cropredy Festival. In 1997 Fairport celebrated their 30th year of existence, and this concert was an attempt to chronicle the various periods of the band's storied career by reassembling their most significant lineups. Original vocalist Judy Dyble, who only sang on one recording, showed up to help represent Fairport's debut record, and Vikki Clayton was enlisted to sing the part of the late Sandy Danny, which she did with amazing accuracy. Founding member Ashley Hutchings served as narrator as well as bassist/vocalist to represent his abbreviated tenure with the group in the late '60s. The expected participants were present in full regalia. Dave Swarbrick and Richard Thompson - who, along with Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks, helped make up the most powerful and talented of the various Fairport configurations - injected some modernized fiddle and guitar licks into the old standards. Even lesser-known '70s members like guitarist Jerry Donahue and drummer Bruce Rowland represented their respective stints with the band. Although he never recorded with Fairport, guitarist Dan Ar Braz toured with them in the mid-'70s, and on this recording he played and sang lead on the Beatles' "Rain." Ralph McTell, whose songs are routinely covered by Fairport, performed as a member of the offshoot band the GPs, along with Thompson, Pegg, and Mattacks. And, of course, guitarist and singer Simon Nicol (who, along with Pegg and Mattacks, is the longest-standing regular member) contributed his distinct vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar. Eighties' members Martin Allcock and Ric Sanders, along with Allcock's eventual replacement, Chris Leslie, hopped onstage at their appropriate cues to bring this fascinating musical documentary up to date. Nicol refers to such recordings - and there have been numerous Cropredy Festival recordings released in the '80s and '90s - as mementos for Fairport Convention's devout fans. The Cropredy Box is sure to be a prized possession for those devotees.
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND - The Fox Box (2017)
FOX BOX is an eight disc set of The Allman Brothers performing three-nights September 24th, 25th and 26th, 2004 at the Fox Theatre. The complete package contains 54 performances of 52 songs from the historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA. It has never before been available digitally.
When the Allman Brothers Band hit Atlanta's Fox Theatre for a sold-out three-night run in 2004, they were buoyed by the critical and fan reception of what would be their final studio album, Hittin' The Note. The band had been touring heavily and were ready to settle down in their beloved Atlanta for three special nights. The shows were released by the then-nascent "Instant Live" program, contemporaneous recordings sold at shows and internet mail order only afterwards without much packaging or fanfare.
The 8-CD set features a remastered audio mix as well as tightening up of the song spacing. And these three September 2004 shows have a unique feature that ABB fans will appreciate: of the 53 songs performed, there is only one repeat, the sprawling "Dreams," played (three times), and each with a different voicing by the guitar soloist: Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes and Jack Pearson.
STEVE EARLE - Essential Steve Earle (1993) & Live From Austin TX (2017)
Stephen Fain "Steve" Earle is an American rock, country and folk singer-songwriter, record producer, author and actor. Earle began his career as a songwriter in Nashville and released his first EP in 1982. His breakthrough album was the 1986 album Guitar Town. Since then Earle has released 15 other studio albums and received three Grammy awards. His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Shawn Colvin, Ian Stuart Donaldson and Emmylou Harris. He has appeared in film and television, and has written a novel, a play, and a book of short stories.
Steve Earle lives up to the title billing here. While some of Earle's recent work (and live shows) have inclined to excess, this disc collects lean, mean, and vital material from Earle's first three outings - the country-rock masterpiece Guitar Town, the inward-looking Exit 0, and the angry lashing out of Copperhead Road. Essential is topped off by "Continental Trailways Blues," previously available only on a 1987 compilation. Thirteen tracks is a little skimpy; some rarities from the vaults would have been a nice touch.
Steve Earle wasn't yet one of the most respected, intelligent, and controversial voices in Nashville when he stepped on-stage for a taping of the long-running public television series Austin City Limits in the fall of 1986 -- back then, he was a promising newcomer who was touring behind his well-received debut album, Guitar Town, and was recording the follow-up in fits and starts when he had downtime from the road. Live from Austin TX, part of a series of CD and DVD releases from the rich Austin City Limits archive, captures Earle when his confidence and stage smarts were not quite what they would be later on, and though there are more than a few great songs in this set, many of the tunes that would become cornerstones of his later live show (especially the mature work from his post-"vacation in the ghetto" period) haven't been written yet, and frankly this edition of the Dukes wasn't the strongest he would ever have. But Earle's energy and enthusiasm is well in evidence on this set, his voice is in solid shape, and the performance builds up a solid head of steam as it chugs through a solid 17-song set. Live from Austin TX is hardly the definitive Steve Earle live album, but it's a fine snapshot of a major artist as he was first getting accustomed to the spotlight, and the talent, swagger, and conscience that would mark his best known work are all in evidence here, even if they haven't yet reached sharp focus.
CHRIS CORNELL - Songbook (2011)
Rocker Chris Cornell, who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died at age 52 - RIP.
Chris Cornell was an American musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden and as lead vocalist and songwriter for the group Audioslave. He was also known for his numerous solo works and soundtrack contributions since 1991, and as founder and frontman for Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood.
Cornell was known for his role as one of the architects of the 1990s grunge movement, for his extensive catalog as a songwriter and for his near four octave vocal range as well as his powerful vocal belting technique. He released four solo studio albums, Euphoria Morning (1999), Carry On (2007), Scream (2009), Higher Truth (2015) and the live album Songbook (2011). Cornell received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his song "The Keeper" which appeared in the film Machine Gun Preacher and co-wrote and performed the theme song to the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006), "You Know My Name". He was voted "Rock's Greatest Singer" by readers of Guitar World, ranked 4th in the list of "Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists" by Hit Parader, 9th in the list of "Best Lead Singers of All Time" by Rolling Stone, and 12th in MTV's "22 Greatest Voices in Music".
Songbook is his acoustic live album released on November 21, 2011. The live album features songs recorded during Cornell's Songbook Tour, an acoustic solo tour which took place during March–May 2011 in the US, and is his first live album as a solo artist.
...one part of my blog job here, my screen capture video, mp4 file, 4'12", 7,79MB, interesting for someone...
DION - The Road I'm On: A Retrospective (1997)
Dion Francis DiMucci, better known mononymously as Dion, is an American singer-songwriter whose work has incorporated elements of doo-wop, rock and R&B styles—and, most recently, straight blues. He was one of the most popular American rock and roll performers of the pre-British Invasion era. He had 39 Top 40 hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s with him solo, with the Belmonts or with the Del Satins. He is best remembered for the singles "Runaround Sue" , "The Wanderer", "Ruby Baby" , and "Lovers Who Wander" among his other hits. Dion's popularity waned in the mid-1960s. Toward the end of the decade, he shifted his style and produced songs with a more mature, contemplative feeling, such as "Abraham, Martin and John". He became popular again in the late 1960s and into the mid-1970s, and he has continued making music ever since. Critics who had dismissed his early work, pegging him as merely a teen idol, praised his later work, and noted the influence he has had on other musicians. Dion was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
Dion's mid-'60s Columbia period was a strange and rather mysterious one. After notching up some solid hits that were more or less in his early '60s rock style ("Ruby Baby," "Donna the Prima Donna"), he dove into blues, folk, and folk-rock with varying degrees of success. Although the results were usually pretty interesting, commercially he seemed to have disappeared (a situation not helped by either his heroin problems or the failure of some of the material to get released). This is a good, if imperfect, two-CD overview of the Columbia years, moving from the expected early hits to quite a few tasty surprises, including covers of Woody Guthrie, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon, "Work Song" (penned by Nat Adderley and Oscar Brown), Tom Paxton, and Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." There are also a number of pretty fair self-penned originals in a folk-rock, slightly Dylanish style, unsurprising considering that Dion was recording with one-time Dylan producer Tom Wilson in late '65. It doesn't make a 100% convincing argument that Dion would have matured into a top-rank blues-folk-rocker if not for his drug problems, but it has integrity, and the material is usually well-sung, whether pop or not. About half a dozen of the tracks were previously unreleased; there are also a couple of new recordings from 1996. This does not, by the way, make the 1991 Bronx Blues: The Columbia Recordings CD (much of it drawn from the same era) redundant. Almost half of the tracks from that disc don't appear, the most serious omission being the cover of Dylan's "Baby, I'm in the Mood for You," which was probably Dion's best mid-'60s recording of all.
HELEN REDDY - Helen Reddy's Greatest Hits [And More] (1987)
Helen Reddy began performing at the age of four in her native Australia; by the early 60s she had her own television series. Between 1971 and 1978, Reddy hit the Top 40 fourteen times with her smooth, airy light-pop singles, including the number ones "Delta Dawn," "Angie Baby," and "I Am Woman." As her hits petered out toward the end of the '70s, her acting work increased, including roles in Pete's Dragon, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Airport 1975.
Helen Reddy's Greatest Hits is a compilation album by Australian-American pop singer Helen Reddy that was released in the fall of 1975 by Capitol Records. On December 5 of that year the Recording Industry Association of America awarded the album with Gold certification for sales of 500,000 copies in the United States, and both Platinum and Double Platinum certifications were issued on February 5, 1992. The album debuted on Billboard's Top LP's & Tapes chart in the issue dated the day following Gold certification, December 6, 1975, and made it to number five during its 51 weeks there. In Canada's RPM magazine it reached number 9, and on the album chart in the UK (where it was renamed The Best of Helen Reddy) it matched its number five US showing. In 1987 an expanded edition that was given the title Helen Reddy's Greatest Hits (And More) was the first release of the original compilation on compact disc, and on April 14, 1997, that edition was reissued with the title Love Songs.
TRACKS: 01. I Am Woman 02. I Don't Know How To Love Him 03. Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) 04. Delta Dawn 05. You And Me Against The World 06. Angie Baby 07. Emotion 08. Keep On Singing 09. Peaceful 10. Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady 11. Somewhere In The Night 12. I Can't Hear You No More 13. You're My World 14. The Happy Girls 15. Make Love To Me
aac vs. mp3
Helen Reddy - 01 I Am Woman - flac to aac (320kbps)
Original flac file size = 34,52 MB
aac file size = 7,8 MB
with EZ CD Audio Converter Ultimate, V6.0 - 64-bit
WINGS - Wings Greatest (1978)
Wings Greatest is a compilation album by Wings and is their eighth album as well as Paul McCartney's 10th since leaving the Beatles. The album was compiled after McCartney's decision to leave EMI's American label, Capitol, for a six-year stay with Columbia (United States and Canada only), though he remained with EMI worldwide during his US sabbatical from Capitol. Four of the twelve tracks make their album debut with this compilation: "Another Day", "Junior's Farm", "Hi, Hi, Hi" and "Mull of Kintyre". "Live and Let Die" had previously appeared on the soundtrack album of the same name but did not appear on any previous McCartney albums. All but two tracks were credited as "Wings" or "Paul McCartney & Wings", the exceptions being "Another Day" (single as "Paul McCartney") and "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" (as "Paul & Linda McCartney") from their 1971 album Ram.
Despite the fact that McCartney had amassed enough hits by late 1978 to fill a double album of hits, he kept it down to a single disc for commercial reasons. Thus, several songs would be overlooked for Wings Greatest. Indeed, not one song was excerpted from 1975's Venus and Mars, despite "Listen to What the Man Said" being a number 1 US hit. The album was promoted by a TV commercial in the UK, which featured several members of the public (played by actors) singing Wings tunes in public places. At the end a dustman, waiting in his lorry at a set of traffic lights (in Abbey Road), sings to himself an out of tune rendition of "Band on the Run", at which point Paul, Linda and Denny pull up alongside and Paul shouts out "You're a bit flat mate!". The driver leans out his window and says "Funny, I only checked them this morning!"
THE OUTLAWS - Best of the Outlaws: Green Grass & High Tides (1996)
Southern rock unit the Outlaws were formed in Tampa, Florida, in 1972 by singers/guitarists Hughie Thomasson and Henry Paul, bassist Frank O'Keefe, and drummer Monte Yoho. With the 1973 addition of guitarist Billy Jones, the lineup was complete, and after a year of intense touring the band became the first act signed to Arista under Clive Davis; the Outlaws' self-titled 1975 album spotlighted their Eagles-influenced harmonies and Allman Brothers-like guitar attack, yielding the Top 40 hit "There Goes Another Love Song." In the wake of 1977's Bill Szymczyk-produced Hurry Sundown, both Paul and O'Keefe exited, with guitarist Freddie Salem, bassist Harvey Dalton Arnold, and second drummer David Dix signing on for the 1978 concert set Bring It Back Alive and the studio effort Playin' to Win. The lineup shuffles continued when Arnold announced his departure following 1979's In the Eye of the Storm, with bassist Rick Cua recruited for the next year's Ghost Riders in the Sky, which netted a Top 40 entry with its title track, a rendition of the Vaughn Monroe favorite. Yoho left to rejoin Henry Paul soon after, and with the subsequent exit of Jones, only Thomasson remained from the original Outlaws roster - not surprisingly, the group disbanded upon completing 1982's Los Hombres Malo.
A year later, Thomasson and Paul formed a new Outlaws lineup, adding guitarist Chris Hicks, bassist Barry Borden, and drummer Jeff Howell; after issuing 1986's Soldiers of Fortune, Paul again quit the band, with the remaining quartet returning in 1993 with Hittin' the Road. While Paul resurfaced in 1994 in the chart-topping contemporary country band BlackHawk, Thomasson later toured with the re-formed Lynyrd Skynyrd while continuing to lead the Outlaws, releasing So Low in 2000. Sadly, Jones and O'Keefe died within three weeks of one another in early 1995. In 2005, original members Thomasson, Paul, Yoho, and David Dix reunited as the Outlaws, rounding out the lineup with three members of BlackHawk, guitarist Chris Anderson, bassist Randy Threet, and keyboardist Dave Robbins. Paul and Robbins departed a year later to concentrate again on BlackHawk, while Thomasson, the only original member of the Outlaws to make it through all of the band's configurations, kept things going, reportedly finishing a new studio album, Once an Outlaw, before his death from a heart attack in 2007.
In 2012, a new edition of the Outlaws released a studio album, It's About Pride. Dedicated to Hughie Thomasson, Billy Jones, and Frank O'Keefe, the album featured Henry Paul, Monte Yoho, Chris Anderson, Randy Threet, and Dave Robbins from the Once an Outlaw lineup, alongside new members Billy Crain (guitar) and Joe Lala (percussion). In 2013, Billy Crain left the band due to medical problems, and Joe Lala died in 2014 after a bout with lung cancer. Steve Grisham, who played with the Outlaws from 1983 to 1986, rejoined the group as guitarist. A new concert album from this edition of the band, titled Legacy Live, arrived in 2016.
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS - Lovely Creatures: The Best Of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds (2017)
"Lovely Creatures" is the most comprehensive overview of the recorded work of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds to date. Spanning thirty years of music from their debut album From Her To Eternity through to Push The Sky Away their 15th studio album, the collection navigates one of the most exhilarating, idiosyncratic and inventive bodies of work created in contemporary music. Included are long-standing live favourites “Stagger Lee” and “The Mercy Seat”, their hit single from 1995 “Where The Wild Roses Grow” through to recent fan favourites “Jubilee Street” and “We No Who U R”. There are songs that newcomers may only know from their appearance on film and television soundtracks, notably “O Children” (Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. I) and the ubiquitous “Red Right Hand”, most recently familiar to fans of the series Peaky Blinders. The album was compiled by Nick Cave and founding member Mick Harvey, with help from the current Bad Seeds. Band members past and present raided their personal archives to provide previously unseen photos and memorabilia which have been collected into a beautiful hardcover book, along with a series of original essays. The book is available as part of the limited edition ‘Super Deluxe’ album collection which also comes with a two hour DVD containing rare and unseen archive footage. Lovely Creatures is available in four formats, all featuring personal and rare photographs of the band: Standard CD, Triple LP, Deluxe 3CD with DVD and the Super Deluxe Limited Edition package.
"There are some people out there who just don’t know where to start with The Bad Seeds. Others know the catalogue better than I do! This release is designed to be a way into three decades of music making. That’s a lot of songs. The songs we have chosen are the ones that have stuck around, for whatever reason. Some songs are those that demand to be played live. Others are lesser songs that are personal favourites of ours. Others are just too big and have too much history to leave out. And there are those that didn’t make it, poor things. They are the ones you must discover by yourselves." - Nick Cave
JANIVA MAGNESS - Blue Again (2017)
Blue Again comes hot on the heels of Magness' 2016 Grammy nominated album Love Wins Again. Anyone who has ever heard Magness sing - live or on any of the multiple releases she has put out since coming on the scene in 1992 - can immediately divine that this is a strong, resilient, commanding woman in masterful control of her voice and her destiny. In the space between the notes you can hear a performer who has survived a difficult life by anyone's measure to become one of the top blues vocalists of her generation, only the second woman, after blues legend Koko Taylor, to win the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award. Blue Again collects Magness' interpretations of a half dozen classics from the blues canon and beyond, including numbers made famous by Bo Diddley, Freddie King, Etta James, and Nina Simone.
TRACKS: 01. I Can Tell 02. I Love You More Than You'll Ever 03. If I Can't Have You 04. Tired Of Walking 05. Buck 06. Pack It Up
CHUCK BERRY - Rock And Roll Music: Any Old Way You Choose It (2014) & Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll [OST] (1987)
This 16-CD set is rock's Book of Genesis in full: everything Berry recorded across more than three decades from his sideman appearance on a 1954 single by Joe Alexander to his last studio album, 1979's surprisingly credible Rockit. And Paul McCartney wrote the introduction to the liner notes. There are inevitable valleys, such as Berry's late-Sixties stay at Mercury Records. But Berry made consistently entertaining, often magnificent records at Chess, between the hits, and the best live recordings in this set - full sets from 1963 (Detroit), '69 (Toronto) and Britain ('72) - catch Berry in those years of renaissance. There are few rock & roll lives worthy of recounting in this kind of detail. Berry's was the first.
More facts on Chuck Berry:
* In Rolling Stone’s list of The Immortals - the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, Chuck Berry is listed at Number Five.
* Six of his songs are in Rolling Stone’s Greatest 500 Songs Ever Written.
* In Rolling Stone’s Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time, Johnny B. Goode is Number One.
* He was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2000. He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984.
* When he was in the first round of inductees into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, his induction read: While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together. It was his particular genius to graft country & western guitar licks onto a rhythm & blues chassis in his very first single, 'Maybellene'.
Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is an album by Chuck Berry and soundtrack to the film of the same name, which was released in 1987 under record label, MCA. The album was recorded live at The Fox Theatre, St Louis, Missouri and Berry Park, Wentzville, Missouri on October 6 and October 16, 1986. The event was held to celebrate Berry's 60th birthday and it included several special guests. The album does not include the Berry song "School Days," which includes the line the album's title is derived from (although the song does appear in the film). The release of this album on MCA was something of a homecoming for Berry, who from 1954 to 1966 and again from 1970 to 1975 recorded for Chess Records which, by 1986, was now part of MCA.
The Soundtrack To The Documentary Film Chronicling The All Star Concert Celebrating Chuck Berry's 60th Birthday Organized By The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, Guest Stars include: Robert Cray Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, Julian Lennon & Etta James Band Consists Of Chuck's Longtime Pianist Johnnie Johnson, Stones' Associated Players Keyboardist Chuck Leavell And Saxman Bobby Keys.
WEST, BRUCE & LAING
West, Bruce & Laing (WBL) were a blues rock power trio super-group formed in 1972 by Leslie West (guitar and vocals; formerly of Mountain), Jack Bruce (bass, harp, keyboards and vocals; ex-Cream) and Corky Laing (drums and vocals; ex-Mountain). The band released two studio albums, Why Dontcha (1972) and Whatever Turns You On (1973), during their active tenure. Their disbanding was officially announced in early 1974 prior to the release of their third and last album, Live 'n' Kickin'.
In 2009 West and Laing briefly relaunched the band, with Jack Bruce's son Malcolm substituting for his father on bass. This incarnation of the band toured the UK and North America under the name 'West, Bruce Jr. and Laing'. The trio agreed to work together in London in January 1972 near the end of Mountain’s 1971–72 European tour supporting their album Flowers of Evil (1971), after Mountain’s bassist/vocalist/producer Felix Pappalardi announced he would leave the band at the tour’s end. (Pappalardi had, by late 1971, become addicted to heroin.) Jack Bruce knew Pappalardi well; Pappalardi had produced all but one of Cream's albums, and occasionally also performed with them in the studio. Subsequently, as Mountain's producer, Pappalardi would fashion his new band's sound after that of Cream, in particular scoring a 1970 hit with a cover version of Bruce’s song "Theme for an Imaginary Western" (from Bruce's 1969 album Songs for a Tailor, which Pappalardi produced). Bruce was thus viewed as a natural "replacement" for Pappalardi in West and Laing’s post-Mountain venture, with several record companies and management organizations expressing interest in signing the new band.
Mountain is one of those rare bands in the past thirty years that can be credited with forging a style and sound that would for ever change the face of Rock music. The innovative studio and live music of Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, Corky Laing and Steve Knight, Mountain, is one of those elite examples.The combination of Leslie's unique tone and feel, Felix's studio production skills,Corky's powerful double bass drumming and Steve's keyboard textures, produced someof the best and memorable rock tunes ever, Mississippi Queen, Nantucket Sleighride, Theme From an Imaginary Western, Yasgur's Farm, Never In My Life, Blood of the Sun, Dreams of Milk and Honey, all stand the test of time and are forever etched in rock history. These songs came from the classic rock albums, Leslie West-Mountain, Mountain-Climbing! and Nantucket Sleighride.Mountain only lasted two and half years but that's all it took to create their permanent legacy ...
Mountain was born out of the sixties music explosion. Leslie came from The Vagrants,an East Coast power house band that was making a name for themselves.Corky came from the band Energy that was produced by Felix Pappalardi. Felix had extensive producing credits before Mountain formed in 1969.He was a classically trained musician who studied conducting and music arranging in college. His skills eventually lead him to Mountain. He produced Cream's Disreali Gears and worked with many other prominent artists from the Greenwich Village folk scene. Steve Knight was brought in by Felix because of prior musical affliations. Eventually this small web of the music scene brought these four guys together. They debuted at the Fillmore in 1969 and went on to play at the granddaddy of all music festivals Woodstock. They established themselves as one of the premiere rock bands of their time. The band eventualy called it quits in 1972.
Mountain was one of those magical music collaborations that can't be duplicated. Just like Cream, the Beatles, Led Zepplin, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience,The Rolling Stones,or any great band it's a once in a lifetime twist of fate that brings individuals together to make their mark on history of music. In their short musical life they produced three gold albums and created one of the most recognized rock tunes "Mississippi Queen". The most enduring legacy any band can hope to achieve is to have others generations of musicians aspire to copy them. Leslie West's guitar playing did that for many guitarists. He had that rare gift to have his own tone and touch that helped define the Mountain sound. Whether you love or hate them ,you can't deny them their place in rock music.
THE MOVE - Magnetic Waves Of Sound: The Best Of (2017)
Given the historical importance of the Move and their long-held status as beloved cult heroes, it would seem that a decent one-disc compilation covering the group's history wouldn't be that hard to come by. But since the Move's recording history was scattered across several different labels, licensing issues have made such things rather elusive. So kudos to Esoteric Recordings, who have compiled Magnetic Waves of Sound: The Best of the Move, which skims the cream from their releases for Deram, Regal Zonophone, Fly, and Harvest and delivers it in one convenient package. Summing up the many facets of this blessedly eccentric group in under 80 minutes is a fool's errand in some respects, but Magnetic Waves of Sound comes admirably close, and there isn't a dud to be found in these 21 tracks, spanning the group's 1966 to 1972 lifespan. Running the gamut from the clever psychedelia of "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" and the arty affectations of "Blackberry Way" to the frantic rock & roll of "Wild Tiger Woman," the proto-heavy stomp of "Brontosaurus," and the final glorious one-two punch of "California Man" and "Do Ya?," this set offers a fine overview of the Move's eclecticism, and just as importantly, how great they were at every turn. Roy Wood is truly one of the secret heroes of British rock, and if you want to know why, Magnetic Waves of Sound is a splendid introduction to the band where he first earned his stripes. The CD edition comes with a bonus DVD of promo clips and TV appearances that allows one to see as well as hear the genius of the Move.
GARY CLARK JR. - Live, North America 2016 (2017)
More than most musicians working in the 21st century, Gary Clark, Jr. is dedicated to the live album. He released Live two years after his 2012 major-label debut, Blak and Blu, and Live North America 2016 arrives on a similar schedule, appearing in 2017 after the release of 2015's The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. Clark worked his second major-label album throughout 2016, so it's little surprise that a good chunk of that record appears here, along with a few choice selections from his debut. To this set list, Clark throws in covers of Jimmy Reed's "Honest I Do" and Elmore James' "My Baby's Gone." Clark nails Reed's laconic delivery and James' hypercharged slide guitar, proof of his versatility and taste, since he doesn't use either as vehicles for his virtuosity. He saves such pyrotechnics for his own work, but that's not even the key to why Live North America 2016 works as well as it does. The album succeeds because Gary Clark, Jr. knows that blues needs songs, feel, and groove in addition to solos. Indeed, the striking thing about the album is its vibe: he may be playing to large audiences, but the record feels warm and intimate, sliding into soul grooves as often as it gets gritty. In many ways, it feels richer than his studio albums, which rely on pushing his contemporary flair to the forefront. Live North America 2016 is all about the basics and that's why it works as well as it does.
FANNY - First Time In A Long Time: The Reprise Recordings (2002)
Upon signing hard rock combo Fanny in 1970, Warner Bros. claimed their new acquisition was the first all-female rock band -- a statement far from the truth, of course, but as one of the first self-contained female groups to land on a major label, they were an important harbinger of things to come. Fanny formed in California under the name Wild Honey, teaming singer/guitarist June Millington, her bassist sister Jean, keyboardist Nickey Barclay, and drummer Alice de Buhr. (The Millingtons and de Buhr had previously played in a Sacramento garage band called the Svelts.) With Wild Honey signing to Reprise, the new name Fanny was sested to producer Richard Perry by no less than ex-Beatle George Harrison; though a relatively innocuous term in the band's native United States, its more scandalous meaning overseas was only known to the group much later on.
Fanny's self-titled debut LP appeared in 1970, earning radio airplay for its cover of the Cream favorite "Badge." The title track from their 1971 follow-up Charity Ball was the group's first Billboard chart hit, although they enjoyed greater commercial success in the U.K., touring in support of Jethro Tull and Humble Pie. (They were also banned from performing at the London Palladium on the grounds they were "too sexy.") After contributing as session players on Barbra Streisand's self-titled 1971 album, Fanny issued Fanny Hill a year later, but following 1973's Todd Rundgren-produced Mother's Pride, June Millington and de Buhr left the group. Millington was replaced by guitarist Patti Quatro, formerly of the Pleasure Seekers and sister of another pioneering female rocker, Suzi Quatro. De Buhr's spot was first taken by Brie Howard, who had also played in the Millingtons' pre-Wild Honey band, although she was soon replaced by Cam Davis. The reconstituted lineup landed with Casablanca for a disappointing final album, 1974's Rock'n'Roll Survivors, before dissolving. The Millington sisters later recorded as solo artists before reuniting as the Slammin' Babes, while Barclay later toured as part of Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen troupe and in 1976 issued a solo LP, Diamond in a Junkyard. De Buhr, meanwhile, also remained in the music industry, at one time working as a retail marketing coordinator for A&M -- where she was assigned to promote the Go-Go's, one of the bands for whom Fanny clearly paved the way.
It's amazing that this four-CD box set exists in the first place, considering not only that Fanny never had a Top 100 album, but that they've never had a particularly big cult following either. But here it is, albeit in a limited edition of 5,000 (sold in North America only). And all the stops were certainly pulled to assemble material, including not only all four of their early-'70s Reprise albums, but dozens of extras, many of them unreleased. Non-LP singles, single-only versions, home and studio demos (the earliest of them dating from July 1969, when they were still known as Wild Honey), alternate versions, outtakes: they're all here. Plus there's more: the tracks on the Canadian version of their debut album (which included three alternate versions never released elsewhere, as well as some cuts that only came out in the U.S. as non-LP singles) that didn't make it onto the U.S. configuration; seven songs from an April 1973 Philadelphia concert; four tracks from a live April 1972 Cleveland performance; six cuts from a demo session for the Mother's Pride album; even four Reprise radio commercials. Not to mention a 52-page booklet with extensive interview quotes from June Millington, Jean Millington, and Alice de Buhr. By definition any serious fan of any act is going to be pleased with such thoroughness. But all the bells and whistles don't act as convincing evidence that Fanny were any more than an ordinary, at times mundane, early-'70s rock band, leaving aside their pioneering status as an all-woman group on a major label that played their own instruments and wrote most of their material. The loads of non-LP and unreleased material aren't all that different than from what ended up on the four proper albums, though sometimes they show a more explicitly soul direction, as on the cover of Maxine Brown's "One Step at a Time" and the unreleased take of the Supremes' "Back in My Arms Again." The live recordings do prove that the band could rock convincingly and tightly on stage, and the fidelity on those is decent, though on the Cleveland cuts in particular it probably wouldn't have been judged up to release standard. Some of the demos are a mite folkier and more singer/songwriter-oriented than the albums, though that might be due more to the more basic arrangements than the material. Note that this doesn't include absolutely everything Fanny did; there's nothing from their post-Reprise album for Casablanca, and an archival live album of 1972 stuff done in Cleveland contains music not on this box.
CHRIS YOULDEN - Nowhere Road (1973) & Citychild (1974)
Best known for having replaced Bryce Portius as one of Savoy Brown's original lead singers, during his tour of duty with the band Chris Youlden rivaled Kim Simmonds in serving as the band's focal point. In addition to being blessed with a voice that was perfectly suited for the band's bluesy rock moves, his reputation wasn't hurt by his onstage attire - often a bowler and monocle, or a tux. It also didn't hurt that Youlden was a capable writer, responsible for penning roughly half of Savoy's classic early-'70s material.
Unhappy with Savoy Brown's constant touring and drift towards what he considered to be mindless boogie, in May 1970, Youlden tendered his resignation. He effectively vanished for the next three years, unexpectedly reappeared in 1973 signed by London Records as a solo act (coincidently Savoy Brown's label). Produced by Barry Murray, 1973's "Nowhere Road" was notable for the fact it bore little resemblance to his Savoy Brown catalog. With Youlden penning all eleven tracks, material such as 'Chink of Sanity' and 'Mama Don't Talk So Loud' retained a bluesy base, but injected a distinctively sinewy funky edge into selections such as the title track (boasting a great guitar solo), 'One October Day' (with some tasty horns) and the blazing 'Cryin' In the Road'. Chris Spedding and Fleetwood Mac guitarist Danny Kirwan provided sterling support throughout. A commercial disappointment, the set barely charted, peaking at #210. (Sporting one of the year's ugliest covers certainly didn't help sales.) The lack of sales was unfortunate since Youlden's instantly recognizable voice remained in prime form. Without wanting it to sound like hype, had Savoy Brown recorded an album this good, they would've been stars ...
BILL WYMAN - The Bill Wyman Compendium (Complete Solo Recording) 
William George "Bill" Wyman is an English musician, record producer, songwriter and singer. He was the bass guitarist for the English rock and roll band The Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993. Since 1997, he has recorded and toured with his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. He has worked producing both records and film, and has scored music for film in movies and television.
Wyman has kept a journal since he was a child after World War II. As an author, he has written seven books, which have sold two million copies. Wyman is also a photographer, and his works have displayed in galleries around the world. Wyman's lack of funds in his early years led him to create and build his own fretless bass guitar. He became an amateur archaeologist and enjoys metal detecting; The Times published a letter about his hobby. He designed and marketed a patented "Bill Wyman signature metal detector", which he has used to find relics in the English countryside dating back to the era of the Roman Empire. As a businessman he owns several establishments, including the Sticky Fingers Café, a rock and roll themed bistro serving American cuisine, which first opened in 1989 in Kensington.
JOHN FAHEY - Livel In Tasmania (1981) & The Legend Of Blind Joe Death (1996)
John Aloysius Fahey (1939 – 2001) was an American fingerstyle guitarist and composer who played the steel-string acoustic guitar as a solo instrument. His style has been greatly influential and has been described as the foundation of American Primitive Guitar, a term borrowed from painting and referring mainly to the self-taught nature of the music and its minimalist style. Fahey borrowed from the folk and blues traditions in American roots music, having compiled many forgotten early recordings in these genres. He would later incorporate classical, Portuguese, Brazilian, and Indian music into his ouvre. He spent many of his later years in poverty and poor health, but enjoyed a minor career resurgence with a turn towards the more explicitly avant-garde, and created a series of abstract paintings during the last years of his life. He died in 2001 from complications from heart surgery. In 2003, he was ranked 35th in the Rolling Stone "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list.
DAVID BOWIE - David Live: David Bowie at the Tower Philadelphia [2005 Mix] (2017) & No Plan [EP] (2017)
The supporting tour for Diamond Dogs was supposed to be a theatrical extravaganza, yet as he headed out on the road, David Bowie became infatuated with Philly soul and changed his entire approach to reflect his new interest, as well as his backing band in the process. As a result, the double-album David Live captures Bowie in transition, as he moves from glam rock to plastic soul. The set list draws heavily from Ziggy Stardust-era songs, yet there are a few surprises, like a stilted cover of "Knock On Wood" and an inspired version of "All the Young Dudes," a song Bowie gave Mott the Hoople. Since Bowie's attempts at soul are a little awkward at this stage, David Live is primarily of interest as a historical document, yet there's enough good material to make it worthwhile for fanatics.
Released on the year anniversary of David Bowie's final album, Blackstar, No Plan contains the last recordings Bowie ever completed. This amounts to three songs, all written for his Lazarus musical and recorded during the Blackstar sessions. To round out this meager selection - and to underscore its connection to Lazarus - No Plan opens with the version of "Lazarus" from Blackstar before running through the new numbers. "No Plan" is a gorgeous, moody midtempo cut with a soulful undercurrent, "Killing a Little Time" is its opposite, offering dense dissonant guitar and a spiderweb of rhythms, and "When I Met You" closes out the proceedings with a glance back toward the sound of Scary Monsters. If these songs don't feel like a surprise - they're very much worthy outtakes from Blackstar - they nevertheless provide a bittersweet coda to Bowie's 21st century comeback.
The Willard's Wormholes blog is dead (and rest in peace!) and we all have to respect Willard, his hard work and finally his last will (wish).
Dear friends, please, do not share his information or abuse his name here. He deserves it. I promised him that it would not happen again here in our shoutbox.
WILLIE NELSON - God's Problem Child (2017)
God's Problem Child, released on April 28, 2017, is the 61st studio album by singer-songwriter Willie Nelson. The album features new songs co-written by Nelson and producer Buddy Cannon. Using their frequent method, Cannon and Nelson wrote the songs exchanging the lyrics in text messages, while Nelson later recorded his vocals in the studio. The review aggregator website Metacritic reports that that the album has received "universal acclaim". The title track was written by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, and features vocals by Leon Russell in one of his last recordings. Alison Krauss provides background vocals on the tracks "True Love" and "Little House on the Hill". The original album title, I'm Not Dead, refers to the recurrent hoaxes announcing Nelson's death. "Delete and Fast-Forward" describes Nelson's view on the 2016 United States elections. The release includes a song written by Cannon's mother, Lyndel Rhodes. It also includes "He Won't Ever Be Gone", a tribute to Merle Haggard written by Gary Nicholson. Seven tracks on the album are written by Nelson and Cannon. Along side traditional music retailers, the release was made available for pre-order on the website PledgeMusic along with promotional merchandise.
Allmusic awarded the album four stars out of five. The review noted an improvement in Nelson's voice, compared to his releases of 2016. Uncut rated the album eight out of ten, and favored Nelson's songwriting, while it called the single "Still Not Dead" one of Nelson's "modern masterpieces". Pichfork summed up the album by calling Nelson "(a) cosmic joker contemplating mortality with endearing humor and touching honesty".
THE DOORS - The Doors (1967) [50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, 2017]
50 years ago in 1967, The Doors broke through to the other side for the first time with its eponymous debut on Elektra Records. The Doors would go on to sell millions of copies and made stars of John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and Jim Morrison. Today, the album is widely considered to be one of the all-time-classic rock and roll debuts.
Packaged in a 12 x 12 hardcover book, The Doors (1967) [50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] includes a remastered version of the album’s original stereo mix, available on CD for the first time in a decade and remastered for the first time in nearly 30 years. The album’s original mono mix was also remastered for this set and is making its CD debut here. An LP-version of the mono mix is also included. The third disc features live performance from The Matrix in San Francisco recorded just weeks after The Doors was released. Music journalist David Fricke provides detailed liner notes for the set, which includes a selection of rare and previously unseen photographs. The Doors (1967) [50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] offers a rare opportunity to hear the band on the verge of superstardom with live performances recorded during a March 7, 1967 show at the Matrix in San Francisco. The Matrix recordings heard on this deluxe edition were sourced from the recently discovered, original tapes, previously thought to be lost. The Matrix recordings originally released in 2008 were from a third-generation source, so the sound quality of the versions debuting here is second to none. Packed with electrifying performance, the disc contains live versions of eight tracks on The Doors, including “Twentieth Century Fox,” “The Crystal Ship” and “Back Door Man.”
V.A. - Can You Dig It: The Music And Politics Of Black Action Films 1968 - 1975 (2009)
‘Can You Dig It?’ charts the rise of ‘Black Action Films’ from 1970-75. It comes as a double-CD collection of the stunning music from these films. The vinyl is on two monster loud separate double albums. The Black Action Films of the early 1970s gave the Hollywood industry its first African-American cinema – actors, directors, cameramen, editors and writers. These films discussed aspects of the African-American experience in the form of entertainment. Storylines interwove post-civil rights revolution with action stories, many involving pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers or private detectives.
The films also featured the finest funk and soul black music of the time as stars such as James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Willie Hutch and Roy Ayers produced some of their finest work, with film budgets allowing for the addition of huge orchestral arrangements by jazz legends such as Quincy Jones, Johnny Pate and JJ Johnson. In the early 1970s, Black Action Films exploded into the cinema with three extremely successful films – ‘Shaft’, ‘Super Fly’ and ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song’. The most profound statement of these films was their actual existence – black actors and black directors entering the previously closed Hollywood film industry. Black Action Films were a representation of politically everything that had gone before and stylistically of everything that was current. Civil rights, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Black Power, Black Panthers, Vietnam sit alongside the criminal worlds of policemen, private investigators, bail bondsmen and the criminals, drug dealers, pimps and hustlers that they parole. ‘Can U Dig It?’ brings you everything you always wanted to know about black action films. This is an essential Soul Jazz Records release!
ROBERT CRAY - Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (2017)
Continuing his revived collaboration with producer Steve Jordan -- the pair first worked together on 1999's Take Your Shoes Off, then reunited on 2014's In My Soul -- Robert Cray headed to Memphis to cut his 18th studio set with members of the legendary Hi Rhythm Section. Setting up shop at Royal Studios, Cray got to work on a handful of originals and a collection of covers, not all of them strictly related to Memphis. In particular, Cray pushes swamp rocker Tony Joe White and "5" Royales leader Lowman Pauling, cutting two songs from each writer. These sit alongside a pair of tunes from Sir Mack Rice (the author of "Mustang Sally"), a version of Bill Withers' "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh," and three originals by Cray, so the album casts its net wide but unites these various styles and eras through the prism of sleek Memphis soul. Jordan evokes the smooth, soulful shimmer of Hi at its peak, but the record never seems studied or an exercise in nostalgia; there's an elegance to the grooves that seems effortless. "The Way We Are," a Cray original, simmers like Al Green but most of the album is funkier, reaching an apex with both "You Must Believe in Yourself" and the cooking "Don't Steal My Love," which happens to be graced by a cameo from its author, Tony Joe White. His appearance underscores how Robert Cray has gotten a lift from his new collaborators: supported by the Hi Rhythm Section he sounds livelier and grittier than he has in years, and that passion serves as a nice counterpoint to the smooth grooves on Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm.
TRACKS: 01. The Same Love That Made Me Laugh 02. You Must Believe In Yourself 03. I Don't Care 04. Aspen, Colorado 05. Just How Low 06. You Had My Heart 07. I'm With You, Pt. 1 08. Honey Bad 09. The Way We Are 10. Don't Steal My Love 11. I'm With You, Pt. 2
JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR - Wild (2016) [Deluxe Edition]
Dave Stewart got it right when he saw a great guitarist about to break out in this young lady, and he took her on tour. The blues ran rampant through her British veins. At 16 years of age, Joanne Shaw Taylor began a career that is still taking shape on her fifth record, Wild, two decades later. Enter Bonnie Raitt and Jeff Buckley, in 2016, her style evolves into a mix of rock and roll through the eyes of a woman that has a lot to say.
Joanne, in fact, never considered herself to be strictly a blues artist, despite recognizing that it is one of her major influences, and as a kid she listened to Robert Johnson. On the altar of her outstanding idols is, of course, Stevie Ray Vaughan, an inevitable reference to almost all great guitarists, but also Free, Paul Kossoff, Gary Moore, Clapton...She makes clear that she's not trying to set a trend, nor open borders, but just do it right, enjoy herself as a songwriter, and go down in music history as a singer/songwriter. That´s it. She doesn't want to just be the “new face of blues”. As lovely as it is.
TRACKS: 01. Dyin' To Know 02. Ready To Roll 03. Get You Back 04. No Reason To Stay 05. Wild Is The Wind 06. Wanna Be My Lover 07. I'm In Chains 08. I Wish I Could Wish You Back 09. My Heart's Got A Mind Of It's Own 10. Nothin' To Lose 11. Summertime 12. Sleeping On A Bed Of Nails 13. Your Own Little Hell
CAROLE KING: 1970-1976
While the landmark Tapestry album earned her superstar status, singer/songwriter Carole King had already firmly established herself as one of pop music's most gifted and successful composers, with work recorded by everyone from the Beatles to Aretha Franklin. Born Carole Klein on February 9, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, she began playing piano at the age of four, and formed her first band, the vocal quartet the Co-Sines, while in high school. A devotee of the composing team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller (the duo behind numerous hits for Elvis Presley, the Coasters, and Ben E. King), she became a fixture at influential DJ Alan Freed's local rock & roll shows; while attending Queens College, she fell in with budding songwriters Paul Simon and Neil Sedaka as well as Gerry Goffin, with whom she forged a writing partnership.
In 1959, Sedaka scored a hit with "Oh! Carol," written in her honor; King cut an answer record, "Oh! Neil," but it stiffed. She and Goffin, who eventually married, began writing under publishers Don Kirshner and Al Nevins in the famed pop songwriting house the Brill Building, where they worked alongside the likes of Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and countless others. In 1961, Goffin and King scored their first hit with the Shirelles' chart-topping "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"; their next effort, Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby," also hit number one, as did "The Loco-Motion," recorded by their babysitter, Little Eva. Together, the couple wrote over 100 chart hits in a vast range of styles, including the Chiffons' "One Fine Day," the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday," the Drifters' "Up on the Roof," the Cookies' "Chains" (later covered by the Beatles), Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman," and the Crystals' controversial "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)."
King also continued her attempts to mount a solo career, but scored only one hit, 1962's "It Might as Well Rain Until September." In the mid-'60s she, Goffin, and columnist Al Aronowitz founded their own short-lived label, Tomorrow Records; Charles Larkey, the bassist for the Tomorrow group the Myddle Class, eventually became King's second husband after her marriage to Goffin dissolved. She and Larkey later moved to the West Coast, where in 1968 they founded the City, a trio rounded out by New York musician Danny Kortchmar. The City recorded one LP, Now That Everything's Been Said, but did not tour due to King's stage fright; as a result, the album was a commercial failure, although it did feature songs later popularized by the Byrds ("Wasn't Born to Follow"), Blood, Sweat & Tears ("Hi-De-Ho"), and James Taylor ("You've Got a Friend"). Taylor and King ultimately became close friends, and he encouraged her to pursue a solo career. Released in 1970, Writer proved a false start, but in 1971 she released Tapestry, which stayed on the charts for over six years and was the best-selling album of the era. A quiet, reflective work that proved seminal in the development of the singer/songwriter genre, Tapestry also scored a pair of hit singles, "So Far Away" and the chart-topping "It's Too Late," whose flip side, "I Feel the Earth Move," garnered major airplay as well. Issued in 1971, Music also hit number one, and generated the hit "Sweet Seasons"; 1972's Rhymes & Reasons reached number two on the charts, and 1974's Wrap Around Joy, which featured the hit "Jazzman," hit the number one spot.
In 1975, King and Goffin reunited to write Thoroughbred, which also featured contributions from James Taylor, David Crosby, and Graham Nash. After 1977's Simple Things, she mounted a tour with the backing group Navarro and married her frequent songwriting partner Rick Evers, who died a year later of a heroin overdose. Pearls, a collection of performances of songs written during her partnership with Goffin, was released in 1980 and was her last significant hit, and King soon moved to a tiny mountain village in Idaho, where she became active in the environmental movement. After 1983's Speeding Time, she took a six-year hiatus from recording before releasing City Streets, which featured guest Eric Clapton. In 2001, she returned with Love Makes the World, a self-released disc on her own Rockingale label. Four years passed before her next record, The Living Room Tour, a double-disc set documenting her intimate 2004-2005 tour that found her revisiting songs from throughout her career with only her piano and acoustic guitars as accompaniment.
King joined longtime friend James Taylor for a co-starring show at L.A.'s famed Troubadour venue in 2007, and the pair followed it with several more shows, resulting in the Live at the Troubadour release in 2010. King released her first-ever Christmas album, A Holiday Carole, through the Hear Music/Concord Music Group on November 1, 2011. In 2013, King received a remarkable show business accolade -- her life became the basis for a Broadway musical, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which followed her professional and personal life in the '60s and '70s. The show opened on Broadway in January 2014, with a score dominated by King's hit songs, and an original cast album appeared the following May. The next year, King was a Kennedy Center Honoree, and in 2016 she played the entirety of Tapestry at the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park.
J.J. CALE: 1971-1983
With his laid-back rootsy style, J.J. Cale was best known for writing "After Midnight" and "Cocaine," songs that Eric Clapton later made into hits. But Cale's influence wasn't only through songwriting -- his distinctly loping sense of rhythm and shuffling boogie became the blueprint for the adult-oriented roots rock of Clapton and Mark Knopfler, among others. Cale's refusal to vary the sound of his music over the course of his career caused some critics to label him as a one-trick pony, but he managed to build a dedicated cult following with his sporadically released recordings. Born in Oklahoma City but raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cale played in a variety of rock & roll bands and Western swing groups as a teenager, including one outfit that also featured Leon Russell. In 1959, at the age of 21, he moved to Nashville, where he was hired by the Grand Ole Opry's touring company. After a few years, he returned to Tulsa, where he reunited with Russell and began playing local clubs. In 1964, Cale and Russell moved to Los Angeles with another local Oklahoma musician, Carl Radle.
Shortly after he arrived in Los Angeles, Cale began playing with Delaney & Bonnie. He only played with the duo for a brief time, beginning a solo career in 1965. That year, he cut the first version of "After Midnight," which would become his most famous song. Around 1966, Cale formed the Leathercoated Minds with songwriter Roger Tillison. The group released a psychedelic album called A Trip Down Sunset Strip the same year. Deciding that he wouldn't be able to forge a career in Los Angeles, Cale returned to Tulsa in 1967. Upon his return, he set about playing local clubs. Within a year, he had recorded a set of demos. Radle obtained a copy of the demos and forwarded it to Denny Cordell, who was founding a record label called Shelter with Leon Russell. Shelter signed Cale in 1969. The following year, Eric Clapton recorded "After Midnight," taking it to the American Top 20 and thereby providing Cale with needed exposure and royalties. In December 1971, Cale released his debut album, Naturally, on Shelter Records; the album featured the Top 40 hit "Crazy Mama," as well as a re-recorded version of "After Midnight," which nearly reached the Top 40, and "Call Me the Breeze," which Lynyrd Skynyrd later covered. Cale followed Naturally with Really, which featured the minor hit "Lies," later that same year.
Following the release of Really, J.J. Cale adopted a slow work schedule, releasing an album every other year or so. Okie, his third album, appeared in 1974. Two years later, he released Troubadour, which yielded "Hey Baby," his last minor hit, as well as the original version of "Cocaine," a song that Clapton would later cover. By this point, Cale had settled into a comfortable career as a cult artist and he rarely made any attempt to break into the mainstream. One more album on Shelter Records, 5, appeared in 1979 and then he switched labels, signing with MCA in 1981. MCA only released one album (1981's Shades) and Cale moved to Mercury Records the following year, releasing Grasshopper.
In 1983, Cale released his eighth album, 8. The album became his first not to chart. Following its release, Cale left Mercury and entered a long period of seclusion, reappearing in late 1990 with Travel Log, which was released on the British independent label Silvertone; the album appeared in America the following year. 10 was released in 1992. The album failed to chart, but it re-established his power as a cult artist. He moved to the major label Virgin in 1994, releasing Close to You the same year. It was followed by Guitar Man in 1996.
Cale returned to recording in 2003, releasing To Tulsa and Back in 2004 on the Sanctuary label and The Road to Escondido, a collaborative effort with Clapton, in 2006 on Reprise. Roll On appeared in 2009 on Rounder Records. A CD/DVD set drawn from sessions Cale recorded with Leon Russell on keyboards in 1979, In Session at Paradise Studio, appeared early in 2013. In July of that year, Cale died of a heart attack in a hospital in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California; he was 74 years old.
IMELDA MAY - Life. Love. Flesh. Blood (2017)
Life. Love. Flesh. Blood is the fifth studio album recorded by Irish singer Imelda May. It was released on 7 April 2017, through Decca Records, as a follow-up to Tribal (2014). May collaborated with American musician T Bone Burnett on the record, who was the sole producer on the album. Throughout the creative process, May received guidance from U2 vocalist Bono. The album followed May's divorce from guitarist Darrel Higham, which influenced many of the lyrical themes featured on the record. Life Love Flesh Blood features soft rock and acoustic styles, which differed significantly from her previous rockabilly genre. Commercially, the album peaked at number two on the Irish Albums Chart (IRMA), prevented from reaching number one by Ed Sheeran's album ÷. Three singles have been released from the album: "Call Me", "Black Tears", and "Should've Been You". The album also features guest appearances by pianist Jools Holland and guitarist Jeff Beck. May is scheduled to embark on an international tour in May 2017, in support of the album.
TIM BUCKLEY - Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974 (2016)
Tim Buckley was a singularly gifted singer and songwriter, but his body of work seems to defy the traditional logic of a single-disc career-spanning anthology. Buckley was a creatively restless artist, and he jumped from solo acoustic purity to folk-rock to psychedelia to jazz to R&B to purposefully scuzzy rock in the course of a recording career that lasted just eight years. The beauty and strength of his voice and his skills as a songwriter were the sole unifying threads in his discography, and many fans will even argue about those when it comes to his final three albums. 2001's Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology comes closest to capturing the artist's many facets, in part because it's a two-disc set that takes the time to examine his catalog with real scope, but Omnivore Recordings has taken a novel approach to summarizing Buckley's work with Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974. This collection features 21 songs that were released as single sides during Buckley's lifetime, including one unreleased track that was intended to be the B-side to a 1967 45 that never saw the light of day. The previously unheard number, "Lady, Give Me Your Key," is a gem, a lovely exercise in Baroque folk-rock that certainly justifies the release of this collection, as well as the inclusion of classic tunes like "Morning Glory," "Once I Was," "Aren't You the Girl," and "Pleasant Street." But Wings also confirms one bit of conventional wisdom about Tim Buckley: he thought in terms of albums, not singles, and as good as most of these tracks are, they sound a bit too ornate to have been pop radio favorites in their day. One senses the labels who released these tracks were grasping at straws choosing which might miraculously please a radio programmer. This set also passes on some of Buckley's best known songs because they were never released in 7" format (most notably, "Buzzin' Fly" and "Song of the Siren"), and three of his albums -- 1969's Happy Sad, 1970's Lorca, and 1970's Starsailor -- are completely unrepresented. However, while 1973's Sefronia is generally considered a botch, Buckley's cover of Fred Neil's "Dolphins" is here to show the album had a hidden gem, and the R&B raunch of "Move with Me" and "Wanda Lu" plays better here than in the context of the albums where they were first released. Wings doesn't do better than most Tim Buckley collections in making sense of his fascinating, sometimes contradictory songbook, but it does bring together an hour of good to brilliant songs from a one-of-a-kind artist, and the set includes an interview with Buckley's friend and writing partner Larry Beckett that lends some welcome insights into how these recordings came to be. - allmusic.com
TRACKS: 01. Wings 02. Grief In My Soul 03. Aren't You The Girl 04. Strange Street Affair Under Blue 05. Once Upon A Time 06. Lady, Give Me Your Key 07. Morning Glory 08. Knight-Errant 09. Once I Was 10. Pleasant Street 11. Carnival Song 12. Happy Time 13. So Lonely 14. Move With Me 15. Nighthawkin' 16. Quicksand 17. Stone In Love 18. Dolphins 19. Honey Man 20. Wanda Lu 21. Who Could Deny You
VAN MORRISON - The Authorized Bang Collection (2017)
A deluxe three-CD set, Van Morrison - The Authorized Bang Collection, is the first official comprehensive anthology ever assembled chronicling Morrison’s musical output during his brief association with Bang Records. The label founded by legendary American producer/songwriter Bert Berns – whose writing credits include “Twist and Shout,” “Cry to Me,” “Piece of My Heart” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” as well as “Here Comes The Night,” a #2 U.K. breakout hit for Them - Van Morrison’s early group - in March 1965. According to a press release, “All songs on Disc One - The Original Masters and Disc Two - Bang Sessions & Rarities were produced and directed by Berns. Disc Three - Contractual Obligation Session presents for the first-time as an official release - and in its best-sound quality ever–one of the most raw, honest and in-the-moment studio performances of Van’s storied career.”
Disc One - The Original Masters presents original stereo mixes of recordings for the first time on CD - including “Brown Eyed Girl” - first released on Bang 12” vinyl LPs: Blowin’ Your Mind! (1967) and The Best of Van Morrison (1970). Disc One also features the highly-prized original mono mixes of “Beside You” and “Madame George” - first issued on T.B. Sheets (1973) - and “Chick-A-Boom,” a Van Morrison/Bert Berns composition recorded in New York in 1967 and released as a Bang single. The Original Masters closes with the rare demo version of “The Smile You Smile,” previously available on Legacy’s 1991 compilation, The Bang Masters.
Disc Two - Bang Sessions & Rarities includes the much sought-after original edited mono single mix of “Brown Eyed Girl” and the original mono single mix with backing vocals for “Ro Ro Rosey,” in addition to previously unissued studio takes of “T.B. Sheets,” “Midnight Special,” “Beside You” and some insightful outtakes of “Brown Eyed Girl.”
Disc Three - Contractual Obligation Session presents 31 short songs that have been widely bootlegged as Morrison’s contractual obligation demos for Bang. “These songs show Morrison’s incredible humor and give some insight into the frustrating close of his relationship with the label. They are included here for the sake of completeness and to finally officially close the chapter on Van’s 1967 New York City recording sessions,” writes Andrew Sandoval in his liner notes for the set. A Grammy-nominated producer and engineer, Sandoval compiled and curated the material on Van Morrison - The Authorized Bang Collection.
In his own notes for this collection, Van Morrison wrote, “Bert Berns was a genius He was a brilliant songwriter and he had a lot of soul, which you don’t find nowadays.”
PINK FLOYD - Delicate Sound Of Thunder (1988)  & Echoes, The Best Of Pink Floyd (2001) 
In one respect, it's hard to fault David Gilmour for retooling Pink Floyd as a neo-oldies act with Momentary Lapse of Reason, since Roger Waters took the band over the brink with his obsessive, nonmusical The Final Cut. Fans were eager for an album that sounded like classic Floyd, which is what Momentary Lapse was. But what they really thirsted for was a live spectacle from Floyd, where they could hear the old tunes and see all the old stunts. That's what they got on the 1987/1988 Pink Floyd world tour, which is documented on the double-disc set The Delicate Sound of Thunder. Gilmour's reunited Floyd was intent on recreating the sound and feel of classic Floyd, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the oldies feel like the classic records, only with Gilmour taking each vocal. He and Floyd deliver well, but this is a recreation that makes less sense on record than it did on-stage, where the nostalgia was justified. Here, it feels passable but never compelling. This is professional, competent, and, often, even enjoyable music, yet, like many souvenirs, it never once feels necessary.
Delicate Sound of Thunder is a double live album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd which was recorded over five nights at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York in August 1988 and mixed at Abbey Road Studios in September 1988. It was released on 22 November 1988, through EMI Records in the United Kingdom and Columbia Records in the United States. This is a 2016 reissue on Pink Floyd Records.
Being the quintessential album rock band, Pink Floyd hasn't had much luck with "best-of" and "greatest-hits" compilations, like A Collection of Great Dance Songs and the bizarro follow-up, Works. Since both of those were released in the early '80s (and time travel being unavailable even to Pink Floyd), they obviously left out any tracks from the post-Roger Waters era albums. While countless hours in dorm rooms have been spent laboring over whether or not the post-Waters recordings should even be considered the "real Floyd," the later albums nonetheless stand as a further progression in the band's evolution and warrant recognition. The 2001 release Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd does just that, sequencing the tracks non-chronologically in an effort to place more emphasis on the individual songs as opposed to the era they're from. Unfortunately, the effect is rather jarring when the songs transition from the clinical mid-'90s sound of "High Hopes" directly into the psychedelic groove of the much earlier "Bike." Interestingly, as is the case with most of their albums (but a rarity in "hits" compilations), most of the tracks fade into one another; the hum of "Keep Talking" segueing into the bleating of "Sheep," making for an intriguing listen from one song to the next.
There are many highlights on this collection: the inclusion of the Floyd holy grail "When the Tigers Broke Free," a sweeping Waters military dirge that has only appeared in the film The Wall, and the fascinating "Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 1-7," which has never before been released without the break in the middle (but conspicuously missing parts eight and nine). The confusing inclusion of "The Fletcher Memorial Home" (possibly just to cover something from The Final Cut) and three songs from the decidedly mediocre Division Bell stand out as obvious head-scratchers, making the die-hard Pink Floyd fan wonder if compiler James Guthrie was really clear on what this album should represent. Guthrie's job was unfortunately doomed from the start; since Pink Floyd's strength has always been in the band's rich, sprawling albums, listening to selections cut and chopped from here and there makes it almost like watching three-minute segments from Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, and Apocalypse Now, knowing full well that they hold together much better as whole works. Still, Echoes is nearly the best possible assembly of the band's individual songs one could hope for, and collectors and completists should be overjoyed. That being said, anyone just getting into this group's fascinating sound would be much better off starting with Dark Side of the Moon, then working forward, then backward from there: the time honored system of hungrily consuming the Pink Floyd catalog that has stood for generations.
JOHN MELLENCAMP - Sad Clowns & Hillbillies (2017)
Occupying the space where Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Billy Joel converge, over the decades John Mellencamp has honed a sort of everyman Americana, representing a more heartening type of populism. Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, his 23rd album and a collaboration of sorts with Carlene Carter (daughter of June), continues this tradition in part – most obviously with Easy Target, a rather elliptical meditation on the lie of post-racism that owes a significant debt to Desire-era Dylan. Carter and Mellencamp have worked together before, including on his score for Meg Ryan’s second world war drama Ithaca, and offcuts from that project (including the suitably saccharine Sugar Hill Mountain) surface here, as do some from Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the musical he made with Stephen King. It makes for an album that is not particularly consistent in sound or even sentiment – the worthiness of Easy Target is matched with half-of-the-title track Sad Clowns, a patronising and crankily retro missive on chivalry.
TRACKS: 01. Mobile Blue 02. Battle Of Angels 03. Grandview 04. Indigo Sunset 05. What Kind Of Man Am I 06. All Night Talk Radio 07. Sugar Hill Mountain 08. You Are Blind 09. Damascus Road 10. Early Bird Cafe 11. Sad Clowns 12. My Soul's Got Wings 13. Easy Target
Captain Willard and His Wormholes
For those who may be interested, here is an insight into the demise of Willard's Wormholes.
THE MOON - Without Earth (1968) & The Moon (1969) 
Moon were a sort of second-tier supergroup in the late 1960s, led by pianist and songwriter Matthew Moore, drummer and producer Larry Brown (late of the Bel-Aires and Davie Allan & the Arrows), and ex-Beach Boy David Marks on guitar, with Andy "Drew" Bennett on bass (Bennett was replaced by the time of the group's second album by David Dawson, formerly of Hearts & Flowers). For all that pedigree, though, Moon received little support from their label, Imperial Records, and the group's two albums, 1968's Without Earth and 1969's Moon, went virtually unheard when they were released. Fans of period pop psychedelia found the albums irresistible, however, and the group has enjoyed a kind of low-key cult status ever since, leading to Rev-Ola's reissue of both albums on one CD, along with a handful of bonus tracks that include a couple of mono 45 mixes and three tracks from Moore's pre-Moon band, Matthew Moore Plus 4. Sounding a bit like a low rent version of the Zombies or the Left Banke, it is easy to see why fans of baroque-'60s pop are so enamored of Moon, but like many bands from the era who fell under the influence of the Beatles, the absence of strong songs and melodies all too often renders the heavily phased and string-laden arrangements forgettable as soon as the next track begins. Not that the group doesn't get close to pop-psych heaven here with songs like "Someday Girl," the goofy, sitar-laced "Brother Lou's Love Colony," or the ultra-Beatlesque "Give Me More" (all from Without Earth), it's just that the swirl of the arrangements can't hide the fact that none of these songs are particularly front line. The songs from the second album, Moon, fare better, as Brown (both albums were recorded at his Continental Sounds studio) cuts back a bit on the orchestration and Moore simply delivers better material, like the haunting, beautiful "Lebanon" or the intriguing "Life Is a Season," which has Moore singing lines like "comprehension wields the sword that kills the fear" with agile, melodic ease. Also worth mentioning is the reincarnation revenge song "Pirate," which has a plot line so bizarre that it can't help but be memorable. When all is said and done, one wishes Moon had gotten a crack at a third album, since they were clearly inching toward the kind of uniqueness that might have allowed them to rise above their influences.
AMEN CORNER - Round Amen Corner (1968) 
Featuring their British hits "Bend Me, Shape Me" and "Gin House Blues," Amen Corner's debut album was the work of a band who didn't either really fit into any of the trends of the late '60s or qualify as one of the era's more innovative or interesting groups. They were accomplished at what they did, however, which was offer a mix of blue-eyed soul-rock and British pop. Built around the distinctive high vocals of Andy Fairweather Low, they also had (unlike most British bands) a horn section, as well as a distinguished instrumentalist in organist Blue Weaver. The album was an erratic affair, dragged down by a cover of "Love Me Tender," a sort of vaudeville-ska hybrid in "Judge Rumpel Crassila," and some rather uninspired choices of material to interpret, like "Let the Good Times Roll" and Andy Williams' "Can't Get Used to Losing You." On the other hand, they ripped through straight-ahead blue-eyed soul like "Our Love (Is in the Pocket)" with flair, and "Something You Got" was almost like a U.K. equivalent to late-'60s Stax deep soul ballads. It offered barely any original material, a shame as a couple B-sides of the period with Fairweather Low compositions showed the kind of psychedelic pop-influenced writing more akin to a band like the late-'60s Small Faces. Fortunately, the 1990 CD added those B-sides, "Nema" and "I Know," as bonus tracks, along with two other cuts from 1967-1968 singles, "Satisnek the Job's Worth" (the B-side of "Bend Me, Shape Me") and the small British hit single "The World of Broken Hearts."
TRACKS: 01. Bend Me, Shape Me 02. Judge Rumpel Crassila 03. Love Me Tender 04. Our Love Is (In the Pocket) 05. Something You've Got 06. I Am an Angel (But I Can't Fly) 07. Expressway (To Your Heart) 08. Good Times 09. Let the Good Times Roll Feel So Good 10. Can't Get Used to Losing You 11. Lost and Found 12. Gin House 13. I Don't Want to Discuss It and Amen 14. I Know 15. The World of Broken Hearts 16. Nema 17. Satisnek the Job's Worth 18. High in the Sky 19. Run, Run, Run
WATERMELON SLIM - Golden Boy (2017)
Bill "Watermelon Slim" Homans has built a remarkable reputation with his raw, impassioned intensity. HARP Magazine wrote "From sizzling slide guitar...to nitty-gritty harp blowing...to a gruff, resonating Okie twang, Slim delivers acutely personal workingman blues with both hands on the wheel of life, a bottle of hooch in his pocket, and the Bible on the passenger seat." Paste Magazine writes "He's one hell of a bottleneck guitarist, and he's got that cry in his voice that only the greatest singers in the genre have had before him."
The industry agrees on all fronts. Watermelon Slim and his crack touring band The Workers have garnered 17 Blues Music Award nominations in four years including a record-tying six in both 2007 & 2008. Only the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Robert Cray have landed six in a year, and Slim is the only blues artist in history with twelve in two consecutive years. In Spring 2009 he was the cover story of Blues Revue magazine. Two of Slim's records were ranked #1 in England's MOJO Magazine's annual Top Blues CD rankings. Industry awards include The Independent Music Award for Blues Album of the Year, The Blues Critic Award and Canada's Maple Blues Award for International Artist of the Year for 2007. Slim has hit #1 on the Living Blues Charts, top five on the Roots Music Report and debuted in the top ten in Billboard. One of Slim's most impressive industry accolades may be the liner notes of The Wheel Man eagerly written by the late legendary Jerry Wexler who called him a "one-of-a-kind pickin' n singing Okie dynamo."
TRACKS: 01. Pickup My Guidon 02. You're Going To Need Somebod.. 03. WBCN 04. Wolf Cry 05. Barretts Privateers 06. Mean Streets 07. Northern Blues 08. Cabbagetown 09. Winners Of Us All 10. Dark Genius
ERIC BIBB - Migration Blues (2017)
Eric Bibb is back in style. Master of acoustic guitar, master story teller, his new album Migration Blues stands firmly rooted in Americana history and handles contemporary migration with equal conviction. With his committed address to current day migration he shows that he is more than a follower of those musicians who addressed injustices in the past, he continues in their footsteps and is as worthy in this as any of them. It is only fitting that he tributes Woody Guthrie with ‘This land is your land’. The album is Eric Bibb at his best: understated yet excellent acoustic guitar underlying masterful storytelling and commanding performance. The opening song of the album, ‘Refugee moans’, held a rough blues joint audience completely spellbound when Eric did an a cappella version during a recent concert. The musical grace of Eric Bibb lifts this album beyond pure blues. The listener can hear and feel the signs of hope along the way. This album deserves as wide an audience as possible for both the music and the message.
TRACKS: 01. Refugee Moan 02. Delta Getaway 03. Diego's Blues 04. Prayin' for Shore 05. Migration Blues 06. Four Years, No Rain 07. We Had To Move 08. Masters of War 09. Brotherly Love 10. La Vie C'est Comme Un Oignon 11. With a Dolla in my Pocket 12. This Land is Your Land 13. Postcard From Booker 14. Blacktop 15. Mornin' Train
HENRIK FREISCHLADER - Blues for Gary (2017)
Henrik Freischlader is a German blues guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, and autodidactic multi-instrumentalist from Wuppertal, Germany. He has been the supporting act for Joe Bonamassa, B.B. King, the late Gary Moore, Peter Green, Johnny Winter and other blues legends. A tour with his friend and fellow musician Joe Bonamassa gave the young artist the opportunity to play in front of a bigger audience. Through numerous shows all over Europe, amongst them, performances with legends such as BB King, Peter Green, Gary Moore, and Johnny Winter, Henrik has gained a steadily increasing number of fans. Today, the German singer & guitarist is one of the most sought-after musicians of his genre worldwide.
Henrik Freischlader's homage to Gary Moore. He got the support of Gary's former band, Vic Martin (bass) and Pete Rees (Hammond organ), as well as numerous other musicians, including Moritz Meinschäfer, Gary's brother Cliff Moore, Harrisen Larner-Main, Linda Sutti, Ben Poole, Mike Andersen, Romi, Zsolt Vámos and the Royal Street Orchestra.
TRACKS: 01. The Prophet 02. The Messiah Will Come Again 03. Blues for Narada 04. Intro 05. Where Did We Go Wrong 06. Where Are You Now 07. Jumping At Shadows 08. With Love (Remember) 09. Johnny Boy 10. Parisienne Walkways
CREAM - Those Were The Days (1997)
Although Cream were only together for a little more than two years, their influence was immense, both during their late-'60s peak and in the years following their breakup. Cream were the first top group to truly exploit the power trio format, in the process laying the foundation for much blues-rock and hard rock of the 1960s and 1970s. It was with Cream, too, that guitarist Eric Clapton truly became an international superstar. Critical revisionists have tagged the band as overrated, citing the musicians' emphasis upon flash, virtuosity, and showmanship at the expense of taste and focus. This was sometimes true of their live shows in particular, but in reality the best of their studio recordings were excellent fusions of blues, pop, and psychedelia, with concise original material outnumbering the bloated blues jams and overlong solos.
Those Were the Days is an ambitious four-disc, 63-track box set that divides Cream's career into two halves. The first two discs feature every studio track the group ever released, plus a handful of unreleased cuts, alternate takes, and rarities. The other two discs are devoted to live material, which is segued together in an attempt to recreate the "ideal" Cream concert. It's a remarkably comprehensive collection, complete with an extensive booklet and remastered sound, yet it doesn't reveal any new insights about Cream, nor does it offer any invaluable rarities. Therefore, it's only for die-hard collectors or listeners wanting to acquire the entire Cream catalog at once; casual fans will be satisfied with individual albums or greatest-hits collections.
RUTHIE FOSTER - Joy Comes Back (2017)
Like 2014's Promise of a Brand New Day before it, the title of Ruthie Foster's 2017 album Joy Comes Back promises something optimistic. Joy Comes Back does just that but from an entirely different angle. Between the two records, Foster separated from a long-term partner, and she coped by settling down in her hometown of Austin, Texas, recording the new album with her friend, producer Daniel Barrett. A crew of sympathetic musicians - including guitarist Derek Trucks, drummer Joe Vitale, and Warren Hood, among several others - swung by the studios and helped Foster record nine covers and an original. Foster casts her net wide, dredging up classic blues from Mississippi John Hurt ("Richland Woman Blues"), contemporary country from Chris Stapleton ("What Are You Listening To?), and classic heavy metal from Black Sabbath ("War Pigs"), but what unites the album is the warm, supple energy of the band and Foster's aching ease. She may have been through the ringer recently, but she's choosing to be positive - or, as she sings on Shawnee Kilgore's "Abraham," "When I do good/I feel good" - and that gives Joy Comes Back a relaxed richness that's quite restorative.
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